Thailand on a Motorbike: Chiang Mai

Thailand on a Motorbike: Chiang Mai

A biking enthusiast writes about biking circuits and places to visit in Chiang Mai, North Thailand.

Amongst a few unique destinations, North Thailand is a favourite – having logged more than 10,000 motorcycle kms, I still yearn to go back and ride in those hills.

There are two distinct travel plans one can make – the first is the culturally rich town of Chiang Mai and the second is the Mae Hongson loop, counted among the top motorcycle riding routes of the world.

North Thailand is for the discerning traveler looking for something off the beaten track. The capital city, Chiang Mai thus becomes a natural choice to begin the exploration. Chiang Mai has a lot to offer - motorcycles tours, self-driven car holidays, golf holidays or student adventure activities for school groups.

You could plan on 4-7 days holiday in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai is snuggled in the foothills of tapering lower Himalaya. It is a city with distinct character – of artisans, university students, idealists, and writers – in all it appears a heady mix of a unspoilt, laid back, creative, spiritual and reverential society.

Borsang's umbrellas
Borsang's umbrellas

For temple visits,  one needs to dress up modestly, respect customs and give way to the monks. While the whole place is full of cultural dos - the top three things to see are - Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang and  Wat Phra Doi Suthep. (You  would need a bike and there is a climb of 300 odd steps) Doi Suthep is the guardian mountain of Chiang Mai .

As the sun goes down there is a colourful Chiang Mai that comes to life. Places like Wine by the River, The Night Bazaar and all kinds of street shopping are great options.

Chiang Mai is also a hub for adventure and wild life safaris. While here, I would recommend you do one or more of the following –

  1. Doi Inthanon Loop. Get yourself a bike and ride to the highest mountain in Thailand – the Doi Inthanon. On the way,  visit the two Royal Chedis and the beautiful valley view it affords. This would take half a day and it would be cold on the top.
  2. Mae Sa Loop. This is a closest getaway into the neighbouring hills and the loop is lined with many outdoor activities – elephant shows, animal farms, ATV Rides, bungee jumps, biking, off-road biking, trekking etc.
  3. Zipline. For adventure enthusiasts, ziplining is a popular activity though a little costly. This again takes most of the day
  4. River Cruises. Mae Ping river is a serpentine waterway, that passes through the rural and rustic countryside. The cruises are available from long ones to a 2 hours one – and you sure find peace on the river.

About the Author: Mike is a biking enthusiast and runs a travel agency called Victorianz