A tourist's ride in Northern Thailand - a few questions...

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - General Discussion Forum' started by brainatwork, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Hello everyone,

    me and my girlfriend will be coming to CM in January - to be precise around the 4th of January.

    My idea is to explore the city a little bit and then get on the road.
    I'd appreciate some advice on which loop to take into consideration, where to get a Kawasaki ER6N (eventually book it now). I was thinking of doing about 300km to 400km's - not more. If we could sleep somewhere along the road that would be perfect.
    We are both looking forward to see great scenery, hill tribes, waterfalls and anything that would make our trip a thing to remember. We are getting married after CM in the southern part of Thailand :)

    a few questions:

    1. - January, I've see photos of people on bikes with full motorbike gear and then again others with just t-shirts? Is it cold? as I was reading it's about 25C in daytime and 15C in the evenings? What's the point of wearing full jackets (apart from protection) any fancy mosquitoes to avoid?

    2. - Which loop would you suggest to a intermediate rider? I don't have a bike here in Europe (as I don't have the time to enjoy one) but used to ride quite a lot when younger. I wouldn't want to pick a loop that would be too tiresome and then I couldn't enjoy the surroundings. So what is your opinion here?

    3. - If we decide to go on a longer loop is it relatively hard to get along ? Should I rent a GPS (if available) as well? Last year on Phuket I remember most of the signs were in English (at least the main ones) what's the situation up north?

    4. - Any word of caution, comments, tips ?

    Thank you very much,
  2. Question 1 - In January, you will not be cold during the day in the lowlands, but I guarantee you will be cold at night in some of the higher towns/elevations at night. I even got pretty cold riding in Chiang Rai in Nov. at night. Don't even think of going up to Doi Inthanon summit without a full riding jacket. Honestly, dont ride without one anyway, you will need the protection. Mosquitoes are not really a big deal, but stinging wasps etc can get you. I got nailed several times. Wear earplugs in case one gets in your helmet.

    Question 2- So many options, but browse this site for loop descriptions. I can't imagine anything being too tiresome if you are reasonably fit and just take it easy. But it is hot and be sure to stay hydrated as you will sweat a ton.

    Question 3- Almost all signs in English. Buy the various GT-Rider maps and you will be fine. GPS optional, but very nice to have to track/save your path and to have lodging info/location at your fingertips. GPS are so inexpensive now, just buy a handheld Garmin with the SE-Asia map/MicroSD and you're done.

    Question 4 - In the city, key word is "Merge". Just go with the flow, do as the locals do. Don't stand out trying to be different and leave your Western brain/habits at home. Stand there and watch how it all works for 10-20 minutes first before you jump in there and go for it.

    In the countryside, its a free for all. Anything can happen. Dogs, buffalos, kids, trucks over the yellow, snakes, etc. On the loops between towns, not too bad, but going through villages is where stuff can come at you from all sides. Take it slow and situational awareness at all times. Common sense.

    But most of all, enjoy.
  3. Thanks for the heads up, freejer - appreciate it.
  4. Hello again,

    well we're back ;)

    I've rented a Kawasaki ER6N at Mr. Beer, he gave me a brand new one with ABS - it had 400km on the meter when I sat on it first.

    In the end I've done the MHS loop, going towards Pai first (counter-clockwise). It was absolutely amazing, I'm still into it. Now I'm talking to my (now wife) and friends in order to go with the boys and ride again.

    Did some 800kms and everything was absolutely brilliant ;)

    Here are some pics, not all of them are from the North ;)
    http://picasaweb.google.com/brainatwork ... directlink

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