The Samoeng Loop is in Chiang Mai Province in northern Thailand. It is a roughly 100 km circuit that starts and ends in the city of Chiang Mai. Its winding road into the mountains northwest of Chiang Mai is highly popular with both bicyclists and motorcyclists. It is named for the town of Samoeng, 5 km off the circuit proper.
Bicyclists: Total elevation gain on this 100 km route is about 1,500 m. Bikemap.net[dead link] has an excellent map showing elevations at various points along the route.
The fastest reported time for pedalling the entire route is 3 hours 15 minutes.
Decide if you want to go clockwise or counter-clockwise.
Particularly if you are a motorcyclist, Rider's Corner is a good place to start your trip. At the northeast inside corner of the moat, it serves the motorcycling community. Besides offering rooms and a full-service bar and restaurant, the British owner, Phillip, is knowledgeable and helpful. He also sells maps. Try to find the GT-Rider Mae Sa Valley; Samoeng Loop map (180 baht).
Clockwise: To start the loop, from near the southwest corner of the moat, get on Rte 108 heading past the airport. Less than 10 km down the road you will see a Big C on the left and a large intersection just beyond it. Turn right to Samoeng at this intersection. The direction is well-marked. Take the right and you’re on Rte 1269, the well-paved two-lane road that takes you into the hills.
Counter-clockwise: Head north on the road to Mae Rim, Rte 107, tricky as traffic can be heavy. The turn off is 16 km from the north side of the moat. The left turn is about ten minutes past Mae Rim town; you can't miss it as it is well sign-posted. (Try to get hold of the excellent Mae Sa Valley map. It not only maps the loop but all the more adventurous roads forking out of the loop.) Once you've made the turn the petrol gets more expensive, so fill up while on Rte 107. Gas stations are plentiful.
The itinerary below references kilometre posts. They punctuate the route on the outside of the circle you are traversing. References to "inside" and "outside" describe positions on the inside or outside of the circular loop.
Things to see/do
These are in counter-clockwise order:
- 1 Chang Phuak Road at Chang Phuak Gate (Start at the North Gate).
- 2 Chang Phuak Bus Station (For songthaew to Mae Rim). If you want to walk the loop, you better start going to Mae Rim by car. Until there the road is not very pleasant to walk. White and orange songthaews go to Mae Rim.
- 3 Dara Phirom Palace.
- 4 Wat Pa Dara Phirom.
- 8 Sainamphung Orchid. 100 baht.
- 9 X-Centre (X-treme sport, bungy jump). 2000 baht for the 1st jump, 1000 baht for the 2nd jump 800 baht for the 3rd jump, 4th jump free.
- 10 Mae Sa Snakefarm (Many different species of snakes.). 200 baht.
- 11 [dead link] Mae Rim Shooting Range. 1,700 baht for shooting with 1 calibre. 6 calibres available.
- 12 Monkey centre.
- 13 Chiang Mai King Cobra. Sylvester Stallone was here while shooting his last Rambo movie. 200 baht.
- 15 Mae Rim Snake Farm Cobra Show (More dangerous species). 200 baht.
- 16 Suanbua Maesa Orchid.
- 17 Mae Ram Orchid Farm.
- 18 Mae Sa Waterfalls.
- 21 Mae Sa Craft village.
- 22 Right turn to Mon Cham Camp Site.
- 23 Mon Cham Camp Site (Mon Jam). Nice place for lunch.
- Baan Khun Un Museum.
- Ban Toeng Hilltribe village.
- 24 Samoeng view point.
- 25 Right turn to Samoeng town.
- 27 [formerly dead link] Pong Kwao Hot Springs (Position not accurate; ~30 km from Samoeng). Open roughly 08:00-17:30. Fantastic hot springs, in a well-developed, but very little-used resort. The reason is that you really have to want to come here to find it and then negotiate the last 5 km of crappy road. Once here, you'll have a private bath house to yourself all day. Lovely restaurant that never seems to be open. Ticket office sells drinks and snacks. Has a beautiful accommodations on site, but that too never seems to accept guests. 150 baht.
- Mon Angket.
- Samoeng Wildlife Sanctuary.
- 28 Khun Khan National Park.
- 29 Huay Pak Phai Royal Project.
- 30 Wat Ton Kwen (Wat Intrawat).
- 31 Ban Muang Goong Pottery village.
- 32 Ratchaphruek Park (Royal Flora).
By kilometre post, clockwise: Chiang Mai-Hang Dong-Mae Rim-Chiang Mai
- Canal Rd-km36: Wat Ton Kwen (also Wat Thon Kain / Wat Intrawat)
- km36-35: Start of Rte 1269. Ban Phan Thao
- km33-32: Huarnjana Resort [formerly dead link]
- km31-30: Gasoline (outside loop)
- km29-28: Lanna Resort (outside)
- km28-27: Gas; Siam Commercial Bank ATM (outside)
- km27-26: Coffee shop (outside)
- km25-24: Police Box; Bangkok Bank ATM (outside)
- km24-23: Turn to Hmong Village and Tak Kar Tan Cave (4.2 km) (outside)
- Baanklangdoi Hotel Resort & Spa (บ้านกลางดอย), 190 Hangdong-Samoeng Rd, Banpong, Hangdong, (Outside loop), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Sprawling resort complex. Good coffee stop.
- km23-22: Phujaya Resort; Turn to Doi Lium Viewpoint (3 km) (outside); Enter Ban Dong (บ. ดง) village; Petrol, pay phone
- km22-21: Suan Bua Hotel & Resort; Ban Kao Dua (บ.เก๊าเดือ); Petrol; American Pacific International School; Ban Mae Ha (บ.แมฮะ)
- km19-18: Kaw Ta Chang Waterfall.
- km15-14: 5 switchbacks
- km14-13: 1 switchback; Gasoline
- km06-05: Police box; turn right on Rte 1096 to Mae Rim, Chiang Mai; straight on to Samoeng, a ~300 m elevation loss.
- km04-03: Baan Lhong Doi Lodge and Restaurant; Royal Agricultural Station, Pang Da; Gas station
- km03-02: Switchback; Nang Koi Waterfall, Rai Napa-Phupa Guesthouse/Coffee Shop
- km02-01: Ban Rabiang Lom Restaurant
- km01-00: Supanee (สุพรรณี) Restaurant; Enter town of Samoeng
By kilometre post, counter-clockwise: Chiang Mai-Mae Rim-Hang Dong-Chiang Mai
- km00-01: 3 Junction Rte 1096 to Samoeng, Rte 107 to Chiang Mai.
- km02-03 (Inside loop). X-Centre. Good restaurant, coffee shop.
- km05-06: Mae Sa Waterfall (inside). 100 THB per adult.
- km11-12: Mae Sa Elephant Camp (inside)
- km12-13: Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden (inside)
- km13-14: Pongyang Angdoi Resort and Restaurant (inside)
- Panviman Hotel (Inside loop).
- Proud Phu Fah Resort and Restaurant (Inside loop).
- km23-24: Welcome to Samoeng Viewpoint (outside)
- km29-30: Junction, Rte 1269. Samoeng 5 km to the right. Turn left to continue the circuit to Chiang Mai.