On a bmw around northern thailand july aug 2012

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by Lode, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    Ride report 24-25-26 july 2012

    I am in the midst of a motorbike tour around northern Thailand and thought it might be nice to put a post of my progress on the gt riders forum. I was lucky enough to get to use a Bmw Dakar F650 GS, owned by a good friend and long time resident in Chiang Mai - though now he moved to Hang Dong. Back in 2002, I believe, we once toured around the Philippines by motorbike together and we share plenty of nice memories of that trip.

    I used to live and work in South-East Asia from 1999 to 2005, based in Chiang Mai, and have in the mean time - apart from a working trip in Cambodia and Vietnam a few years ago - not been back in the region since. I was now - during my one month holiday in Thailand - very eager to see if my - very positive - recollections of Thailand and the northern region in particular were somehow romanticed over time or not...

    After a first test of the bike, riding up the Doi Suthep, continuing on to Doi Pui, the hilltribe villages beyond and then down through the Lamyai farms - which for me is a rather challenging stretch of offroading in the drizzling rain - I found myself sweating at the Huay Tung Tao lake down an other end of the mountain. The bike did just fine : in Europe i ride a Triumph Bonneville T100, to whom I am very faithfull, because it took me from the Scottish Highlands to Spanish Andalusia and on some other adventures too without any problem at all. For this trip though the 650GS would perhaps be the better choice and I felt quite comfortable with this bike from the first encounter, so I was eager to set off.

    Unfortunately weather reports were not very promising. A tyfoon over North-Vietnam seemed to bring plenty of rain in about every northern province there is. The Thai TV weather reporters tried to prove their point by presenting this news in the most rainy and windy spot they could find, looking miserably cold and soaked - preferably with a wind-torn umbrella - to great dismay of the camera and soundmen I reckon. I hung around in Chiangmai for a few days looking up some old mates. Then I decided - finding myself in a rather rare brave mood - not to care too much about the rain - for I had very sensibly brought a gore-tex motorjacket and pants from my home in Belgium so there was nothing to worry about. So I ventured out on a first loop out of Chiang Mai via Phayao to Nan, next day via Phu Chee Fah to Chiang Rai, and the third day along Thatorn and some smaller roads back to Chiangmai.

    I had not done too much research before, and was keen to keep all opportunities open - but I had printed out the 'top ten favourite Roads in Northern Thailand' from gt's forum (of which - surprisingly enough - there are apparently twenty-five ;-) and had bought myself a Michelin Road map of Thailand. I am particularily fond of the Michelin maps worldwide because they are quite sparse with the famous green-lined 'scenic route' indiciations, so if you plan to come across one, you can be allmost sure it will be a great motoring road. For Thailand there was to be no exception : you will confirm this as you compare the 'green stretches' on the Michelin map with gt's top ten favourite road list : an almost identical match ! In fact I wonder whether... mais non, let us not upset the French parbleu !

    For those who like to know the exact route :
    Day 1
    R118 to Mae Khachan - Wang Neua - R1282 to Phayao lake - 1021 to Dok Kham Tai - R125? to Chiang Muan and R1091 to Nan.
    Day 2
    Nan - Tha Wang Pa - 1148 to Chiangkham (wow, what a road) - 1021 to Thoeng - 1020 to Chom Phu - on to Phu Chee Fa via Khun Huai Kok (i think) and then south along the Lao border to Phu Sang - back to Thoeng and the 1020 to Chiangrai.
    Day 3
    Chiangrai - 110 to Mae Chan - 1089 to Thatorn - Mae Ai - Fang - R13?? to Phrao (really nice) - 1001 to Chiangmai.

    In Nan province I used a drift hd720 camera mounted on my helmet to capture an impression of the experience - you can watch it here :

    Highlights during this loop for me were these :
    - The whole stretch from Phayao to Nan is very enjoyable : almost traffic free, curvy roads from the rice paddies in Phayao province - gradually rising up into the Nan province mountain scenery through increasingly sparsly inhabited tracts of subtropic dipterocarp forest with - in the monsoon season anyhow - clouds of mist seeping through. Just magnificent.
    - Any seasoned motorbiker will surely enjoy the 1148 road from Tha Wang Pa to Chiangkham. Is it simply as if around 50 travelled motorbikers - the kind you like to ride with - were requested each to contribute their most favourite stretch of bends they could remember - after which they were all combined into this road. ( I may have read this line somewhere on your forum and I am probably quoting someone else here, but I don't mind - being too busy putting my favourite stretch from the Portuguese Serre de Estrella mountain roads somewhere in between Song Kwae and the Yom river )
    - The R12?? through the Si Lanna National Park : what a stunning and brilliant little ride, relatively close to Chiang Mai. Very exquisite indeed.
    - The amazingly beautiful smile of a gorgeous sensual thai lady staring right at me through the window of a video rental shop in Chiangrai
    - The Nan province has - due to its relative independence and isolation from the Thai kingdom during many centuries and the minimal impact of western influence and tourism - remained a very genuine and unique region. It's provincial capital will probably not win many beauty contests but is delightful to walk around in, especially if you do speak some thai language and like to socialize a bit. If you are there, do visit the Wat Phumin temple and take your time sit down to ponder over the murals.

    What I liked less :
    - realizing that while retracing my route on the map with a sizeable black marker, I actually unintentionally blackened out most of the road numbers on the Michelin map I am using, making it very hard to retrace these while writing this report....
    - the rain soaking my book I just bought from Backstreek Book shop in Chiangmai (fyi : uncle oswald by R. Dahl)
    - the moment I realised the girl in the video rental shop in Chiang Rai was actually dreamily looking at a the reflexion in the glass shopfront of a poster of her favourite thai actor/singer instead of me. Will I never learn ?- I came to the Phu Chee Faa viewpoint at the wrong moment : to witness a sea of clouds hanging under the viewpoint down the cliffs overlooking the Lao valley, you ought to come during winter season early in the morning. I was there during monsoon season, in the afternoon and instead of soring above the clouds I was - as usual - with my head in them. The immediate surrounding offers stunning mountain scenery though.

    I already mentioned the small movie i made of the Nan part. I also took some pictures i would like to share, i will do so in my next post.

    While writing this i am already in Nakhon Sawan (having visited Phu Hin Rongkla on the way) as i am continuing my motorbike trip. I am planning on making my way back to Chiangmai along the Burmese border via Mae Sot, Mae Sariang and perhaps Mae Hong Son. I will report on this later on.

    Cheers and keep on riding.
     
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  3. Lode

    Lode Active Member

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    At Phayao lake

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    Close to Phu Chee Fa

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    Lunch in Thatorn

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    Along the 1346
     
  4. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    Ride report 30-31 july and 1st august

    I do not remember who ever said that playing around with a mistress is usually more enthralling, exhillerating and beyond everyting more exciting than being with your faithful partner, but there might actually be some thruth in it. I am talking about motorbikes here - in case you were wondering - because after almost a week on the road with the bmw dakar F650GS - though I still do not feel like caressing her as I would with my Bonnie (a Triumph Bonneville that is) back home after a long, rewarding ride - I do already feel like saying some sweet words after walking up to her in the morning.

    Anyhow, after my Chiangmai - Nan - Chiangrai - Chiangmai loop I decided to take her on a longer trip. I took off from Chiangmai along the train track to Lamphun, fuelled and sped on to Lampang over the great rollercoaster named national road 11. I promised to pass through Nakhon Sawan somewhere during my trip in order to meet up with the family of my Thai stephdaughter again, and I decided to first follow an eastern route direction south, which took me further along road 11 via Den Chai to Uttaradit. Some 30 km south of Uttaradit, I left the highway for the smaller backroads, direction Nakhon Thai, in the vicinity of Phu Hin Rongkla National Park.

    I was very curious to see this part of Thailand, for I had heard of it from different sources, and had read a particular positive report about it on the gt forum. During the five years I spent in Thailand a while ago I had never been there. I was a bit weary from the ride up there from Chiangmai - it is quite a distance - when I started climbing up the 2331 road around 3 pm. Traffic had been moslty gentle on the main roads, many cars had simply made way for me and veered on the left when they saw my headlight shining in their back mirror so I could get passed more more easily. Others completely ignored me and some made my heart race by sudden irrational movements in either direction they fancied. I guess that kept me awake and focused.

    Anyway I was now finally at the entrance of the national park, where a big barrier next to the ticketing office was blocking my way. I managed to creep just under it and drove forwards a few meters. 'Ticket', said a thai park ranger in a loud voice. Regardless of the commendable efforts being done by the Thai authorities to protect their natural enheritance - and there is actually an amazing lot of it- ever since some lunatic in high places decided it would be a tremendous idea to charge a foreign nature lover tenfold the entrance fee as opposed to a Thai nature lover, I find great pleasure in dodging this fee. So I drove on slowly, pretending to look for a suitable parking spot and when I was within a safe distance from the ticketing office I sped up the mountain fireing up the noisy 650cc engine, while I heard a fainting voice shout 'Hey you, ticket !' in the distance. Now let it be clear that I do not want to promote this kind of behaviour, but if you have a good reason for it, it is great fun.

    The 2331 road bisects the Phu Hin Rongkla National Park and runs a total distance of around 70km I guess. 70 kilometer of pure joy and excitement if you ask me. It's curbs and twists would make the designer of the Nurburgring and the Nordschleife retire from public life in woeful silence. The views and vista's seem to pop up all around just to show you that there is still a lot of room for improvement for those Lord of the Rings landscapes and the fauna and flora seems to stem from a long forgotten Jurassic era. Ok - I may be overstating things a bit here, but really : come out of your comfy hammock and ride this road at least twice : it certainly is an impressive mountain road, worthy of mountainious competitors in north-west Vietnam, the Annamite mountain ranges, the Shan plateau in Myanmar and other contenders in the Mae Hong Son or Chiang Rai provinces.

    It winds up to an impressive height for Thai standards and the vistas are magnificent. The temperature drops dramatically as you go up. I decided this mountain had too much to offer to simply ride across it and that I should stay overnight here. I booked a simple cottage close to the park headquarters on the summit, which was settled in only about 10 minutes time, thanks to my limited knowledge of the thai language. Cheap too at 210 thb. It was some kind of dorm cottage with four matresses on the floor, one single light bulb and nothing else really. There was a camping style cold water washing facility nearby. The walls consisted of woven bamboo, the roof was corrugated iron and a large section of the wall under the roof was half open to the outside. Because of the elevation cooling was not needed and in fact it was just terrific : later in the evening I had a good nights sleep here, apart from a brief argument with a giant green grasshopper jumping around the room.

    After dropping my stuff in the cabin, I ventured out to a walking trail some 5 km further, which connected some of the sights, including a bizarre rock bolder field with a nice panoramic view and a cliff with a flagpole where the communist flag used to tempt the Thai goverment in the valley below. Phu Hin Rongkla was the last stronghold of the CPT, the communist party of Thailand and fierce battles where fought here in the late seventies. Witnesses to the battle with the well organized thai communists who were thriving on this godforsaken mountain include a number of air raid shelters, some leftover buildings from the former headquarters, a cemetary, prison cabins and an anti aircraft machine gun.

    The trek connecting these sights was only about 3 to 4 kilometers in total but was very slippery, as most of it runs over wet rocks covered with black mosses and across some creeks. The place is a nature lovers dream with plenty of flowers in bloom, epifytes of all sorts, wild orchids and bird species I had never seen before. A big cloud came rushing in as the wind grew stronger and I had to keep concentrated in order not to slide away. Just when i thought I had mastered this on my way back to the car park I suddenly slipped and fell over in a strange manoevre in which I saw some of my limbs in the most unusual places and I finally smacked against the rocks in a very unelegant manner - to say the least. I thought nothing much of it at the time but the day after there was a sore pain in my left foot playing up everytime I had to switch gear.

    After this trek I was in for a good meal and some beers in the parks restaurant. To my surprise they did not serve any alcoholic beverages, but you were welcome to bring them of your own. This saw me jumping back on the motorbike and head to the next best place where you could buy some bottles of beer, which turned out to be a Hmong hilltribe village, some 7km down the road.

    Next morning I got up at 7am and after a very cold shower headed off down the mountain direction Lom Sak. This was quite a tricky affair, because the whole mountain was engulfed in heavy fog, and i couldn't see further down the road than about 10 meters. On top of this there were in several places logs of fallen trees on the road. I had no idea if they were there since last night or longer, but there was absolutely no indication or warning sign to be seen, so it made the descent a slow process. And then suddenly, when I was under the cloud line, a beautiful panorama was opening up in front of me, the road on this side was even more spectacular than on the other side. My nerves relaxed again as I went down and looked back at this amazingly twisting road. Yes, Phu Hin Rongkla is a special place.

    I was rewarded by the smoothness of the next road : the number 12 to Phitsanuloke. This broad road offers nice vistas on both sides of the roads and allows for some speedy driving, which was welcome after the slow descent from Phu Hin Rongkla. From there on everything was smooth sailing to Phitsanuloke, where I turned south on the rather uneventful 117 to Nakhon Sawan, where the family awaited me.

    Next post will show a few pictures of this ride.

    Cheers and keep on riding.
     
  5. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    I cannot post anymore pictures... :problem: Quota exceeded ? What should i do now ?...
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Everything should be ok, nothing has changed in the settings.
    Please try again.
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Lode
    "Welcome back" to Chiang Mai.
    That's a sweet report you've got going & some nice photos.
    Im not sure why you claim quote exceeded or posting photos, as nothing has changed in the settings.
    Please give it another go As I for one would like to see jmore.

    I'm happy too that you've found GT Rider helpful & that it encouraged you to go to new places further afield - Phu Hin Rongkla.
    Thailand is full of hidden gems.
    If PHR impressed you, checkout Phu Phayak in Nan, the communist HQs & site of the very last battle.

    Look here
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/26648-Return-to-Nan-back-to-the-future?p=251292#post251292
    for a trip report.
     
  8. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Hi Lode,

    Sounds like you had a great ride.

    I was in the same spot as you coming off Phu Chee Fah (your pic #2) about a week ago..... :D Once of those places where you just have to stop and take in "the moment".
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  9. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    Sounds like a good trip. Enjoyed the write up so far & hope you can post some more pictures!
     
  10. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    The road down from Phu Hin Rongkla NP :

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    Phu Hin Rongkla National Park

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    Somewhere between PHR NP and road 12

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    Temple near Den Chai : if you can find the motorbike, you know the size of the statue...

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  11. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    Ride report august 2nd

    After a relaxing day in Nakhon Sawan, I rose early. I left the family, who was getting ready to go to the temple (first day of the Buddhist Lent today), I took off along the number 1 highway direction Tak, and after some 15 km took a left on the 1072 direction Lat Yao and further on to Khlong Lan. To my left, according to the map, there should have been a very large water reservoir, bur for some reason, i never got to see it...?

    What I really wanted to do was to go from Khlong Lan via the 4026 all the way to Umphang close to the Burmese border. Some maps show a dotted line in between the two villages on both ends of sealed roads and others don't show anything at all. So yesterday evening I went on the internet to find out more about this gap, because the alternative to get to Umphang from the region of Nakhon Sawan, is to go all the way to Tak, Mae Sot and down again, which is amazingly enough around 200 km more... I was lucky not to go blindly out there, because I soon found out that - though construction of this connection was once planned and even started, it was subsequently halted a few years later, because of environmental issues. The road stimulated illegal logging in the Mae Wong national park and the region was teeming with rare wildlife so works on this road were to be ceased. Apparently you can undertake several days of trekking on foot across the gap, given you could obtain special permission to enter this wildlife reserve - and provided you wanted to take the risk. I got this info second-hand, so please double check if you are planning to go out there.

    The region between Nakhon Sawan and Mae Wong NP is very rural and just like in Kanchanaburi province the main crops apart from rice are sugar cane and tapioca. Some of the rural temples were celebrating the beginning of Budhist Lent. The main ubosot of these rural temples is often just a big wooden structure on stilts, which doubles as a communal house or meeting place. You could hear the Buddhist monks chanting in them as you drove by. Unable to cross to Umphang (but glad ofcourse that this part of nature got te be protected) I was forced to rejoin the highway to Tak along the 1117 and decided to take some time to visit the Historical Park of Kamphaeng Pet.

    It took me two hours to wander through the two main archeological sites. I was surprised to see how well these laterite structures, and even the stucco decoration in places had stood up to the test of time and the tropical climate; most of these temples date back to the 14th and 15th century. Much less known than its counterpart in Sukothai, but undeservedly : both in size and density of temple structures it outclasses the Sukothai historical park. The natural surroundings and the lack of obvious tourism make a visit here much more athmospheric.

    After a change of shirt, which was by now dripping from the midday heat, I had a cappucino and rode on via Tak to Mae Sot on the 105, which displays a dramatic landscape especially in the last 30 kilometers, when limestone outcroppings rise up in between rolling hills and the mountain range that seperates Thailand from Myanmar rises up at the horizon.

    I'd love to continue straight on across the border into Burma, following this road all the way to the Andaman sea on the other side and then making my wy down the swampy coast to the old British port of Moulmein. Perhaps we will be able to do that soon ?

    Off for some beers in Mae Sot for now,
    cheers, Lode
     
  12. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    My pictures from Kamphaeng Pet

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  13. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    My photos from Kampaeng Pet :

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  14. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    Hi there,

    Nice to see your reactions.

    @David (admin) thanks for welcoming me and for the advice on Nan communists

    @Ianoyok : exactly, beautiful spot isnt't it ?

    @David Learmonth : will (try) do so now

    Pix from ride to Phu Hin Ronglkla

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    If you find the bike, you know the size...

    Pix in Phu Hin Ronglkla and on the way down again

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    Cheers
     
  15. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    And these are the pictures from my visit to Kamphaeng Phet :

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    Cheers
    Lode
     
  16. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    Trip report 3 august

    Lousy weather this morning, so I slept late and had a lazy breakfast at Bai Fern restaurant in Mae Sot. Just as the rain seazed a little bit, I jumped on the motorbike and took the 105 road to Mae Sariang. 250km, just following this road along the Burmese border.

    It turned out to be a great ride, this road is really great : nice landscapes, challenging riding, plenty of mountain action, a lot of variation on the way in terms of road conditions : sometimes it is a multi lane freeway, but sometimes, especially high in the mountains, it turns in a a very small, local road. Plenty of potholes on the way and some landslides too. In some of the worst sections half of the road was washed away because of the rain. Unfortunately about half of the way I was riding in the rain. But even so it was a very rewarding ride.

    Here are some pictures I took on the way :

    Here is a very large community of Burmese refugees living :

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    These boys were playing soccer in the rain

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    Some random pictures along this road :

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    Certainly a road to remember

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    Cheers,
    Lode
     
  17. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Lode................ great pics. Wonderful roads. Phu Hin Rongkla is now on the list.............

    We're in the rainiest month of the season now.......... take care
    Ian
     
  18. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    Trip report 4 august

    Mae Sariang - Khun Yam - Mae Cheam - Doi Inthanon - Chiangmai

    After a nice breakfast with a nice view along the Yuam River in Mae Sariang, which was swollen considerably because of the rain that had been fallen all night, I was quite optimistic, thinking that the rain would cease during the daytime, and I got lucky too - apart from some drizzle every now and then. As I was heading back to Chiangmai for a few days of relaxing, I wanted this day to be a special ride.

    Foolishly, I considered the Michelin map to be reliable on road conditions within the Mae Hong Son loop area and set of northbound to Mae La Noi, where I took the 1266 eastwards. After all, this road - according to the Michelin map - was sealed all the way to Mae Cheam, where I had multiple options to continuing to Chiangmai. During the first 20km I was in a good mood, feeling that choosing this less travelled road had not only been a wise decision, but that is was one of the most beautiful roads I had come across in Thailand.

    The road clung on to dramatic mountain slopes, and seemed to sweep higher and higher, offering commanding views of the green patches of farmland, with primary dipterocarp forest higher up. No traffic at all, apart from the lone pickup truck stacked with coleslaw. Small hilltribe hamlets were stradled upon the most unlikely mountain cliffs and the view was crisp clear and you could gaze at mountain ranges stretching in increasinly lighter green colours all the way to the horizon.

    It was starting to feel that nice sensation you get when you are riding further and further away from common places and into the unknown. So I forgave this road the few stretches of a few hundred where the road became unsealed. After about 30km along this road I passed in a village where I informed with a few Hmong tribesman if I was following the right direction towards Mae Chaem. A young Hmong man told me that I was on the right way, that it was about 50 to 60km, and that he liked my motorbike so very much... After imforming for road conditions, he replied that some parts indeed were unsealed but that there were many villages on the way, implying that there were actually people living along the road, in case I might get into trouble.

    Feeling a tad less confident, but still foolishly optimistic, I resumed and handled the unsealed stretches as good as I was capable of. The unsealed roads were sometimes potholed dirt roads, but increasingly wet and more and more muddy. Experienced motorbikers - unlike me - will tell you that the red mud in particular is very nasty. It is so adherent that it will clog to every part it can find between the surface and the lower half of your motorbike, shoes and pants - and it is very fond to cling onto some more red mud. For those who did not follow : before you know the stuff is literally everywhere. It clogs up your tires, creating a film over them that turns your tough looking wheels into greasy spinning wheels, losing all grip. By times, while trying to keep the bike in the advisable upright position, I had to dig my feet into muddy pools alongside it, while the backweel was slipping and spinning out of control, sending so much mud into the air, it actually plied the - by now unreadable license plate - into a different shape alltogether.

    Meanwhile sweat was dripping down my face, but I tried to plough on. While struggling in some of the mudbaths, it was frustrating to see that the local farmers, driving a simple scooter such as a Handa wave drove by much faster, and sometimes balancing on the outward shoulder of the road newt to a ravine. They seemed to be pretty relaxed about the whole thing, while my mood was sinking, struggling with this heavy bike, which was actually made to do this kind of stuff. I tried however to apply the little rules I knew about off road driving : standing up while riding, keeping up the speed and just looking into the distance too see where you would drive best. (I might be pretty wrong about this...) It kind of worked untill I got stuck in the midst of a 100m Mud struggle in ruts as deep as 60 cm. I could not persuade the bike to move any further.

    Moreover I discovered I had covered only 7km in about 40 minutes. A small calculation quickly made me realise that another 50km of this would drain my energy completely and would have taken forever. At this moment I thought : why didn't I buy Gt riders detailed map of the Mae Hong Son loop beforehand ? So, the hell with Michelin, and after a very unesthaetic struggle with the bmw I managed to turn it around, back in the direction I came from. This alone took me about 15 minutes and a lot of Flemish swearwords resounded on the immediate vicinity.

    I rode back down to Mae La Noi, again through the muddy parts I was so happy to have crossed and afterwards I was recovering a bit and felt my heartbeat go down again. In Mae La Noi, a pretty lady pharmacist next to the seven-eleven lended me her water hose, so I could wash off most of the mud from the bike and myself. While doing this, a curious backpacker came up to me and inquired how I got so muddy. 'Well', I tried to answer casually, while I was still dripping from the sweat, 'I did some offroading in the mountains for breakfast'. The eyes of the lady backpacker widened as she said 'pretty cool!'.

    I continued to Khun Yuam, where I took the impressive 1263 mountain road and then down to Mae Cheam. After a coffee I took the very steep 'back'road up to the highest mountain of Thailand - the Doi Inthanon - did not have to pay any park fee - and went down again to Chomthong to head north back to Chaingmai.

    All of this my have been a bit too much for one days' driving, but it sure was a very beautiful and surprising ride and I would do it again right away, including my mishaps in the mud - which were a bit foolish in the monsoon season.

    I found a few days of relaxing in Chiangmai would do me good. Next plan is to buy the gt riders map and try something different within the Mae Hong Son loop...

    Next post will include the pictures of today's ride.

    Cheers,
    Lode
     
  19. Lode

    Lode Active Member

  20. Lode

    Lode Active Member

    Made it safely back to chiang mai, great trip so far ! Would love to see your vintage triumph ! I have a 1964 triumph t90 at home, running but still needing some twitching... Chrers
     
  21. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Hi Lode,

    Sounds like another fun day. Yes, indeed, the Lanna soil is quite something. Great for pottery.................
    Purpose made dirt bikes are not the right bike really, offroad in the rainy season. Just too heavy. A stepthrough is much better. It's always embarrassing when the locals come whizzing past you. They grow up dealing with this stuff and most are fearless offroad riders, women included. I got stuck in a field of mud two weeks ago. Took about 1 1/2 hours to get out.... usual story.... no water, no phone...... just out for a little jolly 10 minutes from home. Beware the red mud! The scenery out there is just beautifully green though at this time, with no tourists around and clean clear air.
    Lode, if you want to see my Thunderbird, you'll have to come up to Chiang Saen.
    Enjoy your rides.
    Ian
     
  22. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Love this report & Lode is back again - this time on the road in China.

    Check it out on GTR here: 

    http://www.gt-rider.com/se-asia-motorcycling/topic/a-two-week-motorbike-tour-in-yunnan-province-china
     

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