My Gtr Dinner Trip To Piang Luang

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #1 DavidFL, Mar 12, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    The last Wednesday of the month & a scheduled GTR up country dinner in Piang Luang, Wednesday 27th of February it was.....Piang Luang is one of those right out of the way places very few people go to, let alone spend a night there; however Piang Luang is a gem of a spot.

    Chiang Mai - Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang. On the trail of King Naresuan.

    You have several options to get there
    1. the main road via R1322 from "Chiang Dao."
    2. the back border way via R1322 / R1178 from Arunothai.
    3. Off road from Pai or from Muang Khong.

    Pai To Wiang Haeng February 2015

    Pai - Wiang Haeng - Chiang Dao. Muddy trails and mighty mountains

    Being on the recently acquired mighty Dtracker, the black plonker, I took the easy way out, started from Chiang Mai taking the easy way out. R107 to Chiang Dao, then a left onto R1178, then a left onto R1322 & hey presto I was in Piang Luang safely and turned left again into the hotel.
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    Turn off after Chiang Dao onto R1178 & the black plonker makes a stop to check out the cocks at King Naresuan's Stupa in Muang Ngai
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    Back on R1178, the Arunothai road, & the road is a beauty
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    Race down the hill, but not too fast
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    And then at the bottom make a left onto R1322.

    R1322 is one of the best riding roads in the North, and is as good as anything out there.
    The only reason it is so popular is because it ends in Piang Luang & most people don''t realize you can exit to Arunothai on another amazing road; or if you're on a dirt bike you can cut across to Pai or back into Muang Khong out of Chiang Dao.

    Whatever, R1322 is a magnificent ride through some of the best forest cover in the North.
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    Even in the hot dry season, the forest is nice, cool and green.,
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    The road twists and winds its way through the mountains, with long long climbs and descents making for an awesome ride.

    Up on the ridgeline, about 20 kms before Wiang Haeng, the Lisu gals still have their funky coffee shop going..selling mediocre coffee, strawberries & amazing brownies.
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    I was reluctant to try the brownies, but after some firm, sweet Lisu persuasion, I relented and WOW! The brownies were amazing.
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    and the Lisu secret is to buy them from the bakery in Wiang Haeng.
    Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang Restaurants

    More to come as I finally get it together.
     
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  2. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Arrival time in PL @ the Huan Kingkhala Resot Hotel was 4PM.
    David & Steve were already set up in the restaurant imbibing.
    Richard Na Ched Yot was soon on the scene & in time for a friendly GTR arm wrestle.
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    it wasn't too long before the full crew turned up via various routes & an obligatory photo was required for the resort owners.
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    Special mention must be mae of two Thai friends Prasit & Wut from Ride Asia.
    Prasit & Wut are the original two Thai guys who pioneered regional bike travel by BMW to Laos, China, Vietnam. Prasit, Wut & I go back a long way and it is always a joy to hook up with them & swap touring notes. Prasit is very successful with his BMW Tours & has tours booked Chiang Mai - Paris coming up.
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    Happy hour was a lengthy one as usual & we eventually sauntered up the road to the Krua Piang Luang.
    Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang Restaurants

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    The food & service at the Krua Piang Luang is excellent & when we attempted to confirm breakfast the next morning were stunned to know that they were closed for 2 days because of a temple festival coming up.

    To be continued..
     
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #3 DavidFL, Mar 13, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
    With no brekky at the Krua Luang, the Huan Kingkhala was under pressure with orders for 10 ABF.
    The dish was simple & cheap.
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    top marks for trying.

    Time to move on for everyone
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    everyone except me, as I volunteered for temple duty the next day.

    Prasit & Wut hung around to assist me in tracking down the brownie shop in Wiang Haeng - The Wiang Haeng Cafe
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    Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang Restaurants

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    such was the pace of the morning that it was also lunch time & I was pleased to see that both Prasit & Wut concurred that the Bua Jine

    Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang Restaurants

    Google Maps has good food & an extensive menu. The best in Wiang Haeng more than likely.

    Prasit is an experienced traveller & always inspects the kitchen & questions the cook about their food. He only wants the best for his tour customers.
    It is interesting riding with such an experienced Thai traveller as Prasit & how meticulous he is surveying establishments & planning trips.
    Prasit & Wut set off back to Chiang Mai after lunch & I road out to the border to check up on the wat & planned festivities for the next day.

    After Piang Luang the road carries on another 4.5 kms to Lak Taeng & the Burmese border gate.

    Lak Taeng is a bit of classic old style Shan - Chinese KMT town, but when you look around the Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang - Lak Taeng valley is booming.
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    Once upon a time there used to be traffic going through the border pass when the friendly Shan controlled the area, but it is now controlled by the Wa drug dealers, so it is no go.
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    Literally right next to & on the border is the Fa Wiang In temple
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    500 metres further up the hill on the Thai - Myanmar border then is the tomb of the Shan hero
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    In 1969 General Mo Heng, a famous one armed Shan fighter "invited Tai from both sides of the border to renovate the ancient chedi later named "Mara Shina." At the hilltop bordering Thailand and Shan State they built Wat Fa Wiang In temple. When he was spared from fighting, Mo Heng came everyday to meditate at "Hor Sil," a small wooden meditation house close to the temple."

    The border and viewpoint
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    right next door 50 metres away then was what I was looking for, .... preparations for some sort of temple festival.

    A new Buddha image being wheeled out
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    a quick chat with the super friendly monk from Kamphaeng Phet revealed that the ceremony would start at 9AM the next morning, but I should be there by 8.30AM at the latest.
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    The ceremony involved both a new Buddha image & a statue of King Naresuan being installed in a new sala that had been built.
    A full report on the ceremony has been added to my original Piang Luang & King Naresuan report
    Chiang Mai - Wiang Haeng - Piang Luang. On the trail of King Naresuan.

    A few of images from the festival
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    To be continued the journey home to Chiang Khong.
     
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  4. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ben Kemp
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    Pai to Wiang Haeng - Dirt Road / Cross Country


    After some discussion with Moto-Rex, and referencing a previous trip report, I thought I might try the 56 km shortcut from Pai to Wiang Haeng, in order to get to the GTR Up-Country Dinner at Piang Luang...
    - A sunny days ride from Pai to Fang via Wiang Haeng.

    So I did... most of if was easy enough on the dual-sport Rebel...
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    The elevation profile give as good indication of the terrain encountered in the cross-country route.
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    Except for this bit, which was extremely steep clay, thick with bull dust and badly rutted. The 16 inch wheels are not ideal for this terrain, and I ended up with a wheel on each side of a thin ridge and spun out before I could get straightened out.

    The Rebel and I had a wee lie down in the bull dust - injured pride and a broken mirror! The hill was steep enough that the front brake could not hold the bike on the clay. It took 20 minutes of clutch slipping, wheel spinning effort to man-handle the bike the last 50 metres to the top, by which time I had worked up a fierce thirst!

    The gear linkage got messed up in the capsize and for the next few kms I was stuck in either 1st gear or neutral. Once I got out onto the concrete section, I found that if I turned off the engine and jiggled the gear linkage around, I could force it into 2nd gear. From there to 6th gear, all was well. The next day, I crossed over to Chiang Rai and got the nice guy at the tyre shop to adjust the linkage back into full working order.
    d-dirt-road-pai-to-wiang-haeng.
     
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  5. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

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    The main Road from Piang Luang to Chiang Dao is an Absolute Ripper on the CRF! Enjoyed every km of that and every Corner a Brilliant Ride! Worth going back up so I can repeat it Ha Ha!
     
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  6. Tarquin Ferrets

    Tarquin Ferrets Active Member

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    Great write up. I was very pleasantly surprised about the beauty and excellent condition of highway 1322 from Chiang Dao to Wiang Haeng when I rode it early last month opposite direction. Definitely need to go back and spend a night at Piang Luang as the place sounds like right on my alley.....
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Hanging out in Piang Luang I stumbled across the IC Cafe
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    a really nice cool coffee shop
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    I had a few cups here & enjoyed chatting with the owner guy. A good man.


    But time to move on from Piang Luang, load up the black plonker & head home slowly via the back road.
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    R1322 it is again runs along the Burma border area into Muang Nga & the Arunothai road. gtr-img_0545-.

    An amazing road if it ever was with a spectacular mountain crossing over the headwaters of the Ping river.
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    The mountain crossing profile
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    the road surface is generally all good, except for one section that is covered with light gravel on long slope
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    the good stuff - a superb ride
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    Pottering along slowly in the heat arrival time in Fang was 5PM.
    The Khun Yuw was my place of stay & welcome it was, smart, clean, quiet with an efficient aircon.
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    Fang Accommodation

    And the new dining venue was The Larb-Za Cafe
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    Fang Restaurants

    More to come..catching up
     
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  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #8 DavidFL, Apr 3, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
    A lazy 11AM departure the next day with a big ride off to Mae Chan city, going by the rural back road from Fang to Mse Saluk, across the Kok river up to Kiu Sataa & down into mae Chanb megatropolis with an arrival time of 4PM.

    R3023 was the route number to Mae Saluk & it is a gem of a deserted winding rural back road.
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    It's generally flat until you get to the hills by the Mae Kok River
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    GPS-Map002.

    Eventually the roads down to the Kok river at Mae Saluk. turn left & go across the bridge and carry back on out to R1089.

    At Mae Saluk,there's an option to turn right & head up in the mountains to Wawi & Doi Chang. From Doi Chang you can exit to Chiang Rai via Huai San & Den Har, or carry on down to Mae Suai.

    Huamereng, Border Regions, Doi Wawi & More…

    60th Birthday Ride (for The Bike...)

    Southbound on the 3037

    For off road fans you can also exit to Fang & Chiang Rai. Check out these GTR reports
    Chiang Rai - Wawee - Fang. The delights of riding west out of Chiang Rai

    Where the hell Wawi The Spirit Of Adventure

    Map of Chiang Rai River Dirt Road

    Mae Saluk once upon a time to be a super busy little outpost on the Kok river, only accessible by dirt roads, with no bridge across the Kok. 20+ years ago hundreds of tourists went down the river every day.

    The Kok River
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    The old original restaurant & army checkpoint booth on the right.
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    The army post here was for the hundreds of tourists going down the river by boat; everyone going on the river had to register in a log book; and there was as a time when a series of robberies on the river saw armed soldiers on board the boats for security.

    The old army check in point
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    They soon caught the perpetrators & the problem was solved, with no more boats suddenly pulling over the shore to be robbed.

    The old restaurant on the Kok has not changed & neither has the owner.
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    And the kow soi was so good, I had a second.
    It was a pleasure to chat with her & reminisce about the old golden days with hundreds of trekkers hiking to / from Doi Chang & back packers going down the Kok river on a daily basis.

    Next door, this used to be the backpackers guesthouse to stay in
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    and I slept in it once 37 years ago, before I moved from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. My first few ventures into the North trekking.

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    Time may have moved right on, but kids having fun in the water of the Kok river has not changed.
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    but they do have a bridge to climb & jump off now.

    A wee bit more to come..
     
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  9. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

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    Great report and contributions. Lots of info as usual David, very interesting. Thank you all.
    I was over in Wiang Haeng a couple of months ago. From Chai Prakarn, via Sinchai and Arunothai on the super 1340. Love the views as you climb out of the valley after passing General Lee's mausoleum.
    Well done Ben, doing the dirt road from Pai on the Rebel.
    The North Siam Roadriders took a classic Enfield Bullet tour on that dirt road recently. I've done it on a KLX, but want to try it on my '59 Triumph. Maybe a bit earlier in the year may be easier.
     

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