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North Thailand Feb 2008

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by Danielle, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. With what started as a humble post on the GT-Rider forum.. grew into a full-fledged motorbike tour....
    6 days, 6 bikes, 1 sidecar, 8 people, 1300kms and 2 offs… here is the story!

    The itinerary
    Day 1: Chiang Mai to Nan
    Day 2: Nan to Pua & The Doi Phukka Loop
    Day 3: Pua to Chiang Khong
    Day 4: Chiang Khong to Mae Sai
    Day 5: Mae Sai to Fang
    Day 6: Fang to Chiang Mai



    The subjects:

    Bike: GSXR1100
    Nationality: Australian living in Chiang Mai.


    Bike: Pillion with John
    Nationality: German

    Bike: Phantom
    Nationality: Aussie living in Chiang Mai

    Bike: 400cc
    Chiang Mai

    Bike: Honda Silverwing with Sidecar
    Nationality: German living in Phuket


    Bike: Pillion with Pico
    Nationality: From Isan living in Phuket

    Bike: Honda CBR150
    Nationality: Isle of Man on a long holiday in Chiang Mai

    ME (Danielle)
    Bike: Honda CBR150
    Nationality: Australian

    Day 1
    With bike rental papers signed, bags packed and strapped onto the bikes, and all our gear on… we were ready to go! Finally! But.. first a quick stop at the servo, to fuel up and check tyres. Then a not so relaxing ride as we made our way out of Chiang Mai through some pretty serious traffic. We headed towards Mae Khachan on Highway 118 for 76kms and then took a right at highway 120 towards Phayao. It was good to be out of the city!

    Here’s a photo from our morning rest-stop at a small waterfall.

    We stopped for lunch at a local café after we fuelled up. Yes we left the bikes at the servo, and actually used our legs to walk down the street to have a budget priced lunch! After eating, we didn’t have to wait too long til Pico and Sao had caught up to the group (riding the silverwing with sidecar.) Regrouped, we rode on.

    We then rode along highway 1021, highway 1251 and highway 1091. The weather was nowhere near as hot as I’d expected. I was fine riding along with jeans, t-shirt, and my new blue jacket with liner, which I’d bought at a market in Chiang Mai, freshly imported from China.

    A nice rest stop in the afternoon was at a roadside stall in a small village. One little girl here remembered John from last time he rode through, and we stopped for a drink to rehydrate. I snapped a couple photos here.

    The dogs in Thailand aren’t like Australian dogs. They like to sleep on the road, dart out in front of you, or just take themselves for an afternoon stroll like this one:

    The last section (78kms) until Nan was, according to John, going to “give us a taste of things to come.†These roads are great.

    As it got darker, we entered “Nanâ€, turned off the street into a posh looking hotel and parked the bikes undercover.

    We checked in, Steffi and I opted to share a room. The rooms were fairly lush – but more on that later. We showered (and I put the same clothes back on, hooray for packing light!)

    We then went out for dinner. By this stage I was totally exhausted. A whole day on the road.. it was dark by the time we got to Nan, and having not ridden for a good two weeks (whilst lapping up the sun on the islands of Thailand)- made for a very tired rider! Keeping my eyes open through dinner was a struggle. When the guys suggested more beers I screamed nooooooo! Bed!!! I was the only one drinking soda water! But I thought I should remain responsible, we had ridden to dinner, no helmets in true thai fashion, I figured the safety-hood would be sufficient ïŠ No alcohol until at least a couple more days getting used to the cbr150 and the awesome thai roads!!

    Steffi and I had already decided that a massage was on the cards and then sleep- so with that sorted it was safety-hood on and back to the hotel. We arranged a massage with reception but got a phone call 10 mins later saying no masseurs were available until 5am. “No sorry, I think I’ll be asleep then!!†So determined to have our muscles pounded by some delicate thai hands, we ventured down the street, a whole 200m, to a place with flashy lights. The women didn’t look too stoked to see us, and I realized later that it was probably a place where they get most of their money from foreigner men, demanding happy endings. They’d actually have to work for the money we were going to give them! They said 500baht, which we assumed was for both, as the hotel charges 600baht for 2, for in-room service.

    Well I don’t recommend this place, the lazy girls chatted the whole time and pretty much just rubbed oil over our backs in a half asses fashion, without actually massaging. After I’d taken my top off they literally had a giggle to each other cos they’d probably never seen nipple piercings in their life! And as I lay down, the girl patted my butt, said something in thai and they both laughed. Either they were jealous of my lacy black underwear.. or they wished they had a real booty like mine!!

    After the massage, these girls had the cheek to turn around and say “no, that wasn’t 500baht for both of you, it was 500baht EACHâ€. Yeah, right. Well they didn’t speak English, but that’s what we understood they were trying to say. After a conversation which kind of dampened the mood a little, we handed over an extra 100baht and left.

    Bed Time!!

    ...to be continued!!!
  2. Day 2
    We were all meant to meet in the lobby at 10am. Oops. Steffi and I woke up at about 10am, threw our clothes on, packed our bags. In our hurried cleanup, i found a USED condom under the bed.. which I alerted the hotel maid to, who proceeded to laugh.. and then the guys said, she probably thought i told her i left it there!!! Um, No! We made it downstairs by about 10.20 without breakfast. Go girls!! HA!!! Yes the others hung a lot of shit on us for not staying out drinking, and still being the last ones up.

    Well we’d have to hold out for breakfast until after a 60km ride from Nan to Pua. Here we checked into a nice bungalow for the night, so we could leave our bags, grab some food, and then ride the Doi Phukka loop!
    We saw this tanker as we were sitting out the front of the resort waiting for all the riders to come in and park. Scary.

    Today was my favourite day’s riding from the trip. An excerpt taken from my travel diary:

    “The views are amazing, spectacular, no word to describe it- I kept hearing myself say “f#@k†in amazement.â€

    Not very eloquent, but they do say people resort to swearing when they don’t have the vocabulary to express the message they’re trying to communicate! And I really didn’t!

    So we were on the road, after having ridden a short distance on the 1081, we took a left onto the 1256.
    This road is AWESOME. See how happy I am?

    We stopped at a little temple on the top of the mountain. All the Thai’s tooted to Buddha as they rode or drove past.
    See how high up we are? We’re in the clouds!!

    Riding on a bit, I found some goats having a munch on the side of the road. Other things on the road were dogs, cows, chickens, and suspected elephant poo!


    As we rode into Pukka to stop for a drink, I encountered this bridge, which kind of scared me as I balanced my way on the plank to cross it… Eyes UP! Relax the arms…. Hold on with the legs!!!! *breathe* Clearly I survived :D

    Clearly, after that scare, I needed a fearless companion. Someone to give me courage for the rest of the journey. Watch out, its Pukka Bear, purchased in... you guessed it, Pukka.


    We continued on more awesome roads.

    But then the awesome road turned slightly un-awesome… in fact, it stopped. And there was dirt where the asphalt should have been… oh oh…. ROADWORKS! This got me riding REALLY slowly, foot covering the rear brake.. very cautious.. gotta look after Pukka bear you know? My estimate was it lasted about 3kms? Could be way off.


    The road eventually turned back into asphalt and my heart rate resumed back to normal. We regrouped at this sign which I am guessing is at or near Bo Luang, where we took a right and got back on the 1081, homeward bound to Pua.


    To be continued...
  3. Brilliant! Keep it coming :grin:
  4. We want more!!
    We want more!!

    Between you and Rosie and I can almost do my bike tours vicariously!

  5. Great read Danielle !!!
    wow :shock: You sure are an adverturous one Well Done!!
    BTW .. I see you got yourself a new bike :wink:
  6. Awesome trip, loving the write-up. Keep em coming.

    Butz. :beer:
  7. Yes, awesome! more please. great pix too.
  8. thanks heaps for your positive comments :) heres day 3!!

    Day 3

    Steffi and I woke up to the sound of some singing, from a school, or a temple or something. Headed to the dining area for a ‘free breakfast’. Free food… should have been enough warning in itself!! Rubbery eggs on thai bread (its sweet and has so many preservatives in it, that it never goes off!) And some tea, with the leaves floating around the bottom. Kinda smelt like marijuana? But it could’ve just been the chlorophyll from whatever tea leaves they actually were… Just the fuel a biker needs!! So, bags packed and tummy’s full, we left the resort and headed back onto the 1148 towards Chiang Kham…. AWESOME ROADS!!!



    Again, it pays to be concentrating at 110% when riding in Thailand, because not only do awesome roads suddenly become un-awesome, they sometimes disappear altogether! By this stage of the trip, I had a fair idea that the orange signs with black Thai characters that we’d been seeing meant something like “Danger.†As pictured, the road had kind of caved in at this particular spot..… yeah, a big hole in the road in the cliff.


    yes, it’s the 1148 


    I saw this sign, saying pong, and pointing at the random chicken on the road..
    Well, it was amusing to me.. at the time :p

    Check out that asphalt..... jealous?

    More riding & we stopped to regroup by the side of the road. There was a house there with a little girl playing, who didn’t look particularly happy, but not sad either. I was surprised to see such a massive satellite dish in such a remote area.



    Later we saw these young kids on scooters. Safety first!

    They say things happen in three’s. And this was the first of three incidents. The third being the worst. But, as we were riding towards a fork in the road, John and Keith decided to stop, without indiciating.. in the middle of the road to have a conversation about which way we should go. This was right opposite one of those immigration points, as I think the road coming from the other direction was people coming out of Myanmar or some other country. (Yes my geography is SHOCKING.) I was adamant that I was going to get shot, every time I saw one of these guys with their uniforms and rifles. Actually, to deviate for a moment, riding through a small town (at some point in the trip) I got a bit of a scare, and an increased heart-rate, when I saw a little boy, maybe 6 years old, with a rifle strung over his shoulder. I gave it to the cbr150 at that point, and red-lined til I was way out of shot-range! Not sure what the kid was doing with the gun. But nevermind… So back to John and Keith stopping in the middle of the road. I went “fcuk!†and pulled off a really nice counter-steering maneuver and managed NOT to crash into Johns bike. My right mirror clipped his luggage, but him and pillion Steffi, as well as Keith were all totally unaware of this happening. Pukka bear was not impressed. Franz, who was riding behind me, said it looked pretty close!!!

    The fork in the road:

    The aftermath:

    I quickly got restless by the side of the road waiting to regroup… and saw some puppies. The guys at the checkpoint were, despite inaccurate preconceptions, really friendly. One of them insisted I come over and have a glass of water they’d got for me. I drank the water and after having a chat and patting the cute puppies , I was quickly over the near-accident.


    Bums back in seats, and on the road again somewhere around Chiang Kham. We took the 1021 towards Thoeng. Just before Thoeng, we took a right onto the 1155. Whilst stopping for a rest and a photo opportunity, we saw a man pushing his bicycle up the hill. There was no one around aside from us on our bikes and this guy coming up hill. We said hello. No response. We tried again.. he ignored us.. A bit louder? A ‘hello how are you?’ Nothing!! I offered him some water. No response. No eye contact.. ODDBALL. (HAHA ! Sucker! You need a REAL BIKE!!!)

    And a close up!!

    Onward bound and with daylight running out, we finished our journey to Chiang Khong on the 1020.


    Pico and Sao were already there, having taken a different route and we stopped on the side of the road for John to ring Pico to find out where on the main street our rooms are. Two seconds later, out walks Sao. We’d actually stopped opposite the place they had chosen without realizing. How’s that for timing!! Or rather, psychic-ness!
    They had picked out a really nice place, right on the Mekong River. We could see Laos!! We were getting very close to the “Golden Triangle!†Our room was overlooking this view. After we parked our bikes, we signed in and got our room keys. Michael decided to play funny buggers and signed the book as “ Steven Seagal.†Little did he know what this would start, but lets just say after we’d come back from dinner, there were girls in the hotel getting photos with “Steven†and having him sign their t-shirts!! He certainly made someones day!! So back to the important stuff. Food!! We had FARANG FOOD!... YES! PIZZA!!!!! Well, a focaccia bread roll with pizza topping on it… as much as I love eating thai food, constant meals of RICE and whatever the restaurant decided to cook for me upon reading my “vegetarian passport†were becoming somewhat tedious.

    So after stuffing my face with westerner food, John, Keith and I headed down to a massage place and got massages. An hour or so later… tired and relaxed, we walked back to the place we stayed at, I crept into the room quietly so as not to wake Steffi, and pretty quickly I was under the covers and dozing off for a great nights sleep.



  9. vegetarian huh? never mind, thats nothing a good steak wont fix.
    top report, and great pics. i am jealous :)
  10. Cool report Danielle, wow I stayed in some real sheeeetholes compared to your pure bluudee luxurie lodgings :?
    Looking foward to next installment :grin:
  11. thanks :) as for the accom.. i'm only showing the nice pics ;) we did alright. on average $10 a night each. though i was sharing so its cheaper when its 2 people. i suppose some others reading might be interested in costs.. bike is about $10 a day to hire as well. so its not an expensive exercise! its good when you get out of the more tourist-areas like bangkok and chiang mai, the accomodation suddenly gets so much more affordable! the inside of the last place i mentioned in the ride report is basic , but the view was amazing. right on the river! it was good being the youngest (and probably pov-est) on tour, cos i got to stay in good places and wasnt forced to slum it ;) yes, i learnt on this trip, i can survive with just the basics, but deep down, i'm a princess... . when i was in south thailand on the islands with 2 mates b4 the bike trip started.. they were such tightasses they wouldn't spend an extra $10 supplement for the night to go from free (included in scuba dive course) accomodation on ko tao with a piece of crap fan that barely did anything... to a beach bungalow with air con! argh! funny in the morning though, we'd slept with the door open for ventilation, and i'd bought a sarong cos there were no sheets on the bed, and i need a blanket to sleep.. they woke up with mozzie bites all over.... and i was fine :)
    if i go back at the end of the year though, i think its gona have to be dirty shared dorms at 80baht a night with dodgy people who steal your stuff!! i can handle it though...
    wow. it seems i dont shut up , i think its time to go back... ;)
  12. :popcorn:
  13. It's a disease Danielle... it's a disease...

    Let me know when;
    You start Thai language classes,
    You know all the provinces,
    You know more about Thai politics than Australian (well, they aren't as boring, and getting the tanks out when things don't go your way is much better than getting out a cardboard Kevin)
    Your family knows not to planning anything for November, because that is the best riding weather in Thailand...

    I am still surpirsed that a great read, with super photos and talk of nipple peircings can get only 175 views, yet something about cops on Black Spur (who'd have thought) can get 4700... don't worry Princess, it's all about quality not quantity... and YOUR viewers love you.
    :roses: :smileysex: :roses:

  14. MORE!!!

    Nice rescue with the countersteer, by the way!
    Gorgeous views...
  15. Don't Stop!!!

    You are just teasing us aren't you :(
  16. Nice work with the Diary Danielle.
    Going by the pictures it looks like you had a awesome road trip. :)
    And yes I am JEALOUS. :LOL:
  17. C'mon Danielle... where is the rest of the trip???

    If you've got time for maccas coffee nights you got time for typing...

    don't give me some bullsh!t excuse about Uni... I went to Uni, a long time ago, so I know it is all about drinking... the hardest part was remembering to buy new ink for the ink pot and keeping my quill nice and white...

    or is it because you are having trouble with crowd control like I said in the email :) ...

    I had better go now...

    :moped: :blackeye:

  18. Day 4
    Today was official **tourist day**! With a trip to the Golden triangle on the agenda, we were pumped to experience true “Golden Triangle†riding in Thailand!!!

    The day started by waking up to the beautiful view across the Mekong River from our bunglaow. After a quick morning stroll along the river and another dose of western food for breakfast, we were ready to hit the road. As we were gearing up our bikes, I mentioned to the guys that there was some green stuff underneath my bike, e.g. it was leaking coolant. But I’m just a girl, what would I know!! They told me it was nothing. I smiled & nodded and we carried on.

    We left Chiang Khong on the road for Mae Sai. We took the 1129 for about 60kms.
    We stopped by the river for lunch and watched the boats go by.
    Pukka bear enjoyed the view too.

    We continued on after lunch towards the Golden Triangle. We weren’t far away when I saw something buzzing about in my helmet, I quickly lifted the visor up and put my hand in the visor.. “Shoo Mofo!†Then I felt a stinging sensation in my jacket. Well, we all know what a hardass I am, I rode on. We soon found ourselves at the Golden Triangle! WooHoo! We had made it! I unzipped my jacket, and saw what looked like a bee-sting. It was pretty stingy! I zapped it a few times with Keith’s zapper thing and then went to look around this massive tourist attraction.
    a21ceab3. 544bae62.

    I had a drink, checked out the view and whilst speaking to a Thai tour guide, found out that the better view of the Golden Triangle was actually up the hill. I went and told the others we were going up to have a look and without too much protest, we were on our way up a steep windy road past the temple.

    db096614. f034a4d6.
    Wait John.. just ONE MORE photo!!!!!!!!

    We then took the 1290 to Mae Sai. I love how the Thai traffic lights have a countdown to the green light. The wogs in Melbourne in their fully sick commodores would be revving their engines out and pretending every traffic light was the start of a race! Oh wait.. we all tried to beat each other off the lights too!
    Well it was a short days ride but somehow despite the low km’s travelled, we’d spent a lot of time seeing the sights, and possibly posing at the top of the hill overlooking the Golden Triangle, maybe : ) However, we were in Mae Sai, and despite the fact it was nearly 4pm and we presumed the border shut at 5pm, I quickly got ready for my Myanmar Adventure.
    The border crossing.

    I was paranoid I was going to get shot. I passed through immigration, got my passport stamped and had a whole 60 minutes to see Myanmar.



    Basically on the other side of the Thai border, it was a massive market to buy stuff. Not really the most cultural experience, but an interesting one nonetheless. It’s the first time I’ve walked my through a country border-crossing!

    83eb1513. 82f6d373.

    dd04f597. dcab0374. 8e8aad01.

    So I had made it into Myanmar, and back out again, alive and without incident. I even found my way back to the hotel from the border crossing, without getting lost. I dumped all my shopping the room and ventured out into the streets of Mae Sai. I found a pink bag that would be perfect to put all my new stuff in, and strap down on the bike.. as there was no way it was going to fit into my back pack now!

    I explored the area for a while by myself and found there were many more beggars here than other parts of Thailand. a25c1290. fc63a0dd.
    This little one didn’t look so happy 

    Later, the group of us went out for dinner and ordered far too much food. This fish was the last dish that was brought out, and everyone was too stuffed to eat it, so we gave it to the people on the next table who were busy making lays out of flowers I think it was.. and they were very happy at their luck!

    A couple drinks later and we got back on the bikes.. yes, donning only the safety hood as the helmets were left at the hotel. We went to what I thought would be a massage parlour, but knew was not. Instead I scratched my head and put a confused look on my face and proceeded to ask some stupid questions like “Why are there red lights?†and “If this is a massage parlour, how come we are sitting down and the girls are pouring our drinks?†And “Where are the massage tables/mattresses?†Yep, I was just giving the boys a hard time, HAHA!

    Anyway we had some nice drinks and eventually the guys decided they wanted to take a couple of the girls out and party. I opted for the more sensible and less alcohol-fuelled option of an actual massage at this place (yep got a lot of funny looks from the girls.. ) went upstairs and it was actually a pretty decent massage. And for all you sicko’s NO there was no girl-on-girl action OR happy endings! In my relaxed state and slightly more inebriated now than on my ride over from the restaurant, I paid up and rode a couple blocks back to the hotel. I was actually shivering in my hoody, it was very cold! Lucky it was only a short ride. I parked the bike and went inside after a big day, for a restful nights sleep ahead of another days riding.
  19. Love your report and pics Danielle :) What an awesome experience! Fantastic :)