Thailand Tour - Chiang Mai to Nan

Time to ride. Scooter chaos. Dogs, dogs, dogs and views to die for.

I got out of bed and opened the curtains to a calm, mostly sunny morning. After starting our NZ south island ride in torrential rain, it was a relief. I hadn't ridden in Thailand, or a Tiger 900 before, so really needed good weather to be able to focus. Winning!

We packed excitedly and met the crew for an early brekky. Already feeling like a bloated puffer fish, I held back a little. 

I checked on our patient Fi, who had a fall yesterday. Her wrist was nicely strapped and she was good to ride! Such a relief all round.

I had a bit of fun designing our tour tees for the trip, which looked so great on everyone and will be easy to spot in the bushes should a crew member go wayward.

people in frony of van

After a briefing from Captain Scott, it was lids down as we headed into the Chiang Mai morning traffic. My Tiger was named Kylie. As I rode her out of the driveway, chucking a left and dodging a scooter or 6, I realised how easy she was to ride. I'd ridden a BMW GS750 in New Zealand so I'd already ridden this type of bike. The  centre of gravity was a little higher and I stupidly brought my lower shoes with me, so I took it carefully. Luckily there's a setting for 'top box', so I flicked to that, which also helped. 


Riding in Chiang Mai traffic wasn't as bad as my original thinking. I had visions of all these scooters rushing out in front of me and having to panic brake every 2 seconds. So I was feeling pretty cruisy 20 minutes in. as the traffic thinned. We hit the highway, Nan bound.


Heading through the little villages, the first thing you notice is the dogs. With their relaxed nature they could easily be mistaken for having smoked the local weed. 

Some just lie on the road, others hug the edges, but they all look left and right before crossing safely. If only our dogs had the same road sense. This did not stop me thinking they would change direction at anytime and wander across my path.. aka emergency stop practice needed.

road and dog

We pulled in for a quick stop at the Hot Springs, where I had a great iced coffee and a chance to look at the huge guizer. If it weren't too hot, we could have sat and dunked our feet into the warm spring water. Not sure I'd put my feet into this one.



A few twisties in on amazing roads, we stopped at the lookout. 

mountain range

men on mountain with view

The market here had the most beautiful views across the mountains with a variety of market stalls selling an interesting array of items. 

market stalls

A quick loo stop and off we went down to Phayao Lake for lunch. A trick for your players on the loos here in Thailand.... the thing you'll quickly notice here is that the toilet facilities require respect.

Toilet tip: The waste systems have very small pipes, so when they ask you to put paper in the bin, not to flush, they mean it! If you have a small packet of tissues in your pocket, and hand sanitiser, you're winning. Also, take some 5 baht coins as some toilets cost a small fee to enter and when you gotta go, you gotta go and I personally would not want to test the little ladies on toilet security!

We pulled into the So Good cafe, which overlooks the lake. At this point it was heating up, so walking into air conditioning was a relief. 

so good lake motorbike

Back on the bikes and it was heating up a little more. In the middle of the day its starts to get quite oppressive. But, the road quality is amazing and if you have the right gear, the wind quickly flows through it and cools you down. I rode in Dainese mesh pants and jacket, which were super light weight and comfortable.


What I also noticed was the roadworks. Thai's have these sorted based on a really logical rule. Reduce the road width, keep the traffic flowing and the commuters will pick their way through. It works here as everyone is so patient and considerate!!! For me it was a little scary and a good reminder that, where you can, you should try to keep left as you just don't know what's coming!


Mid-afternoon, the weather thought it would test us, with light rain starting to fall. Only a little, but the roads were wet and the twisties were getting a little tighter. Its always a challenge to ride new experiences on a motorcycle in a different country. Great roads still mean oil slicks from old trucks, vehicles on your side of the road  and scooters on every turn, so you need to be mindful. 

truck corner

The Tiger was brilliant on the curves. I loved every minute of today, wet and dry.

motorbike rider

In between twisties were beautiful tree lined roads with green as far as the eye could see.

tree lined road

Coming into Nan was interesting as it was the end of the day and it felt like every man and his dog were out and about. So good for practicing slow riding! haha


By the time we picked our way through the local Nan traffic like a game of Frogger, we were all pretty happy to get off and enjoy a cold beer from the esky in the van! This became a daily ritual and, although hot and tired, was actually the perfect way to debrief on the day, have a laugh and talk about dinner plans. Our first day of riding was amazing. No incidents and a great 6 hours of riding.

motorcycles doing u turn

We walked a kilometer or so to dinner at the funkiest little place. An amazing steak, beautiful glassware and lovely service. I'd suggest making sure you have time if in a big group as it did take a little while to get our meals. 

group at table

What an amazing first day of riding in this beautiful country.

George turned the bikes around and tucked them into bed. Sleep would not avail me tonight, that's for sure! 

bikes lined up

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  • Elph 02:24 PM

    Super effort that!

  • DonnaT 10:41 PM

    Loved every single word in your daily reporting! That George is brilliant. And he even wipes your iron maiden down … if she needs it 😁

  • MeJulie 09:25 PM

    Do you get a sore bum after 6 hours on a motorbike? 😁

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