The Dirt On Samoeng


Aug 22, 2005
I spent most of last month re-exploring the roads (I learned to ride a motorbike on these roads 25 years ago) going out of Samoeng. Not many dirt roads left that allow you to ride under the forest canopy, but there still remain a number of good day trips that can be ridden on just about any scooter or motorcycle. So I am not talking single tracks here. All these roads are well known, although all too often ignored, and are found on David's Mae Hong Song Loop map or the Samoeng Loop map.

Here is a typical view of north Samoeng padi valleys.

There are two long paved roads leading north, one out of Samoeng proper next to the Samoeng Resort, and one out of Mae Sap. Both are paved until you get to either Tung Ting or Naa Fan (near the Pong Kwao hot springs). These two roads meet up north of Tung Ting and then it becomes a good dirt road all the way up to Paapae along Hwy 1095. Great views and nothing too technical. The worst sections, steep with drainage issues, now have some sort of pavement. I did these roads solo on a D-Tracker and could have just as easily, although with a lot less comfort, rode a 125 Dream. Great views as always and I only encountered one other vehicle. This area may be one of the most traditional rural Lanna cultural regions left in the province.

Here is a view of the hills several kilometers south of Paapae.

The next road further to the west is about 8km west of Mae Sap going through Om Long to Yang Meun. The road is paved to Yang Moen and the road heading north out of Yang Moen has recently been regraded to Mae Wae and looks to be a candidate for paving soon. Going further north towards Paapae the road becomes a bit old school in sections, but again a few of the steepest sections have been paved to provide almost year round access to local villagers. This section is probably not suitable for scooters and can get technical for brief stretches so have some experience. In retrospect, I felt a bit stupid riding it solo. But is does make for a remarkable day trip.

If you reach Paapae around lunch time there is a nice noodle shop just past the elementary school that is north of the highway on the right side of the soi, about 150 meters past the school. It looks like a small store but there are a few tables inside and there is a young guy from Bangkok who runs it with his mother, who came from this area. Thanks to my wife's cousin Aree, who teaches at the Paapae elementary school, for taking me there.

Achaan Aree

There is now a dirt road connecting Yang Moen with Baan Sam Mun, a Mong village on the Samoeng-Wat Chan Rd. I did not ride that road. But I did ride the Samoeng-Wat Chan road and it still has a good long section in the forests of well maintained dirt leading down into Wat Chan that is sparsely traveled and has some spectacular high views of the mountains. This road can be also be ridden on a street bike if you have some experience riding these type of roads.

Typical dirt section towards Wat Chan from the east.

For those who are beginners on the dirt roads there two good short scenic sections. There is the 10km dirt section connecting Om Long with Pang Term, located just south of Tung Ting. And there is the dirt road between Baan Pok (on the road to Pong Kwao hot springs coming from Samoeng) and Pong Khrai which is above Pong Yang.[/img]

My son on the road between Pang Term and Om Long

There are countless combinations and permutations of day ride loops throughout the Samoeng area for those bored with the main Samoeng Loop highway. I also made, riding two-up, the trip across the hills from Bo Kaeo, past the huge tin mine over to a Mong village (forgot the name) where the road, paved now, goes down, down, down, past Mae Sapok and into Sanpatong. There is only about 10km of dirt, but again majestic views and a good day ride. I think the ultimate day ride is to take the road through Yang Moen (who is the Farang living up there I passed?) up to Paapae for noodles, and then back into north Samoeng and head over to the Pong Khwao hot springs in the afternoon for a soak. Then it is an easy ride back up past Mae Khii down into Mae Rim and back into the city.


Oct 23, 2009
Great suggestions (right in front of my door). I will definitively try some combinations in the very near future (including noodles)



Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Thanks for the contribution, & great to see you back here riding "the old trails" once again.
I should try & dig out some "golden oldies" photos with You & John & Jason in the Mae Sa Valley for a laugh.
Take care in the states & see you back here again "soon" with luck - it must be about time you made a permanent move back here "where you belong."