Ride with me
For this trip, I plan to ride my motorbike from Mae Hong Son to Mae Chaem and then visit a friend in the Hot District, Chiang Mai Province’s southern region, on the next day.
I usually take Route 108 through Mae Sariang District since it is more convenient. But this time, I’ll turn left onto Route 1263 at Khun Yuam and continue on Route 1088 to Mae Chaem District.
In fact, I spent one night in Mae Chaem to discuss issues with a customer who purchased a website that I designed. I seek new things to update because I seldom travel this route, only twice or three times during peak season.
This journey takes place in August, during the rainy season. I wanted to take a photograph of the lush agricultural landscape, and there were no other tourists around.
Leaving on the motorbike
After breakfast, I prepared a sack to tie to the rear of the motorcycle, which I had already filled with oil. I left around 7:40 a.m. and the weather was pleasant, though partially cloudy.
Route 108 is the primary road from Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai via Mae Sariang. I pass through Pha Bong Hot Spring and get to the viewpoint after about a 20-minute ride out of town.
What a wonderful view. However, few people take a break to rest their eyes. There is a coffee shop owned by a friend of mine. But he hasn’t come up yet, so I continue on my way.
I appreciated the twisting road ride, passing the intersection to Hmong Microwave Village, where a trekking path begins. We arrived at Baan Huai Pong 10 minutes later. The roadside is lined with lovely old wooden houses. Everything changes with time.
There is a camping area at Doi Wiang La Wildlife Sanctuary. I haven’t looked into it yet, but I will next time.
Go around Khun Yuam
I ride through the intersection to Mae Chaem (back to this route later) to visit Khun Yuam District for an hour. I want to see the Tai Yai people’s wooden houses, which have been preserved in their elegance. Some houses are being reconstructed, while others are being abandoned as time passes.
I had a coffee at To Tae Bar (pronounced โต๋ เต๋ บาร์), a Shan-style timber home turned into a coffee shop. The roadside balcony was lovely, and there were no people walking by.
Then I inspect my motorcycle, constantly refuel it, go to the restroom, and prepare for the next section.
Keep going on next
I return to start at the last intersection and continue on Route 1263 to the Mae Chaem District. Later, I reach the checkpoint. On the left, I see the road leading to Thung Bua Tong and Mae Surin Waterfall, as well as various hill tribe settlements, highland farmland, and perspectives.
I will go straight. The road follows the same up-and-down hill, twists and turns as Route 1095 to Pai, but there are fewer visitors and less traffic.
I seldom take this route through Doi Inthanon. Except when I had requests from tourists only, it wasn’t a major road to Chiang Mai.
It featured lovely landscapes along the way, with views of farmers’ lifestyles, corn fields, and mountain farms. Riding a motorcycle in the wind is a real treat.
An hour later, I turn right on Route 1088 to Baan Mae Nakhon. I will make a stop and spend some time visiting a small resort and garden that has fantastic coffee and a bakery.
Lunch and take a nap
I was a bit dizzy when I arrived at Hot Coffee. Maybe it was caused by urea or hormone smells on the way from the farm.
A staff member who knew me looked for a place to rest, and I simply closed my eyes and took a deep breath for 20 minutes, getting better.
We ate fried rice and drank her freshly brewed coffee. It’s fantastic. I have free time to roam around the facility and the neighboring gardens, which are well-kept and ready to serve their guests.
A foundation and an orphanage are located behind the restaurant. I met the children who remember me. If you’re interested, you can pay them a visit and show your support.
Continue to to Mae Chaem
Then it takes another 45 minutes of riding to reach Mae Chaem District. I pass Nam Ok Hu, which has water running from underground. A great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the water.
I took a tour around Mae Chaem and made a stop to buy some food and drink at the Wednesday Market. Many fascinating and farmer’s products can be found.
I check-in at Khuangna Farm View and rush out of the room to speak with my customers for an hour, then return to relax.
Next day to Hot District
I rode a motorcycle for an hour this morning, exploring the town and stopping to refill. Return to the hotel for a tiny breakfast consisting of toasted sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, fried tofu, and coffee. And then I pack up and start my journey.
If you choose the way back to Chiang Mai through Doi Inthanon, take Route 1192 and continue onto Route 1099. Alternatively, you could go to the summit.
The path is extremely steep and will take a long time to climb up. On the way down, you must maintain a constant speed until you reach Route 108, which becomes a four-lane highway.
Today, I take Route 1088 through Baan Kong Khaek, a vegetable growing on a highland, and visit Thep Phanom Hot Springs.
Afterwards, get onto Route 108, pass through Ob Luang National Park, and finish at Hot District. My friend’s house is located outside the town, another 6 kilometers.
I had little rain but a lot of fog because of this route through the highlands. I made a stop for a while because I couldn’t see the road.
Only two tourist groups visit Thep Phanom Hot Springs. It was a pity that I didn’t know there was a Thai massage when I walked around.
They also provide a mineral bath, a picnic area or a camp ground, and lodging.
I frequently visit Ob Luang National Park since I bring tourists there. So I immediately go to my friend’s house for lunch and coffee.
I returned to Chiang Mai in the late afternoon. The distance is around 100 kilometers and the road is four-laned.
When I get close to San Pa Tong District, I take the backroads through the irrigation canal to avoid traffic and finish my journey during the beautiful sunset.
Tip and suggestion
You can take this route to or from Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son. There are no tourist crowds. There may be some traffic on this road from the middle of November to the middle of January.
The trip is extremely lonely, so your motorcycle must be in excellent condition. Because the communities are separated by such a large distance,
Riding should be done with caution. If you include stops and ride like me, the total distance is around 360 km.
My motorcycle is a Yamaha Finn 115 cc, with a waste energy average of 50 km per liter and a gasoline price of 33 THB per liter.
About Mae Chaem
The accommodations in the Mae Chaem District are simple and peaceful. Prices range from 300 THB to over 1,000 THB. I booked Huan Ram Chaem Mueang for my clients. It is a lovely resort. There are numerous tourist restaurants along the main road. Don’t be scared to eat when you’re hungry.
They also have farmstays and homestays near paddy rice fields, which are a popular tourist attraction during the rainy season in July. As a farmer, you will have a lot of fun.
On Google Maps, you can see my first day’s journey: https://goo.gl/maps/4edbRFWnqaNqEnX47
If you ride non-stop from Mae Hong Son to Mae Cheam, the distance is approximately 170 kilometers and the time is 3:30 hours. However, I enjoy taking road trips and have made numerous stops.
Enjoy the ride