The Itinerant Foodie
 

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Mae Hong Son แม่ฮ่องสอน Motorcycle Loop

18 August 2017
travel MaeHongSon digitalnomad Thailand

Start of the Loop! Motorcycle view

I’ve heard a lot about the Mae Hong Son loop from previous travelers, so I thought I make this something to do.

The bike I used for the first time was my trusty 2017 125cc Honda Click Scooter. It’s quite economical on the gas (for the entire 600 km trip, I spent less than $10 in gas, and still had half a tank left over when coming back to Chiang Mai). The scooter handled the trip quite well being that it was quite new.

Next time I do the loop though, I want to try it on a bigger bike to see the difference.

Overall the loop was quite a nice drive. After the mountains you start to sometimes see livestock cross the road randomly.

Livestock 1 Livestock 2

Planning

Mae Hong Son Loop

For a 3 day journey, I did a rough plan of where I want to be (and also serves as a journal for later).

Of course this is just a rough plan.

On the way to Mae Sariang

Wat Phra That Sri Chom Thong and Wat Phrathat Doi Noi

Along the way to Mae Sariang, I decided to check out these two Wats for some photo opportunities. While not over the top like the two Wats on Doi Suthep, Wat Chedi Luang, or the Wat on top of Doi Ithanon. It still provided a nice way to spend a break.

Youngfolk/Bean and Brew cafe

YoungFolk 1 YoungFolk 2

Found this really cute and cool cafe in Ban Chomthong which is along the way to Mae Sariang. Because I was working on a couple of projects being a digital nomad, I needed some wifi for a few hours.

YoungFolk3 Youngfolk4

And of course iced coffee in Thailand is awesome.

Mae Sariang แม่สะเรียง

Mae Sariang 1 Mae Sariang 2

Mae Sariang was basically a sleepier version of Mae Hong Son. Very local with few amenities (If you’re a Bangkok Bank customer, bring extra cash as there is no ATMs for you in this town!).

I stumbled along a guesthouse called “Riverhouse Hotel” which had an awesome view of the river for a bit under $3 (low season prices!). The room was basic, but considering what I paid it is still good value.

Mae Hong Son แม่ฮ่องสอน

Welcome to Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son is basically the “local” version of Pai. Rather than Pai being mostly foreigners, Mae Hong Son is mostly local.

There are 1864 curves between Pai and Mae Hong Son.

From The Like View The Like View

In Mae Hong Son, I stayed at a guesthouse called “The Like View”, for a similar price to the previous place (private room!). What I enjoyed was the view of the lake and Wat Chong Kham (วัดจองคำ) both during the daytime and night. And it was close to a Lae Jom Gun Walking Street (แหล่จอมกั๋น).

Also don’t forget to check out the Wat on the hill (Wat Phratat Doi Kong Mu / วัดพระธาตุดอยกองมู) which lets you see how small the entire town is (the airport in Mae Hong Son is as big as the town itself!)

Wat on the Hill Mae Hong Son Airport

Ban Rak Thai “Love Thailand Village” หมู่บ้านรักไทย

Ban Rak Thai 1 Ban Rak Thai 2

Nestled at the very northernmost corner of Thailand (5 mins drive from the Myanmar border), there’s a village where there is villagers who are decendants of the Republic of China refugees (國民黨) . There biggest hint is that theres Taiwan flags around, as well as most of the villagers speak chinese as well as thai.

Ban Rak Thai 3 Ban Rak Thai 4

You can also try Yunnan Noodles 云南面 here too.

Viewpoints along the way

On the way to Pai, don’t forget to stop at some of the Viewpoints along the way for a breather.

One of the notable viewpoints is the Pang Mapha Viewpoint (จุดชมวิวปางมะผ้า)

Viewpoint

Pai ปาย

Pai Coffee in Love

Pai was basically my last stop before heading back to Chiang Mai where there is 764 curves. After doing 1864 curves on the way to Pai from Mae Hong Son.

Doing the curves was easy enough.

But if you wish to know more about Pai itself, check out my other post. At that time, I took the minivan to Pai (and rented up there instead).

Pai Canyon กองแลน

Pai Canyon Pai Canyon 2

About 5 km out of town is a hiking and photography area called Pai Canyon.

Pai Waterfalls

Pam Bok Waterfall 1 Pam Bok Waterfall 2

My favorite waterfall in Pai is Pam Bok Waterfall. The water is deep and cool, and it’s a bit secluded.

There is also a nice coffee shop up the road which makes great coffee, and if you go even further theres some rice fields.

PamBok Coffee

Pai Chinatown

In Pai Chinatown, there is a store which sells the Mixian Yunnan noodles and Khao Soi - being that Pai has a Yunnan immigrant population.

Yunnan Noodles Khao Soi

Pai to Chiang Mai

Pai Memorial Bridge

Pai Memorial Bridge Pai Memorial Bridge 2

This bridge has some history dated from the days of the Japanese Occupation where the Japanese enlisted (forced?) the Pai villagers to build a bridge for the troops to get through.

The bridge was also used for supplies to Pai. And eventually was replaced by the old Nawarat Bridge from Chiang Mai after the Japanese troops burnt down the old bridge after they lost the war (sore losers?).

The Witches house Coffee shop

Witches House Coffee Shop 1 Witches House Coffee Shop 2

This is a witch themed coffee shop around the halfway mark between Pai and Chiang Mai.

Other stuff

Other noteable stuff along the way that I did in previous trips was

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon

Grand Canyan Chiang Mai Grand Canyan Chiang Mai 2

Named after the USA’s version because of the orange cliffs, this is a place for watersports or just photography.

Pha Chor Canyon ผาช่อ

Pha Chor Canyon

This canyon looks similar to Grand Canyon but without the water or swimming.

Perfect place for hiking and photography. There’s an entrance fee for this one as well.

Pha Chor Canyon Pha Chor Canyon

Doi Ithanon ดอยอินทนนท์

Doi Ithanon Temple Mae Pan Waterfall

Doi Ithanon is along the way to Mae Sariang, which is the highest point in thailand.

If you’re going there, also check out Mae Pan Waterfall which is one of the highest waterfalls in Thailand.

Highest Point in Thailand Doi Ithanon Hiking

Conclusion

  • The loop is easiest counter clockwise. You also save the fun parts for last (i.e. Mae Hong Son and Pai). I’ll try it the other way round and see what the difference is.
  • Be prepared for the temperature drop.
  • If you spend the night in Mae Sariang and rely on Bangkok Bank - there is NO ATMs there for you so have cash.
  • Will definetly want to do this loop again, at least doing the Pai curves with a GoPro. And probably on a real motorbike (200+ cc)
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I write codes, I am passionate about usability / user interaction ), I travel (alot), I snapchat 👻 (alot), and I blog (sometimes) [Read More]