Return to Nan & back to the future?

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    DATE: Monday 12th -Tuesday 13th June 2006

    THE WEATHER: Warm - hot 'n very humid, overcast but dry. Perfect riding conditions.


    THE WAY:
    1. Chiang Mai - Lampang - Long - Phrae - Sa - Mae Charim -Nam Tuang - Mae Charim - Nan.
    Routes:11 - 101- 4020 - 1243 - 1168 .
    2. Nan - Mae Charim - Rom Klao - Mae Charim - Nam Muap - Sa - Phrae - Den Chai - Lampang - Chiang Mai.
    Routes: 1168 - 1259 - 1168 - 1243 - 1162 - 101 - 11.

    TOTAL DISTANCE: 997 kms.

    THE RIDER & BIKE: David Unkovich (Davidfl)- Honda Africa Twin 750 (@ 158,000 kms & still going strong!)

    A short 1,000 kms "over night" trip to check out some of the rest of the "new" best rides in Nan - North Thailand's "top dog" for road bike riding!


    The text message at night comes in -we are off to Nan again, wanna come for a ride on 1148??
    The reply: "Nah just done 1148, but need to check out the other good stuff in Nan, so see you there for a beer or two. Who's paying for the drinks, mate?"
    "We will if you show us the town & sites."
    "See ya tomorrow night then."


    Actually I was quite hesitant to go. Just a couple of weeks earlier I'd had a similar SMS experience. Late at night - midnight a text message comes in. The lads - 8 of them are drinking in a bar, the Sax Bar & need a Sunday ride. MotoGP is on the tele at 11.00 am & Chiang Rai is only 183 kms away. Sounds like a good deal they inebriated mob says. Meet at the Jet gas station on the super at 9.00 am & we?ll be in Chiang Rai with 10 minutes to spare before the red light changes & the race is on. OK count me in, I could do with a trip to Chiang Rai to finish off GPS-ing the town for a guide map I?m working on. But I don?t fancy riding for 180 kms in a group of hung over riders (4 is my mob limit) & I head off to Chiang Rai at 8.30 am, 30 minutes before the pack is due to leave town. Only trouble 40 kms out it poured with rain, after I had snuck through; & the mob started to get drenched so returned to base in Chiang Mai. I watched the race alone in Chiang Rai! Oh well at least I had a good ride & still got all my GPS mapping done.


    Meanwhile back to the future in Nan.....
    So it was a bit of late departure & I got away from the Chiang Mai super at 12.40 pm.
    It was hot, overcast, very humid, but unbelievable dry all the way to Nan! I could not believe my luck.
    The master plan then was so race over on R101 to Sa, approx 26 kms south of Nan, head east & hit R1243, rumoured to be better, if not as good as R1148, the top dog road in North Thai, and eventually end up in Nan around dusk to pick up the mob coming in on R1148.

    All to good to be true and in my enthusiasm to "get into it" I neglected to take a map with me & instead had to rely on the "old memory" The old bit perhaps being a bit more appropriate than necessary as the last time I was out on 1243 was many years ago - when the roads where still all dirt and all you had to ride was the mighty Honda Wing 125cc road bike!

    R4020: the good stuff up on the ridgeline

    Anyway in Sa, my confidence (& old memory) got the better or me & I sailed straight through town, east & onto R4020. You should turn right (south) & then make aleft onto R1162 about 3-4 kms south of Sa.

    R4020 then was a tight narrow bumpy but steep asphalt road that snaked its way through the hills to eventually link up with the middle of R1243. Not quite what I wanted but, but the ride was a bit alright.
    Once you're on R1243 the road sort of really lets loose - sweeping swooping up & down the steep rolling hills.


    It was pretty much exhilarating immediately & yet another reminder that Nan province really is the motorcycle on-road paradise in North Thailand!



    R1243 ran into R1168 about 4 1/2 kms south of Mae Charim & as the time was only 5.30 pm I thought I had a another hour of good day light to play with & decided to follow the rest of R1168 to the end & Lao border area. Wow! What a surprise the rest of R1168 is.


    From The R1243 intersection it is fast flowing swooping steep smooth race track asphalt, to around Nam Phang.

    R1168 "east" to Nam Tuang

    Then it drops off somewhat but gets even steeper tight & more twisted. 14 kms later the road sort of ends up in the middle of nowhere - a Hmong village Nam Tuang, just a few kms off the Lao border.

    Above: The end of 1168

    Above: Exciting Nam Tuang metropolis

    With photo stops on R1168 it was 6.45 pm before I started to backtrack on R1168 to arrive in Nan around 8.00 pm. The last bit of the twisting roller coaster 1168 in the dark got a bit nerve racking when I lost sight of the road on the odd corner, anticipating the wrong turn / flow of the road in all the dips and rises.
    I was a bit weary by the time I arrived in Nan, so the boys did not get exactly the grand tour they were looking for, but we did get to watch Australia beat Japan 3-1 in the World Cup football at the Poom3 restaurant.

    Next day was a regular start with a mid morning breakfast with the lads off to do the Doi Phukha loop. I packed up & headed for home - the long way.
    Back out onto R1168 to check out the rest of R1243, plus another newbie Id seen just near Nam Phang.

    The newbie was R1259 & what an incredible steep road that one is. Arguably as good as the Doi Ang Khang or Phu Chi Fah roads, so it is as steep as at the start. (See elevation profile below)



    Above: R1259 gets a bit windy & steep.

    Above: R1259 on Google Earth.

    It runs for 17 kms twisting & spiraling through the mountains to end up in another Hmong village Rom Klao, also near the Laos border. And again there?s no nothing there, just fabulous forest scenery & deserted roads.
    After R1259 you have to back track onto R1243 & this time I was able to follow it all the way through to Nam Muap & the junction with R1162.



    Above: R1243 runs along the ridgeline

    R1243 is a fantastic road, but not quite as good as R1148 in my opinion due to variable road surface. Eventually R1243 links up with R1162


    a real sport bike road - as long as you turn right / west in Sun Run Ruang you are ok.

    Pix above: R1162.

    Turn left / east in Sun Run Ruang & you'll end up on a bit of a dirt goat track, somewhere out there, as our good mates from Siam Superbike found out last year.
    From Sa then it was R101 & 11 all the way back into Chiang Mai, non stop for a nice cool shower 3 hrs later.


    Keep The Power On
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  3. scot harper

    scot harper Ol'Timer

    David, matey, what a post!!.Loved the GPS elavation printout, puts another dimension to the exiting ride you guys do in the Gt an environs. Stay upright, but only on the straights,have a chung for me.
    See you in the forseeable future, ( If'n the good lords will'n an the creek don't rise). But untill the I'll read every post and seeth!
    Scott....Green is the new black!!
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Glad you agree the "roads are good aren't they." I bet you can't wait to get back here riding on the BeeEm.

    It's a shame that more guys don't get over to Nan & ride, as it is just about all sensational riding.
    For anyone who wants to have a go, check out this little map below


    And if you do ride in Nan, please contribute a brief report.

    Keep The Power On
  5. rene-s

    rene-s Ol'Timer

    hello David;
    Thanks a lot for the great info.As my tyres are going to look same like cartyres right now from driving the route Chiangrai-Mae sai, i think i go to Nan on the 25-26th( if the weather is ok) this month.As i readed this reports, i think my "pilot sports" can go in the original shape"round" again.
    I think staying at the dhev. is a good option.
    Thanks for the info and i will give a roadreport.
    Rgds rene.
  6. Peter Hooper

    Peter Hooper Ol'Timer

    David please excuse my cartographical ignorance but is the top elevation line the actual profile of the road or of a cross section of the mountains the road crosses.
    My brother and I intended to come back via Nan in Feb but ran out of time. It may be just as well ! Another day.

    "The Journey is the Destination"
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    This is the GPS track as I went down the road, so that is the actual elevation profile of the road as you go - awesome stuff eh?

    Message in from Silverhawk in his pick-up heading to south Thailand for some R&R: there is 5 kms of road resurfacing on R11, starting from the ridgeline about 27 kms north of Den Chai. In the wet it could be a bit (too) slippery, depending on your bike & tyres, otherwise ok in the dry.
    SO the tip is, if you heading for Nan from Chiang Mai on route 11, then take route 1023 the back way into Phrae via Long & skip out the road resurfacing.

    Keep The Power On
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    DATE: Sat 22 - Tues 25th July 2006.

    Back to Nan for yet another look & mega ride.....

    THE WEATHER: Warm - hot 'n very humid, overcast but dry.
    Perfect riding conditions yet again.



    DAY 1: Chiang Mai - Mae Kachan - Wang Nua - Phayao - Dok Kham Thai - Chiang Muan - Nan.
    Routes: 118 -120 -1- 1021 -1251 -1091

    DAY 2: Nan -Tha Wang Pha - Pua - Chiang Klang -Maneepruek - Pua.
    : 1081 -1291 -4017 - 1081

    DAY 3: Pua -Chiang Klang -Thung Chang - Huay Kon -Pua - Tha Wang Pha - Doi Tiew - Chiang Kham - Thoeng - Chiang Rai.
    Routes: 1081 - 1148 - 1082 - 1021

    DAY 4: Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai.
    : 118

    Above: Nice weather near Pua.

    The weather had sucked for the last week, but with a nice break from the rain apparent I was ready for a ride & Nan it had to be.......

    A few months ago I read an article in the Bangkok Post or Nation newspaper about a huge new monument (chedi) that had been built in honour on the CPT (Communist Party of Thailand) soldiers killed fighting the govt troops out near Huay Kon north of Nan.
    The photo of the chedi situated on the mountain ridgeline was spectacular, but the fact that the monument was erected in honour of the dead CPT soldiers killed battling the Thai govt troops intrigued me. This got me even more, when I read that it was officially opened by the previous head of the Royal Thai army, General Surayud (one of the good guys) and it had been his father who was killed leading the commies fighters against the RTA. (Who said Thailand was not a great democracy?) I had to go and check it out to see if it was all for real. I figured I did not need much info, just the fact it was on a mountain up near Huay Kon where there was only one road, Route 1081 (one of North Thaiâ's great biking roads), and that would be enough to suss the place out.

    Above: A Hmong hunter on R1291. Loved the gun, but dont know about the accuracy.

    As I prepared to leave Cnx City for Nan, the weather looked a bit wet & dicey so I decided to hedge my bets. Instead of heading to Nan the quick way via Lampang & Phrae (routes 11 & 101) I opted for Phayao first. Then from Phayao the options were open, & if it looked too wet towards the east & Nan I'd head north to Chiang Rai for the night & to Nan the next day, weather depending. If it was no good then it would be back to Cnx via Tha Ton & Fang. Having so many loops & options to do in North Thailand is one of the reasons it is such a brilliant place to ride and tour!

    I got away from the super "on time" (normal for the ol GT Rider) at 1.00 pm. 53 kms out of Chiang Mai as I crossed over the mountain ridgeline on R118 my luck was in with glorious weather. R120 flashed past & I was in Phayao at 3.15 pm for a late lunch. If you have never done R120 from Mae Kachan - Wang Nua - Route 1, then you are missing another great sport bike road & ride in North Thailand. Check out the elevation profile below to get an idea how it crosses the mountains west to east.


    After a short time GPs-ing some of the minor sois in Phayao it was time to head east & onto Nan.
    From Phayao then you head back south 3 1/5 kms down R1 & take a lefty (east) onto R1021 for Chun & Nan. After 10 kms down Route 1021 I opted for Route 1251, the Dok Kham Thai - Chiang Muan road. This is one that John Nash from Jonadda ghouse has been raving about for the least few months, and he's right too. The road surface on 1251 is perfect racetrack asphalt - smooth thick, with hardly a ripple and some superb sweeping swooping corners towards the Chiang Muan end. The scenery is generally nice forest, but for me a bit uninteresting & I reckon that R1021 / 1091 to Chiang Muan is a more interesting (villages & farmland) ride than 1251. But 1251 does have one awesome descent at the Chiang Muan end & it's worth doing at least once just for this. Check out the elevation profile for this little baby.


    When you first start the descent it is surprising because you are totally unaware that you are so high up compared to the land below.
    From Chiang Muan then its up onto 1091 another superb sweeping swooping road with racetrack quality asphalt all the way into Nan. Check out the R1091 pics below.

    In the last few weeks having done 101, 1148 & 1091 into Nan I feel that R1091 is the best way to ride into Nan, & then take 1148 out. The difference is marginal, but for sure you will get a better ride and feeling arriving in Nan via 1091.




    Pix above: R1091 soars up into the mountains from Chiang Muan & Ban Luang.

    Arrival time in Nan was 7.15 pm after checking out a few R1091 roads; & the tip is that Route 3030, north from Sanian (8 kms west of Nan) is good for a 16 kms side trip from Nan city to see some Yao hill tribe villages & lovely forest. Check it out sometime if you're hanging out in Nan looking for something to do.

    In Nan, the hotel was the Fah Tanin again & it's top value for money at 450 baht a night. I crashed out for a couple of hours, and later woke to drag myself downtown for dinner at the Poom3 & some of Toom's (Ex Da Darios) Italian food.
    The food must have been alright because I managed to fire up & drag myself down to the Verachon Pub & Restaurant at 11.00 pm to discover Nan's number 1 adult nightspot. The place was packed, & really rocking with a good band. Twice before in Nan I had tried to find the Verachon, but without success. Now the tip is that it is in a dead end soi, riverside, downstream from the bridge and just past the Nan prison. So find the jail, & go straight onto the river & there you are. (The other # 1 nightspot in Nan is Channel X disco is you're are into delinquent teenagers & loud dance music. All right for some, but not oldies like me.)

    Next day up at 8.00 am (super early) for me, check out of the hotel & cruise Nan for a few hours GPS-ing new sois & environs roads. Hint: there's a lot of interesting rural back roads suitable for cycling, west of R101, south of 1091, if you want to spend time dawdling around Nan city outskirts.

    Around 2.00 pm I headed north in search of the communist soldiers monument. I figured that I still had 4 1/2 hrs day light riding left for me to slip up to Huay Kon & perhaps track down the monument the same day. Easy eh?
    Pua is only approx 60 kms north of Nan and a fast 40 minute ride on R1081.
    Chiang Klang is another 16 kms north of Pua.
    3 kms north of Chiang Klang a huge new blue highways dept sign indicated the turn off to the Pha Daeng battlefield.

    Above: Big new road sign with the local attractions, but no kms. So they are out there somewhere!

    I could not believe my luck, this had to be it - I was almost there already. This was Route # 1291, a new one on me & it headed east straight up into the hills.

    Above: R1291 & 4017, 2 great biking roads to tackle.

    What a road it is. Another exhilarating steep & winding Nan mountain road. After 15 kms R1291 for some reason becomes Route 4017 to run for another 22 kms way way up in the mountains.

    Above: R1291 thru the cabbage fields (must be Hmong hill tribes around somewhere?)

    Eventually the road ran out in Maneepruek a Hmong village.

    Above: Downtown Maneepruek megatropolis.

    Above:Maneepruek super highway to nowhere.

    Above: End of the road, Thai style. But where's the monument & battlefield?

    The GPS showed I was only 7 kms as the crow flies, from route 1081 on the Lao border / east side of Doi Phukha. But there was no battlefield or chedi that I could see. Perhaps Maneepruek was really a Fakawi tribal village, as they certainly knew nothing about a huge monument to fallen communist soldiers or where the battlefield was. You could only laugh about it, but I'd found a new spectacular road, had a great ride, got some nice pictures & so had a good rewarding time. But where was the huge monument nestled spectacularly on the mountain ridgeline?

    Above: Pua rice padis with Doi Phukha in the background.

    I backtracked to Pua for the night & checked into the Chomphu Phukha resort. If you've ever been thru Pua you've probably thought it's not much of a town - just a whistle stop for the buses, and you'd be right.

    Above: Downtown Pua, pretty exciting place eh?

    There aint much in town, but there are 2 nice resorts, plus 1 cheap Charlie guesthouse. I use the Chomphu Phukha Resort @ 350 - 600 baht a night. The other resort is the Oob Kaew, costs a bit more & is further up the hill behind the Chomphu Phukha. The Chomphu Phukha wins every time because of the location, good restaurant & the beautiful Miss Ting (who should have quite a fan club amongst North Thailand bikers by now, she is so captivating, but un-catchable!)


    Now if you're doing any of the Doi Phukha loops, then my tip is to start / finish from Pua and not from Nan approx 60 kms away.
    After a sumptuous steamed fish with lemon & a 1/4 of a bottle of whisky I realized I was still not going to make any impression on Miss Ting & retired to my room and Thai TV for the night. You cant win em all, but it's fun trying.

    Above: Pua excitement for the night!

    I was on the road by 8.15 am the next morning after sampling the Chomphu Phukha brekky - tepid coffee, a cold kow pat moo, but a hot slice of dry toast. Again you can't win 'em all. The CP brekky does not yet rate in the Michelin guide, but there's nowhere else to really go!

    Above: Sign spotted in the local village shop in Maneepruek!

    Route 1081 north of Pua gets better the further north you go, and eventually you cant really get roads more winding twisting swooping in North Thai. So R1081 north of Pua is one of the great rides of North Thailand.

    Above: If R1081 north of Huay Kon doesn't put a huge smile on your dial, something's wrong with you!

    Huay Kon is approx 60 kms north of Chiang Klang & here at last I got some info at a military "passpoint".

    Above: A place (passpoint) to check in, promptly.

    Yes there was indeed a monument to fallen communist soldiers, but it was yet another 40-50 kms further up the road, and supposedly up a steep 4-6 kms dirt sidetrack. Now to get this valuable info I had to first be quizzed exactly what I was doing in this neck of the woods. I did not think that I was that far out of the way, but they insisted I quickly dismount from bike, register my details (& half life history in Thailand), before they would answer my query about the monument. I also think we had a bit of a personality clash so the whole situation was a bit tense for the first 10-15 minutes. Eventually all was clear & I knew that I was on the right track. Now the hot tip they did give me was that the dirt track would be terribly greasy, & so impassable if it was wet. I had no chance on the heavy Africa Twin. I thanked him for their info & headed off as fast as I could.


    It was an enjoyable ride with magnificent panoramic views over the surrounding mountains and valleys. Then suddenly after 35 kms the cloud cover came in, blackened out the sky totally & poured with rain.

    Above: The rain eventually got me!

    I stopped to put my waterproofs on, then changed my mind & thought lets get out of here. It would be a waste of time continuing Even if it stopped raining there was no sun to dry out any dirt tracks, so it would only be grease. I could only laugh yet again, but I'll be back after the wet season for another crack it.

    At Huay Kon then I checked out the local border crossing to Laos & noted that there is not much going on.

    Above: Huay Kon border crossing to Laos. Not much going on here.

    At least the Huay Kon immigration sign advises you to complete a pax & crew list if you are leaving Thai with a vehicle!

    I first came here 11 years ago, when word got out that the border was an international crossing, and indeed it was - but only on the Thai side & you could not get into Laos! Now after 11 years it is still the same & obvious that the Lao are not in any rush to open up the border to foreigners.

    The road out to the Huay Kon border crossing, not much traffic using this road. Check out the weeds growing in the middle of the road.

    But on the Thai side you have to wonder about the huge signs promoting the border market & crossing to Laos - I think they jumped the gun a bit.


    It was a bit of a race back down into Pua, but what a ride it is on 1081 from Huay Kon. Basically from just north of Huay Kon you are at the source of the Nan river, and with the road generally following the river south you are just going downhill all the way. Check it out sometime - it's an extremely good ride!

    Just out of Tha Wang Pha then I decided to check out another favourite road of mine, but one that I don't get on too often as it is just a side road up a big mountain.

    Above: R1082 is also another steep mountain road to check out in Nan province.

    This is route 1082 & the Doi Tiew road. The views here are sensational and the climb really is as good as they get.

    Views on R1082, the Doi Tiew road.

    Riding the ridgeline on R1082.

    The asphalt ends up in the village of Sop Khun, 37 kms from R1091. If you're on a road bike, then the only option is to turn around and come back out. But if you're on a dirt bike & a bit of a half decent trail rider, then there still is a link up from Sop Khun over to the next mountain Doi Phachi, & then onto either Ban Luang or Pong. Doi Phachi is also another old CPT HQs site, and every year there is supposed to be a re-union of old cadres here. Worth investigating & exploring sometime....

    Above: GPS Elevation profiles for the morning & lunch time rides - another hard day at the office.

    And if it all gets too much, then pamper yourself yourself with some "cosmatics" available at the Pua Shell gas station mini mart.

    Fleeing the scene (rain)on R1148, headed for Chiang Rai.

    Above: Scenery on Route 1148. Tha Wang Pha - Chiang Kham.

    Keep The Power On
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Sorry lads, just a couple of Google Earth images with GPS tracks for Nan.

    Above: R1168 Nan -Mae Charim

    Above: R1257. The Don Phrai Wan Road.

    Check em out sometime when you're in Nan. You won't be disappointed..
  10. beddhist

    beddhist Ol'Timer

    Hi David,

    I've just been told by Ei here at the Centerplace YHA that this crossing is now open to foreigners and they are taking tours through to Muang Ngeun and thence to Pak Beng via a road that is not shown on your map.

    However, no visa on arrival here.

    You should go and see this guy some time. He tells tales of places he's been to on a bike where your map shows no tracks, many in Laos.

  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Sounds like it could finally open.
    Border Crossing Muang Ngeum/Chaloem Phra Kiat
    Almost unbelievable if it does.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  12. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    What a beautiful trip !!!! Thanks for posting all the details, this should be my next tour end of December 08 !!!! Nan is really a bikers paradise !
    Keep'em coming !! Cheers, Franz
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Yet another return to Nan & the future biking capital of North Thailand???. Ho. Ho.
    Are "we" serious?

    Well, take a look at these recent reports

    1. Sukie:
    VDO - Nan Backyard Race Track

    2. The Secret Soi Riders:
    Happy New Year Ride to Nan!

    3. The Secret Soi Riders:
    SSR / GTR ride from Bangkok-CNX-Chiang Dao-Phrao-Phrayao-Nan

    To help some of you guys I attempted to list some of my fave places here
    Happy New Year Ride to Nan!
    & I can now update that list for you a little better here.


    1. The "old" Deheveraj hotel, still good value for money I think. GPS N18 46.691 E100 46.518

    2. Grand Mansion hotel N18 47.182 E100 46.614. 350 baht a night, good value but no advance bookings - ring on the day / night before! (They would not even let me pay in advance for rooms wanted only 3 days away?)

    3. Darios restaurant, run by Toom. GPS N18 46.877 E100 46.474.

    4. The Terrace for drinks / nice food / folk songs music early evening. GPS N18 46.692 E100 46.929. (Encountered a stunning group of nurses here three nights ago & everyone was fashion model quality.)

    5. The Veerachon Pub, down on the river just past the prison. N18 46.157 E100 46.416. The adult Pub & Restaurant in Nan (& where the nurses ended up :wink: )

    6. Hot Bread for fresh homemade bread, cookies & fresh real coffee. GPS N18 46.519 E100 46.180. Convenient location around the corner from the Museum & Wat Phumin. Perfect English spoken.

    7. Poo Payak Coffee House. Good coffee + souvenir T-shirts, communist caps & books from Phu Phayak the old commie HQs in Nan. Under Royal Patronage. (GPS N18 46.631 E100 45.943. (There are 2 other branches in town.)

    8. Channel X Disco & The Fifth, late at night for the delinquent youth scene. GPS N18 47.035 E100 46.033

    9. Nan Steak House for 80 baht steaks “on the river;” upstream from town. Swedish owner & Phantom rider with 60,000 kms up. GPS N18 47.470 E100 47.427.

    The Mai Muang, Klong Prem & Duan Phen Pubs have all closed.

    For other accommodation that I've GPS-ed.
    1. Eurng Kham. N18 47.053 E100 45.964
    2. Rim Suan Place. N18 47.050 E100 46.084
    3. Win House. N18 47.044 E100 46.097
    4. 69 Hotel. N18 46.843 E100 45.744
    5. Phai Lueng Guesthouse. GPS N18 46.611 E100 46.181
    6. Nan Boutique Hotel. GPS N18 46.905 E100 46.796
    7. Fah Place. GPS N18 46.844 E100 46.643
    8. PK Guesthouse. GPS N18 47.418 E100 47.002
    9. Nan Guesthouse. GPS N18 46.667 E100 46.180

    Photos coming soon.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  15. Fishenough

    Fishenough Ol'Timer

    Thank you David for bring this thread to the top of the heap!


    Man that's sexy, wanna blow it up to poster size and put em up on my bedroom wall. :D
  16. Ally

    Ally Ol'Timer


    Mmmm very sexy indeed!


  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Well it was finally time to go back and attempt to finish the story off of the supposed communist memorial museum in Nan......

    I tried to find it twice before

    Once in June 2006 Return to Nan & back to the future?

    And again Dec 2008
    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Go To Nan

    But there was little English language info & the old brain cells only recalled a one-off newspaper report on a supposed inauguration ceremony.
    Then zilch – was it an urban myth – a museum / monument to communist solders killed in battle fighting Thai government troops in the kingdom. :shock:
    Could that really be for real? :roll:

    SATURDAY - SUNDAY - MONDAY 9-10-11 January 2010.
    Route 1148 (or 1243?) is the top road in the North for Nan, but my preferred route to Nan from Chiang Mai is route 1091, easier, more flowing & faster than 1148, with the final swoop down into Nan absolutely awesome, almost running you right into town. With 1148 you’ve got the long ride down 1080 into urban build up & busy roads at the end of the day. So R1091 it is for me…..

    Here's the profile from Phayao
    Note the downhill run into Nan!

    R1091 & the uphill climb from Chiang Muan

    Looks a bit alright doesn't it?
    (Keep the power on too lads!)

    The light was good, the air fresh & the roads clean & deserted.


    I arrived in Nan at 3.50PM & it was straight to Da Dario's for a Caesar Salad 'n garlic bread + a couple of sodas - all for lunch.

    Silverhawk was an hr in front of me having left Darios at 3PM & Cnx earlier in the day - a snap decision - to join me in the final hunt for that memorial museum.

    From Nan it was a quick blast up R1080 to arrive in Pua to meet up with Silverhawk & Andrew Spooner
    a pommy mate & freelance journalist who recently had a 4-page article on biking in the kingdom published in Bike mag in the UK.


    In Pua my fave resort-hotel the Chomphu Phukha was full so the Green Hill Resort
    it was, & it's good value at 400 baht a night; however I found the owner somewhat annoying & over the top with frequent requests to clear the room & food bill. Returning at 9PM in the evening with the town shut up, she was unbelievably sitting up waiting for my return so she could collect the 200 baht for dinner for 3 people! :roll:

    The next day it was a free khao tom brekky at the Green Hill, then time to hit the road north on R1081.

    We did not get far when we observed what appeared to be a massive water picnic from the road.
    closer inspection indicated it certainly wasn't a picnic, but more like a mud & fishing frenzy.


    It turned out that it was the annual once-a-year fishing day in the village school pond.

    The music volume was cranked right up & fun it was they were having



    But was anyone actually catching any fish? This guy didn't know.

    This guy was not sure but did get muddy

    Arh but his mates had a few

    and so did this fisherwoman

    We hit the road once more & 1080 soon soars up into the mountains North of Thung Chang



    The D-tracker soon needs fuel & we find some in Huai Sai Khao "mega-tropolis."

    Its a one-street town alright

    After Huai Sai Khao the road again soars up into the mountains & skirts along the ridgeline.
    Kiu Chan is the next lonely village perched on the side on the mountain and then it's turn off time.....back to Nam Li where I was in December 2008, with not enough time & failure.

    Nam Li village

    Pottering around in the village we end up at the Royal Project office, but it's Sunday & there's almost no one around. I don't see any huge white communist chedi or memorial & ask where the communist camp is?
    Well it's up there on the hill via the "track." We can see a couple of small flags sticking up & figure yes, that must be it I guess.

    Silverhawk & I look at each other & I'm sure both thought of Hongsa 3 years ago & someone's broken shoulder. (Ouch, & Hongsa's just across the mountain / border!!)
    Should I tempt fate again & take the AT exploring with a gammy arm & clutch hand??...

    Well yep, I've come this far - let's take a look. I aint walking uphill, downhill will be ok (with the bike?)

    Off we go, the start on level ground

    It gets steep, real steep & you can see no vehicles have been up track for a long time. Leaves, damp soil & stones cover the trail. It's tricky & somewhat treacherous on an AT, but there's no stopping or turning around. Eventually the trail levels out on a small summit & hidden valley.


    Looks easy too eh? But true to form you never get photos of the real tricky stuff you are so busy concentrating to stay upright on the bike & want to get it over with.

    Time to stop, take a break & have a re-think. I'm surprised I've got up this far!
    Silverhawk catches up & I suggest he go ahead & scout the rest of the trail while I rest 'n reconsider. 10 mins later Silverhawk returns, saying the trail is better, but no sign of anything interesting or a white chedi & museum.
    Arh zilch yet again!
    Silverhawk kindly checks ahead again & reconfirms - nothing.
    But where we are you could see signs that this would have obviously been a perfect hidden camp.......

    Time to retreat - failure once more?

    Now going down is always harder than going up I reckon. I think about walking the AT down, but figure what the hell give it a go & see how far I can ride it down & hold on to it. Perhaps I can drop it gently, should need be? Silverhawk is ordered to follow behind, because if I go down he can ride down to assist quicker than walking back up. He can also take photos of me going down - what good GT rider mates are for? Its only a couple of kms, & incredibly I manage to hold it together.

    Back at the Royal Project office we try again for more info. There must be something.....

    Oh, you want the museum - over there right beside the road....

    This is the museum!

    AND NO signs that you can see from the road.

    Another shot so you might know what to look for

    The gentle trail in from Nam Li village to the Royal Project office.
    and if you get to the Royal Project office, you've gone too far!

    The entrance

    Made it; & a very contented GT Rider

    Amazing Thailand - a memorial museum to the communists fighting the Thai goverment.

    Whose bust is it?

    And another

    And this one
    anyone know who the guy at the top is? It's another amazing Thailand story.





    Tribute to fallen comrades


    Unfortunately there's no info in English & you need to know a bit of your Thai history to fully understand it all....

    After a good 40 minutes taking it all in Silverhawk & I ride back down the hill & stop in Nam Li for a chat with locals.



    Old men. Ex fighters & still proudly wearing their caps. Really cool guys & undoubtedly sincere & big-hearted. They talk about the battles they were involved in fighting the Thai army & how the air force came to bomb them, but the planes never got their targets. We were also told of a couple of crashed planes, but I've honestly never heard of that one before. And were they shot down or crashed?

    Another visit or two beckons...

    Tracking down the museum has been one of the highlights of my 30 years time in Thailand.


    Silverhawk a million thanks for coming. It was fantastic to be back out on the road touring with you.

    More info & tidbits - names & maps & GPS waypoints - will be coming about this trip & site. Amazing Thailand - I love living, riding & touring here.

    Get out there & enjoy it while you can riders. Life here is G-O-O-D!

    The more you ride the better it gets.

    :D :D :D :D
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  18. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Outstanding report David! Very cool that you were finally able to track this place down. Ride On! Tony
  19. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    I did little Quick look around and came around this man,, it's early picture of Prasong Wongwiwat 1961 facial looks similar for the older picture,, but i might be wrong as well, have a look on article

    The rise and fall of the Communist Party of Thailand

    A Story is so long so i will not paste that in here,,
  20. Ally

    Ally Ol'Timer

    Congratulations David on eventually finding your treasure.

    Fabulous pics & details.

  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member


    Name: Phu Phayak / Tiger Mountain Memorial

    • Officially opened on December 11, 2005
    • To honor deceased ex-communists for the peace and happiness of the public
    • To open a historical stand point for these comrades and to look to the future so that compromise and cooperation between local people and state agencies will bring to this marginal land progress, peace and happiness.
    • The monument is located on a small hill near a terraced rice field of Station 708 or the Headquarters of the Communist Party of Thailand

    Info above from ... _id=30-017

    And that gentleman in the photo
    The clue is the other gentleman in the photo bottom right!

    Lieutenant Colonel Phayom Chulanont (Thai: พ.ท.พโยม จุลานนท์) was a Thai military officer, politician, leader of the Communist Party of Thailand, and father of former Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont.
    The son of Phraya Wiset Singhanat of Phetburi, and son-in-law of Phraya Sri Sitthi Songkhram, Phayom became an ally of Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram in his coup against the government of Thawal Thamrong Navaswadhi and Pridi Bhanomyong in 1947. He later disagreed with the leaders of the junta and started a failed coup of his own, the so-called Army Staff School coup. When the coup failed, he fled to the People's Republic of China via Mae Sai and Burma. At the time, his son, Surayud, was only 6 years old.
    Phayom returned to Thailand in 1957 to run in general elections in March, becoming MP of Phetburi. In the very same year, Sarit Dhanarajata seized power from the government of Plaek Pibulsonggram. Phayom said goodbye to his family, went underground and took the name Comrade Too Khamtan (Thai: สหายตู้คำตัน). He later became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Thailand and Chief of Staff of the People's Liberation Army of Thailand. His son, Surayud, later joined the Royal Thai Army and led operations against the Communists.
    After decades of hiding and guerilla warfare, Phayom's health failed him. He was sent to recuperate in Beijing in 1978. He died sometime in the early 1980s.

    Phu Phayak Is a truly amazing place & story.

    For some more photos & history in Thai take a look at ... ?t263.html

    Map & more info is still coming. I hope you enjoy.
    Nan’s got even more interesting places to explore once you start researching & riding a bit more...
  22. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A bit of a map & some elevation profiles for the time being.



    Note the 2 elevation profiles above have a typo error & the route # should be R1080. The change over from 1080 to 1081 is at Chalerm Phrakiet, which means that it's 1081 from Chalerm Phrakiet to the turn off to Nam Li & Phu Phayak. Confused? It is sometimes.

    Note the steep ascent 17.5 - 19.4 kms. Dirt trail to the mountain top camp.

    The R1307 Nam Li / Phu Phayak turn off

    Enjoy & please write up your trips out there.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  23. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Just stumbled across this on Maneepruek

    Thailand's Deepest Cave: Tham Pha Phueng ... ition-2010
    worth reading.
  24. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    Thanks to David, this thread, and armed with the CPT Museum's GPS coordinates
    N19 30.866 E101 13.210
    we trundled up to Phu Phayak escaping the mayhem of Songkran.

    Logging and subsequent burning has left barren hills.

    The early rains had left landslides that made the road off the 1081into Phu Payak rather precarious.
    Once in the town ESRI maps show that you are well off the grid,
    suspicious eyes avoided us as we meandered through a rather unhappy town that was certainly not celebrating Songkran.

    A cap on a fence showed their allegiance, and theft clearly was not a problem when it came to Party symbols.

    This fellow proclaimed he was still a communist and helpfully pointed us up the hill to the only modern looking building.


    It was closed and it took about 15 minutes for someone to come up and open it for us.

    Inside it is now missing the golden busts of Lenin & Marx shown in David's earlier pix.

    The central marble star was thick with dust, marred by grubby fingers,
    and its inscription sounding rather hollow,
    Heroes unto the people.
    in the earth

    The Poster boards would be interesting to read as they clearly gives a differing view of the CPT heroes
    but they were all in Thai, hopefully David will be providing a more understandable translation
    to the transcription made by SWMBO, as Googlefu makes a nonsense of them.

    Childlike propaganda art

    Back in Nan city near the technical college is a party affiliated coffee shop.

    selling CPT Museum “T’s” as well as imho the best coffee in Thailand.
    Their Americano was like two shots of Expresso - delicious and fortifying!

    We had been told that we could buy commie caps at the coffee shop.
    But they told us to go to the Red Shirts’ shop a hundred metres away,
    where this fellow was handing out free credit card sized calendars with a message from Thaksin
    and a benevolent picture of the man himself beside a christmas tree.

    We were told that we would have to buy commie caps in Bangkok - a capitalist opportunity missed!

    The CPT museum is an interesting insight into this land of paradoxes.
    Do try and visit when the weather will allow you to climb up to the trench system in the wooded hilltop behind the museum.
    Perhaps GT-R can produce another of their informative leaflets like David has done for Khun Sa’s museum in Thoed Thai.
    Though “history” and the the CPT could prove rather contentious.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2016
  25. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Great follow up Rhodie. There sure is a lot more history on commie battles & communities in Nan province that we still need to explore.
    Thanks again for the GT Rider contribution. :)
  26. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Some translations have been generously supplied by
    Ms Wipawee Teanleela

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