Elephant Trail - Chiang Mai to Mae Hing Son

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by ronwebb, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. This is not an attempt at a trip report but is intended to show some of the exceptional views (with rather ordinary photography I am afraid) riding the old elephant trail from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son. My son was in CNX for a couple of weeks and he wanted to take a ride somewhere interesting. Being as this was the beginning of January, I was keen to chose a route that would not be overloaded with madness of tourist bongo vans and the like. This seemed to be the most suitable and anyway I was keen to do this ride as it has been on my list of 'must do at sometime' rides.

    Plenty of people have taken this route to MHS but I have never seen photos of it and so I thought it would be worth posting to encourage others to savor the scenery.

    The first part of the journey takes you to Samoeng and then heading off to Wat Chan and on to MHS. Along the way the road surface just about covers everything from sealed roads, cement, brick, smooth fire trails and rutted dirt slopes.

    The journey of 220 kms took us the best part of 8 hours stopping for a leisurely lunch and a lot of photo and just taking in the scenery. In parts we did not see anyone for periods of up to two hours. A day very well spent.

    The photos give you an idea of the scenery....














    lunch at Wat Chan





    I would commend this to anyone who likes a bit of not too strenuous off road. The views certainly make it worth while.
  2. Ron,

    Good to see you out & about with the heir apparent. I know the Samoeng to Wat Chan leg well, actually spent several days in Wat Chan staying in a Karen village with a Japanese film crew making a documentary on ancient Karen music, & enjoy it greatly, but used to take the easy way out on a great piece of sealed road down to Pai.

    Half your luck!
  3. Great pics! So nice to be able to get out and ride with your boy!

    I agree wholeheartedly that the elephant trail offers stunning views, especially west of Ban Wat Chan.

    A couple snaps from about a year ago:

  4. I think you mean HAIR apparent Rod!
  5. Wow. Super weather shots.

    Where was this sala viewpoint?

  6. Not sure exactly but certainly before Wat Chan.
  7. Looks like the paving from Samoeng to Wat Chan has made it to the "viewpoint" sala to the east of Wat Chan. It also looks like there has been some serious regrading on the main section of the Elephant Trail west of Wat Chan. I last rode the trail two years ago and there was only one short really gnarly technical section remaining. But I think it remains one of the last great long off-pavement rides, and certainly one of the most scenic rides up north. Here is a photo of a minor road block me and riding buddy encountered about 25km west of Wat Chan.

  8. Ron, very inspiring fotos and a good report as always ! Something I wanted to do since years but never had a riding buddy for it, but soon with my partner. Wonder if it could be done with a streetbike too, of course in the dry or hot season. Nice views and i hope both and your son enjoyed it very much !!
  9. Liebe Franz,

    In the dry this ride is certainly doable on a street bike and I know a couple guys who have done it on Kawa 650's (a Versys and an ER6n).

    Reckon it wouldn't be a bad ride on a scooter either. Certainly put it on your short list and if ever you are looking for a riding buddy please do give me a call!!
  10. Franz, as with Tony, I would be delighted to accompany you on this little ride. It really is worth the effort but if I was to do it again, I would want to go west to east; ie MHS to CNX as apparently the views are even better that way.

    Tony, for me it would be tough on a Versys or 6n as some of the ups and downs are steep and rutted. I would find that a bit much but I am sure for the Weekend Warriors, a walk in the park!
  11. Ron/Tony, I need some more weeks to get better and ready for a long run (heavy medication still takes its toll, never had a car that had sooo many scratches done by myself) then I would love to try on the Tmax and my partner on the baby Ninja. Would be glad if you could join, what about doing it in both directions ? If I can stand it by then, then why not, never try, never know......5555555. Need to do also some road riding to just find out how much I can lean the Max in turns, with the DR650 coming back to Papa soon, I will be complete again at least end of May.......
  12. looks great ! thanks for sharing..so my understanding is,the off road part is starting from Wat Chan?
  13. I'll take this trail to wat chan from Mhs tomorrow morning.How many hours off roa d should i expect?
    I believe 3-5(?) going at average speed and ovviusly taking breaks/enjoy Landscape.Then is about 1 hr down to Pai..
  14. Hi Franz, I am also up for that ride once you are fit again, did it 4 years ago so would like to see how the trail is now.
  15. Hi Frank, will happen somewhere after th 9th of May, will post planned date when I leave from CNX for MHS soon. Might try on the Tmax or the DR650 in SM setup. Cheers, Franz
  16. Ok cool. Interesting to see the DR back with you, the Dutch guy did not like it anymore?

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