Chiang Mai - Chiang Kham – Nan – Chiang Mai

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by scotty007, May 24, 2005.

  1. Chiang Mai - Chiang Kham – Nan – Chiang Mai

    Having just got a new BMW R1200GS from VPP Automobiles Chiang Mai, I had a busy vacation getting some kilometers up, I managed nearly six thousand kilometers just staying in the Northern Thailand area within five weeks.

    One of my many trips was the Chiang Mai – Nan – Chiang Mai run with the difference of going through Chiang Kham, so that the fantastic highway from Chiang Kham through to Tha Wang Pa could be enjoyed.

    Leaving Chiang Mai on the route 108, the weather was good and traffic light, had a good run through to the Sunshine Coffee Shop at the Hot Springs, where I stopped for a cup of their excellent coffee, then on to Mae Kachan, where I turned off to Wang Nua on route 120, this section is really open and fast, then onto Phayao on the narrower twisty stuff.

    Onto route 1 just before entering Phayao City, then route 1021 through to Chun, then onto the route 1021 to Chiang Kham, this whole section is generally wide open flat road, and quite boring.

    After what seems a long run out of Chiang Kham, the glory begins, route 1148 nearly a hundred kilometers of extremely varied twisters, on a near racetrack surface, through valleys of stunning limestone outcrops, and Hill tribe villages with very little road traffic, and some excellent spots for photos.

    At Tha Wang Pha, right turn onto the 1080 which takes you all the way into Nan, the road is quite narrow and in the afternoon sun is very black and shiny, it can also be quite busy, but still good fun!

    Stayed at the Devaraj Hotel in the centre of Nan City, always good value! There was a lot of road rebuilding in the center of town making it hard to get around, it didn’t look like the work was being done quickly.

    Had a lot of trouble finding the famous DaMario Italian restaurant, only to find it closed, hopefully it will reopen in the future.

    Had an early start the next day, buffet breakfast at the Deveraj, a pretty average affair to say the least, left town at 07:30, on route 1091, it was absolutely freezing, had to raise the windscreen and button up, it was foggy up in the mountains, got stopped and searched at a Police checkpoint by what I would assume to be the drug Police, friendly enough. At Ban Sa change to route 1251, then through to route1, then route 120 and finally route 108 back into Chiang Mai for 11:30.

    Great one night trip away with extremely varied riding conditions, pity I couldn’t find any enthusiastic companions to accompany me!
  2. Nice Post and I know this route from doing it only once over 18 months ago. That police check point was where I spend an hour shooting the breeze with the boys in brown. I stopped voluntarily and was not searched. The boys told me that my planned drive on route 1251 from Ban Sa to Route 1021 at Dok Kham Tai was not passable on a 400cc bike and was not paved.

    Has this road now been paved and would you recommend using this road now?

    Had a chuckle about your comment on the buffet breakfast at the Deveeraj Hotel in Nan. Cold eggs sitting in a silver tub but I ate four anyway.

    I love that area North and East of Nan - great riding little or no traffic - I recommend you take this area in next run to Nan. Its a full days riding and you can safely make a Nan return about darkness for a second overnight there and another portion of cold egg mornings.

    -When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It.
  3. Scotty
    Nice report & it again confirms that R1148 is still the top dog for great riding in North Thai.
    But you should have posted it under "getting David off my back," as it only took you 4 months to do, after numerous reminders. I reckon that your Nan loop, was about 750 kms total so that only leaves another 5,200 kms to write up. The next time that you ask me for your daily hot tip & new place to go, you will only get "cold eggs sitting in a silver tub" sorry to say.

    Keep The Power On
  4. Scotty

    Dadarios is closed, supposedly due to lack of parking and complaints from the neighbors. But, if you call the owner, she will usually open up for you. 054 750 258.


    You got some bad info. 1251 has been paved for years. It has a spot or two where it is down to one lane due to road cave-in, but easily doable.


    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
  5. Update 1st week december 2005.

    R1148 is still in perfect condition & the top m/c road in North Thailand.

    Above: R1149 by the viewpoint overlooking Sakoen

    Above: Sakoen & R1148 below

    Toom & staff
    ex tip Top / Da Dario's have re-opened as Poom3
    on the 2nd floor of the Sukasem Hotel in the "main" street of Nan. The food is still as good as ever & I still rate the Caesar salad as the best Ive ever had - worth going to Nan from Cnx for a lunch ride!

    Coming back from Nan, R1091 Nan - Chiang Muan is also in perfect condition for riding - flowing fast sweeping swooping smooth asphalt.

    And after last week's unseasonal rain, the weather now is perfect for riding.
    (too bad I was in the car with the happy go-lucky girfriend singer driving.)

    Keep The Power On

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