Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bikes, Laos and the Samoeng Loop

We have bikes, for the moment

Yesterday we took the plunge and rented two Honda CRF250L's from Pop Rentals in Chiang Mai. We have initially hired these for two weeks while we find our feet and research getting the bikes into Laos.

As we are looking at taking rental bikes into Laos, these are not owned by us we do not have the registration documents which is a requirement for crossing the boarder with the bikes. There is another way, we will require (source - Ride Asia):

1. Copy of owners passport signed in ink by him

2. Copy of registration book signed in ink by him

3. Authorisation form signed in ink by him with 2X tax stamps (below)

We are continuing to look into this and hopefully will come up with a solution. This will be either take a rented bike through or hire more in Laos. For the moment we are happy riding around northern Thailand. 

The Samoeng Loop

We had planned our first ride out of Chiang Mai. This was to be the Samoeng Loop, this is referred to as a good beginners route.  

We woke up early (mainly due to jetlag) for breakfast in preparation for the day ahead. Scouse's indicator bulb needed replacing so he headed back to Pops to have this fixed while I went about attaching the GPS and Go Pro to the bike.

We set off and headed to the petrol station filling both bikes from empty which cost 150TBH, about £3, so £1.50 per bike which in England costs about £7. Heading out into the traffic it was initially difficult to concentrate on the GPS but luckily for me Scouse has been here before and he directed us south out of town and onto the main roads.

It's a Sunday and the "Sunday Drivers" were officially out on the road, and every moment is like a hazard perception video trying to preempt the next person trying to kill you. Here's a short video showing the traffic this morning which was quite compared to the normal volume.

I tried to follow the GPS but missed a turning and ended up going up and down a wrong road but soon got back on track. After following the Samoeng Loop for about 10 miles we headed off the route to follow a trial and came across a rural village where they appeared to be growing various vegetables and trees for firewood. We stopped to take in the views and get a couple of shots.

We headed back to the main route and continued for an hour or so, enjoying the twisty roads avoiding stray dogs and just generally taking in the surroundings. 

The Sun had gone behind the clouds and up in the higher altitude the temperature had dropped by a few degrees. We took the opportunity to take a break and grab an Iced coffee (for me) and orange juice (for Scouse) and a roadside cafe/hut. I put on another layer I had brought in my bag which was a relief until the sun came through the clouds again.

The views along the way were stunning and the photos does not really do them justice. This was just after the town of Samoeng. The Loop doesn't include Samoeng but we went down there for a quick look around.

I went a head to take a couple of pictures of Scouse riding. This was with my 24-70mm lens and I really could of done with having my 70-200mm but I had left this in the hotel for today.

We stopped the the Samoeng Lookout and took some pictures.

Me taking a break at the Samoeng Loop lookout.
We were in communication all day using the Scala Q3 bluetooth headsets. I don't know how long this will last as I think I might have slightly annoyed Scouse with my rendition of Bonnie Tyler's I need a hero and various other songs throughout the day. I was just saying I want to see an elephant and then Scouse shouted "There's one" and here he was standing off the side of the road. There was an elderly man in the vicinity but I couldn't see any signs it was being used as an tourist attraction.

We continued on the route and found a sign for the Tat Mok Waterfall which was about 5 miles off the track. Were were charged 120TBH to enter the waterfalls with our bikes. Being totally honest I wasn't expecting much but with all of the recent rainfall the waterfall was quite a pleasing sight.

Finally on the way home we stopped to grab some Pad Thai at the "X-Centre Extreme Sports" and found this little dog just sitting with his owners at the table while they had lunch.

So overall, we took our time and covered 130km in about 6 hours, taking a few wrong turns, stopping for photos, refreshments and lunch. Mainly the route was tarmac with a few off road trails covered, including a few off the beaten track, villages and what appeared to be farms.

Here is a short video that shows some of todays riding.

Here is a link to the Garmin Adventure I have created of this route for anyone using Basecamp and wants to follow/edit this.

Now to plan tomorrows adventure...

1 comment:

  1. Fab views! Enjoying sharing your trip by the power of blog :-)