Saturday, 31 January 2015


The next day we were finally going to reach Mae Hong Son, with a stopover at Mae Surin Waterfall on the way taking us on a slight detour, little did we know what was in store!  Just on the edge of town heading north you take a right onto 1263 and follow that into the mountains, past the huge crops of, now dead, flowers that bloom during December and January, lighting up the hill side.

Upon reaching the entrance to the waterfall we were informed of yet another fee of 200 baht for foreigners to enter, my Thai drivers license again no use here, but some quick chat in Thai soon had me in for only 20 bt!!

We were the only people there and after a quick jaunt down the steps we came to a viewing area to gaze at the massive waterfall across the valley.  You can’t actually get near to this one and have to settle for looking across at it cascading down the far cliff side, but it is pretty impressive.  Had I paid 200 baht for this privilege, I would have been fairly pissed off though!

From here we could either back track to Khun Yuam or take a ‘shortcut’ showing on the GPS…   hmmm…   Obviously we took the ‘shortcut’ and ended up on what was essentially a dirt track through the mountains that would have been more suited to a trail bike than a scooter laden with 2 people plus luggage!

It was rough as hell with some nasty climbs through rock and boggy sand, plus the descents were crazy – I constantly had both brakes jammed on and we were still gaining momentum down the steep trails.  This ended up causing my rear brakes to fail altogether, which put us in a very dangerous position.

Too far through to turn back we had no option but to push on through some pretty nasty terrain, I knew that anymore descents were going to require me to walk the bike down, having no gears to use we simply would have ended up with way too much speed and seriously hurt ourselves or worse.  Most of the trail just dropped off into a sheer abyss down to the valley floor, a really bad place to be with no real braking power.

After slowly navigating a couple more kilometres, I suddenly had some brakes again, but it was extremely nerve wracking still with no real assurance of reliable stopping power as we came down some seriously steep sections, if they failed on me again halfway down we could go right off the edge.

We finally made it back to the 108 highway and powered through the last 40km to Mae Hong Son, very relieved to make it.  This section was nice enough, but not a patch on the previous 400km we had covered. After scouting a few places, we checked into Rom Tai Guesthouse at 400bt a night, a good sized room with hot water and wifi.

After doing some laundry we hit the mechanic’s shop to take care of the bike, I needed a new air filter anyway, but had done an oil change back in Umphang for 120bt.  After putting new brakes in we realized that my rear rim was cracked, not sure how long it had been there, but I will require a new one soon.  Total cost for air filter and brakes was 380 bt.

Later in the evening we wandered the town and the night markets by the lake/pond, a central and social point of Mae Hong Son, a really great atmosphere abounds here.  Dinner and beer was at the Sunflower where Noi had a hamburger with all the extras and I had a much healthier black pepper chicken and vegetables!

Today we visited Thampla, the Fish Cave, and a couple of waterfalls, the fish cave being a great spot with streams and natural ponds at the foot of a hill, a beautifully set out location.  We wandered around and fed the huge fish in crystal clear water, me just wishing I could get my fishing rod out!

Once again the farang price was 100bt but I managed to get in for the local price with some quick banter in Thai!  Definitely worth a visit, a perfectly tranquil place to relax with some lunch, which is exactly what we did! 

We also checked out a couple of smaller waterfalls in the area that were nothing special.  I had heard reports of a driving range nearby and we set out to find it, though once arriving at the right place were told that it had been shut for 2 years! 

A nice ride around the area and back to town, where I found a shop to fix my helmet visor that had shaken loose on the rough section of road between Mae Sot and Khun Yuam, 10bt and we were away!

Mae Surin Waterfall

At a guess I would say the falls are maybe 150 meters high

Noi likes to take pictures of flowers (ok so do I!!) 

The good bits of the trail, I should have taken some pictures of the nasty stuff, but was too busy hanging on for dear life!

They could have just put a straight road here....!!  these aren't even the real corners I have talked about...

 Some food at the night markets

The Fish Cave, the 'cave' actually being rather lame, but the rest of it is just amazing