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Saturday, April 2, 2011

The 1864 curves of Mae Hong Son.

A Few years ago a group of mates from work with an interest in motorcycling decided to buy bikes with a view to doing some touring and the odd weekend blat through the black spur or Great Ocean road.  Us all being in our 40's with significant work and family responsibilities it seemed like quite a pipe dream at the time.

However with the support and in my case the proactive urging of our partners, we ended up with the two wheeled objects of our respective dreams and over the next few years the Australia adventures began.  First there was the Great Ocean Road  (South Western Victoria), followed by Tasmania and then the Great Alpine Way (Northern Victorian).

Two of the main group then took overseas postings and were forced to sell our rides.  Pete also sold up to fund a family trip around Aus, leaving the Murphster as the last man standing on two wheels.

The allure of the mate ship and freedom that a motorcycling week away with the boys held was too great to be destroyed by the minor setback of no bikes and the group being spread throughout SE Asia, so planning commenced for the first of the overseas adventures.

As you can imagine a fair bit of date swapping and diary shuffling was required until week could be agreed on around three guy's busy schedules and travel commitments.  But eventually last week was settled on and carved in stone.  A last minute conference temporarily threatened plans but some extra planning and minor compromises saw things back on track.

The Mae Hong Song Loop has been described as the road of a thousand hairpins.  In fact there are 1864 curves on a scenic mountain route that takes you from Chang Mai in Northern Thailand towards the Golden Triangle, near the Burmese border, before passing through  the Doi Inthernon national Park (highest point in Thailand) and then back to Chang Mai.   There are a number of different options and side trips, but our chosen route took us over 725 kms of some of the best motorcycling roads any of us had experienced.

Filling up at Shell servo Chang Mai- day 1

Kawasaki ER6N - 650cc from Mr Mechanic Chiang Mai.

Quick blat up to a nearby waterfall to get a feel for the bikes.

The first of many eye glass incidents.  Capt. Hook is off to the bat cave

Doing it tough in Pai (Chill Out city).  

Not exactly camping like in Tassie !!

Beer, Pizza, mates and motorbikes ....need I say more?

Bamboo bridge leading to eco resort in Pai.  Found many hippy type backpackers and a few local Rastafarians here.

Our Chips formation.

Endless curves.....

Great road surface and local traffic not crazy as we were led to believe.

Action on the move.

Entering the township of Mae Hong Son.  About half way around the loop.

One of the many coffee stops.

Beautiful Wat (Temple) in Mae Hong Son (MHS).

Hot springs just outside MHS.


Rounded a corner to find this guy crossing the river.  He didn't seem too keen on the bikes but his 'driver' held him up long enough for a photo before he took off at pace into the jungle.  
Might has right on Thai roads ...... so the elephant had to get out of the way!!!! 

One of the many river crossings on the way to the Karen long neck village.  Bloody slippery due to moss under the water.

We all got to practice some reverse lock riding as the rear ends stepped out  going thru the rivers.

Meet Karen.  She has a long neck!

Actually come to think of it .....its the Karen tribe's village.  The Karen tribe are known for the ritual lowering of their clavicles by gradually adding more rings as they age.  There is no practical application for this,  its done for the aesthetics  and in more recent times the tourists. 

Thailand has the most picturesque urinals....

Nothing like a wizz with a view !!!

The quintessential Murphster

The view from our cabins in Mae Saeng.  

After some pretty warm weather, the ride up to Doi Inthernon was a little fresh.  In fact with the fog and low visibility it was suggested we may not want to brave the 9 k ascent to the summit as there would be limited view.....

However ...... it was then pointed out that Sir Edmond Hillary didn't have his Sherpa carry him all the way to the Everest summit for the view.  He did it because it was there....

So we went !!!!!!!
Men of peace and tranquility....with a couple of monks !!

The Doi Inthanon national park is about 100km from Chiang Mai and consists of a number of beautiful waterfalls and the highest point in Thailand at about 3,500 metres.

Mae Ya water fall.  The largest in Thailand.

Lets rock hop for a better photo Murf ........
Murf explaining how he chose a slippery rock to hop onto causing him to slip waist deep into the drink.  Its going to be a cold ride back to Chiang Mai for the Murphster.

And a nice little bang on the shin for good measure.
But at least it attracted all the sympathy and concern from his mates !!!

Bikes and bodies safely returned to Mr Mechanic after 4 fantastic days  riding.  Planning underway for next year 's Northern Vietnam, off road adventure. 


  1. Your life is so amazing and adventurous!! Love the photos.

  2. Thanks Mike. Trying to make the most of it!


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