Samoeng Dirt Loop

Jan 12, 2003
Samoeng Dirt Loop
Post by David FL
« on: Jan 18th, 2003, 12:22pm » Quote Modify Remove

Thurs 16 Jan 2002.
A quick half-day ride to check some kms & road conditions.

The Africa Twin's still off the road so it was back onto an old Honda XR 250 Baja. And old was the right word to use, as the bike I got from Lek for the day must have been his worst ever bike. Top speed 110 kph tucked in, almost no brakes, & ratty suspension, this was one hell of a tired bike at 45,000 kms.
I reckon it might have been in Laos a few too many times, as Lek is the only guy in Chiang Mai, who'll let you take a bike into Laos.

Nonetheless it was a joy to get out on the road & smell some clean country air, with the bike cranked over in all the corners - the run out to Samoeng was a breeze.

The plan for the arvo was to check a few kms & road conditions on one of the lovely little dirt loops from Samoeng.

The loop that I did was: Samoeng - Mae Sap Nua - Kong Khak Noi - Pang Term - Tung Ting - Pa Lan - Mae Pa - Ban Pok - Kong Khak Luang - Samoeng. Total distance 52 ½ kms. Probably about 1 ½ hrs fast ride if you're any good, know the way & don't get lost. (I stopped many times for note taking, some photos & to gossip with the locals, so can't really give an accurate ride time.)
The loop's real interesting hilly riding with a good mix of dirt and asphalt. Some of the asphalt's almost race track quality & seems to crop up in the middle of nowhere = T-I-T.
With so much late rain in December, there's NO dust around at the moment, and even a bit of mud here and there, so the dirt roads are in perfect nick.
I was also in luck, as the dirt at the Mae Pa / Ban Pok end, was freshly graded and rolled.
I had one nice moment coming round a blind corner, getting ready to accelerate when I saw the roller straight in front, blocking the road, and heading straight towards me! Yuk, that would be messy - squashed farang & crumpled Baja.

Anyway the nicest couple of dirt sections (off-hand) were from Pa Lan - Mae Pa - Ban Pok, here the road's undulating & quite nicely forested in places.
At the other end, Kong Khak Noi - Pang Term, the dirt road's more steep & gravelly.
When you first leave Samoeng, the asphalt from Mae Sap Nua up to Kong Khak Noi is gorgeous - tight, very winding & steep. Then just after Kong Khak Noi, there's an incredibly steep winding climb up a sharp hill, to where the dirt starts. If you're on a road bike, take this little road from Samoeng - its' great & the scenery's fantastic. Where the dirt starts on top of the hill turn back & head back in to town.

There were 2 little things of note on this trip. (1) with my camera in tow I was looking for some nice rural Thai photos & thought I might get a snap of some buffaloes in the fields somewhere. I didn't see any buffaloes, but I did see some ostriches on a small farm around Mae Pa, not exactly what I was expecting to see. Then, (2) stopped at Ban Pok, making some notes, one of the locals sauntered over for chat. He was impressed with the bike, the GPS & my maps, and wondered if was a RTW biker. Sadly I was not, but he was interested if I used the old ya baa (amphetamines), to keep riding. My reply was negative, and I said that I just used my brain to stay alert & riding, no need for the ya. That was no fun he claimed - driving & being tanked up on amphetamines was "mun dee" and good fun for him. Now are these 2 items - ostriches & amphetamines- a sign of the times for modern day Thailand or not?

If you're interested in this loop, Samoeng's approx 50 kms from Chiang Mai and anything from 45 - 60 mins ride. Take a break in Samoeng - top up with some food & a drink (at Supannee restaurant) before you head for the hills. Once you're out there on the loop, you need to take care and pay attention to where you are heading as there are a lot of turn offs, which could lead you the wrong way. This is especially so around Pang Term, Tung Ting, Pa Lan & Mae Pa. If you're using the MHS map, the village names are on the map, so ask for the next village when & if you can meet up with a local.

From Samoeng, there's heaps of nice little dirt loops to do out the back, and it's possible to get back onto the main Mae Rim - Mae Sa valley road route from Pong Khrai / Nong Hoi / Mae Khi, if you want to explore a little.

« Last Edit: Jan 21st, 2003, 12:02pm by Davidfl »