Mae Hong Son Loop, North Thailand – 2. Route & Motorcycle


The Mae Hong Son Loop of North Thailand takes us from Chiang Mai through Doi Inthanon to Khun Yuam and finally to Mae Hong Son. From Mae Hong Son, the route continues to Pai before taking us back to Chiang Mai. As a short weekend ride, there is not enough time for adequate sight seeing. The time is just about enough to finish the loop with minimal stops. More days are certainly advised for Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and Pai. The total distance we traveled was around 640km.

Map of North Thailand and route taken

The roads are twisty but well-paved. There is no off-road riding if you keep to the main routes. The only non-tarmac roads we encountered are the junction before Mae Ya Waterfall and the junction before Tham Lot. Even then, any motorcycle should be able to handle these roads easily.

This is about as bad as the road goes

If you have rode in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos before, you should not have any problems navigating the roads in North Thailand. Road signs are available through out the loop, especially at major junctions. Petrol should not be a problem as well. If you do not see petrol stations, you can still find stalls by the road sides selling bottled petrol. Remember to top up your tank whenever you can, especially if you are not sure of the distance to the next town/village.

Since I brought along my Garmin GPS receiver during this trip, I tracked my routes and took down my waypoints. If you would like a copy of the file in Garmin GDB format, just post a comment and I will send the download link to your email. The size of the file is around 712KB.


The bike rental scene is well-established in Chiangmai. You would find a great variety of bikes from Honda waves, Honda Phantoms, Honda Super 4, Honda scramblers to BMW tourers. We decided to go for scramblers at the most popular bike rental shop in Chiangmai – Mr Mechanic. Mr Mechanic is located at 4 Soi 5, Moonmuang Rd. T.Sri Phum, A.Muang, Chiangmai. They can be contacted at (+66)53-214708 (tel), (+66)53-41837 (fax), (+66)1-8824402 (mobile) or [email protected] Because of our tight schedule, we booked three honda scramblers in advance at 600B per day for each bike. Upon arrival, we received 2 Honda Degrees and 1 Honda AX-1. Both models are quite similar but Honda AX-1 is much more fuel efficient.

Mr Mechanic (Photo taken from Mr Mechanic website)

171 thoughts on “Mae Hong Son Loop, North Thailand – 2. Route & Motorcycle

  1. Hi there,

    Ya, planning to give a try the loops. Pls send yr experience file waypoints. Thanks 🙂

  2. Hello
    Visiting Chiang Mai mid Feb ’11, your map & experience would be much appreciated
    Happy travels

  3. Yo
    Great info u got here…keep up the excellent work! Appreciate if you cld send me the files…will be there to do the MHS loop in ard late Apr, early May…

  4. Hi there,
    Me and a few mates are interested in doing this loop in April over 4 days. I hope its enough time!
    Grateful if you could send me the file.

  5. Hi Atticus,

    Great website, very interesting to read and very helpful too. We are planning to do this route in May, do you think it would be a good idea to have two riders on the same bike?

    I’d also be interested to see the track files if possible.


  6. Hi,

    2 persons on 1 bike should be okay but then it really depends on the weight, number of bags you are bringing along and the bike you intend to rent.

    Link to the track files is sent to your email.

  7. Hi Mate,

    Great site, really informative and super helpful for fellow travellers. Its really exciting to read, as my wife and I are planning this trip in July. Just hoping to see the track files if thats possible.
    Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  8. I’m in Chiang Mai right now. Going to look for a bike the next days. Can you forward me the file?

    Thanks, Joep

  9. I want to do the loop the next few days. Good information on this website. Thank You! Can you forward me the file too?

    Gr. Joep

  10. Hey! Planning on doing the loop somewhere next month on motorbikes, would appreciate your track file! Thank you in advance!

  11. Hey all, I just got back into Chiang Mai about an hour ago from the loop. First of all, don’t worry about bringing GPS’s for this trip. This was my first time riding around Thailand and the route is super easy to navigate. I did have a copy of the GT-Rider loop map, which does come in handy. It has maps of the cities, as well. But there are plenty of signs indicating directions and distances. And to be honest, the whole trip is done on only two roads, I believe.

    I did the ride on a rented Kawasaki Ninja 650R (yes, I have experience, yes, I’m a safe rider). I stayed a night in Pai and then a night in Mai Sariang. This trip is longer but as mentioned earlier there is some great scenery, especially from Mai Sariang towards Hot, in my opinion. Also, I’m a little quicker on a Ninja than the smaller displacement bikes!

    I wanted to mention that since I did this trip in June (beginning of rain season), it did rain, surprise, surprise! However, the rain never lasted more than about 10 minutes up in the mountains and I had a waterproof liner in my motorcycle jacket. Just take it slower when it does rain, especially if you’re on a sports bike, and you’ll be fine!

    Safe riding!

  12. I’ll come to Chiang Mai next month to do the loop. Can you forward me the file?

    Do I need to reserve in advance for bike ? And does it have bike for two person, because I’m going to go with my mother and she don’t drive bike.

    How much time to do Mae Hong Son to Doi Inthanon park ?

    Thanks so much.


  13. Hi Alex,

    File sent to your email.

    It’s definitely better to reserve a bike in advance. The shop can prepare your bike and you only pay after you reached.

    You can definitely pillion another person on the bike. But it would leave limited space for your backpacks.

    Mae Hong Son to Doi Inthanon can probably be done in one long day. But splitting the ride into 2 days with a stop at Khun Yuam would be less rushed.

  14. Greetings, will drive the loop next month in my Pajero, my motorbike days ended 4 decades ago. Please send me the file with waypoints, as I got a free Garmin when I bought the Pajero.

  15. Great report on the MHS route! Plan to ride from Malaysia to MHS with total distance > 4,000Km. Pls send me the file of MHS route and waypoint that definitely helpful. Thanks.
    meng ee

  16. Hi Atticus,
    Thanks for the prompt reply to my request. File received and viewed in Map Source. I can recognized some of the POI you mentioned in the write up but some not recognize. Are those not important waypoit? eg:

    Wachi Wf
    mhs Yj
    mhs Yj03

    The rest were clearly included in your report. Are you still able to recall what is it about? It is fine if you can’t recall because I understand our brain tends to forgetful.

    meng ee

  17. Wf seems to the abbreviation for waterfall.

    YJ should refer to Y-junction.

    I am too sure about the others already.

    Sorry about that.

  18. can email ur route? i will rent a suzuki jeep for d loop. coz my wife is with me in this trip

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *