Mae Hong Son – one of the first places you will hear about when you got your motorcycle. It is the nearest Biker’s Paradise for South-East Asian riders. ‘There are over a thousand bends!’ – oh well..officially 1864 curves to be exact, but nobody tells you where it start and where it end.
I am not a fan of so-many bends, and that four digits are definitely not the reason why I was here. It can only get so much interesting to stare at white and yellow lines on the road. Postcard scenic views are definitely more memorable and you are suppose to keep your eyes on the lane while twisting. I know I will get bored by the 18th, let alone 1864 times! But it is an effective marketing effort by the local tourism ministry, judging by the number of times this topic was brought up in supper runs and MHS being the ‘trip of the lifetime’. Even the local bikers I met persuaded me to complete the loop and get that Certificate of Completion.
I was here for a meditation retreat, and since it is located right here in Mae Hong Son, so why not ride it and find out about the myth and especially the hype generated by these roads? It’s a good thing I am not seduced by that figures to be here. There are still many questions and doubts about that scared numbers they are marketing…
While in Pai, you can find clues of ‘762 curves’. So that is the numbers of bends you did for a ride from Chiang Mai to Pai. Which will leave us with 1102 curves left for the rest of the loop or… just to Mae Hong Son town?
Oh well…Now it makes sense why the Certificate of Completion of 1864 curves was issued in Chamber of Commerce located in Mae Hong Son town, instead of at the end of the loop.
And is it done clockwise or anti-clockwise from the starting point of Chiang Mai ?
Where is the starting point in Chiang Mai anyway ?
If you complete the full loop, depending on which route you took. You will..or may as some claim, to get over 3700 curves.
And if you like to detour, eg. to Ban Rak Thai, you will…or may as some claim, achieve over 4000 curves.
Wait a second!.. doesn’t that will make your newly and hard earned Certificates of Completion obsolete?
Did I actually complete 1864 curves to Mae Hong Son town… or even 762 curves just to Pai?
Hmm.. I am really not sure! I will have difficulty just to count to 18 correctly… that’s why I went to train my mind.
Ditch that paper chase mentality.. Mae Hong Son province have a lot more to offer than just staring at white and yellow lines. It is really sorry to brag about it when the local delivery does the same route daily on their cub or beat-up truck and pick-up.
The real lure you should ride Mae Hong Son province was for the breath taking landscapes, enchanting surrounding and disappearing minority cultures. The only way to describe it is for you to live it yourself! yes… Live it! make stops and live for a few days.. or weeks! While off the bikes!
Here’s the map of the MHS Loop with recommended places of interest.
There are 3 suggested routes – 1 direct and 2 scenic routes via Doi Inthanon National Park.
Expand the map and select the layers.
Direct Route – Chiang Mai – Mae Sariang – Mae Hong Son – Pai – Chiang Mai
Scenic Route 1 – Chiang Mai – Doi Inthanon National Park – Khun Yuam – Mae Hong Son – Pai – Chiang Mai
Scenic Route 2 – Chiang Mai – Doi Inthanon National Park – Mae Sariang – Mae Hong Son – Pai – Chiang Mai
You can do the above routes in reverse order.
Comment or suggest additional stops or attractions if you may.
Google Map Link (view map in new window)
Lastly don’t forget to find the best accommodation deals within the loop.
Enjoy the ride!