Photo: Dawn views at Phu Chee Fah.

Motorbiking to and from Phu Chee Fah

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There are possible approaches to Phu Chee Fah; north, central and south.

Photo of Motorbiking to and from Phu Chee Fah

Some visitors will be doing Phu Chee Fah as part of a loop, and probably the most common route is from Chiang Khong. The road is generally good and highly scenic and starts out by following the Mekong south nearly as far as Wiang Kaen 30 kilometres distant. It’s a small town or large village situated at the foot of the valley leading up to Phu Chee Fah and has noodle shops, cafes, minimarts and ATMs. From here the 1155 winds up a picturesque valley lined with occasional Hmong villages to reach a T-Junction with route 1093 at a village called Pang Hat. A 13 kilometre ascent will see you in Pathang Village.

If you’re coming up via Thoen, the most direct route from Chiang Rai, then you have two options; one recommended, one not! Heading up the Ing Valley road, 1020, your map may indicate a small mountain route, at the 26 km mark, cutting across to Phu Chee Fah. We were firmly warned off this steep and poorly maintained road by several locals. Alternatively continuing east for 6 kilometres you’ll see the 1155 branching off to your left taking you a further 25 to the junction with a well maintained road leading the final stretch to the Rom Fah Thai junction. Thoen’s an unattractive village with a 4 lane highway running right through the centre of it but does have plenty of eateries, convenience stores and bank facilities. The 1155 is another scenic route, leading up a valley filled with farms and orchards.

Finally, the road less travelled, but also with stunning scenery, is the 1093 south from the mountain top which winds its way down to Chiang Kham in Phayao Province. If you are doing a loop then this is a good way to get back to Chiang Rai or if you have the time you can continue past rather uninteresting Chiang Kham to lakeside Phayao itself. (If you find yourself stuck in Chiang Kham the orange painted Chiang Kham Hotel in the centre of town is perfectly adequate.) On route you’ll pass Huak district which has the northernmost land crossing with Laos. A new road leads to the flashy modern border crossing and though at present foreigners are not permitted to cross here, immigration officials did say they expected it to be open before long.

You’ll also see signs here advertising a ‘Border Market’, which takes place in Huak Village, though only on the 10th and 30th of each month. It is by all accounts a large and busy affair. Just 5 kilometres past Huak is Phu Sang Waterfall a great place to break up your journey, get some food and even splash around in the hot water waterfall. Where the 1093 emerges onto the 1021 you’re 6 kilometres from Chiang Kham, some 80 from Phayao and around 100 from Chiang Rai.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Phu Chee Fah.
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Where are you planning on heading to after Phu Chee Fah? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

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