Chiang Mai to Doi Tao
Doi Tao was one of the highlights of my February/March bicycle ride 2012. It's a lake located 130 km south to south west of Chiang Mai in north Thailand. This page shows why you should visit, how to get there and how to continue.
As this time I started my journey in Chiang Mai, the description on this page is based on that journey. I left Chiang Mai by taking the road to Lamphun using the 106. This road goes parallel to highway 11, and for that reason it's a quiet road.
There is only one larger town on the way: Saraphi but it's hardly worth to spend time here except for a meal. Lamphun is close by and should you want, you can stay here.
Lamphun has a city wall and a spectacular temple complex which is worth time visiting.
There isn't that much left of the walls except in the north and east of the city where you find the gates too. With Chiang Mai at only 25km away, few travelers stay here.
I left Lamphun on the south but I didn't follow the main directions to Pa Tong. Instead I took the small road out of town which lead me to Pa Sang.
In Pa Sang I decided to take the 1156 to Chom Thong, more quiet flat roads and little to see but pleasant cycling.
The last few kilometers to Chom Thong went on the 108 highway, a 4 lane road with moderate traffic.
Chom Thong has a hotel where you rent rooms by the hour. Rooms are clean and cheap (B300). The town has not much to offer than a popular and busy temple complex: Wat Phrae That Si. Located next to the temple you will find one two night markets in town (the other is located a kilometer further south next to the 7-Eleven).
I left the next morning. On the way a large reclining Buddha can be seen. The 4 lane highway is now back to a 2 lane road although when I cycled it, it was being upgraded.
It's a pleasant road to cycle. In Hot there is the junction to Mae Hong Son to the west and to the south the 1103. This very quiet road leads through a landscape of partly burned down forest which is still recovering, until 35 km further you will reach Doi Tao.
Doi Tao is a no more than a village that stretches out along road 1103. There is no hotel or guesthouse in the village.
A few 100 meters before the village you will find a road sign to Doi Tao lake. It's 3 kilometer to the lakeside and ... again no hotel. There is a market at the lakeside and plenty of floating restaurants.
Apparently the lake is quite popular with the Thai tourists as I saw several buses come and go. The Thais come here to buy fish from the lake and eat at the restaurant but don't stay here.
You CAN however stay at the lake. Cycle back to the main road and instead of going into the village, cycle back in the direction of Hot. After about 1 kilometer (near the filling station), there is a junction to your left (west). Take this junction and cycle all the way to the end.
Here you find a "resort" where you can rent a "bungalow" right at the lake side. The bungalows are clean and comfortable with TV and hot water. The owners are incredible friendly people. I was the only guest that night. Unfortunately there is no restaurant but the resort owners are willing to cook for you. Otherwise you have to cycle back about 4 kilometers back in the village and get your dinner here.
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Bicycle tours Thailand
Thailand, the land of the smile is an excellent country to explore on bicycle. We offer a selection of organized bicycle tours Thailand.
Doi Tao to Thoen
This was an interesting ride through rural Thailand where I met some amazingly friendly people, some cool hills and got myself in between bush fires
Accommodation in Chiang Mai
With so many different hotels and guesthouses in all price ranges it might be hard to find your favourite. When I visited in February 2012, I was surprised to learn that despite the so called low season, many guesthouses were full. I was told that nowadays more people book online. So, here we go with the possibilities:
North East Thailand
Lesser visited by travelers doesn't mean less interesting. North East Thailand is especially interesting to cycle. Areas around Surin, Ubon and Mukdahan get travelers, here's why:
A very pleasant and inspiring bike ride from Thoen to Sukhothai. Further a great visit to the countryside and the continuing road south to Kamphaeng Phet
The gateway to north Thailand and one of the major tourist attractions in Thailand, that is Chiang Mai. I've been here several times and every time I find something new to explore.
Central Thailand offers more UNESCO World Heritage: on a day's cycling you will find Kamphaeng Phet. It's lesser known but offers another beautiful insight into Thailand's turbulent past.