Mae Sarieng Return May 30 31

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by Champasak, Feb 1, 2003.

  1. Champasak

    Champasak Ol'Timer

    Mae Sarieng & Return May 30 & 31
    « on: Jun 2nd, 2002, 4:34am » Quote Modify Remove

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    The weather is normal - hot, humid & cloudy - for this time of the year.
    A not unreasonable start & I'm away at 12.40 pm. Route 108's an interesting, varied road.
    Leaving town on 108 the traffic's a bit congested, if not heavy.
    On the 4-lane its manageable until Hang Dong, where the 4-lane cuts out & you're on the messy 2-lane until Sanpathong.
    After Sanpathong it's back on the 4-lane, but for 5 kms it's still under construction, & somewhat dusty & more like playing dodgem cars in this section.
    Then, its back onto the real asphalt 4-lane right to Chomthong & the Doi Inthanon turn off.
    From Chomthong to Hot, it's the old 2-lane and a bit too busy to really relax, but is a good winding undulating to hilly road and still an enjoyable ride.
    After Hot it gets real good, smooth slick winding uphill asphalt. However 10 kms out a rain shower comes along & seems to follow me down the road. I get sick of this & take a break at the Kaw Krairaj Resort.
    2 Sponsors & a bot of water later I'm back on the road, only to be totally ambushed by heavy rain 4 kms up the road. Its emergency stop time & a rush to a sala bus shelter at the Mae Chaem turn off.
    The rain's so heavy though I get soaked before I can do much & it's a struggle to get the waterproofs on with wet gloves, over the wet leathers. After much puffing and grunting I discover that I've grabbed the wrong rain jacket from off the rack at home - and I've got the one with the broken zip!
    Fortunately I still had my full face helmet on, or the old hill tribe lady sheltering from the rain next to me, would have got the full blast of farang expletives in her ear. Bor pen yang, she says? Bloody hell I'm sopping wet, I've got the wrong rain jacket, and I've got another 100 kms of wet slippery winding mountain roads to go, how bad can life get?
    Eventually I get my rain gear on and set off in the downpour, leaving grandma Karen alone, but with a smile on her face- silly farang she thinks, I'm sure.
    Another 15 kms up the road the sky clears up & it's a dry run all the way into Mae Sarieng. A couple of times I thought it was going to rain, & I wished it did, as I already had my waterproofs on, but no such luck.
    Route 108 after the Mae Chaem turn off, is a wide, fast, steep winding road, and flowing - a good sports bike road. It's sometimes a bit bumpy in places, and the wind blows a bit strong along the ridgeline, otherwise it is a brilliant ride to Mae Sarieng from Chiang Mai.
    I got into Mae Sarieng at 3.19 pm, not bad considering the weather & forced stops.
    After a short break it was off to Mae Sam Laep, in the car, with my Swiss mate Danny from Siam Sun.
    Route 1194 to Mae Sam Laep is one hell of a narrow steep very winding mountain road, terrific on a bike, but a bit of a drag in a car. It used to be one of the wildest dirt roads in North Thai, with 65 stream crossings in the last 15 kms, but its now all asphalt & quite ok, if a bit narrow in places. The GPS loses the plot several times on account of the winding nature of the road, the mountains and the forest cover.
    Mae Sam Laep itself is still an amazing right out of the way place to go & gives me a buzz each time I go there. If you're in the area, and not rushed for time, it's well worth the trip. It reminds me a lot of Pak Beng on the Mekong in Laos, but Mae Sam Laep is a lot cleaner.
    Travel time out to Mae Sam Laep is about 45-50 mins by bike, if you're good. In the car it took us just over an hr, going for it most of the way. There are no g/houses in MSL now, & not much in the way of shops. The place used to be a real hive of activity when the Karen's had control of the border on the Burma side but now that the Burmese have it under their thumb it is dead with not much going at all. For this reason Mae Sarieng town is awfully quiet now - if you are looking for a quiet traditional northern Thai town to hang out in, then look no further than Mae Sarieng.
    In MS at night, the best food & value for money place is the Tha Nam restaurant, on the left, just a couple of kms down route 105, the Mae Sot road. The atmosphere is very nice, perched on the steep banks of the Mae Yuam river, in the cool clean quiet air of MS. I was amazed at the small bill - 750 baht for (almost) more food than we (6 people) could eat. So check it out if you're in MS for a night.
    Another spot most likely worth a look is the Ban Rim Mae Yuam - pub & restaurant - a little upstream from MS. It had just opened the night we were there, & a private party was underway, so we could not accurately gauge how good it will be, but with a small country band it certainly looked as if it was going to be a cool place to hang out at in MS at night. The only other place worthy of a mention is the old Black & White in the main street, but this joint has been going for about 15 yrs now & it certainly is in need of renovation & a new paint job. Other than that MS at night is dead boring, & I was safely tucked up in bed well before midnight - a record for me.
    I have to comment on the street & tourist signs in MS - they are the best I have seen anywhere in North Thailand. Whoever planned these deserves 10 out of 10, for they are on every corner and really are excellent. (It's just odd that MS has very few tourists though).
    Next day I rode around the outskirts of MS checking out the new asphalt & concrete roads linking up the villages. There are heaps of new roads & most of them are perfect for Honda Dream pottering around MS.
    You'll laugh at the extreme extravagance in the asphalt road that runs everywhere along the canal though, sometimes it is only a 50 metres loop off the main R1194 road, but it is two lane asphalt - for what? (Someone obviously made a nice killing at the bank on this one.)
    Eventually I got away from MS at 12.15 pm & had a perfect dry run straight into Cnx, non-stop, arriving at the airport super at 2.20 pm. (Oops, that's only 2 hrs 5 mins MS - Cnx.)
    « Last Edit: Jun 2nd, 2002, 6:27am by Davidfl » 203.146.223.82

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    Davidfl

    Shinji
    GT-Rider Newbie

    Honda Steed 600

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    Beyond Mae Sam Laep
    « Reply #1 on: Jun 3rd, 2002, 1:37pm » Quote Modify Remove

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    It was a little over a year ago that I visited Mae Sam Laep.

    Shortly after passing Mae Sam Laep, the Route 1194 hit Salawin River and continued for a few kilometers along the river. Difficult ride with rocks and powder dust. Then the road reached an army post, from where it turned inwards and downwards.

    That was the extent I would dare pursue with my Steed, but the question remained. How much longer does the road continue? How is it like at the end?

    202.133.156.150

    Davidfl
    GT-Rider Newbie

    Keep The Power On

    Gender:
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    Re: Mae Sarieng & Return May 30 & 31
    « Reply #2 on: Jun 6th, 2002, 5:02am » Quote Modify Remove

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    Shinji
    The answer is I don't really know, we were in the car and did not go any further, it was also 5.00 pm.
    But the gossip is that supposedly
    (1) The road south, downstream alongside the river, only goes as far as a temple, "not far away."
    (2) The road north, upstream, is supposed to go to either Mae Kong Kha or Khun Mae Kong Kha. Exactly which one I don't know. Mae Kong Kha is on the river, and Khun Mae Kong Kha is way east of the river.
    If you can get through it links up with Mae Sarieng, but the connection is very bad, and not passable in the wet season - landslides & fallen trees. However, this might just be the case for cars, & it might be passable on an off-road bike.
    Sorry I can't be anymore specific, but the locals out there are awfully vague about it all - I guess they haven't done it & only know from hearsay?
    Hope this is a help for you and The Steed...

    203.146.223.82

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