A Possible Doi Saket - Phrao Route.

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Steve Merchant, Oct 1, 2020.

  1. Steve Merchant

    Steve Merchant Ol'Timer

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    #1 Steve Merchant, Oct 1, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2020
    As a man with a son living in Doi Saket who doesn’t like gardening I find myself constantly riding down the 107 from Tha Ton for a few days work and a change of scenery. The option of riding through the mountains via Wawi and Mae Suai to Doi Saket has been ruined by the constant work and interruptions on the 118. So I was most interested to see that on recent Google maps a route is clearly shown turning left off the 118 just outside Doi Saket heading to the Mae Kuan Dam, over a new suspension bridge and finally joining the 4031 that runs north to join the 1001 Phrao highway.

    On a dull morning with rain clouds forming as I was taking an easy morning for a late start my son suggests that if I’m going to try that route I had better get going before the rain started. So there was my first clue. The road up to the dam is clearly marked and easy found but it looks like they don’t really want vehicle traffic passing this way and there are no clear road signs for the way to the bridge. Years ago when I lived in Doi Saket I came up here on a look around and it was exactly the same now. The road along the dam crest is good but the left down to the lakeside was broken and potholed by the pick-ups that come down in connection with the fishing business that takes place on the lake in small boats. The route along the waters edge was more of the same with the surprise being that despite no-one bothering to make a decent dirt road there is an expensive looking small bridge to cross 80m of water. The track on the other side is cut out of the hill rock and one or two places look like the red clay in with the stones could get quite slippery in a storm. The whole of the dirt track is only 5 or 6 kms long but its not the sort of surface you would like to put your expensive and much loved Ducati on. When you get to it the 4031 is at first in disrepair but nothing awful and then later it improves as you get closer to the 1001. Its just about all forested. Some old original and much of it newly replanted small teak. Pleasant enough scenery but not special.

    Google maps doesn’t differentiate in the way they mark this route, its all shown in the same small road marking but on the ground some parts are decent finished road and some are dirt trail mountain style mud and stones. The whole thing from the 118 to the Phrao highway was less than 40 kms and the time I took to do it was about the same if I’d headed straight up the main highway past Mae Jo. My son since tells me the bridge and the track was a ‘gift’ to the villagers on the north lakeside to come to Doi Saket shopping and banking. He suspects the usual corruption and political reasons for the bridge construction and cant see any chance in the near future for road improvement. If you are just inquisitive go take a look but if you are looking for a short cut its not worth the effort or vibration damage to the bike.


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  2. canthai

    canthai Ol'Timer

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    I have rode this route since its opening. Not for Gold Wings or HD's but no sweat on a decent bike. Saves Boo Coo time. As you said - only 5 or 6 km
     
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Nice one Steve. Thanks for the update.
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    This reminded me of putting your bike on the boat & sailing across the dam

    The Mae Kuang Loop
     

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