BKK - Petchabun - Mae Sot - Umphang - Bkk

Bert on the bike

Oct 5, 2007
I could finally take a couple of days of from work and made (part of) the tour I was planning already for some time. Realizing that it would be hot and that the Haze had covered the north I decided to go to Umphang, hoping that it would be a little cooler and that there would not be too much Haze in that area (I was wrong).

On Sunday afternoon drove from Bangkok to Petchabun. That road is for me much more enjoyable then the road to Ayuthaya and Nakon Sawan. Sunday was a nice day again. The res shirts kept a lot of people at home, no cement truck, so nice quiet ride along the fields with rice and blooming trees.

Overnight in Petchabun and planned to leave early for Umphang. For many good reasons that did not happened and instead of 06:30 I left after a nice breakfast at 09:00 in the direction of Lomsak. Just before Lomsak took a left on to road number 12. Almost no cars on the road and the road has some very nice parts with lots of curves. A real winding road it is. Around for 90 kilometers (especially the first 30-40 km) it is nice mountainous/hilly road with nice fast speed curves.

As of 30 km from Pitsanulok the road becomes straight and boring. Through Sukhothai and until Tak the road is straight, the fields are yellow and dry and by midday it is really really hot. A lunch break with a lot of drinks brings the energy back and it is up to Tak.

Tak is a nice town which until now I only passed. Due to a wrong turn I end up in the center and drive along the ping river.

I passed under de bridges (old an new) of the motorway CM-Bkk and find this parked under the bridge

After fueling up it is on the way to Mae Sot. As Captain Slash described a couple of days ago the 105 is really a nice road to drive, lots of curves, 3 – 4 lane and the curves can be taken with speed



I was hoping to avoid the haze but unfortunately they were actually burning the fields and woods as I drove by. Below 2 examples of how beautiful the mountain views were in the 3 days that I was in the region.



Just before the last ridge in to Mae Sot there is a Chinese Buddhist temple where a lot of people stop and the once who pass by beep their horn.

The temple is on the last mountain ridge before Mae Sot and after a nice run down the mountain I found a hotel on the left side 100 meter before the roundabout (name was Hi hotel if I remember correct). 400 baht, basic, clean aircon, cold& warm shower and satellite tv. It is not in the town itself but for the rest a good and cheap hotel.

The third day started with the drive to Umphang. This was a road I had looked forward to and it did not disappoint. The road 1090 is a road which everybody should drive ones in his/her live. It is said to have 1219 curves but it is concentrated in only around 70 kilometers.



The distance between Mae Sot and Umphang is 164 kilometer but the first 48 kilometer out of Mae Sot are flat to hilly. Also from kilometer 128 to 164 the road is hilly with some curves but not mountainous with one curve after the other. After around 80 kilometer you reach the area where the Karen refugee camp is located.


Here is a stretch of 10 kilometer which is more hilly then mountainous and where all the trees on the hills have been cut down to make place for agriculture. If you look at the picture you know where the haze is coming from.

The above means that the majority of the curves is concentrated in a 70 kilometer stretch of road. The average curve per kilometer is most likely the highest anywhere in Thailand.

I enjoyed the drive so much that I did not stop much to take pictures, the driving was too good. The first real stop was after 120 kilometer, on the top of the last mountain ridge.





At the top there were several spirit houses with offerings, This was the most colorfull ones with chicken and elephants at the foot of the spirit house.

In total including stop it took me 3 hours and 10 minutes to get from Mae Sot to Umphang and by midday I had a room at the garden huts resort for 300 baht, cold&warm shower, fan (no aircon required in Umphang), basic but clean.

In the afternoon I decided to have a look at Pueng Kleung, the place where the guys who drove the missing link between Sangklaburi and Umphang came out of the jungle. I am certainly planning to do that one day as well. This is the road 1288 which shows on the map as a good road so I expected to have an easy relaxed afternoon drive of around 80 km up and 80 km down. However the road 1288 has many different faces.


From newly asphalted, nice curve, high speed drive


To dirt track with black colored powder soft sand covering rocks


Plain dirt road


To a mixture of asphalt and dirt. I was happy to have my 800 GS with me. On a road bike I probable would have had to turn around.


However I reached the border with Myanmar and the border was wide open. Neither on the Thai side nor the Myanmar side there were any border officials nor military to be seen.


The border was inviting so decided to cross and have a look at the other side.


Convenience store in Myanmar. As you can see most of the articles are the same except for the local whiskey on the left side, which is definitely different from what you have in Thailand.


In the whole village there was a lot of noise of people working with wood. It was clear that here the tropical hard wood was converted to tables and chairs.


The road out of the village and in to Myanmar. When will this be open for GT rider riders to explore?????


When walking back through the border I met these people crossing the border in to Myanmar. I think this is what they call “tight border control”.


Back to Umphang I tried to take the dirt track to the Ti Lo Su waterfall shown here on the left. However I was not allowed to go in. Only pick ups belonging to the tourist organization (organized tours) were allowed in. Probably they are protecting their commercial interests.

Had a good dinner on the restaurant opposite garden huts. There were hardly any tourists in Umphang and by 10 the village was sleeping and satisfied by a day great driving I followed their example. Next day left Umphang around 08:20 back to Mae Sot and on to Tak (1090 and 105)






I was planning to stay in Nakon Sawan but was there early and since I had done the road what I was planning to do decided to drive on to Bangkok and home. It was a nice tour despite the heat and the haze. Now starts the planning for the next one. To all; drive the 1090, it will not disappoint you.


Sep 16, 2009
Great report, and great pics! Thanks for sharing... We stayed at the Garden Huts in Umphang as well, quite nice. Umphang is really a charming little town.

Too bad about the haze down there on 1090, that is such a beautiful drive. "having so much fun, no stopping for photos". I know what you mean!

We also got denied access to the Ti Lor Su waterfall road. They told me it was "too dangerous" for a motorcycle, but clearly they are in some profit-sharing deal with the tour companies...

Take it easy, Mike


Jan 5, 2008
Gday Bert. It looks like a good area to explore down there around Mae Sot.

Looking at this pic, I’m sure you would have been tempted to ride in to Burma for a few KMs.


Just wondering what your excuse would had been if someone had pulled you up while in Burma? :D

Great report mate. Rex

Bert on the bike

Oct 5, 2007
I stood with a running motor at the border for 20 seconds, very tempted to drive in to Myanmar for at least 100 meter. However since I had not told anybody where I was going that afternoon and I did not know if the Myanmar soldiers were in the village I decided to walk, a left behind bike would have allerted people, Completely disappearing makes it more difficult to find you.

i hope though that over the next years Myanmar will open up and we can explore that country on a motorbike from Thailand.