Chiang Mai - Samoeng - Wat Chan - Pai.... Road Update.

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Moto-Rex, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. Chiang Mai - Samoeng - Wat Chan - Pai. Road Update.

    A quick update on the road/roads that run between Chiang Mai and Pai via Samoeng and Wat Chan.

    All of these roads are on the Gt-Rider Mae Hong Son map.

    Amazing how many road riders ask if the section just south of Wat Chan is tarmac yet.

    The Way… Ride out of Chiang Mai via the south end of the Samoeng loop, turn off to Samoeng, and on to Wat Chan, where I turned north to Pai.

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    At the beginning of the south end of the Samoeng loop, I was surprised how much development had taken place since my last ride this way. So modern.
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    I sure I haven’t seen this train before. Maybe a theme park??
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    A beautiful valley on the loop,..so good having this ride just on the out skirts of Chiang Mai.
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    Wild elephants, just a few short kilometres from Chiang Mai.
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    Arrived at my favourite drink stop in Samoeng to top up my camel back. Ive been coming to this little shop for 8 years now. Lovely lady.
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    Last time I rode this road north of Samoeng, it was full of potholes and falling apart. Now its mint. Most of it completely resurfaced.
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    The new road about 20 kilometre from Wat Chan. This section was dirt about a year ago.
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    About 17kms south of Wat Chan, the flash new road comes to a end.
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    A quick splash and dash for the thirsty KLX.
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    Big time road works that continue most of the way to Wat Chan.
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    So your looking at about 15kms of dirt.
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    I’m no road construction expert, but I’m guessing this road wont be finished any time soon, especially with all the rain there’ve had. They seem to have been working on the last 30kms for years.
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    A nice rice field setting just north of Wat Chan on the road to Pai.
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    The tarmac road from Wat Chan to Pai is a ripper ride,..a little broken up in sections, but good fun. It’s the first time that I had ridden it in this direction.

    So there you have it. If your on a road bike, and you don’t like getting it dirty, you will have to wait a while until they finish the last 15 kilometres. Of course, us dirt lovers are disappointed that one of the great dirt rides of the north has been covered with hard black stuff, but there’s plenty of dirt, dust and mud about to keep us happy .

    Maybe nothing new to the locals, but hopefully this update will help out a few riders never the less.

    Moto-Rex
     

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  2. Great write up and nice photos!
    Have been thinking of doing this ride for years and finally this weekend comes an opportunity.
     
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  3. Great write-up Neil - brought back a flood of memories. I actually lived out of Wat Chan for a week with the Karen - the head of the household, a Karen himself taught English to the kids (surprisingly enough had a degree to do so). A great area to ride sealed or unsealed.
     
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  4. Spending a week with the Karen would have been a great experience Rod. Just getting fuel in Wat Chan can turn out to be a laugh with the locals. Lovely people.
     
  5. Finally got out to check it all out again.
    This road & back way to Pai via Wat Chan is something special - the terrain, forest cover, roads & rolling hills making for one hell of a magic bike ride.
    For some reason it has taken them years to get it all done & as of the 18th if March 2017 there was only 6 kms of dirt left,so we are almost there.

    It should be noted too that it's a longer way to Pai this way, so if you are in a hurry take the main road R1095; but if it's fresh air, nice forest cover, hill tribe villages & swooping roads that turn you on, then by all means take the Wat Chan Road.

    Samoeng - Wat Chan the elevation profile

    GTR-Samoeng-WatChan.
    90 kms of roller coaster road.

    The old brick paving road
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    fabulous to see some of this has survived.

    The change over from the old brick to the old asphalt.
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    Leaving Samoeng & superb blue sky above
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    Up into the hills
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    A beautiful smooth surface
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    An interesting strawberry farm along the way
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    In parts the road is a mix of old asphalt, some brick paving & then superb new racetrack asphalt.

    At altitude the pine trees are prevalent
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    But the road is a swooping beauty & reminds me of riding the rolling hills of Nan
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    A fabulous clear view
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    amazing when other parts of the North are suffering from the annual smoke.
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    Back into the pine forest
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    & then that amazing steep "swooper."
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    check out this baby to power on up the hill
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    hit the bottom & nail it for a buzz on the uphill.

    Back on the level
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    Then a few kms later the easy dirt
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    A small section of rough road works
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    & then going for a dab
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    a foot finds the wrong spot & oops....

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    no damage, only a bent ego & a test of your riding mates concern - photo first or help pick up the bike first.
    Oh well, lucky we've been mates for 25 + years.

    Wat Chan city is looking smart
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    & they are getting new concrete drains.

    Wat Chan - Pai
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    is 55 kms & basically downhill if you like.

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    The road to R1095 is old asphalt, wide, but patchy in places & also a different terrain & vegetation.
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    Dry forest, the road swoops through the hills
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    The ugly stuff
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    Hot springs beside the road
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    They could do with some sprucing up, but at least some some is showing some initiative & having a go.
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    However on a boiling hot day, it is only a very quick photos stop & back on the gas.
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    Enjoy the ride
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    the Pai - Wat Chan - Samoeng road will soon be a favourite ride in North Thailand.
    The last bit of dirt will soon be gone.
     

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  6. Last time I dropped a bike was my previous BMW 1200GS on this road!
     
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  7. I will have to do that Road again, last time we took Food and Drinks and had a Picnic along the way Brilliant! I haven't been on the Wat Chan to MHS section for Years so must check that out also!
     
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  8. You got to pop the cherry on the new one too :)
     
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  9. Beautiful road, will check next time in the vicinity.
     

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