2 attempts to get to Doi Mae Salong

Jun 21, 2006
A couple of attempts to get to Doi Mae Salong

After 2 previous visits to Chiang Mai, renting motor bikes was looking forward to this trip with my own bike, (even if it is pink, and I bought it up on my trailer..). Since having the head bearings replaced, on the bike, a while ago, have always had trouble with the head bearings working loose, so this time before leaving Phuket, I removed the triple clamp, cleaned it up thoroughly, and used a liberally amount of ‘Loctite’ on the thread, hoping this will cure the problem..

By the time we had triailered the bike, about 1,500 miles to Chiang Mai, (via Isan), the head bearings had worked loose again. So whilst in Cnx, rode to see Snail, and ask his advice. When we stripped the forks down again, noticed that the balls had started to disintegrate, and there were small metal filings all over the place. So a new set of Genuine Honda Balls were installed, and we hoped this would solve the problem. (Seems the mechanic I had previously been too had used aftermarket balls).


Now.... where does this bit go......

So, when all fixed, we loaded up the Phantom and set off for Fang. We got as far as Chiang Dao and the bike started to splutter a lot. Checked the plug and there wasn’t a spark at all. Sat for a while wondering what to do, and thought I would give the bike a kick (start that is), and to my amazement the bike started, so we limped back into Chiang Dao, and passing Kurt and Mon’s restaurant, Elle noticed Mon walking across the road. So we pulled into their guesthouse, and had a quick word with Kurt. They had just returned from their diving trip, and were leaving for Canada in a couple of days. Kurt showed me his new Harley all wrapped up, along with his Steed.

Kurt mentioned there was a mechanic, next door, so pushed the bike there, and after a bit of prodding about the mechanic told me it was the CDI unit that was faulty. He said we should be able to get back to Chiang Mai, when the engine starts spluttering, just pull over and let it cool down for a while. So we said our good byes to Kurt and Mon, and headed back to Cnx.. We managed to get as far as Mae Rim, before the engine started to cut out again, so pulled into a gas stations and waited for 30 minutes for CDI to cool down. When time was up, we were able to get back to Cnx in 1 go, and drove straight back into the local Honda workshop. (They have got to know us now, we have been in twice before, in the last wek, to get work done on the bike). The shop confirmed it was the CDI and would take 4 days to get a new one up from Bangkok. So it was off to see the lovely Mrs. Mechanic, and rent a Honda Dream, again from her. We had hired same same bike on our 2 previous visits there, last Dec, and Jan.

Whilst on the Dream, we did some local sightseeing, (Tesco Lotus 3 times), visited the zoo to see the panda’s (that’s good for brownie points) etc etc. On one of the many nights in The Kafe, David Unk suggested instead of going all the way up to Fang before turning off to Doi Mai Salong, once you have gone through Chiang Dao, turn left on the 1178. This is a much more scenic ride to Doi MS.

So when bike finally repaired, we were off again, this time bike running perfect, steering nice and tight (no loose balls…). We went through Chiang Dao, left on 1178, as far as Pha Dang, then turn right on the wibbly wobbly road. Now so far the road had been okay, but once we did the right had turn, the road got a lot narrower, and steeper. The road surface, still sealed, but it was raining constantly, and lots of leaves on the road. By now the head bearings had worked loose, AGAIN, so was trying to use the front brake as little as possible, which made for an interesting ride. On one very steep hill we only got half way up, left it too late before I changed down into first, and couldn’t go on any more. I stopped, had the front brake hard on, and to my amazement the bike started to roll backwards, with the front wheel locked. So here we were, 2 up on Miss Pinky, going backwards down the hill. I was paddling with my feet, keeping the bike upright, then my el cheepo plastic shoes came off, so now paddling backwards in my bare feet. I turned the handlebars to full lock, and front wheel still locked solid, we finally came to rest at the side of the road, luckily still upright. Elle got off the bike, walked back up the hill to get my shoes, which were sitting in the middle of the road, walked back down to me, gave me my shoes, then she walked back up the hill. I rode down the hill a bit, turned round and rode up without a problem. Once I had collected Elle at the top, (not literally), I made sure I put he bike in first gear, in plenty of time, and we got up all the other hills without incidence.

Suzuki Luke and Big & Tall had done the same ride shortly before us and B&T has already posted his report. We stayed at the Shinsane Guesthouse at Doi Mae Salong. A real friendly place, internet 10 baht an hour, the owner even has Vista running on his pc, but everything on pc in Chinese.


Howz this for a cheap room


This is what I call value for money


And Miss Pinky can be parked under cover

If ever you visit Doi MS, read up about it beforehand. Quite an amazing place, its all Chinese refugees, and no one speaks Thai there, quite an unreal place.


Having a Thai girlfriend has its advantages, can be
very cheap to feed, especially when passing orchards.

After 1 night there, it was an easy ride down the hill, (on the decent main road now), to Chiang Rai.

Typical Thai village


That's Fang, way down there

Whilst in CR, we had a meal for 10 baht, (any 1 meat dish and rice – 2 meat dish and rice 20 baht). Bought another bike, this time a Honda Degree XL 250, and then spent the evening looking around Chiang Rai. (Wonder what the code is for Chiang Rai). The next morning on the way back to Chiang Mai, we stopped off Pa Sak, to have a look at the all white temple. After seeing so many temples here in Thailand, all gold in colour, it was strange to see one all white.


Whiter than White Temple

So when finally getting back to Cnx, called into Joe’s and we had another go at tightening my head bearings up again, this time we replaced the cups as well, and so far seems to have done the trick.

Am slowly ticking off the various rides/routes listed in David’s book, cant wait to get back up there again. (Next time will have to see how many bikes I can fit on the trailer…)


my oh my oh my, TJ, great report but I reckon it's finally time for you to "come out of the closet". Pink bike, VERY dodgy pic in the red apron and lots of talk about loose balls..... Come on mate, tell us how much you are paying Elle to provide "cover" for you and come on out! After all, Captain Slash already thinks you are a poofter for trailering Miss Pinky from Phuket to CNX [;)]

BTW, how are your balls now after we gave them at tweak at Joe's???


Oct 12, 2005
Great write-up John and fantastic to hook up with you in CNX.

Not only is the red apron suspect but what indeed is he gonna do with that lubed up steering stem???
Jun 21, 2006
Pikey, my balls great now, no slop at all.......

Currently on Koh Samui, getting quite excited as Wed nite, opening of first gay bar in Lamai, hope to met lots of new friends......
Feb 23, 2003
You are really scaring me now with those red overalls..... I think you have been logging too much time on Soi Bangla !!1
Jun 21, 2006
The red overall came from when I was working in restuarant in the States

Actually when you think about it, overalls very practical as i can keep my tools and nuts in the pockets.....

I didn't have any choice over the colour guys, but I think red quite suits me....


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Did you do get to DMS - Doi Tung the back way, via Thoed Thai / Huai Mu, after DMS?
I'm reminded of this because I met a fine young gal from Thoed Thai in a bar last night.
The airport code for Chiang Rai is CEI.
Jun 21, 2006

We went though Mai Salong and up to Thoed Thai to check out Khun Sa’s Museum. When we arrived in Thoed Thai, and tried asking for directions to the museum, we couldn’t find anyone in the village that could speak Thai, so had to give that visit a miss.

After turning around, we turned right just after Kui Poeng, down to Sam Yaek, then left to Pasang, where we joined up with the R1 for Chiang Rai.

Obviously we should have turned left after Kui Poeng and Huai Mu would have been just around the corner. Perhaps next time….


Nov 10, 2003
The Khun Sa Museum is as far as I know at the same place as his campsite which is behind the market. The Campsite is shown on this screen shot from David's GPS map for the North of Thailand.


It also shows the turnof to Huai Mo and links up with Rd 1149 near Wat Doi Tung