Chiang Mai - Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang. On the trail of King Naresuan.

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member


    Routes 107 - 1178 - 1322.
    This ride is an excellent day or over night trip from Chiang Mai.
    Chiang Mai - Piang Luang = 160 kms.
    You can race out & back in a day, but it is best to take your time, stay over night in Wiang Haeng or Piang Luang to soak up the country side, history - culture.

    The highlight of the ride is the fantastic R1322 (Mae Cha - Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang) one of North Thailand's great forested asphalted motorcycling roads & generally a "forgotten one" = more people should ride it.
    Why R1322 is so good

    The elevation profile

    the road is all forested, step & winding plus pretty much deserted.

    How it starts off from Mae Cha on R1178

    straight up from the valley & onto the ridgeline.

    The road then twists & winds its away through the mountains, up & down & along the ridges.

    there are scores of hairpin bends.




    Up above 1,000 metres the pine trees flourish



    There are a couple of lovely Lisu villages along the way



    I try to score a photo of a really old Lisu guy with a classic grizzled face in a a shop.
    Buy him a M150 & chew the fat for a bit, but no luck getting a photo & he just laughs when its time to pay the bill for the M150 - never mind, he is the shop owner & enjoyed the chat, but no photo.

    Power on along the ridgeline before the descent into Wiang Haeng.


    just before the step descent into Wiang Haeng there's a cute new coffee shack.


    Time for a cuppa

    & better luck getting a photo.
    The coffee hut has been open for 3 days only & the gals are Shan from Mae Ai, but the elder sister is married to a Lisu & living in a hut 100 metres down the road & hanging on the side of the mountain.
    It must be genuine love, no electricity & no running water.
    But you've got to admire them for their entrepreneurial spirit, selling paper cups of coffee for 50 baht. Well done ladies.

    More coming..
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  3. Oddvar

    Oddvar Ol'Timer

    You are right.
    It is a "hidden" treasure. Me and Per have been coming true here a couple of times on our way over the mountains to Pai on dirt bikes.
    If 1178 gets hard surface it will become a great loop for street bikes too.
  4. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    You are right; the 1322 is a blast!

    I recall having taken a heap of photos along the way - although its so good one feels like just keeping on riding - which I thought I'd posted in my report The Chong Loop Seems I failed to post the shots, or posted them elsewhere, other than one at the end.

    I've included the above link as many riders like to get a 'circular' ride rather than having to backtrack. The loop mentioned is a ripper.

    A great alternative way back from Wiang Haeng especially for off-roaders & mopeds is covered here: A Dirty Affair
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2016
  5. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Yep, great road indeed and wondefully quiet, probably because it doesn't go anywhere else.
    There were Lisu ladies selling plums at the coffee shop when I was up there a month ago.

    My limited history knowledge (from the missus) tells me that King Naresuan was on his way to help the Saen Wei people (Thai Yai) fight the Burmese. But he reached Wiang Haeng / Piang Luang area and died of malaria. That's why there is a large shrine to him at the end of the road at the border pass. All part of the rich history of the north.
  6. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Moderator Staff Member

    Looks great.. Will check this out next time in CNX.

  7. alrikki

    alrikki Ol'Timer

    T he track going West off the 1322 just north of Wiang Heng is being concreted, for quite a long way. It turns north west and continues either up to the border or west to the border road where you can go west to Pang Mapha or South to Pai.
    I turned off a few km from the border.
    Also lots of fireroads there to explore,Google Maps shows many.
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Are we talking about the Muang Ngoi / Pai road, or the one signposted to the Mae Had waterfall, or another one further towards the border?
    Any photos?
  9. alrikki

    alrikki Ol'Timer

    Its not the Muang Noi track, its about 3km north of Wiang Heng at N19 35.007 E98 37.128
    and it looked like a good road all the way to the border
    Sorry no fotos
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    So "it looked like a good road all the way to the border" means that you did or did not ride it?
    But 3 kms north of Wiang Haeng - I make this the Mae Had waterfall road.
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The road swoops down into the Wiang Haeng - Mae Taeng valley.







    Then rises again into Piang Luang

    Piang Luang is interesting in that it sits on two ridges that join together.

    The road drops down steeply off the ridge line, then rises again to run right up to the border



    & the end of the road



    more coming...
  12. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Southeast of Piang Luang, on the eastern ridge is what looks like a large chinese cemetery, with substantial tombs. Worth checking out I think. I couldn't see a road across when I was there, but it shows clearly on your google earth shot above.
  13. alrikki

    alrikki Ol'Timer

    I turned off about 5km before the border, to some singletrack
    The chinese cemetery


    Chom View

    Burma view

  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Nice photos Alex. Thanks for the tip offs re roads.
  15. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Back to Wiang Haeng & check in to a guesthouse.
    I was surprised on how many places there actually were in Piang Luang and Wieng Haeng Accommodation

    I opted for the Chiang Tung



    mainly because of the central location + under cover parking.

    But then I found another couple also with undercover parking - the Janpa & Cowboy Resort, (plus the Sivagon opposite Chiang Tung but nowhere near as inviting as the Chiang Tung.)

    Piang Luang and Wieng Haeng Accommodation

    Also entering Piang Luang there is a smart looking guesthouse on the left as you first enter town



    300431=19815-IMG_4589. 300431=19814-IMG_4587.

    I reckon I might stay here a night next trip for the experience
    The contact #

    There's also another new one being built in Piang Luang, but not open yet.


    Then another in Ban Chong, between Wiang Haeng & Piang Luang

    with resort bungalows & rooms


    However too far out of the way I'd say.

    Chuck in the Suan Chom View & there are surprisingly loads of options out there in the valley.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Wiang Haeng - attractions - the morning market.

    Up early, something unusual for me, but I was expecting a market perhaps similar if not quite as good as the Thoed Thai Shan morning market.

    Located in the main street centre of town - next door to the Chiang Tung guesthouse.








    & for breakfast in Wiang Haeng I ended up in the Bor Chin restaurant



    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang attractions

    Cruising the Wiang haeng - Piang Luang valley

    Its roughly 20 kms from Wiang Haeng to Lak Tang & the old border pass to Myanmar.


    The Mae Taeng river is west of the road R1322 until Ban Chong, & there are numerous roads & trails crossing crossing the valley to the many Shan villages.

    The environment & geography remind me a lot of the Pai valley, dotted with Shan villages & temples.




    The Piang Luang Chinese School



    Phra That Wiang Haeng




    Mae Taeng River




  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Wat Fa Wiang In - Piang Luang Attractions


    Is a temple built right on the Thai - Myanmar border.
    It has had a very interesting history because of the strategic location exactly on the border.

    The original round chedi is thought to have been built by King Naresuan in 1590-1605.

    In 1969 General Mo Heng, a famous one armed Shan fighter "invited Tai from both sides of the border to renovate the ancient chedi later named "Mara Shina." At the hilltop bordering Thailand and Shan State they built Wat Fa Wiang In temple. When he was spared from fighting, Mo Heng came everyday to meditate at "Hor Sil," a small wooden meditation house close to the temple."

    When Khun Sa surrendered to the Burmese in 1996, the Burmese moved into the area on the Burmese side of the border.
    The Wa then joined the Burmese. Amphetamines became a problem flooding the area.
    In May 2002 the Burmese army & remaining Shan were engaged in serious fighting for control of the area.
    The Shan lost after a 32 day battle, withdrew & 600 Shan people fled to Piang Luang.
    They camped in Wat Fa Wiang Inn, setting up the Koung Jour refugee camp.
    The camp still remains in Piang Luang by the temple.

    Burmese soldiers then occupied the part of the temple grounds on the Burmese side of the border; & they still remain in control of the area on the Myanmar side today.
    The monks stayed & on the Thai side the temple continues to flourish with a big school, that was originally started for the Shan refugees in 1987.

    I wish I knew what this was all about


    A renowned Shan artist - Khampang Salaween- was commissioned to draw the new murals for the round chedi.
    These murals generally depict Buddha's life. I found some of them quite different, & beautiful - the place is well worth checking out.








    more to come..
  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Elsewhere in the Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang valley there are numerous hill top temples, including a couple of classics.

    Wat Wiang Haeng, the oldest temple in Wiang Haeng & a superb old Shan style temple






    Attached files
  20. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Phra That Wiang Haeng

    supposedly the first chedi in the valley
    according to the monk I spoke to.
    He had incredible fluent English & is worth looking up & talking to, but when I was there he very politely said "would you please excuse me, I have some other business to attend to right now."

    & the chedi has a bit of a lean to it, perhaps confirming its age.
    The chedis is 300 metres from Wat Wiang Haeng.
    Attached files
  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Wat Huai Khrai - Wiang Haeng attractions
    1.5 kms down R1178 the Ban Chong - Muang Nga road.
    13 kms from Wiang haeng

    There's seems to be quite a lot going on at this wat - money pouring in.



    They've even joined in on the Myanmar Golden Mount craze


    A monk approached me & insisted I follow him downstairs into a cavern they had constructed below the Golden Mount


    There was a stone pillar supporting the "golden mount" but I didn't think it worthy of a photo. Maybe someone else will on their own trip to Wat Huai Khrai.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  22. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A couple of other temples - Wiang haeng attractions

    Wat Kong Lom
    at the turn off to Muang Ngoi & Pai



    A stunning new


    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
  23. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Wat Saen Hai - Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang attractions.

    Wat Saen Hai
    on R1322 8.5 kms after Wiang haeng
    The chedi of Wat Phra That Saen Hai is believed to have been built during the Buddha’s lifetime. In 1914 it was restored with a blend of Shan and Lanna style.

    There are two legends regarding this temple

    1. The Lord Buddha travelled with Phra Anon to the area to propagate his teachings. A Karen villager offered him watermelon, but Buddha broke a tooth eating the watermelon. The Karen kept the tooth inside a stupa & when Phraya Chetabut heard about the incident he had a pagoda built to enshrine the tooth.

    2. Later, after King Naresuan defeated the Burmese, he and his army put the booty they had won in jars and interred them under the pagoda. Thus the name of temple is Phra That Saen Hai or the ‘‘Pagoda of a Hundred Thousand Jars’’.
    King Naresuan also had a pool called The Elephant’s Pool, built nearby.




    Adjoining this chedi is a shrine to King Naresuan



  24. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    So a brief summary on King Naresuan

    Thailand's great warrior KIng
    · Born on 25 April 1555 in Phitsanulok
    · The son of of King Maha Thammarachathirat of Phitsanulok & Queen Wisutkasat, Prince Naret was one of 3 children.
    · His elder sister Suphankanlaya was known as the Golden Princess.
    · His younger brother Ekathotsarot was known as the White Prince
    · Prince Naret was known as the Black Prince.

    · The Burmese invade Siam & lay seige to Phitsanulok.
    · King Maha Thammarachathirat of Phitsanuok surrenders to the Burmese; & is required to send his sons - the Black and the White Prince - to Burma to guarantee his loyalty to the Burmese.
    · Whilst held in Pegu, young Naret learns military strategy and political science.

    · King Bayinnuang of Pegu, Burma, takes Ayutthaya and installs Maha Thammarachathirat (Naret's father) as the King of Ayutthaya.
    · Prince Naret is released by the Burmese, in exchange for his sister Supankanlaya as King Bayinnuang's concubine.
    · Naret's father then installs the young Naret as King of Phitsanulok as Naresuanin.

    1583 - 1586
    · A series of Burmese - Siamese wars, with the Burmese invading Siam.
    · Ayutthaya is under seige for 13 months but does not fall.

    · King Thammarachathirat , Naresuan's father dies & he is crowned King of Ayuttayah

    1590 - 1592
    · 1590 the Burmese invade but are ambushed, defeated by Naresuan & retreat
    · 1592 the Burmese invade again, leading to the famous elephant battle

    · In Suphanburi, on 18th January 1593, the famous elephant battle between King Naresuan of Siam & Minchit Sra of Myanmar took place, with Naresuan victorious.
    · Minchit was the crown prince of Burma & had been a childhood friend when Naresuan was held captive in Burma.
    · The 18th January is now recognized as Royal Thai Armed Forces day.

    · Under Naresuan the Siamese invade Cambodia.
    · Four armies are sent to capture Champasak, Banteymas (modern Ha Tien in Vietnam), Siem Reap, and Naresuan himself Battambang - all to be joined at Lovek.
    · In 1594, they all reach Lovek and it is looted to the grounds.
    · King Borommaracha V flees to Vientiene.
    · Naresuan takes Borommaracha's brother Sri Suriyopor as captive and his daughter as his concubine. Naresuan leaves a Siamese army at Oudong to oversee Cambodia, only to be driven out by Rama Chungprey in 1595.

    · The Thais retreat from Cambodia.
    · King Naresuan lays seige to Pegu in Burma, but is not successful in conquering Pegu.
    · Naresuan sends Siamese forces to prevent Laotian forces from entering Lanna.

    1599-1600 Burmese - Siamese War
    · 1599 Naresuan again tries to take Pegu, but fails.
    · Naresuan defeats the Mon en route to Pegu
    · The Burmese attempt to subjugate the Shan, but Naresuan sends troops to aid the Shan & Prince Hsenwi

    · Naresuan's sets off to join the Shan to battle the Burmese, but he becomes ill en route & supposedly returns to Wiang Haeng, where he dies from smallpox. The Shan however claim that he died died on the way in Mong Hang, now in Mongton township, opposite Chiangmai’s Chiang dao district, in 1605.
    · King Naresuan is much revered by the Shan people as the Thai leader supported them in their struggle for freedom against the Burmese.

    Naresuan is reputed to have fought on 29 different battle fields since the age of 20 years.
    There are numerous King Naresuan's shrines around the country - battle sites & camps - honoring him as a great warrior King.

    The Naresuan Shrine at Wat Fa Wiang In - Piang Luang.



    King Naresuan's Stupa in Muang Ngai on R1178


    Debate on Naresuan's death

    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  25. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    And there's a bit more in & around Wiang Haeng still to explore



    Enjoy. Wiang Haeng & Piang Luang are out of the way, but well worth visiting, as a day trip, over night trip, or en route to Pai off-road, or as part of the Chong Loop described by Rod Page
    The Chong Loop

    There's some GTR Golden Oldies pix of WIang haeng in 1992 here
    Doi Ang Khang - Arunothai - Wiang Haeng - Pai
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  26. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    All fascinating indeed. Thanks for doing the research. So much to see and read about in the north, if you take the time to check things out. I think many of us enjoy riding so much, we often miss the points of interest.

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