Best trip in Northern Thailand or Vietnam?

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - General Discussion Forum' started by kevinballa, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Hi all! Glad I found this forum, looks like a great resource

    I've planed a trip to Thailand with three friends at the end of August and plan to stay in Thailand for 2 weeks. We would like to spend about 4 days in Northern Thailand and I thought what better way than to spend it on motorcycles? We love nature and love to explore and I think this presents a great opportunity for us. We've also done motorcycle touring in the past but never one that required overnights.

    I did some general browsing on the site to see if I could answer these questions but couldn't find some of the answers. Hope you guys don't mind me asking the questions below!! :mrgreen:

    Our priorities when finding the right loop for us is a) an area that is very naturally beautiful, b) roads that aren't crowded and may include some off-road terrain, c) a route that hasn't been highly commercialized for tourists and d) great places to stop and do nature dayhikes & visit great restaurants & meet great locals

    - Is Chang Mai the best option for us in this case? Or should we consider other routes in northern Thailand or in Vietnam?

    - Ideally we'd be spending 3 days in total on the bikes (I may be able to convince the group to do 4 days). If we were to do 3 days, is that too little time to do Chang Mai properly? Or are there some shortcuts we could take if we had to?

    - It seems like there are plenty of bike rental places near the popular loops. Do we have to rent in advance? If so, where is the best place to do this?

    - Does Chang Mai have great places to stop and do dayhikes to beautiful waterfalls or other natural beauty? And would all of these be highlighted on the map I'd buy from GT-Rider?

    That's all i have for now!! Any help would be much appreciated
  2. Hello Kevin,

    I would say Chiang Mai is your ideal starting point; plenty of great routes and a good choice of rental bikes. Since your visiting in August the roads won't be crowded, for the last 3 years our , has seen very little traffic. Plus very little rain given it's the so called rainy season; TAKE 4 DAYS! The MHS loop is developed for tourists but it's easy to avoid, our common chill out spots being Cave Lodge and Mae Sarieng.

    Personally I'm a big fan of Thailand's National parks, they provide; short hikes, accommodation for groups, and amazingly always are found quite empty of tourists year round. No shortage of great restaurants and friendly locals, this is the north of Thailand after all!

    The GTRider site is updated on the rental shops here and you can contact them via email, but this time of year you will find bikes available. Tony's big bikes and Mr Mechanic are the popular choices.

    Definitely pick up the GT Rider maps of your intended route - west or east in the north? I'd bought my first GT Rider map before even entertaining the idea of living in Chiang Mai. Again the MHS loop offers more waterfalls, hotsprings and parks to visit. Though the roads north of Fang to Mae Sai are fantastic routes - AND for pure riding pleasure nothing beats the Nan province.

    Your PM function is disabled, I tried to PM you my map of waterfall/senic areas in the Chiang Mai area within a days ride.

  3. Kevin - thanks so much for getting back so quickly.

    I'm not sure why my PM is disabled. Mind just shooting me that email at k3vinballa [at] gmail ? I'd really appreciate it!!

    We've decided to spend a total of four days on the MHS and I'm *very* excited to do it. I also ordered the GT Rider MHS loop map two days ago so will take a closer look at the route options when it arrives.

    Also, had two other questions:

    - Would you recommend any gear to buy beforehand (I'm thinking poncho, anything else?) Also, we'll be backpacking through Thailand, is it normal to just bungee our backpacks to the back of the motorcycle as we make our way through the country?

    - Right now we haven't made any preparations for renting the motorcycles. Is there anything we need in order to rent (motorcycle learners permit?). We all have U.S. drivers licenses but no permits for driving motorcycles in the States, though we have ridden motorcycles before. Is this a problem?

    Thx again all,
  4. When I did my two trips it was no problem to bungee my rucksack to the bike a lot come with Carriers anyway. I wore basic motorcyle gear in case of an off. The loops on the Gt maps our really good.Just don.t get carried away with the great roads (like I did) stop and look and allow lots of time.

    Safe riding


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