The Phu Phaya Pho Lookout - 4001 / 1022

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Kiwi Cruiser, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Administrator Staff Member

    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.

    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...

    route-1163-5. route-1163-4. route-1163-3.
    Below, the Sirikit Reservoir in the distance...

    route-1163-2. route-1163-1.

    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.

    route-4001-1. route-4001-2. route-4001-3.

    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.
    route-4001-5. route-4001-6. route-4001-7. route-4001-8. route-4001-9. route-4001-moto-rex.
    Eventually, the highest point of the road is reached, at the Phu Phaya Pho lookout, elevation 820 metres...
    4001-Phu-Phaya-Pho-lookout-1. 4001-Phu-Phaya-Pho-lookout-2. 4001-Phu-Phaya-Pho-lookout-3. 4001-Phu-Phaya-Pho-lookout-4.

    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!

    oasis-on-route-1022. route-1022-2. route-1022-3. route-1022-4. route-1022-5. route-1022-6.

    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.

    route-1024-phrae-2. route-1024-phrae-3.
    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.
    route-1217-2. route-1217-3.

    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 home over Route 120 and back over to Mae Sariang, completing a 3-day / 1,260 kolometre loop ride. All in all, a very enjoyable break...

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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    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?

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