Random Roads Thailand Edition

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Cro59, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    "Commence countdown. Twenty days to Chiang Mai and counting."

    "Twenty days, check."

    "Airline tickets?"

    "Check."

    "Passport?"

    "Check."

    "Lodging?"

    "I'll do that later."

    "Um, okay. Moto jacket?"

    "My son is bringing it...I think."

    "You think?"

    "Probably."

    "Probably? What about riding boots?"

    "Yeah, got those. So, check."

    "Gloves? Helmet?"

    "I can get those there, can't I?"

    "Right, uh... What about saddle bags? You're not strapping a suitcase to the back are you?"

    "Oh, no, I've got that covered. 30L Kriega and a backpack."

    "That's something. Bike?"

    "Nah, I'll see what they have when I get there."

    "What? Really? Is that wise?"

    "Probably not."

    "What if you get stuck with a scooter or a piece of shit 150?"

    "Just roll with it, man, just roll."

    "I almost hate to ask, but have you done any research on your route, GPS tracks, things to see, anything like that?"

    "Not really. Thought I'd head north, swing around to Nan and the Laos border, and just see if I can find anything interesting."

    "Look, have you ever even been to Thailand?"

    "Well, sure! I spent a few days in Bangkok back in the late '80's."

    "I see. You really haven't thought this through very well, have you? Are you sure this is a good idea?"

    "Oh, hell yes! Absolutely!"
    #1
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  2. Lopburi

    Lopburi Lost in paradise

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    Pop’s bike rent in Chiang Mai has everything you need. Well, they have lots of bikes, saddle bags etc and good support if something goes wrong. They have a spot to leave your suitcase too.
    #2
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  3. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Come on, Mr. Vacation, hurry the hell up and get here.

    So here's the situation. I work in the Middle East for three months at a time and get a glorious thirty days off. Sounds great in theory but the living conditions and daily slog of work are enough to drive a guy mental. I had planned to head back to Arizona to continue my love affair with that sweet CB500X Rally Raid that I keep locked up in a dark storage unit, but my son wanted to meet up for some diving in Thailand over the holidays. He only has about ten days, leaving me with three weeks on my own. I figured, hell, I'll be in Thailand, Thailand has motorcycles, I like motorcycles, so why not mix things up for the rest of my vacation?

    Of course, all of my riding gear is in Tucson with my bike, so I decided to buy a second set that I can keep with me for future excursions. Can you say Mongolia? My requirement is that it all has to be dual purpose. Well, other than the helmet. I'm not going to buy or carry around a set of Klim Badlands. The intent is to get boots, jacket, etc., that I can wear for travel, riding, hiking, and general lounging around without looking like a Power Ranger or Hell's Angels wannabe. I'll talk more about that later.

    I'm intentionally not over planning this trip (or planning at all). Call it the anti-plan. I researched the availability of motorcycles, looked at Google Earth for a few minutes, and searched for "best things to do in Chiang Mai" (although it seemed like too much work to actually read the articles, so I didn't). I started a thread over at Trip Planning, but hardly anyone posted. I took that as a sign from the Universe that I was putting too much effort into this. In a sense, I believe the internet has made adventure travel too easy, to the point that the only real adventure ends up being the result of weather or mechanical breakdowns. The anti-plan requires a certain willful, stubborn ignorance to go into the situation expecting to improvise rather than follow a predetermined checklist. Will I miss out on "must see" sights? Absolutely, but I hope to get more out of the experience by staying open to the serendipity of the moment, the random suggestions of strangers, and the in-the-moment, emotional appeal of one road over another. Follow the flow, if you know what I mean.

    One thing that should make this more interesting is that this is my first true, epic-class ride. I've done a handful of multi-day, moto trips in the US, but nothing over a week and never in a foreign country. That's good for you guys because I have no idea what I'm doing and will certainly make plenty of rookie mistakes.

    Anyway, it's great to have you along. Feel free to pass along your suggestions and comments. Or not, if the idea of the anti-plan appeals to you.
    #3
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  4. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Thanks! Pop's seems to be the best source in Chiang Mai and I intend to start with them. I was going to reserve a bike and then decided to just wing it and see what they have when I get there. I'll do this trip on a 50cc scooter with flat tires if I have to.
    #4
  5. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Been here awhile Supporter

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    Where the girls are green and the grass is pretty.
    Is Pop's the same place that @The Bigfella now owns - Rider's Corner ?
    #5
  6. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Pretty sure they're different places.
    #6
  7. ChairmanMaose

    ChairmanMaose OneLessCar

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    Direct flight to Chiang Mai or will you be flying into Bangkok?
    #7
  8. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Actually, flying into Phuket for family time and diving, and then flying to Chiang Mai on 4 Jan.
    #8
  9. ChairmanMaose

    ChairmanMaose OneLessCar

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    Direct to Phuket? Nice. So envious. Post some pics, I haven't been to Thailand for years.
    #9
  10. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Pictures once I'm boots on the ground. Nothing anyone wants to see in my current environment unless they have a fondness for dust (currently mud) and concrete T-walls.
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  11. Lopburi

    Lopburi Lost in paradise

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    Pops should have any bike you want available. They have CB500X’s. Not Rally Raid. Pick any road along the Thai/Myanmar/Laos border. They are all good. Three weeks won’t be enough time. Nan area is a hidden treasure. Google Bo Klua loop.

    PM me if you want specific details
    #11
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  12. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Looks like they have a pretty good selection and inventory. Just have to decide if I want a dirt bike or road bike. Bo Klua looks promising.
    #12
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  13. Traveler1

    Traveler1 Adventurer Supporter

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    Check this out: https://www.thegtrider.com/maps-of-thailand-laos-maps The maps were put together by David Unkovich and include all the good biking roads in Thailand and Laos. The maps also include advice regarding places to stay while on the road. If you can't get a bike at Pops, there are lots of good rental shops located along the same street he's on. Have fun.
    #13
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  14. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Hmm, I wonder if I can buy those maps when I get there. No way it arrives before I leave.
    #14
  15. Traveler1

    Traveler1 Adventurer Supporter

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    Yup! Lots of local places sell the maps. You might want to check the gtrider.com site and ask the question. Lots of good info on the site.
    #15
  16. Traveler1

    Traveler1 Adventurer Supporter

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    Just checked to see if I had any laying around, but it looks like I've given them away at some point. Here's some of the many places which have them according to David's site: Maps are available at
    C&P Motorcycle Rental
    Mr Mechanic
    Tony Big Big Bikes
    On The Road Books
    The guys at "Riders Corner" were supposed to come up with some GPS tracks, but I don't know if they ever did. In any event, you should stop by there for lunch or dinner and maybe meet some of the expat riders who hang out there.
    You also might want to look at http://www.bestbikingroads.com/motorcycle-roads/motorbike-rides-in-thailand-/thailand-__10720.html It's free and shows many of the best biking roads in Northern Thailand.
    #16
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  17. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Thanks, @Traveler1, I'll look for the map when I get there. I'm old school and prefer maps to a GPS. Plus, I'll be sure to stop by Riders Corner.
    #17
  18. Traveler1

    Traveler1 Adventurer Supporter

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    Here's another thread you should check out. https://www.rideasia.net This particular forum has a number of American members, and is kept pretty much up to date. I just noticed that the Riders Corner now has a new owner, an expat. We used to have the annual Horizons Unlimited meetings there. (up until 2 years ago). Just one more suggestion. You should make copies of your passport (main page) as it isn't unusual for the rental companies to hold your passport for the duration of the rental. The copy will provide you with the relevant information you will need to carry on your person.
    #18
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  19. RowBust

    RowBust Been here awhile

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    The Bigfella, an Aussie and an advrider bought Riders Corner recently, look him up
    #19
  20. Traveler1

    Traveler1 Adventurer Supporter

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    Thanks Rowbust, will do!
    #20