Mae Sot Mae Sariang - good roads bad roads

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by Chiang_Mai_Martin, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. So, less than 1 week to go and I’m back off to the delights of Cairo for another 28 days….. better put my time to good use! I still have a few more places to recce for our December club ride so I thought I’d nip down to Mae Sot and check out a guest house I’d provisionally booked.

    The weather’s been good to us lately so a quick butchers at the Thai Metrological Dept website confirmed what I thought…… we’re good to go! Actually the website had a forecast for Tak, Mae Sot, Mae Sariang and Chiang Mai of “Scattered Thunderstorms” for the next 7 days so being a firm believer that their assessment of conditions is on par with the Highways Dept’s use of “Sharp Curve” for everything other than “Dead Straight” I took their forecast with a pinch of salt, loaded the Big White Pig up with essentials (travel mug & Tetley tea bags, CD’s, waterproofs and puncture repair kit), parked the missus on the back and orf we jolly well went!

    I’ve not done the 106 Chiang Mai to Thoen route for many a year as for the past 10 years or so I’ve always gone back to Sin City via Lampang, Den Chai, Nakhon Thai, Lom Sak etc etc so it was a great reminder how nice this road is to ride! Ok you’ve got to get the crap out of the way first but once you’re about 20km south of Chiang Mai it’s lovely….. and finishes with about 30km of very twisty bits that I had completely forgotten about! What a start to the day….. brilliant!


    We’d left fairly late in the morning so by the time we finished the 106 it was lunch time for us and fill up time for the Pig….. she was sucking fumes by the time we pulled in at the Shell Station so my request of “Dtem tank khrap” produced a result of 820 baht, lots of “Ooh’s” and “Aah’s” from the pump attendants and a “Bloody ‘ell!” from me! I never run the old girl that low, and when I first got her back in the mists of time she only took 500 baht to fill! Never mind, it’d cost an arm an’ a leg back in Blighty, and the pump attendants here are way cute! There’s a great Thai grub stop at the Shell station so She Who Must Be Obeyed and meself had a good feed and then hit highway 1 for a quick blat down to Tak.


    We rode through a little drizzle on highway 1 and a more substantial downpour on the 12 from Tak to Mae Sot (now my PN Map Company map calls this stretch the 105 but all road signs said 12….. to me it’s the only main road going west from Tak to Mae Sot so I’m not really bothered about which number it owns!) but not bad enough to stop and put the ‘proofs on….. I swear by my leather ridin’ jeans (no, not chaps, you’ve gotta be American to wear those on a Harley), the missus was well shielded by the lump sittin’ in the pilots seat, and we’d dried off by the time we hit town so no harm no foul. Nothing really noteworthy on this stretch….. one quite nice rock-fall which would’ve produced twitchy botty time if you happened to be riding past as the rumble took place but otherwise pretty uneventful.



    So….. found the Phannu Guest House and booked in for the night and did the business for our club booking in December: you have a choice of 400 or 500 baht rooms either in the old Thai style wooden building or the newer block…… again I seem to have chosen a guest house with zero catering facilities! No problem, the Casa Mia is just a 10 minute stroll down the road….. I wanted to try their aharn farang so chose the beefsteak, Tom had the red curry, we shared a pad Thai and finished with their gorgeous lime cheesecake and banoffee pie (with fresh whipped cream!)….. that and a couple large Heineken’s, all for 535 baht! Well done Casa Mia! The only downside is I’d wanted to book our group in for a meal when we hit Mae Sot in December but alas, Casa Mia is closed on a Saturday! Anyone have a Mae Sot aharn farang dining alternative?





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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Ha ha! Love your writing style and description of the 105.
    Believe it or not it's better than it used to be- slowly but surely they are turning it into a great road, but yeah, the parts they haven't gotten to yet are pretty rough indeed.
    I enjoy that road on the Versys, but hate it on the Gixxer.
  4. Some more of the "wonderful" 105......

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  5. Intira Restaurant.....

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  6. And the 108 homeward bound!

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  7. Granted slowly but surely they'll turn it into a great road and yes, some stretches are new and beautiful riding Tony but some of it hasn't been repaired in bloody donkeys years...... I rode it in '04, '06 and '08 and this was the worst!
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    105 Mae Sot - Mae Sarieng is probably always going to be one of those roads in need of repair. In different provinces at either end with different budgets.
    It's never been perfect all the way from memory & there will always be some part after the wet that needs redoing. Depending on what you're riding it could be more or less enjoyable because of the bike.
    Other than that it is a gem of a ride for the scenery.

    Thanks for the report CMM - it's a good one & a very enjoyable read.
    For accommodation & restaurants, if you find a good place you can always give them a plug on GT Rider here
  9. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Great entertaining report CCM. You’ve sure got a flair for writing mate.

    Also, good job navigating the big Harley through the disaster zones of hwy 105.

    Cheers, Moto-Rex
  10. Johpa

    Johpa Ol'Timer

    I really enjoy the 105 as I have been making regular trips to see friends in Mae Sot during my annual trip to my Thai home. Like other Thai roads, the highway is slowly being rebuilt and upgraded, but the northern half down to Sop Moei is pretty bumpy in spots, really old school, but the scenery makes it well worth while. I don't know about Thai-Farang eateries in Mae Sot, but taking a right out of the Pannu Guesthouse, the Aya, across from the Bai Fern, has good Burmese food, decent drinks, and always interesting conversation if you have an interest in Burmese affairs, of if you like ogling young NGO types. Beware it can sometimes have painfully slow service. I have never eaten at the Bai Fern, right across from the Aya, but it seems to be a Thai-Farang type of eatery that is always busy. Last November, during my last visit, there was a new Burmese restaurant that is to the left of the Pannu and then taking a right by the veggie restaurant, about half a block on your left. I can't recall the name, but my Burmese friends thought it had some of the best Burmese food they had seen served since leaving Burma.

    Below is a rare picture of my rotundness visiting Mae Sot's most famous resident, Dr. Cynthia at her school located outside of town away from the clinic.

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  11. Hey Jopha, many thanks for the input..... I'd been quite worried about where to feed the gang when we hit Mae Sot after discovering the Casa Mia was closed Saturdays! Your recommendation comes hot on the heels of a reply to an email I sent to the Phannu management about decent restaurants in town and they also mentioned the Bai Fern and the Aiya..... I guess the Bai Fern will be it! (Ogling NGO's and painfully slow service won't cut it with our group of about 12+!)

    As an aside, saw this very smart shophouse facade receiving finishing touches just down the road from Phannu House...... someone in Mae Sot's going trendy!

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  12. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Awesome food, cute staff and ice cold beers at Bai Fern! [​IMG]

    Tried once to eat at Aya but the service was so painfully slow that we ended up across the street at Bai Fern in the end. But Aya sometimes gets some pretty good live music and other than the slow service is a nice place to hang out.
  13. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Nice write up for a fabulous stretch (if you do not mention the tarmac). I was considering to ride this trail back from Mae Hong Son's Music Festival, in a couple of days and it is great to have comments about the progression of construction and demolition of the 105; always similar but at a different place. For the time being I am stuck with out of stock scorpions so that I might shortcut directly to Chiangmai.
  14. Billy Baht

    Billy Baht Ol'Timer

    Not saying Sp Kitchen isn't good, but my recent experience there was, ummm, interesting...

    I ordered breakfast #1:eggs, sausage, OJ, toast and coffee. Staff asked me to write my order, so I wrote #1, eggs scrambled, sausage and coffee. I got scrambled eggs and coffee, LOL! Another huddle with staff, ordering in thai and english and got my OJ. They could not understand that I wanted a set breakfast, even after much pointing at the menu, complete with the thai wording of the menu set. Oh well, trial and error keeps life interesting...

    Finally got my toast after 25 minutes :)

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