A 4 day ride around northern Chiang Mai

ianyonok

Ol'Timer
Dec 9, 2008
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676
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I met up with Nigel for breakfast at Charin Garden on the 118.
We then took the swoopy 109 over the Doi Wiang Pa mountain range.
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After turning south at Fang, we headed down to Kad Muang Phi, past Chai Prakarn and just before the turn on to the 1346.
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The "City of Ghosts" looking a bit overgrown these days. It was a very hot day, so we didn't attempt the walk up to the top ridge. You can see the handrail along the top where the pathway goes.
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Further south, just after the Chiang Dao Hill resort (looking a bit sad these days) we turned right at the bend on to the small 3048. This is a lovely little road over the mountains and past the "dinosaur bones" through Nong Khaem and Pha Bong. This whole area around Arunothai is quite different to anywhere else due to the exposed limestone boulders all around the farm fields.
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We turned south on the 1178 Arunothai - Chiang Dao road. After a coffee stop at Huai Pao, we continued south on to the 107, then took the main junction turn west on 1322 to Wiang Haeng.
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This is a wonderful road, known as one of the best forested roads in the north.
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Nice cool riding through here.
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Super ups and downs through the mountains.
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Lots of pine forest through here.
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The Lisu Treehouse Coffee shop is the favourite stop. At the Gates to Wiang Haeng.
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Looking south at Doi Chiang Dao, lost in the clouds.
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Had to stop for petrol in the village. Wow.... Lisu gasohol 91 at 50 Baht a litre, from an old plastic bottle....
The young lady doesn't look impressed, for some reason..... haha.. but she did speak perfect English.
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We rode through Wiang Haeng in heavy rain before stopping at the Bahn Suan farm resort, next to the Mae Taeng river.

Next morning...... Oh Dear..... flat rear tyre...
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With the 1958 Triumph Pre-unit design, you put the bike on the centre stand, then put the sidestand out and lean the bike over on it, until it rests there, leaning over.
It is then easy to get the rear wheel out. I have a good selection of tools in the toolbox, so, took the pannier frame off, split the chain, undid the brake rod, lifted the chainguard and took off the brake plate torque arm.
Then it was easy enough to get the tyre off, pull the tube and patch it.
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My own fault, the tyre was almost completey bald and a tough thorn had gone through the tyre puncturing the tube. These Dunlop 3.50x19 K70s last about 7,000 - 10,000 miles, and it's the same 19" size and type tyre, front and rear. They are cheap too, about 2,500 Baht with new tube.
After a couple of hours, tyre repaired and back in the bike, we were on the road, heading north up to Piang Luang.
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Lak Taeng Pass has not changed in the last ten years or so. Looking across at the Burmese army camp.
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The sign is somewhat intriguing, the only bit of English writing there. "Oxford Buddha Vihara"...... I wonder what it means...
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A view down of Lak Taeng Pass from the temple. The position of the roadway is clear to see. It would have been nice to have been here back in the.... "80s ? when it was open and would have been a busy crossing.
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We then headed back south down to Chong, before Wiang Haeng. Looking left, what first appears like a new housing estate is actually a chinese cemetary full of large tombs.
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We took the superb 1178 out of Chong, back to the east. 62klms of great road, great scenery and no traffic. Biking at it's absolute best. Fun, fun, fun....
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There was a little bit of pothole dodging to do, but nearly all good surface and some brand new sections too.
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Looking across to the pointy mountains near Arunothai.
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The buffaloes were disturbed from their mudhole next to the road, guess they see so little traffic.
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What a joy this road 1178 is; Far from the "Madding Crowd.."
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Coming into Lin Luang, just south of Arunothai.
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We then rode south on 1178 down to the 107 and stayed at Malee's Nature lover's Bungalows, for the night, Chiang Dao. The little dip pool was most welcome to cool off.
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Khun Malee is a super friendly helpful lady, who has been there about 30 years. She even moved her car out into the parking area, so we could park our bikes under shelter for the night.
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Dinner was at Jern's Burgers "Best burgers in town", in Chiang Dao. Have to say, they were really very good, we had the double beef... delicious... The rolls were grilled top and bottom, so not soggy at all.
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Next morning I took some pics around Malee's wonderful garden.
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Malee has some great maps of the area. Her husband Kurt, knows all the trails around Doi Chiang Dao.
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There is a GTR map lurking there, too.
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Then we rode back to the main road, down the "Avenue of Giants"...
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Then on to Doi Chiang Dao Hot Springs, but it was closed as it is NP area. There is also a local Hot Spring place in the village there, but it too was closed.
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Next a visit to the lovely Cafe in the Garden, next to Hoern Luang on the Chiang Dao bypass.
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Then on to the 1150 Phrao road. Another super ride.
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Then, as it wasn't raining, we decided to try the 20 klm road up to Doi Mon Lan. We had actually tried to go there twice before, last year, but got rained off.
It is a tricky road, narrow concrete all the way.
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It is over 1600m altitude up there, so nice and cool with spectacular views. Definitely would be a great spot for camping.
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They have many bungalows and there is also a Nature trail somewhere. Plus, you can take the dirt road northwest back round into Phrao, if on a dirt bike.
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I was concentrating on the road, when riding up, but got some pics on the descent.... pretty steep in places.
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Then we were back on the 1150 to Wiang PaPao.
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The Tung Tawee Hot Springs were closed, but we happened upon a brand new restaurant next door, on their first day of business.
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They were also bottling spring water there, which has a PH of 8+. Normal spring water is about 7. They sell this as alkaline water "Achita Life" and it certainly tastes good, as well as being beneficial to health.
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Then it was a quick ride up the 118 to Lanna Onsen.
First in the day room..
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Then we took a room for the night.
600 baht for an aircon bungalow with private hot spring bath. Bargain..! I did the "onsen" that evening and in the morning......Life is good.
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Another superb ride around north Thailand, with very little traffic at present, which is great. Best time of year to ride, in rainy season, the scenery is stunning.
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
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Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Great report. That's brought a few memories back.

Kad Muang Phi,
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forgot about that place.


R1178
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and that fantastic mountain crossing by the headwaters of the Ping River. What a fantastic road that is.

My last time out there was after the GTR dinner @ Piang Luang.
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Great to see you stay at Malee's. She is a pioneer out there in Chiang Dao.
It must be 20 years since I last stayed at her place.
Perhaps we should have a GTR Dinner out there sometime.

R1178, I've had a few nights in Arunothai, but never in Muang Nga; although I'm not sure there is any.
It is a bit of a wild west smugglers town with Lahu & Chinese. Perhaps worth investigating for an intriguing night.


Good on you getting up to Mon Lan as well.
I've looked at that turn off a few times, but always been in a rush, on a mission to / from Chiang Mai.
Moto Rex has been up there coming out on R118 near Mae Tam I think it was.
Maybe Rex can dig out the link?
 

Heineken

Ol'Timer
Mar 2, 2019
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Hey Ian you mentioned the owners husband as Kurt, is he European ?.......................................used to have a burger shop in Chiang Dao ?


If so I met him with a few mates about 6 or 7 years ago at his shop. he was there drinking beer out of about a 2L Steinglass, my mate asks Kurt why such a big glass ?.....................................Kurt replies, fucken doctors orders, he wants me to cut back drinking during the day so I said ive cut back to just 2 afternoon drinks :D
 

Brainstorm

Member
Mar 30, 2020
5
1
3
Chiang Mai
Hey Ian you mentioned the owners husband as Kurt, is he European ?.......................................used to have a burger shop in Chiang Dao ?


If so I met him with a few mates about 6 or 7 years ago at his shop. he was there drinking beer out of about a 2L Steinglass, my mate asks Kurt why such a big glass ?.....................................Kurt replies, fucken doctors orders, he wants me to cut back drinking during the day so I said ive cut back to just 2 afternoon drinks :D
Club 18-30 holidays. Stein down-in-1 .. happy days.
 

ianyonok

Ol'Timer
Dec 9, 2008
1,022
676
113
Hey Ian you mentioned the owners husband as Kurt, is he European ?.......................................used to have a burger shop in Chiang Dao ?


If so I met him with a few mates about 6 or 7 years ago at his shop. he was there drinking beer out of about a 2L Steinglass, my mate asks Kurt why such a big glass ?.....................................Kurt replies, fucken doctors orders, he wants me to cut back drinking during the day so I said ive cut back to just 2 afternoon drinks :D
Hi Heineken,
It doesn't sound like the same guy.
Kurt is Swiss. Been visiting Chiang Dao for around 25 years. He was attracted to the mountain and knows all the hiking trails. He used to hike over it, without guides from the NP, on his own.
Said he had been permanently in Chiang Dao for 11 years now.
He didn't mention a burger shop....