Doi Suthep and Samoeng Village, Chiang Mai

14:09 Amy 1 Comments

A road trip on the scenic mountain roads of Doi Suthep takes you through beautiful forests and little villages, past caves and waterfalls and is one of our favourite day-trip motorbike rides in the Chiang Mai province.

This motorcycle tour is great for discovering 'unseen Chiang Mai'.

We have discovered something new each time we've driven our little motorbike around Doi Suthep. If we see a sign pointing to something that takes our fancy we go ahead and follow it. Do the same and you're sure to discover things that most tourists miss out on, such as rarely visited waterfalls, pretty little villages and picnic tables in flower gardens. Don't forget to take a camera - there are more photo opportunities than you can shake a mango at.

The road surfaces are generally rather good, meaning you can enjoy twisting through the mist without worrying too much about pot holes - though there are some, so take care. Some of the turns are really tight and steep at the same time - I think they're quite exciting, but I still take them carefully. Today a guy overtook us way, way too fast. Later we saw the same guy had crashed into the side of the road... doh. We have a little 125cc automatic motorbike, so don't let the words 'mountain roads' put you off - take it slow up the steepest parts and your bike will be fine. At least, ours has been mostly OK so far (tip: make sure your coolant tank is full, if your bike has one).

It can be pretty chilly up there, so take a jumper as well as your waterproofs. 

Great coffee and tasty food.

Stop off at Doi Chaang Resort and Coffe Shop on the way for some of the best coffee you're likely to find. Doi Chaang coffee is grown organically in the hills of Northern Thailand and is of a really high quality. The pretty garden overlooks land that has elephants wandering around. 

We ate at Baanklangdoi Hotel Resort & Spa. The cafe was laid back and relaxing - we felt like we were on holiday. Some of the food was a bit pricey (for us), so we had fried rice for 50 baht each. The wait staff were friendly and happily accommodated Andy's vegetarianism by giving him extra vegetables and chillies in soy sauce rather than fish sauce - nice! If you fancy staying there, you can rent a whole huge Thai house for 1,500 baht per night. Andy thinks we should get married there, but I'm pretty sure that (at the moment) my heart is set on the incredible Tree House Resort further North for that!

An adventurous little hike to Tat Krok Waterfall

The sign for Tat Krok Waterfall beckoned us off our motorcycle and into the forest on foot. 
I'm glad we did - this waterfall is a pretty one with fast-flowing water, trailing tendril-ey trees and frolicking butterflies. I tried so hard to get a great photograph of a beautiful orange butterfly that was chilling out on the rocks, but my camera isn't good enough... one day, one day.

The orange mud path down to the waterfall is quite steep and slippery when wet, but I managed it in Converse with the help of a sturdy long stick and a patient boyfriend (thanks Andy!).

To go and see the waterfall for yourself, pull over at the sign for Tat Krok Waterfall and park up. Follow the trail away from the road on foot (unless you have a dirt bike I guess). At the first fork, head right. When you reach the 'junction', go straight on. There's a sign, but it's partially obscured by trees. Carefully head down the path. At the next fork, turn left and carry on to the waterfall.

The water flows down from the jungle and drops down into a big rock bowl lined with moss. It's really quiet down there. There was evidence of human visitation; some plastic bottles that had been carelessly tossed away ruined the natural beauty somewhat. We just tried to ignore them.

The drop is dramatic... so unfortunately, this waterfall isn't really suitable for paddling in because the flow is too fast and there's a big drop. If you want a waterfall to paddle and splash in, go to the Sticky Waterfall - the second best waterfall in Thailand. 

Samoeng Village

This little village is so pretty. We simply drove up and down the main road through the village, past wooden houses, rice paddies and open-fronted Thai style restaurants. We stopped to ask some Thai teenagers where to find a petrol station. They were very helpful, with lots of gestures and shy laughter!  We ended our trip at Samoeng village and turned around to head home, but next time we'll make sure we have the time to explore further... exciting :)

Essential Information 

Time taken
5 hours including numerous stops for food, drink and on-foot exploration

Directions (map)
From Chiang Mai, head past Central Airport Plaza towards Hang Dong on route 108. Keep going, past Tesco, past Big C. Turn right down route 1269. Follow this route and just keep driving, turning off to see things as you like. We stopped and turned around at Samoeng village.

Road quality
Pretty excellent.  There are a few cracks and potholes but mostly the road surface is great.

Things to see
Waterfalls, caves, forests, villages and elephants.

Petrol stations
We made it from Chiang Mai to Samoeng on a full tank in our 125cc. Fill up before you turn onto route 1269. There is a small roadside petrol station near the SCB Training Resort. After that, there are few more small roadside petrol stations till you reach Samoeng Village where you will find a big petrol station if you turn right at the crossroads and carry on for about five minutes - it's on your left.

There are public toilets at the view point just past a village called Ban Dong, on the right. There's a little temple here too. Other than that, there are toilets at at the big petrol stations on route 108 and the one in Samoeng village. If you're nowhere near any of these, you can stop off at a cafe or coffee shop or make like a bear and go in the woods.

Have you done this trip? What did you see?

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1 comment:

  1. Nice post on this blog.This is a great tour. I think you enjoyed the tour. I also got some trips for such tours. Anyhow i liked your other posts. Thanks for sharing.


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