Wednesday, 1 March 2006

The 10 Best Motorbike loops from Chiang Mai

For you?

Speed, skill and danger. What more could a man want?

Do you thrive on adventure? Do you love to be free? Do you like adrenalin rushes? Yeah? Well, biking around Northern Thailand could be just what the doctor ordered.

This mountainous area is overlaid with high-quality ribbons of tarmac. A million miles from the hellish dirt roads of Laos and Cambodia. Northern Thailand’s roads have been engineered to perfection – both encapsulating the sublime scenery and offering the rider an exhilarating experience.  I often wonder if a biker designed these roads? How else did these smooth asphalt surfaces end up undulating and twisting through remote regions of rainforest as elegantly as they do?

I moved to Chiang Mai in November 2013 and by April 2014 I’d done enough riding to put this article together. There's 13 (not 10) routes and one of them isn’t a loop (but that fact would’ve messed the title up). Anyway, enough preamble, here they are:

Name of loop
107, 1096, 1269, 108
Half day. Detour up Mon Jem.
Doi Saket/Mae Kuang Reservoir
1317, 118
Half day. Doi Saket Hot Springs. Maeung On Cave.
BuaTong waterfall
1001, 118
Take a boat across the Mae Kuang Reservoir.
Mae Wang
108, 1013, 1284, 1009
Full day. A few off road patches.
Doi Inthanon (not a loop)
108, 1009
100km up
100km back
Full day.
118, 1150, 1001
Full day.
118, 1252, 1157, 1039, 11
Full day.
1252 rough in parts
Doi Angkang
107, 1249, 1340, 1178,107
Full day.
Mae Ngat Reservoir detour.
Pai - Kalayaniwattana
107, 1095, 1265, 1349, 1269, 108
Full day.
40km off road.
Mae Hong Son - mini
107, 1095, 1263, 1088, 1192, 1009, 108
1 night. Mae Hong Song.
Mae Hong Son - full
107, 1095, 108
2 nights. Mae Hong Song, Mae Sariang.
Mae Sai
107, 1088, 1234, 1138, 1149, 1290, 1271, 1098, 1020, 1083, 1021, 1, 120, 118
2 nights. Chiang Saen, Chiang Kham.
11, 101, 1162, 1243, 1168, 1225, 1169, 1080, 1170, 1081(south), 1256, 1080, 1097, 1148, 1021, 120, 118
2 nights. Nan, Pong.

These are all fantastic routes but if I had to choose the best stretches: The 1148 going west from Song Khwae. The 120 just west of Phayao. The 1081 south of Pua to Bo Gluea. The 1149 near Mae Sai. The 108 just south of Mae Hong Son. The 1009 north of Chom Thong.  This is not to take anything away from the rest. They’re all good.

What do you need?

A motorbike (duh), petrol, map, helmet, jacket, jeans, trainers, sunglasses and a sense of adventure. That’s it!

What kind of bike?

I like Honda's reliability. I had a Phantom (200cc) for 3 years and went all over Thailand on it. A Phantom provides armchair comfort and is perfect for cruising.

It was quite emotional selling this bike as I'd had many fantastic adventures on it. We saw parts of Thailand few foreigners get to lay their eyes on.

I now ride a CBR250cc. With a top end of a ton (101mph/163kmh), thrilling acceleration from (0-60mph, 0-100kmh), great fuel economy and nimble handling it’s a great choice. There are bigger bikes out there but prices rise exponentially after this and the extra performance utility is marginal given the nature of riding here.

If you’re on holiday with money to burn and you’re going to be renting, then fill your boots. I’d probably go for a Kawasaki Er6n (650cc).

If you get bored of the North you could try this 7,500km trip I did from Phuket to Pattaya in Feb-Apr 2012. 

If you get bored of Thailand you could try this 11,000km trip I did from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in July-Oct 2013.

Wherever you end up going be sure to ride with the utmost care and attention. Despite quality roads, Thailand's driving standards are not what you may be used to.

Be good. Ride Safe.


  1. Thanks, bud. Great info. Definitely will be doing those once i get around the north one more time.
    You know that south is quite good too. Roads that lead from Surathani, highway 401 to Kao Sok is mesmerising, driving from Phuket to Krabi, with all those karst formation is a must. Also, deep in the jungle, once you leave Naknom Si Thammarat, a few local roads that lead to a few waterfalls and long stretches of untouched wilderness. I've driven it in car, though. Still one can feel the nature, even from the back of the windshields.

  2. The South is good - I agree. I rode it all during three years in Trang and Phuket. Chumpon to Ranong to Phuket is good. Khao Sok is worth a trip. I used to love the 60km from Trang to Phattalung. Surat Thani to Don Sak is quality as well as the Trang to Phang Nga stretch. However, the North is better IMO. Keep striving!!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Mountain biking means riding the bicycle on rough roads. They are generally performed off roads often far from civilizations. Mountain bikes for sale are very expensive equipments so most of the time these bicycles are rented from various clubs and groups which perform these treks. It is very important to wear safety equipments when you go trekking. You need to learn the art of servicing and repairing your bike when you go trekking. Any breakdown during the trials needs to be repaired by you motorbike rental Bangkok

  5. thanks for this usefull article, waiting for this article like this again. truck bed cover reviews

  6. This is a great post. I like this topic.This site has lots of advantage.I found many interesting things from this site. It helps me in many ways.Thanks for posting this again. truck crane reviews

  7. Great job for publishing such a beneficial web site. Your web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too. Suzuki Bangladesh

  8. Further to several awesome shopping locations, consisting of the bustling night time Bazaar with its many professional portrait painters, and historic temples, Chiang Mai boasts great environment with scenic rivers, sparkling waterfalls and cool mountains Chiang mai motorbike rental Ranked amongst the world's most elegant holiday destinations, Thailand is a incredible travel vacation spot one have to now not miss.

  9. whether or no longer one wants to stay inside the heart of the city or in a greater remote region, whether one goals bedrooms or 5, and whether or not or now not one wishes more contemporary bricks and mortar or a traditional wood Thai fashion residence, there can be some component for anyone in Chiang Mai Chiang mai bike condo notwithstanding the change proper dates Songkran remains the Thai New one year country wide excursion and the celebrations, which is probably said to were adapted from an Indian competition, enthusiastically take vicinity during Thailand. month-to-month motorbike apartment Chiang Mai

  10. I will right away seize your rss feed as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me recognize so that I may subscribe. Thanks. auto glass repair

  11. thanks for the tips and information..i really appreciate it.. Muito rápido

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog! Geam audi a1

  14. The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing.. car reviews

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. This is my first time visit to your blog and I am very interested in the articles that you serve. Provide enough knowledge for me. Thank you for sharing useful and don't forget, keep sharing useful info: massage chair reviews consumer reports

  17. I just couldn't leave your website before telling you that I truly enjoyed the top quality info you present to your visitors? Will be back again frequently to check up on new posts. electric bike company

  18. I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Unlike additional blogs I have read which are really not that good. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he enjoyed it as well!
    buy car floor mats online

  19. It is consequently that you should likewise put resources into a snowmobile when you put resources into your fantasy lodge. It will make the experience of investigating the forested areas a lot simpler on a polaris snowmobile or in the event that you favor a yamaha snowmobile. Likewise with all beneficial things in life you will settle on a decision between numerous sorts of snowmobiles available to be purchased. snowmobile performance accessories

  20. I haven’t any word to appreciate this post.....Really i am impressed from this post....the person who create this post it was a great human..thanks for shared this with us.

  21. Hey what a brilliant post I have come across and believe me I have been searching out for this similar kind of post for past a week and hardly came across this. Thank you very much and will look for more postings from you. cheap stock to buy right now


Please be nice.