The Back Route to Pai

ZCM

Ol'Timer
Subscribed
Jun 23, 2011
335
328
63
cm
tbrtp.jpg


The back route to pai on the R1349 (then a return ride back on the famous R1095 to create a ride loop)to see how Pai looks now in November 2021 with Covid restrictions lessening. This ride includes classic as well as unusual places of interest, including a stunning mountain sunrise panoramic viewpoint.

Route Conditions:
Paved (great conditions except for some slippery sections on the R1349 due to recent rain.)

The Ride: GOOGLE MAP ROUTE



Untitled-2.jpg




I was on my bike in the early morning in order to beat the heat and Rainy Season humidity. With only 190 kilometres to cover, I took my time to enjoy the wonderful misty and cloudy views and grab a photo and video here and there. The Samoeng Forest viewpoint was filled with low clouds and the whole ride to Samoeng Village was misty and glorious. At one point I was also treated to a stunning rainbow.



20211103_061401b-1024x576.jpg
20211103_061618b-1024x576.jpg




nn-1024x430.jpg





I first rode this route in 2016, when it was still partially dirt.





..and this video shows an interesting comparison to how the route used to look compared with how it looks now.




I continued along the route and sure enough, as I neared Pai, a typical Northern Thailand road encounter occurred. ^^




On the route, there were a couple of reminders of Covid19. I wasn’t quite sure yet how Pai town would look either. If it would be dead like before, or a bit more alive.




Just a few kilometres further, before riding into Pai, I stopped in at Taradon Hot Springs to cook some eggs for my breakfast. This was my first meal in over 48 hours (intermittent fasting), so I was pretty hungry and ready to eat. Fresh eggs cooked in a hot spring on a motorcycle ride. Bliss!




With the back route to Pai complete, the next stop was the hippy town of Pai itself, where I checked in at the Heart of Pai resort with its iconic upside-down house at the entranceway. A fab little resort within walking distance of the main hub. Clean and at 400 baht a great price (no breakfast). The only negative is that it does not have undercover parking.


20211104_085750.jpg



I quickly cleaned up and headed out for coffee and cake. Why not eh?! I decided I would indulge during my visit.


20211103_135638.jpg
20211103_135723-1.jpg


Lucky for me my friend David was in town, as he was in the area to set up for the GT.Rider Memorial Ride in Mae Hong Son (an annual ride that honours fallen riders).


Untitled-1024x453.jpg



After a chat and a catch up about events and life in general we took a slow ride around the walking street zone of Pai to record the current situation. *Note* – our helmets were only off during this slow ride around. Normally Pai is full of life from visitors, and although it was still quiet, there was a positive difference from how it looked only weeks before. Several shops were opening and there were tourists dotted here and there.




After a ride around I got geared up and headed to Purple Rain Homestay, to pay a visit on owner Jean-Baptiste. A cool traditional teak home filled with Jean-Baptiste’s interesting objet d’art.
20211103_154452-01-1024x576.jpeg
20211103_154810-01-1024x576.jpeg
20211103_160714-1024x576.jpg
20211103_160758-1024x576.jpg




After the visit I headed back into town, with the plan of meeting up with David later for dinner.

1635949587667-1024x576.jpg
20211103_192032-1024x576.jpg


As evening rolled round, I was pleased to see that Pai had some signs of nightlife. Baby steps still, but restrictions lifting and a chill buzz in the air. I headed back to my room fairly early though, as I had plans for the morning before sunrise.




I recorded a quick video of my room at Heart of Pai and then drifted off to sleep.





The next morning….

I’m not much of a morning person but sometimes the quest for a beautiful view requires the effort, so I was up before sunrise and on my bike (riding in a thunderstorm), heading to a Chinese village 6 kilometres outside of Pai to catch a stunning view.


20211104_062256-01-1024x576.jpeg
20211104_065043-01-1024x577.jpeg
20211104_065326-01-1024x577.jpeg
20211104_064855-01-1024x577.jpeg
20211104_064506-01.jpeg
20211104_064248-01-1024x577.jpeg
20211104_065458-01-1024x576.jpeg
20211104_070229-01-1024x576.jpeg




The video below captures the moment best!




After enjoying the view for some time I headed back into town to pack up and check out of the resort and then meet David for breakfast before we headed off our separate ways.


20211104_094543-1024x576.jpg
MYXJ_20211104131210733_save-1024x577.jpg



Not so sure about the "Lady Clean Juice".....

20211104_095111.jpg



The ride back to Chiang Mai on the super twisty R1095 route was an absolute dream. I had my camera running, but unfortunately my SD card failed on me. No matter though, I still managed to get some nice images and a few clips. I stopped in at the Pai Canyon first.




Next was a quick stop at the Pai Memorial Bridge. (Details in the main video, including some history about this iconic WWII bridge built by local people (enforced by the Japanese soldiers who needed a direct route to Myanmar, which was at that time under British rule). Previously some friends and I made a bit of a daft video at this bridge, which is worth sharing for a giggle.



Next, it was a fab ride on the glorious R1095! Just check out that road!!


Untitled2-1.jpg
20211104_123714-1024x556.jpg



Around halfway home I stopped in at Coffee We, a fun and quirky witch-themed cafe on the R1095.


20211104_130116.jpg
20211104_130130.jpg
20211104_134635.jpg
20211104_130338.jpg
20211104_130346.jpg
20211104_130137.jpg

MYXJ_20211104133647804_save-789x1024.jpg

Which witch is which?
The witches are less scary than the squat toilet.
20211104_134307-1024x576.jpg



…a couple of years ago (back in October 2019) this cafe had a giant broomstick which sadly got destroyed one Rainy Season. It was a lot of fun to play around on!



..and that was it, pretty much. I took the back way home (but with one detour due to a bridge collapse) and was home by the late afternoon. Was a great ride with a fair bit crammed into two days. Just perfect!

20211104_150436.jpg
20211104_150846-1024x576.jpg





Hope you enjoyed this trip report. :)
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Subscribed
Jan 16, 2003
13,110
3,897
113
68
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Nice one Zed. It was great to hook up with you in Pai.
Glad too, that you got to meet JB @ his Purple Rain homestay - what a gem of a biker's place that is going to be.
Now if I can get in the queue for the next cuppa coffee....we should start designating remote coffee shops to meet up for a natter.

What an excellent composition this is
tbrtp.jpg
 
  • Love
Reactions: ZCM

daewoo

Ol'Timer
Dec 6, 2005
822
14
18
Hi Zed,

What is your choice of the two routes?

I did the route via the 1096 last trip to avoid the traffic, especially the silver vans. Probably not a big problem at the moment, but may well be when I come over again in January.

You do miss a lot of the better roads too. Unsure which I prefer.
 
  • Love
Reactions: ZCM

Conemeister

Ol'Timer
Subscribed
Oct 23, 2014
114
32
28
Great info as usual Zed.....adding to the next plan
1095 coffee stop.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Love
Reactions: ZCM

ZCM

Ol'Timer
Subscribed
Jun 23, 2011
335
328
63
cm
Hi Zed,

What is your choice of the two routes?

I did the route via the 1096 last trip to avoid the traffic, especially the silver vans. Probably not a big problem at the moment, but may well be when I come over again in January.

You do miss a lot of the better roads too. Unsure which I prefer.
I love both, but for different moods/feelings. The R1095 is so much fun but became less-so when Pai become a super popular destination and all those minivans started showing up one after the other, right! It is fun again because it is quiet, but if the traffic picks up again I will either just use the Wat Chan route or pick a time when there is likely to be less minivans on the road. If I am short on time I will pick the R1095 and it also has those fab little coffee stops, but if I want a longer and quieter ride the Wat Chan route is great. It's hard to pick which one would be my first choice as both have pros and cons to them. Sorry for the late reply btw. Time seems to fly and I end up playing catch up in my life at times!!
 

ZCM

Ol'Timer
Subscribed
Jun 23, 2011
335
328
63
cm
Nice one Zed. It was great to hook up with you in Pai.
Glad too, that you got to meet JB @ his Purple Rain homestay - what a gem of a biker's place that is going to be.
Now if I can get in the queue for the next cuppa coffee....we should start designating remote coffee shops to meet up for a natter.

What an excellent composition this is
tbrtp.jpg

Thanks David! What perfect timing it all was. I couldn't believe my luck at the combination of things that went my way on just a 2 day ride! It was great to catch up and also have the opportunity to film Pai town on the back of your bike. Some rides are just perfect and this one really has been a highlight in such a long time - especially because Covid has put such a cloud over general life at times. Just sorry I didnt make it to the Memorial Ride. I will be there next year!