In Chiang Mai for Loy Kratong

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Pauche, Dec 9, 2007.


    Day 1: Singapore - Chiang Mai - Samoeng - Mae Rim - Chiang Mai
    Day 2: Chiang Mai - Doi Saket - Sankamphaeng - Bo Sang - Chiang Mai
    Day 3: Chiang Mai - Doi Inthanon - Mae Chaem - Mae Ho - Mae Sarieng
    Day 4: Mae Sarieng - Mae Sam Laep - Ob Luang - Hot - Chiang Mai
    Day 5: Chiang Mai - Singapore
  2. DAY 1 (23 November 2007, Friday)

    I arrived in Chiang Mai and rented a Honda Dream 125cc motorbike for 150B from Mr. Order bike shop. As claimed that the Samoeng-Mae Rim Loop is the best 100km loop out of Chiang Mai, indeed it lived up to expectations. I hit Route 108 out from Chiang Mai and made a right turn into Route 121, followed by 1269.

    R1269 offers good views of the western side of Doi Suthep-Pui. It's a great road with lots of twisties, lots of beautiful resorts almost throughout the side of the road. In the broader part of the River Tha Chang Valley, luxury developments make this part of the valley look like a little Switzerland. It's indeed like riding in some sort of Fairy Tale land. I couldn't stop lesser for photos as the scenery was magnificient.... so is the ride!

    I had lunch at Supanee Restaurant and then headed towards Mae Rim, on Route 1096. This is taken at one of the viewpoints.

    I stopped over at a Hmong Village known as Ban Nong Hoi and Ban Nong Hoi Mai. Here, the Hmong pursue modern economy but keep their ways. A Royal Development Project is currently on the way.

    I've had some shots of these little kids outside the school gate.

    Arriving next at Mae Sa Falls, I was shocked when the entrance fee shows that entry for Thai is 10Baht, while entry for foreigners is 400Baht. The Mae Sa Waterfalls consist of a 10-tier of falls from the top.

    Back in Chiang Mai, I rode around town to see the Loy Kratong Events happening around. Tha Phae Gate area is super packed, and traffic is almost not moving. Eventually I settled down at Mae Ping River near Nakornpin Bridge to see the locals set their kratongs on the river.

    The atmosphere is excellent...... there were lots of fireworks, firecrackers, kratongs and yi peng everywhere along the river. The night sky is literally filled with thousands of these bright lights shining like a moving river of stars. It's a truly magical sight.
  3. DAY 2 (24 November 2007, Saturday)

    I woke up early and went to Somphet market and the foot of Wat Prathet Doi Suthep to see the monks collect food.

    After which, I made my way up to Wat Pratard Doi Suthep. I must say that this is another of the best route I've ever ridden since the legendary '1896 curves' on the Mae Hong Son Loop I did 2yrs ago. The tarmac is nicely paved and the road bends at a positive angle. If you are riding a big capacity bike, I am sure you will enjoy the high speed bends and plenty of knee slidings!

    Inside the temple, it was pretty packed with tourist as this is the most-visited temple in Chiang Mai.

    On the way out, I saw these few kids dressed in traditional costumes and I snapped few pictures of them.

    Coming out from the temple, I headed towards Phu Phing Palace, about 5km from the temple. This Palace is used by members of the royal family as a winter retreat. However when the palaces is not used, the park/garden area is open to the public for viewing. I must say that the visit is mainly for the enormous variety of flowers in the garden compound. Some of the roses are as large as a human fist! If you are into nature/wildlife photography, this is the place for you!

    Moving on, I went on further into Ban Doi Pui Hmong village through some really bad and bumpy roads. The village also has a pleasant terraced flower garden where opium poppy as well as other flowering plants are grown for display There is also a hill tribe museum. Though the main income of the village is derived from tourism, many of the men also work in fields on the mountains slopes beyond the village.

    I then proceeded back to Chiang Mai and do the Doi Saket-Sankamphaeng Loop. Route 118 was straight and boring until the turn off into Route 1317. It gets a little more interesting where the narrow road cuts through some villages. Soon I got to Sankamphaeng and went to the much visited Sankamphaeng hotsrpings. The Sankamphaeng Hot Springs have geysers, mineral baths and gardens that make a pleasant setting for relaxation. There were 2 spoits of water spraying into the sky of about 3 story high.

    On the super high-speed route way back to Chiang Mai via Route 1317, I made a stop at the Bo Sang handicraft village. They have umbrella making centre among the other handicrafts handmade here. A lot of novelty is being sold here.

    In the evening in Chiang Mai, several streets in the old city are closed to traffic at night for a huge market featuring several stage shows. On the night of Loy Kratong, there's a parade of giant kratongs along with contestants for the title of Miss Nopamas. The procession starts at the Tapae Gate and ends at the river-side where the giant kratongs are floated.
  4. DAY 3 (25 November 2007, Sunday)

    I checked out of the guesthouse and headed to Route 108 to Doi Inthanon. Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand, at 2565m above sea level. At the 20km mark is the Vachiratarn Falls. The water tumbles down a steep slope before the main drop. The falls make a good point to break the journey up the mountain. This falls is definately worth visiting. At the height the water falls, coupled with a rainbow this morning, the sight was magnificent.

    Back on the road to Doi Inthanon, temperture gets colder every moment I gain altitude. The bike struggled its way at the last stretch of road, where I was dragging on 2nd gear and occasionally using the 1st gear to tacle the steep accend.

    At the peak of Doi Inthanon, I overheard a tour guide telling a 'farang' that the lowest temperature recorded this morning was 4 deg celcius! No wonder I was shivering like nobody's business!!

    After I had my shots, I started my downhill ride and made my way into Mae Chaem town. Route 1192 is simply not for the weak-hearted!!! The very very narrow paths twists at ultra tight angles and there were full of sand/potholes on certain stretches. My tyre pressure does not seemed to be right, so in the bends for every bump I go through, the bike bounced and I started sliding around like Gary Mccoy.

    I had a quick petrol top up at Mae Chaem and then move on to Mae Sariang along Route 1088 followed by Route 108. I stopped over at Mae Ho, about 18km before Mae Cham for the sunflower bloom photo taking session. The sunflower plantation is the size of a few football fields of bright yellow sunflowers under the late afternoon sun.

    I arrived at Mae Sariang at 1630hrs and checked into Riverside Guesthouse for just 200Baht. The room is rather small, and given a corner room, I had a scenie view of the Yeam River.
  5. DAY 4 (26 Novmeber 2007, Monday)

    I went on a 1hr ride to Mae Sam Laep along Route 1194.

    The road cuts through a foggy mountain before moving down towards the jetty of the Salawin River which seperates Thailand from Myanmar.

    At Ban Mae Sam Laep, I met some monks collecting food from the villagers.

    There are many tourists here on tour vans. They take them here at the Salawin River for a 2hr boat ride to see the river lives of the Thais and Burmas.

    Just as I thought I have seen the best sunflower bloom at Mae Ho, I was wrong. There is a house along Route 1194 that houses lots of GIANT sunflowers!!!! Those are the largest sunflowers I've seen in my entire life!

    Back at Riverside Guesthouse, I checked out at 12noon and proceeded to the Ob Luang National Park. Also known as the Grand Canyon of Thailand, the Mae Chem river thunders though a very narrow gorge. There is a foot-bridge across the river high up across the gorge at 500m height.

    I took a short ride into Hot town for petrol stop and then it's home run back to Chiang Mai at full throttle along highway Route 108.

    Back in Chiang Mai, I took a walk along the Night Bazaar area to do some shopping.
  6. DAY 5 (27 Novmeber 2007, Tuesday)

    It's a morning flight back to Singapore! :lol:
  7. Pauche,

    Thanks for the excellent pictures!
  8. Pauche,

    Great pictorial report! I will trace your routes on my next trip there...Yes, even a 125cc bike can give endless joy in northern LOS :D

    Thank you.

  9. Pauche, those photos are stunning mate! :mrgreen: I've seriously got to get a better camera, my TZ3 Panasonic sometimes does not do justice to the scenery - although it is easy to carry on the belt when cruising on the bike. :)

    What was the camera you were using on the trip?
  10. harrythefinn: thanks!

    joko: thanks too!

    captainslash: gotta thank you for the recommendation of the guesthouse in Mae Sariang.

    The SEO Guy: I'm using a 40D.... its a lot of equipments to carry around!
  11. I agree - awesome photos mate. Thanks a million for the contribution to the GT Rider forum. Glad you had a great time in Chiang Mai & North Thailand.
  12. Hi Pauche, amazing pictures !! Sure you enjoyed the ride !!!!
  13. Pauche,

    Thanks for taking the time to post up all the pics and your report...

    Shows just how completely amature an amature with a 5 year old compact digital camera is...

    Now I can show everyone your photos and tell them that I saw the same things :) ...

    Cheers mate,
  14. Really impressive photography & beautifully presented.
    Thanking you for sharing with us.
    Look forward to meeting you again [BeerStube B/fast]
    next time you are back.
  15. thanks all.... :p

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