Mae Hong Son Loop Fun Weekend

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by GTNZ, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Mae Hong Son Loop
    2 Bikes, Honda XR 250 and Honda CBR150R
    2 Riders Woody and GT

    Honda CBR150R Rider GT
    We set off from Chiangmai after mid day sporting a couple of mild hangovers. The plan was to ride to Pai at an easy pace. The rain started not far past Mae Rim and I dunno weather it was my dull brain (Woody said it was) or just the wet road but the CBR was handling like a goat with three legs. A couple of heart stopping moments made me
    come back to earth and realize if I'm to make Pai on the bike and in one piece then I'd better slow down. Woody kept going at a reasonable pace and to keep up I had to brake late and crank the throttle wide open as soon as I could. Rather stupid I thought later. Anyway we made it. This bike continues to amaze me; I wish it had some power though. I’d had my bike in storage for a year and the tyres have gone a bit hard and need replacing. That’s my excuse!
    The road to Pai is very twisty and slippery as I’m sure the GT-Riders already know. The road surface changes colour when wet in places and it's very hard to read when it's covered in water and pissing down rain.
    Riding fast on this type of surface is like having one foot in the box and the other on a banana skin, ride flat out at your peril. I'm not sick of living just yet. There's some road works along here but I'm buggered if I can remember exactly where. You'll see the dirt no problem, and if you go too fast you might see it a lot closer than you'd planned. The final 20km into Pai has just been resurfaced and is perfect at the moment.
    Upon arrival in Pai we started checking a few guest houses and being told the town was full we got a little worried we may have to ride on further but eventually we found a nice place to bunk down for the night. There was still about an hour or so of day light left so we took off to see the waterfall just a short distance out of town. Along the way I saw some ladies sitting on the side of the road. When they heard us coming they leapt to their feet and made a gesture with their fingers like you want smoke. I asked Woody what they wanted; he told me you want smoke? eh? Marijuana, oh, no mate I never touch they stuff, I have enough trouble with beer and I was an asthmatic as a kid and don't need anything adding to the problem. I have heard lately that the police are doing some random stop and searches of farang coming back from the waterfall.
    We got to see the waterfall and then it started to absolutely bucket down again. Being smart arses we'd left our jackets back at the guest house. So we had to wait under a rickety old thatched roof propped up by a few skinny bamboo poles. While not the Taj Mahal it was surprisingly dry under there. Once the rain eased we rode back to the guest house and then thought about where to eat. I don’t like Pai one little bit and just wanted to get out of there.
    Next morning at sparrow fart I get a bang on the door. What the hell, it’s well before 7AM! Who’s there? "Hey GT you awake was the reply. Am now, what's wrong? Let’s get out of here, we're burning daylight.
    I dragged me sore and tired carcass off the stretcher and into the shower and felt a lot better afterwards. The ride to MHS was mostly dry except for one spot when it rained very hard and we had to stop at the rangers’ station for half hour or so.
    The rest of the ride to MHS was quite good with mostly dry smooth roads. However just to check you're paying attention there were a few places where the road was wet as a shag on some corners and you couldn't see it until you were right on top of it. Again, it pays to slow down when the weather is suspect.

    We rode into the guest house car park in MHS tired and ready for a rest. A quick rinse in the shower and an hour’s rest, then it was time to hit the town. I'd not been up this way before and was eager to check the place out. Just as we were about to leave on foot it started to rain and quite hard too. So we had to wait a while until it eased. After a scoff at a cafe we decided to go play some pool. They've got beer in those establishments you know, I can recall myself telling Woody! After being comprehensively beaten at pool not once but 4 times I decided enough pool for now and enough beer for now too, I needed a rest. Some of us old sods do like a nap in the arvo.
    After a short nap we decided to get back on the horses and go up the hill for a look at the temple. You get a nice view of the town from up there.
    That night we did a few laps around town looking for beer shops but couldn’t find any, so decided to head back to the Crossroads Pub again for a palate cleansing ale, or two. Sometimes one's too many and ten's not enough, as was the case on this occasion.
    The next morning I woke very early and felt good. Now you sod (Woody) it's my turn to get you off the stretcher early.
    A quick check of the CBR, (kick the tyres and lube the chain) I packed my bike ready for the days ride back to Chiangmai. I sent an SMS message to Woody to get out of bed. A moment later there was an almighty cough and a splutter and the curtain swung back. You're up early shithead,what’s the time?
    C'mon mudguts, get up, let’s go.
    We left the guesthouse a bit before 7.30AM with a quick stop at the 7-11 for Woody to buy some fags and a drink and we were on the road.

    Route 108 from MHS to the turn off on route 1263 suited my CBR quite well. The ride back to Chiangmai was fairly uneventful. There are a few kilometres on route 1263 with gravel which needs a bit of care on a road bike but it didn’t slow us down that much. Coming down into Mae Chaem we were going quite quickly. Woody was in front and went over a huge dip and I followed a few seconds later. It was quite unexpected and if I’d been going any faster I’d have bitten the road for sure. Woody stopped and I shot past him only to see petrol pissing out of his bike. When he went over the bump the float in the carby must have opened to its full extension and jammed the float needle. I’m a mechanic and knew immediately what had occurred. A few taps on the float bowl with a metal spanner and it came right.
    The rest of the ride was uneventful and most enjoyable especially the road coming in the back of Doi Inthanon. My only reservation about this part of the ride although enjoyable even on a small under powered bike was the fact I rode way too fast. The feeling you get arriving at a corner sliding with no power to pull yourself out of trouble is one I don’t care to repeat any time too soon if at all. Maybe next time I’ll have a bike I can ride fast enough to keep up but still ride sensibly. One can only hope!
    Apart from the usual idiots in pickup trucks, dogs running out in front of you and the odd fresh cow pat, the roads are in reasonable condition for this time of the year. We had a most enjoyable ride and I can’t wait for next time.

    Here’s a video we knocked up quickly.

  2. Nice report, it seems many people are feeling the same way you do about Pai at the moment (me included) however, great riding from around Pai.

    Touching on the wacky baccy subject in Pai a warning to everyone: New laws were introduced in August and any felang caught with any quantity will be deported! Obviously will be the same as any new law tough at first and then forgotten but they are enforcing this in Pai. 2 long term residents deported yesterday after 2 weeks in the slammer. Caught with just 1 joint (2oz) between them one of them married to a Thai with a 4 month old baby who he wont be able to see in Thailand for 5 years! Wont mention the way in which they were arrested but lets just say in a usual unprofessional manner!

    If your visiting Pai don't be tempted by the lure of the Waterfall. I see the jail truck drive past my place most Friday's and Tuesday's (jail run days) full of people that visited it for the wrong reasons.
  3. Thanks for that information. I'm so glad I never touch that stuff. I prefer beer and like my freedom too much.

  4. Thanks for the report HTML.Great news about the road to Pai getting some new pavement.That was some bumpy tarmack.Cheers,Al
  5. Yo GTNZ good trip report.
    Thanks a million for contributing.

    It's amazing how much fun you can have on a 150 /small bike on the MHS Loop eh? You really don't need a big bike to have a smile a mile wide of all that tight twisting stuff eh?

    Yeah, know what you mean about Pai, the rate of development is amazing with the place losing the very layed-back atmosphere that has made it so popular/ famous. Still in years to come you will think that you were lucky to see it so "young."
    Nowadays I find it good as a party town. The BeBop! And, indeed Oct 24-25 they have a huge local festival on that is probably worth going to.
    Also next month Nov 11 should be the annual Pai music festival. The town will be absolutely packed & really rocking for a few days.

    Interested to know exactly where you stayed, ate & drank on the trip.

    The bump that you hit on R1263 must have been that nasty hidden landslip dip in the asphalt before Pang Ung. ... _Guzzi.htm
    1. A couple of nasty dips in the road, a east of Pang Kia. Both going downhill heading East, & if you hit these hard & fast you’ll be airborne.

    2. Extra caution note: stay away from the happy weed (& any other illegal substances) in Pai this high season or you will definitely be experiencing a low low season.

    Woody your turn next for a trip report "Will do a trip report with a few photos in the next couple fo days if anybody is interested (Nov 2006)" mate.
  6. 185 views on the video...

    I posted it on an Australian rider website Oct 10 and it got a few people talking...

  7. Thanks David for the feedback. Sorry it's taken me so long to write a trip report. I've been away overseas for almost a year and am now leaving Thailand again for a short while.

    Yeah that bump you're referring to could set you on your backside very quickly if you hit it too hard. Luckily for me Woody was in front and I had time to react. You're right about still having fun on a small bike. Although I would like some power, not much but enough to keep me out of trouble. Maybe in the future I'll work the engine with some head work and some cams and possibly a better pipe.

    Next time I come back I want to buy an XR 400 or similar so I can go off road with Woody and do a trip to Cambodia and finish off the trip we did last year. The dirt roads and rain don't mix when you're on a road bike. I was spewing I had to turn back.

    Cheers GT
  8. I am off to Cambodia in a weeks time so I will be sure to get a report going for that.
  9. I am new to this. But I am interested in some riding while in Thailand. I was there last year for a month. I went to Chiang Mai and just happened on Pai on the loop. I really enjoyed myself there. This time i have scheduled 3 months for my visit. And I would like to start in Chiang Mai again and head out from there. AS I know nothing about riding in Thiland. I was wondering what you would suggest for a 3 month ride there.

    I travel alone and enjoy it that way, so far. Last time i was there i rented a 125 honda and it was fine with me. I enjoyed Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son, but got caught up with the scene in Pai.. I would like to find other citys like Pai.. Are there any other places like that in Thailand? And if so where?

    Thanks, El Mule
    I won a 1200 GSA and it's name is El Mule... Can you tell I am from Texas..
  10. Nice reort guys.
    The video was great - is there ever going to be a part deux?
    Or The Loop Redux - Directors' Cut.

    Garyk - the only place that I have found equates to Pai is Vang Vieng north of Vientiane in Laos.
    But it depends what exactly attracts you could try the island north of Samui - Koh Panyang [sp?] - south of Koh Tao which is a good dive training site, tho the diving in the Andaman sea is far superior.
  11. fantastic ride report. especially for new guys. The vid was great too, must be a little tricky trying to take vids while riding..

    thanks guys

  12. GT, this was an enjoyable report! I am familiar with parts of your route and can relate to what you said about the state of the road surface up in the mountains - I was fortunate to hit Pai in the dry, so I didn't have to bother with that additional peril.

    Great vid! You can tell by the audience it gets. I really enjoyed it!
  13. Rhodie,,, thanks for the info.. I will check out Laos...and I love to scuba dive too.. Since I have so much time there this time. I will probibly check out both places.I will let you know..
    Fantastic site for people like me who like to explore...
  14. Great read & view GTNZ! Thanks.

    I have taken note of that nasty dip... and thanks too, to Davidfl for the caution notes.

  15. Very nice post. Loved the video.

    Did the Mae Hong Son loop last month. First time in Thailand. Great roads, scenery etc. Only 45 minutes of rain so I was happy for that.

    Driving on the wrong side of the road was easy for me to pick up but man, the driving in Chiang Mai is crazy (but fun!)

    Take care all!

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