Phayao - Phrao - Chiang Dao

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by Kiwi Cruiser, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Phayao - Phrao - Chiang Dao

    18/11/2007 Weekend in sleepy Phayao, a lakeside town in the mountains 150kms northeast of Chiang Mai. Turn onto Highway 120 at Mae Kachan, out through Wang Nua and over the mountain to Phayao.
    Photo: Entering Wang Nua. Phayao is over the mountain range ahead...

    From Wang Nua, there is a short section of road with breaking seal and some potholes, aside from that it just gets better the further you go.

    Phayao is pretty quiet and sleepy, but in a lovely setting in a wide valley, right on the lake, with some nice waterfront restaurants etc. Stayed at the Gateway Hotel
    Photo: View from the 7th floor at sundown was good!

    The morning mists peeled back as the sun came up, revealing the lake with a mountain backdrop.


    First part of the return trip was a repeat of the previous weekend - blasting up highway 120 from the Phayao plains, the road is brilliant! Newish ashfelt surface, wide sweeping bends through nice forest. The little Honda Phantom loves this stuff, full noise in 3rd, 4th and 5th gear, occasional sparks off the footplates :)

    Turned right at Mae Kachan, and then left at Foei Hai to take Highway 1150 through to Phrao. This is a country road, through very hilly country, steep in places with lots of sharp turns - not a place to hurry!

    A disconcerting and disproportionate number of right-hand corners seem to have loose fine grit on the left lane, right at the point of maximum g-forces. There were several times when my $300 Aussie stockmans boots were almost called to do speedway duty! I suspect this is because the locals habitually cut the corners, leaving the correct lane virtually unused... Id say its important to bear in mind that the possibility of meeting a Hmong farmer in a Toyota Tiger loaded 8 feet high with cabbages - in YOUR lane - is quite high!

    The descent into the Phrao valley is real pretty - but I never quite found the right place to get the obligatory photo, and then it was too late. Phrao was a bit the same... a couple of cross streets and I'm out the other side, wondering where the hell "town" was! Oh well, who needs lunch!

    From Phrao, the country changes dramatically - suddenly, its citrus groves! There's some awesome looking mountains in the distance...
    This is nice section of road, with a much more reliable surface. However, there's still a few spots with pitted seal and loose grit...

    There's some lovely little villages in superb settings.

    The highway 107 bypass (correction from BobS) :) around Chiang Dao heading back to Chiang Mai has a very dramatic moment for the unwary... one minute you're on a major highway, coming around a sweeping left-hander... and the highway ENDS... there's a couple of dirt lanes, going either left or right... no signs to explain the mystery... I stopped and turned around, but then a couple of mini-van tours rumbled down and turned right, onto the rutted dirt track... I followed, and after 300 meters, the highway appeared again. :) Bob says there is a property dispute on the small section in the middle of the route! :)

    The majestic Chiang Dao draws nearer... I've seen this one on a clear day, looking north from my 6th floor apartment and thinking - wow, that looks good! Might have to see if there's a trail to the top...

    This is a beautiful place to live - there's just so many places to go exploring!
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  3. wimpy

    wimpy Ol'Timer

    Nice report.[^]
  4. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Nice report but I think you have your routes a little confused. 118 does not go that way. It would be the 1150 to the 107 and you are probably referring to the construction at the Chiang Dao bypass.

    One can also go left at the gas station at Phrao, which takes you into the main part of town, and take the 1001 back to CM but you would miss Chiang Dao. I came back this way from the Chiang Rai Supercross and had a beautiful ride as you describe.
  5. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Well I see by the edits BobS advised of a couple bits and pieces also. Must be communicating by ESP, I don't see any posts?

    Very good job though SeoGuy, especially for a starting member. I love the photo of the mountains over the lake. Please keep posting.
  6. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Thanks, SilverHawk... no ESP communications - BobS obviously decided that as it was my first time, he shoud be very gentle with me... [:D]

    He kindly pointed out my error via a personal email message, in order that I could correct it without public humiliation [^]
  7. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    No one is immune from "humiliation" on this site.[B)] If you read the posts you will see many stupid mistakes we have all made, and usually we point them out ourselves. Check out Fallabilities/Funnies/and Stuff Ups-

    A simple mistake on a route number doesn't even start to make the list of humiliations most of us have been subjected to.

    Keep the posts coming![:D]
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah yeah BobS is a real expert on advising from the side lines. But who cares as long as you are out there riding, enjoying life & contributing to the board. Keep going TheSeoGuy.

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