Mae Hong Son Loop Day 7 – Pai To Chiang Mai

Time to leave the hippie mecca that is Pai and return to Chiang Mai. Supposedly there are 762 curves between the two towns. We talked about stopping somewhere along the way but, looking at the map, there didn't seem to be much on offer. Both of us were looking forward to getting back to familiar old Chiang Mai.


Click here to open the map/picture thing in a new tab

We were definitely sad to leave our luxurious room. If we had our laptops with us and didn't have to return the motorcycle in Chiang Mai we could have easily hung out for a lot longer. There were still so many hammocks we hadn't tried yet.

As we left Pai we passed this odd place. It's on the same stretch as Coffee In Love. We're not sure what it is, presumably a cafe or restaurant, but they certainly get points for creative decor.

The road between Pai and Chiang Mai certainly lived up to its reputation for twists and turns. As the road weaved back and forth and up and down 762 curves started to seem more and more believable. It was great fun to ride. Tanya enjoyed it less with the constant cornering one way then the other eventually giving her motion sickness.

As always there were some wandering traffic hazards about. Generally they're all used to traffic and don't startle easily. It still seems wise to give them a wide berth if possible.

Along the way we passed a valiant cyclist. We actually saw him more than once with us passing him on the uphill only to have him whiz by on the downhill. Riding was tiring even on a motorcycle. Even the idea of slogging up the mountains on a bicycle in the tropical heat was exhausting. Whoever you are you are a better, fitter and possibly more foolhardy man than I.

We made a few brief stops just for the sake of getting off the motorcycle for a while. Then there was a longer stop at a place we think is called "Coffee We 2". Cool drinks were drunk but then it was back on the road. As we neared Chiang Mai we became more and more keen on the idea of getting there.

Not quite there yet. We could feel that we were getting close but there was still plenty of curvy road ahead. Awesomely or sickeningly curvy, depending on who you ask.

Eventually though the road levelled off and straightened out and we found ourselves travelling through villages. The road we were on joined a highway and then it was just a long straight shot back to Chiang Mai. The traffic was a shock after a week away but we were glad to be home.

Mae Hong Son Loop Day 7 Costs

At the time 30 Baht was about $1.

Ice tea and blue berry soda = 100B

We still have plenty of fuel in the tank from yesterday so we didn't even have to buy petrol.

10 comments

  1. Martin Pietrzak 4 June, 2012 at 21:02 Reply

    762 turns? nice. Last time I remember such an exhaustive ride would have been in Italy, Cunque Terre, amazingly beautiful but the drive left us exhausted. Sounds like the drive was worth it though.

    • Andrew 6 June, 2012 at 12:16 Reply

      It was definitely tiring. I’m glad we did the loop clockwise so this section was last instead of first. Prior to this I hadn’t been on a proper motorcycle for around 6 months. Even then I’m mostly a city rider. If I’d gone straight to the section between Pai and Chiang Mai I probably would have found the steepness of the road and the constant cornering more stressful than fun.

  2. Gustavas Tubutis 8 March, 2014 at 19:37 Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Nice blog about the awesome Hong Son Loop. Me and my girlfriend are planning to take the same root on a motorcycle as you did. Currently we have a concern of which bike to rent. The Honda Phanthom TA 200 (the same one as you have driven) was the first option as it is the most Thaiish (if it can be called like that) and cheapest from the other more powerful options available. However my concern is whether this bike is capable of driving the uphill with no struggle with two persons and the luggage (total weight ~150 kg). For the more we are rather tall – 1.90 and 1.70 meter high. Do you think the TA 200 would be a wise decision for this trip for us? 🙂
    p.s. I have plenty of driving experience on the big bikes and I love those. However I think that driving a Kawasaki ER-6N 650cc can be too much “farang” for exploring the real north of Thailand. Any thoughts on that?

    • Andrew 10 March, 2014 at 20:50 Reply

      The 200cc Phantom definitely struggled on some of the bigger hills with both myself and Tanya on board. Although crawling uphill in first gear was pretty funny at the time, if I was doing it over again, I would certainly be interested in something a bit bigger.

      • Gustavas Tubutis 11 March, 2014 at 12:13 Reply

        It is funny imagining the tiny Phantom crawling uphill in first gear with two passengers who are twice the size of the bike 🙂
        I guess we will stick to the options with more cc`s 🙂
        Thanks for the input!

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