Sunflower Festival MHS

Mar 15, 2003
Wednesday, 23 Nov – 26 Nov 2006

RIDERS: Silverhawk (Dave E. & Thim)

WEATHER: Absolutely perfect.
ROUTES: 108 to Hot, Mae Sariang, Khun Yuam, Mae Hong Son. Return 108. Khun Yuam, 1263-1088 Mae Chaem, Rt 1192 to Doi Inthanon-108 -Chiang Mai.



The Sunflower Festival near Khun Yuam runs from Nov.1st until Dec.1st. Subject to weather, the whole area is loaded with multi-colored wild flowers. Sometimes if there is a late rain it knocks the petals off the flowers and it is a bust. This year, despite a two day rain last week, the flowers were still in pretty good shape.

Road Conditions: Although I had reports of the 108 between Hot and Mae Sariang being in poor condition, it was actually the best I had seen it in some time. There are patches of road work from Hot to Ob Luang where flood damage is being repaired but they are short in duration. Previously when making this run there always seemed to be long stretches of road construction which was absent this time. Some bumps here and there but not bad (B & T, you need to get a bike with some suspension travel).

Mae Sariang to Mae Hong Son was very good, again except for a few places where landslide damage is being repaired but that is normal this time of year.

Khun Yuam to Mae Chaem had a lot of landslide repairs for about the first 20km but then cleared up.


The Trip

We had just beautiful weather. It was cool enough after leaving ChiangMai that you were comfortable in riding jackets and hardly a cloud in the sky. It was an uneventful run to Mae Sariang where I had made reservations at the Riverside Guest House. Actually this was a mistake as I had it confused with the River House Resort. The Riverside is 350bt a night and has a good river view but is pretty shabby. The River House is kept up much better and would be the better choice..

In the morning it was overcast with clouds and fog and quite cool. As we headed for Khun Yuam the sun broke through and it was a glorious ride.

At Khun Yuam we made a right and headed about 30km up to the sunflowers. The road is marked on David’s MHS map and shows “Sunflowers”. The route up is lined with wildflowers and great mountain views. There was a large number of Asian tourists, mostly traveling in the grey tour vans, but this didn’t create too much of a problem other than the usual habit of using both lanes when they round a curve.


We stopped at the side of the road to take a photo of some wild flowers and we found a lady there who had posted a hand made sign saying “Photos 5bt”. I ignored this and took my pictures while she begrudgingly watched. Then I told her I would give her 5bt if she stood in the photo. She shyly refused and then after thinking about it said “10bt”. As we were both laughing and having a bit of fun I agreed to the 10bt.


Many photos and a climb up the steps to the upper viewpoint and we headed back toward MHS.


In MHS we met up with David and Mai from ChiangKhong who had booked us rooms at the Mae Hong Son Guesthouse just up the hill from the main road (see MHS map).


Most places in town were booked and full. We paid 500bt for a nice bungalow although she had other rooms for 350bt. The rooms were very clean with nice bathroom and shower. The only drawback was that the girlfriend likes her dose of TV which they didn’t have, and she warned us that they were building a new bungalow and work would start at 8AM.

We had a nice dinner with David and Mai who then left early the next morning headed south while Thim and I stayed and did the usual sightseeing things in and around MHS.


We booked a room at the Palm GH which is just behind the lake so that Thim could do some shopping and walking in the night market easily. The Palm is much newer, with TV and large clean rooms, 500bt. However, being right in town, traffic starts early along with the roosters and barking dogs. The MHS Ghouse outside of town was much quieter even with the construction.


Don’t stay here as it is obviously “haunted”.

We left MHS Saturday morning and headed back to Khun Yuam. Cool and windy, but perfect conditions. We went back to try and meet up with Thim’s friend who was camping above the sunflowers with the Chiang Mai Vespa Club. We missed the party and only found what was left.


We were told that the group may have gone on to the Mae Surin Waterfall and National Park so we continued on to try and find them. The road was being resurfaced and they had just layed loose gravel all over the mountain road and were also in the middle of dribbling fresh tar all over it. About 9km of tricky riding sliding around on the gravel and avoiding as much fresh tar as possible. Should be a good road when finished.

The Mar Surin National Park wanted the 200bt NP entry fee, but with my Thai drivers license I entered for 40bt. A nice camping area but I don’t think I would go just for the waterfall.


We never did find her friend although we met many others on Vespas. Some had returned to CM and others were heading for Pai and completing the loop. It just shows you that one can do the MHS Loop on virtually any motorcycle. If they can do it riding two up on Vespas, with camping gear, nobody on this board should have a problem.

As I said above the road conditions after the 1st 20km were good. At one point there was a sudden dip and rise in the road which lifted both wheels off the ground and gave us a short surprise flight. Thim didn’t think it was as funny as I did as she left the seat, without warning, where she was comfortably listening to her MP3’s. Later she did admit is was "fun".

We were also passed by a pickup truck that just couldn’t stand the fact a motorcycle had passed him earlier. About 5km down the road he was stopped on the shoulder of the road, his brakes smoking and smelling, and his passenger leaning out the door loosing the contents of her stomach. Couldn’t help but wave as we passed.

With loosing time looking for the Vespas we hit Mae Chaem and had a late lunch about 5PM. From there it was a nice cool ride up and down Doi Inthanon. It was rather surrealistic coming down the mountain as the sun was setting behind us. We continually had a long shadow of us and the bike stretched out in front of us. As it switched from side to side it looked like some ghostly Rossi/Gibernau battle.

As I realized I was not going to overtake that damn shadow we rode at a fairly comfortable and leisurely pace down the mountain with little traffic. We arrived back at the Kafe in CM just after dark. It had been a long day of riding due to all our side trips but we were tired and happy after what was a near perfect trip.
Aug 3, 2004
Cheers Dave
What a privilege it is to live in this part of the world with access to such beautiful scenery and roads.
Those Vespas are incredible, most are 30 years old plus. They look so top heavy and yet are every where.

Great report Dave and lovely pics and i agree with Peter, we are lucky to live in such a beautiful place (but, I am a firm believer that you make your own "luck"). BTW, love Thim's funky pink jacket!

Quick question to you Peter: I thought that the Vespas you see here in Thai are new and locally made but kind of "retro" styled? Am I wrong on that? I've owned maybe 45 - 50 bikes but never a scooter so don't really know. Just interested to ask....


Nov 14, 2004
Thanks Dave E. loved the pics, yea! MHS is a great ride,totaly green about you there an me here! I'm of on a 100 Ducati ride on Sunday, it's the clubs 30th aniversery ride, should be a hoot to ride in presesion like that. I did a Stone ride 20years ago, we'll have to see how it pans out.
Regards Scott, Have a Cang for me[;)]
Aug 3, 2004
Pikey I am still checking it out. My Thai mate down the road who runs a motorcycle shop has a fleet of Vespas of varying ages and some quite expensive. He buys them and never seems to sell any. There are many different models and years and as you know with any collectors items the subtle differences that the novice would not pick up mean the difference of tens of thousands of Baht. I am pretty sure he has one that dates back to the fifties.
For my own interest also I will get a list of what he has with ages and values. He has also started restoring a couple of Lambrettas which are a little bigger and more sophisticated but never had the cult following of the Vespas, probably simply because they don't look as cute.
When I was in Aus earlier in the year I sat on a brand new Vespa at the Motor show and it was modernised but retained the charactistic looks of the originals.
Apr 10, 2006
They wanted 200 baht for Farang entry to the Mar Surin National Park huh, I did the MHS loop last week, Chiang Mai - Hot - Mae Sarieng - MHS - Pai - Chiang Mai and on the journey between Pai and Chiang Mai I decided to take a look at the Pong Duet hot springs and geyser, They guy at the entrance wanted 400 baht for me and 20 baht for my GF, I did the decent thing and started my bike up again and rode back the way I came. It's bad enough getting ripped off by individuals but when it's government sanctioned it's a disgrace !

I also went up to see the sunflowers, not of my choice but to keep the little lady happy, I could really of done without that extra detour up and back down that tight twisty road as my wrists and shoulder were on the verge of total breakdown at that stage of my journey.
Aug 3, 2004
About Vespas
As near as I can get it these are some of the scooters at my mates shop with approximate values. There are also several in various stages of rebuild.
1952 Vespa 125cc THB150 000. 1964 Vespa 150cc THB60 000
1966 Vespa 90cc THB40 000. 1969 Vespa 90cc THB40 000
1962 Lambretta 150cc THB80 000 1963 Lambretta 150cc THB60 000
1963 Piaggio 100cc THB30 000 (Vespa lookalike)
There are also a lot of Baja’s around. These are made in India and you see a lot of them carrying heavy loads in Bangkok They also date from the 60’s and appear to be a little bigger than the Italian Vespas and not as pretty. A 1962 model is worth around THB30000. Spare parts for all models also come from India which is a lot cheaper than Italy. Don't know of any locally made Vespas.
Cheers Peter

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the info. I'm not a scooter man but from what you say, it would seem that all the ones you see on the road are "originals" and there are quite a few here in Chiang Mai which is why I thought they were a newer bike but retro styled.

BTW, just checked out your profile and see you are in Sisaket - do you ride a Phantom or Steed? I ask because I met a really nice guy from Sisaket late last year/early this year who came into my former bar/resto a few times (Jai-Yen Cafe) and chatted to myself and the missus who is also from Sisaket.


Jul 6, 2004
Thanxs Dave,
You are still producing excellant riding reports and the photos... excellant as usual.
See you next year.

Aug 3, 2004
Thats me Jeff. I was there in December last with my wife & friends and there again on with my brother on two Phantoms in February.You had just got in from UK. Met you and your lovely wife and boy(b/g?). We did all the local loops and up to Mae Sai, loved it but ran out of time - as you do. Really enjoyed the meaty steak burgers at your old Cafe, are they still doing them ? Like you I am heading home for Christmas to see family, slight difference I am heading for the heat and you are heading to the cold - prefer my option. Been enjoying your posts.
Cheers, Peter
Feb 23, 2007
Hi Grandpa!!!
I love all of your pics!!! they are really good. have you ever thought of making money off of your photographs? Hope that maybe one day i will come out to see you!! love you[:)]