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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat

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    Exploring some fun trails and amazing scenery northeast of Mae Sarieng, Thailand!

    After our challenging ride from Omkoi to Mae Ngao National Park the day before (A brilliant ride from Omkoi to Mae Ngao National Park!), my buddy Dave needed to head home to Chiang Mai attend to his broken bike and bruised body. We made plans to reconnect in a couple days for the Super Bowl

    We enjoyed breakfast at the Riverhouse Resort and hit the road, Dave heading back to Chiang Mai via the 108 and me, headed off with no real destination in mind, which is pretty nice sometimes! A couple km out of Mae Sarieng on the 108 I saw a small road that headed up the Mae Sarieng River Valley, and off I went-


    A beautiful cool morning; the freshly planted crops were such an amazing bright green- this must be very fertile land along the banks of the Mae Sarieng River-


    Here's the GPX file should anyone want to follow my path: http://www.asianconnection71.com/201...1.11%20Day.gpx (For some reason the GPS split today's track in two, but no worries, we'll get to the second half in good time)

    A bit further on I came to a fairly large dam that holds back the bulk of the Mae Sarieng River:


    Nice spot, imagine there might be some good fishing on the reservoir side...


    Looking downriver:


    Continuing on I discover a bridge to nowhere


    Can't see any evidence of foundations on the other side and the bridge points straight at a steep hill. Was this just a big screw up??

    You can see in the background a newer bridge that takes you across the Mae Sarieng River and into the small village of Ban Mae Sarieng-


    Watch your step!!


    A cool suspension bridge a bit further upriver; pedestrian only tho...




    Such amazing colors! Had to stop for another pic!

  2. #2
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    The wonderful dirt track that followed the Mae Sarieng river eventually intersects with the partially paved 3010 that winds up into the mountains towards the village of Papae-


    Just followed my nose and soon found myself on a small track cut into the side of the mountain- amazing views!


    No idea where this goes, but I'm loving it!


    Eventually I come to a tiny hamlet, probably too small to be called a village, just a small collection of houses in the jungle. Dunno what they smoke in those pipes, but seemed like granny was feeling no pain!

    It seems like the trail ends here, but they motion me to ride between the houses and continue on. Cool!

    From here on it was all steep narrow single track with a whole lot of dead ends, but the villagers had indicated there was a way through so I wanted to try and find it.


    It seemed there was a trail that followed the drainage- let's check it out!


    Yeah, there's definitely a trail here, but it's in disuse and being reclaimed by the forest. I continued on foot a ways and even spotted some concrete road markers, so must assume this is what's left of an old road that's been abandoned.


    That's the tricky part about navigating in Thailand- many maps will show roads that either were never actually built or have been abandoned. If you scroll around this area on Google Earth you'll see tracks that aren't on any map as well as roads that don't actually exist. Good fun!

    Turned around and explored another track. This one ended with steps cut into a steep bank that led down to some fallow rice paddies-


    This was quite steep. I figured I could get down, but if the trail didn't continue somewhere on the other side I really wasn't sure if I could get back up this way...


    Didn't want to get myself stranded here, so again, turned around and did some more exploring. Eventually found a footpath that climbed up and out of the valley, but I was getting tired and if I stuffed it in there it would be a long walk back to the tiny village I'd passed earlier for help. Would be fun to come back here with some friends and explore further!

    So, back through the little village, and then on to the larger village of Ban Hak Mai Neua which you can spot from miles away on account of the huge church the missionaries have built on one of the highest peaks in the area:

    Dunno why but I find this church kinda creepy actually... Doesn't the front look like a face? To get in you have to walk through the mouth...


    It must have been quite an undertaking to haul all that concrete up here and build such a large church! Yet it seems to be in a state of disrepair...

    A plaque next to the front door in Karen. I didn't actually know that Karen was a written language- learn something new every day!




    Riding on I'm simply amazed at how they cultivate these steep hills entirely by hand-


    From here I follow a road down the mountain and realize that I was here last year with Trent, when we discovered this "missing link" from Mae Um Pok to Ban La Up:
    Epic Northern Thailand Dirt Tour! 5 days and 1200km of offroad fun!

    We had discovered a really fun single track trail that linked the two villages:




    I thought it would be fun to find it again and record it on the GPS as some folks had asked about it last year, but when I got to the road I thought would lead to the trail some locals tried to tell me that there was no way I could get through. I pointed at my big bad dirt bike and flexed my muscles, sign language of sorts to try to convey to them that I could do it, but they were quite insistent that there was no way to get to Ban La Up down that road... Hmmm, perhaps something had changed. These single tracks can come and go from one season to the next after all. The locals told me I should continue west a little ways where I'd find a way through to Ban La Up. Ok, so be it. Last year's "missing link" remains off the map for now!

    What's so handy about the GT-Rider map is that even though it can't possibly show every single track, it has the names of the villages and that's really all you need to find your way here- simply ask a local the way to the next village and they'll always point you in the right direction


    Following the locals advice I continued west and at the next village I again asked the locals the way to Ban La Up and they pointed me up a small dirt road that eventually crossed the small Huai Mae Um Lan river and brought me to the tiny village of Ban Mae Sa Keud-




    Had to give this dodgy bridge a try! Held together with old tires, twine and wire!

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    You are " The Man " for sure mate. Great adventurer.

  4. #4
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    Loving it so far, Tony. Keep it coming!

  5. #5
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    Mid afternoon and need to press on. I'd like to get about half way to Chiang Mai today.


    Funny to see election posters way out here in the sticks...


    Gorgeous riding through green and fertile hills and valleys!


    One of these farmers shacks would be a nice place to string up my hammock, and I bet there's water down there too!


    But I didn't have much with me in the way of food, and wasn't keen to spend a night hungry, so pressed on. Climbing up and up and up, I reach a crest and stop to look back the way I've come-


    To think, in another month or two this will all be brown and burnt... This is the PERFECT time of year to be up here!


    Mountain Dew has made some kind of strange resergence on the Thai scene. Totally bizarre as it's a pretty nasty drink. (We used to call is squirrel pee when I was a kid!) I think its popularity has more to do with the bright neon green bottles which folks seem to love to hang off their fenders...


    I ride on and the track turns into a trail, the trail into a dirt road, then a concrete road, and finally, Ban La Up! Just love the name of this mountain-top town!


    Stop for some drinks and snacks and a chat with the locals. Turns out Ban La Up is "Rawi", not Karen like most of the other villages I've been through in this area. Funny thing is, I can't find any info about this ethnic group... I may have heard the name wrong and will have to consult with some northern Thailand gurus over some Beer Laos in coming days to learn more about the "Rawi" of Ban La Up.

    One difference that stands out right away is the different style of dress. Where as most Karen clothes are red, the dominant color here is blue-


    Maybe, just maybe, what sounded to me like "Rawi" is actually Lawa? Thailand certainly enjoys a diverse mix of cultures and people!!

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBKK
    To think, in another month or two this will all be brown and burnt...
    It's really criminal, isn't it?

  7. #7
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    When's the book coming out ? Actually don't need one when I can look for free on here ,great pics as usual love it .

  8. #8
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    Thanks a lot looks like a great adventure.

  9. #9
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    great thread and great way to discover the Thailand so few of us ever see.

    Once again thanks for the effort of posting. Wish I could come on your next ride. Just need skill energy and a bloody good bike.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for another adventure.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat ossierob's Avatar
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    Yep it sure is another great adventure you are having Tony and posting on here. I think a lot of us wish we were a little younger and fitter to be able to join you on your 'tours of discovery. Thanks mate

  12. #12
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    Great Stuff!

    As another poster has already said, many of us wish we were younger to hit the trail again. The last time I rode a trail bike in the North was 14 years ago - it was an effort then although totally enjoyable. Now that I am 83 all I can do is dream - when I ride a nondescript 125 around the back roads in Suphanburi Province once in a while.

    Thanks a lot for the pics ........ memories are made of this! sic!

  13. #13
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    Ya just found the story again, still bloody great. So many negative threads/ comments from the expat misery elite on this board, yet here is an expat that enjoys Thailand! Tell ya when I am too oldd to Sail I am buying a bike!!

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    ^

    Cant agree with that Mate, the vast majority of Expats love living in Thailand and Its only whining moaning fools who cry the loudest.

    You know the ones, They hate Thai men and reckon their all foked and complain about the country.

    These guys are usually living in some upcountry Place in the middle of no where.

    Ignore the tossers, that's what I do.

    These ones are jealous of people like Tony who actually get amongst it in Thailand and do interesting and fulfilling stuff.

    They find it hard to believe that some one can enjoy the place so much.

    I would not mind having a beer with Tony.
    Stroller is a Yerman faggot.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post
    ^

    Cant agree with that Mate, the vast majority of Expats love living in Thailand and Its only whining moaning fools who cry the loudest.

    You know the ones, They hate Thai men and reckon their all foked and complain about the country.

    These guys are usually living in some upcountry Place in the middle of no where.

    Ignore the tossers, that's what I do.

    These ones are jealous of people like Tony who actually get amongst it in Thailand and do interesting and fulfilling stuff.

    They find it hard to believe that some one can enjoy the place so much.

    I would not mind having a beer with Tony.
    One would certainly not be enough Terry!

  16. #16
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    You seem to go out on these adventures on your own, correct me if I am wrong.

    What spares/safety kit do you take with you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailing into trouble
    Tell ya when I am too oldd to Sail I am buying a bike!!
    I would think if you are too old to sail, where you do have time to plan or prepare for changing conditions plus lots of aids to reduce the physical strength requirement. Only one axis of movement, across a relatively flat sea to worry about would be easier and more relaxed than riding a trail bike up and down jungle trials.

    It looks like decision time stop/go, if I go down there will I be able to get up the other side etc. or maybe TBKK spends more time reconnoitering the route.
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    You seem to go out on these adventures on your own, correct me if I am wrong.

    What spares/safety kit do you take with you?

    Just covered this in another thread, hope no one will get their panties in a twist if I repost in part here:

    Everyone has their own preference, but here's what I carry:

    In no particular order:
    8,10,12mm spanners
    8,10,12,19,27mm sockets
    16mm spark plug socket
    Socket adapter and extension
    Allen keys
    Flat head / Philips combo screwdriver
    Box cutter/blade
    Small locking vise grip
    Needle nose pliers
    Lighter
    Spark plug
    Thread lock
    Super glue
    Tube patches and glue
    21" front tube (can fit in the rear if needed)
    Tire irons
    Valve core removal tool
    Compact air pump
    Duct tape
    Electrical tape
    Assorted zip ties
    Fuel line
    Small container of engine oil
    Gear change pedal
    Oil filter (if deep water expected)
    Disposable cotton gloves
    Flashlight/lantern
    Ratcheting tie down
    Clutch cable
    Throttle cable
    Tool bag/belt
    A small assortment of extra bolts (not shown)

    I used to carry epoxy and/or liquid metal, but after several years I've never needed either so have stopped carrying them. Wonder if I'll regret that some day...

    I carry enough tools and parts (gear pedal, spark plug, tubes and cables) to get me out of most any "common" mechanical bind. I mean really, a set of allen keys and 8,10,12mm spanners is about all you need to completely tear down a KLX. The 19 and 27mm sockets are to get the wheels off, and could be replaced by a crescent wrench. It's really a very simple bike. In the event of some kind of catastrophic failure, like a broken cam chain, busted rod or valve, etc. there's no way you'd fix that in the jungle. But if you keep up with scheduled maintenance the chances of such failure are really quite minute.

    As far as first aid, I carry very little, probably not nearly enough... Just some iodine for cuts and water purification, a quality water filter, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, Tiffy, sometimes some allergy pills. Oh, and never forget the Disento! Saved my ass (literally) on more than a few occasions!

    In the case of a serious cut I've got super glue- stings like a bitch but works. Duct tape can also work wonders in first aid. That's about it... I know some guys that carry heavy duty pain killers, some in self-injectable form for the worst case scenario of a broken arm or leg. Personally I choose to ride conservatively when I'm far from decent medical care as I can't think of anything worse than being banged up in the middle of nowhere.

    Other items that aren't exactly "first aid" but still important are a small disposable rain poncho and enough non-perishable food to last me a day or two.

    The idea of being carted out of the jungle in the back of a tractor with broken bones grinding together sounds pretty horrific- here's a pretty crazy tale about a poor guy who busted his collar bone in Myanmar and the ordeal he endured to get treatment-
    Myanmar - Ride, Enjoy, Crash, Evacuate

    Imagine if you can breaking your collar bone, then sitting in the back of a back of a wood and steel wheeled bullock cart, with no suspension where you'll have to bounce along for miles with your broken bones grinding together until you reach the nearest clinic. Yikes!!!

  18. #18
    I am in Jail

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    Great thread pity not more pics of the country folk, beautiful scenery though.

  19. #19
    Newbie mohammadkaisar21's Avatar
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    Thank you to tell us so much useful information through pictures. So nice sharing. I’m really glad to saw it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBKK
    In no particular order: 8,10,12mm spanners 8,10,12,19,27mm sockets 16mm spark plug socket Socket adapter and extension Allen keys Flat head / Philips combo screwdriver Box cutter/blade Small locking vise grip Needle nose pliers Lighter Spark plug Thread lock Super glue Tube patches and glue 21" front tube (can fit in the rear if needed) Tire irons Valve core removal tool Compact air pump Duct tape Electrical tape Assorted zip ties Fuel line Small container of engine oil Gear change pedal Oil filter (if deep water expected) Disposable cotton gloves Flashlight/lantern Ratcheting tie down Clutch cable Throttle cable Tool bag/belt A small assortment of extra bolts (not shown)
    Ganja Tony - do you take any of that with you?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Shagnastier View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBKK
    In no particular order: 8,10,12mm spanners 8,10,12,19,27mm sockets 16mm spark plug socket Socket adapter and extension Allen keys Flat head / Philips combo screwdriver Box cutter/blade Small locking vise grip Needle nose pliers Lighter Spark plug Thread lock Super glue Tube patches and glue 21" front tube (can fit in the rear if needed) Tire irons Valve core removal tool Compact air pump Duct tape Electrical tape Assorted zip ties Fuel line Small container of engine oil Gear change pedal Oil filter (if deep water expected) Disposable cotton gloves Flashlight/lantern Ratcheting tie down Clutch cable Throttle cable Tool bag/belt A small assortment of extra bolts (not shown)
    Ganja Tony - do you take any of that with you?
    Do you think I'd tell you if I did??!?

  22. #22
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    Personally when I go on tour I take a huge bag of weed, praise Jah each morning and peruse the occasional poppy field.

    But hey - I'm scared of no-one

  23. #23
    Member ChookRaffle Jones's Avatar
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    Great pics TonyBKK. Thank you muk muk.

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailing into trouble View Post
    Tell ya when I am too oldd to Sail I am buying a bike!!
    Good on ya! Never too old to ROOST!!!

  25. #25
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    Thanks for your list.

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