Tribal Trails of North Thailand

Day 1 Arrive in Chiang Rai

We meet in the afternoon to brief everyone thoroughly and make sure the bikes fit. Then, we take a nice easy ride through the outskirts of the city to get accustomed to riding in Thailand. We cycle through rice paddies and follow the Mae Lao River to the interesting Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple. Created by a local artist, this temple stands out for its distinctive style. After a visit, we head back to the hotel so we can refresh before an outing to the night bazaar.

Laluna Resort
Dinner
Ride 30km
+169m
-169m

Day 2 Doi Mae Salong

After a transfer to Doi Mae Salong, we start riding, up, through the forest. This dirt road will climb for a few km, and then we have a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. We then hit tarmac, ride past wild poinsettas and arrive in Mae Salong, an ethnic Chinese village, for lunch and a tea tasting. Almost entirely populated by descendants of Chiang Kai Chek’s Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang army, the village has the look and feel of China’s Yunnan province rather than Thailand. In the afternoon after topping a ridge, we take a single-track trail downhill, through tea plantations and fruit orchards. We ride through Thoet Thai, a former centre of opium growing and in the footsteps of Khun Sa, the former Opium King of the region. We stay at one of north Thailand’s best kept secrets. Built by a well-known architect, this charming resort fuses western comforts with Lanna design to provide a delightful refuge for weary cyclists. The afternoon is free to enjoy the resort’s facilities, laze by the pool, or explore the surrounding countryside.

Phu Chai Sai Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 45km
+1418m
-1392m

Day 3 Mae Chan - Chiang Rai

We transfer to just south of the town of Mae Chan and start riding on gentle undulating terrain along the base of a mountain range. We pass through a hilltribe village and farming communities that grow exotic orchards of dragon fruit, mangoes, and bananas. The dirt road and some small sections of single track take us to a waterfall where we have lunch at a local restaurant with time for a cooling dip. After lunch, our ride flows over canals and bridges and eventually down to the Mae Kok River. The support vehicle won't be able to follow us on all the rides but will meet us to top off our water bottles. We transfer to Chiang Rai in the late afternoon.

Laluna Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 62km
+420m
-437m

Day 4 Chiang Rai - Thaton

The ride through Mae Salak is one of the most scenic on the trip and a real pleasure to ride. The undulating dirt road follows the Mae Kok River as we ride towards Thaton. The lush green hills in the distant is Thailand's natural border with neighbouring Myanmar. We end the day along the banks of the Maekok River where your resort with a swimming pool awaits.

Maekok River Village Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 72km
+730m
-673m

Day 5 Thaton - Chai Prakarn

Today is an easy recovery day. We cycle 36 km on beautiful country roads taking in river views, with undulating mountains as our backdrop as we pass emerald green paddies and orchards. We encounter only a few small hills and very little traffic. We finish riding in Fang and then have a short transfer to Chai Prakan and our lakeside resort.

Saimoonburi Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 36km
+142m
-125m

Day 6 Chai Prakarn - Chiang Dao

We ride through rice fields and among soaring limestone cliffs before hitting the dirt. We ride dirt roads cut by local hill tribes, and we will meet Akha, Lisu, Lau, and Palaung people. The colourful Palaung are recent migrants, and you will see their women adorned with heavy brass waist-bands working the fields. We stop for lunch at a Forestry Camp before a memorable afternoon riding some quite outstanding mountain trails. Our support vehicle will be waiting at the trail head to transport us to our comfortable Thai-style inn.

Marisa Boutique Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 75km
+1192m
-1261m

Day 7 Chiang Dao - Doi Pa Kia

We have an early morning departure for a tough but rewarding day riding up and into the mountains. We ride some fun and secluded single track and dirt roads through the foothills for about 20 km before we reach the base of our climb. Then we can look forward to spectacular scenery on the way up and plenty of rest stops to refuel and take it all in. Picnic lunch on route, and the vehicle will follow to pick up any tired riders. This is a tough but rewarding climb of some 25 km and from 300 m up to 1,700 m on dirt roads. We finish at our secluded mountain station, which has simple but clean accommodation, and spend the evening relaxing after a tough day’s ride. Option to visit a remote village very close to where we overnight or relax by the fire in the fresh and cool mountain air.

Doi Pa Kia Forest Station
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 45km
+1888m
-1612m

Day 8 Doi Bakia - Ban Sop Gai

After a breakfast with a view, we separate from the vehicles (which will meet us at the end of the ride) and depart for our ride which starts with a few small but steep rises for 10 km and then undulates down on awesome barely used and remote trail for another 25 km. Some fantastic views and long flowing downhills, some technical sections, and a few more ups keep the heart pumping and the lungs burning. Then we finish off with an undulating dirt road ride along the river and arrive at our beautiful accommodation for the night.

Baan Anatta Resort
Lunch, Dinner
Ride 35km
+766m
-1746m

Day 9 Ban Sop Gai - Mae Taeng

We embark on a great day’s riding covering about 45 km with some hills and fantastic lengthy undulating single track. We spend the day riding smooth and flowing single tracks with some hefty undulations to get the blood pumping and the eyes wide. We cross back and forth over and through the Mae Taeng River using hilltribe-constructed wooden bridges, some portage, and sometimes it’s possible to ride through. We stop in to say hello and take a break at some beautiful little villages. There'll also be time for a dip in a waterfall, and we finish with a long enjoyable downhill that takes us to our host village and our hilltribe accommodation for the night. Dinner and then relaxing by the fire on the banks of a bubbling red river.

Hill Tribe Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 40km
+583m
-553m

Day 10 Mae Taeng

For a change, we jump on bamboo rafts for a morning on the river you will never forget. Float downstream on the clean Mae Taeng River, passing working elephant camps, bamboo spear fisherman. and some exciting rapids that will test your best rafting skills. Stop for lunch and take a rest at a great little restaurant built on stilts over the river and then finish off the day with a ride along the river for 15 km and then our final roll through the rich fertile farmland in the foothills of Mae Taeng. We overnight at an eco-lodge that is also preserving the culture of Lisu and Akha tribes. After a traditional dinner, you'll be entertained by singing and dancing.

Lisu Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 30km
+268m
-359m

Day 11 Mae Taeng - Chiang Mai

This morning, take a steam bath, have a massage, or go for an ox-cart ride to the orchards. Once you have indulged in an activity, we'll transfer back to Chiang Mai, to the airport or to a hotel if you wish to spend more time in the region.

Breakfast