Road Report: The MHS Loop

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    R1095 PAI - SOPPONG

    Just back from a night in Pai (2nd Dec) & 1 night in Soppong (3rd Dec).

    There appears to be a bit confusion about the condition of R1095 from Pai – Soppong, re how bad / good it is after the flood damage & current road repairs.

    Can or can’t you do it on a road bike?
    Well the answer is yes, it is not that bad.

    BUT
    If you’re not an experienced rider then you might find it “not easy” in a few places, but it aint really difficult, just a bit slippery in a few places for a few hundred metres.

    1. There are 3 bridges out between Pai & Soppong, but Bailey bridges are in place & not a problem.

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    2. There is lots of road re surfacing & repairs on the Pai side of mountain crossing.

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    These are ok, heading west towards Soppong. Bt if your not an experienced rider you might find it “a bit not easy” going east & DOWN towards Pai. Also if the road’s wet from the water truck then it will be nice & greasy to make it a bit tricky at times. I certainly had the back wheel of the Africa Twin slipping & spinning going up with happy go-lucky singer girlfriend on the back.

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    Love the pics above the of local road construction crew, picking out rocks from up the slope. On the return they were still tied up there, but with a jack hammer! It was tempting to hang around & see if there was going to be an accident, but time was not on our side.

    3. Depending on your experience, the road works that are gravelly / stony / sometimes wet from the water truck could be “not easy” if your a novice, or, on a road bike bald tyres & poor brakes (watch out CB400 super four riders with 16 inch wheels?)

    How the rest of the MHS loop is don’t know, so if anyone has done the full MHS loop please report in with some info.

    In Soppong we stayed at Burt & Joy's Soppong River Inn & were amazed at the change in the stream & narrow canyon than runs by their place. Take a look at the pixs below & you will see that it is not such a narrow canyon now, but one that has been considerably widened.

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    The water had almost been up to the level on the sun deck pictured on the right!

    Last but not least, the weather is perfect for riding & panoramic scenic views at this time of the year.
    Below are pix from the Pangmapha lookout between Pangmapha & Nam Khong.

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    That's the happy go-lucky girlfriend singer above. (I think she drank too many beers the night before with Joy!)

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    Above: the flood leftovers in the "small" stream from Nam Hu, just out of Pai. When you see this it's easy to understand how it must have been such a devastating flash flood!

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    Above: on R1095 between Pai & Soppong, an intact bridge that survived.

    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Tues 6th December, its raining & most likely going to be wet for a few days.
    So if you're on a road bike right now I dont recommend the Pai - Soppong section as it will be real greasy & slippery.

    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
  4. smoore

    smoore New Member

    Just rode from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son. 1095 is certainly easily ridable and even fun much of the way.
    For those that are used to old way it was with good pavement and nice sweepers, it will be a dissappointment in its current condition after the floods. They are working on it in many spots and it has long stretches of gravel and some muddy sections between Pai and MHS.
    steve

    stephen moore
     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    UPDATE WED 14 TH DECEMBER
    R1095 Pai - Soppong.
    They've made heaps of progess & the road is not that bad at all now.
    At a guess, it will all be smooth flowing "wider" asphalt in 2 -3 mths maximum.
    After just 2 weeks I'm real impressed with the progress.

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    Above: this will be the past bit finished. But the boys have made a lot of progress.

    R1095 Soppong - Mae Hong Son is ALL in perfect condition.
    Its funny how you get reports that it too was in bad condition, but right now it is perfect - probably as good as it has ever been!
    I left the super in Chiang Mai at 12.50 pm & got to MHS at 5.30 after 2 x 20-30 mins stops, 1 in Pai & 1 in Soppong. Otherwise a non stop ride & extremely enjoyable.

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    Above: the weather is MHS was glorious!

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    Above: the R1095 view going down into Soppong from the ridge line.

    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
  6. donvangilder

    donvangilder I successfully took a bike into Vietnam

    heading clockwise on the loop 15 dec. will let you know how it goes.
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    UPDATE 15 DECEMBER

    MAE HONG SON - KHUN YUAM
    All good condition, except for a couple of short 20-50 metres gravel / stone blue metal sections around Pha Bong, approx 11 kms south of MHS.

    KHUN YUAM - MAE SARIENG
    Generally all good condition.
    1 "missing" concrete bridge with a temp Bailey bridge in place at Nong Haeng.

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    Check out the missing slab of concrete laying in the middle of the stream - must have been a bit of water coming through to take that out.
    Road works with some loose gravel / stones approx Hang Pon - half way between Nong Haeng / Mae La Luang. Also watch out for wet sticky asphalt this section. The "divider" is not exactly clear to indicate what is wet & what is dry!

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    MAE SARIENG - CHIANG MAI
    All ok except for about 5 kms of loose stone at the top (east) end of the long hill climb out of Mae Sarieng to Mae Ho.
    Left Mae Sarieng at 3.25 pm & got to the Cnx super at 5.24pm, 2hrs for 190 kms approx; so the road is pretty good overall (or the old dog of an Africa Twin is running well.)

    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    UPDATE 23 MARCH 2006

    PAI - SOPPONG
    Most of the road works on the Pai side of the mountain crossing are complete & the road is almost race track quality.
    However there are a couple of kms of road widening before you cross the ridgeline. Then heading west / going down into Soppong about 40% of the road is being widened with many sections single lane/ covered in dirt & quite slippery in many corners. If you're not experienced with this it could get a bit tricky in some of the tight steep descents.
    Laugh I got overtaken going down into Soppong by a couple of hot local Honda Dream riders, & I’m sure they were just making a point after I’d dusted them down heading up the steep dusty section on the Pai side of the mountain.

    MAE HONG SON – MAE SARIENG
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    is all done with racetrack quality asphalt in many places.

    MAE SARIENG – CHIANG MAI
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    the road resurfacing is all complete, with the only construction at the two major land slides just east of Mae Sarieng.

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    It was also hot & the fires were burning every where.

    Highlight of the trip was the waitress in MHS who came to my table to take my order wearing a "Eff off wanker" T-shirt. I almost did not order, but decided it was not meant for me

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    Note that the ol GT Rider head has been inserted to protect the identity of the innocent waitress.

    Another highlight was the truck retrieval on R1095 between Mae Sae & Pai. We got held up here for a few minutes, until they agreed to let us manouevre past the crane. I pitied the waiting car drivers as the whole operation looked a bit "mickey mouse" & appeared as if it was going to take quite awhile.

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    Pic above: The truck trailer was down there somehere.

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    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    UPDATE 20-21 JUNE 2006

    PAI - SOPPONG
    Work is still continuing on the two bridges

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    However, a lot of the road widening and resurfacing is now finished.

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    And unbelievably it is race track quality with many nice banked corners, but litle run off (for when you overshoot the odd corner.)
    It is also being done in odd sections, so there are some mickey mouse bits of unsurfaced road here & there, just to keep you on your toes.

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    You'll enjoy the ride, even in the wet!

    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
  10. bodhi rider

    bodhi rider Member

    Quick!! I'm hoping to leave in about 4 hours to do MHS loop for the first time. The ajans in my office tell me the roads are out, bridges, down, land sliding, sky falling, etc. but they also couldnt believe that i would ride to samoeng from chiang mai so im hesitant to believe its as bad as they say. can anyone give me any feedback as to the condition of 1095 from chiang mai to pai and beyond? willing to cut the loop short but would love to at least get to pai. im riding Thunderduck's honda dream 125, i bought it from him before he left for manale-lay(sp.) let me know, its great to be on gtrider and i love the maps!!
     

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