Trip to Chaing Mai in late Oct

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by mtbe, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. mtbe

    mtbe Member

    Long time listener, first time caller here.

    Fantastic site with lots of great information.

    My wife and I will be in Chaing Mai around Oct 23 this year. We'd like to take a 4 day trip on bike on the MSH loop, then back to CM for the festival on the 29th, then maybe over to Chaing Rai for one night.

    I was hoping to rent a bike for the two of us and a backpack. This site has excellent references on rentals, accommodation and eats. But still, I have so many question and looking and trust your recommendations.

    I haven't ridden for any length of time. Messing around on neighbors bikes when growing up and borrowing a bike in college a few times is about it. About 5 years ago, did take a course in Ohio and got my license, thinking I was going to get a bike and start riding. But then work got in the way and I started traveling...extensively.

    So:
    1: Is there enough concern for me to not rent and ride in Thailand? I'm only looking for a 250 or so. My wife would be on back. She's ridden quite a bit when growing up, into her late 20s. We're in our mid 40s now.

    2: Helmets: I haven't seen anywhere that states they rent helmets. I really would like to bring our own anyway, although we don't have any. On the other hand, I don't want to fork over $300 to buy helmets here unless I know I'm going to buy a bike (eventually it will happen). Are the 'skull cap' helmets ok for 5 days riding?

    3: Are mopeds ok for getting out to the site that has the Pi Yeng festival?
     
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  3. mtbe

    mtbe Member

    Opps...
    4: I see a lot of pics and vids with pretty much everyone wearing long sleeve riding jackets, but those pics/vids are of people with much larger bikes than I'm looking for. I'm assuming it is more for protection, not for the cold....or are jackets/gloves necessary for the cold/chilly mountains? I won't ride in shorts or sandals...no way.
     
  4. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Late October it gets Cool at Night and during the Morning so You would probably need a Jacket & Gloves. Of Course Protection is also a Good Reason to Wear the correct Gear!!! You can Buy Good Quality Full Face Helmets here for 2000 Baht, If You rent a Bike they Supply You with a Helmet anyway! If You search through this GT-Rider Site there is information on all of Your Questions! The Kawasaki KLX 250 and D-Tracker 250 are available everywhere in Chiang Mai Town for Rent!
     
  5. Deano747

    Deano747 Ol'Timer

    Gudday.

    I've always taken all my own gear up there, but as Ian says, Helmets (not just the plastic bucket type, but 'proper' ones) are available from the hire shop that I used. The condition of these varies, and you may have to be a little persistent to get a reasonable one that fits well (assuming that you want it for more than just legal reasons).

    Quick question on the Yi Peng festival you are wishing to go to, that normally is held for up to a week before the 1st full moon in November. This year, the full moon is the 11th of November and it seems that the 29th October is a little too early to begin the festival. The guys that live there should be able to give you details of the exact start date.

    The festival takes place in and along the river where Tha Pae road crosses it. The crowds are insane, do not even think of riding there. Get a Songthow to as close as you can and walk the rest. Have fun.......
     
  6. mtbe

    mtbe Member

    Confirmed on several other sites that Yi Peng is early this year on Oct 29.

    Also seen elsewhere that it is recommended to get a bike/scooter to go there, to get as close as possible. Traffic is horrible, and with a scooter, you can 'scoot' by it all and park closer for 20-30baht.
     
  7. Deano747

    Deano747 Ol'Timer

    Did a little research and you are correct. The Lantern release has in the past been on the Saturday night before the November full moon. That would make it the 5th of Nov, but this year for some reason they are doing it 2 Saturdays before, which is your 29th October.

    Drive out to the ring road highway and turn north on the 1001 and ride until Mae Jo University entrance and follow the mob. There will be thousands of other motorbikes and lots of places offer "parking" for a small fee. Theft is rare but rentals usually include a cable lock anyway.

    Starts at 7pm, but the recommendation is to arrive a few hours early.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=moon+muang,+chiang+mai&daddr=Nong+Han,+San+Sai,+Chiang+Mai+50290,+Thailand+(Maejo+University)&hl=en&sll=19.139916,99.654217&sspn=2.278024,5.388794&geocode=FR7GHgEdiIPmBSmz7hYYvTraMDG5yprzgz5WHg%3BFQxRIAEdOMXmBSFQ4_oRMBZxeg&mra=pd&t=h&z=12&vpsrc="0
     
  8. DaRider

    DaRider Ol'Timer

    Hiya,

    Maybe everything's been covered already, but heres my two cents anyway.

    1:Go ride! definitely, you won't regret it! But, since your'e saying you haven't got much time riding bikes, your main concern will be road safety. Take some time to study traffic patterns etc. and get familiar with the way people drive here. DO NOT assume traffic will follow the same rules as where you're from, it doesn't! A stop sign doesn't necessarily mean the bus coming from that direction will give way! Be aware at all times, and if (or when) you feel tired, stop for a break.

    Also, if you haven't already, reading up on posts like this one and this one can be vital! I know information on those pages (many thanks to the contributors!) saved me from accidents on several occasions. Like coming trough that yummy uphill bend in second, and just on the other side of it is a enormously overloaded truck doing 3kph! Or heading over that crest, just to find a flock of water buffalo resting in the middle road. You get the picture..

    My top three tips concerning safety would be;

    1, drive defensively!
    2, drive defensively!!
    3, drive defensively!!!

    Two-up plus gear on a 250 is doable i suppose, but possibly not very enjoyable, if you not just planning on doing day trips, and even so.. Maybe a 250 each and dividing the gear. Or, go for something bigger... my guess is it would be safer as well..

    2: As mentioned by Ian and Deano, reasonable quality helmets is easy to find. "Real" (Thai brand name) makes ok ones, i think they're CE marked as well, and easy to find around the city..

    3: Dunno....

    4: As said before, it can get chilly up high, or if you get caught in the rain. And when its sunny, something that cover your arms n' legs will protect you from sun- and wind-burn, and even if its just something thin, it will protect you better than sun lotion if you go down, that i can guarantee :)

    Have a great ride!!
     
  9. Ozjourno

    Ozjourno Ol'Timer

    Hi there, just a quick word on helmets. If you are serious about safety I recommend you avoid the rental lids. First they may contain an impressive variety of OPBs (Other people's bugs), second they may have been dropped, banged, booted around and generally have been rendered unsafe as a result...even the best helmets are designed to take only one heavy impact.

    Yesterday (the day after I bought a new motorbike and mindful of my wife's concern about mountain riding) we were driving home from a country market in the truck when we passed one of our guests sat on the side of the road by his rental bike (110cc), covered in blood and deep cuts. His nose was a funny shape and his rental helmet was intact. He had clearly belted the ground hard with his head, yet, despite the easily removable scuffmark the helmet appeared to be fine. He and his mate (both nice kids from Germany) had to check out and made the trip down the mountain to Chiang Mai by ambulance. I guarantee the helmet will remain in service.

    The suggestion of 2 x 200/250cc is a good one; so is the bigger bike option. Going down some of the switchbacks, two-up, with luggage, on a bike with weeny little brakes (already hot from a long descent) sounds like a recipe for a dual face plant...and we truly want you to stay alive and well in northern Thailand to spend all your money.

    Finally I want to add a fourth piece of advice to DaRider's top safety tips....(4) Ride defensively.

    Very best wishes for a great trip.
    Dave.
     
  10. mtbe

    mtbe Member

    You people are awesome! Thanks!

    My wife's not a rider, and even though we will only have 1 small backpack (we travel very lightly!) I think the bigger bike may be necessary, and more comfortable. Great suggestion.

    I did find a place near here where I can rent a few motorcycles. I'll be doing that a few weekends before I leave. They guy said I can rent a 250 for the day for US$60. I'll do that for a day, then rent a 750 Shadow for $120 for a day...probably a couple of times before we leave.
     
  11. Deano747

    Deano747 Ol'Timer

    Have fun, don't forget to get an international driving permit before you go. May not be necessary for the smaller bikes, but seemed to be required for the larger bikes. Make sure your travel insurance will cover you for motorcycle riding, and cover the cost of the insurance excess if possible.
     
  12. oldbloke

    oldbloke Ol'Timer

     
  13. chiangsaen.peter

    chiangsaen.peter Ol'Timer

    CAN I JOIN YOU?

    I am a retired m'cycle rider from Switzerland, living in Chiang Mai since 2006.
    I am always eager to join others or small groups...it's safer and more fun!
    cheers,
    pet
     

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