Trip Video

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by feejer, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Back in the states now and slideshow can be viewed here on Google.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 1943&hl=en

    Now working on the written report with places, experiences etc. But was a fantastic 3000 kM solo trip and the first of many. No problems at all and exceeded expectations. And the expectations were high.
     
  2. Loading...


  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    You little beauty. It looks like you had a brilliant time & pretty much covered everywhere.
    I'm also glad you had a great time & that your high expectations were exceeded!
     
  4. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Thanks David,

    Your maps and the info on site made a potentially complex adventure very easy. But the trip almost didn't happen as my riding mate had to cancel out a few weeks prior. I'm sure glad I decided to go it alone anyway as it was not a problem in the least. Trip report below. It was written in a context suitable for a different/non-riding website posting and some info is "preaching to the choir" for folks here, so please bear with that. I'm just lazy to edit it all out. Hope to meet some of you guys next time, schedules just didn't sync up this time around.

    Riding the NorthWest of Thailand 2008

    Intro

    When you inform friends, co-workers, and family that you plan to go to Northern Thailand and ride motorcycles alone for 2 weeks, the reaction ranges from blank stares to "Have you gone completely off the rails, man?!" Well, its not my first choice to do this alone but I am a bit particular who I ride with (from experience and with good reason) and my best riding mate had to cancel in the weeks prior for personal reasons. But the prime season for riding and photographing this region is quite narrow in my opinion and to cancel now meant waiting another year. So, I decided to forge ahead anyway on my own.

    Getting There

    After the comfy EVA evergreen deluxe/elite class flights from the USA, got on the Chiang Mai flight and the huge Airbus was only 1/3 full. No wonder Thai is losing money. Got picked up at the airport as planned by the guesthouse driver but the place sucked incredibly bad for 750 baht. Very old, small room, and ridiculously shitty bathroom. Cambodia was better than this for half the price. Looked OK on the website, but reality was very different .

    So walked over to Moon Muang soi 5, and liked the new one right away. And it was only 600 baht. Booked it, and checked out of the other dump. The only thing is that it is right next to a wat. At 5 AM they start banging the gongs to wake the monks so they can begin preparing to receive alms. The gongs stop pretty quickly, but every dog around hates them, and start to howl like mad and they carry on for a while. So bring earplugs if you want to sleep in.

    Getting bike and prepped for journey

    There is a lot of excellent info online about riding the region provided by some of the most experienced riders in the world. So what I offer below is just my view of things as I went along without naming names as there are business interests involved. But the first order of business was to get a bike suitable for 2 weeks. For me, this means reliability first, comfort second, and performance third.

    Decided this time is going to be a pure road bike trip. So a 400cc Super Four was proably a good mid-range choice as it should do most things well enough for hours on end while not making a mess of my 41 year old back and knees with radical ergos. Was a bit disappointed with the selection at some of the better known rental shops. When I asked them for something better and they went away and then rode up on something worse, I knew something was going on. Apparently some large groups had pre-booked a dozen or so bikes and the remaining selection was in pretty sad shape.

    So I decided to just look around as there are actually many, many rental shops. All have their good and bad days, so just because a shop is recommended doesn’t guarantee a trouble-free machine and vice versa. Also, you do not ALWAYS have to surrender your passport to rent a bike. And there are shops that take credit cards as deposit and payment. I rode around for 2 weeks with my passport so it can be done. But that was MY experience, whether you will be able to is probably open to a lot of factors. Its a bit of a sore topic in those parts, so all I will say is to shop around a bit. My bike was not the prettiest thing, but mechanically in really good shape. But ultimately its up to you to inspect and choose. If you are not comfortable doing so, have a knowledgeable friend take a look or even to a bike mechanic for a quick 300-400 baht review. Sounds a bit anal I know, but avoiding any breakdowns is a top priority as its not only inconvenient but can be dangerous on a bike you don’t know.

    A few tips on the bike inspection. Beyond the obvious tires/pressures, brakes, suspension, take a good look at the shift linkage. This is obviously a crippling failure and I saw a lot of marginal repair jobs on bikes from being dropped, crashed, and general neglect. Also check the cables and connections. Again, a crippling and dangerous failure when cables snap or pull loose on steep mountain roads.

    Also, it is wise to have your passport and bike rental agreement with you at all times. A guy I met in CM didn’t, had rented an unlicensed bike from one of the better known shops, and got taken for 2000 baht down at the police station after getting stopped at a checkpoint in CM. Also, having your passport goes a long way at the Thai army checkpoints you will encounter later on. Especially the ones right on the Myanmar border. But as soon as I showed my American passport, it was quickly returned with a smile and a salute every time without fail. The Thai army was a pleasure to deal with. The same cannot be said for the police force.

    It goes without saying to bring a puncture repair kit. For tubeless tires, I find the sticky plug and CO2 kits to be the most reliable. Be advised that these will get confiscated at airport security, so check it or lose it. Also, a small metric tool kit with various fasteners may be your way out of a real mess. But inspect the bike well as described above, as you are here to ride, not be a mechanic.

    Also, don’t underestimate the amount of rubber you will need for a 2 week ride. I thought mine had plenty, but when I turned the bike back in, the tires were ready to be cut up and re-incarnated into something else. Thai roads appear to be harder than normal when ridden aggressively.

    Samoeng loop and Doi Suthep

    Met some guys from Texas at the Kafe on the first day out in town and planned a ride. Started out well enough, but then one of them missed a U-Turn on Moon Muang. We pulled over and waited for about 20 minutes, but he never showed. They said for me to go on and do the Samoeng loop and we could catch up later and I did. Turns out he got caught up in the checkpoint described above and was now 2000 baht poorer.

    [​IMG]

    Headed out of town on the 107 to Mae Rim, then left on the 1096 to Samoeng. So very nice to be out of Chiang Mai and the smog, diesel fumes. My virgin Seattle lungs were taking a beating and I could feel it big time coming from some of the best air to this. Anybody with a hint of asthma would not make it riding in town here without some kind of mask. And this is supposed to be the clear season. I can’t even imagine March. I really underestimated the size and congestion of CM. Everybody said it was so much better than Bangkok, but its the same shit, just less of it. NOT an enjoyable place for me to ride at all with the traffic, smoke, and heat. My advice is to get out into the countryside ASAP if you came over to ride. Just use CM for the airport and to get a bike, then get the hell out of there.

    I certainly am spoiled by my bikes at home and the power on tap. I had not ridden anything under 1000cc in 10 years so a major recalibration/adjustment had to be made. I could no longer get out of harms way in 2 clicks with the snap of the throttle. Evasive action with this Super Four is dodge or hit the stoppers, surely not getting out of the way of anything going forward. Have to keep it above 5K as there is nobody home under that. Also found that the thing really didn’t like to fall into the corners too well. It would go over about 20-30 degrees, but anything more and you really had to fight it. Crap Dunlop tires probably to blame, but generally a very solid bike mechanically and good enough to carry on with for the duration I think. I beat the shit out of it to expose any weak links close to CM as reliability is #1 on this trip. Stopped and took pictures at various viewpoints, but the main attraction is the road itself.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Curves and more curves with hardly a straight section to be seen and lightly traveled. Got back to Chiang Mai and felt a sting on my left heel. Stopped at a gas station and pulled off my boot while the fill-up girl topped off the tank. Sure enough, an injured bee falls out my boot. The fillup girl said "Ahhhh!, bee!. Are you OK?" It was a mild sting and didn’t swell any, so promptly stomped it and then headed for Doi Suthep.

    [​IMG]

    At was a nice ride up there with great views. Stopped for pix and chatted with a few Thai guys who were interested in my gear. They kept tapping on the body armor and then asked how much it cost. My helmet costs 17000 baht alone, about 2x a typical monthly Thai salary. I was probably wearing 4 months of pay for these guys. Kinda puts things in perspective.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Continued on to Doi Suthep and it was just wall to wall humanity and busses. I suryeyed the scene and decided there was no safe/secure way to leave my helmet, tankbag, and jacket while I climbed the steps and the bike out of sight. I walked away and kept looking back and people kept milling around the bike looking at my stuff. It was just way too crowded and risky to leave my gear, so maybe another day for pix when I leave the rest at the GH. But a nice quick ride up the road anyway. Got back to CM and had fried rice at the Kafe, got a good strong massage right across from the guesthouse. She about pulled my toes off though. Going to have to stop the girl next time as they don’t feel too good now.

    Doi Inthanon to Mae Chaem to Hot

    Checked out of the GH early with no hassle. The owners daughter was a big help in directing me to a store (Nidyompanich?) within walking distance that sells a cheap mobile phone for emergencies. Definitely get one of these. Everybody else was telling me to go to the mall by the airport which is a big hassle and it doesn’t open until 11. A problem if you want out of town early to beat the traffic and heat. Got the phone setup and working within 10 minutes.

    Headed out on the 108 to the 1009 towards Doi Inthanon. Met 4 Dutch guys and rode with them for a bit, but they were slow and I really would rather ride alone on a trip like this. Here's why. I can stop anywhere, any time if I see something worth photographing and don’t have to worry about anyone running into the back of me causing a multi-bike smash-up. That shit happens all the time. But my luck with insects continues. Halfway up the 1009 another bee made its way in my helmet and stung me on left side of my left eye. Instantly pulled over and got the fucker out of there. It sure did sting, but again no swelling or anything so they must be a pretty benign species as far as the toxin.

    Got to the summit of Doi Inthanon (2565 meters/highest in Thailand) and took a few photos with some locals and monks before going to the visitors center.

    [​IMG]

    Not too much of a view as there was a lot of cloud cover but there are some great trails in the park. Would like to hike and camp there for several days next time. Nice and cool in the park and actually bordering on cold, which I never thought I would be able to say about anywhere in Thailand. Stopped and had a soda and chatted with a group of riders from Singapore. One of which had an FJR1300 just like mine.

    Headed back down and paid the 20 baht for the Royal Chedis. Well worth it as they are really pretty impressive and a beautiful/peaceful setting with supurb views looking South.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Spent a good hour here relaxing and taking photos, then headed onto the 1192 which turned out to be a pretty nice little stretch of road. Had a bowl of Mama noodles for lunch as I was starved and fueled up just to be safe near Mae Chaem and the Navasoung guesthouse. It was a typical rural roadside mom/pop operation with the husband hand pumping the gas, minding the store, and mama cooking and prepping vegetables/meat etc.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Continued on the 1088 and realized I wasn't going to make it to Mae Sariang by nightfall so saw the Kaw Krairaj resort on the MHS loop map off the 108/1088 intersection. Found out it is no longer open and in decay. Plan B is now to ride the 10 miles to the Hod resort on the map near Hot. Find out it is no longer open either and is now some kind of recreation/meeting center like a YMCA.

    Getting to be a serious situation now as it is late and would be a dark long ride to Mae Sariang and really quite out of the question. Basically suicide. Nobody there at the rec. center spoke any English except "No", "No sleep". Luckily, they finally directed me to a school girl there that spoke good English and directed me to the Star House hotel in Hot. Pulled into the lot and was the only person there other than the owner.

    Turned out to be a decent A/C room for 350 baht and a real lifesaver, quite literally. Nice people (Cheung Lee and her husband) run it. Rural accomodation can come and go like the wind, so lessons learned here. So the Star house (N18 11.330 E98 36.812) in Hot, Thailand is where I write this watching "Anaconda" on Cinemax. What a piece of shit movie, but the only thing on in English. Going to get an early start tomorrow for the ride to Mae Sariang.

    Hot to Mae Sariang to Sop Moei to Mae Hong Son

    Got downstairs for the "breakfast" which was basically instant coffee and bread with some butter and jam. Enough to hold me until Mae Sariang. Hit the road about 7 AM and had an OK ride over. Was a bit of cloud cover and mist so scenery was mostly obscured. Typical, isn't it? You try to get an early start to see as much as possible and end up with the opposite. Anyway, the 108 didn’t dissapoint as far as the road and had a fantastic ride over with sunflowers flanking the roadside.

    Found the Riverhouse resort in Mae Sariang and inquired how much? 1500 baht she says. I about dropped right there. 1500 baht for this? So I politely excused myself and found the Riverhouse restaurant. Good breakfast and more realistic room rates at 1000 baht including breakfast. So contemplated my next move and thought of going all the way to Mae Sot and loop up to the other central towns, but didn’t like the thought of the slog through the flats to Sukothai and decided to just sample the 105 into Sop Moei to see the Salween river region and then backtrack into Mae Sariang again.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    While a very pretty ride, there is nothing in Sop Moei except people doing a whole lot of nothing, and good for them. So back into Mae Sariang to fuel up and decided not really my type of place and would not be staying. Found it to be pretty unfriendly and gritty with most folks with a dazed, pained expression. A hard life is pretty obvious there.

    Saw quite a sight about 20 miles out of MHS. What looked like a couple of bull dykes with short hair were 2-up on a scooter. Well one of the driver's big white, saggy, sweaty tits had sprung loose from her top and was flapping in the wind. I don’t think she even knew it. Well, that sight created a confluence of humor and disgust. It was a weird feeling to want to laugh and vomit simultaneously. Only in Thailand.

    Pulled into MHS and immediately liked what I saw. A nice friendly place with a picturesque lake surrounded by wats. Kinda reminded me of a miniature Khon Kaen. Pulled into the Piya GH by the lake, but full up. So found the Jongkham house and got a bungalow. Very nicely done A/C rooms and nice Inn keeper too. Recommended.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Absolutely had my doors blown down by the Tom Yum Goong at Salween restaurant. Theres only been one other time where scorching heat and fabulous flavor were so well done. And that was a Vindaloo in Blandford Forum, Dorset. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant, but it was next door to this pub with a 5 1/2 foot ceiling. I still have the dent in my forehead from that one.

    [​IMG]

    But nobody in the states would dare make a Vindaloo of that power. Very few could eat it, but they should. The endorphin rush is worth the price of admission. But the Tom Yum at Salween uses these little orange peppers that look like skinny Habaneros. I saw these drying on village rooftops in Laos and they are dynamite. It really got the nose running to flush out the CM diesel residues. Needless to say it was black.

    Was shocked to see the GPS only said 216 miles (348 kM) traveled that day. It felt like much more. The nonstop curves (absolutely NOT complaining) and heat really put the drain on you especially in full gear. But I was flogging the shit out of that bike all day and it just kept on going. Tough little scoot.

    So had to do the obligatory massage at Baan Thai. It was OK, but not the best by any stretch. The gal was nice and did a good job, but the best one up to this point for me was a massage place in Khon Kaen. I wish I knew the name, but only written in Thai. By the NE corner of the lake off the main road that circles around it on the left side as you go South. 200 baht/2 hours. A steal.

    Was very surprised to see Larry, Bill, and Dave from Texas at the Crossroads pub. They had already been in MHS for 2 days. We had some beers and laughs, then they asked if I wanted to ride with them, but they were going South where I had just been. So the plan is to meet them somewhere on Saturday morning on the way to the Golden Triangle.

    Mae Hong Son to Pai

    Got up and had breakfast with the guys at Salween which does an awesome job of it.

    [​IMG]

    Said our goodbyes for now and I headed out to take some pictures of the temple overlooking the town and the lake scene in town. Bought an Ahka hat from a hilltribe lady, then went in search of Karen longnecks. It was supposed to be a 10 mile ride out of town, but the GPS got confused as soon as the pavement ended and had me going around in circles. Plus the road had deteriorated into ruts and rocks and I just had the wrong bike and atitude for it. Decided best to abort and do it next time with a group and with the proper machine. Dirt riding was just not really what I had in mind this trip. Gassed up on the 1095 and continued on to Pai.

    Stopped at an overlook near a Lahu village and 2 ladies started to play the Kaen for me as I walked up for a donation.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I gave them 100 baht and I was now their best friend in the whole world. Posed for pictures while the older one chewed her betel nut, and I played games with their little girl there while enjoying the beauty of the mountain scene. Bought a few souveniers, gave them a few Macanudo Ascot cigars which they really appreciated, said goodbyes and continued on to Pai.

    The road just kept getting better with fantastic twisties and scenery. But just about ran over a snake and it was BIG. A brown one and probably poisonous as all hell. Gotta be careful when pulling off on the roadside for photos as you can guess where they like to sun themselves. You guessed it. Right where you decide to stop. Step on one of those and get bitten in the middle of nowhere and you can almost guarantee you will be checking out in a few hours. And if you don't check out, you will probably wish you would as its going to be an agonizing hell.

    Got into Pai and found the Brookside Inn and inquired about bungalow 4, but it was taken. #3 next door was available and almost as good with great views of the river and mountains. Nice balcony in back to sip a brew or coffee while taking in the sights and sounds of nature. Lots of birds, butterflies, and flowers with the sounds to match. The downside is its near the road and a metal fab shop, so during business hours, it can be heard, but afterhours quiets down a bit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Had a nice phad thai at Pai country restaurant and just sat studying maps and planning my route. Talked to a Australian girl who was really banged up from crashing her scooter. Had her arm in a sling, bruised and scraped face, legs and even knocked a few teeth out. Pretty tough gal though and was taking it all in stride. Said she had been traveling for 10 months and wouldn’t go home for 2 more even with the injury. Good for her.

    Pai to Doi Ang Khang

    Got up about 7:00 and went to get some coffee and bananas. They are the fat, stubby variety and have a different flavor. Less sweet, but more flavorful and juicy. Took a shower and then rode around the area surrounding Pai. Pretty valley, but nothing spectacular. Also began to not really like the Brookside Inn. Nice views out the back, but between the road noise out front and the damn howler monkey next door getting on my nerves, it is not recommended. You come to Pai for peace and quiet. This Inn does not deliver that by any stretch. Frankly, I found Pai to be highly over-rated and ruined from over promotion and I say this during a lousy high season. Ten years ago it was probably nice, but I was more than ready to bid it farewell.

    Continued on the 1095 towards the 107 and decided I should stop and see a hot spring. Took the side road the 4-5 miles and then found they wanted 200 baht to look at some bubbling hot water (what I expected, but not for 200 baht). So I declined and headed back to the 1095. Finally connected with the 107 and the plan was to stay near Chiang Dao to meet up with the guys.

    But I realized they will probably end up staying much farther North and decided to just keep on rolling. My fine luck with stinging insects continues. This time the fucker actually managed to sting me THROUGH my mesh riding pants! And this time it stung like a son of a bitch and kept on stinging for a long time but I didn’t stop riding. I was cussing up a storm and Thais I was passing must have thought I had gone mad or were yelling at them, but I didn’t care.

    Stopped for a fuel and drink break and saw the Doi Ang Khang resort on the map and decided to aim for it before nightfall. Took the 1249 and man what a good decision this turned out to be. Fabulous views from this road as you climb through the clouds.
    I was happy to see near the summit that there was a sign to the Ban Luang resort so that I had options if the Ang Khang was booked or closed down like my experience in Hot.

    Finally got to the resort and there were no, I mean NO vehicles, bikes or anything in the lot. Oh no, not again. The place looked great but deserted. I walked up the steps and was greeted by the desk girl who informed me that a room was indeed available and that the lot is empty because almost all guests are driven there in vans. She was shocked that I had ridden there from Pai in 4 hours.

    You never quite know what you will find when you blindly pick lodging off of a map sight unseen, but this resort is remote and yet has class. Nestled on the Thai, burmese border in a beautiful, misty valley at 4715 feet according to GPS. While not cheap, it is pretty exclusive and after being in the saddle almost non-stop so far, I figured a little extra comfort/luxury was in order.

    [​IMG]

    Got checked into the room, took a badly needed shower, and then called Larry to see how they had done that day. John answered and said they were back at the White house in CM, had done the Inthanon run, but had a bit of an accident and Larry had gone down. But he was OK and the gear had saved a lot of skin.

    About 6:30 PM, other guests started to arrive and appeared to be bicyclists. Now that is hard core right there. The road up there is so steep, my 400cc bike was struggling to haul my ass up there. To climb those grades on a bike is iron man stuff. Kudos go to them for top 1% conditioning. Hell, more like top .1% as I bet only 1 in 1000 people could do it and live. Had veggie spring rolls and red curry chicken for dinner and it was damn good as I was famished. Had a wonderful, restful sleep in a very nice room.

    DoiAng Khang to Doi Mae Salong to Chiang Rai

    Got up around 7 AM and planned the route at breakfast. Had a great American breakfast and then rode up to the Doi Ang Khang pagoda.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Took some pix then continued on to Nor Lae village. Some great scenery on the way but the village itself was pretty depressing and unfriendly. Waved at some people coming in and they didn’t wave back. So my thought is they are saying, "Great, another asshole on a motorcycle wanting to take pictures of the poor people in their funny clothes". Needless to say, I didn’t stop.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So I pulled up to the Army checkpoint and asked if road was passable to Fang. He said no way, too many landslides, rocks etc right now. So I said thanks, gave him a cigar and turned around back to link with the 1249. A word of caution about the descent. Even though I was compression braking in 2nd and 3rd, I still got quite a bit of fade. After I got down, I stopped and opened up the brake fluid reservoir and it looked in good shape, but may have been DOT3. Either that or the pads sucked. So heed the warning on the map and take it easy down that thing.

    [​IMG]

    Headed off to Doi Mae Salong and greatly enjoyed the road into the area. Stopped at the Chinese soldier/martyrs museum and chatted with a nice couple from Penang.

    [​IMG]

    Had some flower tea with them while they translated mandarin for me when talking to the tea counter girl. I finally tried the fried bamboo larvae. Actually not bad at all. Bought 100 grams of dried cherries there which are naturally sweet like candy and then headed up to Wat Santikhiri.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What a view of Mae Salong from up there and a very nice wat. Chatted with a Thai artist who was painting sunflowers overlooking the valley. What an idyllic setting to paint and he was damn good. I would buy that painting if I could get it home somehow.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    He also told me about a sunflower festival in one of the villages North of Thoed Thai. Lots of Lasu, Lisu dancing and all around good times. I will probably get back up there for it after spending a few days in Chiang Rai. So took the 1234 to the 1130 to connect with Hwy 1 South to Chiang Rai. Another word of caution. This time about the descent after Pa Dua. I started to break the rear tire loose upon downshifts and this had not happened before especially on fully warmed up rubber. I started to look closer at the road surface through my polarized glasses. Even though the conditions were dry and clean, there is a "sheen" on the road here and it is SLICK. I don’t know what it is, but it sucks. Take it real easy here or your ass end may pass you up in the corners. I can’t imagine what it would be like in the wet, my God.

    GPS brought me right to the Nim See Seng hotel in Chiang Rai and it was pretty good and convenient location. Had Lasagna Al Forno at Da Vinci's outside on the street watching the various goings on. This place is OK but overpriced. What I should have expected right on tourist row. Next time I will just eat with the Thais at the night bazaar. Lots of old Teutonic couples here for some reason. Must be a big bus tour group in town. Reminds me when the cruise ships pull into Seattle and the waterfront clogs up.

    But overall I like CR quite a lot so far. Big enough to have some action, but small enough to still be pleasant and relatively unpolluted. I could live in Chiang Rai. The other very livable spot was Mae Hong Son. Went to a night market area away from the touristy night bazaar. I was there for 1 ½ hours and didn’t see another white face. They had an old movie projector in the back of a truck playing a film for the crowd. Had a Chinese play going on stage to the right. There is a large Chinese influence in this area. Many are 2nd and 3rd generation Chinese that were allowed to stay and settle in Thailand after the fighting in the late 40's.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just had the best massage ever in my life in Chiang Rai. Blew the socks off of Baan Thai. Her name was "Kiet". At least that is how she pronounced it. NO English, but cute as a button and strong as an ox. That little Thai girl really knows how to find and work out the kinks and exactly what I needed after 1500 kM of riding. She works at the massage place to the right of the "Inn Come" hotel on Rat Bamrung. N19 53.387 E99 50.095. I gave her a 200 baht tip and she didn’t know what to do, but I closed her hand on it and gave the thumbs up. She went the extra mile and I’ve had more than a few Thai massages, so I don’t mind giving a bit extra when deserved. I slept like a baby after that. Also, check out the music club to the left of the Inn Come. All I will say is that place is accurately named.

    Chiang Rai Rest Day

    Woke up feeling good and ready for the day ahead. But decided to just take a day off and rest. Been going non-stop for a week and need a break. Had breakfast and then went to get a haircut at a salon. Got a great shampoo and hair cut for 180 baht. So, the plan is to head out early AM and go back up to Mae Salong area and then North to the sunflower festival. After that, head to the 1334 and over to Doi Tung. Then head up the 1149 to Mae Sai and stay a night there. Having lunch now at The Old Dutch restaurant. Get #237, the Penang chicken and ask for spicy. That is the way it should be done, just a little oily, but not runny at all. Potent, top notch curry dish.

    [​IMG]

    Talked a bit with the owner and he has done a nice job with this place with it being a bit of a museum with all kinds of trinkets and conversation pieces. Cruised around CR for a while taking in the scene. Stoped and took some photos of Wat Klang. Small but very nicely done. Headed back to Nim See Seng and took a wonderful nap. That was it for today. A day off to recharge.

    Chiang Rai to festival to Mae Sai

    Had breakfast at Nim See Seng and left about 9AM. Headed back towards Mae Salong to find the village. This place is about as far North west in Thailand as it gets. The road in is paved for about half the way. Then it turns into a mix of graded dirt and washed out hillside.

    [​IMG]

    Nothing too tough for a road bike in dry conditions, but one lapse of concentration and you could go down in one of the grooved ruts. But in the rainy season, just forget about it unless you enjoy sliding around in slick red clay and just making a mess of yourself. Fun for some, but not for me.

    Saw a wat a little off the road and decided to check it out. Turns out it is a brand new construction with the workers there still laying the flooring and tiles for the outside gathering area. Beautiful setting and wat. The place was really out of sync with the poverty of the area. I don’t know where they are getting the money, but its going to be a great place for the local villagers to congregate for weddings and any other social gatherings.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Finally saw the village perched up on a mountainside with sunflowers all around it. Pretty isolated, unspoiled, and un-touristed. Pulled into the village and I was instantly a curiosity.
    They didn’t quite know what to make of this falang showing up out of nowhere uninvited at their party. So I broke the ice and bought a Leo from the Akha lady selling them and then bought a round for the group there. Then they gave me a cigarette and we sat and drank like old pals. Not a word was understood between us, but got by on gestures. Then I bought the kids all chicken satay sticks and probably fed a dozen kids for 100 baht. Then they were all over me and giggling. They were shy at first, but once I showed them their pictures on the LCD screen, they wanted to pose more and more.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I then sat down and was about to start setting waypoints on the GPS. I suddenly had 15 kids surrounding me looking at the thing wondering what the hell I was doing. I was showing them their village and Mae Salong and Mae Sai, but I don’t think they were understanding what it was all about. They also kept tapping on my body armor. It must be very strange to them to see someone wearing stuff like that. Almost like I was from Mars or something. I gave one of them the empty tin from the cigars and he carried it around all day. Later he pointed at the writing asking me what it said. I said "Ma-ca-nu-do". Then he repeated it and the rest of the kids laughed hysterically. Then they all started saying it and laughing. Then the adults started laughing too. Maybe that means something funny in Akha language or just sounds funny to them I don’t know.

    At 3PM, the drums started and it was a call to the Akha and Lisu dancers to assemble. So I headed up to the main square and was struck by how similar their music and dance style is to the BIBAK region in North Luzon. A rhythmic drumming with gongs and dancing with 2 concentric circles with the musicians forming the middle circle. This was basically a Thai hilltribe kanyao. A kanyao is a gathering of Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao, Kalinga, and Abra tribes that reside in the mountains of Northern Luzon, Phillipines. These are the former head hunters and I know some of them and have seen them perform before. I don’t know if Thai hilltribes ever took heads, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they ever warred with each other in the past. But all at peace now thank goodness.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Akha started dancing first and there were probably 30 of them dancing and drumming for 20 minutes or so. Then the Lisu did their thing, but it was accompanied by Kaen playing instead of drumming. Then they switched over to a single stringed guitar type instrument which had a Chinese sound to it. The girls I had seen before with their Lisu hats, but I had not seen the guys with their baby blue circular hats and black clothes. The girls wear red, the guys black.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I watched the show for an hour or so and one teen guy came up to me and spoke decent english. He asked me if I like the dancing. I said yes and asked if they have this every year. He said they do, but he never saw a falang there before. "Only you", he said. It was now getting to be about 4:15 and I had to get to Mae Sai by dark. So said my goodbyes and they gave me a nice sendoff. I think I have some new friends. I then headed back to connect with Hwy 1.

    Got into Mae Sai about 6:00 and it was almost dark. Saw the Mekong delta boutique hotel and pulled into the lot. Nice place, but a bit pricey at 900 baht. Took a shower and headed into town for dinner. Saw Uncle Bob's on the map and stopped in. Nobody there except me. Ordered some red curry, rice, and hot tea. OK, but not the best. I was talking to the lady there and she said business no good, falang no come anymore. I said many falang have no more money, but I have plenty. Please bring me the dessert menu. She put her head down and laughed so hard. I didn’t mean for it to be funny, but I’m glad she thought it was.

    Mae Sai to Chiang Saen to Chiang Khong

    Woke up with my left eyelid all red and swelling. Looked like the beginnings of preseptal cellulitis. Doesn’t take much to get eyes infected here with all the wind and debris flying in there and then instinctively rubbing them with dirty village hands. But when it comes to infections of the head and neck, don’t mess around. They can quickly progress into the deeper structures and even the brain. Then you're in a hospital bed on a Vancomycin drip. Not a fun vacation. So hit it hard and hit it early I say. So luckily a pharmacy in Mae Sai had Cephalexin, which does a good job against most bugs responsible for this type of thing. Got on a 7 day run to knock it out.

    Hit the 1290 over to Sop Ruak and the Hall of Opium. Pretty well done, but the bullshit thing is no photos.
    What the hell?, its not like there's priceless works of art in there. It was nice and quiet when I got there and could hear the exhibits and actually learn something. Then a large group of Italian students/missionaries or something showed up and it was all over. So damn loud and irritating, I tried to stay as far ahead of them as possible, but they would just echo through the whole place. Also, the exhibit started to get on a preachy rant like I was in a “Just say No” seminar, so eventually I just bailed and hit the road to the Opium museum.

    On the way, stopped and got some photos at the giant Buddha on the riverfront. Then made it to the Opium museum. They have an impressive collection of pipes, scales, and other historical paraphernalia. There you can take pictures and there is probably more of real value there than in the government run “Hall of Opium” place.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I got into Chiang Khong and had lunch at the Krung Thip restaurant. Then tried to book into Tamilla GH, but booked up. So they recommended the Boom House and it wasn’t too bad. Nice views out back facing the Mekong. Went to get a massage and it was probably the shittiest massage I have ever had. I should have just got up after 10 minutes and paid for an hour, would have been worth it just to not waste my time.

    Had dinner and went to bed. Not really sure what the attraction is to Chiang Khong other than its on the river. Pretty weird and unfriendly place I found it to be. Too much transient tourist exposure due to the Laos ferry connection and immigration I think. Unless you need to go there to get to Laos, skip it in my opinion.

    Chiang Khong to Phayao

    Day started off with breakfast at the BoomHouse patio overlooking the Mekong. Had a good conversation with a guy from Berlin named Tim about his trekking business. He has got a good thing going with contacts within Laos to take people to some untouristed sites and villages. I will probably use his services next year for an excursion into Laos with my girlfriend, my sister and her boyfriend.

    I left Chiang Khong on the 1020, connecting with the 1155, then the 1093. What a fantastic road the 1093 is. Just twisties everywhere through some beautiful mountain vistas. A bit overgrown in spots as they don’t seem to trim the grass on the sides so some blind corner through there. But the road is very lightly traveled. I think I saw 10 cars in 60 kM.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Stopped at the Phu Seng waterfall and got some pix.

    [​IMG]

    Then a group of riders pulled up and I walked over to talk. They were Aussies from Melbourne on a guided tour with a Thai tour leader and a truck following with their gear. They were doing the loop the opposite direction I was going. That has been the theme this whole trip, I'm always going the other way. Maybe its because I’m a left hander and think the other way around. After the 1093 things got pretty stale and flat, so I just tucked down and throttled it WFO to get through the flatlands ASAP.

    Pulled into Phayao about 4 PM and saw the Gateway hotel on the GPS. Walked into reception and only 800 baht including breakfast. Sign me up. The hotel is a bit old and in need of renovation, but compared to some of the places I have stayed, a huge improvement. The staff is all uniformed and professional with secure motorbike parking under the hotel.

    What a great decision it was to come to Phayao for Loy Krathong. A perfect setting by the lakefront. Everyone out having a great time with no problems, no fights, no hassle. Can you imagine trying to have something like this in Seattle in Pioneer square? They would have to bring in the riot gear and batons. But not here. I wonder why not? I’ll leave it to the reader to ponder that question. A refreshing experience to be able to have an enjoyable night out without certain types looking for nothing but trouble.

    The lakefront promenade was just packed with food stalls, a night market, and different college groups drumming and dancing in the street. A blind guy with another blind lady was singing and playing the guitar for donations. He was actually very good. But the overall friendliness of everyone and the beautiful lakeside scene of the lanterns going up and fireworks all over the city was just magical. I was able to get some shots from the 10th floor balcony at the Gateway hotel. Some slow exposures of the lanterns rising over the city. Phayao has left a positive impression. If you've never experienced Loy Krathong in Phayao, you owe it to yourself to do so. I only saw maybe 8-10 other westerners on the street that night, so not widely travelled.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Phayao Rest Day

    Decided this would be another day to take a break. Nice hotel room with a pool and a nice town to explore. I had been taking Tramadol for several days since my arthritic knee was really starting to get to me after hours on the bike. Years of motocross and snow skiing have taken their toll and I feel every injury from 20 years ago believe me. Getting old sucks, but Im lucky its not much worse considering my blatant disregard for my body in the early days. Tramadol is a good and effective pain med, but it can get one a bit clogged up. Not a cheery topic, but may be helpful to some in a similar state. Went to the Tesco and got a few jugs of Sunsweet prune juice and downed one. After a few hours, my problem is fixed. Way more than fixed in fact. I don’t know why they even need to sell the other pharmaceutical stuff. Complete natural remedy without chemicals is the way to go.

    Went to look at the Wat Si Khon Kham and the Buddhist "Hell" sculptures they have to the right of the main wat. Depictions of demonic beings boiling, beheading, disemboweling, and otherwise being unkind to bad Buddhists. So let this be a lesson to you. I honestly didn’t know Buddhism provided for a "Hell" deterrent. I must say I walked away dissapointed that they must also resort to such foolishness. Oh well, it remains the most benign faith I know of and, like governments, benign is what we want. Just stand there in your suit and do nothing. Just don’t make anything worse. Got it? OK.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Phayao to Nan and Doi Phukka Loop

    Got up, looked outside, and couldn’t believe how foggy it was. Place was really socked in and couldn’t see even to the street. Decided to wait a bit before heading out. Took off around 10AM and had a pretty boring ride over to Nan. Checked into the Dhevaraj hotel and realized it was only 12:00, so decided to do the Doi Phukka loop.

    It was OK, but not the spectacular loop everybody was raving about. I had saved it towards the end to be the pinnacle of the trip. The first part from Nan to Pua was pretty boring with just flats through the endless Thai villages that all look the same. Things improve with the 1256, but the road is in sad shape in spots with complete road washout in several locations.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not until the 1080 do things really get good and its all over much too quickly. In my opinion, not worth going all the way to Nan for. But if you're already doing the rounds and in the area, then of course do the thing. The real thrilling road was the 1096 from Chiang Khong down all the way to Chiang Kham. Also, the 108 from MHS to Pai was great.

    Got back into Nan about 4:30 and was starved. Just started to ride around looking for a good spot. Saw this place by the river and decided to give a try. Turned out to be damn good food and I recommend it. Its called Ruenkaew Restaurant. GPS coords: N18 47.541 E100 47.437
    Very nice place alongside the river. Got back to the hotel and got another shitty 2 hour massage. Doesn’t it suck when you know its shitty in the first 5 minutes and you have almost the whole 2 hours to go?

    Nan to Chiang Mai

    Got up and had breakfast. The only thing on TV was footage of the royal entourage taking several hours to assemble and move the golden urn of the late princess. Checked out, fueled up, and headed out back to CM. Nice trip through the mountain ranges on the 101 and 103.
    Got into CM about 3PM and checked into the guesthouse again. I saw that the Kafe was closed for 2 days. Great. So I go to a bar and order a "meaty" pizza. Turns out I am up all night making deposits to waste management. Should have known from my trip to the toilet in the bar and my peek into the "Kitchen". Stayed around Chiang Mai and went to Wat Chedi Luang.

    Stopped into Tuskers to check the place out and had a good talk with Chas, the owner of the place. Sorry I missed their ThaiVisa bash, but I was in Pai that day. Felt good enough to get a massage later in the evening and went straight to bed.

    Last Day

    Got up early and decided to take one last run around the Samoeng loop. Except this time I did it clockwise and then stopped at the X-Centre near Mae Rim for breakfast. Then drove back up to Doi Su Thep, but this time with nothing but a backpack for my helmet and camera. Walked up the steps and got the obligatory pictures and camcorder footage. Luckily it was much less crowded this time as it was still morning time and the air was cool. But not really that impressed with Su Thep. Its OK, but not much to write about other than the views of Chiang Mai from up there.

    Got back into CM and turned the bike back in and got my deposit back with no hassle. Walked over to Starbucks and got an iced mocha and then dinner at Tuskers for their BBQ buffet. Good food and a pretty good deal for all you can eat = 200 baht.

    Conclusions and Summary

    Riding this part of the world brings up many concerns for those that have not done so before. The notorious safety record of Thai roads when combined with motorcycling could lead one to believe that the risks are just too great for anyone with any sense. But there are risks in everything, and I can honestly say that I never once felt unsafe or at any risk beyond what I would experience at home in America. In fact, I would go so far as to say that my experience was that Thai drivers are actually much more accomodating and conscious of motorcyclists and therefore a safer environment by a considerable margin. No surprise as Thais are on 2 wheels literally from the time they can crawl and are lifetime riders themselves. Absolutely NOT the case in America with the general driving public. A harried soccer mom in her SUV picking up the kids after work and the teen girl texting her friends while driving are the most dangerous things on the road in my opinion. They consistently try to kill me and I give them a very wide berth.

    But the statistics you say? What about the statistics for motorcyclist death and injury in Thailand compared to the West? Well, duh. If 90% of the Thai riding public does not wear any gear to speak of, what do you expect? And the helmets they do wear are a joke. So what I am saying is that the actual number of accidents and mishaps probably are not worse and likely to be less in Thailand, but the severity of injury when they do happen are dire due to the above. Due to this, the following recommendations:

    1. Bring your own high quality helmet (full face if possible) – It’s a pain to bring because they are bulky, but the junk you are offered at the rental shops are almost worse than wearing nothing as they are poorly designed and can cause injury in and of themselves upon impact. And even so, do you really want to be wearing someone elses stink for hours on end? If you are not a regular rider at home and don’t own a helmet, buy one and bring it. They are not cheaper in Thailand from my experience.

    2. ATGATT – All the gear, all the time. Too tempting to see thousands of others not doing so, but the consequences are so dire………. Sermon over.

    3. Wear foam ear plugs – With my experience with flying insects, it goes without saying that having earplugs in would be of value. Bad enough to be stung on the leg, but can you imagine the madness if one of those nasty things made their way inside your helmet and into your ear crawling and stinging while underway? Could be enough of a distraction to cause a crash.

    4. Avoid scooters, Waves etc – I know the Thais take those things literally to the moon and back and they are economical, but based on what I saw, I would not recommend renting them for this type of trip. Heres why. Underpowered and limited braking capacity. We are talking about mountain riding here. Scooters can be taken all over and people do so successfully, but I would suggest that renting a proper motorbike would actually be safer and much more fun for the average tourist.

    The typical “big” bikes available are not potent at all and it is almost inconcievable that anyone could get themselves in trouble on one. But they are more stable, have more braking capacity, and just provide more stability on the road in the face of crosswinds, truck blast etc. And they have more power to truly enjoy the roads available to you. It would be a pity to come all the way over and not be able to properly get your lean on.

    This journey and the experience was one I will always remember. I made a little slideshow with some music video clips added in just playing with edits etc. Hope its not too cheesy, just having a little fun with Movie Maker. It can be viewed on Google Video at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 1943&hl=en

    But overall, there really were no significant mishaps and it was a part of the world where you have a combination of fantastic scenery, excellent roads, friendly people and towns, low costs, and NO police with radar guns harassing you at every turn. You can be free to push it a little through the countryside and mountains without fear of the hogs trying to save you from yourself. One thing to consider though is that Thai civil engineers use solid reinforced concrete black/white striped markers or “pylons” along the corners. These are designed to last 100 years, not for YOU to last 100 years. Hit one of those at speed and it will snap you like a twig no matter what gear you have on. Keep that in mind when you are dragging the knee and some gravel, oil, or buffalo crap says “Sawasdee Crap” to your front tire.

    The other nice thing is there are no squids on crotch rockets screaming through the corners coming over the yellow and into YOU. Its so bad in the States on many of the popular loops that I loathe to ride them anymore. So many inexperienced riders with too much power. A few bad apples have truly ruined the experience in a lot of places.

    So forget all the naysayers, pack your gear, your cameras, and come to Thailand to ride some of the best roads in SE Asia. It can be done alone, with a group, or as a guided tour. Either way, it is a blast and something everyone should do before they check out. But be warned, once you do, it is likely to become an annual expense. Its now on my budget and happily so. Cheers and see you down the road!
     
  5. beattheswiss

    beattheswiss Ol'Timer

    This is an awesome trip report and slide show, man! I'm just curious about your experiences with bees. I have never experienced or heard of so much bad luck in such a short time span!

    I'm sure your time in Northern Thailand will help you make it thru the Pacific Northwest winter. :)
     
  6. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Thanks Beat,

    I began to think that the reflective panels/strips on my riding gear may have been sending out some visual cues to bees that I am some rival insect that needs to be attacked.

    We are actually moving back to California next week after 12 years up here, so looking forward to continuing the sunshine until next year in CM.

    Cheers!

    Eric
     
  7. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    Hi Feejer,

    Superb trip report and sounds like you fitted a hell of a lot into your trip and experienced the best the north has to offer. Particularly good that you got off the main trails and encountered some hilltribe culture. Yep, I'm a bit mystified that you got so many insect worries in such a short time as I've not had any in 3 years of riding here (famous last words - probably get stung to death by a swarm of hornets on my next ride!!!).

    Have to disagree with you about Thai drivers though - inconsiderate maniacs for the most of them, esp the twats in minibuses plying the main tourist route between CNX and Pai - corner cutting and blind overtakes being the norm. Glad you found it different though.

    Right, on to check out the video. Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers,

    Pikey.
     
  8. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Hi Freejer,

    Don't worry about Pikey ^ you know how it is, anybody who rides slower than you is boring, anyone who rides faster is a maniac :) ...

    Great report, very enjoyable... sure does sound like you squeezed a lot of saddle time in while you were there...

    Thanks for taking the time to post it, and for the co-ordinates of the places you enjoyed eating and sleeping... maybe you could take the time to post them here http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... t3374.html as that is where people will find them and use them...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  9. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    Have to disagree with you too Daewoo. If you re-read you'll see I was talking about driving not riding. I've nothing but respect for the likes of Snail, Luke e.t.c who are fast, competent and safe road riders. I'll continue to ride at my own pace, which suits me and if others want to go faster or slower, up to them - we'll all get there in the end ;-)

    Cheers,

    Pikey.
     
  10. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Have to disagree with you too Daewoo. If you re-read you'll see I was talking about driving not riding. I've nothing but respect for the likes of Snail, Luke e.t.c who are fast, competent and safe road riders. I'll continue to ride at my own pace, which suits me and if others want to go faster or slower, up to them - we'll all get there in the end ;-)

    Cheers,

    Pikey.
    I was only sh!t stirring... I am an Aussie after all, it's our National Sport...

    I sit halfway between you guys... In Australia, people drive like sh!t because they don't care... In Thailand they drive like sh!t because they don't know better...

    As for speed... much more speed in Australia than Thailand... probably more dangerous to ride fast in Thailand because they don't expect it, and I don't blame the Thai's as much for pulling out on you as in Aus when they do it knowing they are doing something dangerous...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  11. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Thanks Daewoo,

    Yep, I plan to post the coords in the recommended spots link. And yes, this trip was all about the ride so saddle time was priority. I didn't stop at every waterfall, cave, hilltribe, and tourist attraction because I was having so much fun on the bike, I didn't want to stop and get off of it.

    But if I had one major thing I would do differently next time, it would be to rent something with much more power. An '04-'05 (don't like the latest gen) FZ1 would be perfect for these roads. Does anyone know of an individual or shop that has an FZ1 to rent? I would be willing to pay a competitive rate if the bike is in good shape.
     
  12. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Thanks Pikey,

    Now that you mentioned it and jogged my memory a bit, I do recall one road that had me concerned. That was the 107 heading North between Chiang Dao and the 1249 connection. The trucks heading South were numerous and pretty aggressive. But it was partially due to my bad choice of being there on a Friday at 4:00 PM. Every Thai truck driver was racing to get their shipment to CM before the weekend.

    So lesson learned. Avoid the major arteries on Friday afternoon/evenings. But that was really the only time I would have preferred to not be on a bike during the whole trip. Didn't have any issues with the minibusses though.
     
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Feejer
    Thanks for the detailed report. I'm glad you had a good time + plan on coming back.
    Some comments, so you don't think you've been ignored.

    I think Moto-Rex would agree with you on the gongs & dogs, but he still likes the place, has been there for a couple of months & has no intention of moving.

    I reckon that the chip asphalt & tight 'n twisty ‘n steep nature of North Thailand’s great biking roads chews tyres out. For if you’re a real rider you never have constant throttle, but are always trying to get on the gas coming out of the corners - just eating up your tyres.

    Sorry to know these places are now shut. Your input will help keep the next map update. I will check out the Star House in Hot for the next edition too.

    Never stayed at the Jongkham House in MHS, but will check it out. How much did you pay there?

    No doubt about that: the brekky at the Salween is tops!

    You’re a lucky man stumbling on the Sunflower festival at Hua Mae Kham, as I had it down for the last week of November & had planned to go. HMK is a real remote out of the way place – serious drug smuggling territory, right on the Thai / Burma border; so I’m sure you had a really good wild-west experience way out there.
    But did you check out the Khun Sa Museum in Thoed Thai on the way through? Silverhawk & I managed to attend the local funeral for him.
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... t3096.html

    Yeah I don’t normally have a massage in CK, as I’ve never really had a good one there; but every now & again I weaken & try another without the desired luck. Massages are often personal, & some guys rave about certain masseuses (But at Baan Thai), yet you did not rate Baan Thai that highly. Unless you know the gal to ask for, it is usually the luck of the game & you just get the next girl in the queue, whose turn it is to massage.

    Any leads on Tim & the name of his Lao trekking business? Or does Tim just hang out at the Boom?

    Funny you did not rate Doi Phukha so well, but as you say the road was not in good shape.
    It also sounds as if you missed R1148 Chiang Kham – Tha Wang Pha, the North’s top biking road. R1091 from Phayao is pretty good too, & it’s hard to believe you had a boring ride to Nan. But everyone has a different perspective, with different horses for different courses; and your detailed trip report has provided a good intro from a newbie riding North Thailand.

    Many thanks for the contribution.

    How about inserting some photos to look at too?
     
  14. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Oh yeah, Boonthavon is a fine choice especially for the price and I will stay there next time as well. Just had to throw in a little warning for all the late risers out there.

    Agreed. I was surprised since the tyres were hard as nails Dunlops. The softer compounds would have a short life indeed.

    No prob. No way to keep abreast of every GH in the region. The Star House will not win any awards, but if you find yourself in Hot about to find a bench to sleep on at the police station, it is 350 baht well spent.

    700 baht if I remember correctly. Just a few bungalows back there, but nicely done with A/C, ceiling fan, big shower.

    Amen.

    Yeah, the tip I got from the artist clued me into the event, but once I got East of Mae Salong I started to see the roadside banners advertising it. So it was pretty well exposed, at least locally. I was surprised to be the only white face there. And even more surprised to hear the kid tell me he had never seen a white face there anytime before. It was definitely out there, but the road is now graded and just a matter of time before it is paved and really accessible to the masses. I'm glad I got to see the real thing. They were curious of me and likely suspicious at first, but quickly realized I was no DEA agent or there to snoop, just genuine interest in them and their culture. Super nice people really and fine hosts. Of course, that might change if the place gets overrun as its still kinda their private deal at this point.

    I had every intention to stop at Khun Sa's museum, but I spent too much time in Mae Kham and was racing against the sun to Mae Sai. A must see for next time though. Fantastic that you were able to attend the funeral. What a great and informative thread that is. Especially Rhodies real life meeting of the man. Wow.

    The Baan Thai girl (Pat I think) had her cell phone on and the damn thing went off 3 times and she actually had a conversation each time. After the first one, OK she forgot to turn it off, the second time, this sucks, the third time, she just doesnt give a damn. First time I have had that happen anywhere in Thailand.

    his email is [email email=info@mister-timm.com]info@mister-timm.com[/email] mobile phone (+856)(0)20 6255007

    I dont know why Phukka didnt do too much for me. Perhaps it was a case of expecting too much. And boring was probably too strong a word, but I just recall the 1251 etc out of Phayao down to Nan not being a particularly memorable ride. Maybe still in a bit of fog from the party in Phayao the night prior. I dont know how/why I missed 1148, but have to save something for next year I reckon.

    Many thanks for the contribution.

    How about inserting some photos to look at too?[/quote:24hmy4y0]

    Photos added
     
  15. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Arh yes, what a difference the photos make. You really lucked out in Phayao & Hua Mae Kham. Lucky man & thanks for taking the time to insert the photos.
     

Share This Page