A PLEASANT NORTH EASTERN LOOP (but we nearly died!)

2wheels

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Location
Chiang Mai
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Honda Rebel 500
Day 1
Wednesday 11th November 2020



Derek (Honda Nc750X) and I (Honda Rebel 500 with ABS; that is significant!) met up in Lamphun to ride a northern loop
taking in Uttaradit, Loei, Chiang Khan, Nan and Phayao.

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I hate highways, so gritted my teeth and we rode steadily down to Uttaradit.
The highlights were pleasant encounters with traffic police who seemed impressed with our ‘big bikes’.
No hassles or license checks.

Derek had pre-booked a couple of rooms at what turned out to be the excellent Friday Hotel.
It has guarded underground parking, bellboy service, elevators, nice dining and pleasant rooms.

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But the highlight was definitely a bath tub, where I spent time ‘winding down’ and scrubbing highway pollution from my body.

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Friday is actually on top of a department store which has a deli. There is an adequate bakery at ground level.

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But the really good news is that this all came for the small price of 530 baht.

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Once cleaned up we went walking.

I was photographing old timber buildings and flowers when a house owner approached us and greeted us in a friendly manner.

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He spoke fluent French, having worked in Paris for a number of years.
So, one never knows who one might encounter out there.
Friendly police and a French speaking Thai gentleman in one afternoon!

We needed a beer so I asked some locals and we were eventually directed to a roadside ‘beer cafe’ beside a perfumed stream
where we each enjoyed a couple of Leos and a barbecued snack.

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Then, for me, it was back to the bathtub again and an early night.
Apparently there is a karaoke somewhere within the complex but I heard nothing through the night.

Friday Hotel in Uttaradit @

N 17.61396
E 100.62402

Tomorrow we would ride into Chiang Khan on the banks of the Mighty Mekong.
Oh, and I would nearly die!
 
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2wheels

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Joined
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Location
Chiang Mai
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Honda Rebel 500
Day 2
Thursday 12th November


We were on the road after devouring the free breakfast at Friday, heading to Chiang Khan via Loei.

Out along the 1214 onto the 2013 was an enjoyable ride in perfect weather.

Enjoyable until one of these ‘dak-dak’ things almost claimed me.

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Derek was leading, traveling at around 85kph.
He passed the ‘dak-dak’, which was parked on the left side of the road.
I was at the same speed about 200 meters behind.

So after Derek passed him the ‘dak-dak’ driver decided to attempt a slow-speed crossing of the highway before he allowed me to pass.
Then, upon seeing me (acknowledging my presence), the idiot stopped across both lanes of the highway!

Full braking, ABS assist, and a gentle swerve behind him along the edge of the highway, a few Aussie expletives and we were on our respective ways. The clown was lucky no vehicle was traveling down the other side of the highway and I was lucky not to be going any faster and for having effective ABS. That was a close call.

Just another moment on Thai roads.

We stopped at an alleged ‘viewing point’ along 2013.
The place was filthy and there was no view.
There was a litter of pups running around the area and, thankfully, some-one had placed water bowls around the place.
They were empty so Derek poured some water into one bowl but the pups didn’t drink.
They had fat bellies, so it seems they were being cared for.

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We pressed on through Loei and into Chiang Khan along 201, wanting to be there well before sunset.

Derek had pre-booked a hotel beside the Mekong, hoping to have river views.
However, the Non Nab Dao Hotel rooms given to us were terrible in every way.
Overpriced and no views.

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Sadly, Derek had booked 2 nights there but we managed to escape the place and found a much better and less expensive place just out of town for the second night.

We grudgingly moved into our rooms, freshened up and went walking around town.
Chiang Khan was very busy with mostly Bangkok tourists.
It caters well for visitors and the walking is comfortable.

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Walking Street.

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We were fortunate to find the excellent Huon Luang Phrabang restaurant and were given a table on their first floor which offered excellent river views and superb food.
And Beer Lao!!
I fortified myself with a couple of beers, knowing the unpleasant room I would soon be returning to.

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Tomorrow we would explore the local area.
And find a lovely resort.
 
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The Bigfella

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Aug 15, 2012
Bikes
KTM 950SER & EXC, BMW R90S & Dakar, MZ250, BSA B33, Norton 16H, Honda - 500 Fs & X, DRZs, XLs XRs CRFs CT110s etc
Glad to see you survived it.
 

2wheels

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Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
Day 3
Friday 13th November

A free breakfast and good riddance to the Norm Nab Dao and out a few kms along the Mekong where yesterday we had spotted the Loogmai Resort.

This time we called in and were immediately impressed by the place, with its vast green grounds, clean new rooms, peace and friendly reception.
Loogmai is only 5 years old.

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There is no TV in the rooms but who cares?

The views along the Mekong were fantastic.

And the price was one third less that what we paid yesterday!
Friday 13th? Nonsense.

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The roadside signage is easily missed, so it is on 2195

N 17.89038
E 101. 62402

Morning fog made the place quite eerie.

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This magnificent mansion is on a huge block of land next to Loogmai.

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Further along 2195 is the new Skywalk.

Nearby is the quite adequate and popular K1 Cafe.

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It is quite noticeable that this area along the Mekong is at the beginning of a boom.

We rode out along 2195 and turned towards the river at

N. 17.81058
E. 101. 56091

and into the Skywalk carpark.

The system is well organized here.
20 baht (for all) will buy a taxi ride up the steep hill the back down again.
They even have chairs for people to use if waiting for a taxi.

We did not pay an entrance fee and I was told that the special walking slippers were free.

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This was a nice visit.

By contrast, the next stop at Kaeng Khut Khu was, I thought, very unpleasant.
A true tourist trap with too many concession stalls, limited parking, noise and over-development.
I stayed for only 2 photos.

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The legend behind this statue;

" as legend tells, there was a hunter hunting a buffalo ... in the end he died and fell headlong like a giant into the river, making up the few rapids that you see nowadays. " (Trip Advisor)

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Next, to Loei.
 
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2wheels

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Still Day 3
13th Friday November

Because we had a few spare hours to ride back to Loei where our next room was booked we rode slowly down the 4009 partially alongside the Loei River.

We stopped at a Temple just before Loei and shared a left-over pizza.

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Derek had booked rooms at the Indiego Space Hotel.
This was an interesting place with large and well appointed rooms, secure bike parking, a coffee shop/cafe and was well located.
Except for the adjacent night clubs and Karaoke Bars!!!

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We arrived early at the empty Loei Saloon and enjoyed an excellent meal.
Eventually more bikes with their riders arrived.
Owner Chris chatted with us for a while and shared road knowledge with us.
A pleasant couple of hours there.

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The look of contentment.

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An Austin Mini.

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Next day, a long ride to Nan.
 
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2wheels

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Location
Chiang Mai
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Honda Rebel 500
Day 4
Saturday 14th November

Today would be an excellent ride of some 9 hours along 2294 through Phu Ruea National Park, 2195 then 1268 through Phu Suan San National Park onto 1083 and 1026 then 101 into Nan.

Many, many twisties, climbs and descents over some 400kms.
A wonderful ride, although we found the longitudinal ridges along some of the road were quite
a nuisance, demanding full concentration.

There are many pleasant stops enroute and magnificent scenery.
Strangely, we were only passed by two bikes and two cars until 101 as nearly all of the traffic was heading towards Loei.
There was a huge number of road bikes and off-roaders along here.

There was a large group of Bangkok riders here at the pleasant Reforest Coffee Shop.

N 17.49948
E 100. 35176

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Pineapple.

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Dragonfruit.

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At a nice roadside eatery.

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We eventually arrived in Nan before sunset and settled into the very agreeable Punwa Hotel which has secure parking and large rooms.
CCTV over the parking area.

@
N. 18.77910
E. 100.77948

That night we walked to the promising sounding ‘Goodview’ beside the river.
It was dead. We had to arouse the staff. They didn’t even have chicken for Derek.
However my baked seafood dish was nice.
No customers arrived during our stay there.

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All of Nan seemed dead, in complete contrast to the vibrant Loei.
Maybe we were in the ‘dead zone’.

Next day; sad loss of a dear friend.
 
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2wheels

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Location
Chiang Mai
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Honda Rebel 500
Day 5
Sunday 15th November

This would be a chance to check the various sites around Nan.

I was keen the see the National Museum and a couple of Temples.

So we rode out from the Panwa, via the market area, over the bridge to Wat Phra That Chae Haeng.

It was there that I noticed I had lost my mobile ‘phone, so I quickly retraced my steps back to the Hotel and checked the car park.
No ‘phone.

I had foolishly, in my haste to exit the carpark, placed my ‘phone on the top box carrier and ridden off! Duh.

Eventually the lovely Hotel staff were checking their CCTV footage.
Confirmed. I had ridden off with the ‘phone on the carrier.
They even got the friendly local Tourist Police involved who retraced my route but found nothing.

However, Derek’s camera provided the evidence.

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Oh well, that was my donation to Nan.

I called in to the National Museum which was closed.

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Then we went to the popular Wat Phra That Chae Haeng.

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I must find out what this is all about; never seen it before.

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I continued exploring and found the old wall.

" An important source of archeology of the province. The Nan Wall is a historical evidence of the stability of a small state in the Nan River. Although Nan had to submit to other cities. But Nan still maintains its cultural identity.In the past, the wall was rectangular with a length of about 3,600 meters, 3.80 meters high and 2.50 meters wide. The eastern wall extends along the Nan River but at the present, the wall is only 25 meters high and 5 meters high. The wall is in the west and north. Mahawong Road is connected to Anantawaritthichet Road in 1993. The Department of Art restored the damaged wall and the damaged part was 415 meters and was registered as a national monument on October 25. 1994. "
Apparently it was constructed in the 1880s.
(Tourism Thailand)

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Old and new near the Panwa.

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It was a lengthy challenge to find an open restaurant that night.
We walked a long way.
Eventually I settled for the very adequate Noodle Cafe and I think Derek raided 7-11.

Early to bed back at Panwa, anticipating a comfortable ride into Phayao tomorrow.
 
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2wheels

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Location
Chiang Mai
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Honda Rebel 500
Day 6
Monday 16th November

We headed along the delightful 1095 from Nan, stopping a while at this viewing point.
I wouldn’t advise using the platform though!

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N 18.83854
E 100.35176

Yes, lovely views along here.

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Quite a challenging driveway.

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Then Derek nearly collected this guy.

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Later on he was almost taken out by a truck on the wrong side of the ride (ie Derek’s side) attempting a left turn.
Once again, a relatively slow cruising speed saved Derek from, at least, hospitalization.

Only a small bit of patchy road.

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Nearing Phayao.
Closer inspection suggests this is a quarry.

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Then into a lively Phayao beside the lake, once called by TAT “The Venice of the Asia”.

We rode around to the other side of the lake to check the development.
It is still a bit of a mystery as to what major projects the authorities have for this area.
We asked local but he didn’t know.

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We checked into the secluded and excellent Sabuy Hotel (spelt variously in English).
Secure parking, good rooms, very clean, friendly staff, excellent free breakfast.
Recommended.

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Then sunset over Kwan Phayao.

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The magnificent mansion looking good in the fading light.
I believe it is about 100 years old and members of the Royal Family would holiday here.
I think it is known as 'Kwan Phayao Stupa House'.

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One of my pics from 7 years ago.

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Here we are; from an old ride report of mine.

From a PhD Thesis by Khun Prakabsiri Pakdeepinit (2007)



"The Suthaphat House

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The house is located in the city center. It borders with the Luang Phisit Kayakorn House in the north, Chay Kwan Restaurant in the east, and Kwan Phayao Lake and Chay Kwan Road in the west and south.

Architectural aspects:

The house is located in a nine rai area overlooking the lake. It is composed of three golden teak houses; one big two-story house and two one-story houses to the east of the big one.

History:

Built in 1922
during the reign of King Rama V, the house is of historical significance.
Once owned by a famous and wealthy nobleman, Luang Srinakharanukun, it had been a guest house of kings and noblemen who visited or were on official visits to the province in the past.
The name of the house was given by Queen Indarasaksaji, the royal consort of King Rama VI.

Archeological structures and objects:

The teak houses were beautifully constructed by professional carpenters from Shanghai, China.
The most exquisite is the main house. Its roof is made from small planks of wood manually designed and polished until they look like concrete tiles.
The door panes were exquisitely designed and carved. Each pillar was carved in the form of climbing ivy.
Decorative wares and household utensils kept inside the house safe priceless and of architectural value. "






OK then off to find a lakeside eating venue.
Plenty to choose from here.
 
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2wheels

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Location
Chiang Mai
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Honda Rebel 500
Day 7
Tuesday 17th November

After a substantial free breakfast at Sabuy (and our key refund) we headed out of Phayao towards Dokhamtai
to check the new road and overpass onto 120.

There was a heavy fog in Phayao when we departed, which had disappeared for the mountains ride.

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We didn't stop.
The perpetual roadworks are still in progress but it will still take a long time to be completed.
How many years and how many millions of baht so far?

The surface was ok but, of course, would be fun when wet.
Pics from Derek's helmet camera.

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This impatient bi... :topestried to force us off the road to gain two motorbike lengths before having to stop for a traffic build-up
(which we smuggly rode past) ;)

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We hadn't stopped for a break, so were keen for a snack and cool drink at Terminal 118 but they were closed.
We had a drink at a new cafe in Doi Saket ('Innocent') then went our respective ways.

Each bike was excellent.
In the mountains between Loei and Nan mine returned 39.6 kms/litre.
That 600 baht air cushion on my bike was a blessing.

I now carry a battery pack which is good insurance.

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A nice loop of 1497 kms.

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The Bigfella

Senior Member
Staff member
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Bikes
KTM 950SER & EXC, BMW R90S & Dakar, MZ250, BSA B33, Norton 16H, Honda - 500 Fs & X, DRZs, XLs XRs CRFs CT110s etc
No fun if you lose a phone. I lost a camera recently. 30,000 baht. Pfft. Gone.

Such is life.
 

Brian

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Staff member
Joined
Jun 4, 2020
Nice report, great pictures. nice to see the old house looks better in the latest pictures.
 

dellboy218

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2011
Location
A. Hangdong, Chiang Mai
Bikes
BMW R1150RT
As an aside regarding Ron's phone. I tried using a company called Digimonde that promises to locate missing phones.....for $10. They couldnt even get the right town so I sent an email message to their support page. That was returned, no such email address. I am now trying to get an answer from my bank to cancel payment. Be warned!
As for the Indigo Space. It looked like an industrial warehouse with a dodgy outside stairwell. The interior however was a very pleasant surprise. A really good room with a kettle and tea&coffee. Just a pity its like being inside a drum with the night clubs. However its only 100 yards to stagger back from the Saloon bar.
I
left a video of clips from the trip on here.
Don't expect any fancy editing.
 
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