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  1. #1
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    9999's Avatar
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    Chiang Mai to Mae Sai the long way

    I was planning to do the usual Chiang Mai - Mae Sai visa run straight up the 118 Highway, onto highway 1 and Chiang Rai. Thought I'd try take a short cut from canal road coming out of the city, up to Mae Rim, across to Doi Saket and up the 118. It turns out there's no road connecting the two towns and I was heading for Chiang Dao. I haven't been further than Chiang Dao up this way and been meaning to do it, so said fok it and took the long, scenic route to Mae Sai. The road runs more or less parralel with highway 1 up to Fang, then along the border to Mae Salong, joining the highway just before Mae Sai.

    I'm not much of a photographer, though it's something I want to get into though. I'll share some snaps from my no frills kodak digi camera.

    It was very early morning and the fog up past Chiang Dao was thick, had to pull over a few times. On the map it's marked 'Sea Of Fog Island'





    This is looking back towards the foggy mountains I just came through.







    The fog lifting reveals some awsome landscape.



    The road is windy and tough, but in good condition most places










    These (I think volcanic) mountains rise almost vertically from the ground. Can't get the camera to do the steepness justice.









    Signs of civilastion again. Don't carry any contraband around here, pretty much in the middle of a major drug smuggling route from Myannmar



  2. #2
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    Come into Fang, a nice place. I was surprised how populated it is up this way




    The stretch along the border from Fang is a high valley heavily farmed, not much rice, mostly vegetable, oranges etc. Coming into real hill tribe territory here.

















    And then we hit mist again. Been coating along for about 5 hours now and it's close to lunch time.












    The valley ends and we get into some hairy mountain driving, on the way to check out Doi Mae Salong and then onto stamp visa.





    They farm on steep hill sides here. Again, the photo doesn't do the steepness justice. Hard to beleive people are working these slopes all day.












    Nice view into a hill tribe village.



  3. #3
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    Thanks for posting,Looks like good big bike riding country

    BB

  4. #4
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    Village again.





    More steep farmed hillsides.
















    And we get to Doi Mae Salong.





    This cop was blocking my way for ages, didn't see me behind him, and I didn't want to beep. They're pretty laid back up here. Lots of hill tribe markets, dancing etc. here but I didn't really come for that...






    ...I came for views like these










    Looking ahead at the road to be travelled, scary stuff.



























    And that's it, camera ran out of juice. The rest of the journey is mountain driving to connect the highway about about 20 kms south of Mae Sai. I didn't detour to Doi Tung, was over it after all that driving. I wanted to follow the road on the map that hugs the border all the way to Mae Sai, looks interesting, but could've been negotiating mountain tracks for hours more. Maybe next time. Got to Mae Sai about 3pm after drving and sight seeing for 10 hours, and got back home about 8pm, totally knackered, and tucked into me duty free bottle of Bundy Rum.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BUGBEAR View Post
    Thanks for posting,Looks like good big bike riding country

    BB
    Saw a few bikes, looked lie fun. Also lots of SUVs and vans with Bangas number plates.

  6. #6
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    Good stuff. Some great riding roads. Can't wait to move back up to the North in a year or so.

  7. #7
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    Beautiful scenery, I really like that type of country. Reminds me
    of a trip I took from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Song. Lots of gorgeous
    views and interesting sights, but after 2500 extremely sharp twists
    and turns, I was ready to get out of the van. Thanks for the photos
    and story.

  8. #8
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    There is a turning to the right a little past City Hall that takes you through to Doi Saket, good road all the way. Beautiful photos and beautiful countryside for sure. Also another route I have done a few times by taking a right a few klics past Chiang Dao, comes out at mae Sui, spelling may not be correct, good road but does twist and turn.

  9. #9
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    ^ That Chiang Dao to Mae Sui looks interesting. Next visa run I plan to get to Mae Sai as early as possible then head over towards Chiang Saen, maybe even find a nice guest house to stay with the missus.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    These (I think volcanic) mountains
    Nope. They're the last straggling elements of the Himalayas caused by India smashing into Asia.

  11. #11
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    ^ I see. Looking at them now it makes sense.

  12. #12
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    Doi Mae Salong is an interesting place. It's where the 93rd Regiment of the Kuomntang ended up after being defeated by Mao. The Thai government let them stay on condition they helped fight local communist insurgents. For a while it was the heart of the Golden Triangle drug trade. It's not that long ago that the whole area was off-limits to outsiders. There's still a lot of old KMT fighters living in the area.
    The Above Post May Contain Strong Language, Flashing Lights, or Violent Scenes.

  13. #13
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    ^ I just breezed through and didn't take the time to look around, though I usually do like to know the history of places I go. Thanks for that, very interesting. It definately looks like a colourful place, very chinesee and worth going back for a better look.

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