Photo: Amazing scenery.

The Samoeng Loop

Our rating:

This is a great scenic loop to do by motorbike or car during the week as a day trip from Chiang Mai, with plenty of places to stop for a coffee and enjoy the mountain views.

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It's probably a trip best avoided over the weekends, when the road gets clogged up with too many tourists of dubious driving abilities. Road surfaces are good and the route is well signposted but these are mountain roads with steep climbs and descents and numerous sharp bends, so it isn’t for novice motorbike riders. Also watch your petrol levels as once past Pong Yang village there aren’t any petrol stations until Samoeng.

The mountains just go and go. Photo taken in or around The Samoeng Loop, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

The mountains just go and go. Photo: Mark Ord

Obviously, as is the nature of loops you can go either way but for no particular reason—other than we’ve always done it in this direction—we’re describing it anti-clockwise. So to begin, depart from Chiang Mai in the direction of Mae Rim. If you head up Huay Kaew Road and turn right onto the Canal Road and follow it until it joins Route 107, the Mae Rim highway, it’s an easier and less congested drive to begin with.

From here you have no choice but to follow the major route until you reach Mae Rim town and a turn off on the left indicating Samoeng and Mae Sa (Route 1096). After this you’re on the well surfaced but quieter two-lane rural road heading up the Mae Sa Valley. The valley’s almost non-stop array of roadside attractions is detailed in our Mae Sa valley section; if you stop at too many you’ll never complete the loop. If you do realise you’ve lingered too long or bitten off more than you can chew, then take the shortest route back to the city as you ideally wouldn’t want to be tackling a badly lit, steep and very winding mountain road ... Travelfish members only (Around 700 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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