Seeing a new country on a motorcycle is a rewarding and thrilling way of discovering any new destination. That said, the fascinating kingdom of Thailand is a wonderful place to start. However, planning a motorbike trip across the Land of Smiles can be quite a challenging task, especially because of the diversity of the country. So if you want to aim high and cover most of the country, drive these epic routes that will reveal the best of Thailand at every turn.
Chiang Mai, being a mountain destination, makes for the perfect start to your motorbiking journey. In fact, most of the famous motorbiking routes in Thailand either start or end at Chiang Mai. A word of caution though, avoid the months of March and April if you want to venture out from Chiang Mai. This is the stubble burning season, which is not only unhealthy, but the smog created is so bad that visibility drops to below 100 feet making driving hazardous and unsafe.
The Mae Hong Son Loop
The Mae Hong Son Loop is the most sought after route by bikers in Thailand. The loop begins at Chiang Mai and traverses some of the most beautiful parts of the country over a distance of 600 kilometres. Depending on the time in hand and driving experience the route can be covered in three days or in three weeks. There are plenty of difficult sections for novices, but if you plan well the trip is well worth the effort. There are a couple of great stops on the way including Pai, famous for the Pai Circus hostel, where you can stop and learn all the related activities. The cost of motorbike insurance can be lower than you think so please make sure you take it before you start your adventure.
The Chiang Rai Loop
The Chiang Rai Loop is another well known motorbiking circuit that also begins at Chiang Mai and goes towards Chiang Rai. From Chiang Rai you bike towards Mae Salong and onwards to Doi Angkhang before returning to Chiang Mai. Do not miss out on the decorative all-white temple at Chiang Rai. Doi Angkhang is one of the coldest places in the country so do not be surprised to see the locals dressed in warm attire.
The Samoeng Route
The third famous biking route is The Samoeng Route. This trip again commences from Chiang Mai is just 100 kilometres long. This short journey is ideal for the less experienced motorcyclists as the roads are straightforward and can be covered in a day or two. Your journey won’t be complete if you don’t visit the Samoeng Forest, Mae Sap Cave and Mae Sa waterfalls on the way.
If you are not stationed in the Northern part of Thailand, there are some wonderful trips near Bangkok. The Nang Prue-Si Sawat route near Kanchanaburi is a nice place to explore. Moreover it is very close to Bangkok and has some well established national parks like Sai Yok and Erawan where you can bike amidst lovely surroundings. If you are looking to stretch your legs, there is a nice hiking trail at Khao Chang Ridge on top of a small mountain.
There are some good routes in the south also but basically on flat roads. The two most popular are Phuket – Surat Thani and Phuket- Ranong and cover the less visited areas of Thailand. Most tourists don’t get an opportunity to see this part of the country and you won’t regret you opted for the paths less travelled.