On the Road Thailand, Doi Mae Salong by Motorbike (Part 1)

chris bike dms1You’ll need something like this (pictured above). Yes, the person driving it, male or female it makes no difference. More importantly you’ll need transportation. Now any old grandma can take the bus–though the ride up here could possibly destroy the spine of the hardiest soul. So my choice is the bike!

We’re talking Doi Mae Salong, about 320 Kilometers north of Chiang Mai, and advertised as one of the last unseen, unspoiled places of Thailand. It ain’t like Pai, if that’s what you’re thinking. Though the road here, in my opinion doesn’t have the 1,000 curves as advertised in all the tourist rags, it’s still fun and far enough off the track where you don’t really get much in the way of tourism…

That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do. OK, there’s no nightclubs, and there isn’t even a bar with music. It’s quiet, has some good food, coffee, tea plantations, and if you like to explore, some hill tribe villages nearby.

I like it for two reasons, one the drive up here is really nice, and somewhat easy to do (surprisingly), and two it’s still seems a bit untouched which is nice–enough said really, sure it has a funny looking 7/11, but it almost seems like you’re back in Thailand circa 1980 instead of 2014…

Again, if this is what you’re into you’ll like it. OK, so no zip lines, or rock climbing, no full moon party or raves, but I’m sure that’s coming. Someone with a bit of courage will decide to run a few tourist vans from, let’s say Chiang Rai, open a few fancy coffee shops and exploit the surroundings. Good or bad it’s bound to happen, so see it in as natural a state as possible…

Getting there, take 107 out of Chiang Mai as far as you can go (3 hours) through Chiang Doi and on to Fang. Stop there to eat and gas up, and then the road turns into 1089, through Thaton and then about 42 K. You’ll notice that 1089 will split at a police checkpoint and the sign will tell you which way to go, left to Mae Salong or right to Mae Chan.

Turn left, through a series of bends, curves, switchbacks, ups and downs, and after about 45 minutes you’ll see signs of life–what looks like market, and continue on to one of several guesthouses in town.



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