MHS Loop

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Johpa, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Johpa

    Johpa Ol'Timer

    Rented two XRs from Mr Mechanic and took my son (19) on his first Mae Hong Song loop tour and my first trip in nearly 20 years. Pai, the town, was simply unrecognizable and rather dreary apart from Farang watching. Upon David's recommendation we stayed at the Brookview, a very nice place that had me pondering why I was sharing a bed in such a romantic little bungalow with my son. We ate at the Indian food place across from the Blue something hotel, and regretted it, over priced and not paticularly tasty. I did find a nice little bar, across from the Israeli oriented traveler guest house in the center of town, owned by a Swede. You can always count on a Swede to pour an honest drink.

    The second day was the highlight of the trip traveling from Pai to MHS and then down to Khun Yuam. Arrived in Khun Yuam around 2:00PM and looked eastward to see only a black sky over the mountains. But after an hour lunch stop at Baan Farang we went back to the intersection around 3:00PM and the skies were clear and so we took the road over to Mae Chaem. The ride along this road that did not even exist on my last trip to Khun Yuam was just outstanding. The road was being paved/repaved in various places along the first third of the way, but would not be any problem for a street bike or even a Dream as long as you went slow over the unpaved sections. But we had the XRs, the rain was an hour ahead of us which left the forests glistening but the road dry. With the sun getting a bit low, the colors and views were stupendous. There is no doubt in my mind that late afternoon, with the sun at your back is the time to drive this section eastwards. My only caveat is that this road, despite being a paved road, is fairly isolated with only a few Mong and Karen villages, and it had very, very little traffic so best not done solo or without Thai language skills. I would assume that during the dry season traffic would increase.

    Next morning took a chilly ride to meet up with the Doi Inthanon Rd and from there back down to the main road but then looped around towards Samoeng, took off to the Rock Tower above Pong Yang (take road to Royal Project at Mong village of Nong Hoi) and then to the house for a quick shower. Driving the bikes back to Chiang Mai I ran out of gas directly in front of my local gas station. Further good fortune followed when I arrived back at Mr. Mechanic to return the rental bikes to see my good friend of over 20 years, Mr David himself, sitting in front of the Kafe as if waiting for our arrival. So after a few beers, and after appointing my son the designated driver, I sat on the back of our mighty Honda Dream as we putted back home.

    My son is still trying to figure out words to describe the MHS loop road, with its infinite and never ending variety of hairpin and corkscrew turns to his young cycle pals in the US.
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    PICO-PICO Ol'Timer

    Of course I am very very keen to make this trip next time up North.
    On the other hand, i am not so sure if it might not be overly demanding.

    the MHS loop road, with its infinite and never ending variety of hairpin and corkscrew turns

    With a side car there is no easy leaning into the curve, each and everyone of the xxx many bents has to be taken with quite some /back/shoulder/arm power. Even going straight up hill requires quite some pulling the handles to the right to compensate for the unnatural 3 wheeler, the weight of the side car pulling to the left, the steeper, the longer, the ascend, the more pulling.

    Plus, seems to be a bit lonely out there. My vehicle is too wide to be thrown on any pick up, if something goes wrong or Khun Pico simply wants to call it a day.
    Any encouragement from drivers to can put themselves into my situation ??

    Just tell me to go,ok :))
  4. MBT

    MBT Ol'Timer


    Yes the MHS loop can be demanding on 2 wheels for those with little or no experience however with 3 wheels? Put it this of the twistiest (is that a word) sections is coming into Pai (assuming your riding anti clockwise) and then Pai to Soppong. Here in Soppong we have the freindlist ice cream man in the area riding his Walls ice cream bike complete with side car and umbrella that comes from Pai 2-3 days a week return and he always arrives with a smile and pumped up biceps. My advice....Either fill your side car with some vannila or chocolate some tasty cappuccino or better still a few house bricks give yourself plenty of time and go for it mate. Or I am sure a side car passenger able to hang out would be the best option. Ask John at Jonnadda!

    Do the trip take loads of pics and I am sure your trip report will bring a few smiles from all!

    PICO-PICO Ol'Timer

    Thanks very much indeed, MTB, this what I ve been looking for =
    a BIG ice cream trophy.
    I must the meet the man on his tracks.
    And this one may be well worth a trip report.
    My trips are not that exciting for real hardcore bikers.

  6. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer


    I didn't reply when you first put up this post, but seeing as it is active again I will now. What would/do you do if your bike breaks down anywhere? Do the same here.

    On the MHS loop, although it may seem lonely at times, you are never really that far from assistance. There are many places to stay around the loop if you want to call in and relax early. It is not the wilderness that it seems or maybe once was.

    Go for it and have fun next time you are up this way. If you have a major problem remember the GT-Riders are only a phone call away (just get some numbers before you go).

    PICO-PICO Ol'Timer

    I ´ll treat all of you to the biggest ice cream orgy !!
  8. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Here is a perfect example of what I am talking about;

    Tom Forde, Robert Heikel and myself were riding in the Laos jungle in the Salavan area. We thought we were alone in the middle of nowhere when Robert got a puncture. We stopped, and just as we got out the repair kit, 3 Laos guys came out of the bush and wanted to help pump up the tire. Soon a guy carrying some large box on a scooter stopped. THEN when we least expected it (obviously) a guy pulls up selling ice cream from his scooter!

    icecream. icecream2.

    Tom pulled out his MP3 player and hooked it up to his portable speakers and everyone jammed to the music as we ate ice cream and fixed the tire. A great time for all! You're seldom really alone.
  9. MBT

    MBT Ol'Timer

    Sadly I have no idea how to put up photos to show but seeing a I seemed to have started the Ice Cream theme to this post...One of my favourite trips is route 1216 Nan province accross to Phrae, (definately not suitable for a side car), very remote and a peach of an uphill steep winding climb followed by a even more peachy downhill, very fast, winding (mini race track style) circuit to the 1217 (god I've gone to a fruit theme now). First time I did this trip I took a wrong turning on the 1216 and ended up smack bang in the middle of knowhere but, so serene and quiet 1300 meters or so above I had to stop put the bike on the centre stand and lie back and enjoy the beauty of peace relaxation and clean air. The only thing missing, I lost my cigarette lighter so couldn't spark up and enjoy that Hamlet moment...5 minutes later though along came the ice cream man who served me a coconut ice cream wrapped in bread and gave me a light to boot. This trip if you did have a problem it could take a while to get help but you will eventually. The Mae Hong Son Loop however...

    As Silverhawk said is "not a wilderness", sure you will be alone on the road in places but you wont need to pack survival gear. I'm in Soppong (Pangmapha) and happy to come out with the truck if a problem occurs but in any case, anyone that stops on the side of the road even for a rest break 90% of all Thai drivers would check if you needed help.

    Wait until November through to Mid Feb to ride the loop for optimum enjoyment, cool air and blue skies and lashings and lashings of Ice cream flavours:)

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