I was in Thailand for a few months last year and had loads of fun. I thought I'd share some of what put a smile on my face. I spent a month in Pattaya having fun and getting into trouble, some of it on bikes. Spent a few days with my leathers at the tarmac racetrack Bira, that is just outside of Pattaya. Quite a bit different than the track days at home that cost $300 and have you go through tech and loads of waffle before you’re on the circuit. At Bira, a couple hundred baht is all you need for loads of fun. No tech and nobody at all, just the circuit and yourself. Slipping and sliding out of the turns is heaps of fun. Pretending you’re Rossi at the GP’s spooling up the rear tire is the cure for whatever ails you. Just remember there are no cornerworkers or ambulances to patch you up should you end up in the tire wall. Best to ride 8/10’s at this circuit, there is also not much runoff before hitting the concrete Armco barriers, so ride within your ability. Heaps of fun for not a lot of dosh. I highly recommend it to unravel any knots of tension built up from your workday. Or scoot into Pattaya for another form of tension relief. Got together with some gents and did some dirt bike riding also outside of Pattaya. Very nice of them to show me around and we had a laugh. However…the offroading down there does not even hold a candle to what unfolded up north for me. I stayed in Chiang Mai and rented a VFR 400 to go explore the hills. Lovely roads that I was not expecting judging by some of the motocross tracks they call roads in other portions of the country. I’m guessing that it was the U.S. Army corps of engineers that paved these during the Vietnam campaign. Lovely bits of asphalt leading out on the Sameung loop. Had my goy teow soup and looped back to Chiang Mai. Terrific sport bike fun. I ended up hooking up with Ya of Ya’s motorbike rental. I asked about some offroading in the area and he was up for it so he said the next day we could go for a ride together. Well this was September last year. You know when 8 people were killed in flash floods from the rains in Chiang Mai. That night it poured buckets down all night long. When I met up with him I thought he would cancel due to the torrential downpour and its effects on the terrain we would be riding. No way!! We were off and running. This had me worried a bit. See I’m from Southern California in the states and it never rains out there. We ride off road in desert conditions. Not a drop of moisture anywhere. End result being I’ve never ridden in much mud. Oh the odd puddle here and there but that is it. We enter the off road trail in the Park area just past the large tourist temple on the way to Doi Sutthep. The trails are pure muck. Wet, slimy and slippery. It was like riding on ice. We’d be cruising along, one moment smelling the forest and enjoying yourself, then whamo, you’re on your ass without any warning. I think for every kilometer the front tire went the back tire did 4 kilometers with all the slipping sliding and spinning. We hooked up with some more Thai guys out riding and ended up all riding together. Everybody in this group turned out to be warm and friendly and loads of help getting me through the mudholes. I speak no Thai except to order a beer and certain services from the ladies but with motorbikes as the common theme we all got along laughing, joking and heckling each other through the difficult sections. The terrain started getting rocky to add some spice to the mix, then the heavens opened up. All I can say is I must have been a bad bad boy in a previous life. I could not believe it when the trail we were on disappeared under a foot of water. It was like riding up a river the whole time. Tree’s began toppling over around us. The tree roots were failing to maintain a purchase on the water soaked ground. We’d stop for a break and a 60 foot tree would come crashing down not 40 feet from us. Simply scary and amazing. It took us almost 3 ½ hours to get to Mae Sa (or Sae) I’m not sure. We broke for lunch and had some pretty ladies cook us up batches of noodles. It simply wonderful to ride your dirtbikes out of the hills, into a village, gas up, and eat without any problems from the coppers like at home. From Mae Sa we backtracked on our original trail about 1 kilometer then took a right fork. The terrain was miserable at this point and I was knackered. The mud kicked my scawny ass and the Thai guys were smugly loving watching me thrash my way through. Yet when I broke a brake lever they jumped in with a spare and mounted it up. Wonderful gents. It took us another 3 hours to make it back. The trail terminated on a road that intersects the road to Doi Sutthep, just pass the first little market stalls where the road changes into a narrow two lane with potholes. I was relieved to have winding pavement back to Chiang Mae. We started at 9:00 and got back by 5:00. The guys I went with were fantastic and enthusiastic. I ended up bending both the shift lever and brake pedal under the cases bashing through the rocks. They whipped out the tools and bent ‘em back for me. A great bunch of guys I look forward to hooking up with again when I’m back. I’m sure the trail when its is dry would take less than half the time it took us. Loads of fun, the trail was all about ATV width wide, no boring fireroads. As I rolled into Chiang Mai I look shattered. All day pushing and pulling bikes into and out of mud holes and ruts did a number on me. I was a wreck. One of the crashes pranged my knee so I ended up at the hospital to get six stitches to close the wound. Loads of fun and recommend it as a fun trail to spend an afternoon on….as long as its not pissing down with rain I’ll try and post some pics if I can figure them out.