Scorching hot, great to leave Chiang Mai and head out on a Thailand motorcycle tour into the mountains around the Golden Triangle.
Smokey, real smokey as you get out into the rural areas, Phu Chi Fa below:
A water break between Phu Chi Fa & Thoeng at the Laos border
Then onto the big dipper, one of the most unusual, fun roads in Thailand. No matter who takes you on a motorbike tour of Thailand, make sure you get to see this road, its very unique.
The Dragon Lake was a little empty, rainy season the dragon would be 1/2 submerged
Into Chiang Saen for lunch, the Thai Navy on the banks of the Mekong River. All of the navigable water on the Mekong River is owned by Laos (Chiang Saen port/ ship harbour too???)
Up to the smokey Golden Triangle, looks like the whole of SE Asia is burning off this March
The Chinese casino across the river in Laos, I wonder how many of the high speed craft bring gamblers from Jing Hong, China?
Looking NW into Myanmar, the Nam Mae Ruak river separating Thailand from Myanmar
All going well, plenty of time for the monkey Wat
Didn’t take long before they surrounded us in search of peanuts
Not aggressive, but over eager to grab some peanuts, a small stick is advisable as a warning to their over-excitement
Free and happy, looks like they have a great life
Even without the monkey’s, its a superb setting
Big smiles all around, everyone is having a great time
Into Mae Sai for the night, great room!
A cloudy morning and up off around the sensitive Myanmar border area
The main headache for the Thai military on this border now is drugs in pill form being smuggled from Myanmar into Thailand. They will often stop scooters and pull the handlebar grips off to check inside the hollow handlebars for pills.
The big military post on the Myanmar border road where the Thai & Myanmar checkpoints are only 100 meters apart
First time ive seen the Thai military model of the border area uncovered very very interesting
Fast, experienced rider’s, we’re ahead of schedule. A little slippy on the Doi Tung back roads, a couple of dogs have woken us up, but no real drama’s.
Up To the Heroin kingpin’s house, who controlled basically all of the Golden Triangle’s drug production from the 1960’s through to the 1990’s with a 4,000 strong rebel army to protect his franchise. Even the Thai army left him alone. Drug lord Khun Sa.
Quite amazing that you can actually get into the drug lords house, which has been turned into a museum. A very life like model of him, sits in his living room
In the museum, there’s an interesting map of Shan State detailing the atomic symbols of natural resources available there. From ruby mining to alumina, its all there and incredibly valuable which will continue the tug-of-war with Myanmar
Also, the 10 year Panglong Agreement that was signed by then Burma (Myanmar) & Shan State. In 1957 sovereignty of Shan State was supposed to be released by Burma and never was, hence all the rebel activity in Shan State, Myanmar.
In the Museum at Khun Sa’s home
A painting of the signing of the Panglong Agreement too
Khun Sa, the drug lord in his better days
Away from the Myanmar border & the Thai Army checking cars and minibuses for illegal immigrants and drugs
The beautiful, sweeping ride down to Doi Mae Salong, passed the now tea plantations that would have been Khun Sa’s opium fields a few years back
Plenty of Thai, Burmese & authentic Yunnan Chinese food on this ride so far, some gourmet western food for a change for lunch, this was superb
With Mocha coffee’s to match
& even Chocolate volcano’s
Traditional Thai tea, which is made with a very concentrated tea syrup & lots of hot milk, has a slightly sweet taste, really worth a try
All the tea in China is available at the Mae Salong market
If you’re lucky, you’ll find a non-shy Akha hilltribe local for a photo
Now south bound & lady luck is on our side, we bump into Khun Laota Saenlee, who “allegedly” was another drug baron in the region. There’s rumors he paid as much as 100 million Thai Bht (USD$ 33 million) to fix his legal problems and be a free man, none of this has ever been proved.
He had a HUGE revolver showing in a holster on his left hip
Today was one of the best riding days you can have. Constant big dippers and sweeping curves, brilliant
Aircon. set for 22C and waiting for the massage lady
Late start and southwest bound towards the Myanmar border
The Myanmar military base in the distance on the hill overlooking Thailand
A direction arrow in the Thai Military base pointed at the Myanmar soldiers in case of confusion (or fog)
Thai razor wire & Myanmar bamboo border fences
Another Myanmar military camp just across the border
Traditional, Thai, hilltribe, weaving near the army base
Headed south along the Myanmar border
The big border military control checkpoint
0800am start, lots of twisties ahead of us and looks like Mae Hong Son as a destination for the night shouldn’t be a problem. A Coffee break at Coffee Hill with it’s 400,000 Bht cappuccino machine.
Some loud sports exhaust in the distance & some Malaysian rider’s stop by with a Bangkok tour guide
At the Mae Hong Son province border, a couple of the KLX’s were on reserve
The bridge across the Nam Pai River. The original was built by the Japanese to attack Colonial Burma (British) during the second world war. Once things wern’t going so well for the Japanese, they burned down the bridge & this was built to replace it
A photo of the original Japanese bridge below
Perfect time for lunch in Pai. This is supposed to be the best Khow Soi soup in Pai, I might have to agree
Strong breeze coming at the viewpoint from the west, the monsoon’s have changed for sure
Big smiles on all the rider’s faces, the first half of the Mae Hong Son Loop now completed, they’re lovin’ it.
Not a huge riding day today, so the boys had a sleep-in and a 0900am start, first stop the steep windey road up to the microwave towers
Next the Japanese war museum
It was used as a base by the Japanese after their retreat from India, field hospitals were set up there
The museum is missed by most rider’s, it has a wealth of information about the Japanese invasion. The boys tracing the Japanese army’s route north and west
Lunch, traditional moo laap, this might as well be a culinary tour. The pork is minced and pickled for 2 days, giving it a sour flavor. Herbs and spices are added, its a great dish, very popular also in Laos.
Into Mae Sariang for the night, room on the river in my favorite hotel
A beautiful, hazy sunset over Mae Sariang, my favorite town in Thailand.
Our last day, headed back towards Chiang Mai, but some great curves ahead of us. A rice terrace that’s used as a cabbage garden out of rainy season when water isn’t plentiful
The Mae Tho National Park, beautiful, tall pine trees
With all the abundance of light finding its way through the tall trees, its a great place to photograph a bike you love
Up the mountains, on the thin, windey road to Mae Chaem. Ron was furious he didn’t have his GoPro on, it’s a wicked road! No road trip here would be complete without a visit to the waterfalls in the Inthanon National Park, even in the dry season they’re pumping.
If a motorcycle tour in Thailand like this interests you, then click on the below link to get the details of how to join a tour: