Mae Rim - Sop Kai return

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, May 17, 2014.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    On the lychee & coffee the Mae Taeng River

    A quick afternoon excursion to clear the cobwebs & take a peak at the roads + enjoy some more of the good life - fresh air & country roads.

    Its straight up 107 with a quick stop at the new Mont Raming plaza centre.

    The luxurious looking coffee shop
    & one of two actually.

    The highlight of the place is the kids swimming pool
    a brilliant place for the locals & I have no doubt this Mont Raming centre is providing a great community service in Mae Taeng.
    3 cheers for the owner - the son of Raming Tea at Chiang Dao.
    Mont Raming is on R107, left hand side, 1 kms south of the R105 Pai turn off / 29 kms north of Chiang Mai.

    Turn left onto R105 & 8 kms down the road in Sop Poeng village is a turn to the right to the Sop Kai.
    The route # 3052.

    Sop Kai is a small village on the Mae Taeng river & the starting point for rafting trips on the Mae Taeng.

    The road into Sop Kai is now all asphalt - cement, but a lot of it single lane cement & very very step & winding in quite a few places.
    21 kms & it is a beauty of a road, but again you need to watch out for the narrow single lane & oncoming cars on the many blind corners, especially at the Sop Kai end.

    A few road snaps.


    Check out the tree in the background
    the big split in the trunk - I wonder what caused that.
    Something strong alright. Ouch.

    The narrow road

    watch out for other vehicles coming round the corner.

    The Sop Poeng - Sop Kai road runs through beautiful lychee orchards



    Halfway in a funky little house with a stunning vista

    more to come...
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Now I thought this place was a gem of a spot & the perfect place to take a break & have a cuppa.
    So I parked the bike, crossed the stream on the rickety suspension bridge to climb the steps & chill out.
    It was a private residence.
    Apologies Karen for intruding.
    You are indeed lucky living there in that perfect little paradise.

    1.4 kms away up on the hill though, overlooking the road


    is Doi Taeng Coffee


    a gem of a rustic spot it is too

    plus you get a big cup of beans






    Plus a really nice cuppa


    & if you're really lucky you can get a cup of civet poo coffee

    well worth checking out if you consider yourself a serious coffee connoisseur.

    After Doi Taeng, the road drops down & then way up again before the steep descent into Sop Kai.

    But not before the "village of lights."




    Sop Kai is 8.5 kms from Doi Taeng coffee & on the Mae Taeng river, where all the rafting action starts.



    but not so in low season.

    In high season there can be scores of bamboo rafts on the river shooting the rapids from Sop Kai to Muang Khut.

    Check it all out sometime


    it's an easy half - 3/4 day excursion from Chiang Mai & damn invigorating in the fresh country air.
  4. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer


    I am extremely pleased to see Sop Kai 'back on the menu'.

    The Sop Kai area is one of the real treats close to Chaing Mai; offering a wide range of pleasant, well outstanding day rides for those living in the area. It really has everything that anyone could be looking for & fitting in with the broadest possible range of wishes - great scenic roads in a countrified atmosphere, 'tourist activities' - elephants, zip lines, white-water rafting......, the full range of coffee, eating & (top) accommodation options, a choice of complete circuits to ride, authentic hill-tribes, on & off-road options, & all of them nothing less than sensational.

    I am amazed at how few people head out that way......another of the delights of the trip!

    I know you will not mind my posting this link - The Sop Kai Loop (off Mae Taeng) offering GTR's alternative routes to & fro Sop Kai. Get out & give this one a go; you want be disappointed!!!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2017
  5. CraigBKK

    CraigBKK Ol'Timer

    Never realised Thailand had Kopi Luwak too. I've spent the last years living in Indonesia and civet cat coffee or 'cat-poo chino' to the connoisseur ;) is famous there; although very few people can afford to drink it!
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Lots of good world class coffee, including civet Luwak Coffee at Doi Chang - Doi Chaang Coffee

    Take a look here
    Akha Swing Festival, Doi Chang 2012
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Back out to Sop Kai for another lazy Sunday arvo ride, but this time going in reverse: Mae Rim - Mae Tamann - Sop Kai - Sop Poeng - Mae Malai - Mae Rim.

    Total distance: 118 kms
    Departure time: 1PM
    Return: 5.30PM

    This meander out along the Mae Taeng had a couple of excursions.

    The first was to check out the Phutawan Pundao Resort
    GTR - IMG_4706.JPG
    The Phutawan is a sprawling set of bungalows in an old orchard

    The restaurant - check in
    GTR - IMG_4704.JPG

    The bungalows


    and there are a variety of bungalows
    If you're looking for a quiet discreet night away in the fresh air, then check out the Phutawan Pundao
    Facebook Phutwan Pundao

    Google Maps Location
    Google Maps
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    1.5 kms N-W of the Phutawan is Wat Nong Bua
    GTR - IMG_4712.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4715.JPG

    Google maps location
    Google Maps
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    3.5 kms after Wat Nong Bua the rural back road links up with the main Mae Tamann road R3052
    The good news on R3052 now is that the concrete runs all the way alongside the river to Sop Kai = there is no more dirt.

    In Mae Tamann there's a turn of to the right & north that climbs steeply up to a Lahu village - Pha Bo Jun.

    GTR - IMG_4726.JPG

    The road is all concrete & generally in good condition.
    GTR - IMG_4717.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4722.JPG

    at high altitude the mountains are clad with vege & cabbage gardens
    GTR - IMG_4723.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4724.JPG

    From the Lahu village there are rough trails that continue on to link up with tracks coming from the Raming tea area in the mountains mentioned on GTR here
    A Chiang Dao Tea Loop - An Afternoon Ride
    so if you've got a 250 off-road dirt bike, go take a look around. You wont be disappointed.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Back along the river, the new riverside beauty is the "Cafe In Wild."
    GTR - IMG_4741.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4738.JPG

    A stunning serene haven beside the river, with multiple spit level seating choices.
    GTR - IMG_4728.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4729.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4730.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4732.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4736.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4737.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4739.JPG

    Wild In Cafe is located between Muang Khut & Sop Kai.
    4.1 kms from Muang Khut
    3.8 kms from Sop Kai
    Google Maps location
    Google Maps

    Facebook Page

    Highly recommended.
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    From Cafe in Wild to Sop Kai the new concrete continues to Sop Kai
    GTR - IMG_4742.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4744.JPG

    Not all the bridges are in place.

    GTR - IMG_4748.JPG

    At Sop Kai you cross the bridge over the Mae Taeng & continue on R3052 all the way to R1095
    GTR - IMG_4755.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4752.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4753.JPG

    Then it's a long steep twisting climb up out of the valley.
    but an even longer descent. 21kms from Sop Kai to R1095

    GTR - IMG_4760.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4762.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4763.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4766.JPG

    cross the ridgeline & the views are stunning
    GTR - IMG_4773.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4775.JPG

    Its late in the day & the old fellah has the munchies on the way home.
    Fortunately there's a bargain cheap Thai steak restaurant on R107 in Mae Malai.

    The Home Mae Taeng 43 Restaurant
    GTR - IMG_4777.JPG

    GTR - IMG_4776.JPG

    It's a nice relaxed open air country style restaurant
    GTR - IMG_4779.JPG

    and you can't complain about the 129 baht "double" - a pork & chicken steak.
    GTR - IMG_4780.JPG

    Check it out sometime.
    Its on the inbound lane heading towards Chiang Mai, diagonally opposite the Shell gas station.
    Google maps
    Google Maps

    Now if I was to do this loop with a nice lady pillion I'd recommend going Chiang Mai - Sop Poeng - Sop Kai first with a stop at Doi Taeng coffee on the way.
    Then make the Cafe in Wild the main stop for the day.
    Then exit via Mae Tamann to R107 & home to Chiang Mai, perhaps with a stop for a cheap charlie steak on the way.
    Whatever, this is a brilliant little half day ride from Chiang Mai.

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