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Chiang Mai and around for Songkran next weekend!

  • whiskieman

    Joined Travelfish
    1st February, 2012
    Posts: 2

    Hey guys!

    First post here on these forums, but I've been an avid reader for a while now!

    I'm a novice Bike rider, but after driving around Ko Pha Ngan and Phuket for a few days, I believe I'm hooked! So I guess it's time to step up the game a little... I'm looking from some expert advice regarding my plans for Northern Thailand during/after Songkran.

    So, I managed to buy the very last ticket on one of the overnight trains to Chiang Mai, and will be getting into town on the 11th. I'm hoping to spend that day down in the thai elephant rehab center, and then from the 12th to the 15th it's time to get wet, apparently!

    On Monday 15th I wanted to rent a bike (thinking Honda Dream/Wave125cc semi-auto or full-auto... Opinions?) and head up to Pai for two nights, getting back to CNX Wednesday 18th evening, in time to get an overnight bus to Udon Thani (and then onto Laos, as current visa expires on 19th..)

    Now,, for the questions:

    - How's the weather?!? Has the haze finally began to clear up? has it rained at all these last few days/weeks?

    - since Songkran is over the weekend, I understand Monday and Tuesday will be public holidays. Does this affect anything important I should be aware of? Will most people head home by Monday? Or later? Really didn't want to drive in heavy traffic, although I'd imagine heading up north isn't as bad as heading down to Bangkok (is that right?)

    - The route! I thought abt going fir the MHS loop, but it really seems a stretch to do it over three days, especially for a lone unexperienced rider such as myself... Ideally I'd like to be riding 3-4 hours/day, not 8-9 hours... So I came up with a mix between the northern section of MHS loop and the shorter Samoeng loop, with a real backroad (Samoeng-Sop Sa) to link the two... As it stands, the plan is:

    Day1 - CNX-Samoeng-Wat Chan-Sop Sa-Pai
    Day2 - Pai-Soppong-Pai
    Day3 - Pai-Mae Taeng-Mae Rim-CNX

    How does that look? feasible? Anyone has any info in that Samoeng-Sop Sa road? Is it even a road?!?!! Lol.

    Anyway, this is getting quite long already,, so I look forward to reading your comments!

    Thanks in advance,

    #1 Posted: 6/4/2012 - 08:59

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  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2578
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    I'll be interested to hear what others say, but I'm not so sure that the Songkran timeframe is an ideal time to be learning to ride a motor scooter in northern Thailand. There will be increased road traffic, although I can't say with any certainty how much of that will be on the route you've mentioned. I do know that the Songkran holiday sees a dramatic increase in traffic deaths due to increased traffic and intoxicated drivers. Also, the one time I rented a motor scooter in Chiang Mai during Songkran I returned it within an hour because I couldn't go 20 meters without getting nailed hard in the face by water and ice.

    Hopefully your experience will be better, and I am not trying to be a downer here, but did want to share what I've seen in years past in case it helps you with your plans. Regards.

    #2 Posted: 6/4/2012 - 22:34

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1787

    #3 Posted: 7/4/2012 - 00:24

  • whiskieman

    Joined Travelfish
    1st February, 2012
    Posts: 2

    Thanks for the quick reply Cpt. Bob! On both forums!! Hehe.

    Very much encouraged by the info u wrote, esp. That short MHS loop which i had not seen before looking at the map of the region.

    As for ur point exacto, I agree it wouldn't be very appropriate if u never drove a bike before, but I'm confident I've driven enough to face major roads. But yes, i wouldn't do it DURING songkran for the obvious reasons you point out. Which is why i am trying to find out 1) when songkran will "end", or in ither words, if it would be safe to get on the bike on the Monday 16th, and 2) minimize driving time while still seeing enough to satisfy my nomad urges! But tks for the advice anyway!

    #4 Posted: 7/4/2012 - 21:29

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    The people seem to stagger back after the holliday. Yes many will leave the day after it ends, yet some will stay and and the traffic will continually get thinner. But Exacto brings up a good point about experience so it's up to you on that one.

    #5 Posted: 8/4/2012 - 07:21

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