Northern Thailand short-ride.

4 days in ride-heaven (Part 2)

A 4 article series by: Tom Stenshavn

A short 4 day ride with my Norwegian friend, Dag and his girlfriend, Lek

Article 2: Day 2

We are in Doi Mae Salong, and the morning is really nice with a temperature that the Thai`s call “chilly” but for us westerners is called a tropical summer as it`s more than 20 degrees. Its about 22 degrees at 8 am, and the sun is coming up over the mountain tops. The effort of making us breakfast in an almost empty hotel, due to the cocid lockdown is amazing. The staff gies over the top to just serve a few customers. We are happy as we are hungry this morning. Eggs, sausages, toast, and Jam + coffee is ok for me. Mostly the Thais eat rice soup in the morning, so im happy just to get a fried egg. I simply can`t get myself to eat hot rice soup in the morning.

I was up early and planned my 5 km walk, but in these steep mountains, it was 1.5 km up the mountaing and 1.5 km down again… i was totally finished and our of breath. I`m not 20 anymore, i guess. 

After brekfast and packing our bikes, i was trying to make my first video log:

It`s not a secret that i need more training in presenting on video LOL!!


Then we really started a big moment of bike riding for Dag and Lek. We rode Doi Mesalong road R1130 over to R1338 and stopped at Doi Tung Royal Villa. All the way beautiful scenery and stunning nature on perfect riding roads. It just can`t get any better. We got some wet road, but only 2 drops of rain, and some drizzle started on our break at the Doi Tung Villa.  

To ride the Doi Mae Salong is a stunning once in a lifetime experience in itself. The view of the huge mountain tea farms is amazing in itself, but the roads are also perfect for bikes. It is steep, curcy and with good underlay and good grip. Its fun to zig-zag up and down the mountain passes in our own pace, really learning how the bike works without it getting to dangerous, as it is not possible to keep more than about 50km/h average speed. 

Doi Tung Royal Villa in Chiang Rai province, was the former residence of Princess Srinagarindra. This was also the base for her work with the Doi Tung Development Project, which she founded to reforest the land and helped to improve the lives of the local ethnic minorities who had previously relied on slash and burn farming, opium poppy cultivation and the drugs trade. The land has been leased from the Royal Forest Department, since the Princess Mother had refused an offer of ownership on the grounds that she was not more privileged than any Thai who had no right to own land in a forest preserve.

Built in 1988, Doi Tung Royal Villa combines the styles of a Swiss chalet and northern Lanna architecture. The exterior of the Royal Villa decorated with wood slabs cut from discarded teak trees. The interior of the Royal Villa is panelled with recycled pine wood, which came from crates used for imported tools and equipment. The gold teakwood that lines the floor was presented to the Princess Mother by the Forest Industry Organization. The simple interior design exudes elegance and functionality, which reflects the nature of the owner of the residence.




After our visit at the Royal Villa, I decided to try something new… the R1148 was going from Doi Tung all the way to the border crossing of Mae Sai, and that turned out to be a great experience and quite a challenge. It`s impossible to get curvier roads than this, and it followed the border to Myanmar with armed guards that opened gates for us. Riding next to barbed wire and minefields, over the mountains, crossing the skies and it got between sunny and foggy with 2 meter sights some places. A great experience and a very extreme ride in these conditions, but we loved it!

Our next stop was at the Myanmar border crossing in Mae Sai. Took some photos, checked out the market and rode straight to Golden Triangle on the 1041 and R1290.

After lunch in the Golden triangle, at was ready for some of my favourite roads… the famous R1290 “Paradise Road” to Chiang Khong and then to the Teak Garden Hotel where we could relax in the infinity swimming pool by the Mekong River and direct view to Myanmar. Today’s total was only 188 km.

After relaxation it was time to visit our friends that runs the Rin-bar just 100 meters down the road from the hotel. It turned out to be a great night out.

Tom Stenshavn