What an epic Dirt Biking Thailand Adventure…..
Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon, Mae Cham, Mae Sariang, Omkoi, Umphang, Peung Klueng, Burma, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi, Bangkok…
A few Bangkok Weekend Warriors heading off for a weeks riding… Chiang Mai to Bangkok.
Plus visitors from overseas and some other riders that will meet us for the missing link part of the ride.
Having shipped the bikes up to Nat (Piston Shop) a couple of weeks earlier.. to get a good service.
All we had to do was get up to Chiang Mai..
Ready to roll…. yawn.. 4.40am.. flight at 5.50am…
Mike and I live near each other and agree to meet up and share a taxi together.. Meeting Rob at the airport.
On the approach to Chiang Mai Airport.. Captain Picard must have thought he was in charge of the Enterprise.
Coming in for landing and it was.. Launch Photon Torpedoes…
Just before touchdown.. Full thrusters were opened and up we go (Wave off) and we came in from the other end of the runway…
After adding 30 mins to the early morning flight.. We touch down and head off to Pistonshop.. Where K. Nat was waiting for us..
Along with some immaculate KLX’s… ready for the adventure ahead. (Soon to get very dirty and not to far down the track, very broken)
Next stop Euro Diner.. nice central place, easy to find and close to the rental shops.
Great spot and breakie is good.
It is 11 am before we are all fed and watered and we need to get to Mae Sariang..
So we don’t have too much paved road.. we take the scenic route via Doi Inthanon
We arrive in Mae Sariang just before sun set.. pretty quiet town.. but we are not here to party – Luckily..
This is not the Bangkok Weekend Warrior Boy Band with Rob as front man…..
Off we head towards Omkoi..
The scenic route..
There is a little concrete road to follow roughly around 30 to 40 KM.. then it turns to a mixture of concrete and dirt..
Getting more remote and hopeful there is petrol not to far ahead..
Surprise on the other side
Then we arrive at a small river crossing or a large creek.. Depending on how you define the two.
I pull down as not sure.. Across the river we can see a village. but the river is quite wide and looks a little deep.
Mike pulls down next to me and is off.. 3/4 of the way across and the bike goes in for a swim.
All good as Mike was able to get the bike up out of the water pretty quick…
I look upstream and see a bridge.. Bugger.. Now do I follow or go back like a pu$$y…
Decide to follow… and make it to the same spot as mike and the rocks are slippery as hell.
Then onwards and up the embankment.. The rest of the guys follow shortly after.
Tanner has a video of the crossing which I will ask him for and post on this report.
We make it to the village and first things first..
Drain out boots.
The villagers were incredibly friendly
I think Rob has a date next time he comes through this village.
Not sure if he was the head man or just the head master or both.. Both the headmaster and wife were very friendly and invited us for coffee.
Also a tour around the school.. A really lovely school.. Everything they needed and lovely surroundings.
ET Phone home… Needless to say the phone didn’t work.. Would have been more surprised if it did.
Before I tested and told it didn’t work.. Looking around for the satellite dish wondering how this phone actually worked out here.
The village is called Maelong Tai. A real lovely tranquil little village with happy people.
We made a little impact in their lives by our visit, but feel they made a bigger impact in our lives.. a great visit to an extremely friendly village.
Memories for life.
Found a few more pictures on the memory stick. Some of these have been added to the previous posts.
On we go..
A bit muddy after you leave the village.
Checking out the bridge integrity..
Next there was some really bloody steep stuff.. Steep is not so bad. It looks like there had been a landslide and all the loose rock and soil had been graded.
Making it really tough to get up.. I managed it first.. Getting stuck where most of the others would also get stuck or slowed down a bit.
No one in sight.. I really didn’t want to drop it or jump off.. Nearly did so on at least 3 occasions. Just digging in to the soil.
Then start sliding backwards out of control.. Managed to get front and rear break on and the bike stopped..
Once I made it past this bit.. Pulled up ahead.. Knowing others will struggle and to give a hand.
Rob was the next one…
Set up the camera to video this effort of pushing the bike up.. but the bloody thing fell forward 10 seconds later.. so just this photo.
Rob dropped it 2 or 3 times.. we are pushing and trying to walk the bike up.. It has a mind of its own in the loose soil.
Eventually Rob pulls a full on wheelie.. The entire front was up with the front tyre pointing at the sky above.
I was behind Rob thinking.. what do I do.. Time was in slow motion and Rob pushed the bike away to the right.
Pick it up again.. LOL
We were going no where fast.. Once you start dropping it and struggling… it really drains you quickly.
Eventually we make it up to some shade a breeze and the ground was damp..
We both lay down on the damp ground cooling off waiting for the rest to make it up.
By this time all getting very dehydrated and well and truly cooked in the sun….
Having a ripper ride.. loving every moment.
Rob and I are sitting at the top of the mountain.. Totally stuffed and laying down on the damp ground.. Body armour peeled off.
Relaxing and cooling off and rehydrating.
Then we hear a noise and look down.. Tanner had just made it around the last bend up the hill.. Look up and gets off the bike and starts walking.
We are like.. no, keep coming.. You have made it.. So up he comes.
Tanner totally shattered and total credit.. first time off road and riding like a champ.
Tanner is drinking loads of water as totally dehydrated.. Then mentions at the 2nd last turn.. He dry reached..
Relax, lay on the damp ground and cool off. Next comes Zach and then Mike followed by Adrian..
That was one hard slog.. But you felt good having made it..
There was a bit more steep and tricky stuff.. but the worst was over.
Terraced rice fields in Thailand.
Riding along and the closer we get to Omkoi the road becomes concrete again..
A lot of excitement and people running from all directions up the hill
Wondering what all the excitement is.. We stop for a look.
Because of the cold snap.. The area was declared a disaster zone..
The authorities were out distributing blankets and boy did they come from afar.. 3 / 4 /5 km down the track we passed people holding blankets
The helicopter can certainly generate a dust storm
We arrive at Omkoi..
The plan was to keep riding as far as we can and camp any where suitable. We have a tight schedule and need to meet the other guys for the missing link ride to Sangkhlaburi.
But we took a fair bit longer than planned and it was close to dusk.. We decide to stay in Omkoi.
Just at this time.. One of the guys realises he has lost something with important documents…
Mike and Zach head back to look.. now it is dusk..
So we set out to try and find accommodation.. First place on my 5 year old ESRI map no longer exists.
The the other places were full or not enough rooms. But plenty of new places being built..
We head to the Omkoi resort.. a little out of town.. But lovely.
Had we known about this place.. This would have been the place of choice.. Lucky last try on the GPS or we would have been split across two different places.
Rob and I indulge in some red wine and we all enjoy the warm fire.. That night before bed it was around 12 c
The morning was even colder.. But a nice fried breakfast and lots of coffee warmed us up
Plus I made some little friends
On we go the next day.
Tonight we camped..
Pick up some eggs for breakfast..
Pulled up, rode in towards a stream and followed it.. Came to a gate with people leaving.
We asked if we can camp here.. Sure no problem.. It was a great spot.
Hammocks out, camp fire going, stream to boil water from.. We were set.. But did freeze that night.
We are getting more and more behind schedule to met the other guys for the Sangkhlaburi missing link ride..
Today we need to really get a move on…
We joined up with the track that Tony and Jake did a few weeks earlier.
Mike said to me as we joined the track.. This is the one Tony and Jake did.
My response.. I hope we are after the really steep downhill bits they said would be impossible to get up…
Trying to find if any of the guys have more pics of this…
Basically great trails, rutted to hell and slippery in parts and really steep in parts too.
Then you come around a corner and all you can see for the next 150 metres is boulders.. (Really need a pic of this)
I was first.. Looked and thought.. Don’t hang around thinking about this too much.. Just go..
Up and over stuck here and there .. Perched on a couple of large boulders almost dropped it..
Look back and Rob turns up and stops at the start of the boulders.. You can see the horrified look on his face (even through the helmet) and almost drops the bike looking at what was ahead..
After the rocks… really deep ruts.. If you fell in to them, you will need help to pull the bike back out..
Then a small flat spot to pull up on the mountain. Rob then Mike not far behind and all make it with out dropping the bike.
Hat off to Rob.. First real off road trip (Except for playing at Chonburi on weekends with us) and going like a trooper.
We wait and wait and wait.. Then Mike goes back down.. We wait and wait again..
I head down.. Zach’s bike has a cooked clutch.. so we push the bike up to the next spot where our bikes are.
No way we are going to get the bike up the next bit.. steep steep steep, loose rocks and stone..
So we cut down some bushes etc and hide the bike in the bush.
Tanner and Zach ride Tanner’s bike out together..Mike and I go ahead following a honda wave that made it up.
He took us to a bunch of villages.. finally a headman agreed to come back with his 4wd.
Leave our bikes there and head back.. But we have to do the pushing ourselves.
We get to the steep part of the mountain.. He stops.. No way he is going down.
Vehicles go down, but none come up… too steep and loose rock and soil.
We all walk back down to the hidden bike (So steep Mike slips and falls on his back side, we are all walking down carefully) and begin to push the thing up the mountain.
All thinking we won’t make it.. but we have no choice..
Then a bunch of school kids coming back from a football game come along..
They help take some of the bags and continue up. Then a few come back down and help us push the bike up the mountain.
We were very happy they turned up..
When we make it up to the top.. (Quicker pushing than riding up) Some border patrol cops were waiting to get down.
They took some photo’s with us and helped tie the bike down in the pickup.
So bike in the pickup, Mike, Zach and Me in the Pickup.. Rob and Tanner ride back.
Back at the village and almost dusk again.. This has really dented our plans..
No way we are going to meet the other guys for the Missing Link ride… Broken bike, Tanners bike needs some work too.
Handle bars pointing in very strange non standard directions..
Mike doubles Zach, and we ride out to the main road and head in to Mae Sot..
Not in the original plan at all.. Riding in on that twisty road in the dark was not much fun…
We meet up at Canadian Restaurant.. Some very welcome Mexican food.. Really great.
We ordered like we had just got out of prison and we eat like it too.
Breakfast the next day
No way we can get the KLX fixed.. It is posted back to Bangkok.
Tanner gets some new handle bars at the Honda dealer for his KLX.
Rob’s elbow was playing up.. even before the trip.
Rob very kindly let Zach take his KLX for the rest of the ride to Bangkok.. Game back on..
We really need to meet Jack / Justin / Robert and Harry at the clinic on the missing link trail that evening.
Afraid they will only wait one night for us and go….
We leave around 11am from Mae Sot heading to Peung Kleung.
If we don’t make it today (Already one day late) We are sure the other guys will go on tomorrow morning.
– Rightly so as we are late late late..
Taking the twisty winding road out and pretty much pavement all the way this day to Umphang.
Then turn off to Peung Kleung.. This road is very cut up and gets worse as you get closer to Peung Kleung.
A regular old dust bowl near the end. You have to leave a decent space between each other or prepare to eat dust.
Pretty much motoring along with few stops except for fuel and lunch…
A good lesson why you should stick together and not separate when you are in a hurry.
You lose each other and end up adding an extra hour like in our case. If we had all stuck together, would have been fine.
Also a very long day and a few very long and tiring days before, make you do things you probably wouldn’t if you were fresh in the saddle.
We are trying to get in to Peuang Klueng before dark.
We want to get down the hill and in to the town.. The last part of the road is very dusty and very cut up.
We arrive in Peung Kleung just after sunset.. There are a few places selling petrol and fill up.
By the time we all have petrol (Gas)… It is dark.
Mike said.. ” I really don’t want to disappoint Jack again” I said ” me too ”
– Not to mention the other guys waiting for us.. But this is also Jack’s livelihood.
We agreed to ride from Peung Kleung in the dark to Laytongku.
I am really not a fan of night riding.. But hey.. We had 4 blokes all ready to roll and help each other..
What the hell. It was actually fun.. We were not puttering along, but going at a fair pace.
It was quite bizarre riding those trails and through creek crossing in the dark.. We should have taken some Go Pro.
There is one really steep hill with a sharp curve.. We all dreaded it last time in the day light.
Secretly inside (as we discussed later) Mike and I were not looking forward to this down hill with only the KLX headlight.
I am sure it is getting closer.. sure it is.. Then there was a steep bit of a hill and it was gone.
Was that it? No must be further on.. Before we know it we are arriving at the clinic..
The secret is.. Ride really steep hills you would like to avoid.. In the dark.. You can’t see what is there to make your brain think too much..
When we arrive at the clinic it looked like the lights were out or very low and everyone relexed and ready for bed at 8pm…
Then the KLX rumble in the jungle disturbed the peace… to the surprise of everyone…
That night we were known as “Bangkok Weekend Warrior Night Riders”.
Last time we slept at the clinic.. I remember that was the worst nights sleep I had ever had..
Really.. Solid timber floor.. must have woke up 30 times that night.
Not wanting to be the odd one out.. luckily there was not much space.. so set up the hammock..
Love the Siam Hammock and slept like a baby.
Our accommodation to the right
The food Jack had organised was great.. We ate well that night and the next morning before heading off.
Not so many pics of this part of the ride as we have all done it before..
It was great to meet up and ride with the rest of the fellas.. Glad they waited for us.
Some funny stories that night about riding to the Peung Klueng to call us on the mobiles..
Forgetting the phone, going back to get the phone then arrive at the town and no mobile signal LOL.
Tanner on the trail.
Off we go on the Burma Bamboo raft cruise.. We nearly ended up with one bike in the drink.. But a fine balancing act prevented disaster.
The rafts are in much better shape than last time.. Near the end of the season and some what falling apart last trip.
More like the Queen Mary this time around – Minus the bar.
Justin – Harry – Robert watching the castaways head off down stream.
Well and truly in Burma now and off we go.. ride around stop for a drink and a snack before heading back to Thailand…
This was a bloody tricky little crossing.
A few very deep holes in between rocks.. Enough to knock you out the way when you have momentum
It was like watching tenpin bowling.. One after each other we struggled.
I was only glad that unlike last time.. Didn’t lose it and go out of control up the right side of the embankment and wipe out….
Though still struggled like the rest.
Poor Tanner.. Helping me get out of a big mud hole and ended up wearing it..
This was quite funny.. We all took the ‘ high road ‘ to the right and waited for the rest.
So I thought.. Lets take a pic of this mud bath.. As I am taking the pic Tanner turns up and thinks I am filming everyone going through and opens it up.
Great effort.. I thought he was going over the handlebars.
It is New Years Eve.. Sangkhlaburi is full.. No where to sleep tonight.
So we decide to camp on the trail.. a few hours away from the the 323 and Sangkhlaburi.
I really can’t think of any better place to sleep off the old year and wake up to the new year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!
Another cold night.. But great camping in the great outdoors.
Breakfast and about three 3 in 1 coffees.. I really don’t’ like them.. But on camping trips they taste great….
We have 3+ hours to get to Sangkhlaburi according to Jack..
He will take us the easier way this time.. Same way as the previous group..
To be honest.. I was very happy about that.. It is early, the ground slippery as hell..
Dreading going back up the steep steep steep trail under fallen trees and then back down on slippery clay to the 323.
Just because we took the ‘easier’ way out this time.. didn’t mean it was a cake walk either.
We had a few good MUDDY creek crossings..
Harry making it through with his fan club watching on…
You can see how Jack got the name.. “Muddy Rider”..
At this point.. 3 hours turned in to quite a few more hours than planned…
One of the easiest crossings and Mike hits a rock that knocked him off balance..
Always happens on the easy stuff.
We spent a good 2 hours here may be a bit longer while Harry / Robert and co dried things out and got the bike running again…
Some great trails that skirted around the steep up and down the mountain trail we took last time.
Then out to the 323 and off to Sangkhlaburi…
Now the real adventure begins..
I figure.. we should be home by 6 pm now after the repairs on the trails..
We refuel and hit the road
Stopping for food and petrol heading towards Baan Ricky..
Stop start, stop start.. Rob’s bike begins to play up between Baan Ricky and Kanchanaburi.
We stop, wash the mud, etc off the radiator, cool the bike down.. Again and again plays up.
At one stage look at flagging down a pick up and paying to get the bike back to Bangkok
Fighting on, past Kanchanaburi.. One of the many many many stops we had where the bike cut out.
Eventually give up and stop at a shop and agree with the owner to leave the bike there.
Then Zach and Tanner decide to stay on and try and fix the bike..
Mike, Robert and myself head off towards Bangkok.. Mike goes ahead as he is late for his son’s B’day party.
Robert and I agree to ride together back to Bangkok.
Riding along I notice Mike on the side of the road waving and yelling out… Pull over and ride back with Robert..
Mike’s bike has packed it in.. Time to find a home for the night for this bike….
Robert brings Mike back on his bike.. Mike leaves his gear at a local shop we stopped at..
( I hope Mike is taking GPS co-ordinates of the the bike storage place along the way home 🙂
I sit behind to give Robert and Mike a bit of space from any cars that come up and high speed
Then we take the elevated expressway all the way in to Bangkok (nice and fast and bikes not allowed 🙂
We all make it home around 11pm that night… LOL
Suppose to be leaving the jungle around 10 or 11 and back by 4 or 5 PM..
Zach and Tanner manage to get the bike back to Mikes place.
The next day Mike drives out and picks up his bike and gear from the shop we left it at.
What an epic adventure and totally enjoyed every moment..
Great bunch of people to ride with and look forward to riding with you all again.
I was so tired around 3pm at work the next day.. Could have crawled in to the store room and slept..
Here is an overview of the route…
The Bangkok Weekend Warriors are ready for the next adventure.
Last but not least..
A big thank you to the other riders that have ridden these trails and shared their tracks and experiences.
2 thoughts on “Chiang Mai to Bangkok – The Long Dirty Way Down”
Brian, a great report on what sounds like an epic ride. Thanks for the pictures and narrative. I used to love the tough rides like this but have gotten much softer with age. Admire the adventurous spirit and the ability to take photos even when things are snotty.
Cheers Scott.. Most of it is not that tough..
Just a few choice places 😉