Riding Distance: 120 km
Ride Time: Approx 3 hours round trip
Allow a total of 4-6 hours depending on stops
Skill: Basic experience is sufficient
Motorbike: Ideally 300cc or more for comfort on the highway section and climbing the mountainous portion. However, it can easily be done solo on a 125cc scooter, or a little slower if you have a passenger. The quality of the road surface is excellent all the way to he village of Mae Kampong. If you continue above the village, the road becomes much steeper and rougher, but is still paved.
Overview: This ride is an opportunity to escape most of the foreign tourists, and experience a quaint village in a lush, green mountain setting. The tourists that visit Mae Kampong are mostly from Thailand. As is typical in the north, there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops to enjoy. The slower pace in this area is relaxing and the mountain portion of the ride is a beautiful forest. If you visit on a weekday you’ll enjoy less traffic.
Preparation: Fill your petrol tank before ascending the mountain, particularly if you’re engine is less than 300cc.
Scenic Coffee Stop: Chomnok Chommai
You’ll pass through the village of Mae Kampong just before arriving at this open air coffee shop. The main attraction is the view over the village and the menu is focused on drinks and desserts.
Scenic Stop: Kew Fin
If you don’t mind a steep climb and an uneven road surface, continue up the mountain to the lookout called “Kew Fin”. Park your motorbike near the checkpoint gate and its less than a 5 minute walk up the hill to the view point (look for the sign below on your right, as its written in Thai)
If the weather is clear you’ll enjoy a view of the surrounding mountains.
Trace your path back to the Mae Kampong village and enjoy a brief walk around the shops, restaurants and coffee shops.
Scenic Stop: Tharnthong Garden (Restaurant and Lodge)
This restaurant and lodge has the most amazing garden view! I haven’t tried the food yet but will certainly do so on my next visit. Even if you’re not hungry, park and walk around the garden behind the restaurant.
Visiting Mae Kampong made me question “How many more interesting places are there to visit near Chiang Mai?”
Of course the answer is, “Plenty”. Stay tuned for more…