The Phu Phaya Pho Lookout - 4001 / 1022

Kiwi Cruiser

Ben Kemp
Staff member
May 26, 2007
The Mission: check out a route across the mountains from Sirikit Reservoir to Phrae that Moto-Rex had noticed on Google Earth, and "confirmed" on OSM...Initially, the plan was to take the ferry across the lake, but that evolved when Rex figured out that we could get onto the 4001 / 1022 without the boat trip... OSM maps indicated a short section of dirt road going up towards the lookout... that proved to be a very optimistic assessment of the route! ;)

The Participants: Moto-Rex and the Kiwi Cruiser

The Bikes: Kawasaki KLX 250 and Honda Rebel CMX 500

The Route: Day 1
  • Starting from Mae Sariang, south on Route 105
  • Across the 1175 that neither of us had ridden before, to Tak
  • Then to Uttarradit for the night via 3274, 1048, 102

Distance: 477 kilometres
Time: 8.5 hours

Route 105 is glorious these days, with all the major roadworks completed. A chilly 8am start in the fog out of Mae Sariang, a brief stop on the Mae Ngao river bridge.


Climbing up from the Mae Ngao National Park, views through the trees are spectacular once you ascend above the fog level...


Moto-Rex on the KLX, powering up the hill to the lookout point.


The 105 has some glorious landscapes, and the road is perfect for motorcycling with great curves and cambers.

The long mountain section eventually comes to an end as the road descends towards the Moei River, the border between Thailand and Myanmar/ Burma.

The section of 105 along the Moei is really pretty, and the village of Ban Mae Salit near the turnoff to Mae Moei NP has a decent restaurant at the Route 1267 intersection. Self-help coffee...

The 1175
I've driven / ridden past this route dozens of times over the years, always wondered what it was like through there... DutchMike posted a video of the 1175

The problem was that we had SO much fun flying across it, we did not really think about stopping for photos, until thirst prevailed - it was HOT in Tak province and a drinks break was eventually required. A return trip is needed...


The road straightens as it closes in on Tak, and it was damned warm. A refueling stop at a PTT on Route 12 was a nice break...

Amazon Cafes are always good value, and some coffee with cakes hit the spot!

Eventually, we arrived in Uttarradit, and stayed at The Room Hotel, a place Rex had spotted on a previous visit to the town.

Several Pricing Options: - we took a 380 THB "standard room" each. Basic, but clean, aircon was so efficient, I had to turn it off. ;) The mattress very firm, so I'd try a 500 baht room next time!

Dinner at Steak Thai...


The Route: Day 2
  • 1045, 1163, 4001/1022 to the Phu Phaya Pho lookout and across to Phrae
  • Turned onto 1101, 1024, 1342, 1217, 1216,
  • 101, turned off across a shortcut to 1091
  • Across to Phayao for the night
uttarradit-to-phrae-via-the alpine-route.jpg

Distance: 416 kilometres
Time: 9 hours

The 1163 was a very nice road, mostly in good condition and the foot pegs touched on both sides more than once...


Below, the Sirikit Reservoir in the distance...


A fair bit of the 4001/1022 was gravel. The uphill section after the village of Pharae to the Phu Phaya Pho lookout was pleasant enough. Being well shaded, the road surface still held moisture and was no problem for the road bike.


The 4001 is not particularly steep anywhere, but it does steadily gain a lot of altitude as it eases up the gulleys and ridges.


The surface was hard-packed and smooth much of the way up.

Eventually, the highest point of the road is reached, at the Phu Phaya Pho lookout, elevation 820 metres...

The expectation was maybe 10 kms of dirt, but that OSM track was not correctly described and it was more like 30km of gravel and pretty damned dusty coming down in the direction of Phrae.


Eventually, the road gods relented and gave us some asphalt to boost the spirits! Once that happened, the pace picked up dramatically! What a road that turned into, with much of it a new blacktop surface for miles! And then, a stream-side oasis appeared, where the most magnificent Khao Pad Moo Kai Dao (stir-fried rice with pork and a fried egg) was available!


The hostess was a pleasant cheerful lady who never flinched at the sight of two dusty old blokes on dirty motorbikes!


After lunch, the final leg comprised some fantastic roads through from Phrae to around to the 101.


The temple complex below looked interesting, we really should have stopped and had a look around...


From looking closely at Google Maps, I think it's this temple: Wat Phratat In Hung

From there, the roads get bigger and faster, with some steep downhill twisties.


This continued through 1342, 1217, 1216 and onto the 101 where we soon turned off across a shortcut to route 1091... which began well enough, but by the mid-point the road surface was deteriorating. Asphalt all the way, but the steeper section were badly broken up. Aside from the bone-jarring potholes, there was a lot of loose grit that makes for scary moments. There are few things that will put you down faster than loose grit on worn tar seal, and I had several "moments" that kept me as jumpy as a cat on a hot tin roof... :oops:


A big sigh of relief was exhaled at the sight of route 1091, and from there it was a nice blast to Chiang Muan for a refueling stop. By that time it was getting late in the afternoon and we decided to press on to Phayao instead of pausing for a coffee break. Finally rumbled into Phayao around 5pm...

The following morning after coffee, Rex headed north for a new KLX chain and I headed off over Route 120 eventually completing a 3-day / 1,260 kilometre loop ride. All in all, a very enjoyable break...


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Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
A great ride guys & a wonderful find for taht new road linking up Phrae & Uttaradit the short way (or is it actually shorter I wonder?).

The Steak Thai restauarnt in Uttaradit looks alright.
How much was the Room Hotel?


Active Member
Aug 8, 2017
Chiang Mai
Excellent trip report guys! Indeed, the 4001 road is a good experience to live and an interesting alternative to reach Phrae. Great to have added the satellite photo of the course, very good idea! My only regrets: there was not enough water for the Choeng Thong waterfall and we did not break like you along the river on the 1022 where there are many small resaurants and coffee shops because My darling absolutely wanted to see Wat Cho Hae before dark ...


Jan 5, 2008
A late edition to the Kiwi Cruisers great write up.

This was a great 2 days riding with the Kiwi Cruiser who I hadn’t ridden with for a few years.

It was a big two days ride on a KLX, riding approximately 900kms over 19 hours. Where the road is tight and twisty the KLX is fine, but when the road opens up, or theres a big hill, it’s a hard slog on a trail bike. That narrow seat doesn’t get any softer as the kilometres go by.

The ride down the 105 was a good way to start the ride, as well as clear the head after a couple of beers the night before.

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Magic day on hwy 105
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I never knew of hwy1175 until DutchMike put up a report. Great ride.

A Roundtrip From The Eastern Coastal Area To The North, Along The Myanmar And Laos Borders

Once we arrived at Tak it was a hard slog on the Uttaradit.
Splash and dash on HWY 1175.
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Day 2.
The road/Track to Phrae via 1163 and 1022.
Stunning ride, although a slight miscalculation with what I thought would be a short dirt section, ended up being a long haul in the dirt.

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And then there was dirt. My 2 km calculation ended up being over 20 kms, and most of it not as smooth as this.
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But no worry's. I was on the KLX and Kiwi Cruiser was on the Duel Sport Honda Rebel.
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Some amazing scenery through here.
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Back on the tar and Phrae bound.
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Just before Phrae we came across this great little restaurant by the side of the road next to a river.
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It was one of those "just gotta love Thailand" moments.
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After a good feed of rice it was of the Phayao.

It was a great 2 days ride. And gave some good ideas for some rides in the future at a slower pace.




Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong

Good to see you follow up & go back to finish off the story.
It always feels like an extra good accomplishment when you get to do things like that, which may have been on your mind or awhile.
I must spend more time in Phrae, once the Vstrom is back on the road.