Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai – By Any Means….

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by brian_bkk, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. The riding season is here.. great.. only one problem.. No one has told the weather man.

    KLX on the train Friday night and fly up to Chiang Mai… Late beers and cheers with David and Moto-Rex.

    Ready to collect the bike and hit the trail Saturday morning… One problem.. My bike was bumped for a group of fat [email protected] BMW’s..
    Talk about gear.. I am sure they must have had the kitchen sink somewhere strapped on one of the bikes.

    So… My KLX is not Hi-So enough to bump the BMW’s… Of course the train is the (un)scheduled 2 hrs late as expected..
    Rex and I agree.. No point trying to go any where at 3 + in the afternoon.

    We agree to stay in CNX for another night and check out some places along the river.. With an early on the bikes / road start at 7am…

    We ride up north and then begin to cut across.. Nice trail.. but we thought we had taken a wrong turn.. steep, wet, clay, slippery and the track deteriorating and getting worse and worse with no sign of vehicles at all for some time.. Thinking we had turned left too early we head back.. I am not really looking forward to this.. going down hill is not my favourite at the best of times and this was treacherous.. Engine off, using 1st gear to control the speed and riding down in the rut.. Rex took some pics of this. I took no pics and ‘enjoying’ the white knuckle ride down the mountain so much..

    The path out of CNX.. You can see the route to the north we took then turned back.. That felt like 100km.. but was in reality.. less than 10km

    Just in to the beginning of the trail. Nature called, time to make like a bear in the woods..

    A bridge over the creek - Rex riding over.

    Asking for directions

    Some scenery along the trail


    The way we came

    This was the easy stuff on the flat.. Have to wait for Rex’s pictures and video for the nasty stuff.

    We made it to the main road.. Not where we expected to be.. The way we went and thought must have been the wrong way was the right way.. Better left for when it is not raining or real dirt tyres.. not the 50/50's on the KLX.

    So now what to do.. need to be in Chiang Rai by 3 ish.. so we head up the main road and do a loop around Doi Chang in to Chiang Rai..

    It was lovely.. great road for the KLX.. But terrible going down the other side.. yet again.. I was enjoying the white knuckle ride too much.. only Rex was brave enough to stop in the slippery steep mud / clay and take pictures.. on at least two occasions I felt the bike slide side ways.. front and back at the same time!!.. Duck paddling like crazy and kept control.. Just..

    The worst stuff is at around 1562 metres and drops down to 526 metres above sea level.. Bike skating…

    The nice road on the way up.. There are some rough parts with road works.. Versys would handle it no problem.

    Stunning scenery all the way up.. it was hard to decide where to actually stop and take a photo.. every 20 metres is a great photo opportunity.

    A nice crossing, we watched the locals and they didn’t seem to worry at all and took any line they felt.. so no slime to slip us up on this one..

    Rex.. Where are your man of steel photo’s? Balancing the bike and camera on the angle of the mountain in the mud….

    Another great ride with Rex… Where next…..


    PS.. Thanks Marty at CR Saddlebags for the great hospitality while there.. Pleasure to meet you and great shop you have there.
  2. Nice write up Brian.

    It was a great day riding in the North thats for sure.

    Here is a short clip of what its like out there.

    from on Vimeo.

  3. Great video Rex...

    Becoming a video pro....

    Nice one

  4. Now that looks like fun Brian :)

    Would you mind telling me how much it cost to put the bike on the train to CM? I am think of doing something similar next month but it will be someone else dropping the bike off to the train for me.

    Is it as simple as him just turning up with my bike or do I need to give him a copy of any paperwork?

    Thanks for taking the time to share the photos :)
  5. Hi Satonic,

    Cost for the KLX was around 1,200 baht to CNX..

    The low down on using the train to move the bike around.

    1. You must book a seat and travel with the bike
    I just book the cheapest seat and don't use it
    If the train has all the third class reserved for free trips for Thais.. Just book the cheapest second class seat.
    2. Ring and book your ticket and be sure to tell them you will take a bike on the train.
    Not every train has cargo carriages..
    3. You need to show some ID and your Green Book when dropping the bike off
    Don't think they will let someone else do this for you.. have never tried..
    4. Drop the bike off.. pass them 100 baht tip and done.

    If you are taking the bike to a major station.. I usually don't bother turning up until 2 hrs after the scheduled arrival time.
    They are ALWAYS late.. and if you are not there.. they will lock it up or have it safe for when you arrive.. Another 100 baht tip and you are done.

    The other option you could try is posting the bike.. Have never done it.. But Jurgen has and said it worked well.
    All depends how much time you have..

  6. Thanks very much for taking the time to reply Brian. That was exactly what I needed to know.

    Giving it a bit more thought it's going to be a lot easier if I just travel with the bike then. Just means I'll have to delay my plans a bit.

    Why they have to put Xmas and new year in the middle of Thailand's best riding season is crazy, they should save it for when it's raining :)

  7. Do you have any more info on this 'iron bridges' route ? ...... Like for example, How to find it ..... easily :smile1: ..
  8. Looks like from the CR end, the route past the organic tea plantation over the ford where they wash the motorbikes over Doi Chang to Wowee and back along the scenic route along Mae Suai. But i could be wrong :crazy:
  9. Hi Lakota,

    Looks like I forgot to upload the track to the GPS section.. It was only a few days before we set off to Laos.
    Will see if I still have it.. Otherwise.. Open google earth and zoom in to the location in the overlay above.. Not too hard :)


    Rex did the guiding on this route today.. So not to sure mate.. Sorry
    But believe you are correct.. Great ride.. All on the ESRI map except for a little section and that was obvious where to go.


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