Bangkok - Chiang Mai via Mae Hong Son

madjbs

Ol'Timer
Apr 10, 2006
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I have just got back from a great 7 day trip starting from Bangkok and ending in Chiang Mai, but, by going the long way via the Mae Hong Son loop. Here is my trip report and some photos.

Day 1 420km

After much messing about we left Bangkok at about 9am, we took route 340 from the outer ring road and then onto the 346 all the way to Kamphaeng Saen. From there it was up along the 321 to U-Thong in Saphanburi. After reaching U-Thong we finally managed to get of the highways and onto the smaller 2 lane 333. It is then 90km to Ban Rai where the fun for the day begins. We had a quick lunch in Ban Rai and then rode the great little road to Lan Sak (3282). This was by far the best section of the day, traveling through green forest with lots of nice bends. After reaching Lan Sak the roads remain small but straight and fairly boring for most of the way. We took the 3456, 3504, 1072 and finally the 1117 ending at Kamphaeng Phet, where we checked into the Chakungrao Riverview hotel at about 5.30pm.

Unfortunately we didn't take any photos on the first day as the roads were quite boring and we had a lot of ground to cover. However, we did take some photos of the old ruins in Khamphaeng Phet itself, which are really worth a visit if you are in the area.

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madjbs

Ol'Timer
Apr 10, 2006
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Day 2 380km

We had a much later start on the second day, not leaving Kamphaeng Phet until about 11.30am. First we had to do a quick blast along highway 1 for 60km to just before Tak. Here we took route 1107 to Ban Tak. This road follows the river and goes through many small villages and rice fields. It ends back near highway 1, but, is a more relaxing and scenic alternative to just heading straight along the main road.

route 1107
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From Ban Tak we took route 1175 up through the mountains and over to Mae Ramat. The road itself was in very poor condition with hundreds of potholes everywhere. On the plus side, the road was quiet and the scenery was good.

route 1175 (on one of the rare smooth sections)
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The steed
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Once in Mae Ramat we took the 105 north-wards towards Mae Sariang. This road was fantastic and is now one of my very favourite roads anywhere. Along the way we passed the huge refugee camp.

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at about 4pm we finally stopped for lunch just outside the Mae Moei national park

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Shortly after leaving our lunch spot my fuel light came on. "No problem" I thought, unfortunately though, we didn't pass ANYwhere selling fuel for another 48km, I was seriously preparing for a long walk or wait to get some. Luckily though, 48km later we passed through a hill tribe village where they had some for sale in coke bottles. Why do you always run low on fuel just before a high mountain pass with no villages???

Finally we got to Mae Sariang just after nightfall, checked into the Riverhouse resort and went for dinner at Sawadee restaurant, where there was a load of NGOs on a trip somewhere.
 

DavidFL

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Jan 16, 2003
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Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Nice one Madjbs.
I liked the photos of the ruins at Kamphaeng Phet - a reminder of a place I should check out sometime.
Yeah R105 Mae Sarieng south is a beauty alright & not enough guys do it, but it's right up there for scenery & "rideability."
Thanks for the trip report contribution. Please keep 'em coming.
 

madjbs

Ol'Timer
Apr 10, 2006
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Day 3 160km

Now that we were in the North proper, it was time to take it easy and tour at a more relaxing pace. Hence, the distance covered on day 3 was only 160km compared to more than double that on the previous days. We set off from Mae Sariang at around 11.30am after having a rather poor and rather cold "American" breakfast at the riverhouse resort. The 108 north from Mae Sariang was another fantastic stretch of riding road, which also ranks up there with the 105 as one of my favourite roads anywhere.

The 108
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We stoped off at a viewpoint which overlooked the valley and farm land
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A small side road where we took a break
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Around lunch time we arrived at Khun Yuam, where we stopped off for a bowl of noodles and a visit to the Thai Japan war museum. The Japanese had left a lot of equipment behind in the second world war when they were retreating from Burma and passing through the area. Some of the soldiers stayed in the town long after the war had finished and even settled down and married some of the local girls. Other soldiers who stayed during the war were said to have helped the local farmers and taken care of children etc.. when their parents were away working.

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The entry fee was 50 baht and it was well worth the time and money.

After lunch it was time to crack on with the rest of the journey to Mae Hong Son. The road was yet again a fantastic stretch of riding road.

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There was one final viewpoint before MHS where we stopped for a quick break and to snap some pics.

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Later on we noticed the road markers were unusually coordinated
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We arrived in MHS fairly early, checked into the Baiyoke Chalet who were able to make elephants out of towels but not make rooms with views!

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(although to be fair only a couple of rooms had this particular "view")
 

madjbs

Ol'Timer
Apr 10, 2006
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Day 4 65km

Day 4 was to be even shorter than day 3, but, we would visit a few attractions along the way.

First we took the short trip up to the temple overlooking Mae Hong Son. The sun was out and it was a hot day, we managed to get some great photos of the chedi and the town.

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After having a look at the temple we set off for Soppong, along the way we stopped off at Tham Pla. It was fairly touristy with a lot of tour groups arriving in vans, but, it was still worth the time to see the enormous fish all gathering at the mouth of the cave. You can see them through a small hole in the rock.

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Before reaching Soppong we stopped of at another viewpoint which had some fantastic scenery surrounding it.

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We rolled into Soppong and checked into the River Inn, which has a very friendly and helpful owner who can speak English very well. The River Inn overlooks the river and has some nice decking where you can have a drink and relax.

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After checking in we rode the 9km up to Tham Lot, we were hoping to see the birds and bats flying in but we were a bit early, so we just had a look at the entrance chamber and then made our way back to the River Inn.

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For dinner we ate at "The Border", which serves up some really tasty Thai dishes. Stop by if you are staying in Soppong.
 

madjbs

Ol'Timer
Apr 10, 2006
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Day 5 175km

The last day on the road, we would travel back to Chiang Mai. We left Soppong at around 11.30am, we planned to stop at Pai and have brunch at All About Coffee, a nice little coffee shop which serves up decent breakfasts.

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With our stomachs filled we set off for a short ride to Pai Canyon. An impressive result of some serious erosion. The path is walkable but a gave it a miss, just in case.

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After the canyon we drove on to Chiang Mai. The 1095 is still a great road, but, in my opinion the 105 and the 108 are both better in that the surface is newer and there is less traffic. It was still a very enjoyable ride though.

In Chiang Mai we checked into the @PingNakorn Hotel, which is a lovely boutique hotel with modern rooms and a decent Thai breakfast.

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madjbs

Ol'Timer
Apr 10, 2006
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We had 3 days to kill in Chiang Mai so we paid a visit to the hill tribe museum in the park, which had many interesting exhibits and information.

Also, we visited the Hmong village Doi Pui, which was touristy but worth the visit due to the fantastic gardens they have there. Luckily they are in full bloom at this time of year.

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Surprisingly or not they also had a selection of drugs growing there.

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We had planned to get the train back with the bike, but as it was full I had to post the bike and jump on the VIP bus back to Bangkok.

and thats it for this time, thanks for reading.