Riding the Samoeng Loop, Chiang Mai

On our way!

On our way!

We’d heard from other travellers about the Samoeng Loop, and as huge motorbike fans we thought it would make for a perfect day getaway trip from Chiang Mai. Touted as the best motorbike ride in Northern Thailand, the Samoeng Loop is a fantastic 100km round trip rural circular adventure ride west of Chiang Mai!

If you spend enough time in Chiang Mai, you’ll hear locals and expats talking about the the Samoeng Loop. If Chiang Mai’s amazing coffee culture and restaurant scene is getting to you, then a day trip round the Samoeng Loop on two wheels is a good way to see a more real side of Thailand.

See more! ✈ The 10 Best Chiang Mai Coffee Shops! ✈

We heard that the Samoung Loop was an beautiful mountain route, with a glimpse of Thai rural life, farming and strawberry farms – helpfully mixed with regular road side coffee shops and eateries to recharge and stunning view points and look outs to admire along the way.

We weren’t disappointed!

The Route


View The Samoeng Loop in a larger map

The Samoueng Loop is essentially on 4 main roads, the 108, 1269, 1096 and 107.

We took a clockwise route, leaving Chiang Mai south on the 108, then cutting west on the 1269 towards Samoeng. Once you actually leave Chiang Mai, the town melts away and becomes stunningly rural. If you plan to actually go to Samoeng, then you pass the turning towards Mae Rim about 5km before you get there, meaning a brief back-track.

Once back on the 1096, you’ll twist an climb through the forests, passing strawberry farms, elephant camps and banana plantations to Mae Rim. Once there, you head south on the 107 back towards Chiang Mai.

We’ve read that the whole loop can be done in as little as an hour and a half, but we recommend take your time and take all day! The roads are great all the way, but watch out for the occasional pot hole!

It can get pretty steep in parts, so make sure your brakes are OK before you set out. We rode a 125cc semi-auto, and to be fair it was too weak for the steep climbs. Still great fun though!

The route reminded us of riding through rural Vietnam back in July 2011 – It’s hard to think that the reasonably hectic Chiang Mai is a few kilometres away.

We found the GT Rider article about the Samoeng Loop very helpful and informative, with road names and attractions in much more detail than we could manage!

We hope you enjoy some of our pictures from our Samoeng Loop adventure!

Warp speed!

Warp speed!

Rural farmers at work

Rural farmers at work

Plenty of great bends on the Samoeng Loop!

Plenty of great bends on the Samoeng Loop!

A quick strawberry and coffee break in Samoeng town

A quick strawberry and coffee break in Samoeng town

It gets pretty steep!

It gets pretty steep!

Quick breather before more bends!

Quick breather before more bends!

You might see a few of these!

You might see a few of these!

Making friends on the way

Making friends on the way

Eloise on navigator duties!

Eloise on navigator duties!

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6 Responses to Riding the Samoeng Loop, Chiang Mai

  1. Sacha June 3, 2013 at 5:40 am #

    We are living in Chiang Mai at the moment, have been here for a year and are yet to ride the loop! We are planning on checking it out next week 🙂 I love the puppy pic!!
    Sacha recently posted…Cocktails and Canapes above the Bangkok City StreetsMy Profile

    • Stuart Edwards June 3, 2013 at 8:44 am #

      Ahh I hope you guys have a good time! It’s a great day out. If you can get a map there are loads of cool detours you can get lost on!

      Enjoy 🙂

  2. Bill Cuneo August 5, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    This is a great article also appreciated your story on the Coffee shops, I will be visiting Chiang Mai in September and think I will do this depending on teh weather.

    I have two questions

    1. Where is the best place to hire a motorbike
    2. What are the driving tips ??? I figure the traffic will be pretty bad so what do i need to know.?

    Cheers

    Bill

    • Stuart Edwards August 9, 2013 at 5:47 am #

      Hey Bill! You’ll have a great time in Chiang Mai, I’m jealous of your trip!

      To answer your questions:
      1. There are tons of places to hire scooters, most hotels will be able to sort one out for you. If you want a bigger bike, there are several places around the city walls that have motocross/touring/sports bikes you can hire. They’ll set you up with helmets and paperwork etc. If I was to ride the Samoeng Loop again I’d definitely get a more powerful bike – Some of the hills are pretty steep! Depends on how comfortable you feel really.

      2.The Samoeng Loop itself was pretty quiet – Once your away from Chiang Mai it becomes very rural the big Hilux trucks disappear! Generally, the roads are good – but watch out for the occasional pot-hole and gravel/sand on some of the bends. Google ‘GT Rider Thailand’ – They’ve got tons of maps and advice and alternative routes!

      Hope that helps Bill. Have a good one!

  3. Adrian Fleur September 4, 2013 at 5:33 am #

    Thanks for this. So nice that you included a map! I did get very distracted by the puppy pic though, so just watch out for that in future 😉
    Adrian Fleur recently posted…Aum Vegetarian RestaurantMy Profile

    • Stuart Edwards September 4, 2013 at 6:39 am #

      Haha! I’ll remember that for next time… 😉

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