Hello everyone, a few questions for you!

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - General Discussion Forum' started by andyman1, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. My name is Andrew and I will be visiting Chaing Mai for the month of March and I had a few questions. Any help would be awesome!!!!!

    1. I really want to rent a bike and do some day trips, what day trips from Chaing Mai do you recommend and who should I rent the bike from? I own a Honda CB900f here in the states so a Super 400 would be right up my ally. I see you guys have a few favorite people to rent from, who's the best value? Would you recommend a different bike?

    2. I will only have a handful of days to ride, maybe a weeks worth of time. I was wondering if you had to pick the best loops off of Chaing Mai what would they be? I am a Geologist so caves and waterfalls would be pretty awesome to see first hand.:thumbup:

    3. I can't buy one of your awesome maps to have here in time before I leave. Is there a way to buy one in country?

    4. I am American but of Irish heritage and will be in Chang Mai for St. Patty's Day. Any good Irish Pubs in the area? (This last one might be the most important, haha) :)

    I really appreciate your help everyone. Thank you for your time!!!

  2. Gudday from OZ.

    1. Bite the bullet and go for a Kawasaki ER6 -N (or F if you can get one) or a Kawasaki Versys (better option). These are 650 cc parallel twins, new, fuel injected and a perfect size for the roads. You will be disappointed with the Honda 400. Not just in size and power, but the probability of mechanical issues with old bikes. Mr Mechanic or Pops have them for between 1300 and 1500 baht a day with insurance. Make sure your travel insurance covers the excess payable if you damage it, and also the rental of motorcycle in the 1st place. Both places can also set you up with a helmet if you don't bring your own gear. I believe that David also has a jacket and some throw over saddle bags available for hire through Mr Mechanic. If you have a magnetic tank bag, bring that (as your in-cabin luggage) for your maps, camera, hat, water etc.

    2. There is a very good thread on day rides from Chiang Mai on this forum, some research there will pay dividends. I did a 12 day loop around Chiang Mai last November, but I have enough of the language to get by, so was happy with staying out of Chiang Mai at different towns for 9 nights. It sounds like the Mae Hong Son loop up to the North West would suit you, it is tight and twisty, and there are plenty of caves and waterfalls to be found. Spend 3 or 4 days to do that loop with overnights in maybe Mae Chaem and Mae Hong Son. Accommodation recommendations are to be found in the threads here as well.

    3. Google Maps will give you enough mapping to get your planning done and get David's maps from the Kafe or Mr Mechanic (next door) on arrival.

    4. You can't do the distances that you are used to back home, I planned on an average speed of 50 KPH (30 odd MPH) for the day and that worked out well. My biggest days were only 320 Km's (200 miles), and that was getting away at 8am and being in my overnight stop around 5pm. The guys that live there will do bigger days, but they know the area and more importantly, the traffic. Your concentration levels will be high and you will fatigue quickly, and you need the time to sightsee.

    5. My biggest tip is not to expect to own your side of the road. (the left side!!!!!!!). You will tip into that beautiful left hander, and get 1/2 way around the corner to find a truck overtaking a bus on your side of the road. You do not own what you cannot see. Do not overtake anyone on a corner.......ever. The Thai drivers use ALL of the corner, both lanes, and they will NOT see you (or care that you are) overtaking them. In town riding.....spend some time sitting out the front of a cafe and watch how the Thai's drive. It looks chaotic, but it works. No road rage, everybody just moves into any available gap, no matter how small, and drivers just let you in. Your turn today....mine tomorrow.

    6. Can't help with the pub.....sorry.

    7. Have fun....I wish I could be there as well.

  3. Cheers,

    Good advice there.

    Consider a day's caving and a night at Cave Lodge on your ride on the Mae Hong Song loop. Well worth it to maximize your spelunking time. The north has an endless number of caves, and the owner of cave lodge, John, is a long time caver in this area.

    We have O'malleys Irish pub and the UN Irish pub in town, which are busy popular spots.
  4. Deano:
    Thank you very very much for the information!!!! I think you're right about the larger bike, the Kawasaki sounds like a good idea. I'm a bit spoiled here with an old harley and the quick naked honda. Also, at 6'1'' a small bike might be a bit hard on me. I'll be bringing my jacket, and tank bag but I'll have to rent a helmet there (takes up to much room). I will most likely do a 3-4 day trip at most, my travel partner is a local Thai whom I have been working with in the States for a year. She is visiting family back home and is letting me tag along. She doesn't trust me alone, but this isn't my first rodeo. I was lucky enough to do a lot riding in Bosnia on a CB1300f2, and understand the whole "hey that guy is in my lane" thing (almost the hard way). I am taking your advice to heart, thanks for the safety heads up!!!!! Using the left lane will be weird. I really look forward to the waterfalls and caves, a 3-4 day trip might end up longer because of long stops!

    THANK YOU for the pub suggestions. I'll have to hit them up and see which one takes the cake for the 17th.

    If you guys have any other ideas of if anyone wants to add something please do!

  5. Andy
    Bring your own helmet. No rental helmet fits as well, feels as comfortable as or protects as well as your own helmet. It is not a problem to bring.
    Pack it, check it in with luggage & then at the other end (Chiang Mai), pick up your luggage, put it in a taxi & take out your helmet in your hotel room.

    Take more time, the distances you ride in a day here are not great. Average speeds in the mountains are 40KPH if you're riding well.The Mae Hong Son Loop is not called the road of a thousand hairpin bends for nothing.
  6. Davidfl: Thanks for the heads up, I'll try and squeeze my helmet in my bag now. Only a day till I fly out! The Mae Hong Son Loop was one of the ones I really want to do.

    Thanks again!

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