Helge`s Friend Tour with former customers from his USA, South Africa and Australia tours

12 days with Norwegian “rookie-riders” in Thailand – PART 2

An article by: Tom Stenshavn

Day 7: The road to the city of “Pizza no Look” (Phitsanulok)
This is a problem for me. I`m not used to ride in 14 degrees cold weather in the morning. Even i have my fleeze jacket under my riding gear, it`s too cold for me. But the good news is that it`s just the first hour until the sun is higher in the sky, then the warmth is coming and it`s a nice day in paradise again.

Started the day  riding the easy curves of the mountain roads of  2016 og 2216 through Phu Luang National Park.

Today, we have around 315 km to go and we are visiting one of my favourite places, the mountain of Phu Tubberk. 1667 meter above sea level with a view that is impossible to explain. Usually its pretty cold up there also, but today was the first time i experienced more than 20 degrees on top. It was a clear and sunny day, so the view was pretty spectacular. The last time we visited here, we spent the night in Igloos and it was 5 degrees at night. But what agreat experiece to see the sunset and sunrise here. Absolutely stunning! Phu Tubberk can be visited 2 ways, from the highway 12 and up to the mountain on totally crazy steep turned tarmac road, and the same way down again (a 30m minute ride one way), or through the national park of of Phu Hin Rong Kla. But that will cost you around 8-9 usd for one person + bike. The national park from the top of Phu Tubberk is ending in Nakhon Thai, but is not actually a shorter route east. The roads in the park are great, but it has only one viewpoint and is around 67 km long and takes 1.5 hour.

The group headed from Tubberk to the Temple, Wat Phra Thart Pha Sorn Kaew…. Yeah, try to say that fast; watpratattatatatt…. a temple with a stunning view from one of the mountain restaurants nearby. 

Straight in to Phitsanulok, and to one of the most luxury overnights on this trip, Yodia Heritage Boutique Hotel. Tonight we have a double celebration for one of the couples in the group who has an anniversiary and a birthday at the same time. We celebrate first with beers and a dip in the pool, then a fantastic dinner at the hotel restaurant with Thai-Italian specialities and a lot of red wine. The couple bought us champagne as well, so thank you for that. I enjoyed it very much!

Day 8 – Leaving the group

After Phitsanulok, Øyvind and myself decided to leave the group and go back to Chiang Mai. Øyvind was to fly back to Pattaya, and i took a day off instead of spending the night at Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand. It is only 80 km from Chiang Mai, and i also needed new tires on my bike.

We rode the fastest way home and stopped for a coffee at Willy Fardal`s house near Phrae in Dan Chai.

Nothing more to tell…

Day 9: – On the road again


A day (2 nights) later, i started at 7 am in Chiang Mai, and joined back with the group at their resort in Doi Inthanon at 8 am. Today, heading for Mae Sot on inner roads south to the border city to Myanmar. The last 70 km before the main road to Mae Sot, we did on the highway, but then the nice curvy roads over the mountain to Mae Sot that we all enjoy.


A few beers by the pool, then to a local Thai Restaurant where we tried a lot of different Thai food that we all shared. 13 persons with a lot of beers, a bottle of rum and around 11 courses of food made out to be 13 USD each. Can`t complain…


 Straight to bed after, and dreaming of the Mae Hong Son Loop and the more than 4000 curves that awaits us on the rest of the trip.


Day 10 – NOW it starts (part 2)

First leg, i follow the group to the gas station, then to the Myanmar refugee camp in Mae La, where we gave some snacks to the kids. We always stops here after filling the gas and always by some snacks to give to the kids in the refugee village. We are not allowed to go inside here, so we just give them at the fence, and they are always coming to welcome us. 

Mae La, Beh klaw, refugee camp was established in 1984 in Tha Song Yang District, Tak Province in the Dawna Range area and houses more than 50,000 Karen refugees. Mae La is the largest refugee camp for Karen refugees in Thailand.

Ridig together in the mountains with 12 bikes and a Harley in front makes the turns slower, so after the visit i took off on my Yamaha and had some fun in the mountain roads. I met the group on all stops, but had no time for photos or anything else than enjoying the ride. I have been on this road prpbably more than 100 times, but still never get tired of riding here.

We arrived at the Riverside Resort in Mae Sariang, and about 20 min behind, the group arrived. It was time for some beers, and this time i broke the law; The “no shower before beer – law”. But i was so hot and the group were 20 min behind. Secondly, i hate drinking beer alone, so i decided to break it this one time.

Then we had a nice meal at the local steak-house nearby. We never recommend steaks that costs only 10 USD, so i tried the T-Bone and it was classy!



Day 11 – My favourite what?
Short ride today, but one of my favourite routes to ride. This leg has the most beautiful curves to play with, and i couldn`t wait to go in the morning. I was outside the hotel packed and ready more than an hour before the start. But yet, i forgot to turn my tracker on, so no route for today. Doesn`t really matter, because its only ONE way to go to Mae Hong Son from Mae Sariang, and to stop half way in Khun Yuam. 
As before, i was heading first, and waited for the group on the stops. First leg to The viewpoint of Mae La Luang, then we visited the Thai-Japan Friendship Memorial Museum in Khun Yuam, then off to the next stop Pha Bong Vewpoint before visiting my long time friend and Long Neck Tribe leader, Khun Ma-Ware in her village. She came to greet us, showed us around their village, and we gave a small donation to their tribe of around 100-110 people living around 12 km from Mae Hong Son. 
Then to Piya resort in Mae Hong Son for beers around the pool, and then off to the big night market just outside the hotel. Street food and beer for dinner today.
Day 12, 13 and 14 – Caveing, relaxing, eating and drinking…
Day 12 of riding and the route from Mae hong Son to Pai. A short ride with some stops along the way for some sightseeing such as several viewpoints and the famous Lod Cave. Mae Hong Son to Pai is part of the 1864 turn Mae Hong Son Loop and is one of the most famous routes in Northern Thailand.
A stop to the lod cave is always interesting and the cave has great sights with the choice of 1, 2 or 3 caves to visit. You are not allowed in wihout a guide, but it is a well worth sight to see.
Tham Lot cave is a cave system with a length of 1,666 meters. The Nam Lang River flows through the cave which is filled with stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is home to large numbers of bats and swifts. In Tham Lot and other caves nearby, it is dicovered teakwood coffins which are thought to have been carved by the Lawa tribe-people thousands of years ago.
Todays ride stops in the hippie-city of Pai. A city full of backpackers and enjoyers of life. Pai is a very cozy city with only small hotels or guest houses. It has it`s own special nightlife and it`s own walking street with a night market with clothes, food and souvenirs. Pai is one of my favourite cities in Northern Thailand, and luckily we are spending 2 days here before going back to Chiang Mai.
Recently, Pai has appeared on the Thailand tourist map and has received major infrastructure upgrades including an airport with several daily flights, nine 7-Elevens, several small- to medium-size luxury resorts, totaling more than 350 accommodation properties, several live music clubs, beer bars, and three sets of traffic lights. It has led to an influx of business investment and land speculation by both farang (Western Caucasians) and big city Thais.While some hail these changes as a new age of prosperity for Pai, others thinks that Pai loses it`s charm with all this touristification.
I would say that we should enjoy this little cozy city while it lasts.
1 night of exstreme fun, a day of relaxing and looking around followed by a quiet night and an early morning rise and ride back to Chiang Mai, approx 140 km and 80 of them on twisty mountain roads perfect for motorbike riding.
It has been two extremely nice weeks with great company, great roads, a lot of beer in the evenings, good food, nice weather all the way, both cold and hot mornings, absolutely stunning sights and some of the worlds best riding roads.
Who could possible want more??

Thank you to Helge for many of the photos

See you out there…..

Tom Stenshavn

Business and Personal Coach, Rider and Explorer

Visit my other web site: You Are One of Us