Here is another route I was recommended to ride by a Chiang Mai bikers. Route 12 from Phitsanulok to Lomsak. Well.. part of Route 12 since it extends all the way to Mukdahan and starting from Mae Sot. I presume this section is the most scenic part, as described by a local bicycling magazine as the ‘Swiss Alps of Thailand’. Too good to miss i guess.
From Chiang Mai to Phitsanulok was only about 335km away. As I would like to start riding the Route 12 from first light. That will mean I have a lot of extra time to explore elsewhere. And browsing through my saved pin on my maps.me, there’s the Sirikit Lake with car ferry across. Not that there isn’t a route to circumvent the lake, but ferry crossing with a motorcycle was like to a biker a merry-go-round to a kid. And there I will go…
Route 1252 of Chiang Mai / Lampang
The more adventurous one can add this ride – Route 1252 to Lampang. This will add 3.5 hrs to your trip. I did this while on my way to Pai, as I am not pressing for time and would like to avoid the expressway as much as possible. The roads are narrow and some part steep, and throughout the journey I have only encountered one truck coming from the opposite direction. You are alone (if you ride solo) for most part of the route so be cautious. At the peak you are at 1500m above sea levels. Only until Route 4063 you will find a scatter of coffee clubs and villages for a refreshing rest stop. This is where many people from Chiang Mai comes for a sight-seeing and then a U-turn back to the city.
I took Route 11 this time, heading straight to Lampang since I’ll be going for my merry-go-round in Sirikit Lake.
But the highlight of the day was not the lake crossing itself, since I have done river crossing many times in a single trip in Brahmaputra River . But that was out of necessities rather than joyride as it is the only way to navigate across the river and on a more primitive platform. Comparatively, the Sirikit Lake crossing was like a ride on luxury cruise ship.
Route 1024 / 1342 of Phrae
Back to the highlight… entering the Lam Nam Nan National Park on route 1024 (or 1342 which gives you a similar view). You will be amazed by the spectacular and enchanting hilly landscape of this part of Phrae. It reminds me of the landscape of Tuscany in Italy. Pack some finger food at petrol stop, detour into the hills, ride it and find yourself a private picnic spot… which I incidentally did and immerse myself in the moment of serenity.
Sirikit Lake ferry crossing at Nan
Continue towards Route 1026, passing through isolated villages, view points and eventually you will reach Ban Pak Nai, There are 2 landing points, and one was apparently closed according to maps.me, but it was the one that was open on that day. Ask around if you are lost, there are seafood restaurant and fishermen around the area. I was lucky to met some Thai riders who happen to be looking for the landing spot. 150baht for each bike and you will be across in less than 10minutes. I continue my journey towards Phitsanulok, my starting point for Route 12 ride the next morning.
Route 12 – Phitsanulok to Lomsak, the Swiss alps of Thailand
Here I am in Switerland. I started early before first light. detour and find myself a breakfast spot.
The first part of the journey you will getting a glimpse of what lies ahead. The roads are new and without heavy traffic. I can even u-turn on a highway when I missed a nice fire road to ride into. There are many resorts and coffee shops along the way. It is a very pleasant and meditative ride, especially if you start early. even riding through the morning mist and cool fresh air. But is it a Swiss Alps ? well.. without the glazing herds, not quite. Bumthang Valley in Bhutan are closer in comparison. Nonetheless, here it is beautiful in its own way, comparing it to any other places is unnecessary. I was riding through during the rainy season, and I am sure during the other months the sky will highlight the landscape in a more charming ways.
From Lomsak, I will be making my way south back to Singapore. A stay overnight at Chai Nat towards Kanchanburi via another lake crossing at Sinakharin Lake. Well… since it is along the way home, why not another joyride ?
Here’s the route map. Expand the map and select the layers.
Attractions and recommended stay and stops added.
Google Map Link (view map in new window)