The legendary Mae Hong Son Loop named the road of 1864 curves, located on the outskirts of Northern Thailand is on Bucket’s List of many motorcyclists. Picturesque views, famous Long Neck Tribe, the highest mountain of Thailand, rising at 2,565 meters – Doi Inthanon, great people and unforgettable adventure are just a few of the advantages that the trip on a motorcycle gives you.
- Days to complete: minimum 3 days.
- Total Distance: 650 km (400 miles).
- When to go: November – February (March and April are months of burning rice fields).
- Difficulty: Rather for experienced motorcyclists.
- What you could see: Wachirathan Waterfall, Doi Inthanon (highest mountain in Thailand), Long Neck Hill Tribe, Chinese village Ban Rak Thai, lovely city of Pai, Road of 1864 curves, Mae Sa Waterfalls, Samoeng Loop.
The legendary Mae Hong Son Loop on the outskirts of Thailand gives a taste of adventure. Approaching the start of the loop, more and more t-shirts with the number 1864 can be seen. This number indicates the number of twists during the 650 kilometers of the spectacular route. The loop has its beginning and end in Chiang Mai. Winding and steep roads are a challenge, which is why the route is rather for experienced motorcyclists.
An example of itinerary:
- DAY 1: Chiang Mai – Mae Hong Son 300 km / 186 miles
- DAY 2: Mae Hong Son – Pai 170 km / 105 miles
- DAY 3: Pai – Mae Sa – Chiang Mai 180 km / 110 miles
1 DAY (distance 300 km / 186 miles)
The journey begins in Chiang Mai, the capital of digital Nomads. After leaving the city, take the highway towards the 1009 road.
As the first stop, you should choose the impressive Wachirathan Waterfall. Its water falls from a 50-meter cliff into a deep pool below. The splashing water creates a pleasant mist. To reach it, turn right from road 1009, then follow the signs. Access is easy because it leads to an asphalt road. At the foot of a waterfall, by the car park, you can dine and quench your thirst in a cafe or restaurant. After waterfalls it is worth going to the top of Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain of Thailand at 2,565 meters, located in Doi Inthanon National Park. A wide, asphalt but winding and steep road leads to it. Please note that for entry to Doi Inthanon National Park, there is a THB 300 admission fee per person and THB 20 for a motorcycle.
Next on the route is Mae Hong Son city, known as the “Three Mists” city. Just 10 kilometers from Mae Hong Son, there are the Pha Bong Hot Springs. This is a very makeshift place where you can bask in the pool for 20 baht. At Mae Hong Son, you can organize jungle trekking, rafting on a bamboo raft, a visit to the Karen Village (women with long necks) or a bath in the mud at the nearby mud SPA.
2 DAY (Distance 170 km / 105 miles)
On this day, the most demanding, but also the most beautiful part of the loop awaits you. Twists writ around like intestines in the stomach: once they rise up steeply, then they drop abruptly down. In the morning you can go to the Karen Long Neck Village in Mae Hong Son. The tradition of putting metal rings on the neck is still cultivated today by Karen women. There is entry fee at the village entrance, and the attraction itself is interesting, although it is controversial and heavily commercialized.
On the way to Pai, it is worth traveling just below the border with Burma to visit the Chinese village of Ban Rak Thai. The village is picturesquely situated around the lake and surrounded by tea plantations and beautiful hills. You can savor the local cuisine and rest before continuing to Pai. Pai is a small and very touristic town. The center is filled with local eateries, tourist restaurants, guesthouses, tourist agencies and motorbike rentals. You can see the beautiful waterfalls, Pai Canyon, the Big Buddha, the Chinese village or the Lod Cave 47 km away. In the evening, you can enjoy Walking Street Market and try the local street food.
3 DAY (Distance: 180 km / 110 miles).
Last day and last 762 corners to drive. On the Mae Sa route, you can enjoy beautiful waterfalls. It’s eight consecutive floors of larger or smaller steps available from the concrete path. You can meet crowds of camping Thai and cool off with the breeze when we come closer to the waterfall.
Then, following Samoeng Loop, we admire bigger or smaller attractions: plantations of orchids, strawberries, adventure parks and the cobra’s shows. And so after a few hours of the demanding and winding ride, you are in Chiang Mai!
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