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The Most Iconic Motorcycle Routes In Northern Thailand

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Thailand is among the best motorcycle touring destinations in the world, according to Book Motorcycle Tour.

There’s no better way to take in the land’s colorful street markets, lush green forests, Buddhist temples, divine cuisine, and panoramic breathtaking landscape than in the open air.

And while you can do this on a bicycle tour, a motorcycle ride makes it all the more exhilarating.

Northern Thailand offers exciting motorcycle routes for both rookies and experienced motorcyclists are here are some of the best.

Samoeng Loop

The Samoeng Loop stretches for about 100km and takes about 6 hours to cover, providing quite the experience for riders.

This route has lots of signposts and starts off in Chiang Mai and passes through Mae Rim, Mae Sa, and Samoeng town.

Although the route allows cyclists to either go clockwise or counter-clockwise, the latter option provides a much more interesting experience.

It has ample curves and many iconic stopping points, not to mention beautiful scenery.

The first leg of the loop to Mae Rim follows route 107 and has heavy traffic so you might have to move at a slow pace.

After a 10 minute ride from Mae Rim, you will come across a signpost asking you to turn left to go to Mae Sa Waterfall and Valley.

The road features very little traffic from here on.

The ride which will take all of about 5 minutes will take you to this iconic 10-level waterfall which is the biggest in the region.

Entrance costs 10 Baht for individuals and 20 Baht for motorbikes.

The waterfall is nestled in a lush green forest and swimming is allowed at level 5 provided you have a bikini or shorts.

You can then drive uphill and stop by Snake Farm, Monkey World, Elephant Camp or Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens.

The latter is so big that you can actually explore while riding on your bike. The rest of the loop follows route 1096 and 1269 back to Chiang Mai.

Along it, you will come across  Thailand’s rice fields, a couple of small villages, Samoeng forest, and the Mae Sap Cave.

Mae Hong Son Loop

A motorcycle tour on the 600 km Mae Hong Son Loop is a sure way to make the most of your time in Chiang Mai.

The route which can be covered in under 4 days takes you across steamy jungles, mist-covered passes, and beautiful mountains.

From Chiang Mai, you can either head south to Hot following route 108 or north to Chiang Dao on route 107.

While different types of bikes can be used on either route, from Thailand’s famous scooters to three-wheeled bikes, route 107 is a bit more challenging.

Although you can head straight to Pai from Chiang Mai, passing through Chiang Dao which is an 80km deviation is well worth it because of its gorges and vast limestone cliffs.

The ultimate experience, however, starts after you turn to route 1095 towards Pai. This stretch has 762 bends, hills, hairpin valley curves, and steep mountain trails.

From Pai, the next leg of the loop passes through Soppong, Mae Aw, and Ban Rak Thai.

This happens to be the most scenic stretch on the loop and the road leads you to tiny dusty towns, rivers, parks, and jaw-dropping landscape.

From there head on to Mae Chaem then Doi Inthanon and finally Chiang Mai. This first bit of the last leg offers sweeping racetrack curves, wide-open roads, and steep curves through the cool forest.

Other interesting routes for a motorcycle tour include the 470km long Chiang Rai Loop and the Chiang Khong route.

The dramatic scenery and interesting attractions along these routes make them top picks for both experienced motorcyclists and newbies alike.

Just ensure you have an international driving license and a helmet to avoid being on the wrong side of stipulated Thai traffic laws and police officers.