R1184 - Thung Hua Chang

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, May 23, 2016.

  1. #1 DavidFL, May 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
    Most people generally head north - west or east from Chiang Mai for the best biking roads, & rightly so for these areas are the most popular with loadsa tourist attractons to keep you interested.
    The top ten roads in the north from an old post
    North Thailand Top Ten Roads

    but the last few months on account of a very sweet lady, I've fallen in love with R1184; & the romance has nothing to do with the attractiveness of the road.
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    R1184 basically runs parallel & between R106 & R11 south of Lamphun.
    A gem of a bikers road it is too.
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    Steep rolling hills.
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    A perfect road surface, almost no traffic. Good forest cover. Gorgeous traditional villages.
    There is also some nice technical bits & pieces to keep you honest & concentrating.
    R1184 starts from off R106 approximately 25 kms south of Lamphun.
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    a Google Earth view at the north end
    It runs south for 75 kms to a junction with R1274 where you have 2 options, right to Li & R106 or left to Soem Ngam & Lampang.

    A Google Earth view at the south Li end

    The right option to Li is probably the better way to go, unless you're looking for a longer faster blast back to Chiang Mai via Lampang.

    There are some fast flowing sections at the north end, then it cuts through the hills for some exhilaration on deserted roads.
    Some of the dips are awesome with a couple of "chicanes"with nasty bridges at the bottom!

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    At the south Li end as it runs through the hills there are a lot of 5th gear roll ons, elsewhere north of Thung Hua Chang it is 4th gear roll ons in many places. I know a couple of other guys who go faster & treat it as their own race track.
    Another trip with a fellow rider is planned to get some nice riding shots.
    But for me 1184 is up there with 1148 & 1091 for a ride.

    Some Thung Hua Chang scenery
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    there are kms of rolling hills many of which have hill top temples
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    Wat Pa Teung, Thung Hua Chang city
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    Li City
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    There's nice forest cover - no bald hills from corn farming. This area is inhabited generally by gentle Karen peoples.
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    The odd big tree
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    The rolling elevation profile R1184 & R1274. From the Lamphun end to Li

    The GPS data - 90 fabulous kms

    If you like riding & think you are any good, check it out. Highly Recommended.
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    Thung Hua Chang is 60 kms down R1184 from the north end & is up in the hills at a very agreeable 600 metres above sea level.
    • Like Like x 5
  2. Awesome photos David.

    I did this road back in May 2015 coming from off-road shortcut via Li, simply stunning scenery.
    In February this year did it again with my wife during that super cold and rainy spell...bit challenging in those weather conditions and on 60/40 tires.
    Can't wait to ride this route again.
  3. #3 DavidFL, May 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
    Food in Thung Hua Chang, the town always looks damn quiet & nothing would appear to look to inviting, but Ive found there are a few gems - some of the best kow soi, chicken rice & kwiteo noodles I've ever had; & the servings are big. The food is always fresh & tasty - local produce.
    Also because of the 600 metre elevation it is nearly always cooler & more pleasant there for eating. Take a break & don't just rush on by.

    There's a 7-11 in the main street for junk food & cold drinks
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    find the 7-11 & opposite is Wan Pens restaurant
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    a classic old wooden building
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    the kow soi here is superb
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    And the kwiteo
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    this too is damn good & a big serving.

    more to come..
    • Like Like x 1
  4. #4 DavidFL, May 24, 2016
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
    100 metres past / south of Wan Pen is Lai Doi Coffee
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    a nice cool shady spot for a roadside cuppa
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    20 metres north of Wan Pen is the chicken rice shop
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    again big servings, tasty & cheap.
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    Night time there is a small "Pub & Restaurant" with live music at the south end of town, 1.5 kms from the 7-11
    GPS: N17 59.401 E99 01.932
  5. Li attractions
    Li is approximately 33 kms from Thung Hua Chang.

    Wat Phra Maha Chedi Si Wiang Chai is just 6 kms south of Li, & west of R108.

    Wat Mahathat Chedi Si Wiang Chai is the largest laterite pagoda in Thailand. Regarded as a replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar, its style was influenced by Lanna Buddhist architecture.


    Its base has a width and length of 40 metres, or equal to a total size of 1 rai (1,600 square metres), and a height of 64.39 metres. Luangpu Khruba Chaiyawongsa Phatthana initiated to design and construct the pagoda with an aim to pay respect to the five Buddhas. It is the first Buddha chedi of the current world cycle in Thailand and the second in the world.



  6. #6 DavidFL, May 24, 2016
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
    Adjoining Wat Phra Maha Chedi Si Wiang Chai is the more famous Wat Phra Bat Huay Khao Tom



    It was founded by the famous monk Khruba Wong in 1971

    He originally moved from Mae Teun, in Mae Ramat with 13 Karen families.

    Today there are more than 1200 families living around the temple complex.


    The ‘sacred area’ (daen saksit ) is constructed like a ‘kingdom’ (muang ) with 4 gates and a ‘city pillar’ (lak muang ) to protect the inhabitants.
    It is a moral community with strict vegetarian rules and bans on alcohol, gambling and drugs.
    Under Royal patronage since 1973, state land was given to the community inferring protection against bureaucratic interference. Only Buddhist Karen are allowed to live and own land there.





    Check it all out. The place is stunning & the history interesting.
  7. Yep, the Li road is a cracker as I recall.
    But sorry, what's a 5th gear roll-on? I won't be doing them anyway, whatever they are. Only 4 gears needed on my Triumphs as they have a suitably wide power band.
  8. You're the winner then.
  9. 1184 is a great road. Haven't been on it in years. Thanks for refreshing my memory. Will have to head over there when the rains let up.
  10. Wow. Welcome back Wimpy. Good to see hear from you again.
    Do you still have Duke or something else now?
  11. Hey David.... Still have my imitation Duke. ;) This is a shot from a ride up over Doi Kuhn Tan the other day. Finally have some free time to spend on the bike again. Happy.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. The hills surrounding Thung Hua Chang are dotted with temples, most of them supported by Karen people.

    Over Songkran 2016 I was able to check out a couple & get involved with some very traditional ceremonies.

    A spiritual cleansing from the local shaman to start the new year
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    a donation for the ceremony
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    The funniest things I've seen for a long time
    The shaman is chanting away the elaborate spiritual blessings
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    and his phone rings. Without hesitating, mid-sentence, he picks up the phone & has a natter to his mate.
    Phone call finished he reverts back to the same spiritual chant, as if nothing had happened. Never even blinked an eyelid.

    Wat Ban Mae Pan Deng
    a huge ceremony with scores of monks, some of them huge themselves
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    • Like Like x 1
  13. Songkran 2016 Cont'd

    Wat Jarinya in the local temple of the GF - "Madam Champa"
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    on the first day all the locals go to the Wat to make merit









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  14. Songkran 2016 cont'd

    One of the most important Songkran rituals is the Dum Hua ceremony to pay respect to elders at Songkran; & why all good Thais should go home at Songkran to pay respect to their parents / grand parents
    The GFs grandma (in her late 70s) had 10 kids & they are all still alive bar one.
    It's still a big happy friendly family.


    The "Kids" Paying respect to grandma


    every household comes


    a happy clan gathering outside granny's house
  15. #15 DavidFL, Jun 30, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
    Songkran 2016 cont'd......

    A couple of Songkran parades - enjoyed by all the villagers - young & old.

    Everybody gets together & joins in.

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    Some classic oldies
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    The youth division
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    Gentle as it was, it was also outrageous & kind with all the villagers letting their hair down in an extremely charming manner.
    I've been charmed. 55

    Wat Jarinya at dusk
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    Thung Hua Chang rocks (at Songkran) with charm.

    Take a ride down R1184 sometime.
  16. Fantastic still the same bike.
    How many kms now?
  17. A taste of Route 1184 heading to Thung Hua Chang on the evil twin. Such a fun and beautiful road.

  18. Nice smooth clean ride.
    You never went over the centre line once, unlike me. 55
    I must hit 1184 again soon for a blast.
  19. Let me know if you are in the area. I'll ride it with you. Today I went from 11 to Mae Tha, past Nam Mae Moei reservoir, coming out on 1184. Nice way to go with good pavement the whole way.

  20. Great photos and video, gentlemen.
  21. Wat Mae Pan Daeng is a Karen temple at the south end of town.
    In March 2017 they had a nice thamboon festival, which I missed by a day.




    There were some interesting money trees for the wat



    senior forest monks from the region came to participate in the event


    I had been led to believe that the famous kruba noi would be there
    but sadly he had left the day before.

    Attached Files:

  22. Thanks to your earlier posts I went down to that area twice. I now take a somewhat convoluted route via the canal road, around Sanpatong, and then a left onto the 1010 and angle over towards the 106 via the 6034 and the 3004 to the 106 and then east on the picturesque 3021 to join the 1184 right where it gets interesting. Can't resist posting my favorite sight in Li.


    Attached Files:

  23. Wat Doi Luang
    is west of R1184 & the turn of is at the main intersection in Thung Hua Chang
    Turn off at the intersection & head west on R1219 (the way to R106) for 1.5 kms & then make another left.
    Its a steep 3 kms climb up the hill

    the day after the Wat Mae Pan Daeng festival the Karen around Thung Hua Chang had another event at Wat Doi Luang.
    I was extremely impressed with the villagers dedication to the festival.
    Poor villagers they were but they all made the climb to the hill top temple.
    Few people had cars & were given lifts up the hill in the back of passing pick ups.
    Others walked in the heat.

    At the final climb to the temple people made simple offerings & prayed for good luck.

    The Doi Luang Chedi

    interesting offerings around the chedi

    I'm always fascinated by these festivals & intrigued with the spiritual aspect, offerings made & the ceremony process. They are always seem to be local traditions to observe that are different to other places.
    & I wish I knew more & could understand more of their beliefs.




    It was a good feeling to witness the old folks in their traditional costumes, especially with their grand kids



    Several kind better off families from the villages supported the event with free food, drinks & sweets for the attendees.

    The parade with the money tree donations to the wat




    The traditional village band
    & some really cool old people



    Making merit


    Old monastic friends

    The senior observers

    A final dance show

    & all done in the boiling heat!

    Some pics of the steep descent


    the road is a mix of gravel, stones & the odd concrete on the steeper sections that are difficult in the wet season






    check it out sometime if you're in the area & on the right bike / car.
    GPS: N17 59.544 E99 00.788

    R1184 & the Thung Hua Chang area is still "unspoiled" & very traditional.

    Attached Files:

  24. This looks like a brilliant day ride, David. Will get on this one soonest ... i like the sound of no traffic
  25. Let me know Stu. I'd be up for a ride down there anytime if I'm free.
    Beautiful countryside, people & a ripper deserted road to ride.

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