The residue from this legacy is an extensive road system that just might be the finest collection of motorcycle roads anywhere on earth.
Historically, Laos, Burma, and Thailand have not been the friendliest of neighbors. For its defense, Thailand built a network of major arteries that allows their army, along with all its heavy equipment, to move swiftly to any part of their rugged border if potential trouble threatens.
Uncle Sam also got into the act in Thailand and engineered many of the best north Thai roads in their crusade against drugs. To combat opium poppy production, the remotest cultivating areas in the mountains needed accessing. All these isolated valleys and remote canyons are now linked by roads and trails, and this has produced another network of great motorcycle roads.
Starting point is CHIANG MAI, Thailand's second largest city, but with a small town feel to it. Thai traditional massage is the perfect anecdote after the long plane ride over and feels even better after a hard day in the saddle. (On this tour, excellent Thai massage is available almost every night.) Shopping in Chiang Mai is top notch, with a wide range of antiques, furniture and furnishings, quality native handicrafts, and textiles. Northern Thai cuisine is distinctive from the rest of the country but equally delicious. There's also all the nightlife you can handle here in Chiang Mai, plus some.
The afternoon before departure is our participant's meeting where we go over the itinerary in detail and discuss how to handle the road conditions and driving styles of the Thai road users.
The 1st morning we head up to the highest point in Thailand, Doi Inthanon. We visit a beautiful waterfall or two on the way. Then we cross a couple of mountain passes and spend a night in a rustic bungalow resort on the edge of a teak forest in KHUN YUAM.
Today we drive over the juiciest part of the most famous biking road in Asia, the Mae Hong Son Loop, also known as the Road of 10,000 Turns. Here you'll get a real taste of how biking was really meant to be. Towering jungle, corkscrewing mountain roads, waterfalls, lakes, and hill tribe villages will not fail to impress even the most widely-traveled rider. This is one hell of an exciting drive through some of Thailand's most breathtaking scenery. We pay a visit to the famous Long Neck hilltribe village right on the Burma border, and we spend the second night out in the small town of SOP PONG.
We finish the remaining portion of the Mae Hong Son loop on our way to CHIANG DAO. A wild detour takes us up to Thailand's 3rd highest peak and a magnificent view of the northern plateau. Another side road takes us to the largest cave system in Thailand. Hill tribe villages are everywhere and we visit a few, and if we are lucky, maybe catch one of their holidays or ceremonies. We will also visit an elephant camp and go for a ride on their backs up a beautiful mountain stream.
This day is filled in its entirety with fantastic scenery as we start driving in karst country. Karsts are bizarre limestone mountain formations in unbelievable shapes and colors. Some sections of Thailand around here feel more Chinese than Thai, especially in MAE SALONG, because this is where a large portion of the Chinese Nationalist Army (KMT) fled to after losing their civil war with Mao Tse Tung. One of the best Chinese feasts you ever will eat anywhere is scheduled for tonight
Days 5 and 6:
Nights. There's a lot of exploring to do today before reaching the Thai-Burmese border town of MAE SAI. This day has the most spectacular scenery on the entire tour and you'll have a very hard time keeping your eyes on the roadway. Some sections are so steep you have to keep your elbows locked into the handlebars to keep yourself from sliding off the front of your bike!
Our rest-day is spent strolling through the mesmerizing Burmese border town of Ta Chi Lek. Everything is for sale here, from rubies to elephant bones, at prices not to be believed if you can drive a hard enough bargain.
Today is the longest driving day of the tour over a great, high-speed road that is usually in perfect condition. And for high-performance riders, this is the road that will stay in your dreams for many years to come. Hardly any traffic will interfere with our driving enjoyment. We sleep in the tiny town of PUA tonight in a very quiet corner of Thailand quite close to the Laotian border.
Just when you think the riding can't possibly get any better, it does! The ride to NAN is steep and winding with stunning views. Such marvelous motorcycling––the whole of north Thailand seems like one, huge "top 10" road! One of today's highlights will be a visit to an ancient salt mining area where salt is still extracted the way it was from time immemorial
PHAYAO lies to our west and lays besides north Thailand's largest lake. Phayao has a couple of important temples and it is also famous throughout the country for their delectable regional cuisine.
Our tour heads back to CHIANG MAI over a couple of more mountain passes. On the way we stop off at another beautiful waterfall and ride through a town that is known for their distinctive residential architecture. This winds up one hell of a motorcycle tour and we'll party hard back in CHIANG MAI.
High Season Price: USD 2,795.00
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