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Thailand forum

Motorbike Travel in Northern Thailand

Posted by RickSee on 10/7/2010 at 01:06

Would like to make a bike trip in N Thailand in Aug/Sep. Any advice on best places to hire the bikes (there are two of us), most practical bike size and interesting routes would be appreciated. Planning for about two weeks. thanks

#1 RickSee has been a member since 1/6/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by Captain_Bob on 10/7/2010 at 21:53

If your weather cooperates there are tons of great biking routes in the region. Easiest to ride would be a Honda Click/Airblade or Yamaha Mio/Nouvo automatic scooter available for around 200-250 baht per day. Slightly bigger 200cc Honda Phantom cruiser around 500b/day or bigger Honda CBR400 if you're experienced and want some power. For offroad rental it's hard to beat a Kawasaki KLX or D-Tracker dual purpose bike. Make sure you get insurance, wear a helmet and note any damage to the bike before you ride away. Try Mr. Mechanic (3 locations) or Tony's Big Bikes on Ratchamanka Road.

From Chiang Mai daytrips around the "Samoeng Loop" or up to Doi Suthep with sealed road to two Hmong villages, or if you're up for it stump down to Huay Tung Tao, a small lake with swimming and food on offer. Doi Inthanon National Park (Thailand's highest spot) is also daytripable from CM. Very popular multi-day ride on the "Mae Hong Son Loop" with stops in Pai, Soppong, Mae Hong Son, and Mae Sariang. Or straight north to Chiang Dao continuing to Thaton w/sidetrip to Doi Angkhang, then through hilly Mae Salong to Chiang Rai. Loads of well-surfaced smaller roads in between.

Best maps are from GT-Rider available in most book shops, and the forum has loads of trip reports, Q&A and riding tips

#2 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,950

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Posted by RickSee on 12/7/2010 at 18:29

Thanks a lot cap'n! Very helpful.

#3 RickSee has been a member since 1/6/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by Bodlagz on 14/7/2010 at 12:46

Sorry I can't help you with your itinerary, but I would just like to add, make sure you existing license is legal in Thailand, if it is not you may also find your insurance is void.
Have a great trip.

#4 Bodlagz has been a member since 28/6/2010. Posts: 5
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Posted by husqvarna on 21/7/2010 at 01:56

Hi Captain_Bob: Do you have an idea how far it is to Doi Inthanon from Chiang Mai? Also, are there any other dual sport trails/routes in the area since I am into dirt riding also? Thank you.

#5 husqvarna has been a member since 7/9/2009. Posts: 47

Posted by MADMAC on 21/7/2010 at 14:45

There is no place better to be a steel horse cowboy than Thailand. And adventure all the way. I love riding out here.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by Captain_Bob on 22/7/2010 at 15:14

husqvarna From Chiang Mai city to the Doi Inthanon National Park entrance is about 65km, then another 23km to the summit (Google Maps). Offroad riding? Oh yes! The whole north of Thailand has limitless possibilities. You should be reading trip reports on the GT-Rider forum.

#7 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,950

Posted by walkingtrees on 25/7/2010 at 02:58

great info here, i'm also interested in renting a bike while in the CM area a few weeks from now.

will i be good with my US license? do i need an international license for bikes? moter scooters?


#8 walkingtrees has been a member since 25/1/2010. Posts: 58

Posted by busylizzy on 25/7/2010 at 06:29

Here is a link to a site about motorbiking in Thailand that I bookmarked (thanks to a PT poster) - to keep in mind for my next trip back. They have touring maps, etc. I haven't had a good look through it yet, but it might be of use to you for ideas, ricksee..

#9 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by Captain_Bob on 25/7/2010 at 19:24

walkingtrees, you don't usually need to show a drivers license to rent a scooter, motorcycle, or in many cases even a car. Your US license is sufficient anyway and have never seen an IDP required in Thailand. If you get stopped at a road checkpoint (not uncommon in the far north) the cops usually just want to say hello and maybe see if you're carrying anything (methamphetamines aka "ya-ba" or maybe illegal Burmese folks). If you commit an offense (no helmet) or have an accident they'll want to see your license.

As for renting, I've often recommended Mr. Mechanic which has a few outlets in town, and Pop Rent also with increasing numbers of rental spaces, and for more specialised also see Tony's Big Bikes on Ratchamanka Road, also in the old city. The usual deal - check for existing damage, make sure it has insurance, and wear your helmet. GT-Rider maps sold around town and are the best.

#10 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,950

Posted by AbgAcid on 27/7/2010 at 07:32

Just a bit of aditional here.
The bes time to explore North Thailand will be from Late September till February,.. Thats the time the dry cool winds from the North blowing into thailand. Very little rain, and the climate is cool making biking with safety jackets very comfortable.

and one of the most exiting route will be Chiang Mai- Pai- Mae Hong Son - Khum Yuam - Mae Chaem - Chaing Mai. At Mae Hong Son , you may collect a certificate, have your name printed out. It certifies that you have crossed the famous 1864 corners (Tell them to add crossed 'ON Motorcycle") At Mae Chiem, you may ascend Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand. Its freezing in the winter months, so be prepared. I ve done that twice , riding from Malaysia, once on a cub (step through moped) 130cc


#11 AbgAcid has been a member since 28/11/2009. Location: Malaysia. Posts: 162
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Posted by Jamescuck on 29/7/2010 at 17:42

Traveling by motorcycle is really traveling. It is a much more intimate experience than an air conditioned bus. You get to see every inch of the road.

#12 Jamescuck has been a member since 29/7/2010. Posts: 1

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