Part 2 Doi Salong to Doi Ang Khang

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by BJ, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. Day 3
    After a great breakfast from Shin Sane we headed off towards Doi Ang Khan.
    This was the day I was looking forward to the most. After discovering GT-Rider while back in Australia and reading the reports I couldn’t wait to get back and travel the road around the border.

    It was a really nice ride down to the checkpoint and junction of the 1089.

    And then an easy ride into Tha Ton, where we stopped and had some lunch and a coffee.
    Headed off to Mae Ai and turned onto the Road that runs around the border. It isn’t numbered on the Gt map but it joins with the 1314 at the checkpoint. I missed the turn at the checkpoint, thought it was a cash point to a waterfall, and ended up coming in behind the Buddha at Tha Ton.

    We had to turn around again and back track to the checkpoint. That wasn’t so bad the roads were even better the second time around. Coming up to the checkpoint there was what turned out to be an army post. I stopped and asked the boss to translate the sign for me. But before she could an Army guy who was doing something out the front waved us in telling us to have a look around. They are really very friendly around the border.

    We finally made it to the checkpoint and it was a lot smoother with the beancounter showing her ID than when I travelled around Doi Tung a few weeks earlier. I had to show my passport 4 times on that trip.
    This time they just asked the Boss where we were heading and pre ordered the meat wagon in case we didn’t make it past the road collapse.
    It was one of the most enjoyable roads I have travelled. Sometimes a bit broken up Sometimes very overgrown. We weren’t after the quickest time just out enjoying the trip.

    A few speed humps on the way.



    The scenery was spectacular.


    And the road collapse wasn’t so bad after all. The army guys told the little lady that the road had been like that for 7 years. And maybe it wouldn’t be there in 2554.


    We travelled down the other side and had to stop in Ban Lan to refuel.
    The locals said the quickest way to Doi Ang Khan was on the road that we had been on so back we went.


    The ER6n had been a dream the whole trip. But going up the back of Doi Ang Khan I found its and my limitations.
    It really doesn’t like steep rocky roads. It didn’t matter which way I pointed the front wheel it bounced the arse around wherever it wanted. Too much pressure in the tyres too much weight and too steep.

    After a lot of good Aussie swear words (and seeing 2 wave idle past us without a problem) we made the climb and onto Doi Ang Khan for the night.
    Got a nice room in Doi Ang Khang up on the hill behind the village for 500 baht . Slept really well after one of the best road trips I have had in a long time.
  2. BJtravel
    Nice one alright.
    It looks like you had glorious weather; & you've certainly excelled yourself there with the bike tackling those Doi Phahompok & Doi Ang Khang back roads.
    So 10/10 for effort. I don't think you're supposed to be doing that on your brand new Kwaka.
    But it all goes to confirm that it's usually not the bike that lets you down, but the rider & so far you've not failed.

    I'm glad you did the DAK Nor Lae back road going uphill, as it might have been messy going down. But what are your thoughts on this - up or down - what do you recommend?

    Here's what happened with my brother going down a few years ago


    The road was in better condition, but all the loose metal made it slippery if you overshot the mark & need to brake or change direction quickly.

    Go here for some early photos of the Doi Ang Khang roads.

    Thanks for the contributions. You're certainly doing alright on that new bike of yours.
    Please keep the trip reports coming.

    Attached Files:

  3. BJ

    Nice rep and pictures,, really enjoy it
  4. Excellent pics & report BJ and good on you for getting out and about on the Kwaka in some tricky stuff.

    Completely coincidentally, myself, Rhodie & Silverhawk did pretty much the same trip last week using my 90 day Mae Sai visa run as an excuse. Agree with you about the awesome roads and scenery and a trip report will follow once we get our act together.


  5. Thanks Captain and David.

    Doing this report has made me realise how much time and effort the posters put into doing these reports that keep us entertained and informed on riding in Thailand. I think you must be one of the most prolific so thanks for that.

    Yes David we were really lucky with the weather it was brilliant most of the trip. We got a few small showers and a huge downpour just before we got into Mae Hong Son, we sat that one out with a couple of local riders in the big bus shelter near the river crossing about 6 ks out.
    We also had a fair bit on the day we spent in Mae Hong Son but had planned an easy day so it didn't worry us.

    The "Kwaka" (haven't heard that for a long time) is getting well used. I dont think there's been many days it hasn't been ridden since I picked it up. Some days I look at the wave or the Fino and think I should ride one of them to the tallat, but nah why would I. I would love to keep it in the same condition as the day I picked it up also. But I bought it to ride and I intend to do as much as I can while I can still swing the leg over the seat. And I know its not a question of will I drop it just when.

    The ride up to Doi Ang Kahn was a lot of fun (after I got to the top :D ).
    I should have known it wouldn't be easy. My wife asked the army guys at the last checkpoint how is the road. The three of them looked at my bike looked at each other smiled and said oh it's a bit rough but no worries the locals all use it. I'm sure they were taking bets on how long before we would be back.

    I'm not surprised of the photos of your brother,it doesn't look like he had much better tyres than mine. You really can't see how steep or slippery it is from a photo.
    When I stopped coming up to the bend to let my wife off (I wasn't keen on going over the side with her on the back) I had the front and back brakes locked left foot on the ground and we still slid backwards about a metre before the bike hit a rock big enough to hold it.
    When I was having trouble getting up with the back bouncing around and not getting traction, I thought about letting some air out of the back tyre but knowing nothing about tubeless bike tyres I was worried it might pop with not enough pressure in it, and then I would really be in trouble.
    Maybe someone who knows could let me know if thats an option.

    I think going up was the easiest way though. Coming back down as you know you've got to find a gear tall enough so as the back doesn't slide past you but still go slow enough to be able to steer around the bends. Not so easy.
    I checked the photos from years before and it certainly is easy for us newbies, but it looked like it was a lot of fun with the right bike.
    I'm glad I did it and yes I would probably do it again, but not with a pillion or 12 kilos of bags hanging out past the back wheel.

    I hope to add more reports before I head back in August. I had planned to go to Laos but I think its got a bit late for that maybe next winter.

    Thanks for the great site David.


    Oh and just so people don't get the wrong idea and head of up the backroad to Doi Ang Khan on their new zx10 or Harley.
    It really was hard work.

    How did I end up there when I headed off on the left of the road.

    After manhandling the bike around for 10 minutes and pointing it downhill again.


    I just couldn't get it out of the rut. I had no energy left to pull the front out and I just couldn't ride it out. The front tyre just wouldn't grip going up the rut. So pissed off and tired I stepped off and lay it down. :evil:

    Lit up an L&M and thought about it a bit.
    After I'd rested a bit I gritted the teeth lifted it up stood up on the pegs rode down the rut and bounced it out the end, then rode straight into the bank to stop myself.
    I got up on the second attempt, I started on the far left and got on the tar with only a foot of road left on the right.
    The thing that made me laugh about this climb was after making it to the
    top and stopping for a breather at the lookout. My lovely wife turned to me and said "why didn't you just ride straight up that road". You've got to love the Thai logic.
    Why didn't I?


    Attached Files:

  6. It’s steep alright & you have to wonder what the logic was building a road straight off the end of a mountain like that. In this shot from 94
    I think you can see it is steep, steep.

    Stopping your bike to get a photo is not easy.
    The brakes just hold,
    the road’s slippery with loose stones,
    you have to get on & off on the high side & not the low side
    or you will definitely topple over.

    It looks like you too had trouble on exactly the same corner my brother had trouble on.
    Perhaps we could install a GT Rider guestbook there for all fallen riders to sign? :lol:

    I think that on a road orientated bike once you lose part control there it is hard to get it back under total control & not have to drop it or go over the edge. Anyone on a big bike with regular road tyres should have trouble on the Nor Lae descent it is so steep & slippery with loose stones / gravel + ruts after the wet. You’ve all been warned now.

    I too know that feeling of being exhausted getting your bike stuck. After our expedition down there in 94 we were all totally knackered. Being stuck out there in the “middle of nowhere” is an exhilarating feeling at times. (Even Happy Feet had one in Laos, the DR400 stuck in the mud beside the Mekong that required him to walk to the river & get help from the villagers to get out. I think he has yet to relate the story on the forum. :) )

    I’m not sure about your luggage set up on the Kwaka. I would not be happy riding with a bag stuck way up there & way out the back. :roll:
    It must really affect the handling & stability of the bike something terrible. You might want to consider something else – smaller, closer, and lower. Saddle bags even. The great thing about touring here is you don’t need mountains of luggage, just enough for 4 days on the road, then over night for 2 nights, do the laundry, and then hit the road again. So you can get away with small bags.

    Thanks again for the report(s).

    Attached Files:

  7. I'll throw a couple quick comments in here just for continuity. As Pikey said, we should have a trip report coming soon, right Rhodie????

    Anyway, I have been up and down the back of Angkhan a number of times over the years, single and two up. The road is definately now in the worst shape I have seen it (although nothing like Davidfl's old photos).

    The Army guys at the checkpoint were quite friendly and we had some laughs as they gestured as to just how bad the road was. They definately did not try to gloss over the shape of the road and I had to tell them I had been there many times, and knew the road, before they finally lifted the gate. As we rode through they repeated Cha-Cha (slow-slow).

    Pikey on his Triumph Bonneville and Rhodie on his Triumph Scrambler did remarkably well considering the bikes. I was on my DR650 and I was quite happy I decided to bring that bike.

    We stopped a couple times for photos, (coming soon right Rhodie??) but other than that the guys made it in good shape. Coming down would definately be harder than going up. I would say on an off road bike and maybe motards it is still a doable road. Street bikes Beware!!!!!!!

    I also give bjtravel credit for crossing the washout. The last time I was there I chickened out and backtracked. Couldn't talk the guys into going that way this trip.

    Check David's maps; there are other roads available to get to the top Angkhan :D
  8. thanks again for replies everybody.

    David the rack was a last minute thing that was made up as I couldn't get anything else around cnx.
    I was told when I ordered and picked up the bike something was arriving soon so I left it to the last minute. I still needed to get the seat off so thats the reason for its position. It was only needed as there were 2 of us. And the other half has no more holidays due for 12 months so by then i'm sure there will be lots available.
    When im on my own I sit a bag on the seat ockied down via the hooks and grab rails, no problem at all.
    The comments about the amount of luggage can you please send here.
    [email [email protected]][email protected][/email]
    Silverhawk and Pikey
    Sounds like you had a good trip. Look forward to the pics.
    What is said to a local thai person and a farang at the gates will never be the same.
    No matter how much Thai you speak. It was much easier with a local doing the talking though. And i related what was translated to me.

  9. Here is another picture of the Doi Ang Khan back road. As the photo was been taken it would have been difficult to hold the bike from sliding, it was that steep and slippery.


    Attached Files:

    •  12.jpg
      File size:
      72.3 KB
  10. BJ your been a busy bike tourist - well done - great stories and pics - You and your wife sound like your really doing well on the 650 Kwaka

    Ken F

Share This Page