Northern Thailand road trip: a photo essay

February 8, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 11 Comments
Sunrise in Phu Lang Ka

As you probably know if you’ve been following along, I spent eight days last month on a fairly epic 1400km scooter road trip around Northern Thailand.  Unsurprisingly there were a few opportunities to stop for a photo along the way…

While there was little else to recommend about Phu Lang Ka ‘Resort’, the sun rising over the mountains and bathing the misty valley with light almost made me forget the lumpy beds and dodgy bathrooms.  Almost.

Birds at sunset over Phayao lake

Heading out for a sundowner beside the lake in Phayao I spotted this flock of birds that had also decided to call it a night.  Who could blame them?

Sunrise in Phayao

Waking up the next morning and throwing open the curtains I was greeted by this dramatic sunrise over the nearby rooftops.  The clouds soon disappeared, leaving a clear sky and perfect conditions for the ensuing sunburn.

Flooded rice paddies

Finally starting to warm up after our freezing early morning departure from Chiang Dao, we spent close to an hour trying to find Doi Farang resort for a coffee.  That might have been an issue if we hadn’t been riding through glorious flooded rice paddies like these.

Waterfall on the road to Phayao

Finding any excuse to give our butts a rest after several hours on the bike, we stopped for a while to check out this scenic waterfall.  It was pretty enough to wander around, but spending ten minutes away from the scooter made it seem like a little slice of heaven…

Sao Din mud rock formations

Looking like something out of Star Wars, I half expected a bunch of Tusken raiders to step out from behind these rocks and frighten us away.  Upon reflection though, that seemed unlikely – not only because they don’t actually exist, but also because I seriously doubt they would have bothered with the 90km detour to get to these formations at Sao Din.  I’m still not quite sure why we did.

Wat in Phrae

Finally leaving the scooter behind for a few hours we explored the provincial capital of Phrae one morning.  There were no shortage of golden temples in the old town area, but for some reason this undecorated one was by far my favourite.

Back country road, northern Thailand

Finally heading back to Chiang Mai on the last day, there was one final chance to enjoy the deserted roads and dense vegetation as we climbed over the mountains.  Apparently that also meant the chance for the front brakes to overheat and suddenly stop working half way down the other side.  I guess that’s what feet are for, right?  Somehow we didn’t end up over the side of the cliff.  I don’t know how.

A bit of a ride in northern Thailand, part four
The Friday Photo #95 – Not catching fish in Laos


  1. Reply

    Tanapat Dangmeon

    February 8, 2012

    The flock of birds one is legit man! I wish I took that. It'd be nice on FB profile banner :)

  2. Reply


    February 8, 2012

    That sunrise photo is EPIC. Alright, where the heck do I find me a motorbike?!

    • Reply


      February 9, 2012

      Heh, I can recommend just the place.... ;-)

  3. Reply

    Ryan @

    February 9, 2012

    Great photos Dave! I love the 1st and 3rd photo the most.

  4. Reply

    Glen Sheppard

    February 9, 2012

    Looking good mate, Vietnam in 48 hours for me !!!!

  5. Reply


    February 9, 2012

    Did you make it Mae Hong Song? I love that place.

    • Reply


      February 9, 2012

      Hey Stephen - nope, not on this trip unfortunately. We did a sort of big figure of eight loop east of Chiang Mai as far as the Laos border in Nan province. There are so many great places to ride in this part of Thailand!

  6. Reply

    wandering educators

    February 9, 2012

    silly, tusken raiders are in tunisia. lol!!

    what gorgeous photos!! and a journey! love it.

    • Reply


      February 9, 2012

      Tunisia ... Thailand ... so easy to mix the two up... ;-)


  7. Reply


    February 11, 2012

    The photos are gorgeous but wow that lead photo is amazing.

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