Trip Report North Thailand Nov-Dec 2005

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by Severi, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. Severi

    Severi Member

    I'm Severi, I'm Finnish architect, but sometimes I work as a motorcycle guide in Cambodia and Thailand (next Russia). I'm absolutely motorcyclist in my heart. Now I even bought KTM640 LC4 to do some winter biking in Finland.

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    This short version of my first guidance in North Thailand.
    I had just finished my previous two weeks trip with six Finns in Cambodia. I was ready to return to Thailand with my Thai-bike.

    21Nov Phnom Penh - Battambang - Poipet. No problems of any kind. In Poipet it took some time to stay in que with pedestrians. After Poipet I found some small highway town wherre I stayed for night. It was amazing how clean Thailand is after several trips to Cambodia. Nightmarket felt like a laboratory.

    22Nov Poipet - Petchabun
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    I took road 33 until 3077 through Khao Yai National Park. I stopped to tighten my chain to Castrol pitstop. Over friendly and helpful staff stopped all their work and maintained my bike, including lowering the oil level (twice) for 30 minutes and of course - free of charge! 3077 is very recommended, curves, hills and warnings of all kinds of animals. Some monkeys by the road. I continued over highway 2 towards north and managed my way to 2211-2275 until Petchabun where I stayed for night.

    23Nov Petchabun - Chiang Mai
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    Roads 21-12-1149-1246-1047-11. For a first timer this was a great day. Most amazing was the curvy highway 11 between Lampang and Lamphun.

    24Nov Chiang Mai. I reserved the bikes from Tony.

    25Nov Chiang Mai. I met one local [:)].

    26Nov Chiang Mai. I met her again [:D].

    27Nov Chiang Mai. My customers or group arrived. After two cancellations they were only four (Raimo, Jarmo, Tapio and Heikki).

    28Nov Chiang Mai - Fang
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    We got the bikes, bought helmets and headed north. While crossing hw11 we lost Raimo. Thanks to mobile phones we found each other after 30-60 minutes or so.
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    We drove 107, stopped at Taeng Dao Elephant Center and Chiang Dao resort. Then we turned to 1249 and via several nice villages and scenerys we at last found our hotel in Fang.
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    29Nov Fang - Mae Sai
    This was a beautiful day. Perhaps the most amazing motorcycling day in my life.
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    Before noon we tried a dirt road from 1089, but that was a dead end and we broke few bikes. After 1089 we took 1234.
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    At Mae Sa Long we had bikes more or less fixed. We took the smallest roads as close to Burmese border as we could get.
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    This was a scenery day. Some pretty small good dirt roads, a lot of curves. Highly recommended, but a bit long.
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    In Mae Sai we stayed in bad hotel just front of the river.

    30Nov Mae Sai - Golden Triangle - Chiang Khong - Chiang Kham
    A long and beautiful day. We were driving close to the border and river almost all day. Roads 1290-1129 (but river front)-1020-1155-1021.
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    We spent some time in Opium Museum and at Golden Triangle, but as typical Finns, we don't care so much about tourist attractions - we are here to drive motorcycles!
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    So including all the curves and hills and photostops, this was again a long long day.
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    1Dec Chiang Kham - Song Kwae - Pua - Bo Klua - Nan
    This was our extreme day.
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    The roads were just getting better and better and we were greedy of the beautiful scenerys and could not stop... I have to say that Doi Phukha loops is the best tour in my life!
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    So beautiful. But before that we did also bath in Tad Man.
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    In Nan we had luxury hotel Dheravaj - and it was well deserved.
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    2Dec Nan. A rest day. Having laundry and I was also jogging 8km at noon! That was hot.

    3Dec Nan - Lampang - Lamphun
    We had to move to do Mae Hong Son loop.
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    Two of visited "Earth pillars" at Na Noi (1026-1216) and met rest of the group at 101/103 crossing.
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    From Phrae we took 1023. In Lampang we tried to get new brake pads for one of the bikes, but we just lost one hour with big group of non-english-speaking Honda mechanics. The day was not very lucky. Hotels in Lamphun were full or out of business, but with help of Tony (actually his girlfriend) we managed to get pretty nice guest house.

    4Dec Lamphun - Doi Inthanon - Mae Chaem - Khun Yuam - Mae Hong Son
    First destination of the day was Doi Inthanon. It was Sunday and Kings birthday was close, so all the Thais had the same destination! It was a lot of traffic at the top.
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    Soon after Doi Inthanon we ran out of gas. As a guide this was 100% my mistake. I just forgot. Luckyly my Africa Twin has biigger tank, so I drove to almost Mae Chaem and came back with gas for two unlucky motorcyclists. Not bad, as this is a beatiful road, but pretty narrow so passing traffic was not so easy. Due to this gas incident we met a thai-woman who spoke fluent Finnish! and was keeping a resort with her Finnish husband!
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    On road 1263 we had our first rain. Not bad, but enough to get us wet. 108 is fast windy road and I was missing my R1 in Finland so much...
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    In Mae Hong Son we trusted the reseptionist of an exclusive resort, that all other hotels are full, so we stayed there (srp 4000baht/night) with nice 55% discount.

    4Dec Mae Hong Son - Pai - Chiang Mai
    Our last day on bikes.
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    In the morning we went to see obligatory long necks.
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    And then we were on the road again. "Same same but different" long driving days had done their work.
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    We were more like aiming to get back to Chiang Mai and home than wanting to see more sceneries, caves, waterfalls, curves, hills, hill tribes or anything. Some of road 1095 were under reparations, but after Cambodia I would say they are very much ok. After Pai it was more or less raining all the time, not much, but still.
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    Few hours overtime we returned our bikes and had pepper steaks at Brasserie.

    5Dec Chiang Mai. This was planned be our shopping day, but was heavily raining, so we just stayed at Smile GH. At evening my plane left towards Bangkok.

    6Dec Helsinki.

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    Actually David was asking for a road report, but I'm a bit late for that, and all the roads can be easily driven with any kind of motorcycle. Naturally the broken parts must be driven slowly with a street bike, but if I could choose the bike for this trip, it would be a big chopper (like Harley) or a sport-bike (like R1). With a passenger a big tour-bike (like Blackbird) would be perfect.
    More important is that your bike is ok. Check tires and brakes carefully, also well working clutch makes uphill driving easier.
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    Even more important is to have enough time and a good camera!
    Severi

    P.S. I'll be back in Chiang Mai 7Feb and Cambodia 15Feb.
     
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Severi
    Nice report mate - love your bike too, Africa Twin. I bet you’ve got thousands of kms good riding out of that machine?

    I agree that Dec 1 Chiang Kham - Song Kwae - Pua - Bo Klua – Nan was an extreme day.
    This really is a full on day’s ride, with little or no time for photos or enjoying the scenery.
    And if you take a look at P159 of the Golden Triangle M/c Guide Book I do say this: “Don’t try the Doi Phukha Loop in a day riding to / from Chiang Kham – Nan.”
    If you’re going to do this again I’d suggest you overnight in Pua on the way through. There’s a nice guesthouse / resort right there in town: The Chomphu Phukha, with bungalows for around 500 baht a night, air-con hot water TV. They also have a nice restaurant plus some very lovely staff.
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    For first timers here, it’s a common mistake to try & cover too many kms in a day. Lots of guys do it, they think that they can ride hundreds of kms in a day, just like they do back home on fast flowing roads. But “unfortunately” in the mountains here a lot of the fast cornering speeds are in 60-80 kph range & you can’t maintain a satisfactory high speed like you might in the west. Also I believe that if you want to learn something, look at the scenery & enjoy what is going on around you & not just ride like a bat out of hell, then 80 kph is about the right limit. Faster than this & you have to concentrate on the road & not look at the scenery. So you can do either one or the other, ride fast OR cruise along at 80 kph & smell the roses, not both at the same time.

    The long necks – it looks like you took the road out to Huai Sua Tao – that’s one of the prettiest little country lane rides I’ve done in the North I reckon! Did you have any trouble with the greasy weir crossings at all? I’ve dumped a Honda dream in the very first one, not paying enough attention!

    Also glad you met the Finnish speaking Thai lady in Mae Chaem. She has the Navasoung resort, & if you did not stay there I’d recommend it to you next time. Excellent food & no doubt excellent conversation in Finnish.

    I bet that in MHS at the exclusive resort, the receptionist who convinced you that all the other places in town were full, was a stunning captivating beauty & hard too hard to refuse????

    Last but not least the bald tyres on the bike did not impress me, but what’s with the guy riding “naked” in his shorts & sneakers?

    I’m off to Laos Feb 9th for 2-3 weeks, so if you want to meet this time you better contact me as soon as you hit town this time. No need for a repeat of Nov 25 & 26 or we wont meet again!

    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     

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