With two crappy days behind us, we left the Sib-San Resort at 8.00am with a forecast of nice weather ahead of us. And it wasn’t raining.
Soon after leaving the resort, we were on the Mae Hong Son Loop which has been described as one of the best motorcycle roads in the world. It is reported to have 3,900 curves along its 600 kilometre length. The last three days of our tour (including today) will be spent riding the Loop.
Before long, we began climbing into the mountains, and into cooler air. At our first coffee stop in the morning, the temperature was still only 9C (48F), but I was only feeling cold in my fingers, as I had eight layers of clothing on my upper body!
For the first part of the day, we were riding through a section of road that was being repaired, so the road surface was often poor, with a alternating gravel, pot-holes and a thin coat of mud. But the surface was manageable.
By the time that we reached the backpacker-haven town of Pai, the sun was beginning to peak through the clouds. We stopped there for lunch – a nice bowl of noodle soup with either beef or chicken (most of us had a bowl of each). And some chicken satay sticks on the side.
After lunch, we had a brief walk around the town and then rode further up the mountain. As we climbed higher, we found ourselves in the clouds, with visibility reduced to only 25-30 feet at times. We stopped at a double lookout spot where there are overlooks on each side of the road looking both east and west. Except that you couldn’t see anything due to the clouds.
Once we started the descent from the top of the mountain pass, we were soon out of the clouds. The road surface also improved and was dry, making for much better riding. The road between the pass and our destination of Mae Hong Son was a constant barrage of curves, climbs and descents with hardly a straight road to be seen. It was great riding!
It was along this route that I had my best riding of this tour. Since the beginning of the tour, I’ve been trying to improve my riding skills with respect to handling the bends. Today, everything seemed to click and I got into a rhythm. I was riding much better than on day one and was thoroughly enjoying it. I think I’ve been getting a little better each day, but today it all came together. Hopefully I can maintain the progress over the next couple of days.
We pulled into the town of Mae Hong Son and took some photos of the temple and the lake. Then we drove the final 16km to the Fern Resort, an eco-tourism resorton the edge of the Mae Surin National Park. A lovely place!
We covered a little over 230km today and everyone seemed to have enjoyed our first taste of the Loop. Tomorrow’s segment will be a little different. Instead of mountain passes, we’ll be driving lots of curves as the road follows a meandering river.