Trip Report: Chiang Rai Loop 9 Days

Chiang Rai Loop

Ride Details

990 km
9 days, 8 nights
Dec 2022

Group Info

Rob and I took a loop around Chiang Rai stopping off at interesting places and aiming to ride as many of the greatest roads in Thailand as possible. There was no schedule we just looked for great roads and included them in the day's drive. We had two rest days, because we could :)
The CB500x amongst the weeds

Day 1: Chiang Mai - Pai

200 km
6.5 hours
All smooth good tarmac
Hot, Sunny, 38C
We got out of Chiang Mai by around 10am after getting the bike and changing some money. Then, we went straight West so that we could take the back route over. We didn't want to go on the main road as it would be busy with trucks and because Danny had done it a few years before.
It was a really good, smooth piece of road with some inclines, great corners and a few curvy sections. We stopped at a hot spring just outside Pai, where Rob lost his glove and we had to go back for it and then hit Pai a little later than expected but before dusk. It was a good first day.
the beautiful maintained road goes on and on and on

Day 2: Pai (rest day)

No Driving
Hot, Sunny, 38C
Today we hung out in Pai because Rob had come all the way up from Pattaya and was a bit beat. It was great to chill in Pai as it is probably the coolest town in Thailand. We stayed at Family Huts, which is one the riverside and very close to the the main walking street. It's great.
It was a lazy day. We went over to DRC and asked them about the forest track that I planned to take tomorrow. They were really helpful and told us it was good. After, a little ride around the back lanes it was time to hang out in walking street.
The Honda CB500x on the forest trail

Day 3: Pai - Muang Na

130 km
5 hours
Forest track, Tarmac, Highway
Hot, Sunny, 35C
We, skipped breakfast, opting to eat on the road and headed out of town nice and early. We saw a cafe very close to the turn off to the forest road and stopped there. It was a cool place and the owner had two big bikes so we figured he knew about the roads. Turns out he was very cool and knowledgeable. We asked him about the road and he confirmed it was passable. Off we went.
The forest road was a lot easier than we thought. About half way along we stopped at a small village for noodles in a hut. Further along, we saw two wheel drive cars and we knew it would be fine. The forest road then joins the tarmac and there is a forestry checkpoint. We chatted to the forest rangers and took selfies. The rest of the way was tarmac through small towns before getting to Hamony Guetshouse.
we sheltered from a brief rainstorm next a family doing the same

Day 4: Muang Na - Fang

100 km
4 hours
small tarmac, steep inclines
Sunny warm, 32C
We headed up to the border with Burma and stopped for noodles. Then, we took the 1340 rd which went along the Burmese border. It was a great winding road. We tried to follow this for longer but got turned back by the military. Later we found out that this section of road was only open at certain hours for security reasons.
So, it was down the hill and over to a traveller's hotel where we stayed for the night. Dinner was out on the street and was great. Fang is pretty quiet so it was an early night ready for the next day's ride.
The CB500x ready to go

Day 5: Fang - Mae Sai

120 km
4 hours
Small tarmac, Highway
Hot, Sunny, 35C
This was nice winding road and we just followed the curves. I took a small detour and Rob waited ahead, then we got back on route. We went through a lot of villages on good road and it was easy driving.
Unfortunately, we had to steam up the highway to get into Mae Sai, the border crossing town. I went back and did a loop of the 1149 rd which takes you along the border and through a ton of military checkpoints. Great fun.
Rob at one of the many army checkpoints on the Thai-Burma border.

Day 6: Mae Sai - Chiang Khong

90 km
3.5 hours
Small tarmac, large highway
Hot, Sunny, 35C
This was an easy ride as we did not have far to go. We started out on the smaller road which then joined up to the 1290 which is a real racetrack of a road that takes you to the border crossing, which is busy with tourists, buses, cafes etc...
We saw the Golden Triangle and took some photos and then headed on further. As we were a little tired we stopped for a shake in Cafe de Laos and found the Namkhong Guesthouse. After checking this place out and realising it was cheap and very comfortable, we decided to check in.
The swimming pool in the NamKhong Guesthouse

Day 7: Chiang Khong (rest day)

No driving
Hot, Sunny, Light Storms 34C
Today was a rest day so I hung out by the pool and Rob did some online work. Nothing much happened.
In the afternoon, I felt like going for a spin so I did. However, there was a cloud burst so I ran back to the hotel toute suite. Lazy day.
the view out over the hills

Day 8: Chiang Khong - Phayao

130 km
4.5 hours
Good tarmac, steep inclines
Warm, Cloudy, Showers
So, again we chose to take the longer scenic route and try to get on some of those best roads. This meant choosing the 1155 and the 1093 rds. They were great little roads that wound around the countryside.
Rob decided to take the lower route and I continued on the higher road through Phu Sang Ntl Park. Great riding. We then met up near Phayao and headed over to Nana resort.
the beautiful maintained road goes on and on and on

Day 9: Phayao - Chiang Mai

220 km
6.5 hours
Smaller tarmac highway, highway.
Hot, Dry, Sunny, 35C
We had a long way to go today so we got off early. It was a good drive and even though the road was main road, it was still enjoyable. We wound our way over a beautiful mountain pass on the 120 rd; it was like a race track. Then, it was pretty 'vanilla' until we got surprised by the Mae Kachan Hot Spring.
As we got closer the road got larger and faster. It was still fun to ride but was becoming stressful. Then, about 15km out of Chiang Mai we were tired and driving was a chore. We spotted KFC and had a timeout. Rob had found Tapae Inn and we headed there to end the trip. Fantastic all round.



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