Doi Pha Tang - a meander. Chiang Mai - Chiang Kham - Chiang Khong return.

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, May 14, 2013.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Inspired by both Ian Yonok's post on Pha Tang & Phu Chi Fah

    Phu Chee Fah after the haze

    and Hell Bobs Pix

    North Thailand, 4000km Motorbike Round Trip 2013

    a weekend explorer was called for.

    The Riders:

    Brian Bkk on his Versys.

    Moto-Rex on his trusty indestructible KLX250.

    David Unk on what he could get his hands on. The Versys was still off the road waiting for parts & it was time to rent 'n ride a new Honda 500x from Mr Mechanic.

    Moto-Rex was off to Laos on his KLX250, agreed to meet us in Chiang Kham for the night & set off a bit earlier as he would be travelling a bit slower. But we reckoned we would soon catch up & ride on into Chiang Kham together.
    That was not to be, due to a little spill I took going down R118 about 5 kms south of the Mae Kachan hot springs.


    A full report on the spill is here

    Double ooops, GTR - David Unk goes down again.

    and if you want to know about the jacket & a recommended jacket go here
    What safety jackets are you wearing?

    We lost 40 minutes due to the spill. At the PTT Amazon in Mae Kachan it was a welcome coffee & breakfast break. It poured with rain whilst here & a solo Beijing BMW GS800 rider came in for a coffee & bite to eat to shelter from the rain. A really cool guy - riding alone - & communicating via a dictionary on his phone. Now that's the spirit of adventure I thought.

    more to come...
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    After a lengthy coffee-brekky break t was time to move on.

    Wat Wiang Kalong on R120 was my next stop for a check up (looking for new info.)

    Wat Wiang Kalong has featured on GTR before in 2010

    Chiang Mai - Nan explorer ride.

    a wealthy meditation temple popular with women, it seems to have a bit of everything.





    and I'm still looking for some decent history of the temple.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    With time on our hands & Moto-Rex off in the distance closing in on Chiang Kham, we decided to check out Wat Analayo.
    A new destination for the man from Bangkok.

    Wat Analayo
    cracks a mention on GTR here too
    Chiang Mai - Nan explorer ride.

    It is a spectacular temple complex & well worth a look if you've never been
    A few happy snaps





    plus there's a super view of Phayao across the lake.

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Onto Chiang Kham for the night.
    Accommodation the Bouthong Resort.

    400 baht a night. Aircon. Hot water. Quiet.Clean. Undercover parking.




    Excellent value for money.

    Food & drink

    The food & service generally sucked.
    But the band kicked in & we still had a good night


    Day 1 was down & I'd been down. :p
    It was all good.
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Day 2
    A noodle soup brekky downtown Chiang Kham, & check out a couple of stunning temples for the Chiang Kham visitors.

    Wat Nantaram

    there's more on Wat Nantaram here on GTR report here
    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Go To Nan

    Wat San Mueng Ma



    If you're a history - culture buff, then the murals depicting Tai Lue history & migration in Wat San Meung Ma are sensational & well worth checking out.



    There's a lot more on the Chiang Kham temple here too
    Chiang Mai – Phayao - Chiang Khong – Chiang Rai Return
    & Chiang Kham has some stunners!
    Spend a night in Chiang Kham & check them out.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    All "cultured-out" then off it was onto R1093, another of the North's great winding motorcycle roads.
    First stop was Phu Sang waterfall


    after which I signalled Brian Bkk & Moto-Rex to slowly go on ahead & I would catch up in a few kms.
    I never did for a long time - they must have been enjoying themselves. Ha Ha.
    maybe I stopped for too many photos.

    R1093 the good stuff


    Cabbage central


    I finally caught up to the two leaders

    resting & enjoying the view.

    I had a special request, we double back to Lao U & the link up road to R1155.
    An sensational swooping road at the top R1093 end.



    Taking it easy for the camera

    note the eyes focussed on the camera too.

    I got some amazing shots here with the SEO guy in 2008
    A short GT Loop

    photo by the Kiwi Cruiser

    more coming..
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    After a run down & back on the Lao U - Pang Kha link up it was back on the R1093 to Pha Tang.
    But not before a quick drink stop in Lao U.
    We lingered longer here than anticipated on account of being befriended by a Hmong guy, speaking English & ex Long Chen. Air America days, in Laos.

    A seriously interesting character, I could have spent a few more hours talking to him; but the road Doi Pha Tang - our trip's mission beckoned.

    Coffee on Phu was a quick photo stop

    and doesn't Phu Coffee sound a bit like Civet or Elephant crap coffee??

    Further on up the road........Eureka......

    The Doi Pha Tang car park

  9. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Moderator Staff Member

    By the time we made it back to CNX.. 3 days, 800 km exactly! 1 bottle of Jack Daniels, 1 Bottle of Jameson.
    Plus two new GT-Rider shirts purchased from Mr Mechanic :)

    Interesting to compare the pic taken in 2008

    With the pic from our trip

    You can see how the road has deteriorated since 2008.. At the top is rough concrete.

    I needed to do a u-turn so David could take some pics of us riding back down...
    As I was riding along, thought this looks flat enough (when you look in the distance you can see no way it is, far too steep.)

    Started my u-turn.. Next, went to put my left foot down.. Stomp, stomp, stomp, pushing the mighty Versys back on tippy toes..
    So so very close to dropping it in the middle of the road.. I was already hanging off the other side in case I had to jump off the other side up hill.

    That would have made David's slide look rather spectacular compared to dropping the Versys in the middle of the road doing a silly u-turn on a hill.

  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    And before you all race off to do the Lao U R1093 - R1155 link it should be noted that the road surface at the west R1155 end is bad asphalt.
    The rain has washed a lot of the asphalt away, especially on all the tight switch back corners & the road is covered in loose metal / gravel.
    All ok on a chook chaser, but not very enjoyable on a regular road bike.

    The only good stuff, & where the best photos are, is at the top R1155 end on the ridge line at "towards the start."

    And I reckon the Lao U road at the R1093 end is steeper than the Phu Chi Fah road .



    Please yourself & you all take care.
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Onward.......and a hike.

    Doi Pha Tang



    getting to the car park is the easy bit, & then you've gotta walk - hike.


    & is it worth the hike?



    that's the Mekong in the background.



    The cliff-top gap




    Hill 102 - what "you're" standing on.


    and that's hill 103 & "Doi Pha Tang proper" in the background.



    Yep it's well worth the hike.

    Time to ring the bell atop the peak.

    I'm glad I made the effort. Thanks for cheering me on Brian.
  12. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Moderator Staff Member

    Rather than starting a new trip report.. Agreed with David to append my pics with his report.

    Good job climbing up that bloody mountain.. It was a hike and hot.. Many a younger man would not have made it ;-)

    So.. finish work and express taxi to the hotel, drop gear and drinks with Rex and David at the Kafe. 30 mins from airport to first JD and Soda.


    We ended up with quite a good bunch of GT-Riders that night.. Not all of them in this pic.

    We met this guy from Beijing.. Nice guy, all communication via hand held dictionary.

    He was very happy with his GT-Rider stickers






    We stayed in a small town for the night. David posted a few pics.. But have to share the evening and how it unfolded.
    Live band, car park full, every one smashed.. midnight the music stops.
    There was an Ambulance, Body Snatcher pickup and other emergency services parked in the car park..
    They stagger out and drive off.. Ambulance with lights flashing..
    Made me think of country Australia not that many years ago.. where everyone knows everyone and does what they like...


    David making the climb up to the summit..




    Moto-Sex leaning the KLX over.



    The trenches at the top.

    David standing at the top, me standing in the trenches to take this pic.

    To be continued when David has posted the rest of his pics and report.

  13. Changnoi1

    Changnoi1 Ol'Timer

    Great and informative trip report, although I have been in the area 2 times I know now that I missed some good spots.

    Did somebody made a KML file of the trip?

    Chang Noi
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A few piccies....

    Lunch at Doi Pha Tang

    scrumptious noodles + lousy 3-in-1 coffee. Oh well you can't win them all.

    The hill 102 trail

    the way to go for a stupendous view

    The views


    The general, commanding the photographer for another pic.


    but the panoramic views are so breathtaking for 360 degrees, you could get carried away taking photos.

    And we did. Ha Ha.

    In the trenches


    Time for some resonance,

    another dong on the bell.

    and a little bit of what you should know.


    a little bit more will come....:lol-sign:
  15. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Moderator Staff Member

    5555 great stuff.. such a fun trip..

    What is Rex doing here?

    This needs a closer look....

    Here is the gpx track Chiang Noi.

    (Doi Pha Tang - a meander. Chiang Mai - Chiang Kham - Chiang Khong & return)

    Going to Chiang Kong

    Returning to CNX - direct way with a couple of temples along the way.

    To Chiang Khong
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Doi Pha Tang some info

  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Arh yes, finally found it........the missing history link for Doi Pha Tang.

    Some of the KMT moved onto the Thai-Lao border area in 1961 after being defeated in Burma.

    However they soon came into conflict with Communist Party of Thailand organizers , mainly Hmong, working in the area. The KMT were portrayed as armed foreigners violating Thai sovereignty & oppressing locals.

    In 1963 the bulk of the KMT soldiers were ordered out & moved to Doi Ang Khan; however a few remained.

    In 1965 the killing of a Hmong village headman in Thoen district, led to the remaining KMT being forcibly moved out to Fang district.

    Over the next few years the communist influence in the area increased significantly, such that in early 1971, the 3rd KMT army was ordered by the Thai PM of the day - Thanom - to move to & settle on Doi Pha Tang.
    There were 400 KMT troops involved - 200 from Tham Ngop & 200 from Doi Mae Salong.

    A battle ensued between the KMT & communist along the ridge line for control of the mountain peaks.

    The battles lasted for several weeks, with 80 KMT soldiers killed.

    Eventually the KMT were victorious & in May 1971 the KMT were settled in Do Pha Tang on the Doi Pha Mon ridgeline.

    The trenches atop hill 102, Doi Pha Tang "Noi" are for real.


    savor the walk & enjoy the history.


    Doi Pha Tang is worth it. :thumbup:
  18. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Moderator Staff Member

    After Doi Pha Tang it was off to Chiang Khong and Tamilla Guest House.

    But not with out stopping along the way.. Rob's and my favourite spot along this stretch of the Mekong.


    GT-Rider sticker to mark the way


    Early morning coffee looking over to Houi Xai.

    Then a ride out to the new unfinished bridge where we had a little ride on.

    The three of us.. David, Rex and me taking the pic..

    We rode down to the next junction and said farewell to Rexy and headed back to Chiang Mai.

    A ripper trip with great company and great mates.

  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Just got an email from "Mike" the Chinese rider on the 800. He's safe 'n sound back home in China.
    Thanks for checking in Mike.

    Another couple of pix of our meeting.




  20. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Moderator

    This was really an enjoyable 3 day ride that had a bit of everything, and was it was great to catch up with Davidfl and BrianBKK after being stuck in oz for a few months.

    As David said, I left Chiang Mai a early, seeing it was a road ride to Chiang Kham, and the KLX would have been struggling to keep up with the roadies.

    First stop was at the view point on hwy 120.

    Just the snack for those who are watching there cholesterol levels. Brontosaurus ribs?

    We had a good night of beer, good food and music in Chiang Kham, which is a great little town.

    Next morning we had a look at couple of temples before heading of to Chiang Khong via Doi Pha Tang.


    Young monks getting on with there cleaning duties.


    We stopped at the Phu Sang Waterfull for a drink.

    Its a really nice spot here.




    Back on the road after the stop, and the scenery was stunning.

    Brian on the tight and twisty hwy 1093.




    David getting a photo with a local.

    And having a laugh as well.

    We stopped to take a few photos before riding on to Chiang Khong for a relaxing night of merry mayhem.


    Next morning it was out to see the new bridge.


    View from the bridge looking down to the uncompleted Customs and immigration building.

    Brian on the new bridge with the Mekong and Laos in the back ground.

    And the Golden Triangle rider, riding out on to the bridge for a photo.

    We headed off the bridge, and said our goodbyes, as David and Brian were continuing on to Chiang Mai, and I was off to Laos.


    All in all, it was a great few days riding, just taking it easy, taking in the scenery of this amazing area, and having a few beers, with a couple of blokes that get what its all about.

  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Just spotted some pix on facebook of how bad the Lao U road is

    photo credit: Arttachot Mongkhontawee

    More images here: Log In or Sign Up to View
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  22. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    n the road for a few days with Destination Thailand TV for a quick run around the top end & up to Doi Pha Tang.

    First up was Ian Yonok's Wiang Yonok Resort & a look at some classic bikes




    Next stop the GT for a few ceremonial snaps


    & the Golden Triangle was certainly looking good with the river up.


    & there's a big new Buddha up on the hill overlooking the Golden Triangle


    The original master plan was to be in Chiang Khong for the night, but true to form with filming you're always falling behind schedule.

    So Chiang Saen it was.

    Looking for some place convenient to stay we picked up on the Nam Phueng 2 Place.



    The rooms are all different colours & part of the experience


    500 baht a night & good value for money.
    More info here:

    The next morning at 6.30AM while the lads were still in bed Les & I checked out the old city ruins & moat in light rain. Grrh.

    300992=20300-IMG_2254.jpg 300992=20301-IMG_2257.JPG






    more to come.
  23. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Finished filming early morning it was time for brekky. The Mong Doo Nam was where I wanted to go but they were slow opening up so we cruised town looking for some coffee.

    Enter the Le Coffee Cafe
    a gem of a spot with some superb Hilkoff Coffee

    plus a bubbly wonderful friendly owner

    into the second cups of coffee we were asked if we wanted breakfast, because we have breakfast too.
    only a so so brekky, but atmosphere, service plus outstanding coffee make this place a winner.

    IMG_4962. Le Coffee - Chiang Saen - breakfast

    GTR-IMG_2269. Le Coffee - Chiang Saen - breakfast

    Check it out sometime.
    Chiang Saen Restaurants

    & indeed I returned 3 days later for some more.


    There was an obligatory whistle stop in the Chiang Saen cargo ship port
    300999=20311-GTR-Chiang SaenB.jpg

    to check out the Chinese boats & activity



    From Chiang Saen it was onto R11219 & time to head to Chiang Khong.
    R1129 still has more road works, - into a 4-lane highway - going up over the hill from the Kok river bridge.
    Another few quick shots were taken at Wat Hua Kuan, which is a temple on a hillock with stunning views over the Mekong.
    Then up the hill towards Kiu Kan.
    Feeling thirsty it was time for a cuppa at Kuab Chua,
    Premium Tea
    organic tea plantation.


    The gardens here are 20 years old & pure organic.

    GTR-IMG_4906. Organic tea gardens


    Two lovely sisters run the place along with a Hmong husband.
    The 2 gals speak fluent English & can give a clear run down on the operation.

    More coming.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  24. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Cross the mountain ridge & there are spectacular views of the Mekong, road & valley below.
    (& the asphalt road is all chopped up to be in need of serious repairs.)

    The views

    GTR-IMG_4909. The view of the Mekong crossing the Kiu Khan ridgeline


    Further on up the road climbing beside the Mekong again.

    GTR-IMG_4913. Huai Sai Mann Viewpoint R1129

  25. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Chiang Khong city...

    First stop
    Jub Jang Lim handicraft Shop
    113 Soi 1 Baan Wat Keaw,
    Wiang. Chiang Khong.

    Previously mentioned on GTR Here:
    Chiang Mai – Phayao - Chiang Khong – Chiang Rai Return

    Jang's shop is a classic 80 year old Thai house

    GTR-img_8422. Jub Jang Lim Shop - Chiang Khong.

    with a collection of old traditional clothes & handicrafts - all collected by Jang on her travels in North Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar & Sulawesi.

    GTR-IMG_2294. Jub Jang Lim Shop - Chiang Khong.

    She only buys old pieces that are traditionally made for wearing or use, not new mass produced items for resale.

    GTR-DSC_0269. Jub Jang Lim Shop - Chiang Khong.

    GTR-IMG_2291. Jub Jang Lim Shop - Chiang Khong.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  26. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Chiang Khong has another cargo port like Chiang Saen, but a lot smaller.

    GTR-IMG_4935. Chiang Khong cargo port


    After a few celebratory Beer Lao Dam's Oddvar & Brian thought they'd have some fun riding the steps.



    I cringed severely for 15 minutes, expecting trouble, but fortunately not.

    Across the Mekong is the port of Houei Xai in Laos & late afternoon it can look absolutely glorious.

    GTR-IMG_4920. Houei Xai Laos viewed from Chiang Khong Thailand.

    GTR-IMG_4936. Houei Xai Laos viewed from Chiang Khong Thailand.

    GTR-IMG_4937. Houei Xai Laos viewed from Chiang Khong Thailand.

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