Big Bike Tours first run pre-Covid19.

5 days in reverse

An article series by: Tom Stenshavn

The 5 day tour, Fantastic Lanna Kingdom, in oposite direction.

Article 2: Day 2 – 25.08.20

Tuesday 25.08.20 – Ah… who care if it`s rainy season? Just a few drops anyway…

Well… it started raining just after we parked our bikes for the evening, and it didn`t rally stop until about 5 in the morning. But we did our merit to the Buddha, so it was only a bit cloudy when we started our bikes at 08:30 and headed out from the Imperial Golden Triangle hotel.

Today, the ride is to Pai and its quite a ride over the northern mountains and Thaton and Fang districts. I guess about 380 km in total.

The road is still a bit wet but it is getting clearer and clearer for each kilometre, and i guess it`s going to be yet another glorious day on the road.

First we are headed to the temple called Wat Tham Pla and also the Tham Pla Cave. Poplar called “The Monkey Temple” only  36 km from the Golden Triangle.

Its name literally means ”fish cave temple” but you can also hear about it under the nickname of ”monkey temple” because a horde of monkeys live in the mountain just above it and inevitably some of them come in the temple too. Your presence will barely disturb the monkeys that you can easily approach but remain cautious anyway. The monkeys, the pond with the fishes and the cave are the curiosities of Wat Thaam Pla.

Once you enter, the ordination hall will face you with probably some monkeys on the roof and behind you will see a steep mountain with a small white chedi. On the right, you will see a king of a hell garden and a little further an old chedi. The pond with the fishes is on the left of the ordination hall and behind it starts the long Naga staircase that leads to a sort of canyon at the end of which you will find the entrance to the cave. The climb, a bit steep, is not that long. Just up the stairs on the left there is an access to a platform offering a dominant view over the surroundings. At the entrance of the cave, you can rent a flashlight. Inside, you will see some Buddhas images. 

We only visited the monkeys at this time as we were a little bit pressed for time on our long ride today. 

Our next stop today is only another 20 km up in the mountaing and it is the Choui Fong Tea Farm.

For half a century, Choui Fong Tea has been well-known for the highest quality traditional teas cultivated in its own gardens in Chiang Rai. In terms of production capacity, Choui Fong is the largest compared to other tea producers in the province of Chiang Rai. They have been in existence for over 40 years and consistently, have maintained a very high standard of quality. They produce some of the finest teas in Thailand.

Choui Fong Tea grows several several distinctive types of tea such as Assum, Green, Oolong and Black Tea in the highlands at an altitude of around 1,200 meters above sea level and in a plantation area of over 1,000 rai. The ideal climate and soil conditions in Chiang Rai permit the cultivation of excellent teas. Not only are the teas grown under optimal conditions produced by mother nature, the harvesting and processing of the tea leaves are performed using proven and world class best practiced methods – from carefully handpicked leaves done by well trained pickers to the blending of the leaves by professional tea specialists from Taiwan. All these factors combine to guarantee that consumers can enjoy tea of the highest quality, one that is rich in taste and aroma, and which has a pleasant lasting aftertaste.

The products in general have been granted prestigious awards by the various related organizations and events within the industry.

  • In 1993 – Best Producer of Tea Leaf and Tea Powder from the MatrathanTurakij (Business Standard) Newspaper.
  • In 2001 – Best Quality in Oolong Tea as awarded by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
  • In 2004 – Oolong Tea Award from The World Tea Festival.
  • In 2004 – Product 5-Star Rating by OTOP
  • In 2008 – Product 5-Star Rating by OTOP
  • In 2009 Gold prize for Jinxuan Oolong Tea & Ruanzhi Oolong Tea from the World Tea Contest held by the World Green Tea Association in Japan
  • In 2010 Product 5-Star Rating by OTOP
  • IN 2011 5 Awards from Thailand Asean Coffee & Tea Exhibition


After about 50km riding on nice mountain roads, we stopped at a real Long Neck Village. Not the one that is full of tourists, but one that they actually live and provide for themselves. Most of them was therefore at the fields working, but we got to meet some of them, and Noah talked a little bit about them.

Our next stop is on the viewpoint of Thaton. Only 20 km from theLong neck tribe, we stop on the view point, see the sights and let the monks blessus for the trip before we eat lunch in a local restaurant in Thaton. 

From Thaton is was all about the riding. Coffee shops and local bamboo shops to drink some water, and then ride again all the way to the beautiful mountain city of Pai. We accomlised the start of the 1864 turns to Mae Hong Son. 

You can read more about the special city of Pai HERE! (soon)

We will leave you with a short video of the road to Pai.

Tom Stenshavn