Crusty Quinns from Perth - Xmas 2010

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Pounce, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. Stooopid F&#@%ing Falangs!

    First up, thanks for the help supplied here & in Chiang Mai by members of the forum in helping me sort of sort out a route. We had a basic plan, more or less stuck to it & had a fantastic time in LOS
    A bit more dirt would have been good, but maybe next time...

    You can download the Google Earth kml files HERE to see where we went each day. I've added some waypoints with short descriptions for a bit more detail. Open with GE, top left of the map, click on the spanner & slow it down for a time lapse of the route.


    Suited & Booted Morning of the off. Line up at the Boonthavon Hotel. Great rooms for only 300bht ($10) a night
    Lost on the first day Not lost, just consulting the map :)
    Mountain road between Chiang Dao & Muang Khong On our way to the first bit of dirt in Muang Khong. These narrow winding concrete roads can throw up a few surprises when damp.
    Creek crossing between Muang Khong & Wieng Haeng I mapped out this road before leaving. It looked good but was better than expected, until...
    River crossing that beat us between Muang Khong & Wieng Haeng ...we came to this bridge. A local told us not to cross it. There's a crossing under it but it's too deep. He says (gestures) there's one a bit further along.
    River crossing that beat us between Muang Khong & Wieng Haeng This one looks a bit deep too. There's been above average rainfall this year so it's running higher than normal. I wade out to the middle but it's up to my knees with a deeper bit to come.
    Do we go across or go back. There were another 4 crossings of the same river. It was getting late and we decided to go back and try to come in from the other way the next day.
    River crossing that beat us between Muang Khong & Wieng Haeng As it's about 3pm, this road goes for about another 30klm's & we don't know what's past this & not being equipped to spend the night outdoors, we decide to backtrack back to Chiang Dao for the night & tackle it from the Wiang Haeng side tomorrow.

    The road to Fang
    The first army check point
    Same river that beat us yesterday going the other way at Wieng Haeng Well, we get to Wiang Haeng, find the road going the other way & about 5 klm's along it, we're stymied again by the bloody river. No bridge at all (it's been washed away) & its up to the girls (in the pic) fanny deep. She waded across to show us.
    The boys with some locals laughing at them at the river
    The same river that beat us on the previous day beats us again Jeff was the only one wanting to carry the bikes over, but with a lot more crossing along the road, we decided against it, this time. I may go back one day to conquer it.
    Look closely, the road just keeps winding up the mountain. Not all was dirt. Northern Thailand has some of the best winding mountain roads in the world. You'ld be amazed at how far over you can lean a KLX250 with knobbies on it before it wants to slide out from under you.
    Burma is on the other side of that hill. Apart from the mornings dirt escapade, the rest o the trip was gorgeous winding mountain roads. We took a wrong turn & ended up at a Burma border crossing so we had to do a quick retrack to find the right road. (1178)
    Another army check point

    Today was a tourist day around the town of Fang
    Mmmmmmmm... breakfast
    Mmmmmmmm... Chillis Markets for breakfast
    Who's that geyser? Fang Hot Springs
    Who ate all the pies... Giant arsed Buddha on a hill

    I hoped today we would find some good dirt, & wasn't disappointed. We leave Fang & head up towards the Lahu Hill tribe village where we spent their New Year last time
    Steep hill somewhere
    One of the mint trails
    Lahu Hilltribe village outside Fang
    Follow the sun
    Another army check point We're trying to find our way north to the great road that runs along the border of Burma. Must learn a bit more Thai before trying to ask directions.
    Single trail through Bamboo
    Single trail through Bamboo
    Beaten by bamboo on an offshoot trail we explored
    Beaten by bamboo on an offshoot trail we explored
    The trail leading back We take a couple of side tracks for a look but get beaten this time by bamboo & a gate
    We've lost Mike
    Mike has a flat. We have tubes but no pump.
    Mike gets a flat
    Mike gets a flat We lost Mike so I backtrack & find he has a flat. The hire company gave us spare tubes but none of us thought about taking a pump. According to my GPS, there's a village 2klm's u the road, so Mick & Jeff take the wheel hoping they have a pump.
    Flat tyre & pump
    Flat tyre & pump While there, the guys cunningly arrange for the villagers to supply us lunch.
    Now its lunch time
    Friendly village that supplied pump, and lunch.
    Friendly village that supplied pump, and lunch. One young guy spoke limited English, which helped. The supplied us with a soup, ommlette & fresh brewed tea (they grow it) We thank them, pay for the meal then blindly head northish again trying to find the road. We come across it eventually & head onto Doi Mae Salong for the night.
    My hotel room for $10. No one would share, they went upmarket.
    My hotel room toilet Where no one wanted to share my Luxury Hotel Room They all settled for something more upmarket.
    Dinner in Doi Mae Salong Xmas Eve dinner

    Xmas Day
    Xmas day see us heading up into the hills to find a back road from Doi Mae Salong through to Thoed Thai
    New trail from Mae Salong to Thoed Thai
    New trail from Mae Salong to Thoed Thai
    New trail from Mae Salong to Thoed Thai that kept getting narrower The track I had found on Google earth looked like a semi wide trail. When we actually got there, it has overgrown & in places totally dissapeared.
    A gate that was made to be opened this time.
    The trail has gone, Mick falls over & we needed to turn left somewhere here. Going down a very steep bit where the trail has gone, Mick hits a hole & topples over. If he'ld have done that a bit earlier, he would have gone down the mountain. The track was tyre wide with a steep drop either side & very hard to follow.
    We finally come out on the side of a hill onto a walking path. Who said we're lost? Mike nearly goes over the edge.
    We finally come out on the side of a hill onto a walking path. Jeff takes the low side.
    Was more challenging than it looks
    I reckon we should go left here. The boys have a bit of trouble when we finally emerge from the scrub onto a walking path that the local use to plant their crops on the side of the mountain.
    See that track on the right...
    ...well that looks like the best option There are track going in every direction, so we pick what looks like the most used.
    Yay, back onto a main track. Mae Salong Enduro arrows are on the poles & trees. Where we finaly come out on a sort of main track. This has DMS enduro arrows posted on trees & poles so we follow it into Thoed Thai.
    Christmas Lunch at Restaurant Ting Ting in Thoed Thai
    This gorgeous girl was our waitress & had a laugh with us.
    She just loved looking through our photos. Our waitress for our Xmas Lunch. We take over the retaurant Ting Ting. She was a delightful girl that was very entusiastic to help us. She loved getting her pic taken & looking through our photos
    Beats glazed ham & stuffed turkey any day. Still don't know what it was though. One of, if not the best Xmas lunch I have ever had.
    Looking into the Thailand valley from one the Burma border roads we traversed Well fed & happy, we head onto Mae Sai on the Burma border over some great mountain roads along the border.
    Our rooms in Mae Sai.
    Our host, Nuan. She was so helpful. Arranged taxis, fed us, the lot. I fell in love. We pull up at the hotel in Mae Sai, but there's no room at the Inn. (sound familiar?) We hop back on the bikes & start looking for somewhere else, when this lady runs out to us & asks if we need some rooms. Follow that arse! Nuan turned out to have some new rooms, cheap but only 3 of us had our own bathroom. She turned out to be extremely helpful.
    Christmas day markets in Mae Sai
    Crickets, grubs & cicadas. We hit the town for dinner & a look through the markets. All in, today was the best riding off the whole trip in my opinion.

    Boxing Day
    Today we would cross the border into Burma to do some tourist stuff.
    Myanma (Burma) Border
    Markets in Tachilek, Burma.
    Markets in Tachilek, Burma. Monkey skulls, dried penis of some animal. All sorts of weird shite.
    There are all sorts of things to buy in the Myanma (Burma) markets The markets in Teckilek, where you can buy all sorts of everything. "Viagra, you buy Cialis, 10 Bhat, 10 Bhat!"
    City of the Golden Triangle
    Monks doing their thing in Burma
    Our ride in Burma Our ride for the day.
    Yeah, we needed the guidance
    Release the Sparrows!
    Release the Sparrows! We all try to increase our Karma.
    Longer Neck hill tribe
    Long Neck
    Long Neck

    Longer Neck hill tribe Damn Tourists!

    Today, we decide to head east following he Mekong & see where we end up.
    Golden Triangle museum The Hall of Opium. Not a bad museum on the history of the opium trade just before you get into Sop Ruak
    The Golden Triangle. Burma to the west Lao to the right and we are in Thailand
    Looking into Burma on left, Laos on right from Thailand. That's the Mighty Mekong River.
    The crew The Mekong at the Golden Triangle. Where Thailand borders with Laos & Burma. We do the tourist bit then decide it's a bit early & quiet here to stay the night so we push on through to Chiang Khong We find a hotel, or Noi the day manager finds us really. It's the Green Inn, which has great rooms for 500bht a night.
    A barge on the Mekong
    Group Shot from the Mekong
    Cruising the Mekong
    Meekong river
    More from the Mekong Scenes of the river at Chiang Khong

    Today, we ask Noi if he can organise a boat for us so we can spend a few hours just cruising down the Mekong having a few beers.
    Cruising the Mekong
    We had Leo on the Meekong
    On the Meekong
    Cruising the Mekong
    Meekong river
    On the Meekong
    Building a road in Laos, by hand! We end up getting our boat driver half pissed, not realising that he's the guy on night shift at the hotel who will be trying to stay awake all night guarding our bikes that are parked on the street.

    Not a good night! I wake about 2am feeling a bit crook. I go for a crap & while that's pouring out I vomit into the sink. Up a few more times during the night too. I start taking all the pills I have trying to get myself sorted & wake up in the morning feeling great, just tired. Get downstairs & here that Mike & Jeff have been doing the same, but they're still sick as. I get to a pharmacy & get some anti biotics which sort of help the other two out, but not much. Today we'll cover a few klm's as we head from the Laos border all the way back to the Burma border crossing the country.
    Mike & Jeff dying We need to stop for a bit as they are pretty crook.
    Pounce sleeping while Mike & Jeff die I have a bit of a snooze in Chiang Rai waiting for the sick guys to rest again.
    One of many Creeks we crossed
    Traffic Jam on the trail
    A refresh stop
    A refresh stop
    The trail
    The trail
    C'mon chicken shit, just cross it. Once we leave Chiang Rai, we follow the Mae Kok river back to Tha Ton. This track is a brilliant trail for an of road bike in parts. We get to Tha Ton & get a really dodgy guesthouse on the river for the night. I had a VIP room (which was really crap) so I hate to think what the other guy's were like.

    Today, our only plan is to do the border road between here & Fang. We did it last year so thought the guys would enjoy it as it takes us up the second highest peak in Thailand. We do backtrack a little from our route on Xmas Eve, but it's all good. For those there that have trouble getting through the checkpoint, just tell the you're gong bird watching.
    Border of Burma & Thialand
    Love it!
    Love it!
    That's Burma over there. We're at 2,113 meters. Mt Kosciusko is only 2,228m
    That's Burma over there. We're at 2,113 meters. Mt Kosciusko is only 2,228m Just before the washout, my GPS reads 2113m, just shy of Mt Kosciusko here in Australia.
    That's Burma over there. We're at 2,113 meters. Mt Kosciusko is only 2,228m
    Look out, there's no road here.
    Look out, there's no road here.
    Look out, there's no road here. The washout is still passable, but care is still needed.
    Last year this was Burma When we came through here last year, this camp was controlled by the Shan State soldiers. Now it's a Thai Army base.
    Stuuuupid Falang!! An army soldier came running over and told us to get off the helli pad we were parked on
    Not lost working out where we are going to stay that night & which way we are going to get there.
    Todd thinks he has found Heaven. We head on down & decide to have a break above the reservoir. DON'T PARK ON THE HELIPAD! Stoopid foreigners. We get shouted at & shooed away by some soldiers. Where to now? It's still early so we decide to push through to Mae Kachan & stop at the Cabbages & Condoms Inn for the night.

    31-12-10 New Years Eve
    We're heading back to Chiang Mai today. I get a small tear in my eye at breakfast as I realise that these last 10 days have gone too quickly. There's some last dirt roads/tracks to try on the way though. We head down through Mae Kachan & go east towards Chiang Mai.
    Last leg of the journey. Day 11 on the bikes.
    Last day on our way back to Chiang Mia
    Last leg of the journey. Day 11 on the bikes.
    Last day on our way back to Chiang Mia
    Last leg of the journey. Day 11 on the bikes.
    Last day on our way back to Chiang Mia
    Last leg of the journey. Day 11 on the bikes.
    Last leg of the journey. Day 11 on the bikes.
    Last leg of the journey. Day 11 on the bikes.
    Last day on our way back to Chiang Mia This slippery little blit caught us all by surprise
    My GPS said these roads are "Not for the faint hearted" Bollocks! They are an easy ride with brilliant scenery. I was hoping to head through to Long Kord via these dirt roads, but took a left somewhere when we should have gone right & ended up coming out on the 118 instead of the 1001.

    Slick front tyre. Wonderful in the dirt! NOT
    My front tyre, which wasn't great to start with after 1600klms in 11 days.
    We get back to Chiang Mai around lunchtime, get sorted, showered, shaved ready for a big night to see in the new year.
    I couldn't have done this trip without the help, laughs, stories, friendship, & everything else the other 4 provided. Thank you.
  2. Cheers Mark,

    We called into the Phu Manee in Fang hotel looking for rooms but they were full. Yok wasn't there but we had a beer with her brother. He mentioned the home stay was working well. They are also growing coffee now & had just harvested their first crop of rice.
    Leaving the village up to Doi Pha Hom Pbok, I think we took a wrong fork. If you look on the GPS tracks I posted, under the clouds there's a waypoint where I think if we'ld have gone left instead of right, we would have found it. But then we would have missed that great little bamboo overgrown track, the flat tyre & getting lunch with the villagers so it all works out well anyway. It's all good regardless of where you end up going.
    Yeah, the track from DMS to TT was great, you should do it. Look hard at Google Earth first & plot some waypoints to head to as the track does literally dissapear in places with steep drops both sides. Again, look at the GPS tracks & where I marked where Mick fell over, there should be a track going left around the mountain to TT. We missed it as it was extremely overgrown, but again it worked out good as we would have missed that walking track around he fields on the hills.
    Next year? I'm already getting questioned from other friends I ride with here about another trip so it may be on the cards.
  3. Nice report. Thanks. I missed this one when I was in Laos for a month Dec - Jan.
    Good to see you keeping an eye on the GT Rider forum too.
  4. G'day Pounce,

    Appreciated your adding to the post concerning the route around the face of Doi Phahompok; you guys certainly had a great hit-out.

    I recognised several of the tracks you took. Herewith a couple of shots that you'll recognise correspond to spots you photographed on the run between Mae Salong & Thoed Thai:



    Several of us tried unsuccessfully to download the exact details of the tracks you took using the "Google Earth kml files" you proposed. Any chance you could re-post these in some other format so that we coulld access them whilst re-readiingg your report? The info would be invaluable.
    Cheers mate.
  5. Ponce mate,
    We've had another go but still no luck.....can you open the file, copy it & then attach it to your post?
    Cheers mate
  6. Call me Ponce again & you'll get nothing :)

    What trouble are you having?
    If you can download it, you'll need WinRAR to open the file, (free here) there's 6 or 8 files all zipped together
  7. Sorry mate, typographical error (typical of east coasters).
    I'll download WinRAR now & keep you posted.
  8. Its PC Rod. Wont work on a mac me thinks.
  9. nice report man...
    i also stay at the same guesthouse in Mae Sai.
  10. Did you get it working Rod & was it of any help?

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