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Old 24th February 2019, 20:17   #1
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Default Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

We did this ride in Apr 2018 but sharing it now even though it is little late.

Prelude
Post central and western India trip, it was a kind of sober period on riding front. Around February 2018, my wife suggested let's go somewhere for summer vacations. Her preference was to go somewhere near beach area.This triggered me into active mode on destinations.
So all the destinations came in front like Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Langwaki, Goa, North India, etc. As this discussion was going on, I thought to check my riding bucket list. Going through that list one of the destination created interest in me. And that was the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son loop in North Thailand. This was in my bucket list for long time and thought to cover this.

Quickly, I created a rough plan on it including some beach time for ourselves. First do some riding in North Thailand and then head to south Thailand for beach time. Spoke to wife about this idea and she gave a green signal to it. This moment was like that Cadbury's Double shots advertisement. With this idea, I was striking at 2 birds in one shot. The rough itinerary i had put together got me a chance to strike off one of my bucket list plus would be spending some quality time with wife according to her wish on one of the beach destinations.
Wow!! Sounds like an awesome plan and I was super excited.

I got down to planning as I had very limited time for it. Before that called few of my core team riders to check if anybody is interested in joining me. After couple of days of to and fro on it only Prashant(tbhpian 500countycruiser) and Nischal(who accompanied me for North East trip and central/western India trip) agreed to join the trip. They mentioned that they will join only for riding and post ride they would return back. Whereas my wife and myself would continue for beach vacation.

Next important work was to finalize the dates and book air tickets. Here again we spent time in deciding if we should ride from Bangkok or fly to Chiang Mai and ride from there. We went through all the pros and cons of starting from Bangkok or Chiang Mai and then finally it was decided to ride from Chiang Mai. Dates were finalized too.

Here was the itinerary
19th April - Take a late night flight to Bangkok
20th April - Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
21st April - Start the ride,Stay at Pai
22nd April - Ride and Stay at Mae Hong Son
23rd April - Ride and Stay at Mae cheam
24th April - Ride and reach back Chiang Mai, Prashanth and Nischal would go to Bangkok. Wife and myself would head to Krabi via Bangkok.
25-27th Krabi and then fly back home
25-26th Prashanth and Nischal would spend time in Bangkok and return back home.

So based on the above itinerary, started booking the air tickets. So I had to book 6 tickets for my wife and myself since we wanted to do Krabi. It was like Bangalore to Bangkok, Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai to Bangkok, Bangkok to Krabi, Krabi to Bangkok and finally Bangkok to Bangalore.
So I sat down to workout all possibilities of flight timings and then booked according to the above mentioned itinerary. Informed Prashant too and gave him the flight numbers to do the same flight booking. With this we are done with our flight bookings.

Next was identifying hotels, bike rentals and not to forget the visa.
Visa as everyone knows is either on arrival or we can get it here in Bangalore too. We decided to get it here and that was for two reasons, one the cost is double when we opt for visa on arrival and secondly the visa on arrival queue is very long most of the times. So we decided to apply for visa about a month before the start date.

Next was to look for bike rentals. More then the rental it was quite a task in deciding which bike or scooter to rent. You get right from 125cc scooter to all superbikes too. Started contacting with most of the best renters in Chiang Mai. And also most of the people were suggesting that a 150cc scooter is sufficient. Plus people warned about various issues during renting like damages to the bike/scooter, insurance, support in case of break down, etc. As I spoke to different renters, made notes about each of them. After narrowing down to couple of them based on their reviews, responsiveness to my queries, informed them that I will get in touch with them about 3 -4 weeks before our journey.

After this it was booking of hotel. Again went through different websites like booking,agoda, airbnb, etc. Got some good hotels in booking.com itself. These had cancellation options till one day before our arrival at the place. So went ahead with the booking for all four of us. Asked Prashant to do booking for their Bangkok stay separately since they were returning back ahead of me.

By this time, we were almost one month away from the journey. Asked Prashant and Nischal to keep documents ready for visa processing. Then came a shocker from Nischal that his passport has got expired about a year ago. Immediately Nischal and myself sat together, worked through the applying for the renewal of the passport. Since it was just renewal and nothing has changed from his previous passport details, asked him to apply for it regular mode. He got an appointment two days from the applied date. On the date of appointment, he went through the regular process and his passport was accepted for renewal and this was on Friday. By Monday morning he got a message that his passport has been sent for printing. By Wednesday morning he had the renewed passport in his hand. It was a great relief to Nischal after getting the passport in his hands in such short time.

On the side, I collected all documents of Prashant, my wife and myself, submitted it to VFS for Thailand visa. Turnaround time for visa stamping through VFS is about 5-7 working days. In about 4 days, received a message to collect the passport back after the grant of visa.
By this time Nischal also got his passport, asked him to apply for visa and explained him the process. So in a week time, we had everybody's visa in hand.

So we had our tickets booked, hotel booked and finally even visa in our hand. The next pending was booking of bikes. As I had narrowed down on couple of renters already, contacted them and after few discussions, finalised with Chiang Big Bikes renters. The name of the owner is Charat Yathikum(Lan). Transferred about 25%amount as advance and informed him to reserve good bikes. Oh, forgot to mention, finally I decided to pick CB500x and Prashant went in for CRF250. Nischal was undecided still on the bike and he had minds on picking up a Scooter. So we didn't book for him as getting the scooters are very easy and didn't require any pre-booking. Also Chiang Big Bikes rented only bikes, no scooters. I left few messages to other scooter renters for our requirement and told them we would visit them in person to pick the scooter. So finally we were about one week before the travel date and we were ready with all the things planned for.

Teaser Pic
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Last edited by rk_sans : 3rd March 2019 at 23:48.
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Old 24th February 2019, 20:59   #2
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Default re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

19th April 2018
Prashant decided to reach Bangalore in the morning and work from my home till the end of day as our flights were late in the night. Nischal reached my home around 7 pm. We had dinner at my home and left to airport around 8.30 pm. All of us had done web checking and most importantly we had planned only one bag pack for everybody. Yes, one bag pack for each one of them for 8 days trip. This helped us a lot as we saved in checking in time, baggage collection, no additional baggage cost, etc. After this trip, i feel one should try doing this, travel with as less luggage as possible.

As we reached airport we went in directly for security checking. Everything went on smooth and we reached the gates. Flight was on time, boarded and the excitement was too high on all of us.

All set for the trip
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Prashanth excited about the money then the trip
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20th April 2018
Accommodation : Kavil Guesthouse, Chiang Mai
Link for the accomodation : http://www.booking.com/Share-BGMwKy
Bike Rentals : Chiang Mai Big Bikes https://www.cpbigbikechiangmai.com/

Around 5.30 am we landed in Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport. Since we had visa already in hand, we went into immigration counter. 3-5 mins all of us were out of the immigration counter with our passport stamped. Next we had to catch the domestic flight to Chiang Mai. We exited out of the International terminal and headed towards the Domestic terminal. Before heading out to Domestic Terminal , we picked 3 tourist SIM cards for ourselves. Exchanged a very minimal amount USD to Baht for immediate requirements only.

Then we decided to have breakfast and then head to security checking for domestic flight. Post breakfast, we finished security check in and headed to our gates. Flight was on time too. Soon we were seated and ready to fly. Reached Chiang Mai around 10.30 am.

Hired a taxi from airport and directly went to our motorbike rental shop, Chiang Big Bikes. The idea was to get the bikes first and then check in to the hotel. Frankly it was a good decision. We reached the bike rental place,Chiang Mai Big bike rentals. Mr.Lan was ready with the bikes. I would say very professional man Mr.Lan. He had put names on each bike we were suppose to pick and the bikes parked separately right at the entrance . We had booked one Honda CBX 500 for myself and one Honda CRF 250 for Prashant. Nischal was planning to hire a Scooter for himself.

We took turns to test ride our bikes and Prashant test rode the CBX 500 too and changed his mind to pick a CBX500 for himself. In the meantime Nischal also test rode couple of bikes and decided to pick the CRL250 with road tires. Mr.Lan asked for an hour time to get Prashant's bike ready since it was in his old shop. Mr.Lan had shifted to the new shop the same day we arrived there and we were his second customer for the day. So we decided to check in to our hotel and come back post lunch for the bikes. We selected ourselves helmets required, left it with our bikes and then took a taxi, reached our hotel.

The Kavil Guesthouse, the one we booked for our stay in Chiang Mai was in one of the quite by lanes and it was beautiful too. We checked in, freshened up and headed out for lunch. Had lunch in one of the nearby small restaurant suggested by the staff at Kavil Guesthouse. Indeed the quest for vegetation food became very difficult from here for my wife and myself.

It rained for couple of minutes while we were having lunch and then stopped quickly like the way it started. The temperature was getting high too in the afternoon. Post lunch, we decided to take a long walk to the motorbike rental shop to pick the bikes. We thought it would be good idea to walk through the bylanes of Chiang Mai and experience it.
By the time, we reached the rental shop, Mr.Lan had got Prashant's bike and Nischal's bike was also made ready. We picked the bikes and reached back our hotel. Kavil Guesthouse didn't had parking place but the staff arranged for parking with the neighboring hotel.

Then we crammed up in our rooms and reviewed our next 4 days ride. Revisited our route for next 4 days, made little points of interest to be visited. By this time, it was almost 6pm, so we decided to head out for a stroll around the beautiful city Chiang Mai. We spent rest of our evening strolling in and around Chiang Mai's CBD area. Then had dinner at one of the Indian restaurant as we knew that next few days until we are back to Chiang Mai it's impossible to get even good vegetarian food to our liking.

Post dinner returned back to our hotel, informed the front desk to keep our breakfast ready by 7.30am, as we wanted to start as early as possible and retired for the day. It was indeed a very long and hectic day so far but everything had fallen in place as we planned.

Finishing the formalities at Chiang Big Bikes
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Team with Mr.Lan of Chiang Big Bikes
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Very thoughtfully reserving the bike
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Glimpse of Chiang Big Bikes
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Nischal's choosen bike
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Yamaha Xmax
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Few more superbikes around
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Front desk of Kavil Guesthouse
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Entrance of Kavil Guesthouse
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Quiet bylanes where Kavil Guesthouse was situated
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Tha Phae Gate Entrance
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Lots of pigeons in the courtyard of Tha Phae Gate
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You get a chance to feed the pigeons here.
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Tha Phae Gate, place where lots of community events happen
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Wat Buppharam
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Wat Buppharam, one of the many temples you can see on the bylanes of Chiang Mai
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Another view of Wat Buppharam
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Owning a Honda, excites to see a Honda Showroom in different country
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Local dish, Red rice with vegetables
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Chicken with Red Rice for Prashant and Nischal
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Very nicely decorated plate with food.
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Veg Roll in Thai style
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Coconut Icecream was yummy !!
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This was a small road ride push cart who was selling Coconut icecream
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Some grilled food on the road side stall
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Last edited by rk_sans : 4th March 2019 at 08:13.
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Old 2nd March 2019, 13:32   #3
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Default re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

21st April 2018
Destination : Pai
Accommodation : Mont Goei Pai
Link for the accommodation : https://goo.gl/maps/v2w66mr5EYv
Places of Interest :
Tiger Kingdom : https://goo.gl/maps/zKiNFuS5jGH2
Pai Historical Bridge : https://goo.gl/maps/YkRbNKrMC4r


All of us were ready by 7.30am and came down for breakfast. Today's plan was to head North of Chiang Mai, reach Pai and stay there. Enroute visit places of interest whereever possible and enjoy the ride most.

Finished breakfast, headed towards the bike rental shop. Plan was to leave our excess luggage. Since we had to come back to Chiang Mai to return the bike, we decided to take only necessary things for next 4 days and leave the remaining at the bike rental shop.Reached the rental shop, meet Mr.Lan, handed over the excess luggage and started our interesting ride.

With the help of Google maps we were soon out of the city and cruising on the 2 lane highway. We need to take Route No. 107 for few kilometres, before we turn to No.1095 which is known as Mae Hong Son Circuit.

Not far from Chiang Mai, there is a tourist attraction "Tiger Kingdom". It is just about 750 metres deviation from the main highway. Nischal and Prashanth were very keen to visit and get an experience of the magnificent beast.

Reached Tiger Kingdom, Nischal and Prashant went on to meet the beast in person. Wife and myself decided to stroll around the kingdom and spend time. We had this experience already about 4 years ago at the famous Tiger monastery in Kanchnaburi area, which is shut down now. We spent almost one plus hour at the Tiger Kingdom. Nischal and Prashant had very good experience of spending time with the beast. You can see that in the photos on how excited they were in meeting the beast in person. From there we were off towards Pai.

Few kilometres from the Tiger Kingdom, we need to leave 2 laner and take a left turn towards Pai, which is Route No.1095. This is where the famous Mae Hong Son loop starts and also the road becomes single lane, topography changes from flat to mountainous ones. The roads wind up and down like a snake and we were having gala time on the twisty. We stopped very frequently for photography and also make some video. At one location, we decided to do a small video and i instructed Prashant to make the video from standstill. Once done asked him come ahead and I will keep going slowly. Unfortunately he didn't listen the last sentence and even I didn't stress on that again. We did the video and i continued slowly and covered quite good number of kilometres. Even though it was mountainous region, temperature was very high and also we were in summer season. So I decided to stop by a road side shop, quench our thirst. Wife and myself had at least half a dozen of yogurt and there was no sign of Prashant and Nischal. Smelling something wrong, i decided to head back and check them. My wife decided to stay back at the road side shop and have some more yummy cold yogurt.
I went back few kilometres and then found them coming. Basically there was communication gap, Prashant was waiting for me to return back after the video and i thought they are following me. Anyhow we lost about a hour plus there in the mela. Then we made slow progress towards Pai. We stopped over for a lunch at a local hotel as we could not get any tourist oriented restaurants in that area. Our stop for lunch was a place where the locals and the public transport stops for break and food. Prasanth and Nischal could find themselves some thing to eat but for my wife and myself, it was little difficult to find veggies. We ended up buying lots of fruits, some biscuits and juices for ourselves.
Back to road after lunch, we enjoyed a lot riding those twisty and occasionally stopped for photo.

By around 3 pm we reached Pai and first checked into our hotel. The hotel Mont Goei Pai was situated on a little hillock and it was overlooking the bypass road of Pai. There is bypass road to avoid getting into the small and laid back town of Pai and right at the entrance of this bypass was our hotel. Rooms of this hotel was very spacious, location was beautiful and it was overlooking the bypass road too.

We freshened up and decided to visit few places of interest at Pai. First in the list was the Heritage bridge little outside Pai towards Chiang Mai. This bridge dates back to World war II time when it was built. Spent some time there going around on it and taking pictures.

Then we headed to the famous sunset view point of Pai and also famously known as "Pai Canyon". The place gets crowded during sunset by the tourist and it was no different when we reached the parking lot. We saw the parking lot was overflowing with vehicles and mostly it was two wheelers.
This Canyon is quite big and people hike to get a good viewing place for themselves. Since we had riding gear and helmets with us, we didn't hike much inside the Canyon but choose a place with minimal hike distance and sat down for the sunset viewing.

Post viewing the magnificent sunset, we headed back to city. And not before we stopped for a photo break near Love Strawberry Pai. As we had with little to no lunch at all, we decided to head to 7/11 stores and help ourselves with some snacks and drinks. Temperature was so high that we downed ourselves with few number of yogurt cans each one of us plus some bottles of juices too.

Came back to room, had a good cold shower to freshen up again because of the heat outside and we were ready to go for dinner. There is food Street or local market in Pai which becomes very lively post evening. There are local food in small carts, souvenirs being sold on the street, etc. We spent some time strolling on that street and then settled down at one of the restaurant for dinner. We settled at this restaurant after the lady owner promised us to serve some veggie food to my wife and myself. As promised, the lady did make a very delicious and yummy vegetarian food for us. We thanked her profusely as we knew the difficultly in getting vegetarian food.

Post dinner we strolled around the street and bought some souvenirs for ourselves. Headed back to hotel and not before stopping over again at 7/11 for some cold water and some deserts to end the day.

I would say it was a very satisfactory first day ride in Thailand for all of us. Do note we visited very less number places of interest due to days constraint and one can easily spend couple of days in Pai visiting other places of interests.


In front of Kavil Guesthouse,Chiang Mai
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Before the start of the ride, customary team pic
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Some breakfast pics had at Kavil Guesthouse
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Pictures from Tiger Kingdom, watch out for expressions from Nischal and Prashanth while they might the mighty beast in person
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This was the picture taken as we turned to Route No.1095 from Route No.107
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Few pictures from the photography break we took
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Local restaurant we stopped for lunch at
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Beautiful winding roads
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Last edited by rk_sans : 3rd March 2019 at 23:50.
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Old 2nd March 2019, 15:51   #4
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Default re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Some more pictures from the first day ride from Chiang Mai to Pai.


Place where wife and myself waited for Prashanth and Nischal to turn up after the communication gap

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This is actually the local petrol bunk. Petrol pumped out by a hand pump.

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Pictures from the famous Heritage bridge, built during World war II at Pai

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Pictures from Pai Canyon and sunset view

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Few pictures from the Hotel Mont Goei Pai, where we stayed

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Nischal and Prashant posing in front of the instagram frame of Pai

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Last edited by rk_sans : 2nd March 2019 at 15:52.
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Old 2nd March 2019, 16:16   #5
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Default re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Last few set of pictures from Day one before i move to the next day.


Food we had at the local restuarant owned by a lady who made us yummy vegetarian food

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Few interesting things found on the food street or the flea market type road at Pai

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22nd April 2018
Destination : Mae Hong Son
Accommodation : Uncle Aod Home
Link for the accommodation : https://goo.gl/maps/GonJ2jPhtcH2
Places of Interest :
Long Neck Village "Ban Huay Sua Tao" : https://goo.gl/maps/L1uFMSMNKQT2
Wooden Bridge and Buddhist Temple : https://goo.gl/maps/Pm77TsyABo72

All of our hotel bookings had breakfast included and I felt that's a good decision we did. One because we don't have to go in search of restaurant and plus when the team is getting ready few of us could finish breakfast, would end up saving time. And we used to get some sort of continental breakfast at the places we stayed.

Landscape around the hotel was very nice, so as we had breakfast and spent time in taking some pictures before all of us were ready. Post breakfast, we vacated the hotel, refueled and started towards Mae Hong Son. There are few view points, couple places of interests too on the way.

We stopped at one of the view point which gives glimpse of the famous Mae Hong Son loop. Spent some time there taking pictures and moved ahead.
We kept stopping very often today for pictures and videos all along the way.

As we started the descent towards Mae Hong Son, the temperature increased a lot. This added to our frequent stops to hydrate ourselves. And by around 2 pm we reached Mae Hong Son and checked into our stay. Today's stay was a home stay run by young lady and it was called Uncle Aod Home.

I should really appreciate the importance the local give about the tourist here. The young lady with her broken English asked us to check the stay and requested us to let her know if we like the stay. if not she was ready to refer few good places to stay for us. Our stay here was an entire house made of wood and bamboo. It had one AC room and another was with fan only. It had huge sit out in front, big hall, small kitchen and a bathroom. It had very basic amenities only. But for the price we were paying here this was too much and value for money. This included local Thai breakfast for next morning. We readily agreed with the option showed to us and shifted our luggage, freshened up and headed straight inside city not before taking inputs from the lady owner about some good places for food.

So with reaching Mae Hong Son, we pretty much completed the famous Mae Hong Son loop consisting of 1864 loops. To validate this and as a token of appreciation and a memorabilia, the local government has arranged issue of certificate at one of their Chamber of Commerce office. This is a very good initiative and most memorable to cherish about the trip.

We decided to head to the Chamber Of Commerce first and get our memorabilia. The lone lady at Chamber of Commerce office, took our names and printed the certificates for us. Except me, none of the team knew about this initiative and after knowing about this memorabilia, it was like a cherry on the cake for the team. After receiving the certificate, with a huge grin on the face, we headed straight for lunch. As suggested by the home stay lady about the availability of very good vegetarian food at one of the restaurant.

We good see quite a variety of vegetation food. We ordered few thirst clincher and few starters. Since the temperature was very high here and it was evident too from the sparsely or no traffic on the roads, so we spent quite a good amount of time here having very good vegetarian food.

There are lot of places to visit around Mae Hong Son but we choose couple of the main ones. So the first to visit was the famous Long Neck Tribal Village Ban Huay Sua Tao. The village is situated about 20 kms away from Mae Hong Son. Upon checking with the restaurant folks where we had lunch about the route to Long Neck Tribal Village, they said there are lot of river/canal crossings and to be careful. The directions to the village is that we need to take a right turn as we exit out of Mae Hong Son town down south.

Before we headed to the Long Neck Tribal Village, we topped our bikes, checked air pressure at very well maintained and very big petrol bunk in the middle of the city.

As we started towards the Long Neck Tribal Village, post the exit from the Mae Hong Son town, the road becomes very narrow and twisty as we progress. As mentioned by the restaurant folks there are lot of water crossings but most of them has been tarred now, easy to cross in summer but might be difficult in monsoon. Only one of them was under construction and we had to take small detour to cross it. The reason i tell that it might be difficult in rainy reason is because they are not building any bridges across these crossings but cementing it cleanly so that it is easier to cross. And these are not actually rivers but small canals flowing down the mountains.

Soon we reached the entrance of the village. We need to pay nominal fee/amount to enter the village. The amount so collected would be used for the uplifting of the long neck tribes. We left our helmet at the shop right next to the entrance, paid the entrance fees and went inside.


History about Long Neck Village

Ban Huay Sua Tao is a small refugee camp for the Kareni people located near Mae Hong Son and very close to the border of Myanmar. These people were involved in a struggle war back in Myanmar for independence. Now displaced at this refugee camp in Northern Thailand. Since they are in stateless position and do not have any authority to work in Thailand, they totally depend on the tourist income out of selling various handicrafts.
I am still not clear on why they call it Long Neck though the braces or coil they wear actually pushes the weights on the shoulders and chest. The long neck is just an illusion. And there is no documented reasoning behind wearing these coils.

We spent some time going around the village. They have made lot of shops with handicrafts done by the tribes. You can take pictures with a similar attire as of the tribes. We shopped for some souvenir and took some pictures, headed out of it.

Post that we headed straight to one of the famous wooden bridge "Su Tong Pae Bridge" . This place is back towards Pai and we had to cross the city and come back the way we reached Mae Hong Son. Sun was setting in and we raced against the time to reach there. The turn towards the place is marked very well but once you go inside there is no proper directions. We lost some time in locating the entrance but we reached just in time to get a good view of the sunset from there. There is also a Buddhist Temple, which was closed by the time we went there.

From there we returned back to our rooms, freshened up as we were heavily drenched in sweat because of high temperature. Then we headed back to the same restaurant where we had lunch for dinner. The restaurant was really good in all terms. We finished dinner and went back to the home stay not before enjoying some good icecreams from nearby 7/11 stores.

Curtains down for day 2 of the ride and the most importantly we were very happy because everything was going as planned. And most importantly each one of us got the memorabilia to cherish for our lifetime.


Few pictures from our Pai stay Mont Goei Pai

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Pictures from the view point as we leave Pai

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Last edited by rk_sans : 3rd March 2019 at 21:26.
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Old 2nd March 2019, 17:21   #6
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Default re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand


Entrance to Mae Hong Son town

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Showing off the certificate at Chamber of Commerce

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Few pictures in front of Chamber of Commerce which is covered with Biking groups stickers at the entrance.

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Food at the hotel we had lunch and dinner at Mae Hong Son

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Pictures from Long Neck Tribal Village

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Pictures from the Wooden Bridge

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Last edited by rk_sans : 3rd March 2019 at 21:36.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 21:27   #7
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23rd April 2018

Destination : Mae Chaem
Accommodation :
Initial Booked Hotel : Phu Chaem House
Stayed at : Ban Mon Mai Ngam
Link for the accommodation : https://goo.gl/maps/BxxC8EXrL6R2
Could not find the Ban Mon Mai Ngam on gmaps
Places of Interest :
Doi Inthanon National Park :https://goo.gl/maps/bqZ3UqyU3qx
Mae Pan Waterfall : https://goo.gl/maps/vD5hTpZFsBv


Today's plan is to head to Mae Chaem, stay there for overnight and also visit Doi Inthanon national park, which is the highest point in Thailand.
We got ready and the home stay got us local breakfast at our room itself. She had beautiful laid out dining area under our rooms which was very nice. Unfortunately what she got had literally no vegetarian options at all except rice. Somehow wife and myself managed with it but definitely not sufficient and which could sustain us till afternoon. We decided to buy some fruits as we head out of the town towards Mae Chaem.

We vacated the rooms around 8.30 am post breakfast. The sun was already putting out scorching heat. We joined the main road of the town and stopped to purchase fruits and some cold water bottles. As we headed out of town, the roads were beautiful, twisty too. Route No. 1095 ends at Mae Hong Son and Route No. 108 starts from here going towards South.

Few kilometres away from Mae Hong Son, there are beautiful view point and good photo point with the 1864 loops name board as background. We spent almost 30-45 mins there. From here again we need to continue on Route No. 108 until we reach a turn point to Route No. 1263. There was no deviation till we reached the turn towards to Route No. 1263. So i gave the same information to Nischal and Prashant and for the first time we rode freely from here without being in group. Around 11 am, I reached the turn point to Route No. 1263. Heat was taking toll on our body. We took shelter at the bus stand right at the junction and waited for Prashant and Nischal to join. Prashant came in first and asked him to source some cold water bottles as I and my wife waited for Nischal to join. Soon Nischal joined too and Prashant with some cold water. From here it was little smaller roads on Route No. 1263 in comparison with Route No. 108. But there was no dearth of loops even after we left the main Mae Hong son high way. Only difference we started seeing was very less traffic and occasionally come across villages. Temperature kept on raising so we stopped by a road side shop for a break. We spent quite a bit time here refreshing ourselves with chilled water and we had fruits which we had bought from Mae Hong Son.

After this break we didn't stop anywhere except for some photo stops. Soon we reached Mae Chaem which is a small and quite town. We reached our booked hotel, checked in, refreshed and headed back to the center of the town for lunch. We didn't had lunch on the way to Mae Chaem for couple of reasons. One we couldn't find any hotels and secondly we were getting tired because of high temperature.

Again with the help of Google, we found an hotel who served us some good vegetarian food. Post lunch we decided to head to the highest point in Thailand, Doi Inthanon National Park. I would say the road leading to this mountain from Mae Chaem is one of the best experience and awesome twisty. The roads are very narrow plus forest area and rated it better then the famous Mae Hong Son loops. So as we started nearing the mountain, the weather changed drastically. We started feeling very cold. We reached the top of the mountain around 4.30 pm. Spent some time taking pictures and started our journey back.

On the way back, we decided to visit atleast one of the waterfall Mae Pan Waterfall out of many inside Doi Inthanon National Park. It was getting dark but we thought we will give it a try. We reached the parking lot of the waterfall and from there we need to walk into the dense forest for about a kilometre. By the time we reached it was almost dark. We found only other couple at waterfall and they were getting ready to trek back. We spent 15 mins and started back. Believe me this was most adventures 1 kilometre trek. It got dark and we had to rely on our mobile lights to wade through that dense forest. Somehow we made it to the parking lot and started riding slowly back to our hotel.

Unlike afternoon weather at Mae Chaem, it changed completely by evening. There were dark clouds all around with occasional thundering sounds. There was good sign of heavy rains for the night. As we reached the hotel, we saw that there was no power supply for the entire hotel. As we entered the hotel, met the hotel owner and he started explaining some problem with the power in his broken English. All we could understand from his broken English was that the power would not be restored till next morning. We were in for unexpected shocking news of it. The owner communicated to us that, he will refund the entire money paid. But for us it was not just money at that but also about the alternate arrangements for accommodation.

After some discussion, couple of calls by the owner to his friends and relatives, he came up with an option that he can get us an accommodation at his sister's resort nearby for the same amount. We told him that we will go check out and if it is similar accommodation like his then we should be okay with that option. He agreed and also gave option that if we do not like that place he can take us to different place. The owner came in his pickup truck with all our luggage in it and we followed him on our bikes.
We liked the accommodation available at his sister's place. We checked in and headed out for dinner. We went to the same place where we had lunch as we couldn't find any other better place with vegetarian option.

Quite an eventful day it was, right from high temperature to cold temperature at Doi Inthanon, drama at the booked hotel over the power supply, finding alternate accommodation, etc. But after good three days ride, we were almost done with the famous twisty roads of Northern Thailand. We had captured lot of memories from this interesting ride. Tomorrow after we leave Mae Chaem area, cross Doi Inthanon National park towards Chiang Mai, the mountain roads would end and it would be straight and flat roads only.


Local breakfast at Uncle Aod Home

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Pictures from the 1864 loops nameboard

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Pictures from various places we stopped for photos plus breakpoints.

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Food pictures from Mae Chaem

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Interesting ingredient found in Prashant's plate

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Highest point in Thailand - Doi Inthanon

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Mae Pan Waterfall

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Last edited by rk_sans : 3rd March 2019 at 23:45.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 23:44   #8
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Default re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand


24th April 2018
Last day of the ride


Today's schedule was to head back to Chiang Mai, return the bikes and rush to airport. As planned, post the ride, my wife and myself would be heading to Krabi for couple of days and then head back home. Whereas Prashant and Nischal would be heading to Bangkok, spend a day before heading back to home.

We got ready, finished breakfast at the hotel and started our journey. In today's first few hours of ride would be the same route which we did yesterday towards Doi Inthanon. So we were more familiar with roads now after yesterday's to and fro. So we started enjoying the nature and surrounding now rather then concentrating on the road.

As we exit out of the thick forest area of Doi Inthanon National Park, there is army control point. Post that roads become wider and super fun for speed runs. From here till the Doi Inthanon National park entrance, we were riding at our own pace. We regrouped at the entrance of the National park, spent few minutes taking photographs. Since we didn't had time we didn't go inside the national park.

After few kilometres from the national park we join Route No. 108. Remember Route No.108 we took from Mae Hong Son, before turning towards Route No. 1263, the same one. It is the route connecting Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai. Temperature was raising high and also we are now in flat terrain conditions with less green cover around.
During this return journey, we lost Prashant at one of the traffic junction, so Nischal and myself waited ahead at petrol bunk. After Prashant joined us, we spent almost an hour at the petrol bunk which had a good coffee shop. We relaxed with a yummy cold coffee before starting from there.

We were almost on the outskirts of the Chiang Mai now. Soon we made through the traffic of the Chiang Mai. One of the best part was that the bike rental place was on the outskirts of the main busy central of the city. So we took the outer ring road to reach the rental place. And not before refueling the bike to full at a nearby petrol bunk.

By the time we reached the rental place it was 12pm. We finished all the returning formalities, rearranged our luggage which we had left there. Our flight to Bangkok was around 5 pm, so we decided to finish lunch before heading to airport. Left all our luggage at the rental place itself, walked to a nearby restaurant, stuffed ourselves with yummy pizzas.

It was like a celebration time for us, as we successfully did the entire circuit of the famous Mae Hong Son as we had planned. Adding to it we didn't had any incidents/problems, neither with bikes or route,etc. It was perfectly executed plan by all of us. For Prashant and Nischal it was first outside country ride and they were overwhelmed with the successful finish of it.

Post celebration lunch, returned to the rental place, picked our luggage, hired a taxi for ourselves to the airport. Reached airport around 3 pm, checked in, cleared security check and the wait for the flight started. As we waited, our discussion never ended about our experience about the just completed ride.
Flight boarding started and soon we reached Bangkok. From Bangkok, wife and myself had to take one more flight to Krabi, whereas Prashant and Nischal stayed at Bangkok. We bid goodbye to each other and i headed to my next flight.


Pictures from our stay at Mae Chaem

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Pictures in front of Doi Inthanon Entrance

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Final picture before we left our bikes at the rental place after our successful ride

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Celebration lunch of the successful ride

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Old 4th March 2019, 08:41   #9
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Default re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

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Old 4th March 2019, 14:40   #10
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Default re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Yet another fantastic ride and travelogue! And how I regret not joining this!

The entire narration from hiring bikes to planning the whole circuit along with places to see, hotels to book etc. is fantastic and will be a bible for people who want to do this circuit. The certificate especially will always be cherished with fond memories I'm sure.

I was just trying to understand how you did this loop and plotted the places on the maps. Zooming in on the maps shows why it is one of the most beautiful places in the world to ride, what with beautiful scenery and curvy roads - it is a biker's paradise! Someday hopefully!

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Old 5th March 2019, 14:38   #11
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Default Re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

@rksans: Excellent travelogue Saar, loved the attention to detail and the meticulous planning. Look forward to riding with you at one of such destinations some time in the near future. Or if you're planning a bike ride in Europe sometime, would love to join in with you.
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Old 5th March 2019, 20:38   #12
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Default Re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

What sort of helmet did you get? Or did you carry your own?

Regards
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Old 6th March 2019, 02:45   #13
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Default Re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Santosh, very nice travelogue with some great pics. Am sure you guys had a great time. Yeah I also wanted to know about the helmets.

Also, I might have missed this - what about license? Insurance?

OT - nice to see that you still have the CBR 250R.
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Old 6th March 2019, 07:51   #14
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Default Re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
What sort of helmet did you get? Or did you carry your own?
Quote:
Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
Santosh, very nice travelogue with some great pics. Am sure you guys had a great time. Yeah I also wanted to know about the helmets.

Also, I might have missed this - what about license? Insurance?
The rental agencies across Thailand offer helmets for both driver and pillion with the bikes, even if you take a scooter. I believe this this due to the regulations over there. Choice of helmets are generally dependent on the range of options that the rental agency keeps at their end.

Indian license is accepted. Can't recollect about insurance, but I believe for cheaper scooters within the Chiang Mai city, they give you a basic slip and trust the system won't trouble tourists for checks. Also one can choose to go for the full insurance at additional costs if s/he prefers to.

Of course, Santosh will give more details wrt their trip.

Santosh,
Beautiful travelogue. I keep telling folks about the wonderful northern interiors of Thailand than just the beaches; this is now a good reference. Also, the national park around Doi Inthanon has some of Thailand's most beautiful waterfalls too. I guess your timelines didn't really give you options to do that.
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Old 6th March 2019, 09:17   #15
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Default Re: Riding through the famous 1864 Loops of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

That's the exact month, year, bike vendor and route that me and a friend did! The only difference was we did it in the first half of april when LAN dint move to the new store where you guys picked up the bike from. We did it around Sonkran. What a brilliant ride it was!
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