R3024 & The Amazing Road To Muang Khong

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. #1 DavidFL, Feb 28, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
    Muang Khong is a small is a tambon (subdistrict) on the banks of the Mae Taeng river, hidden behind Chiang Dao mountain.
    A bit of a forgotten place, it is a genuine gem of a natural beauty - unspoiled & relatively isolated for many years.
    20 years ago only trekkers ventured out there for the hill tribes & rafting on the Mae Taeng river.
    Access to Muang Khong has only been by the road "over the side of the mountain."
    Dirt road access has been from Huay Nam Dang & Wiang Haeng, both about 25 kms away, but these roads are often impassable in the wet.

    So it's only the one way in & one way out Muang Khong, unless your a dirt road fan.
    But what a road it is too - one of the best, steepest roads you can get.

    A road that seems to climb forever
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    This baby is right up with the best climbs; and it is tight narrow concrete through some magnificent forest.

    To get there you take the road to the Chiang Dao caves
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    It's a beautiful start straight off with some big trees
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    You don't take the left turn into the caves, but make a right onto R3024
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    2 kms down the road is the Chiang Dao Wildlife sanctuary checkpoint, where there is a foreigner fee of 200 baht for going to the sanctuary; but tell the staff you are going to Muang Khong / Wiang Haeng & there is no fee.

    Immediately after the checkpoint the real road starts & up & up you go.
    GTR-R3024MKhong.
    & what a climb it is!!!

    Just check out that profile. Is that the steepest now or....?

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    Occasionally it seems to level out, but only momentarily
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    On the Chiang Dao side of the ridge line the road is in better condition than the Muang Khong side.
    Some parts are nice new, wider asphalt.
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    Somewhere along the way I stopped to take a few photos & was startled by some movement in the bamboo above me.
    I looked up & there was a genuine live monkey prancing along the bamboo.
    I was momentarily stunned - a first for me in Thailand. The real thing, live in the "wild." You really don't see much wild life in the North, sad to say.
    Naturally he / she ran off & I missed a photo.

    Back on that amazing up & down road
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    A group pf spirit shrines beside the road & the location of what looks a few landslides.
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    The local water supply
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    The drop off point for hiking up the mountain
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    don't go without a guide.

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    A wee bit further on the ridge line & highest point a Lisu lookout
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    Sadly the Lisu who have been there for 25 years had been asked to remove their tourist huts, located a mere 50 metres from their house & village. No longer allowed.
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    All a bit unfair I thought. Some of the people I spoke to had been there all their life.

    On the flat on the ridge line
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    then downhill you go
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    Some patchy concrete, with some twists and turns.
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    The road follows a stream for some of the way
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    Muang Khong city & the bridge over the Mae Taeng
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    An amazing old police station in Muang Khong
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    it should be a museum piece....

    a bit more to come.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. #2 DavidFL, Mar 1, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
    In the valley by the river

    Downstream
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    Upstream
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    Muang Khong city
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    Wat Si Klang Muang on the west side
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    The village on the west side seems to be a maze of lanes & tracks, and fortunately almost every important corner seems to be signposted.
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    Straight ahead to Huay Nam Dang
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    Straight ahead to Wiang haeng
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    Getting ready for the masses & selfies
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    Pottering around the valley I spotted what looked like a new resort overlooking the valley.
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    Enter the Phu Tawan - open only 3 months
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    7 bungalows
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    & a nice restaurant with a view
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    The valley view from Phu Tawan
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    The restaurant
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    Highly recommended for those loving nature.

    That classsic old police station again
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    oh the stories that place could tell too!

    For dirt road fans there are several excellent dirt rides from Muang Khong
    Wiang Haeng
    Huay Nam Dang
    Doi Sam Muen
    plus tracks along the Mae Taeng downstream back into Sop Kai.

    You could do some nice loops from Muang Khong & stay at the Phu Tawan resort now.
    I predict this place -Muang Khong - will be booming in a couple of years for Thai tourists
    They are gradually working on the Wiang Haeng & Huay Nam Dang roads, such that they will be concrete in a couple of years & then there will be some fantastic loops for the nature loving city slickers to drool over.
    So check out Muang Khong as soon as you can....before the Bangkok masses over run the place.

    For those interested Muang Khong has featured on GTR before
    Chiang Mai -Muang Khong - Arunothai Return

    Pai - Wiang Haeng - Chiang Dao. Muddy trails and mighty mountains

    Dirt from Muang Khong to Huai Ya Sai

    Half day ride to Muang Khong

    Maetang to Muang Khong to Huai Nam Dang to Pai to.......

    muang khong - wiang heang enduro track

    There's gold riding out there in them Muang Khong hills.

    To understand the road network use a GT Rider Mae Hong Son Loop map - all the tracks & villages are on the map, so you can get the big picture.
    Mae Hong Son Loop Map

    The Phu Tawan
    Muang Khong Accommodation
     
  3. That police station looks fantastic. Hope it will be still there by the time I visit the area.
     


  4. Great report.
    from Huay Nam Dang to Muang Khong do you think possible on a PCX in September? would love to get there and come out on route 3024 to chiang dao.
     
  5. September is the wettest month.
    It could well be a serious struggle.
     
  6. Amazing journey and place, just around the corner. As I have never been there I just added it to my wish list :) . A enticing report David ... thank you .
     
  7. #8 canthai, Apr 18, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
    Just got back this afternoon. Exercise caution as the old concrete is broken in many places. After the Rains lately there were lots of bamboo overhanging the road too. And the ever present sand washed down and covering the road in spots, usually corners !! And the Park made me Pay !!
     

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