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Old 01-24-2013, 09:44 PM   #16
TonyBKK OP
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Location: The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand
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We've ridden about 11km up a steep track and come to a T. Right will take us south to the Mae Surin Waterfall, left takes us to the small hilltribe village of Nong Kheaw.

Amazing views up here!


None of are really interested in hiking to the waterfall in all our gear, so we head north towards the village-




We know we're getting close to the village when we have to share the road with buffalo


They are in the process of paving the road through the village- these roadworks certainly employ a lot of people, I wonder if they hire locals to do any of the work?


We ride through the small town of Nong Kheaw and around the reservoir-


We follow the dirt road south and east to the picturesque village of Huai Mak Lang-






This village seemed quite prosperous compared to Nong Kheaw, sporting a few shops and a nice school-


We stop to take in the scenery-






Just past Huai Mak Lang I spotted an inviting looking dirt track leading into the jungle-


Let's have a look!


Woohoo! Good stuff!



Following Trent-






Short video of Jake-




The trail "ends" at a water crossing where it looks like someone dumped a pile of loose rock and small boulders to create a bridge of sorts, but it looked a bit sketchy and I doubted the track went much further-


I hiked in a little bit just to see where the track went-


We decide to U-turn but somebody gets pinned under their bike


I knew Jake was ok when he handed his camera to Trent and asked for a picture
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:49 AM   #17
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We got pleasantly lost riding south from Huai Mak Lang.

Checking the map at a junction just south of Huai Mak Lang we decide to ride east towards Mae Samat-


After a short bit of fast pavement the road went back to dirt and there were many unmarked forks in the road and we just tried to keep heading in a more or less south-easterly direction.


Stopped one time to ask this fellow in the pickup for directions and turns out he was just as lost as we were!


A local happened by and pointed us in the direction of Mae Samat

We were in thick forest and the road forked like crazy and nothing was marked. At junctions like this we just guessed-


We soon found ourselves in some kind of forestry preserve-

This sign indicates the date and area in which new saplings have been planted.

I was kind of expecting this road to peter out, but we kept going and it was a fantastic ride over some log bridges and water crossings.


Turns out Jake and I really didn't need knobbies for this ride. 95% of the trails we rode were bone dry, but it was still nice to find the occasional patch of mud or water crossing-


Beautiful forest near Mae Samat, Thailand-


We're good and lost when we roll into a small compound that looks completely deserted...


Stuck my head in this shack and was surprised to find an entire family huddled around a fire cooking. They were hilltribe folks and their Thai was almost as bad as mine and we were having a hard time figuring out where we were... It sounded like we were near Mae Samat.

I was asking if the road continued to "Mai Ruam" and the lady was mumbling something that sounded like "Mai Ru" which in Thai means "I don't know"... I never could figure out if she was saying "Mai Ru" or "Mai Ruam", but oh well, let's keep going and see what we find!


Feel free to add whatever caption you like to this pic
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:00 AM   #18
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We ride on and pass something that looks like a National Park building on beautifully landscaped grounds-


We encounter a bamboo gate-


No lock, no sign, what the heck, let's proceed!


Here comes Trent-


And so begins one of the best rides yet!


This trail is in great shape and passes through a beautifully kept forest and goes on for miles and miles!


Some cool log bridges along the way-




After a long ride we finally reach a gate-


Jake tries to collect farang entry price


Check out that monster bamboo in the background-


Who can read Thai and tell me where we were?


A little further we reach a paved road and as always happens, a local rocks up and asks us where we're going


Super nice dude who spoke a bit of English and could actually read a map (which is kind of rare in these parts)


He pointed us in the direction of the 1263 and we rode a little ways when we encountered this merry bunch-


These guys were drinking moonshine and were crazy friendly and really wanted us to come party with them. Tempting, but we still had a fair distance to go. We hadn't really decided where we were going as we weren't sure how much distance we would cover. It was a toss up between Khun Yuam to the southwest, or Mae Chaem to the southeast. Since we were making good time we decided to push on to Mae Chaem.

It's a long descent down the mountain to reach the 1263-


Jake was getting artsy with his camera


This area is famous for its fields of sunflowers that peak around November. Not many in bloom now, but still a beautiful spot. We stop at a deserted viewpoint and Jake decides to see how the KLX performs as a trials bike


Going down is easy, getting back up, less so, but he made it!
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:12 PM   #19
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I'm loving this report You guys seem like a fun loving crew... always so happy looking in your pictures! This report really made me open my eyes to the riding + the culture of Thailand... I just might have to ride through someday. Thanks and carry on!
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:52 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhfox View Post
I'm loving this report You guys seem like a fun loving crew... always so happy looking in your pictures! This report really made me open my eyes to the riding + the culture of Thailand... I just might have to ride through someday. Thanks and carry on!

Thanks! We had so much fun that some of us are headed back next weekend!
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:01 AM   #21
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We ride south on the 4009 which is a ripper of a road with amazing views!


During November-December these hills are covered in sunflowers and all the abandoned roadside "resorts" you see are full of sightseers.

Here are some videos I took at the deserted viewpoint where Jake was messing about on his KLX-


This guy can never say no to a dare. Going down was easy, getting back up, less so


But he made it, no drama
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:34 AM   #22
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We stopped in a small village at the base of the mountain for fuel and refreshments-


It was getting a bit late and we still had a fair way to go to reach Mae Chaem, so we decided to continue on pavement for a while, riding east on the 1263, which is a really fun road-


Interesting to note that a few months ago folks at the Mae Hong Song Music Fesitval reported that the 1263 was in really poor condition, but as you can see in the video above, it's been repaired and repaved and was mostly in very good shape, but still a fair bit of gravel to be aware of.

Instead of following the main road to Mae Chaem (1263 to 1088) we turned south onto a track that followed the Mae Chaem river and passed through the small villages of Na Hong, Na Hong Tai and Sop Chok. Good stuff!


Right by the turn off were huge mountains of chaff from the corn that had been harvested and processed. I rode in pretty deep and got good and stuck, then Jake comes in and knocks me over.


My bike pisses fuel when its on it's side and we were lying in a tinder box. Saw a puff of smoke and decided it was time to get the hell out of there!


Heading south the first few km are paved, then it changes to dirt and travels through forests and farms and crosses several tributaries as it meanders along the Mae Chaem river-





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Old 01-26-2013, 08:39 AM   #23
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I'm still amazed how lucky we were to find such great tracks to ride! This had certainly been a full day, and the ride into Mae Chaem on the dirt road that follows the river was a great way to end this days riding-


We rolled in to Mae Chaem around ~5 and pulled in to the first resort we saw-


The "huts" at the Mae Chaem Hotel and Resort are very basic, but clean, and the staff are very friendly. I think these cost 500 baht?


First order of business- Beers!!


Fantastic day! We've still got dirt on our faces! Cheers!!


Jake was checking the GT Rider map to try and figure out where we'd ridden today and where we might go tomorrow-


The resort has a huge pool! Behind me you can see Doi Inthanon, the tallest mountain in Thailand and the "Roof of Siam"-

The pool was FREEZING!!! Felt good after a long day in the saddle though!

We hooked up with West and Darryl at a restaurant right in front of the resort- they had ridden from Chiang Mai, West on his KTM 690 and Darryl on his Suzuki DRz400-


Stayed there until the sun went down at which point the temperature dropped quickly.


I can't remember the name of the restaurant but the food wasn't half bad-


It's run by a Thai lady and her English husband. He told us he'd open early for us the next morning so that we could get a proper English breakfast :

It was really getting cold and no one had warm clothes so we all called it an early night and retreated to the relative warmth of our bungalows.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:50 PM   #24
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Good morning from Mae Chaem, Thailand!

Bloody cold this morning!!


I slept terribly because the blanket on my bed was way thin and I was too lazy to get up and double it...

Even at 8am it was still only 14 C (about 57F) It was certainly a lot colder before the sun came up.


I know that's not really all that cold, but when you've been living in the tropics for a while I think your blood gets thin.

But hey, I shouldn't complain, I'd been having good luck with the pu$$y (cats) on this trip!


Poor Jake was in a bad way... He'd been battling a stomach bug and now it seemed he had caught something like the flu on top of his original ailment... He had a fever, was hot to the touch, and a strange rash was migrating around on his body. I wanted him to go see a doctor, but he just wanted to get home. I was sorry to see him go, but understood he was in no shape for more back country riding.

We all topped up at the PTT in Mae Chaem and then Jake headed south towards home while Trent and I headed north, then west in the general direction of Mae Sariang.


Another check of the GT-Rider map at the PTT- so many trails to choose from, we decided to start off by riding in the direction of Pang Hin Fon via Mae Tho National Park-


When Google Maps tells you it's going to take ~2 hours to go ~26km you know it's gonna be good!!
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:32 PM   #25
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We cross the Mae Chaem river and are soon on a wonderful dirt track headed west with the sun at our backs-





Doesn't take long before we're good and lost again, but we're loving it!! I figure no worries, as long we we keep heading more or less west we'll eventually hit the 108.







We're only some ~20-30 minutes out of Mae Chaem and already we're in the sticks!


Continuing on we encounter hardly any people except for some cows and this one pickup truck.





Cross a stream over a wooden bridge and reach a junction where I think maybe we should have turned left to get to Pang Hin Fon, but we went right.






We get good and lost and we're loving it!


Ask some local farmers who are fixing a fence how to get to a main road and they pointed us in the right direction-


We climb up and up and eventually reach the summit of an unknown mountain and this is the amazing view looking west-


We can see the dirt road snaking off into the distance; it's dry and cool and I almost feel like I'm back in California-
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TonyBKK screwed with this post 01-26-2013 at 10:00 PM
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:48 AM   #26
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Fantastic. Thanks for sharing
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:54 AM   #27
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I'm still not sure of our route from Mae Chaem because we never did ride through Pang Hin Fon, but after playing with Google Maps for a while I think it went something like this-


I'm guessing that the mountain in this picture might be Doi Thung Phi-


From here we were able to follow the dirt track shown on the GT-Rider map that went through the small villages of Mae Mu, Kok Luang, Mae Kong Pae, Mae Sao, etc, finally reaching Mae La Luang on the 108-


We'd still get lost from time to time; being illiterate in Thai means that even when there is a sign we're still totally clueless


No worries though, we'd always find a friendly local who would point us in the right direction-


It was a great track and left us grinning from ear to ear!

Even though it's dry season we did find some fun water crossings (there is a wooden bridge, but what's the fun of that?!)






Here's Trent amusing the locals and terrorizing some cows-


And riding back the other way-


One of my favorite pics
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:19 AM   #28
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In the early afternoon we were both thirsty and a bit hungry so we stopped in the small Hmong village of Hua La to relax a bit. Some damn cute kids here! This one gets my vote for dirtiest kid I've ever seen

Notice the cross? Love 'em or hate 'em, but I got the distinct impression during this tour that Christian missionaries are the only people who care about Thailand's hilltribe folk...

This little dude just wouldn't stop smiling, then again, looks like he's grabbed a handful, so why shouldn't he


Another adorable Hmong kid-


Grandma and Grand-Daughter with Farang giant

Trent's not that tall. The Hmong are just small folk, but crazy strong. Dave says that the seven Hmong he hired to get his bike out of the jungle made quick and easy work of it and they got his heavy F800GS up the steep hill quicker than he could walk it!

From Hua La the road is paved and drops down to Mae La Luang, with some amazing views along the way-


From Mae La Luang it's about 50km of pavement on the 108 to reach Mae Sariang. We stopped in Mae La Noi for fuel and I was playing with Google maps and sniffed out this awesome looking track-

Too late to hit it today, but maybe tomorrow?

The ride down to Mae Sariang was uneventful and we rocked up to the Mitaree Hotel to see if we could score a couple bungalows back in the "Garden Home Resort". (The hotel is pretty dreadful, but the bungalows aren't half bad).


We were in luck and snagged the last two! 600 Baht a night-


The rooms weren't quite ready yet so we walked across the road to a BBQ place we've been to before and enjoyed some cold beers and tasty bbq.

There was a big Red Shirt political rally going on down the road so a lot of cops around, but they paid us no attention. After getting cleaned up and Trent had his second flop of the tour

He snatched the bike out of the bushes before I could snap a pic

Bike and rider undamaged we rode around town looking for some nightspots but sadly, the two most hopping places, Krua Thai and Tukki have both gone out of business

We ended up at another place called Sawasdee which wasn't bad. It reminded me a lot of the riverside restaurants in Van Vieng, Laos, and the fact they even had Beer Laos available further reinforced the sentiment
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:35 AM   #29
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Good morning from Mae Sariang, Thailand! Well rested and ready to ride! Brekkie at the North West Guest House because they were one of the only places open. Food not bad, service real slow, waitress a cutie but should try smiling some time...


We topped up at the big PTT in town and hit the road! 108 east for 14km, then north towards Mae Um Pok-


It was kind of funny- when we busted out the GT Rider map the folks at all the other tables also pulled out the same map and we had a good time comparing routes, places visited, and places worth going. Seems the GT Rider map is the only good English language map for this part of Thailand.

Once we turned north off the 108 the road starts off nicely paved, then gets rough and eventually turns to dirt road, then dirt track. Good stuff!



I love hot springs, but that wasn't on the menu for today. Maybe next time!

We stopped at an unmarked junction to try and figure out which way to go when a really nice guy rocked up on a scooter and greeted us in near perfect English. Turns out he's a teacher in a local school and graduate of Chiang Mai University. He told us we were almost at Mae Um Pok, looked at our bikes, and asked if we wanted to go the "normal" way or the "adventure" way.

"Adventure!" of course!!

He told us to hang a left towards Papae, and once there to ask someone to point us in the direction of the track to La Up. The track isn't on any map, but it's there!

I love stuff like this! We got a little turned around in Papae itself, then spent the next couple hours trying to sniff out the track to La Up. It wasn't easy!



We spent a lot of time riding down tracks that would either fade into the jungle or end at farms with rice paddies that would go down to the river, but no obvious way to cross the paddies or get across the river...





There was no one about to ask for directions, so we just kept trying different tracks. I did a fair bit of hiking and was enjoying the search. Trent's not into hiking but was doing his best to be patient




Getting down was easy, getting back up, sometimes less so, but nothing we couldn't handle-


Woohoo! I found the missing link!!


Cool little hand made bridge- made it across no drama, so went back to find Trent.


I'd reached this point by bushwhacking across a bunch of rice paddies and Trent wasn't keen to follow. Now that I'd found the bridge I was able to follow the trail back and found Trent. I told him this bridge and the cool track that led to it would make up for all the farking around

Unfortunately I ran out of memory on my Contour camera the day before so no video of the track, which is a shame because it's the best single track we encountered the whole trip. Next time I'll bring extra memory cards!





Here comes Trent!


Looking back the way we came-
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:14 AM   #30
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Great RR,
If I knew what I know now about pattaya then I would have tried with desperation to invate myself on your ride and leave the wife and inlaws here. That would have been great and if it was possible to find a DRZ400....well I will just finish this beer and cry myself to sleep next to my snoring super wife...and no there should not be a model in that sentance.
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