Epic Northern Thailand Dirt Tour! 5 days and 1200km of offroad fun!

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by TonyBKK, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    We ride on and pass something that looks like a National Park building on beautifully landscaped grounds-
    SAM_8722_zps54bec049.jpg

    We encounter a bamboo gate-
    SAM_8726_zpse0fabc9e.

    No lock, no sign, what the heck, let's proceed!


    Here comes Trent-


    And so begins one of the best rides yet!


    This trail is in great shape and passes through a beautifully kept forest and goes on for miles and miles!


    Some cool log bridges along the way-
    SAM_8728_zpsa4122608.

    SAM_8733_zpscfcf720b.

    After a long ride we finally reach a gate-
    SAM_8737_zps490133da.

    Jake tries to collect exorbitant farang entry price mwink.gif
    SAM_8738_zps43371ff6.

    Check out that monster bamboo in the background-
    SAM_8739_zpsfb8178b1.

    Who can read Thai and tell me where we were? deal.gif
    SAM_8741_zps4e3c17d5.jpg

    A little further we reach a paved road and as always happens, a local rocks up and asks us where we're going icon10.gif
    SAM_8742_zpsc35df7fb.

    Super nice dude who spoke a bit of English and could actually read a map (which is kind of rare in these parts)
    SAM_8743_zps18c5807f.

    He pointed us in the direction of the 1263 and we rode a little ways when we encountered this merry bunch-
    SAM_8747_zps7feda8cb.

    These guys were drinking moonshine and were crazy friendly and really wanted us to come party with them. Tempting, but we still had a fair distance to go. We hadn't really decided where we were going as we weren't sure how much distance we would cover. It was a toss up between Khun Yuam to the southwest, or Mae Chaem to the southeast. Since we were making good time we decided to push on to Mae Chaem.

    It's a long descent down the mountain to reach the 1263-
    SAM_8750_zps960548e7.

    Jake was getting artsy with his camera naughty.gif
    SAM_8752_zpsb0e6bf7a.

    This area is famous for its fields of sunflowers that peak around November. Not many in bloom now, but still a beautiful spot. We stop at a deserted viewpoint and Jake decides to see how the KLX performs as a trials bike naughty.gif
    SAM_8756_zps99281075.

    Going down is easy, getting back up, less so, but he made it!
    SAM_8761_zpsb507c6d4.
     
  2. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

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    Epic ride report Tony! :clap:
    Bloody funny writing - great vids and pix and good info as well.
    Appreciate the time and work you put in to this.
    Cheers
    Rhodie
     
  3. Billy Baht

    Billy Baht Ol'Timer

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    Great stuff!

    Did you have to drain your fuel tank before shipping?

    Any scratches or damages during transit? Would you transport you road bike this way?

    I love taking the night train to Chiang Mai :)

    Billy
     
  4. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Hi Billy!

    Nope, no need to drain fuel, but I did show up with a nearly empty tank, just to make it easier on the guys who load the bikes-
    AF84802A-2924-41ED-B7C6-F8864D17F574-4910-00000554B09D4656_zps1ee22c79.

    I'm just amazed that they don't have a ramp?!
    A2FB34D2-A089-4543-B961-AF6C2F6E5EB2-4910-00000554D83DDC34_zps66ae4b99.

    No big deal for a ~140kg KLX, but they must really get a workout when guys show up with 200+Kg road bikes!

    I didn't notice any damage to my bike, but it's already beat to hell so not something I was very concerned about-
    3E3C33BC-9BD7-47AC-91A1-B4CF99D13BA7-4910-00000554E3B76577_zpsce955782.

    Would I put a road bike on the train? No, because I'd much rather RIDE it to my destination. Riding the KLX on the road with full offroad knobbies is not my idea of fun, so that's why I put it on the train. That said, I have friends who have sent their road bikes on the train and I don't believe they ever suffered any damage. I did hear a story once (maybe on this forum?) that while off-loading some big BMW GS bikes in Chiang Mai the porters dropped one and caused a lot of damage...

    The train was good fun, but crazy slow. I can ride BKK-CM in ~6 hours no sweat, the train ended up taking 19 hours!! >.<
     
  5. HTWoodson

    HTWoodson Ol'Timer

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    Great ride report, I wish I was with you guys! Looking forward to reading the rest.
     
  6. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    We ride south on the 4009 which is a ripper of a road with amazing views!


    During November-December these hills are covered in sunflowers and all the abandoned roadside "resorts" you see are full of sightseers.

    Here are some videos I took at the deserted viewpoint where Jake was messing about on his KLX-


    This guy can never say no to a dare. Going down was easy, getting back up, less so lol8.gif


    But he made it, no drama naughty.gif
     
  7. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    We stopped in a small village at the base of the mountain for fuel and refreshments-
    SAM_8766_zps9ed96055.

    It was getting a bit late and we still had a fair way to go to reach Mae Chaem, so we decided to continue on pavement for a while, riding east on the 1263, which is a really fun road-


    Interesting to note that a few months ago folks at the Mae Hong Song Music Fesitval reported that the 1263 was in really poor condition, but as you can see in the video above, it's been repaired and repaved and was mostly in very good shape, but still a fair bit of gravel to be aware of.

    Instead of following the main road to Mae Chaem (1263 to 1088) we turned south onto a track that followed the Mae Chaem river and passed through the small villages of Na Hong, Na Hong Tai and Sop Chok. Good stuff!
    DirtTrack1263_MaeChaem_zps1df29c88.

    Right by the turn off were huge mountains of chaff from the corn that had been harvested and processed. I rode in pretty deep and got good and stuck, then Jake comes in and knocks me over. friday.gif
    414FCB88-C58A-439E-B63B-99EE41ECD077-4910-0000055B6564A5AD_zpscd4e423f.

    My bike pisses fuel when its on it's side and we were lying in a tinder box. Saw a puff of smoke and decided it was time to get the hell out of there! eekers.gif


    Heading south the first few km are paved, then it changes to dirt and travels through forests and farms and crosses several tributaries as it meanders along the Mae Chaem river-

    704163_10151185455801567_1483345171_o_zpsc31d2e92.

    385340_10151185459176567_1007762385_n_zpsaf43b6ec.

     
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    I'm still amazed how lucky we were to find such great tracks to ride! This had certainly been a full day, and the ride into Mae Chaem on the dirt road that follows the river was a great way to end this days riding-


    We rolled in to Mae Chaem around ~5 and pulled in to the first resort we saw-
    99D53021-8AE4-4702-9CA5-66ECD69B8FE5-4910-000005570CA3A379_zpsbb7ac4a5.

    The "huts" at the Mae Chaem Hotel and Resort are very basic, but clean, and the staff are very friendly. I think these cost 500 baht?
    8AE5C253-DD5A-43AE-9EDB-EF3E632B9E0F-4910-00000557033FA58E_zpsdb506823.

    First order of business- Beers!!
    B1A38D0A-C11B-4DC4-89E9-6856718EA451-4910-00000556EAEF468A_zpsf971c5ba.

    Fantastic day! We've still got dirt on our faces! Cheers!! clap.gif
    SAM_8786_zpsf51bde68.

    Jake was checking the GT Rider map to try and figure out where we'd ridden today and where we might go tomorrow-
    99B08A3B-A88E-4029-89D6-4A8F8A2E601D-4910-00000556E0A4AD66_zpsc419d52e.

    The resort has a huge pool! Behind me you can see Doi Inthanon, the tallest mountain in Thailand and the "Roof of Siam"-
    photo_1_zpsa116094b.
    The pool was FREEZING!!! eekers.gif Felt good after a long day in the saddle though! naughty.gif

    We hooked up with West and Darryl at a restaurant right in front of the resort- they had ridden from Chiang Mai, West on his KTM 690 and Darryl on his Suzuki DRz400-
    E4D2931D-39F1-4212-B7EC-E5A72DE1C8A2-4910-0000055716391F19_zps6f286c39.

    Stayed there until the sun went down at which point the temperature dropped quickly.
    SAM_8787_zps399fe41e.

    I can't remember the name of the restaurant but the food wasn't half bad-
    photo_3_zps09afd037.

    It's run by a Thai lady and her English husband. He told us he'd open early for us the next morning so that we could get a proper English breakfast DukeGirl.gif:

    It was really getting cold and no one had warm clothes so we all called it an early night and retreated to the relative warmth of our bungalows.
     
  9. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Good morning from Mae Chaem, Thailand!

    Bloody cold this morning!!
    SAM_8789_zpsb2067296.

    I slept terribly because the blanket on my bed was way thin and I was too lazy to get up and double it...

    Even at 8am it was still only 14 C (about 57F) It was certainly a lot colder before the sun came up.
    FDEE7A0A-2730-4135-9F27-1B66EA9DC5A1-4910-0000055A6978527E_zps4ed1a483.

    I know that's not really all that cold, but when you've been living in the tropics for a while I think your blood gets thin. mwink.gif

    But hey, I shouldn't complain, I'd been having good luck with the pu$$y (cats) on this trip! lol8.gif
    SAM_8793_zpsc5b75ab8.

    Poor Jake was in a bad way... He'd been battling a stomach bug and now it seemed he had caught something like the flu on top of his original ailment... He had a fever, was hot to the touch, and a strange rash was migrating around on his body. I wanted him to go see a doctor, but he just wanted to get home. I was sorry to see him go, but understood he was in no shape for more back country riding.

    We all topped up at the PTT in Mae Chaem and then Jake headed south towards home while Trent and I headed north, then west in the general direction of Mae Sariang.
    SAM_8795_zpsdd99eec3.

    Another check of the GT-Rider map and Google Maps at the PTT- so many trails to choose from, we decided to start off by riding in the direction of Pang Hin Fon via Mae Tho National Park-
    AD1C1D65-F17F-4EDB-83E5-81AED44038C6-4910-000005572162E25E_zpsbfaabb9f.

    When Google Maps tells you it's going to take ~2 hours to go ~26km you know it's gonna be good!! clap.gif
     
  10. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    We cross the Mae Chaem river and are soon on a wonderful dirt track headed west with the sun at our backs-


    Doesn't take long before we're good and lost again, but we're loving it!! I figure no worries, as long we we keep heading more or less west we'll eventually hit the 108.
    B7A2723B-8E94-497E-ADF7-71EC6C5967C0-4910-0000055731439804_zps1cdc1e9b.



    We're only some ~20-30 minutes out of Mae Chaem and already we're in the sticks!
    F67703A2-1F5F-439E-97F0-8AA8FC130913-4910-0000055726E3FB34_zps2a86ead5.

    Continuing on we encounter hardly any people except for some cows and this one pickup truck.


    Cross a stream over a wooden bridge and reach a junction where I think maybe we should have turned left to get to Pang Hin Fon, but we went right. naughty.gif


    We get good and lost and we're loving it! :lolno:


    Ask some local farmers who are fixing a fence how to get to the main road and they kindly pointed us in the right direction-


    We climb up and up and eventually reach the summit of an unknown mountain and this is the amazing view looking west-
    774730_10151186828611567_1650718146_o_zps80ff9257.

    We can see the dirt road snaking off into the distance; it's dry and cool and I almost feel like I'm back in California, the peak to my right looks a lot like Mt Tamalpais-
    578593_10151186999561567_1249220156_n_zps328f8032.
     
  11. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    I'm still not sure of our route from Mae Chaem because we never did ride through Pang Hin Fon, but after playing with Google Maps for a while I think it went something like this-
    MaeChaem_MaeLaNoiMap_zpsa4d7dfb0.

    I'm guessing that the mountain in this picture might be Doi Thung Phi?
    774730_10151186828611567_1650718146_o_zps80ff9257.

    From here we were able to follow the dirt track shown on the GT-Rider map that went through the small villages of Mae Mu, Kok Luang, Mae Kong Pae, Mae Sao, etc, finally reaching Mae La Luang on the 108-
    4ef8036400aaf0a27ff90a3ee03e9040_zps3e57fcc3.

    We'd still get lost from time to time; being illiterate in Thai means that even when there is a sign we're still totally clueless icon10.gif
    31A2EA73-1402-4FB2-B337-7A34F8A48D0F-4910-000005576479FD16_zps52bd5702.

    No worries though, we'd always find a friendly local who would point us in the right direction-


    It was a great track and left us grinning from ear to ear! clap.gif

    Even though it's dry season we did find some fun water crossings (there is a wooden bridge, but what's the fun of that?!)
    12D42DAB-F509-41DF-9EFA-3E71016FBB21-4910-00000557CBA777BA_zps3c09a304.



    487266_10151186829836567_1193949671_n_zps0ff8ec07.

    Here's Trent amusing the locals and terrorizing some cows-


    And riding back the other way-


    One of my favorite pics icon10.gif
    74175_10151186831061567_468559117_n_zps6aab5d9b.
     
  12. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    In the early afternoon we were both thirsty and a bit hungry so we stopped in the small Hmong village of Hua La to relax a bit. Some damn cute kids here! This one gets my vote for dirtiest kid I've ever seen lol8.gif
    0037D691-C6FF-413D-9662-848D318582FE-4910-00000557EF431013_zpsa0d05469.
    Notice the cross? Love 'em or hate 'em, but I got the distinct impression during this tour that Christian missionaries are the only people who care about Thailand's hilltribe folk...

    This little dude just wouldn't stop smiling, then again, looks like he's grabbed a handful, so why shouldn't he icon10.gif
    398080_10151186833611567_423952757_n_zps8480405f.

    Another adorable Hmong kid-
    D2F29EDB-EC7D-4615-968C-D7D362F35F2E-4910-000005580C344F23_zps169202a4.

    Grandma and Grand-Daughter with Farang giant naughty.gif
    150912_10151187001341567_1363727366_n_zps18bbcb8c.
    Trent's not that tall. The Hmong are just small folk, but crazy strong. Dave says that the seven Hmong he hired to get his bike out of the jungle made quick and easy work of it and they got his heavy F800GS up the steep hill quicker than he could walk it!

    From Hua La the road is paved and drops down to Mae La Luang, with some amazing views along the way-
    42DC462E-84D3-4B47-A03A-CF11075D3902-4910-000005582D8AE63A_zps9c4b2a14.

    From Mae La Luang it's about 50km of pavement on the 108 to reach Mae Sariang. We stopped in Mae La Noi for fuel and I was playing with Google maps and sniffed out this awesome looking track-
    81619176-2ADE-44DF-8A59-C7F58107CA54-4910-000005585730791F_zps77b7127b.
    Too late to hit it today, but maybe tomorrow?

    The ride down to Mae Sariang was uneventful and we rocked up to the Mitaree Hotel to see if we could score a couple bungalows back in the "Garden House Resort". (The hotel is pretty dreadful, but the bungalows aren't half bad).
    33E090B9-3FF6-45A6-9D06-AE942C9B1125-4910-0000055871958B16_zps692e28b5.

    We were in luck and snagged the last two! 600 Baht a night-
    30A98842-3700-4A1A-A1DB-F4FE5AB75DFE-4910-000005587D6F664E_zps28406ce8.

    The rooms weren't quite ready yet so we walked across the road to a BBQ place we've been to before and enjoyed some cold beers and tasty bbq.

    There was a big Red Shirt political rally going on down the road so a lot of cops around, but they paid us no attention. After getting cleaned up and Trent had his second flop of the tour yelrotflmao.gif
    4D1F6BCC-7B00-455C-B6AB-FB4B9005B3F5-4910-0000055889DBB0AB_zpsc17921c1.
    He snatched the bike out of the bushes before I could snap a pic naughty.gif

    Bike and rider undamaged we rode around town looking for some nightspots but sadly, the two most hopping places, Krua Thai and Tukki on opposite sides of the bridge to Mae Sam Laep, have both gone out of business bncry.gif

    We ended up at another place called Sawasdee which wasn't bad. It reminded me a lot of the riverside restaurants in Van Vieng, Laos, and the fact they even had Beer Laos available further reinforced the sentiment friday.gif
     
  13. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Good morning from Mae Sariang, Thailand! Well rested and ready to ride! Brekkie at the North West Guest House because they were one of the only places open. Food not bad, service real slow, waitress a cutie but should try smiling some time...
    A6AE6685-CFBB-41C8-9781-1364146E6B6A-4910-00000558CB957D7B_zpsc0d67bd4.

    We topped up at the big PTT in town and hit the road! 108 east for 14km, then north towards Mae Um Pok-
    B280180E-0C57-4A35-B6CD-DE0BDA782E96-4910-00000558E9E30768_zpsa7ef9b80.

    It was kind of funny- when we busted out the GT Rider map the folks at all the other tables also pulled out the same map and we had a good time comparing routes, places visited, and places worth going. Seems the GT Rider map is the only good English language map for this part of Thailand.

    Once we turned north off the 108 the road starts off nicely paved, then gets rough and eventually turns to dirt road, then dirt track. Good stuff!
    NorthTowardsPapae_zpscb5615ae.

    55BFD011-0F59-4429-A73A-E809000D70C5-4910-00000558FEFF9B37_zps3840b450.
    I love hot springs, but that wasn't on the menu for today. Maybe next time!

    We stopped at an unmarked junction to try and figure out which way to go when a really nice guy rocked up on a scooter and greeted us in near perfect English. Turns out he's a teacher in a local school and graduate of Chiang Mai University. He told us we were almost at Mae Um Pok, looked at our bikes, and asked if we wanted to go the "normal" way or the "adventure" way.

    "Adventure!" of course!!

    He told us to hang a left towards Papae, and once there to ask someone to point us in the direction of the track to La Up. The track isn't on any map, but it's there!

    I love stuff like this! We got a little turned around in Papae itself, then spent the next couple hours trying to sniff out the track to La Up. It wasn't easy!

    58B7F357-ACF7-4F4F-A0B0-3CE293BC3320-4910-00000559106A9917_zpsc8187a78.

    We spent a lot of time riding down tracks that would either fade into the jungle or end at farms with rice paddies that would go down to the river, but no obvious way to cross the paddies or get across the river...


    There was no one about to ask for directions, so we just kept trying different tracks. I did a fair bit of hiking and was enjoying the search. Trent's not into hiking but was doing his best to be patient naughty.gif
    8D1D2075-EED1-4E90-8EF4-C76D25822386-4910-000005592EDBED12_zpsc7239e6b.

    AC865777-B8D0-4001-9C2E-B8060F02295F-4910-000005593FF20CDA_zps32c26955.

    Getting down was easy, getting back up, sometimes less so, but nothing we couldn't handle-
    47FC84CA-592A-4CE1-AB7F-BC9082F3D1C0-4910-000005598ED64BE8_zps67c8f08f.

    Woohoo! I found the missing link!! clap.gif
    B76CA067-B6D9-4E48-9EAD-A29A13F2D657-4910-0000055951B8F35F_zpsc53873ce.

    Cool little hand made bridge- made it across no drama, so went back to find Trent.
    8D16A1FF-46CD-4BDD-A70A-CE295F19DE45-4910-0000055974ED1D1D_zps988c4167.

    I'd reached this point by bushwhacking across a bunch of rice paddies and Trent wasn't keen to follow. Now that I'd found the bridge I was able to follow the trail back and found Trent. I told him this bridge and the cool track that led to it would make up for all the farking around naughty.gif

    Unfortunately I ran out of memory on my Contour camera the day before so no video of the track, which is a shame because it's the best single track we encountered the whole trip. Next time I'll bring extra memory cards!

    C407FD83-490A-4D19-A619-4A3BBF494564-4910-0000055981F58C80_zps3fcc349d.

    C70320C6-CE04-4A28-9342-B23D4CFCB01C-4910-00000559602808FE_zps6346af86.

    Here comes Trent!
    242BB7B6-CA70-499A-834A-F808DB4FD3F9-4910-00000559B005E6A5_zpsc67aff70.

    Looking back the way we came-
    888EE562-47E0-4BB9-A860-F34D61489939-4910-00000559A1A1F783_zpsdae1b20f.
     
  14. monty1412

    monty1412 Ol'Timer

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    Wow what a great trip and report... look so much fun and great adventure.. makes one want to jump on the KLX and get going ( iuts midnite here now so will refrain) great GT -Rider report, well done Tony...
     
  15. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    The single track eventually hooked up with a dirt trail that hooked up with a dirt road that brought us to the small mountain village of La Up and the paved route 1266/1270-
    A69CFF43-E83F-4655-AFD8-1CB1ED704359-4910-00000559DC1DB61D_zpsc837fafa.

    0F80D744-2EBF-4E57-8D1B-AA26AABD899D-4910-00000559D07D71BB_zpsf41156a9.

    We bought some pricey fuel in La Up and had some snacks and drinks at a little roadside shack.
    5FF1A362-6640-45CE-8343-133138C4D044-4910-00000559C2A7BE0B_zps4d1b565d.

    Returning to Mae Chaem we rode a bit of pavement north-east on the 1266 before finding a nice dirt track that went north, then east through the villages of Huai Ha and Kok Noi-
    LaUp_MaeChaemMap_zps37ab8144.

    The last section to Mae Chaem was route 4065 was on an interesting road that was a mix of pavement and cobblestones. I'd never seen a cobblestone road in Thailand before. I can't imagine the amount of man-hours it must have taken to lay all those cobblestones! Approaching Mae Chaem from the mountains in the west on route 4065-
    289529ED-1497-4EF2-AA1F-7C320A5BC07E-4910-0000055A004B0861_zps78e12f0c.

    Amazing views of Mae Chaem as we're coming down the mountain on the 4065- I just had to stop to take it all in and snap a pic-
    AA0D0C2D-DFF7-4B9F-BDF5-97D906ACFDFF-4910-00000559F1B4B7D8_zpse4123f89.

    Back to the Mae Chaem resort; the girls there were happy to see us again naughty.gif
    B0AE4D5A-CED9-450D-A668-1205DE949CED-4910-0000055A08CF189B_zpsa44e8cf6.

    We hooked up with a couple Aussie riders that we'd met that morning in Mae Sariang. They were on rented CBR250R's and they'd had a rough day. They had planned to take the nicely paved route to Mae Chaem but some practical joker sent them on a rough as guts dirt road and they'd had a tough go. One of them crashed but damage to bike was only cosmetic and rider was unhurt.

    I checked the GT Rider website for restaurant recommendations and it directed us to "Krua Kong Jan" a few km outside of town.

    Good grub and million dollar views!
    932F2898-B96B-4CB9-8CBB-5BE08EB4C08E-4910-0000055A34E01E4F_zps63eea9c1.

    The sunset view from the restaurant (man my phone takes crappy pics in low light...)
    2C64A3EA-8C68-481C-9352-19470F4F7533-4910-0000055A3388CD6B_zpsb2ded49f.

    Afterwards we rode around with the Aussie dudes looking for a karaoke joint that someone had told us about. Finally found it and was unimpressed. Had a few rounds there and the temperature was dropping fast. Stopped at the PTT to grab a few things before bed and discovered some cuties washing bikes-
    62E42A3A-1111-425A-AF97-7AA878C71999-4910-0000055A4162568E_zps54b09038.
    Was tempted to have them give my bike a rub down, they seemed like they were up for it naughty.gif Use your imagination for the rest yelrotflmao.gif
     
  16. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    Great report Tony.. Looks like you all had a blast

    Did you take any GPS coordinates of that last trail in your report or can you find it on a map?

    Looks like a ripper and would love to try that one.

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  17. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Moderator

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    Fantastic report Tony, you guys certainly know how to turn a simple trail ride, into an epic adventure.
    Just love the way you turned up to the BKK railway station. All ready to go, like heading to the starting gate at a MotoX. Heaps funny.

    Thanks for the report, photos, and videos. Very entertaining mate.

    Cheers Moto-Rex
     
  18. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Thanks for the kind complements gents! wai.gif

    The final day of our tour has arrived and I don't want it to end! In fact, I've had so much fun that I've decided to leave my bike at Dave's house in Chiang Mai so that I can return in a couple weeks to continue exploring naughty.gif

    Today we will ride from Mae Chaem to Chiang Mai. Trent needs to be at the train station by ~4pm to put his bike on the train and then fly back to Bangkok. I plan to meet up with Dave for a late lunch / early dinner at Ian Bungy's X-Centre.

    Today's route goes something like this-
    5662D4A2-6C19-4854-AD78-329DD31427EB-4910-0000055A5FAD22D9_zpsc3bfa1fe.
    Mae Chaem to Mae Na Chon, then a long dirt track east to Mae Chon Luang, the north-east to Huai Tong and depending on what time we reach Huai Tong we'll decide which way to go from there.

    We grab a coffee and hot sandwiches at the Mae Chaem PTT before we roll out of town.
    578353_10151187000631567_2110339856_n_zpsf705244e.
    We cross the river and take the fantastic dirt track through Sop Chok and Na Hong Tai that we'd ridden with Jake a few days ago, but this time we're looking for a river crossing. It isn't on any map, but I reckon the locals MUST have a crossing to reach the fields on the other side of the Mae Chaem river. Without a crossing they'd have to drive/walk many kilometers to reach their fields.

    Sure enough, we sniff it out-
    408254_10151189805261567_1337837482_n_zpscf993a13.

    Hmmmm, not sure about taking bikes across this flimsy 2 foot wide bamboo bridge... On the far side (east) the water is pretty deep and fast moving, if we drop a bike in the deep end it'll be a pain in the butt...
    212B5A17-E141-42C9-964F-49DD3F88F385-4910-0000055A6A90B92D_zpsf7027d0b.

    Trent tests out the bridge and is none too impressed mwink.gif
    E1612158-1F23-421B-8E2F-283D1A12F6ED-4910-0000055A73C8AB31_zpsfe6912da.

    Ok, last day, we need to get to CM today, let's not risk it bncry.gif Maybe next time...
    6D7D3F9A-7A12-4DEA-9BAA-A24C88092BB9-4910-0000055A8F3A9DA0_zpsaddc03bd.

    We continue a little further north and discover a proper concrete bridge in Sop Chok and we promptly get lost in the corn and lavender fields on the other side lol8.gif

    Can you spot Trent in this picture??
    D0094D96-F93D-4FE1-9D5C-9D401492C9A9-4910-0000055AB41392F1_zps3207e4c3.

    4EBCCCCE-FAB4-4D5F-A631-5142D61A709B-4910-0000055A9D6FB416_zps907e5194.

    We soon find a fantastic track through the fields that climbs up to the tree line and then back down to the main road (1263)
    4F0BA552-0CD7-4F2D-86B7-729707D87192-4910-0000055AC4616136_zpsec8019ed.

    Remember the mountains of corn chaff that we'd been playing in a few days earlier?
    414FCB88-C58A-439E-B63B-99EE41ECD077-4910-0000055B6564A5AD_zpscd4e423f.

    Well today they looked like this eekers.gif
    646B5AE6-AEB6-4EA0-93BB-5269D2F8DDE8-4910-0000055B70AAF1DF_zpsb20bc3dd.

    I though "oh shit" did we do that?! But to my relief, as we continued to ride we noticed that all of the corn chaff piles had been torched, so it wasn't us, thank goodness! (Trent and I sent the pics to Jake and told him that the cops were looking for him and we had him going for days before we let him in on the little joke) lol8.gif

    We stop in Mae Na Chon to top off the tanks and I spot this really cool suspension bridge-
    1008D9B7-FF97-44E1-964C-FB29D9568E53-4910-0000055AF964C713_zps3b8bef33.

    There's a funny old Thai guy who is egging us on to cross it with our bikes, but this bridge swings like crazy and we chicken out...
    5299131A-C381-42F8-B52C-287D6D36596E-4910-0000055AD480910A_zps720976b2.

    Some cute kids playing on the suspension bridge in Mae Na Chon, Thailand-
    EADCE20E-FFDB-480F-8525-A53C262A400C-4910-0000055AEB290517_zps6cbd5351.

    From Mae Na Chon we climb a steep dirt track and I realize once again that I really ought to make an effort to learn to read Thai...
    3E3A39EB-24EF-4804-B940-CDFC575EF3C5-4910-0000055B04E45EC8_zps357a0b4e.

    We guess which way to go and end up in this nice lady's yard-
    5D55ABF4-1736-400A-9B5F-412643A81213-4910-0000055B0F50B884_zpsb3c1f82b.

    A lovely young hilltribe girl with a baby on her back surprises me with her excellent English and gets us headed in the right direction again, but we've perfected the art of getting lost and soon find ourselves on a lovely forest track that ends at a Buddhist retreat on top of a mountain near Huai Tong-
    D60B50EE-AB05-420B-8BAD-516723C96DC8-4910-0000055A4AEE4B6F_zps363a52ea.

    Here we meet Phra Kong, a monk who is very interested in our journey and map and invites us for lunch (even though he can't eat). We politely decline his offer but spend some time talking with him and learning about the retreat and surrounding area.
    251937_10151189807961567_617113076_n_zps35d14e19.

    Trent and Phra Kong-
    394847_10151189808651567_567855707_n_zps39ba7eb3.

    It's getting a bit late and Trent is worried about getting to the train station on time so we agree to split up at Mae Win and he'll ride directly to the train station while I will continue north on the dirt track that connects Mae Win with Samoeng. As much as I enjoyed riding with my mates, it's also nice to get out and cruise solo from time to time.
    D1368F05-94D1-4920-999B-6FE9609D74E3-4910-0000055B38E9411E_zps3636a13a.

    I pass the Khun Khan National Park headquarters and spot an interesting looking track that goes down to a river-
    7B6BE3B1-0CEC-4989-8B95-8868574BC69C-4910-0000055B27E9EF09_zps1cc2697a.

    You can't ride the Samoeng loop without stopping for a picture at the Samoeng Forest overlook-
    88700C05-8CA2-4225-9B4B-A7D39B26A93A-4910-0000055B45ADECA4_zpsb72a3840.

    Hooked up with Dave (at Ian's X-Centre and enjoyed a great lunch-
    51048066-68D0-45EE-85CA-919EAC81D410-4910-0000055B5AF9B44C_zps23a814ee.
    Dave had already replaced the clutch on his F800GS but was out on his hooligan KTM today naughty.gif

    Ian had just returned from a ride to Myanmar and regaled us with some epic stories from their groundbreaking trip. Only a small handful of people have been allowed to ride in Myanmar and Ian's group was one of the first.

    After the X-Centre I followed Dave back to his place. He hauls ass on that KTM of his and I enjoyed trying to keep up! Parked the bike at his house, got cleaned up and headed to the airport for the flight back to Bangkok-
    C912183A-BA51-41EA-BD41-979B897455B0-4910-0000055B7EB1A5D2_zps900aabe1.

    I got this picture from goofball Trent- he flew back in full gear on Bangkok Air! lol8.gif
    0BEE916A-CF2C-4B82-AE52-D96FA47B0E89-4910-0000055B7DACBB3E_zpsae7e3e5d.

    Arrival in Bangkok-
    0F459A18-937A-4899-8DC5-CDC00FF390FD-4910-0000055B88365F26_zpse755d043.

    Home sweet home! clap.gif
    0D70AF8B-9B1F-4085-A4EC-5C047DBDF29A-4910-0000055B9294DEA8_zpscc33a6d1.

    Headed back to Chiang Mai on Friday for another tour! Can't wait!!
    321327_10151188159546567_519990088_n_zps61cda72f.
     
  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Wow. Epic trip & report.
    You guys really tested out the GT Rider MHS Loop map & had an absolutely brilliant time.
    Now I could be wrong, but I don't recall any riders doing so much dirt testing out the MHS Loop map on the one trip.
    And I'm very happy that it seemed to work so well for you guys.
    Most riders seem to do just one or two dirt trails on different days on the MHS Loop on that trip & that's it. But you guys really went for it =well done.

    And as you've realized there's a lot more out there - the mountain range between R108 & Mae Chaem is crisscrossed with a network or trails that can keep you happy for a week.

    Thanks for the sensational dirt report riding the MHS Loop.

    P.S. The topography will be tweaked & lightened considerably in the next edition. /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; m
    so-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:14.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
     
  20. Not on a Yamaha

    Not on a Yamaha Ol'Timer

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    Congratulations on completing an epic trip!
    Excellent photos.
    5 days & 1,200km of dirt riding in the tropical jungle of Thailand. Respect!
     
  21. nakedAIR1300

    nakedAIR1300 Active Member

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    Thanx Tony for the epic ride report, a job well done. I was lost for the entire 5 days and didnt have a clue where i was so good job keeping track of that.

    You have to hand it to the thai's up north, they are the friendliest and most helpful people on the face of the planet. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and the company kept. Pitty Dave didnt make the journey the whole way with us. We have another 4 day trip lined up this for this weekend so it will be fun to ride with him :)

    here are some more pics of Tony and Jake that i took along the way.
     
  22. yychow0812

    yychow0812 Ol'Timer

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    Hi Tony,
    Did you not consider riding the KLX up on road tyres and bringing a spare set of knobbies to change when you get there? Then change back to the road tyres for the ride back down to Bkk?
     
  23. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Nah, riding the KLX on pavement is pretty miserable, regardless of what tires you use, IMO.

    I had a good time riding the party train, but next time I'm doing what my friends do, put the bike on the train and fly.

    :happy1:
     
  24. Johpa

    Johpa Ol'Timer

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    Great ride report! I shall use this report in an attempt to show friends here in the US just what what sort of riding I have been doing the past 30 years during my time in-country. And I say that until you have ridden the mountain sois in the dark of night you haven't ridden the hills of the north. The adventure up to Wat Chan from Om Long gives you a a click of the heels and a tip of the hat from me. I do have a few suggestions for the future. First is to suggest that you throttle down whilst passing a line of pachyderms. And second, never pass up an invitation to spend the night as a guest in a Mong village, or any other hill village. I have been drinking the local moonshine for decades without going blind. Again, congratulations on a great report.
     
  25. saxonator

    saxonator Ol'Timer

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    Great report, great pictures and fun packed too, excellent keep it coming
     
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