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The Samoeng Loop - Pottering around

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. Reposting, because of a forum software hiccup...

    North Thailand's best 100 kms loop & ride. Many Chiang Mai riders do it frequently for a quick blast to get some fresh air & clean out the cobwebs.

    A stop at the X-Centre for a chat 'n beer with Bungy the Ambassador is almost mandatory.

    But how many go for a bit of a meander on the Samoeng Loop back roads?
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    Probably not that many riders & it's a shame because there is some gorgeous scenery & villages out there on generally deserted asphalt rural back roads.

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    The Samoeng - Mae Sap - Tung Ting - Mae Pa - Ban Pok - Samoeng loop was on my hit list today.
    Total distance is 53 kms of steep & winding narrow bumpy rural back roads.
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    Its a magic ride on a small bike, & still good on a big bike too.
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    The steep terrain makes it an exhilarating ride that runs through good forest most of the way too.

    Check out these elevation profiles.

    1.Samoeng - Tung Ting
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    2. Tung Ting - Mae Pa
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    3.Samoeng - Khong Khak - Mae Pa
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    There are numerous very traditional villages along the way & lots of signs to get you confused
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    but that's all part of the fun!

    Chuck in some pretty temples along the way, all worth a quick photo stop, & this is a gem of an afternoon loop.

    Wat Nga Mang
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    Wat Ban Pok
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    Check it out sometime.
    You will be pleased you did & it's right on your Samoeng Loop doorstep.
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    The map for the Mae Sa Samoeng Loop.
     
  2. #2 DavidFL, Oct 5, 2013
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
    Another way to get to the rural back roads north of Samoeng is to go in via the Mae Khi road off R1296.
    From Mae Khi you can go to Mae Pa / Ban Pok / Tung Ting - all of which take you into Samoeng.

    This same road Mae Khi - Mae Pa road takes you to the Pong Khwao hot springs.
    Cnx-samoeng-pong-kwao-hot-springs

    The Mae Khi road is currently a bit bumpy in places, & then after you make the turn to Mae Pa it is a bit chopped up in places.

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    but none of this is for more than 50 metres a spot

    after that the rest is fine & its a gorgeous refreshing, envigorating rural back road.

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    At Mae Pa, you have the option of going into Samoeng, or to carry onto Tung Ting & then go to Samoeng.

    The Pong Kwao hot springs turn off is in Pa Lan, between Mae Pa & Tung Ting & again from Tung Ting you can go into Samoeng.

    But there's also third option & that is to do the Hmong loop - take in the villages of Mae Khi, Nong Mai & Nong Hoi Gao.
    AND now the link up from Mae Khi to Nong Hoi is finally all asphalt. It used to be a shit 4 kms rutted track for as long as I can remember = 25 years +.
    But finally they've done it; & its gonna be well & truly on the tourist track from now on, with all those hundreds of city slickers going to enjoy the fresh mountain air Mon Cham & Mon Eng Dao view & camping points in Nong Hoi.

    Mon Cham is a "new" famous Thai tourist view point in the Hmong village of Nong Hoi Gao
    Mon Cham off the 1096 from Mea Rim - Recomended!

    The new asphalt link up from Mae Khi - Nong Hoi

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    A view of Mae Khi from Nong Hoi Mai.

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    A view of Nong Hoi Mai

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    The road from Nong Hoi Mai - Nong Hoi Gao

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    The magnificent Mon Eng Dao km marker

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    Mon Eng Dao views

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    Mon Eng Dao has tents & bungalows for accommodation

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    Nong Hoi Gao in the rain

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    Check it all out some - give the Hmong Loop a run. Start from the Mae Khi end & exit via Nong Hoi. This gives you a longer winding ride in, then you enjoy the views at either Mon Eng Dao or Mon Cham, then its an easy 6 kms steep downhill run onto R1296 & home to Chiang Mai.
     
  3. Here's the elevation profile from Mae Khi - Mae Pa - Tung Ting

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    & what a ride it is.
     
  4. Sauntering along R1269.......

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    Wat Wutthi Rat

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  5. #5 DavidFL, Oct 5, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
    Another wander...but a rainy day & a flat camera battery. So only a few phone snaps.

    Wat Inthrawat, known locally as Wat Ton Khwen, is one of the very few remaining wooden temples in its original state in Chiang Mai province.
    Under the care of the Fine Arts Department it is renowned as one of the finest examples of classic Lanna style architecture in Northern Thailand.
    The temple elegant was built in 1858 in Lanna style with Thai Lü influence. It is surrounded on three sides by an open pavilion.
    It has a viharn with a typical Lanna style steep three tiered roof & large stylized Naga serpents on the top of the roof ends .
    Singha Lions guard the entrance to the temple, set in rice paddies & a compound with beautiful tall palm trees.

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  6. Mae Rim is at "one end" of the Samoeng Loop, & if you're starting from the Mae Rim end, there is a stunning temple worth popping into for a look

    Wat Pa Dara Phirom
    Was founded in 1939 & became a royal sponsored Buddhist temple in 1999 & is a beautiful example of modern Lanna architecture.

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  7. David
    Really very good photos and very interesting well done.
    Thanks
    Safe riding
    Paul
     
  8. Now a hot tip, if you do the Samoeng loop in a clockwise direction & finish up at the end Mae Rim end, try the Mae Rim Plaza bike wash.

    69 baht & an winner at that price.

    293640=17193-GTR-MaeRim-BikeWashA.

    293640=17192-GTR-MaeRim-BikeWash2B.

    & part of the magic of this place is that 80 metres away inside the Mae Rim Plaza, is Steak of the Day, the hot new eating place in Mae Rim / Chiang Mai. Well worth checking out as well.

    Eat & drink well whilst your bike is getting cleaned & polished.
     
  9. #9 DavidFL, Oct 15, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
    Still repairing lost posts....

    And another day in the rain wandering along a beautiful rural back road behind Wat Doi Kham..

    Praw & Plean Green House Cafe

    a delightful rural coffee shop & restaurant

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    A gem of a place & well worth checking out guys.
    GPS Waypoint: N18 45 37.0 E98 54 17.3

    Apologies for the lousy photos - taken with a phone while it was drizzling with rain.

    Attached files
    293683=17216-DSC_0036. 293683=17215-DSC_0038. 293683=17218-DSC_0042. 293683=17214-DSC_0044.
     
  10. Baan Suan Ka Fe
    another sweet gem of a place, not far from Praw & Pleans Cafe

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    GPS Waypoint: N18 45 34.5 E98 54 49.9
     
  11. #11 DavidFL, Oct 15, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
    Also at the Mae Rim end.....
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    The Golden Rock temple
    from
    https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/38470-The-Golden-Rock-Temple

     
  12. And another Samoeng Loop add on.

    From
    https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/36020-Samoeng-Strawberry-Festival-2012

     
  13. Certainly a wonderful loop, with sidekicks ...I am, however, afraid to get lost! Would urgently need a map LOL! :problem:
     
  14. The "Proud Phu Fah" Kong Hae road....

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  15. The roadside Mae Sa Valley Resort...

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  16. Still going....there is so much to see, new places & attractions.

    Up in Nong Hoi

    The Muay Thai Mountain Boxing Camp

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    The trees blooming

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    Silverhawk obliging for the photos. You might be on the cover of the new Mae Sa-Samoeng loop map, all being well.

    Thai ingenuity..

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    Mon Pha Khong, a tiny piece of land beside the road turned into a coffee & view point stop.

    Mon Eng Dao

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    and the future of new Thai Tourism......?

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    Snowbuff Coffee back down on the flat in Mae Rim

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    Check it all out sometime.
     
  17. Mon In Dao is my favorite spot up on the newly gentrified Nong Hoi hill top. Better view then Mon Chaem and better pricing on food and drink, although sometimes service can be a bit slow. But lots of eye candy walking around on the weekends. The newer resort above Mon In Dao is owned by the headman of Nong Hoi, and although I was drinking with him last November at Mon In Dao, I haven't tried his resort yet.
     
  18. Somewhat highly impressed by the beauty of Wat Pa Dara Pirom I wandered back over again on Sunday.

    A few images that I thought worthy of a photo

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    Murals

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    Check it out some time, Well worth a visit.
     
  19. Zipping along the loop the other day I spotted a side road off R1269 that had been concreted.
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    The Buek Chan road.

    Its now sign posted as this
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    It's a steep narrow concrete climb
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    way up in the mountains to a royal project in the huge Hmong village Buek Chan

    Where you aim to end up
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    & indeed I did end up there somehow.

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    Then in the maze on concrete trails I ended up back on R1096 the Mae Rim - Samoeng road, instead of the Kong Hae road. Not how I wanted it to pan out.
    That means I need to go back again & make a right turn somewhere in the village to meander on down to Kangsal Resort / Proud Fah.

    Earlier on I had slipped up to the Kong Hae viewpoint, where Silverhawk once had trouble with his side stand in a photo session.
    The road here is still ok up to the viewpoint & looks like this now.

    Cheers. Check em out.
    And if you don't know where they are take a look on the GTR Mae Sa Valley - Samoeng Loop map. Grid 4E.
     
  20. The Siam Insect Zoo / Museum

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    The Siam Insect Zoo was founded in 2006 by Mr. Pisuth Ek-Amnuay.

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    The Siam Insect Zoo is divided into several separate areas.
    1.    Showroom displaying Butterflies, Insects and Beetles.
    2.    A Iive Breeding area for a variety of Beetles and Insects
    3.    A live butterfly enclosure
    All information is both English & Thai so you should know what you are looking at.

    IMG_4510. Siam Insect Zoo - welcome

    IMG_4511. Siam Insect Zoo - educational display

    IMG_4513. Siam Insect Zoo - beetles & moths

    IMG_4515. Siam Insect Zoo - The Diversity of Insects

    IMG_4516. Siam Insect Zoo - insects rule

    IMG_4518. Siam Insect Zoo - Lantern flies

    IMG_4519. Siam Insect Zoo - The Great Bhutan extinct species

    IMG_4520. Siam Insect Zoo

    IMG_4521. Siam Insect Zoo - Insects & Arachnids

    IMG_4522. Siam Insect Zoo - centipedes bite.

    IMG_4523. Siam Insect Zoo - scorpions in the forest

    IMG_4525. Siam Insect Zoo - the biggest butterflies

    IMG_4526. Siam Insect Zoo - the biggest insects

    IMG_4529. Siam Insect Zoo - poisonous insects

    IMG_4532. Siam Insect Zoo

    IMG_4534. Siam Insect Zoo - walking stick insects

    IMG_4535. Siam Insect Zoo

    IMG_4536. Siam Insect Zoo

    IMG_4537. Siam Insect Zoo

    IMG_4539. Siam Insect Zoo

    IMG_4540. Siam Insect Zoo

    The Siam Insect Zoo is well worth a visit to see some of the amazing things that share the planet with us.
    Check it out sometime.

    The Siam Insect Zoo was founded in 2006 by Mr. Pisuth Ek-Amnuay.
    Pisuth has a Master’s of Science Degree in Entomology from Kasetsart University  (1982) from his thesis on dragonfly taxonomy.
    He worked for Entomology and Zoology Division of the Department of Agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture for seven years, then worked for various agro-chemical companies in Thailand, including multinational companies from Germany, France, and India for about 24 years, before  retiring in 2010.
    Pisuth has written numerous books on plants, insects,  beetles, dragonflies & butterflies in Thailand; the Siam Insect Zoo is the product of his passion with the collection been built up over 30 years.

    The Siam Insect Zoo is at the Mae Rim end of the Samoeng Loop.

    Just 150 metres off R1096, it is 2 kms west of the X-Centre.

    Check it out on the Mae Sa Valley Samoeng Loop map.
     

    Attached Files:

  21. Another meander to Buek Chan, starting from the Proud Phu Fah turn off & side tracked yet again...only 6 kms but as steep as & a beautiful forest cover

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    How it looks in google Earth

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    the blue line is the main road R1096 & the pink line the 6 kms loop

    GTR-Buek-Chan-Loop002.

    check it out sometime. It is a beauty with loads of fresh air, forest & a deserted road.

    The easiest way to pick up on it & start maybe from the concrete turn off at that divided dual carriageway in the middle of nowhere on R1096

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    Somewhere up in here is a residence for a member of royalty & hence the major intersection.
     

    Attached Files:

  22. Towards the Hang Dong end of the loop there is an innocent turn off to the North.

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    It's a short steep 1.5 kms in

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    the short pink line is the concrete road in & the blue line is the main road R1269.

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    look for the sign above

    Then follow the lovely steep twisting concrete - asphalt road.

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    after a short distance you will reach the temple

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    A delightful location in a hidden enclave in the forest. Wat Padhammachart

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    Take a look sometime when you're cruising around the loop.
     

    Attached Files:

  23. #23 DavidFL, Sep 15, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016
    A cool roadside spot to relax & have a lazy meal
    The Krua Ban Chan
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    roadside on R1096 just before the Proud Phu Fa / Panviman turn off

    A nice elevated restaurant
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    The menu is several pages long - extensive. Plus they have good coffee, ice cream & cakes. A well organized place with decent service.
    A very pleasant surprise. Fresh tasty food, good servings & inexpensive.
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    With a view of the corner & into the hills on the back of Doi Suthep
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  24. The hot season is about to hit & the locals are setting up their restaurants & coffee shops in the streams that run alongside the road.

    Zombie Cafe is the hip new joint at the Mae Rim end of the Samoeng loop.

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    It is a multi level open air establishment over hanging a small stream
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    literally chilling out in the stream
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    Location: R1096. 2.5 kms west of the X-Centre
    GPSN18 54.838 E98 54.319
     
  25. A new & super coffee shop
    Di Bosco
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    opened only 3 months
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    an interesting, smart clean modern establishment.

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    spacious, loads of seating
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    you can select & roast your own coffee from a good selection, including some imported coffees
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    They have some intriguing signature coffees
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    The young owner is a cool guy
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    who sufficiently impressed the GF that she demanded a "selfie." Oh well.

    Location. R1096. 1 kms west of the main Mon Cham / Nong Hoi turn off; 2,2 kms east of the Proud Phu Fah turn off
    GPS: N18 53.268 E98 49.717
     

    Attached Files:

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