Nan; hot hazy heavenly ride

Bert on the bike

Oct 5, 2007
On Sunday we met at Don Muang at 06:45 and we made an early escape out of Bangkok. No police on the road and so we could take the main road and were at 08:00 ready for our breakfast 130 km from Bangkok. While enjoying our refreshments we saw water dripping out of the side of my BMW 800 GS and we found that the hose at the bottom of the radiator had almost come off and water was dripping out , for how long I don’t know (see also BMW section on call back for radiator hose). I had my tools with me and after letting the radiator cool down I removed and checked the hose and installed it the proper way. Filled the radiator again and we were on our way. We lost little more than an hour but since we had left early we had enough time.


15 km later we took the Tak Fa road (Road number 11). This road has some good asphalted parts but as well long stretches with patched up asphalt and potholes. Not really a problem for the GS but Muzza was on his ER6N and the suspension on it is al little less forgiving then the GS and he was glad to get that bit over with.. Keeping a nice pace we progressed well until suddenly after 50 km on road number 11 I did not see Muzza anymore in my mirrors. Waited a couple of minutes on the side of the road but he did not show up. Turned around and found him a kilometer back along the road. His Ortlieb bags had somehow bounced themselves off the bike onto the road and were being skied behind the bike for enough time to make a big hole in one of the panniers.

All the stuff was shoehorned into the one remaining pannier and bungied onto the back seat and off we went again.

As always problems come in threes and 30 km later Muzza’s back tire deflated rapidly.. We got out a can of tyreweld which even after vigourous shaking failed to do anything to plug the hole and just deposited a big pile of shaving foam on the side of the road.
Bad luck. The good thing was that we were only 4 km from the next village so we drove slowly and looked for a repair shop. It was Sunday and most of the shops were closed. A local motorcycle shop was open and although he could not fix it himself we got him to take the wheel off and go and look for a repair shop which was open. Half an hour has was back with a plug in the hole and after putting the back wheel back we were on our way again. By that time we were three and half hour behind schedule and more or less assumed that we would not make it to Nan that day.

After Pitsanulok the road became better (although there are some road works ongoing) and after Uttaradit the more interesting part started. Not anymore the straight flat roads through the fields where nothing is growing yet but the winding hilly roads which both Muzza and myself like to drive. With this nice drive our spirits became better and although it was really hot our energy levels grew. The part closest to Den Chai is being improved and traffic was heavy but we were in Phrae around 16:45 and decided to push through for the last 120 km to Nan.

Beautiful road, winding, nice flowing curves which can be taken at high speed and good scenery. Happy that we did this part we were in the Devaraj hotel just after six. Not much pictures of this day as we were too busy to get to Nan. Evening consisted of a dinner and some beers in the coffeshop of the hotel and an early night.

Next day we were both looking forward to the 1256. We had a book with us from a very well known member of GT riders which was published more than 10 years ago. The roads around Nan were described in detail and the 1256 was a must do.


After a quick run over the 1080 (nice wide winding road with good asphalt) we arrive at Pua and after fueling up it was on to the 1256. It is a nice road to drive and definitely a recommendable road.


Road conditions are not always that good but as you can see there are stretches were they are improving the road conditions.


The above picture says enough, definitely recommendable


The air was still hazy and the views were not that good but the road was enough to keep us busy and happy.


On the top there was a Buddha in front of a sacred tree with as well a wide range of animals offered.


Then it was down on the other side and more good road with lots of curves


The 1256 ends up at the 1081 and we took the turn to the right, back towards Nan. The 1081 is at this moment an even better road then the 1256. Great views, nature, curves, roads, anything you want a road to be.


This must look for some of you look very familiar and if we are right is the picture at the front of the book of Davidfl. This is one of the best roads in Thailand.



And we enjoyed ourselves a lot. They are widening and improving the road and from the shape the road will take you can see that this will be a good part as well when finished.


The only thing disturbing is the enormous amount of mountains which has been cleaned of any vegetation. Nothing left, absolutely nothing. If these mountains would still be covered in trees then this would be perfect, unfortunately that most likely will never come back.


We were back in Nan around 13:00 and when we arrived at the hotel for lunch it started to rain. We decided to relax a little and do some sight seeing in Nan in the afternoon. When we got our bikes out in the afternoon we saw 4 other bikes parked at the hotel. One of them was a 650 GS Dakar and a KTM with 6 or 8 spare fuel canisters. Having read the reports on the board we knew it could only mean 1 thing, Backdoorphil and his wife and 2 others were in Nan as well. We met them at the Pumin temple and had a nice talk. They were on their way to Laos and had some paperwork to sort out. It is always nice to meet other members in real life and not only see their pictures on the board.


The pumin temple is one of the few temples in Thailand which has a hell temple

This is the hell temple. They are specially cruel to (Thai) women, who deserve that off-course even though this looks real painful

Besides that the temple is also a very nice temple

With a 4 sided Buddha statue

We were planning to eat in Da Dario’s but unfortunately it was closed and we ended up eating at the river on the other side of the river. At the end (one and half hour after ordering) we got 3 out of 5 of the dishes we ordered and the waiter came tells us that the rice was finished, even though the other tables were served rice. Fortunately we had been drinking beer for one and half hour so we were not that hungry anymore and left. It must be said that what we got tasted good.

We looked for a short loop for the next day in the book of David. David I know that you wrote that you are planning to update the book after 12 years but it is necessary. Most likely no more dirt to find on the routes you described. We chose to take the 1082 Doi Tiew road as part of our Nan – 1148 – Chiang Khan – Phrae loop.

The 1082 is a great road. New asphalt, not too wide, reasonable tight corners, elephant grass growing over the road in places and some interesting hill tribe villages along the road. A real recommendation for anybody. We were on the road early and when getting higher on the mountain we drove through the clouds.



After passing the second hill tribe village and around 24 km on to the 1082 it was time to turn around and enjoy the road back down to the 1148. The 1148 is a real nice drive as well which is very recommendable.



Not many pictures from the 1148. Both Muzza and myself enjoyed the drive too much and were in our rhythm and did not want to stop for pictures but just enjoy the ride. It was great! One corner after the other, up, down and up again, just kilometer after kilometer of winding mountain road.


From Chiang Khan we drove to Pong, Chiang Muan and Phrae, all nice winding roads, sometimes stretches of less good road surface but nice fast drives. We were early in Phrae and decided to drive to Uteradit. We were early in Uteradit so we decided to drive to Pitsanulok. We were in Pitsanulok at 16:45. We discovered that Pitsanulok is now the center of asia according to this sign:


However we could make Nakon Sawan before dark which would make the last day back to Bangkok so much easier. So we pushed on and were in Nakon Sawan around 18:15. Stayed in the Pimarn hotel (850 baht, basic, clean, ok but not special) and make the last 240 km to Bangkok the next morning and were back home for lunch.

We expected the rains to have come but they did not and the temperatures were not down. It was really hot with a lot of sweating and drinking water and electrolyte drinks, very tiring. Fields were still brown and not green, views were still hazed, roads were good, surface not always but the mountains and curves make sure you will really enjoy. We will be back to do more, also the side tracks which are described in Davids book (will update status for you David) of which are some real beauties.

As always the trip was too short and we will be back for more.


Dec 18, 2007
Same sentiments as Colin. The 1081 is a classic and I put it against the rest as one of the best in North Thailand.

Thanks for the report and pics Bert.


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Many thanks for the contribution & apologies for the slow response.

Now re
Bert on the bike wrote:

This must look for some of you look very familiar and if we are right is the picture at the front of the book of Davidfl. This is one of the best roads in Thailand.

Nope not this one

But more likely this one

BTW, hell you got me on this one

I’ll have to go back to Nan & take a closer look at Wat Phumin yet again.

Bert on the bike wrote: David I know that you wrote that you are planning to update the book after 12 years but it is necessary.
Agreed, & I’ve started work on it, but the update is a big job!

Part of the “problem” in Nan is that because of the nature of the terrain, very few of the roads / loops stay in the same condition for very long. After every wet season, there is always flood damage somewhere on parts of the road & depending on the budget they do / don’t get fixed up very well. So it changes considerably from one year to the next. But that is one of the aims of the GT Rider forum, to get contributions to share the road info & keep everyone up to date. And contributions like yours are always most welcome.
Many thanks for taking the time & sharing the info.
:clap: :clap: