Chiang Mai - Chiang Khong return


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Chiang Mai - Chiang Khong & Return
Distance: 650 kms.
Routes: 118 – 110 – 1016 – 1129 to Chiang Khong.
1129 – 1016 - 1089 – 107 to Chiang Mai.
Date: Tues 16th Sept – Wed 17th Sept.
Weather: unbelievably sunny & hot!

A run up to the border to deliver new Laos maps.

An interesting start to the ride & part of life in great the Thai sabai – the zip on my riding boots had jammed. I reached for the WD40 spray to give them a quick lube and discover the nozzle cap was gone. No trouble just hold it down the nozzle with some pliers & spray away, but my son has been fixing his bicycle & hidden the pliers. My pen rai, a quick phone call to his work & the pliers are located.
However, the quick spray does not do the trick & the zip is out of synch. I still manage to get the boots zipped up, but the zip is split. So next step is to tape up the boots with some duct tape. NO serious trouble as this is only a short overnight trip. No doubt I’ll curse though when and if it rains, and the water pours into my boots.
Last but not least then is to pack the waterproofs. But I discover that my XL sized rain jacket that fits over the leather jacket is missing. Only the small sized jacket is there. Yet another phone call to my son, and the jacket is located – at his work. “Yes Dad, I’ll bring it home after work” (after I’m 250 kms down the road!)
But I’m sweating so much with my riding gear on that I decide what the heck, let’s hit the road & get some air moving. A little bit of rain will cool you down nicely………………….
Eventually I got away from the super at 1.50 pm.
Straight ahead on the super it looked bad –as black as, however once I turned off onto, route 118 & northeast towards Chiang Rai I could see bits of blue sky peeking through the clouds. After a week of heavy rain in and around Chiang Mai, even the small bits of blue sky were invigorating, and it did not take too long to get up to speed.
Route 118 is in pretty good nick, and the only moments I had were just either side of the mountain crossing, 53 kms out, where a shower of rain had gone through leaving the odd corner wet when and where you least expected it.

In my hurry to get moving and generate an airflow, I did not pay enough attention to my fuel level and ran onto reserve much too early. It was a bit of dawdle into Mae Kachan then, and there was a smile on my face when the tank took 22 litres out of a 23 litres capacity. Wow, that getting close.
Next & only stop then was Charin Resort for the obligatory coffee and cheesecake.
Charin had been under water and closed for 3 days, but was now open again.
I lingered longer than normal at Charin and got back on the road after a 45 mins break.
After Charin the weather was brilliant, pretty much bright and sunny!
Cruising along the super around Chiang Rai, you could see that parts of town were still flooded; and there’s no doubt that new superhighway around Chiang rai has destroyed the natural water drainage, with the highway holding the water back – in town! Good one highways dept. engineers.

I was in Chiang Saen at 4.15 pm, the weather was still good, so did a quick ride up to the Golden Triangle




to a peak & check on maps. Khun Pacharee still seems to be doing ok at her Opium Museum, and the place is looking better than ever.
Route 1016 from Mae Chan to Chiang Saen still bugs me – always too many dogs, villages and
Busy with unpredictable traffic, and it’s hard to get a relaxed pleasant ride on this one.
Route 1129 Chiang Saen – Chiang Khong is as squirly as ever, but I think that I am at last getting used to it, after all these years! The views of the Mekong are always awesome as ever going over Kiu Khan & on the run into Chiang Khong from Huai Yen.
In Chiang Khong I checked into my all time North Thailand fave bungalow # 7, at Tam Mi La Ghouse. Watchara is doing some improvements to his ghouse, with some new brick bungalows, but he’s promised me never to pull down riverside bungalow # 7!
Nighttime in Chiang Khong was a bit of a feast of Mexican food at the ol Bamboo with Jip & Teaw.
Then later on a few drinks at the Nong Khwan, and onto the Tepee, before staggering home at 2.30 am or thereabouts. (Tip – the gals from the Chai Khong restaurant bar know how to drink!)

Wed was busy checking maps & inspecting the new yet to open (still next month) immigration office down by the river. You’ve gotta check out the 18 cms high x narrow 15 cms wide steps leading down to the river. They are a might difficult for normal-sized farang feet. I reckon that there’s going to be a few people who topple down the steps and into the Mekong when it opens, as there are NO handrails!

I eventually got away from Chiang Khong at around 3.00 pm. The weather was glorious, blue sky with puffy white clouds. Perfect stuff for just cruising along sedately. Mae Chan came up at 4.45 pm, and with the weather so good, I decided to take the “long” way home via route 1089 and Tha Ton. Route 1089 is a wonderful winding “hilly” road, but riding straight into the sun and sunset requires that much more care and concentration, that it gets to be unpleasant at times.
I had an extended break in Tha Ton then - lunchtime at Apples restaurant. By the time I got away from Tha Ton it dark was approaching and lights were on before Mae Ai. It’s a while since I’ve down a lengthy night ride, and I did not get into Chiang Mai until 9.00 pm. 3 hrs from Tha Ton is a bit slow.

All in all, a standard “boring,” winding, hilly, 650 kms ride. This has to be one of my most boring reports, but my rebuilt rear shock’s arrived from Switz, so maybe Chiang Mai – Vientiane next weekend will be a good one? Anyone else doing any riding?

Keep the power on