What could be better than riding great roads and meeting new friends that share a passion for travel, exploration and good times? Our recent ‘Amazing Land of Lanna’ tour just finished up, our guests have returned home, taking many memories, experiences and pictures with them!
We had 9 riders come from Wales, Germany and Slovenia on this 10 day Guided Tour – experienced riders that had not ridden in Asia before. This tour was a terrific introduction for them about what all Thailand and Southeast Asia has to offer for dedicated riders.
The initial bike handover was done on November 30th, with everyone arriving, meeting each other and getting their bikes. Each bike is named for famous ladies (mostly singers), and so the riders had fun finding out which famous lady they would be traveling with for the duration of the tour! 😉
The Amazing Land of Lanna route totals 1,700 km and +8,000 curves of the best of Northern Thailand’s sights and roads, which are mainly paved rural two lane roads with a variety of surfaces and wind through areas of spectacular mountainous beauty.
From Chiang Mai, the “Rose of the North” we rode to the remote province of Nan, which for centuries remained autonomous and cut off from the outside world. Even with this being tourist season in Thailand, Nan is quiet with hardly a tourist in sight!
We stopped by the unique village of Bo Kluea with its Salt Wells, where we watched people collect salt from these truly unusual geological anomalies.
Then we traveled on to the city of Chiang Rai and the stunning White Temple – known as Wat Rong Khun.
The tour also went to more famous or infamous places like the Golden Triangle by the Mekong River, where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet and where in previous decades the opium poppy provided a living to many people until it was stopped in 1996 after the death of Khun Sa, a legendary drug lord. We went on the mekong by boat and visited a market in Laos.
The town of Pai is getting very popular due to its laid back culture and easy access to the northern Thailand mountains. We spent one night in Pai, exploring the walking street and eating some amazing Thai food while overlooking the river that runs through the center of town.
Between Mae Taeng and Mae Hong Son, there are 1,864 curves in the road which gave everybody a great opportunity to improve their cornering skills. Some of the switchbacks are quite extreme, but presented no problems for our group of riders.
One of our stops that most tourists never get to do is a side road to the Thai-Myanmar border. It’s a small border crossing that goes to a small Burmese village. The village is poor, but has a school only a few meters from the border crossing. We called the teacher at the school a few weeks previously and found out that during the winter nights and cool mornings, many of the kids don’t have any warm clothing to wear to stay warm enough. So we were able to get two large bags of clothing and some footballs to help them out. The border guards let us cross without any problems after they saw what we had in mind, and even though it was a Saturday, just about the whole village collected at the school as the motorcycles roared in and parked.
The children lined up and each patiently waited for their turn as our tour group all pitched in to help match up the clothing to the right sized child. The teacher and parents were very appreciative, and it was so wonderful to see little children carefully folding up their new sweaters and long-sleeved shirts, tucking them under their arms and waving goodbye once we crossed the border back into Thailand.
Among the highlights of the trip, we also took a river boat ride to visit the Long Neck Women of the Karen Tribe, famous for the brass rings that they wear around their necks.
The final night, we stayed at the Fern Resort just outside of Mae Hong Son, and everyone enjoyed the luxury of first class amenities in bamboo cabins nestled in the jungle. A bonfire was enjoyed after dinner.
The final day, we visited the Thai-Japan World War 2 museum which reveals the fascinating story of how the war played out in this region, with many artifacts from the war on display.
Before returning to Chiang Mai, we drove to the top of Thailand – the highest mountain in Thailand (Doi Inthanon), 2,565 meters, which again features some very exciting riding. On the way done and before returning to the main office, we stopped by a massive waterfall to finish off our sightseeing!