1252 -the GOOD end!

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by SilverhawkUSA, Feb 14, 2004.

  1. On January 14, 2004 I tried a shortcut, Route 1252, from Lampang to Doi Saket that I wrote up as the “North’s Worst Shortcut”.

    Today, 1 month later, I decided to checkout the portion I missed. This turned out to be a good loop which will get better very soon. They’re paving or repaving the whole section and making it a first class road. Why I don’t know as it really goes to nowhere of importance. So what’s new?

    I took 118 North (Chiang Rai Rd) from the Chiang Mai Super Highway, about 36k to just past Ban Pang Faen. I was surprised to find a very prominent overhead road sign pointing right to Mae Chaem and 1252. You immediately start a very steep climb into the mountains on a concrete road. Twisting up over picturesque valleys I found freshly paved smooth, asphalt. Although perfectly smooth the surface is dirty and there are no guardrails or room for error. Some of switchbacks and climbs are pretty extreme. I wouldn’t make it a speed run.

    The mountain road continued past a couple very small villages and no traffic. At the 11k mark I figured I had just finished with a good thing because it turned to dirt, but it was smooth freshly graded dirt and only lasted about 1 k. and returned to asphalt.

    About 15.5 k in I found what I thought would be the end of the line. The road was rough dirt and just past the start of the dirt was a multitude of various kinds of heavy road equipment and piles of dirt and rock over the road. However I was able to pick my way through and work crews just waved me past. Actually it looks like this is the last section to finish paving and they are hard at work. I had to make one rather steep climb on rough dirt as I exited this zone, but it should not be a big problem. I then entered a larger village which I believe is Pang Klang. The road comes to a Y junction. To the left is just a small village which takes a little more difficult route back up to 1252 after 1.5 K. To the right and uphill is where you want to go.

    1 k more, 18.3 k from 118, and you reach a very large T-intersection. There is some type of ranger station on the left on a hill. Although there are no signs it is clear that you want to make a right turn here. This whole area has just been built and has the first base layer of asphalt completed as I write this. Just one month ago it was still dirt so they are working pretty fast. If you continue straight you will immediately start the “short cut” I described. Unless you are on a dirt bike and wanting a long ride, I would make the turn.

    The road from this point starts with a pretty rough, broken up section of steep downhill asphalt. (There is one more section like this 7 k in). But once clear of this the road is a nice and quiet, winding asphalt road which follows the valley through rainforest and past many small villages. The road runs for 14 k arriving at a T intersection at the Mae Taeng National Park HQ. Turning left takes you into the park if you want a longer loop. (There is a posting on this trip on the board). Turning right ,14 k, brings one back to 118 at the Pong Din check point and then 26 k back to the Super Highway.

    Although not yet a great ride, when the construction is finished it will be a very nice “day loop” which can be combined with others in the area. My guess is that they are trying to finish the road before rainy season as it appears they are hard at it. If you want to kill a couple hours on a new route, it’s not bad.

    Dave Early

    Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?
  2. at first i blamed you, then the map and eventually (and inevitably) myself. why oh why do i not read these reports properly!
    instead i browsed over it after a good few beers and saw things like "new tarmac" and "good bends" and thought to myself "i know what will make the ride back from chian rai more interesting....." to cut a long story short i swung past phayao and headed south on the 1035 which was pretty much deserted, remembering bad trips i'd had worrying about fuel i topped up the tank, thank god i did! travelling up the fabled 1252 and thinking that i'd made a wrong turn i chatted to the ticket guys at the local national park, they assured me that this was the right way and not wanting to take the longer (i thought!) route around i persaviered. i'd already done 200km by that point and a tdm 850 with balding road tyres made the trip an exercise in damage limitation! it was like riding thru moon dust at one point with the front tyre causing two plumes of dust like water does when riding thru a puddle. tricky to say the least. then the rocks started and i had visions of riding back on the wheel rims. this lasted for 35km. thats 35 long km at the end of a long day. the only good thing about it was that i'd actually done some "proper" trail riding in thailand at last (albeit accidentally!) and the views were beautiful.
    an absolute must for keen off roaders wanting a little ride out in the countryside.
    i agree with the last bit you said tho, it looks as tho they are building a crackin good windy road there and as soon as all the loose surface crap has been swept off or ground in (because its still dodgy) it'll be a great road.
    in the future i'll read the reports PROPERLY..........

    lardy limey
  3. Aidy-
    That's alright, I've been getting blamed for things most my life!!! Quite a ride on a TDM isn't it? My biggest fear was also tire punctures or rim seperation. I would probably like to try it on a proper dirt bike because as you say the scenery is great. Although I missed a lot of it from concentrating on the road. I give you credit for at least finding it and being able to persivere.

    It was nice meeting you the other day. Hope to see you again before you leave.

    Dave Early

    Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?

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