Where the hell Wawi The Spirit Of Adventure

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, May 14, 2010.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Chiang Mai - Wawi - Chiang Rai & Return

    THE WAY: Chiang Mai - Mae Suai - Wawi - Mae Suai - Chiang Rai.

    ROUTES: 118 - 3027 - 118 - 1

    DATES: Wed 12 May - Thur 13th May.

    WHY: Nothing special, time for a ride & escape the heat from Cnx,

    It was H-O-T & I got away from the Chiang Mai super at 1.45PM.

    The first stop was the air con of the Black Canyon coffeeshop in Mae Kachan & time to ring & book my hotel in Chiang Rai. The Sabai Inn for 350 baht.

    Whilst at the BC an SMS comes in from the Kiwi Cruiser advising he is meeting Moto-Rex at the Wawi turn of at 3.15PM. I reply with an ETA of 3.30PM.
    Funny how it goes - only the night before over a few ice cold San Miguel Lights Moto-Rex & I decided on the trip, with a loose agreement to SMS as we approached Wawi to meet up or just rendezvous in CEI. Lets just ride out of town & play it as we go...

    I was on time at the Wawi turn off & MR &KW were rested & in a lively mood.


    Kitted up ready to go
    who's got the cleanest bike?

    The Wawi road is a beauty through rolling hills & once used to be prime hill tribe trekking & opium country.

    It runs alongside a small dam on the Mae Suai river, but there's seldom much water in it in the dry season. And especially this year.

    And when it hot & dry what better than a fish in a mud hole.



    The Kiwi Cruiser playing with his phone & not observing the gorgeous scenery

    Wawi soon appeared



    an impressive Chinese KMT - mixed hill tribe village & the "home of Wawee Coffee."

    But it was late, we were hot 'n thirsty & searched town for a cool drink and got lost in the maze of sois!!!
    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    Eventually we ended up back on the main road, scoffed down a few cold drinks & mulled over an exit plan, after abandoning our wild night in Wawi fantasy.

    There was a possible asphalt exit north to Huai Chomphu - Mae Saluk - Mok Chompae - Mae Chan - Chiang Rai.
    Try a dirt short cut to the Kok River & Chiang Rai
    OR Back the same way,

    Ben & I looked at the dark black clouds ahead & concurred there was a good 40-45 minutes of torrential about to hit. I had no rain gear so my decision was easy.
    Moto-Rex was not impressed - he did not enjoy getting overtaken by the local postman loaded on his Honda Dream on the way in on the newly surfaced half road; but it did not bother me - it was his home race track & we were rookies out there.
    Rex opted for the north route, with an optional dirt short cut if it did not rain.
    See you in CEI then it was & off we (Ben & I) went flat out to escape the approaching thunderstorm.

    By 6.45PM I was safely ensconced in the Sabai Inn. Dry & perfectly comfortably in the cool aircon after a fresh gushing shower. It felt like paradise after the heat on the road.
    I dozed off & woke up to another SMS from the Kiwi Cruiser for a happy hour rendezvous.
    8.15PM was the agreed time...


    Twas a good happy hour & the rain did indeed come down for a couple of hours. Ben & I enjoyed ourselves.
    But where the hell Wawi was Moto-Rex?
    No sign or news of him!

    The phone rang. It was a young Yao hill tribe speaking broken Thai telling me no to worry, Khon Yao hill tribe were sai dee mak mak & would take care of M-R in their mountain hill tribe village that night. M-R sheepishly gets on the phone - no signal on his new IPhone - & says he's got a bit of a problem with his bike & wont be able to make it to Chiang Rai tonight, but will catch up to us tomorrow......

    I'm now safe & sound back in Cnx.
    :lol-sign: :lol-sign:

    Wawi & route 3027 is on the GT RIder Golden Triangle map. Check it out for an alternative route to / from Chiang Rai or Tha Ton, but don't leave as late as I did.

    to be continued by Moto-Rex.... :wtf: Wawi?
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    You'll enjoy the road Slash

  4. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ben Kemp Staff Member

    Like all good stories, this is a trilogy in 3 parts, and the other participant will add in his comments presently. :lol-sign:
    - there's a LOT more to this story, and it turned into a major adventure for the one of us who chose not to go home the longer (but faster) way...

    Impromptu adventures are always the best - hey, you CAN over-plan outings! Anyway, FL's 1:40 pm exit from Chiang Mai was preceded by an SMS announcing his departure, planned detour and destination. I responded to it immediately and offered to meet him at the 118 turn-off to Doi Chaang / Ban Wawi. No reply so he was obviously riding already. I sat back down to work... At 2:20 pm, an SMS from Moto-Rex informed me he was at Mae Kachan, sipping a Black Canyon iced coffee... a reply to suggest we meet at the turnoff was acknowledged, so within 5 minutes I was armoured up and gunning the Vulcan out of the soi... I left in such a hurry, I completely forgot my camera!

    Our positions being roughly equidistant, but me needing fuel, meant I had to scurry so as not to hold anyone up. I arrived at the rendezvous point a bare minute in front of Rex, and we sought cold drinks in the shade of a shop veranda just off the 118 highway... one can of Sprite into the break, an SMS from FL confirms his ETA of 3:30 - and he arrives on the dot.

    I've been up the valley a couple of times before, but only a little further than Ban Doi Chaang, and the rumoured exit out of Wawi, over the hills and down onto the Thaton / Mae Chan road has long interested me. My understanding was that the last section was dirt, and very steep downhill - not optimal for a heavy cruiser... Not that dirt scares me, but if its also steep, going uphill is preferable! I may well have "spur of the moment" etched on my forehead, but heading down an unknown, steep dirt road road, after 5pm, with a major thunderstorm imminent... Thanks, but no thanks! Lets race the storm to Chiang Rai the long way!!! Departed Wawi about 5:20pm... Rex set off to the north, on the "short-cut" to Chiang Rai.... :)

    We arrived at the 118 intersection together, and headed left for Chiang Rai. A very brisk pace was set by FL and I confess he lost me - several awkward pickup trucks close together, jockeying for position, and one that did not want to be overtaken at all gave FL a head start. His parting comment about needing to stop for fuel at the Cosmo pumps 5 kms before Highway 1 intersection added to his lead - I pulled off the highway and went in looking for him :)

    Still, we were both safely indoors by 6:45pm, just before the rains hit - unlike Mot-Rex :) HIS adventure was only just unfolding in the thunderstorm on a remote dirt track in the middle of nowhere in the gathering darkness! We did contemplate ordering a burger and chips for him, and SMS'ing him a photo of it...

    PS: For those who've been out this road... 1 km past Wawi there are major roadworks in progress. 2 days after the above ride, I went back to retrieve Moto-Rex and rode approx 5kms past Wawi to a large resort - a delightful spot with a nice restaurant, and cha (tea) plantations etc. The word is, the road is being upgraded out to civilisation, and by the look of the efforts being put into construction its going to be excellent - as far as I went, its "no expense spared" wide and almost ready for sealing.

    Eagerly awaiting Part 3!
  5. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ben Kemp Staff Member

    As mentioned, I've been up the valley before...

    Here's David's photo of the lake;

    I took a couple of photos from the same spot in Jan 2009... even without your glasses on, you're sure to spot a difference!

    The fishing can be good at "normal" water levels...
  6. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Moderator

    Part three of the trilogy,
    It all started off so well, three GT-Riders planned to meet up for one night away in the north.
    We meet at the turn off and the plan was to ride up to Wawi, and maybe spend a night there.
    But like many simple plans, the plan didnt go the way it was supposed too,....for me anyway.

    My ever reliable KLX at the start of hwy3037

    The bikes lined up ready to go.

    The big fella, and the big African twin heading north.

    The Kiwi Cruiser, heading north on the big Vulcan.


    There was a lot of new road works which was a pain, but when its all done it should be a great road.

    We arrived in Wawi and rode through town, and then rode up a dirt track to get a view of this interesting place from above.


    K.C was keen to try the Vulcan out in the dirt.



    David and AT with Wawi in the back ground before chasing after K.C in the dirt.

    We rode back down into Wawi were it was decided that Chiang Rai was to be the place to stay the night. I wasn't all that keen on riding back on the road,.....so thinking, not only would it be more enjoyable on the KLX to take a short cut through the jungle, but I could probably get a few extra beers in before my two riding companions arrived.
    Before I took off, a local had warned me it would not be possible to get through to CR using the "short cut" if it rained.
    "Rain" what rain. She'll be right, no worries.............off I went.

    Start of the track, nice and dry.......piece of cake.

    So there's a few clouds....no big deal.

    Great track through here.

    OK OK....so there's going to be a few spots of rain.

    Just after I took this photo, down came the rain, and boy did it come down.
    Thunder, lightening, strong wind and very heavy rain......I kept going, thinking I didn't have far to go, but the track became narrow, more slippery, and very very steep.
    I lot bamboo and branches had blown on to the track, and while trying to ride around a fallen branch, the back end slipped out, and I dropped the bike braking the gear selector.
    So there I was, at the bottom of a big slippery hill, its pouring with rain, lightening buzzing every were, its almost dark, and I'm stuck in forth gear.
    I pushed the bike to the side of the track and began to walk back to a village I had seen about 3 kms back. It was all up hill.
    As I stagged into the little village of about 10 bamboo huts, a lovely old guy called out and asked me if I needed some were to to sleep. I said "I sure do".
    He took me into he's house were I meet he's wife and two daughters they were happy to have a soaking wet guest for the night.
    They made me a bed, feed me some noodles, and had nice night.
    They didn't speak one word of English, and my limited Thai was very different to there local dialect, but we got by OK.

    The bamboo hut which I spend the night.

    The mother and one of the daughters



    The old guy that gave me shelter having a smoke.

    Next morning I got up early and walked down the hill to see if I could fix the bike.
    This wasn't possible, so I walked back to the village and found a guy that would take me to Wawi were I had a better chance of finding someone with a four wheel drive that could help me get the bike out with.


    The only accommodation in Wawi was the Lau Lee hill resort, so I booked a night there, and after having a long cold shower to cool down, I went to the reception to see if they knew anyone with a four wheel drive and a few workers that could help me retrieve my bike.
    Yes they said. We can get a pick up for you, come back later.
    Two hours go by, so I go up to see if the pick up has been organized. Again "yes no problem, we know about your bike, come back later".
    I go back at 6pm, to have a feed in the restaurant, and again see whats going on with the pick up. This time the boss is there, he says, we will have pick up for you tomorrow no problem. Ok I say, what time will the pick up be here? He replys, maybe morning, maybe afternoon I cannot say, but tomorrow for sure don't worry.
    I go back to my room, thinking to myself, how does anything get done in this country when there's no concept of time and no one knows what anyone else is doing.
    Then at 9pm there's a knock at my door. The receptionist says, "about your bike" and points to the restaurant were I had spoken to the boss. I think to myself, at last a firm time to meet the pick up, take them 25kms in to the jungle, show them were the bike is and get it out.
    I begin to walk to the restaurant, and as I get closer, unbelievably I see in the park a four wheel drive, with my bike in the back of it.
    Not only is the bike there, but also my riding gear and tools that I had left in the bamboo hut that I had stayed in the night before.

    Now thats "Amazing Thailand"



    Next day KC came up to get me on he's vulcan, because it was impossable to get a pick up in Chiang Rai, and he gave me a lift back to Chiang Mai.

    It was also impossible to hire a pick up in Chiang Mai so Silverhawk helped me out, and drove back up to Wawi in he's pick up which saved the day.
    BignTall came along for the ride as well. Thanks very much Guys. :thumbup:

    • Like Like x 1
  7. dirthonk

    dirthonk Ol'Timer

    Brilliant adventure rexy!!

    I was laughing to myself imagining you trying to slip the clutch in 4th gear up the wet hill and frying it. cracking stuff!!

    better get the 2010 gear selector on the ole steed for the next foray into the jungle......!!
  8. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    I am going to put little motorcycle symbols on the side of my truck showing the GT-Rider motorcycles I have rescued. No problem Rex :thumbup:


    We drove up to Wawi and it took us a little over 3 hours via the 118. We decided we would try going North from Wawi and see how the road was. It was a good choice.

    They have completely resurfaced the road and were busy adding new barriers and km markers. We came out just east of Thaton and took the 107 back to Chiang Mai. This added about 60km, but should make a pretty nice loop once things again turn green.

    The 107 isn't fun by truck due to the traffic and the difficulty passing. Rex phoned Kawasaki and they said they closed at 5:30PM on Saturday. We pushed it and rolled into their parking lot at exactly 5:30. :clap:
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for finishing off the trilogy. Amazing Thailand indeed & your over night hill tribe experience was probably about as good & genuine as they get. Wonderful people out there alright.

    Now I do wonder about the daughter's T-shirt..

    Let's go for another ride North in a day or two.
  10. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ben Kemp Staff Member

    Objective: to complete the ride started weeks earlier with David FL & Moto-Rex
    Date: Sat 19th June
    The Team: just me, myself and I

    Saturday lunch time, bored and sick of toiling over the computer keyboard on a glorious Green Season day... Deep blue sky, puffy white clouds, unlimited visibility. I armoured up and hit the highway south to Mae Suai, 50kms away. Turned right onto 3037 and stopped immediately to top up the juice levels. Hot as, and the sweat flows freely when you're encumbered with a helmet and heavy mesh jacket.
    What a stunning day - the lake is still devoid of water, but things have got amazingly green in the space of a few weeks! I did not notice the floating houses on the previous trip - there were two today, presumably newly constructed.
    The section of highway that was newly sealed last trip is now complete with Armco barriers and paintwork.
    Having too much fun to stop for photos, so there's some long gaps until I got past Wawi. :)
    As you reach the summit of the ridge-line, far ahead to to the right you can see clearly where the road construction has carved its way out and down.
    The new section is already looking problematic and we've only had a modest bit of rain so far - significant erosion is evident....
    The last section coming down to the Kok River really is very steep!
    Looking upstream...
    Looking downstream...
    And the resort on the south bank, downstream side looks like a promising lunch break stop.

    Wawi Loop from Chiang Rai: approx 250 kms.
  11. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    If this is the "alternative" route to Fang you told me about, Ben - I am impressed! Just need to recover first! :happy2:
  12. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ben Kemp Staff Member

    Hi David
    Indeed, it is the route I mentioned earlier - and its a delightful "hidden" valley which I expect sees few visitors. The Laulee Hills Resort approx 5kms north of Wawi is also a decent drinks break / lunch stop. There is still a couple of kms of road construction after Wawi, but its almost ready for sealing which will make the entire route dirt-free.
  13. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    I'd count the days - but as yet, I don't know how many there are! :sad1::
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The Wawi Loop for the guy asking.

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