The Prae Loop.


An article by: Tom Stenshavn

Chiang Mai to Prae, then the 200 KM loop around the Prae Mountains.


Tour arranged by Big Bike Tours and friends, and we headed out from Chiang Mai and took the short route to Prae. Along the way, we took our first stop at Thailands highest located train station outside Lamphun.

It is operated by the State Railway of Thailand, and is 683.14 km from Bangkok railway station. Khun Tan Railway Station is in the Tha Pladuk Subdistrict, Mae Tha District.

Khun Tan Railway Station is the highest railway station in Thailand, at 578 metres (1,896 ft 4 in) above sea level. Around the railway station is the Doi Khuntan National Park, the reason the station exists, which has bungalows run by the State Railway of Thailand, for visitors’ use as well.

Two hundred metres from Khun Tan Railway Station, is the Khun Tan Tunnel. It is the longest railway tunnel in Thailand, at 1,352.1 metres in length. Construction took 11 years at a cost of 1.3 million baht. It was finished in 1918.


After , we headed to Prae city on R11 and R1023. Just one more coffee stop, and we eat lunch in Prae, where we also are going to stay overnight. But first we are exploring a 200 KM loop around the city in the National Parks of Prae and Nan province and the stunning mountains.

Phrae is in the valley of the Yom River. The Phi Pan Nam Range runs across the province from north to south in the west. The Phlueng Range is in the east. The history of Phrae dates back to the Haripunchai kingdom of the Mon. It became part of the Lan Na in 1443, when King Tilokaraj was on an expedition to capture Nan. (Thanks Wikipedia for this i didn`t have any idea of)

Off to the loop, and our first stop is The Golden Rock Temple (Wat Phra That Din Kwaen) 

Lots of short staircases leading to different big Buddha statues with epic views of the mountainside. At the top is a golden rock Buddhists believe to be super holy. This temple is incredible except some insects live in the trees and make a high pitch noise that sounds like construction workers. 

The Loop was streaching from Phrae out on R1024, then R1342, crossing the district border to Nan, R1026 to Na Noi and the R1216 all the way back to Highway 101 to Prae. 

We were crossing mountains and national parks Mae Kampong and Khun Sathan. The loop was in total 200 KM.

The total ride from Chiang Mai including the loop was 433 KM

This 200 KM loop is highly recommended as both the roads, the experience and the riding pleasure is top noch on this tour. 

We stayed overnight at Phoom Thai Garden Hotel in Prae, and had an ealy sleep as it was a lonmg day. Next morning we started heading back to Chiang Mai. Read more about it under the map….

The next days ride to Chiang Mai is also a recommended route instead of taking the short way. A lot more to see and better roads to ride. Actually, if you are planning on riding a bit fast, these roads are built for that.

Tom Stenshavn