Mae Hong Son Loop (How good was that) 6/11/09 -9/11/09


Oct 11, 2009
Well that was a daunting experience, Chaing Mai 2nd city of Thailand and where the bike hire shop is located must be one of the busiest places, so when they said just take it round the block and check it I felt nervous - as in when I went 10mph faster than I had ever been before round Gerrards at Mallory, as in Police bike courses following/racing my instructor !

Off I went into the stream of maniacs that pass for commuters, and was immediately confronted by a cyclist coming staight at me the wrong way down the dual carrigway - deep joy being overtaken by a pedal cylist when I am on 750 honda! Ok a bit faster, then the person in front u turns in the middle of the dual carriageway right in front of me - no problem, front brake hard just like my own bike at home!! Wrong! Big problem old tyres, front wheel locks, skids and I release the brake, brake less hard and only just stop.

So, quick recap, 2 mins out and as near to a crash in 10 years as I can remember. When I did superbike school on a test bike with big safety wheels, they make you lock the front brake - it was really hard to do, this was not!

I have time to type this because I'm in Soppong a very small village with 1 computer in sight fantastic place to stop and great service/food at the Sopping River Inn. The rest of the the journey was eventful, still in one piece though, thousands of bends and no cameras - heaven.

The roads once out of Chaing Mai to Pai then Soppong were a real mixture, so many bends it made the French Alps look like a motorway and you really have to rethink your travel time. The main thing is anything can happen at any time and you need to keep your concentration up, which is not as easy as it sounds with some of the most fantastic scenery in the world going by. Think Swiss Alps, Austria and the Lake district and you're getting there.

Never has being able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear been so important, as one minute I'm going round an awesome series of bends singing 'born to be wild' (I am that old) and all's well, then suddenly cows appear in the middle of road or wild pigs, or any combination of dogs happily sitting in the road blissfully unaware of me aproaching at 60MPH.

The Thai approach to road works is interesting, as the road stays open although it suddenly becomes dirt/mud/holes gravel for several miles, with no warning at all, so it's one of those moments when you think 'is my life insurance up to date?'
Then all the other traffic pretends its ok and drives as fast as possible, particularly the oncoming vehicles straight at you, obviously not understanding why the crazy Farang with yellow jacket is doing 5mph with his feet down! Made it through eventually, with the bike now covered with mud, and my accommodation is fantastic as above. So bike friendly too, as you pull in to the guest house a women takes your helmet, shows you a room overlooking the river with a place to park the bike and a fridge full of cold beer, all for £16 with breakfast included. The food off the beaten track is really good and never more than £2, but I have no idea what I have eaten apart from its very spicy and nice. I go for the 'point and eat' method, no English but all well so far.

The last part of the trip from Mae Hong Sun is different again, the roads a lot faster and smoother, a bit like a very long Fosse way with no traffic, speed camaras or police. Some fantastic scenery again but not as hilly and very clear views of the road. I just had to check what the bike could do flat-out (purely for research purposes you understand) but its not really what it's about as I found some very bumpy bits, so slowed down.

The journey back into Chaing Mai was as crazy as ever with people overtaking on both sides, at junctions/lights/bends and so close that if I had bell bottom jeans on I would have worn the bells out of them.

Eventually got the bike dropped back at the shop, it ran like clockwork, cost $125 for the whole 4 days, covered 1000 km and I can't wait until next year. Last job then, a debrief beer or 6 costing less than £1 each - n.
Meet David Unkovichs in the UN bar over Moto GP and gave my full thanks for help and advice re bike and accomidation .This site was a great help and the map a life saver so thanks for all the advice.
Safe riding



Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Sounds like you really did have a great time of the MHS Loop - it's a bit alright isn't it.

It was good talking to you at the UN Irish & the next night? at the Kafe after your hot springs & caving day trip.

I'm glad you survived all the adventures too, as that means we've got another GT Rider coming to town.

Next trip I hope to catch you up-country somewhere for a ride 'n bite to eat'n natter: and The Soppong River Inn would be a superb place to rendezvous.


Oct 11, 2009

Yes I will be back next year and would be great to meet up anywere. I will do different routes next year and may do the whole trip based in Chaing Mai and do a few different loops.
The hot springs and caves were super and really intresting,its cold and very wet back in the UK so wishing I was back in North Thailand but lots of time to plan for next trip.

safe riding



Oct 15, 2006
Khuang Nai

Nice adventureand yes all those bikes and bicycles and even cars you can expect to coming agains you on your own lane,, tha is Amazing thailand :lol:

in the towns that might be haunting experience but one syou are in the country side and you have al kind of farm animals,cows,dog,s chickens(Colins Favorate) Snakes, buffaloes,cats running cross the road just fron to you toget her with all the cars and trucks, that makes life and riding in Thailand really challeging.

When you bak in Next year of when even you drop by in Isaan and Ubon, please give be a buzz and lets celebate you time on the road with few or few too many pints... :wink: