Chiang Kong to Mukdahan along the Border

Tom Forde

Jul 6, 2004
A Rough Circumnavigation of Thailand
Chiang Khong to Mukdahan – The final section 1339km in 3 days

I used Chiang Kong as a starting point to ride south as close to the Eastern Thai border with Laos as practically possible within my time restraint of around 7 days. I had ridden south from Mukdahan back in 2004 when I returned from Savannakhet in Laos.
So the area between Chiang Khong and Mukdahan was completely unknown to me.

Chiang Rai, a casual ride through the back roads until you turn left on the 1020, a distance of around The ride from CNX to CK took around 5hrs with the usual stop for coffee on the 118 to 280km.


Chiang Rai, a casual ride through the back roads until you turn left on the 1020, a distance of around The ride from CNX to CK took around 5hrs with the usual stop for coffee on the 118 to 280km.
South of CK is an area I haven’t ridden through, so I was interested to see if there are any good empty roads that are becoming scarce up here in the north.
CK is certainly changing with many hotels updating their establishments (and their daily charges) to the ever growing rich Thais and Chinese who are now spending money in the Casinos across the Mekong in Laos.
I stayed in the Namkong Riverside Hotel for 800bht a night including breakfast. I could have got cheaper, but the Aussie dollar is up!




Day 2 and I head south along the 1020 then follow the GPS’s suggestions until I arrive in Nan. I love this little town; alas it is only 11.00am so I need to get a few more km’s in the saddle before dark.
I set the GPS for Ban Khok, a small border town. To get there I will need to ride through the SRI NAN National park, an approximate distance of 160km of a wonderful twisty mountain road, devoid of tourist buses and crazy bikers. The road surface has been covered with loose gravel, so a little care should be taken.
The road finally intersects with 1243, I was heading for Ban Khok, at the intersection of 1243 I had a chat with the local cop, and his mate owns a small resort, at 300bht a night with AC. I couldn’t refuse. 9hrs ride for 393km.






Day 3, and I wake up to the early crows of a rooster and the feint cries of a pup, I left the front door ajar during the night.
A quick breakfast from my gracious host and I was off along the 1268 which hugs the mountains that are the Laos/Thai border, some of the peaks are over 2000m.
The 1268 joins the 211 at Chiang Khan where the Mekong River becomes the natural border between Laos and Thailand.
The land is much flatter however the 2 lane 211 it is still full of corners and small villages scattered along its sides all adding up to a pleasant ride through to Nong Khai, were I have found a cheap hotel.
Got the best room for the night, ‘the blue VIP room’ for 500bht.
508 km and 8 hrs. Riding.






Day 4 and I leave Nong Khai after a fried eggs and bacon breakfast for 55bht; I resume my ride south along the 211 to my destination of Mukdahan.
This road would have to be one of the most boring in a Thailand.
438km of a 2 lane road and featureless terrain, I notice the lack of road kill. Well maybe the stories of Raptors in this area are true!



Mukdahan has also got busier like the rest of Thai cities; the traffic is much more congested, thanks to the new Friendship Bridge to Laos.


Well I finally completed the loop around Thailand, (7 years!) so it is back to CNX via Khon Kaen, Phitsanulok, Uttardit then CNX. A route well-travelled by many GT Riders.
Highway 11 is 99% finished !
A total of approx 2600km travelled.
So unless something unusual happens along the way, I won’t report on this leg home.



The many faces of the Mekong River

Tom Forde

Jul 6, 2004
You should'nt have sold your GS650, still going strong, I wouln't even think of doing high millage days at 8000 to 10000rpm!
The GS650 gets almost the same km/l as the KLX around 25km/ltr sitting at 120km/hr. Why do you think I would torture a poor little 250!


Ian Bungy

Sep 19, 2006
To True Tom! A KLX is great in Laos, Cambodia or any tight Road Areas, Useless on the Big Roads! Last time I came back from Laos we crossed in to Thailand at Nong Khai and rode down to Loei, What a Torturous Ride! Throttle Pinned and everyone else passing Us on arrow straight Roads. By the Way did You see they have released a New Version of the Dakar, now called "Sertao" ? Check it out here:
John Gooding said it may be at the Bangkok international Motorshow end of March? Can't wait to see if it is and at what price? I love the KTM 690 Enduro R but overpriced and really a Race machine not such a ride all day Tour friendly Bike?
The Key to having a Long term Bike is Maintenance and some TLC. This is seriously lacking from some Riders so changing New Bikes are the way to go if You can afford them?

Gary D

Apr 17, 2010
Tom, we must have been on the same road about the same time... a good trip, loved Loei.


Tom Forde

Jul 6, 2004
Gary, there was 2 other groups touring all on big Adventure bikes, but going the other way.
Maybe next nime.



Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Nice one Tom. I liked the Ban Khok resort.
I bet it felt real good after the trip knowing that you'd finally completed your "circumnavigation" of Thailand after all those years.
I recall our first meeting & rides in North Thailand, plus Laos many years ago, & they were certainly good carefree times.