Driving the Mae Hong Son Loop

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Thailand Fly & Drive – Part 18

Before this year, I had never known about the famous Mae Hong Son Loop. It was only thanks to the community of road-trippers at Road Trips – Asia FB that I was introduced to this legendary road circuit around the most mountainous parts of Thailand that has enthralled driving and riding enthusiasts for years.

There are a few ways to do the loop. This was my route, covering about 530km

This circuit, although covering a distance of only about 600km, is not to be taken lightly. The roads are paved and in generally good condition, but are narrow at times and the climbs and descents rather steep. Additionally, with its 1864 curves, many quite severe and in quick succession, the route poses a challenge even for the most experienced drivers and riders.

You have to be very careful here. Don’t expect to cover more than 40km per hour, and give it at least 3 days of driving to cover the entire loop.

Drive conservatively, and don’t speed, especially if the roads are wet. It is very easy to lose control and skid off on the slippery roads. Avoid driving after dark, because it gets REALLY dark without street lamps.

Driving the loop in pitch darkness….

As a reward, you will get treated to some heavenly mountain and valley scenes, as beautiful as any you will find anywhere else in the world. There are plenty of attractions all around the loop, but do remember to get your Certificate of Conquest from the Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce to mark your achievements!

Gorgeous sunsets are the norm, anywhere along the Mae Hong Son Loop
Remember to get your Certificate of Conquest!

The temperatures in December are comfortably cool in the day times, but will plummet at night, so do be appropriately covered up. We drove the loop most of the time with the car windows half winded down, both to enjoy the cool weather but also ease the feeling of motion sickness for our daughter behind.

Most people plan to do the loop in a clockwise manner, saving the most winding roads around Pai for the last. For us, we decide to do it anti-clockwise, staying one night at Pang Mapha, and two nights at Mae Win. On hindsight, we should have chosen to stay one more night around the Mae Sariang district because the leg between Pang Mapha and Mae Win was way too long, and we didn’t get a chance to see many of the sights that day because it was too rushed.

We will just have to come back again another time. Too many sights to see!

Do join me in my subsequent blog posts as I share all the juicy bits and also the down moments of our maiden journey around the Mae Hong Son loop!

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