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Thread: Chiang Mai, Thailand

  1. #1
    roamingbeemer roamingbeemer's Avatar
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    Chiang Mai, Thailand

    Just returned from Chiang Mai, Thailand where I have done lots of riding over the past 10 years.

    Until recently getting full size bikes was difficult unless you purchased them. However, if anyone is interested you can now rent full size Kawasaki and Honda motorcycles at very reasonable prices. Bikes that are manufactured in Thailand can be purchased without the huge import tariffs so they can be rented for around 40 dollars per day. You can just show up and rent them because it looked like many available. They do not even check for a license. I guess if you are stupid enough to rent a full size bike without knowing how to properly ride it is your problem.

    I normally use my friends bike when I am there but because he was out of town (no keys) I rented a Kawasaki ER6 for the week. THE negative side of renting in Thailand is the lack of insurance... you damage it you pay or you do not leave Thailand-simple. A scooter is cheap but a full size bike will cost more to fix or god forbid to replace obviously.

    I have never had a problem and IF you just watch how others ride it is very safe place to ride. Fantastic twisty roads thru the mountains etc. You must be use to lane sharing for traffic going your direction and opposite direction but it works very well and I honestly feel safer riding there than in Colorado since it is such a bike culture. Cars never pull out onto a road, everyone eases out so you have time to avoid. They may not look but since they ease out there is no excuse for hitting them. No sudden moves is the key.

    PS, there is a fantastic hole in the wall MC gear shop with almost everything you need to ride from helmets, neck braces, and jackets - cheap. A little short of selection for MC pants and leg/hip protection but lots of everything else. Great guest houses are also available for cheap so the only expensive part is getting to Chinag Mai depending on where you are located. I work in Hong Kong so I go frequently anytime I get more than 3 days off in a row and I am not going back to Colorado.
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    Seek Fun. "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain--and most fools do" BF
    2009 K1300GT, S1000RR sold, F650 sold
    2011 R1200GSA
    2014 Kawasaki DTracker 250 (Chiang Mai Thailand)

  2. #2
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    Which months are best to ride there? Typical air tic costs? Maps or GPS or both? Daily costs for lodging,food,fuel? Travel times & time to allot to see the best spots? Good places to get off MC & hike? I'd like to hear more,thanks. Neck brace?hmm that's not sounding so good???
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

  3. #3
    roamingbeemer roamingbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    Which months are best to ride there? Typical air tic costs? Maps or GPS or both? Daily costs for lodging,food,fuel? Travel times & time to allot to see the best spots? Good places to get off MC & hike? I'd like to hear more,thanks. Neck brace?hmm that's not sounding so good???
    I never use a GPS in Asia but it maybe useful if you are not familiar. I try to not show any expensive toys or jewelry except the basics. The best place to start is to head south on 121 and turn west onto 1269 which takes you toward Samoeng. You can take Rural Road 4021 or several others. A two or three day ride takes you thru Mae Hong Son and Pai. There are many options of routes from pavement to partial dirt and jungle. Dry season starts in Oct or Nov and runs until at least April and is the best time with cooler temps etc. It has some elevation and is away from the Ocean so even the wet season is not too bad.

    A nice day trip is 1269 to 1069 for a loop back to the city. That is a good introductory ride.

    I either stay at one of the following guests houses - Sri Pat (see on Trip Advisor) or Arte House (arte_house@yahoo.com) from 750 to 1100 Thai Baht which is 35 to 45 dollars per night. If you want a luxury room at the Sri Pat I think it is 1700 baht per night (60 dollars). These places are clean, safe, and lots of fun. If staying in that area all types of food are available from a Diner owned by an American, Japanese, Excellent Mexican, of course Thai, and lots of night time entertainment. The price for food is not worth mentioning. Of course there are 5 star options but those are not for me.

    Air Tickets from the US willl vary but you can count on at least 1500 dollars if you do lots of research. If you get to Bangkok Thailand a domestic ticket to Chiang Mai (CNX) is about 110 dollars round trip. Some Korean and Chinese carriers are flying directly into Chiang Mai now. I believe Korean Airlines will fly direct from Seoul. It is becoming too popular for us who have been going there a long time. You will meet many Americans and Canadians spending extended holidays in Chiang Mai since it is so cheap to live long term with no income.

    Just remember you do not get insurance and you just pay for repairs or replacement. I helped pull a German out of a ditch on his rented Honda CBR which will cost him to fix. It was obvious he panicked in the curve and could not make the curve. Luckily the bike still ran.

    Medical in Thailand is typically good and reasonably cheap by western prices and dirt cheap compared to US prices. I have travel insurance for big ticket items but otherwise it is just easier to pay the few dollars needed. Medical and dental tourism is a big industry in Thailand. My wife had emergency surgery in Thailand in 2006 and the total bill was less than 4000 dollars (my BUPA insurance paid 50 percent).

    Ohh, and the neck brace was just cheap and cool. It is the most compact one I have seen. I will take back to the US for track use.
    Seek Fun. "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain--and most fools do" BF
    2009 K1300GT, S1000RR sold, F650 sold
    2011 R1200GSA
    2014 Kawasaki DTracker 250 (Chiang Mai Thailand)

  4. #4
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    my son was in Chiang Mai in early October, but he went for the downhill mntn biking. he rented a few motocycles while he was there, jsut as a way to get around and see some of the countryside. Once the rains hit, he hopped a plane to Katmandu, and went hi mntn trekking in Nepal.

    just thought it was an interesting coincidence, nothing more. however- anyone going for the m/cing might also want to check out the dirt biking.
    https://www.facebook.com/XBiking?ref=profile
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  5. #5
    roamingbeemer roamingbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    my son was in Chiang Mai in early October, but he went for the downhill mntn biking. he rented a few motocycles while he was there, jsut as a way to get around and see some of the countryside. Once the rains hit, he hopped a plane to Katmandu, and went hi mntn trekking in Nepal.

    just thought it was an interesting coincidence, nothing more. however- anyone going for the m/cing might also want to check out the dirt biking.
    https://www.facebook.com/XBiking?ref=profile
    Yes there is a ton of that two wheel action there too. You can rent small 125cc motorcyles for a few dollars per day which are also great fun. Before the bigger bikes were available cheaply I would always rent those for getting around and even some long distance ventures. Trekking in Nepal too, your son is getting some good experience.
    Seek Fun. "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain--and most fools do" BF
    2009 K1300GT, S1000RR sold, F650 sold
    2011 R1200GSA
    2014 Kawasaki DTracker 250 (Chiang Mai Thailand)

  6. #6
    Traveler1
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    I generally attend the annual Horizons Unlimited mini-meeting held every January in Chiang Mai. This year the meeting was at the Riders Corner (www.riderscorner.net/) which is not only a great meeting place, but also serves up the best BBQ in town. I always stay at the Riverview Lodge (www.riverviewlodgch.com/) which is close to the night market and good eats such as Puccini Italian Restaurant or the Hofbrauhaus (you can find them both on Trip Advisor. I have been using Joes Bike Team for rental motorcycles, but this year he screwed up my reservation for a bike and I had to go to C&P Service that is on Kotchasarn Road next to the moat and next door to POPs. I got a Honda CRF250 that was in perfect shape with new tires etc. Several expats living in Chiang Mai indicated the C&P, although fairly new to the scene, was now one of the most highly thought of rental shops.

    My experience has been that the months of December and January are always perfect. February is also good weather wise but the farmers start burning their fields about that time and it can get pretty smoggy.

    Once there, one can get good riding maps at the riders corner or go into any bookstore or rental shop and get one of the David Unkovich?s Golden Triangle maps which highlight the best roads (paved and dirt) and provide advice on lodging etc. These are distinctive with a red cover and yellow lettering.

    Check out: http://www.gt-rider.com/ and http://www.rideasia.net/motorcycle-forum/forum.php before you go and you?ll pretty much find all the information you need regarding routes etc. for any type of riding you might like to do.
    Thor Anderson
    Marin County
    K1200GT
    R100GS

  7. #7
    roamingbeemer roamingbeemer's Avatar
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    Yes those are great websites for the area. I worked in Thailand for several years but I did not think many on the MOA would have experience with the great riding in the area. I get back to CNX as often as possible.
    Seek Fun. "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain--and most fools do" BF
    2009 K1300GT, S1000RR sold, F650 sold
    2011 R1200GSA
    2014 Kawasaki DTracker 250 (Chiang Mai Thailand)

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