1322 - To Lak Taeng and Back

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Kiwi Cruiser, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. Started late... left Chiang Mai at 11:15 am and rumbled up 1001 to Phrao for lunch, then out 1150 to Highway 107. At the intersection, angled (left) across the highway and out the small side-road that runs through from Ping Khong, to make a left turn at Mae Ja onto 1178, and then right onto 1322.
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    Heading into mountains always lifts the spirits of a West Coast kiwi, born and raised in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Through forests, on a motorbike... mate, this is heaven! 8)
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    People up here build villages in spectacular places!
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    And the view from the houses on this ridgeline must gladden the hearts of its inhabitants.
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    By god, the road is certainly a sheer delight... no shortage of hairpins, zig-zags - corners in every shape and form abound.
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    This road NEVER gets boring - there are little cameo appearances of glorious agriculture in stunning settings -
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    Then back to work throwing the bike left and right, flicking through gear changes, braking to cruise quietly through peaceful villages...
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    Glorious panoramas to right and left!
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    Then, wide-open throttle, up through the gears to the next corner, down through the gears, accelerate out - left, right - repeat endlessly!!!
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    Eventually, burst out of the forest and mountains onto the Wiang Haeng valley floor, into open fields and pastoral scenes with a mountain backdrop...
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    This quaint little temple, guarded by a monstrous rooster - that certainly adds a surreal touch to the landscape! :shock:
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    Even this section is narrow and twisty, with some lovely sweeping corners. Rumble through the sleepy little villages of Kong Lom, Chong, Piang Luang and eventually to the end of the line - Lak Taeng. Turn around, its getting late - 4pm - and roll back to do it all again in reverse order. The exit from Wiang Haeng valley sets the stage for the return;
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    And when you see a sign that says "Sharp Corner" they ain't joking! There are only 3 sorts of corners on this road;
    1: Sharp!
    2: Sharper!
    3: This is ridiculous!
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    Summary: This was a bloody fantastic ride!!! The road surface is excellent over the entire length, with very few potholes or broken seal. The views are magnificent, and the road is quite incredible in terms of the massive gains and losses of altitude. Throughout the 75kms from 1178 to Lak Taeng, there is absolutely no part of the road without entertainment value! The return trip was equally enjoyable - in my book, that road offers about as much fun as you can have with your jeans on!

    Question: does anyone know what the road from Chong through Kae Noi and out to Muang Nga is like? At Chong, it seems to turn to dirt real quick, and I was not up for exploring that alone, at 4pm... :wink:
     
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  2. I recently went that way 2 up on my DR650 along with David & Mai on their 1150GS. It was hard packed dirt starting to get a little dusty. Some fairly steep and rutted sections and some very rocky sections which I hate on a street bike. I don't think it would be too comfortable on your bike Ben. Jonnada did go that way with B&T and some others riding his CBR150 though.
     
  3. Dec 30th 2008
    Rex - KLX 250
    Ben - Shadow 1100
    Route: Me, 118 from CEI, 1150 to Phrao. Rex, 1001 from CNX to Phrao - meet at the gas station with the 7/11 at Phrao. 1150 to 107, 1178,

    1322 to Lak Taeng, Ban Chong to Nae Noi and out onto 1178, 1340, 1249, 107 to Fang.

    The Plan:
    1 - Finish off the ride from exactly a year earlier, by completing the dirt section from Ban Chong out to 1178
    2 - Give Rex a taste of the hidden Wiang Haeng valley, the ridge ride on 1322 and point out the road out of Wiang Haeng to Pai, for a future excursion. It was to be his first outing to Doi Ang Khang as well.

    The first part of the plan was good, in that neither of us slept in. However, the heavy blanket of fog from just south of Chiang Rai to Wiang Pa Pao, coupled with heavy holiday traffic going both ways, meant my arrival was somewhat delayed.
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    Trying to make up time on the eastern end of 1150 early in the morning is not easy either! However, we did exit Phrao together at 10am, after fueling up, a mere 30 minutes later than expected.

    Brilliant sunlight, clear skies, excellent road surfaces... 1150 to 107 is always a good ride! Scooting around the shortcut to 1178, and back down to the 1322 turnoff, and we are soon into the uphill hairpins!

    Bit of a shortage of photos through 1322 this ride, as we were having too much fun - and there are sufficient in the previous years post above to give you the idea. Below, a nice ridgeline ride down the hill below Ban Lao Wu.
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    Looking east towards Doi Chiang Dao in the far distance.
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    A quick snap of Ban Lao Wu, but we did not stop at the market...
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    The temple on the outskirts of Wiang Haeng valley is quite lovely!
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    We dined with the locals at popular-looking, albeit humble place in Wiang Haeng - pork 'n noodle soup, and a cup of iced water, 25 baht apiece - excellent. But we pressed on, as there was a long way to go to get to Fang!

    Eased out to Lak Taeng for a quick look at the border crossing in severe disrepair... and scuttled 10kms back to Ban Chong to veer left and hit the dirt road section of the ride...
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    A buffalo hazard, somewhere in the hinterland...
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    Road conditions were pretty ordinary for a big cruiser, but the 1100 Shadow was more than a match for it. Bulldust and boulders are no problem, but there were one or two spots with conflicting-angled wheel-ruts that had me anticipating the need to paddle... However, I can say with my hand on my heart that I never had the need to put my foot down once to stabilise the bike!
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    An army checkpoint on upper end of 1178...
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    A quick "map check" stop...
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    MotoRex in action on the KLX 250
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    There are some delightful little vistas along the route...
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    ...and the 10x optical zoom on the little Panasonic helps capture them
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    Again, a lovely agricultural scene in the distance...
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    ...pulled a little closer with the 10x zoom - I love this little Panasonic TZ3 camera - even more now that I've figured out that the video mode generates excellent quality output!
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    The day was fading away, and after a fuel-up and a coffee stop in Arunothai, it was 4pm, so a quick dash around to Doi Ang Khang was in order! A quick photo while waiting for Rex to catch up...
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    And then on again. Doi Ang Khang was a cross between chaos and mayhem - the perennial problem of more cars coming in than parking spaces available! Here's a shot from the lookout, outwards towards the highway between Fang and Chai Prakarn, before we commenced the steep descent on 1249.
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    The steepness of this descent impressed young Rex! Basically, something like 1000 metres down in approx 4 kms or something equally amazing!

    We got to Fang around 5:15pm, a quick shower to wash the dust and grime away, then down to the Night Market (every Tuesday evening) for a stroll.
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    After that, hunger and thirst drove us to Uncle Jacks Hideaway...
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    Where our kind hosts - Lady Jane and Uncle Jack - quickly dealt with both problems!
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    Rex and I both ordered the pork steak, which was a complete solution to the hunger problem!

    The next morning, Fang was cloaked in a blanket of fog... a normal start to a morning in Cold Season!
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    Arrival at UJHA at 10:10am for breakfast caused some consternation - I doubt they get too many customers at that early hour! Breakfast offerings are Thai only - but we did coax fried eggs on toast, with tomatoes and onions out of the kitchen...

    Fueled up, and Rex headed south for 1346 / 1001 to CNX, while I caught a couple of overdue images of Fang's most prominent temple complex on film.
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    And then hit the trail for home via Mae Ai / Thaton / Mae Chan etc!
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    Orange groves north-east of Thaton...
     
  4. Ben
    Hey what happened, you ran out of words after the army checkpoint? :lol:

    Breathtaking I guess. :wink:
     
  5. Actually, I was just having a shower and collecting my thoughts, and I was writing addendums while you were being cheeky! :roll:
     
  6. Yes was a great ride with the Kiwi Cruiser, and we had a bit of fun at night too.

    Ben on the Shadow.
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    We stopped to ask directions, and these kids came out of a little school to say hello.
    They were the happiest kids Ive ever seen.

    Kids were very amused by the two falang.
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    There was quiet a bit of dirt road riding, slippery, ruts and big holes in some sections.
    I was very impressed with the SEO guy's dirt riding skills on the big Shadow.
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    The SEO GUY being checked out at one of many check points along the way.
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    It was great ride, and got to see apart of Thailand I hadn't seen before. The KLX battled a little on some of those steep sections on the way up Doi Ang Khang, but other wise no problem.
     

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