Northern Thailand 8-9 Day Tour


New Member
Dec 19, 2016
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Hey guys

I'm a Chiang mai rider and know a few faces who lurk around here. I'm after a bit of input on a ride i'm planning for my Dad and his friend to accompany me on during January, details and questions below. Any advice would be much appreciated.

My old man and his friend are both very experienced riders and pretty fit having covered hundreds of thousands of KM’s in Europe and the UK/IOM, so challenging roads are not a problem. We are looking to cover around 3-400km per day and the route is below. I've done almost all of these roads so it's only when we get to the Golden Triangle I have some questions. We will be on 2x CB500X's and a Versys.

Day 1 - CM to Mae Sot via the backroads past Lamphun, Li and the Bhumibol dam (1184, 106, 1102, 1107) then 1175 from Ban Tak
Day 2 - Mae Sot straight up the 105 to MHS - maybe past Thung Bua Tong/Surin depending on time
Day 3 - MHS to Pai - nice short day calling at the Lod cave on the 1095
Day 4 - Pai to Tha Ton via Aranuthai and Doi Ang Khang (1095, 1178, 1340,1249)
Day 5 - Tha Ton to Phu Chi Fah via Doi Mae Salong and the Golden Triangle park (1189, 1130, then rural to the 1290)

Question 1: From the Golden Triangle park would you head around the Mekohong on the 1290, 1155 and finish at Phu Chi Fah on the 1093. Or would you cut across on the 1271, 1098 and 1174. I’ve done the first route backwards, albeit on a dirtbike a couple of years ago, but never the other route.

Day 6 - Phu Chi Fah to Nan

Question 2: From Phu Chi Fah to Nan, would you go 1148 all the way down and join the 1256, 1081 or 1081/1333 then 1225/1168 or 1169 into Nan? I’ve done the 1081 all the way down before back from a Laos trip, but after seeing the 1256 make Goran's top 10 I figured I’d have to include it for sure!

Day 7 to 9 - Nan to ???? (either Uttaradit via Sirikit ferry or loops some Nan roads not already covered and head to Kwan Phayao)

Question 3: The next day the plan was to hit Uttaradit via the Sirikit dam crossing (i’ve done it once each way before). Then the day after up to Kwan Phayao via Phrae. Although i’m now thinking to scrap Uttaradit section and go from Nan to Kwan Phayao direct. If I did this, I know the 1091, but it would be a short day, so perhaps a twisty detour would be needed, although it's no real paid getting to Phayao a bit early. Can anyone share their must-ride roads in this area, or do you think the Uttaradit idea is better? My only concern is I only know the roads from Uttaradit to both Tak and Lampang, but have never gone up to Phrae way (on the road) and I want to avoid 11 and 101 as much as possible. From Uttaradit do you know the 1163, 1022, 1024? Then i guess connect up to the 103, 1154, 1120?

From Kwan Phayao i’m all sorted with taking them back over the 120, down to the temple on the mountain at Chae Hom and back across the 1252 or the other road to Mae On with the water crossings (most likely).

I know it is a bit of an essay, but any help around Golden Triangle to Nan and Nan onwards section would be greatly appreciated.

Apr 2, 2008
Glad to see you make your way to GTR Tom, welcome aboard.

Lots of good folks here to give you an advice. I am based south of Thailand and my knowledge of north is almost inferior compared to some other guys who are full time residents in this area.

The advice I am gonna give you is based on personal preferences, most likely will miss some important details but this can be rectified by other members.

Question 1: Yes that is exactly what I would do: 1290-1155-1093

Question 2: Personally, I would go down 1093. Yes, there are few potholes here and there but views and scenery are out of this world. In fact I have amazing video from this route which needs to be edited and uploaded. Use this route all the way down to beautiful Phu Sang Waterfall which is right next to the road, proceed to charming town of Chiang Kham. From there switch to 1148 until meets crazy 1097. I said crazy because right at the beginning it is so steep, narrow and curvy I could not stop to turn my camera on lol...until I reached relatively flat ground. Afterwards hit R101 till you reach intersection for 1256. At Bo Klua turn to 1081, connect to 1169 and there you Nan city. All these routes mentioned are listed in Top Ten North Thailand Routes topic:

North Thailand Top Ten Roads

Take your time and read the topic, in my opinion one of the best at entire forum.
Periodically we also add videos of these roads in newly created section, 1155, 1081, 1256, 1148...all feature there. Topic created just a few days ago and already having 7,000 views which is quite remarkable. I have to admit, we did link facebook post from very active moto adv group to this thread so that could explain such high numbers.

Video Thread: North Thailand Top Roads

As for your 3rd question, personally I would go via 1091 but that is because I am not aware of any other attractive detours in the area. I am sure other members will have more to say about this section. Btw, I love R11 from Uttaradit, those twisties and turns for speedy ride... :)

Hope this helps, make sure not to forget about us and post report with some nice pics and videos if possible.

Ride safe and all the best.


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Greetings from Luang Prabang....

Personally thats a lot of riding & you won't get time to look at much & take photos.
300 kms in a day in the mountains is generally about right if you want to see something, other than just ride.
But please yourself, everybody is different.

Question 1 The road from Chiang Saen to Chiang Khong is under reconstruction on the Chiang Khong side along the river & may not be so enjoyable.
See here: Roadworks On 1129 - Chiang Saen To Chiang Khong

Question 2: Id take the 1148 then sleep in Pua.
Pua Accommodation
but if you were coming from Cnx or Phayao then R1091 into Nan is the best way to ride into Nan.

Then do Doi Phukha the next day.
If you want more info on riding in Nan, check out his thread
Return to Nan & back to the future?
you could hang out in Nan for several days on the best biking roads in the North.

Also a brilliant ride south west of Nan is the Khun Satan road
1216, a hidden Pearl in Nan?

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Go To Nan

R1216 Khun Satan the Mlrabi

For Accommodation around the North
Accommodation - North Thailand

For Restaurants around the North
Restaurants - North Thailand

I hope this is a help.
Please let us know how you go.


New Member
Dec 19, 2016
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Awesome, huge thanks for this. I'm away from my Garmin GPS right now but I will check out to avoid the R1129, for some reason google maps lists the r1129 as the 1290. I think on this advice and the roadworks post I will skip this section and hit the 1271/1098/1174 to join the 1155