Phu Chi Fa - Doi Pha Tang - Mae Hong Son

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by brian_bkk, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. G'day All,

    It was that time of the year again for the GTR Memorial Ride.

    As coming up from Bangkok we wanted to make a long weekend of it.

    So Adrian, Tessa and myself first headed over to Chiang Rai to check out Phu Chi Fa and Doi Pha Tang with an over night in Chiang Khong at Tamilla Guest House.

    It is a small world.. On the way out of town we bump in to John Gooding and when at Tamilla Jurgen is staying over night on his way back from Laos... So great to have dinner and " Beers and Cheers" with Jurgen.

    It was a pleasure to ride with Adrian and Tessa.. Like minded.. Not only about the riding and zooming here and there.. but to soak up the local scenery and interact with the locals.

    I am not sure how much they liked me after we not only climbed Phu Chi Fa.. But then rode down the track and proceeded to climb Doi Pha Tang a few minutes later.

    One thing that was very cute.. The local Hmong kids followed us around when we filmed Destination Thaialnd TV..  The next day I went back and David and I chipped in and bought them 1000 bahts worth of colouring in and reading books..

    This time the young girl is there and walks up with us.. Then says in Thai.. Your name is Brian, where is the car with the rest.. Then further up asked where David is.. I was blown away.. What a memory..

    If you go up to Phu Chi Fa.. Do take the kids some books etc.. They do like it.. We gave them a tip which goes to the parents.. plus bought them a drink.

    Phu Chi Fa















    Check out the guy standing at the top left on the ridge line!



    Looking down in to the valley below and the Lao town


    Doi Pha Tang








    Chiang Khong - Tamilla Guest House


    Panorama Coffee







    Doi Inthanon



    Mae Hong Son












    Heading back to Chiang Mai... Coffee Break


    What a great weekend.. Great sights to visit, fantastic riding and to join with fellow riders in remembering past mates.  1500km over 4 days and never really in a hurry....

    Two links if you would like to see the pictures in full size.

    Facebook Album




    Attached Files:

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  2. Nice report Brian. It took me back to some places I remember dearly but very different from what I see here daily in Bora Bora!

    Also saw some not so old faces of close friends from days gone by not looking a day older than when Myriama & I left for Vietnam.

    Cheers to all,

  3. 20160101_213715-300x167. FB_IMG_1451713049905-169x300. FB_IMG_1451713059442-1-165x300.

    A few snaps from the end of 2015 down in the valley below Phu chi fa looking up.


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  4. FB_IMG_1451713406513-300x169.






    Down below Doi Pha Tang. Following some faint Google earth outline and power lines.

    Stopped just before the first army post.  4 pm greasy and slippery steep. Both nearly come off a couple of times...

    The Google image is very old. Single track mostly used by bikes.


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  5. A very good trip! I love Phu Chi Fah, Pha Tang and Mae Hong Son
  6. I missed this report for some reason.
    Beautiful photos of Phi Chi Far and the little kids Brian, as well as the shots of the temple at Mae Hong Son....the best view in Thailand I reckon.
    It was certainly a great weekend riding up and back to Mae Hong Son for the memorial ride. Great bunch of riders.

  7. Great pics there.....Phu Chi Fah is a cool place to visit.....wish my pics uploaded that good
  8. If you leave bright and early.. Plenty of time from cnx to chiang khong.. Leave your gear down by the locals selling trinkets at Phu Chi Fa . Then over to doi phatang. Locals happy to look after gear. We bought a drink and everyone was happy. Then pull in to chiang khong around dusk.

    Helps if you are reasonably fit if you want to conquer phu chi fa and doi phatang in succession

  9. #9 brian_bkk, Aug 12, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
    Mothers day long weekend and decide to take a couple of days leave.

    Need to blow the cobwebs off the mighty Versys..
    Last time she went for a spin was November 2015?

    Arrive in CNX around 9pm.
    As usual a friendly happy bunch of people to catch up with and enjoy a few light refreshments.


    I think we finished up around 1am and by the time I had another feed, in bed at 2am
    So much for waking up at 6 am bright eyed and bushy tailed.

    It was 7am with bags under the eyes...

    Pack up and check out. Head up to the best place near the moat for an early morning breakfast.
    Euro Diner.

    Hit the road around 8:15am...

    Off to Phu Chi Fa.

    It was pretty cloudy up the top..

    Occasionally the wind and cloud would blow away for a brief glimpse.

    The Mekong.

    Then after waiting for nearly one and half hours.. it cleared.. I was just about to start walking back down.
    Happy to have been up here and experienced this magnificent place again..

    A couple of selfies with the place all to myself..






    Take a look at the Thailand Riders Paradise Facebook page for a couple of Panoramic 360 Photos.
    Cloudy and after the cloud cleared. Pretty Cool App.

    After spending a couple of hours up here.. Time to head back down.

    Ever since the Destination Thailand TV ride up here.

    David and I chip in and buy the kids some books, colouring in pens etc, after they told us they like to read.

    As I was visiting this time..
    It was my turn.



    Some very happy little faces.. The parents said they will give the rest of the books to the kids in the village.

    Next stop Doi Pha Tang...

    Attached Files:

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  10. #10 brian_bkk, Aug 12, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
    Doi Pha Tang.

    The cloud had still cleared and it was looking good for this time of the year...


    Head to Hill 2 and take a couple of 360 panoramic shots..

    On the Thailand Riders Paradise FB group.

    But I really wanted to get to Hill 3..

    Phu Chi Fa, Doi Ph Tnag Hill 2 and Hill 3. in one day...

    Did it.


    This is what Hill 2 looks like from Hill 3
    ( Most people go to Hill 2 only - You are usually knackered and out of breathe by then )


    Closer.. you can see the Bell


    Climb up and perch yourself on the rocks for some very lovely scenery


    Perched up nice and high...

    Don't fall over.. No one will notice you are gone...


    Heading back down Hill 3 and one last shot of Hill 2 with the Mekong in view.


    Lovely lady at the bottom selling fruit etc.. She kindly looked after my riding gear
    So I could go mountain climbing..

    I purchased some goodies


    Now chilling in Chiang Khong and the old leg and a few other muscles are a little stiff after all that climbing.


    Attached Files:

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  11. Great photos Brian, love that filter you use. Hill 3 eh....? erm... must do that next time up there.
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  12. That's quite an achievement pulling off all three in a day, starting from Chiang Mai.
    Looks like you lucked out with the weather for those views of the Mekong at peak wet season too.

    Good to see the kids still enjoying their free books 'n pens. Must be my turn next.
  13. Interesting photos Brian. I think your camera settings are on "dramatic" mode.
  14. #14 brian_bkk, Aug 16, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
    Great time to be up there.. even if I am back with a stinking cold.

  15. #15 brian_bkk, Aug 16, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
    The road out of Doi Pha Tang to the main road is pretty rough.



    I took the hot line and as I started going around the corner.. Thought.. I hope there is an easy out.
    The Killer Whale Versys did Kawasaki proud.

    The next bend I went wide and luckily took the far right as there was no easy out..

    After this linked up to the main road and easy...

    Next stop Chiang Khong..
    I didn't stop for a coffee by the Khong as the weather was looking threatening again..

    Fantastic view of Houei Xay Laos from my room at Tamila Guest House.


    Another pic from the port.


    Next day head off to Chiang Sean.. I find the beds at Tamilla so comfortable..
    I slept in till at least 10 am.. Plus all the mountain climbing was pretty tiring.

    A view from the temple up the hill just after leaving CK..
    I can't remember the name.. Sure David, Ian, Jurgen and many others can share - please.


    Riding the Majestic Mekong..


    Started to rain and pull in to ' The View " coffee shop.
    Great spot to look at the Mekong and watch the rain with coffee and cake.



    So impressed with this compact Nikon AW 1..
    Even caught the rain drops..


    More riding the Khong.. and the river is right up with all the rain..


    Arrive in Chiang Sean..

    Time to check out the monuments..




    Lovely Teak Trees growing out the wall.
    Last battle against the Lana Army from Chiang Mai was 1802..


    This was a cool little short cut through the wall.
    Wouldn't not have found it, but for the traffic being redirected due to road works.


    OK.. Went a little further than the title of this thread..
    Seemed a waste to not use the pics.. plus if you do visit Phu Chi Fa, Doi Pha Tang.

    Pretty good chance you will go up to Chiang Sean and on to the Golden Triangle.

    Cheers and Beers..
    Another ripper time on the bike.


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  16. Great update to a great report Brian.
    Its certainly a beautiful part of Thailand that's for sure..
    Your Quote "(Most people go to Hill 2 only - You are usually knackered and out of breathe by then)" I scoff at the that remark....Scoff.
    Great gesture giving to the little kids some books. Nothing better than putting a smile on a kids face.
    What a great way to spend a long weekend mate.
    Cheers and beers
  17. #17 brian_bkk, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
    For those wondering what it look like from down below at the Lao village looking up to Phu Chi Fa.

    August 2016 - Phu Chi Fa looking down in to Laos

    December 2015

    Riding in to the valley below Phu Chi Fa.

    In the village below

    Beers and Cheers to celebrate

    The view point looking up at Phu Chi Fa from the Lao village below in the first photo.


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  18. Brian,
    This is a fantastic photo.
    You were lucky to see that. You only get the clarity of air in the rainy season and then you have to pick the right day.
    I had been up Phu Chee Fah 3 times and never seen the view!. Always, cloud, fog or haze.
    Fourth time lucky... sorry, the pics are not as good as yours, but here are some anyway from a ride around the area a couple of days ago. This why we love the rainy season......

    2016-09-01 13.05.19.
    2016-09-01 13.07.50.
    2016-09-01 13.29.42.
    Then over to Phaya Phipak
    2016-09-01 14.14.07.
    Where I came upon a bicycle race about to start. They were racing from.......... Phaya Phipak to Phu Chee Fah!
    Through the 18% slopes of the Big Dipper down to the 1155 and up to the PCF ridge............ blimey.... if that ain't masochism I don't know what is.
    2016-09-01 14.24.35.
    Perfect shot of the dragonfly.! Oh Yes, and the Ing river plain looking west... hahaha.
    2016-09-01 14.30.08.
    The temple with the view down the Khong is Wat Thepnimit
    2016-09-01 10.08.14.
    Being built by the same monk who is building Wat Analyo west of Phayo and Wat Chalerm Prakiat in Chaeson.
    2016-09-01 09.47.46.
    2016-09-01 09.48.01.
    2016-09-01 09.50.36.
    Super view, can see a long way past Houey Xai.
    2016-09-01 09.55.55.
    2016-09-01 09.59.47.
    Nice looking accommodations up there.
    2016-09-01 10.01.16.
    2016-09-01 10.04.47.
    2016-09-01 10.04.51.
    Regarding Chiang Saen; the little gap in the wall you went through Brian, is the South Gate. Chiang Saen is a lovely town and the best example of an old walled city in the country. It was built on the outside of a bend in the Khong so any enemies could easily be seen approaching by river. It is also protected by the Kok river to the south and the closer Kham river which protects the SW corner of the town. You can see this clearly on a map. It is about 2klm from north to south and 1 klm from west to east. It has 3 gates on the west (the 1016 goes through central west gate), a gate on the north and a gate on the south. In former times it had a wall on the river side too. The walls were restored over the last few years and an excellent job was done, following international guidelines for restoring antiquities. It was rebuilt as a ruin using the correct type bricks and old-style white lime cement. The corner forts were also restored and the overgrown moat was cleared out, sluice gates put in and it was re-filled with water.
    In 1802 the Lanna army led by King Gawila, came up from Chiang Mai and breached the wall on the southern lower flanks. The Burmese, who had been occupying the town for about 200 years, were finally pushed out and back north. But the Thais knew they could not hold the town. So, they took all the valuables and people away to Chiang Rai, then burned the town. After nearly 100 years of being abandoned, King Rama V got people to re-occupy the old town and build up the river trade. The people who moved in were too superstitious to touch any of the old temple buildings, luckily. There are about 70 ruined sites inside the walls of the town and another 65 sites in the immediate area.
    One fascinating aspect is that in the 1500s, they believe there were 200,000 people living in Chiang Saen, as it was a major, formerly royal, city. Now the figure is about 70,000. In the further north and south of the town, inside the walls, there are rice fields and cornfields and large areas on overgrown land. If you get a chance visit the local National Museum on the main road, well worth a visit.

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  19. Cheers Ian,

    Thanks for sharing the information on the Temple and the history of Chiang Sean...
    Plus your pictures are a great addition to the thread..

    I had to wait up there at PCF quite some time for the weather to clear this last ride up.

    I did plan to drop in and say hi.. But the weather went a little wet and I left my Mac charger in Chiang Khong.
    Went back to get it.. Not there.. not with me when I unpacked in Chiang Sean...
    Guess we will have to rename the area.. The Golden "Bermuda" Triangle...

  20. It was the MHS memorial ride weekend coming up..
    So we decided to follow a similar plan at the previous year.

    Adrian and Tessa had two friends visiting from Australia.
    So up to Phu Chi Fa first...

    It was as spectalular as ever... Always different every time you go up..
    The sunflowers were out this time round.


    Feeling on top of the world.

    The little Lao village needs to start hauling up Beer Lao and open a bar on the Lao side :)

    The sun trying to break through the clouds.

    Looking down in to the Lao village in the valley below.

    The Lion and the village.

    The majestic Mekong.

    Tessa getting in to the scenery.


    Adrian slugging up the hill. Look at the valley way below at the top of the picture.

    Stunning as ever...

    Last but not least.

    Back to the car park and give the kids some books and crayons from David and myself.
    Tessa gave them some little Koala's

    Just a little excited LOL



    Before this they were running around playing in the dirt and getting a telling off from Mum.
    Then from when we gave them the books, up until we left. They were glued to the concrete coloring in.

    More to come..
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  21. Great stuff Brian. I will be there in a week time, you think I can still catch sea of fog in the morning now that raining season is over?
  22. Great photos as always, Brian.
    Still raining up here most days at present, Goran.
  23. Ian is your local expert :)

    But I think it is still a little early for the sea of fog.
    If you want to catch that.. Believe you need to be up there at sunrise.

    I have found the best time to visit is 2pm onwards.
    Then you have half a chance at getting good views with the clouds swirling around you.

    Hope that helps.

  24. Thank you.
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  25. Next stop Doi Pha Tang...

    Another favorite, never get tired of coming up and climbing around these hill tops...




    Only two of us braved the climb up Hill 102.
    To be honest.. Every time I come to these hills.. I find it easier and easier..

    The original Bell


    Glad I made the walk up.. As there is a brand new bell to ring...


    Looking over to Hill 103..


    More to come...

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