Chiang Dao

Oct 22, 2006
Let me start with a hello and how-do, since this is my first time to appear before you with a post of this kind. I moved to Chiangmai last summer from Tokyo, where I had lived for ten years and avidly pursued what is called there, in Japanese English, a "motorcycle life". Before moving, I sold my bikes, all six of 'em, and since arriving survived hand-to-mouth on rental scooters, until this week, when I bought a real bike.

Here, both for fun and as a way of testing whether I can make all this work, I am posting a copy (apologies for that) of a ride report I posted last month on a Japanese riders board, so that old biking friends could get a taste of what I am up to here.

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Alright, boys and girls, at long last a belated ride report from exotic Chiangmai.

My wife and I decided to head up to Chiang Dao over the weekend, for the second time and second weekend in a row, since we liked it so much the first time.

Chiang Dao is about an hour straight north of Chiangmai, on a road that goes on to the town of Fang, the border with Myanmar and with a little twist off to the east, the city of Chiang Rai. All very wonderful, but ask no questions of me about any of those places, because I have not been to any of them yet.

I said it's an hour straight north, but I should have mentioned that that is by car or proper bike. We, though, spent our second weekend touring on the Yamaha Mia, a scooter with all of 110 cc's of gut-wrenching power, and we did it two-up, with all our luggage, so we were moving in a different temporal dimension. Not only that, but I decided this time I wanted to take a much longer and roundabout route! So we got there in about four hours instead.

The weather is gorgeous this time of year. No rain, or really any chance of it, after the end of the rainy season last month. Temperatures in maybe the mid to high teens at night and in the morning, up to the high 20s in the day.

The roads were all excellent. Once out of Chiangmai, there was very little traffic. Meaning on many of the roads we would go for ten minutes or more without coming across another vehicle in either direction. And the route we picked went through mountains, so there were lots of stretches that wound around as much as you could possibly want.

The little Mia was completely reliable, but not, of course, very speedy. Still, it would cruise along at 90 kph on the flat, and went up hills that I did not believe it could possibly climb with both of us on board, albeit slowing to a crawl of 20 kph. Hey, but who's in a hurry?

Time for a picture. Here's the trusty Mia parked by the side of the narrow country road on the last stretch before our guest house.


This is the big mountain in Chiang Dao that is one of the reasons people go there. At about 2,200 meters, it's Thailand's second or third tallest mountain (depending on which guidebook you're reading). I am thinking about going back to climb it in January or February (the weather is still excellent then).


Here's the view from the dining room of Chiang Dao Nest 1, where we stayed for two nights.


And at last, a shot of us in all our glory, complete with bags, in front of Chiang Dao Nest 1, getting ready to leave.


One last shot of the mountain, with a traditional Thai house in the foreground.


Y'all come on down!