Visa Run-Road Report (Nan etc)

Jan 12, 2003
Visa Run-Road Report (Nan etc)
« on: Nov 12th, 2002, 5:25am » Quote Modify Remove

back from a nice long visa run.
3 mates on our varioused yeared and conditioned 250cc xr's (luckily mine the newest , even though mates 10 yr old xlr still going strong) luckily all had time off together for a nice week off visa run.
main stops chiang khong , phu che fah , pua , nan and phayao.

lost my notes so will try and remember road conditions from my bad memory.

118 - heading out of chiang mai- chiang rai , the road is still in crap condition, but has improved later on, with new tarmac making a better ride.
stop before joining route 1 , for ususal stock up of " khao lab" .

1152 - bit of a tough road to find , starting to get dark as left late as usual. head towards phaya mengrai , have to stop for great sunset. road is in fairly good nick , although some fairly bumpy tarmac , mixed with some potholes.

1174 - again fairly good road , although some bumpy suprises and some sharp corners going through the villages . not very easy to spot some in the dark.opposite the turn off too chiang khong , found a nice kareoke , truck stop, flashing light spot(you know the ones!?!) after some quick liquid refreshment headed too chiang khong (with an 8 girl good bye commitee, waving us goodbye!)

1020 - as far as i remember in good condition.
paid for our leaving late, as tonight was Laos loy-kratong.we could see all the floats and kratongs from the guest house , hear the singing and smell the beer Laos, but alas could not get over too join the party.
had too go the following morning with the whole town in a hungover state (at least they had left us a few "Beer Laos" for lunch!

1155 - joined from the 1020 towards wang kaen(careful how you say this!) great scenery as you follow the mekong and road in pretty good we left late again only get as far as the turn off pha tang before sun begins to come down on us again(far too many food and photo stops.)
do not reccomend this road at the moment(should have listned to your advice David) very wet, slippy, rutted and very, very steep dirt road and with it getting dark was a very foolish idea! made it to a little village part the way up and gave up(luckily the others had aswell)
had some lao khao to steady the nerves and stayed the night . spent the night sleeping with half a ton of fertiliser and a generater!

1093 - got up at 5.30a.m. (a record for me) to catch the sun rising and get to phu che fah. this road not in great nick. some wet dirt road , mixed with downhill slopping brocken asphalt. it does get a lot better before p.c.f. the first turn off is through a little village, up a steep road. there is some very dangerous wet dirt road at the end and met a pick up sliding back towards me! also on the way down had too literaly walk the bike down as far too slippy and steep. best way is to by pass this village way and keep going for 10kms or so and a left turn off will take you to another entrance.
spent a few hours waiting for the mist and clouds to disperse, but the views worth the wait!

1021 - the road too chiang kham good nick.

1148 - this road too tha wang pha is in good nick and has some great views, with enjoyable twisting roads.

1097 - friend took this way and said the road is in good condition and probably more enjoyable, time permitting.

1080 - good , straght road , can open the throttle all the way too pua.

1256 - took this road for abou 30kms too a great g/h "bamboo huts" with very friendly and knowledgeable owners. very narrow mountain road , fairly wet and twisty, best to slow right down for this road.
on the way too the salt wells in boklua the road is under construction and is dirt and rocky.
if you make the mistake of heading back after 6.00pm you will find the road blocked with very large machines pulling rocks and dirt across the road and just over your head. we had to wait until he stopped for a minute and then rock riding (with a very steep drop too the left)

1080 - down towards nan, is good .

1091 - a good road towards pong. seemed to be just missing the rain all the way from pua, but it finaly caught up with us!

1021+ 1 - last 7/8 kms are under construction, going into phayao. managed to get some after hour drinking in a pub , the resident band helped us out here!

left the next day and stopped at the view point just outsidwe phayao as it was hacking it down. got accosted by a songthaew full of drunken Thais who wanted to share all their "lao khao" and get the falangs dangerosly drunk, before they had to complete the last 150 km back too c.mai.

120 + 1 - i think this road was in good nick , I WAS NOT!

118 - back too chiang mai for a little nap!
« Last Edit: Nov 21st, 2002, 10:28am by Admin »

Jan 12, 2003
Re: visa run-road report (nan etc)
« Reply #1 on: Nov 18th, 2002, 3:00am » Quote Modify Remove


That sounds like an awfully good ride - on a lot of my fave roads. And no doubt the odd drop at night made the trip even more entertaining.

ROUTE 118 - agreed still sucks for about 15 kms, but a lot of it has been fixed, so overall I guess it aint bad.

ROUTE 1152 - agreed is a bit tricky to find leaving Chiang Rai. But I guess it’s always best to take R1020 towards Thoen, and then turn off from there.
When heading to Chiang Khong from Chiang Rai I nearly always go straight up to Mae Chan, across to Chiang Saen then on R1129 to Ch Khong. This for me is the quickest way, as you can carry some speed going up the 4-lane super from Ch Rai.
But if I’m not in a hurry from Chiang Khong to Chiang Rai I don't mind using 1174 - 1098 - 1173 - 1233 nowadays.
You're right about the karaoke lounge at the Thung Ngiu T junction too. I've had a couple of big nights there "after work" with the singers from the Jan Suai suan aharn in Ch Khong.

ROUTE 1155 - agreed there are too many photo stops at the north end alongside the Mekong river. The scenery here is breathtaking, & most of the gals in the Thai Lue villages along the way are stunning too – I never know whether to ride or stop / dawdle along this section (too many distractions?)
The road surface at the top north end is generally ok, but what about between Pang Hat & Pang Kha? The last time I was down there it was absolute shyte - has it been fixed yet? If anyone knows anything new, pls make a contribution so we can all know & ride with confidence about the road ahead.
It sounds like the road up to Pha Tang from Pang Hat is still the same. Pretty wild scary stuff for a few hundred meters eh? On that incredibly steep slope, you would not want to drop a big heavy bike & have to try & pick it up, get on it, then start off up again. Imagine the alternative too - turning around on that rutted slope & going back down again!
In Pha Tang there are a couple of cheap Charlie ghouses, but the quality is not much above your “fertilizer sack” standard - better to take one the nice resorts down towards Phu Chee Fah. Last count (a month or two ago) there was at least 3 good ones.

PHU CHEE FAH - you went in via the northern road. There are 2 turn offs & the southern one, near the Nat park office is the easy one with the sweeping panoramic views as you go up on good asphalt!

ROUTE 1021 - agreed it nice. Smooth fast flowing slightly undulating.

ROUTE 1148 - did not sound so great to you. It is my fave now, smooth fast flowing hilly, the new asphalt road must be made by a motorcycle racetrack engineer in my opinion! And yep the views are great, not much forest left.

ROUTE 1097 - agreed is wonderful, steep winding with fantastic panoramic views. And all asphalt.

ROUTE 1080 - is a total delight too, on your 250 hold the throttle open full all the way – perfect riding.

ROUTE 1256 - is pretty awesome too though, although it seems as if they never finish working on the road. Doi Phukha Nat park has unreal views, especially up on the ridgeline looking into Laos. The descent into Bo Klua can be a bit nerve racking with the road works eh – there can be lots of gravel, sand and even wet asphalt on the road, depending on what stage of improvements they are at.

ROUTE 1091 & 1021 - to Phayao agreed are nice sport bike roads & the 4-lane super road works at the west end are a pain – too much traffic & dust to be enjoyable. Fortunately the distance is only short.

ROUTE 120 - between Wang Nua & Mae Kachan is totally awesome. Too bad it is only a short 17 kms. That long wide sweeping bend at the Mae Kachan end is something to really enjoy – get the bike cranked right over powering through with the throttle wide open (in the right gear.)
« Last Edit: Nov 18th, 2002, 3:11am by Davidfl »

Jan 12, 2003
Re: visa run-road report (nan etc)
« Reply #2 on: Nov 18th, 2002, 3:38am » Quote Modify Remove

thanks Phil and David for such an extensive road report particularly around Nan, I have been on 1248 east west and west east many times and I thoroughly enjoyed that ride just like what David said. The surface is good and the flow of hilly curves is just marvelous. Continuing R1248 westward on R1097 I have not had a chance to try but now will be more than willing to explore following David's advice.

Thanks guys..