Saturday, December 07, 2013

Day 1 of Ride Thailand bike tour: Chiang Mai to Doi Inthanon

As stated earlier, I am currently riding across Thailand in the company of other bloggers and media professionals. This post is a quick summary of what traversed on Day 1.

After meeting our host, Mr. Sethaphan Buddhani, Director, Tourism Authority Of Thailand and other bloggers and media professionals we freshed up at a hotel and headed down to meet our bikes.

Few of the invitees (Joshua and Meraj) were hard core bikers and they had brought their complete set of biking hear, including helmets all the way from India. I on the other hand, didn't have that luxury and borrowed from the organizers. The trip is organized by Mr Wittaya Singkalah (aka Sumon), who is an avid biker and runs a monthly bike magazine called Ride Thailand. Sumon and his team is full time into organizing wide range of biking excursions around Thailand. [More details at and ]
We were asked to pick our bikes. Our convoy involves 3 Honda CB 500X and 3 Kawasaki Versys superbikes. These will be our carriers for next 7 days, while we cover close to 2000 kms across Thailand. The CB500X were brand new, while Kawasakis have logged 50000 kms. I opted for the Kawasaki, which by end of the day logged 250 odd kms under me and I will probably swap for other bikes later in the tour.

After a quick test drive to familiarize ourselves with the bikes, we headed for lunch on our bikes. Lunch was a restaurant named Khum Kantoke. This restaurant is an interesting place to be at, because of various performances and activities. The restaurant commands a separate post and will be cover that soon.

Managed to find a few vegetarian items and after that, it was time for ride of the day. We were to ride up to DOI INTHANON peak and national park. Doi Inthanon is the highest peak in Thailand (2565 meters) and close to 120 kms from Chiang Mai on a road which is a mix of highway (first half) and curves (second half). Barring few cities enroute, the roads were clear most of the time and we cruised our way to the hill.

On the way, Mr Buddhani picked up his personal bike from a BMW showroom. He had given it for servicing and for rest of the trip, Mr. Buddhani rode on his BMW 1100 R. I did learn that this bike has a heater on handlebars to keep rider's palm warm, if it is cold outside.  Mr Buddhani, despite his age is highly athletic and is a passionate biker himself. He is instantly recognized where ever he goes and commands lots of respect. It feels good to be riding around with him.

In a few hours were were at Doi Inthanon. The ride was good, with Mr Sumon leading the convoy. It had been long time since I went for a long ride on bike and today's ride gave me a whole new perspective, as most of my long drives had been in cars. 

Unlike India, there're no roadside tea shops in Thailand. As we climbed up the temperature started to dip and we started feeling cold, despite jackets and gloves. Temperature was close to 8 degrees, as per a thermometer kept at coffee shop.

There's a weather forecasting centre on top of Doi Inthalon peak and few kms below the peak is a national park. This is not one of the tourism hot spots, but local people come here to spend a leisurely time.
After riding downhill back to Chiang mai, we had dinner at the same restaurant, now abuzz with tourists. As I said earlier, the experience at this restaurant needs to be written separately.

Above are a few photos taken from mobile. Will upload more photos and details once I am back in India.

Now gearing up for Day 2, which involves a 250km ride to Mae Hong Son. Today's ride involves negotiating 1864 corners.


Puru@ShadowsGalore said...

Awesome ! Have a great and safe trip :)

Indrani said...

This is truly good one for you!
Have a great time.

kaushal mathpal said...

nice post...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Puru, Indrani, Kaushal