2 weeks in paradise

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Champasak, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. 2 weeks in paradise
    « on: Dec 27th, 2002, 10:08am » Quote Modify Remove

    Two weeks in motorcycle paradise could be a decent name for this trip. First of all I have to say that I am more into sport bike than dirt bike so there will be no trail adventure in this report and I do believe that one should not drive over his capacity which are often lower than the bike. In my opinion with just a little more pavement, northern Thailand could very well be a sport rider paradise.

    I did rent a CB400 from Jaguar in Chiang Mai and I must say that without knowing it, it is probably the best bike for the roads in the north. Enough power to go and not too heavy. The price was quite right, 550 bath a day and the bike was in better condition than most rental I had in the past. I was not really interested in dirt road since I had a passenger and luggage so this report is more aimed at people interested in the northern roads.

    Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son. The famous 1095 is a must for any bikers. Twisters and twisters, in the good parts about 13-15 curves to the km, up and down but the pavement is not in a very good conditions compare to other roads I took. From Soppong it gets better but I did have the suspension of the bike working a bit. It did bottom a few times. Slower driver should be OK but I could not resist trying to keep a certain pace that was not really suitable for the road. The 1095 is quite a road. It would easily be one of the best road in the north with a good pavement. I can se sport bike lining up at the corner of the 1095 and 107 to make a go.

    Around Mae Hong Son if you stay a day or two is the ride to Mae Aw, quite a nice ride, tight and narrow, beautiful scenery.

    Mae Hong Son-Mae Sot, my favorite I would say. The road from MHS to Khun Yuam is quite nice, the first 10 km are ordinary but after that nice curves, faster than the 1095, better conditions. On my second ride on this road I was able to do MHS-Khun Yuam in about 55 minutes. A little more boring from Khun Yuam to Mae Sarieng but it does pick up on the way to Mae Sot. The road gets narrower, a little more rougher but it is compensated in terms of scenery and sense of being far from home. There was a few landslide but nothing too much. All of a sudden at the 137 km marker from Mae Sot, the roads is brand new. Sort of a valley roads with 4-6 curve to a km. For that part I did regret the 400 and was wishing for a few more cc. I did cross 6 guys on bigger sport bikes that kept me dreaming. 40 km from Mae Sot is a straight line until Mae Sot. Not too interesting except the sight of the refugee camp there, huge camp on the mountain side, looks like a scene coming out of the lord of the ring movie.

    MaeSot-Phitsanulok. Started well, Mae Sot to Tak is a real race track, mountain climbing, very long curves and 2 lanes going up. Beautiful, too bad I did not do it twice. After that you hit a straight, rather boring to Phitsanulok. Too much was too much so I decided to get back north for some curves.

    Phitsanulok-Nan. Fairly boring until you get to about 100 km before Nan. Curves starting to appear, 4-6 curves to the km and you are getting closer to the mountains.
    I did find Nan quite interesting, it does not seem to get many tourist but it is a nice little town with many good rides around. The pavement in general in that area is in much better conditions than on the western side. Here are a few roads that I took that are all paved and in fairly good conditions. 1168-1243-1241-1083 of course I did mist a few but would definitely go back to that area for more. The 1091 is quite a race track for part of it and the 1080 going to the border of Laos (Chaloem Phrakiat) is quite nice too. It would seem that crossing there is coming as they were building the border post.
    Out of Nam towards Chiang Rai is the 1148, David told me that it was his favorite of the moment and I was able to see why. Quite a race track, very good pavement and to keep a fast pace is not a problem. I ended going at it with a car and he could not pass me until the straight line going to Chiang Rai.

    Around Chiang Rai, I found the roads less interesting than the other prime area, MHS and Nan. Did a few ride there, the best one I have seen was the ride from the Golden Triangle to Chiang Khong, the road that follows the Mekong and the ride to Mae Salong. I did miscalculate and ended going back to Chiang Rai at night. Different adventure in Thailand is night riding.

    As I was getting closer to the end of the 2 weeks, I did another loop around MHS but coming back on the 1263 from Khun Yuam. This one turned out to be a very good last ride, better pavement then the 1095 for the most part, a few landslide a 1 to 2 km of dirt but in general scenery is spectacular, not much traffic and a few good part to ride. From Mae Chaem to Doi Inthanon is a very interesting piece of road. Not too wide and not too straight.

    Conclusion: I want to go back and would consider 3 weeks instead of 2 and bringing my bike. May be too big for some parts but would be fun on some roads. It is quite difficult to say which one is the best road, there are too many interesting ones but if I only had one week here are the ones I would like to see again. Not in preference order as I can not agree which one would be first.

    1) Mae Sot-Tak 2) MHS-Mae Sot 3) Khun Yuam-Doi Inthanon
    4) 1095 5) 1148 and a few more around Nan

    My dream, Mae Sot-Tak with leather suit and knee sliders along with the 1148 and a strech of about 90 km on the 105 around Mae Sot.

    Special thanks to David for having such an informative site. Which by the way is a very nice guy. I did meet him on the road to MHS and found him to be quite simple, knowledgable and interesting. Special thanks to Shinji from Bangkok Riders Groups. Very keen to provide information on biking in Thailand.

  2. Re: 2 weeks in paradise
    « Reply #1 on: Jan 2nd, 2003, 9:47am » Quote Modify Remove

    That's an amazing trip you did - almost everything and some it twice! I have to say bloody well done mate - you obviously like to RIDE & ride you did. Can you remember the total kilometers you did, it must be getting up there?
    It's interesting to look at your best bits - they are all over the place from side of the north to the other: Tak - Mae Sot, Mae Sot - Mae Hong Son, Khun Yuam - Doi Inthanon, 1148 Chiang Kham - Tha Wang Pha, plus "others" around Nan. This is great you guys, because if you want to do them, you'll just have to ride ALL of north Thailand, like Serge did.
    Serge, it would be nice to know where your fave g/house & restaurants / meals were - any tips there mate?

  3. Re: 2 weeks in paradise
    « Reply #2 on: Jan 5th, 2003, 11:17am » Quote Modify Remove


    As I said when I met you, I like to ride. Besides, coming from Canada, you really get use to distance. We did about 4500 km. I really don't mind doing distances on a motorcycle, specially with the type of scenery available in Northern Thailand. I have a lot more roads left to try, there must be a few left that are worth going to.

    I did not keep really keep track of hotels and restaurant as I think that this part is quite documented but the two places I liked most were in Nan, the City Park hotel, that one was a real bargain, huge room, air con swimming pool at 800 bath and a nice one is in Pua. The Pappua Phukka hotel, an older colonial building, a little pricey but very nice location.

    Wishing to be back soon to race with boys uo Doi Suthep.

  4. testing reply

    Keep the power on

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