Asian Motorcycle Adventures

5-Day Golden Triangle SOUTH Motorcycle Tour – Itinerary

The absolute best motorcycle riding in Southeast Asia, perhaps even the world, is found in Thailand’s Golden Triangle region.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sukhothai
Riding through Sukhothai
Draping a chedi in holy cloth
Dave and Chris in front ot ancient chedi
The Butong wild sunflower fields
Fall foliage in the Golden Triangle
Scouts in blackface learning survival skills

Our 5-Day Golden Triangle SOUTH motorcycle tour daily itinerary is listed below, but first…….

Click here, if you want to read about what is included in this tour package.

Click here, if you have not yet read, What’s so special, anyway, about a Golden Triangle Motorcycle Tour?



Two motorcycles riding in Sukhothai Historical Park.
Arnold studying a standing Buddha.
Buddha head in front of a chedi.
Buddha heads nestled in the crevices of tree roots.
Gold leaf placed on the fingers of a Buddha statue.
Enjoying a picnic in Sukhothai Historical Park.
Buddha statue with a gold sash.
Giant standing Buddha.
Chedi with a base full of elephant stautes.
Detail of elephant base chedi.

On DAY #1 we head south towards the two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai.  The morning road is through the mountains on a major commercial artery, wide and forgiving.  It is a good route to familiarize yourself with, relatively stress free, your bike, and road conditions, as well as get a handle on the style of driving practiced (or not practiced) by the average Thai citizen.

After the mountains we find ourselves in the fertile central plain of North Thailand.  The road turns straight and we make excellent time over this segment.  We arrive in Si Satchanalai right after lunch and take a leisurely ride through the atmospheric ruins, stopping for lots of photos.

Si Satchanalai is much less developed than our next stop, Sukhothai, which is situated in a park-like setting.  Our SUKHOTHAI hotel this evening, the 5‑star Lagendha, has a towering antiquity right in its backyard and a stunning swimming pool in its front yard.

Length of ride: 350 kms. / 210 miles.  Driving time: approximately 5 hours.

We turn westwards on DAY #2, heading towards the Burma border town of MAE SOT.  To get there we have to climb a huge mountain ridgeline that seems to continue forever.  At the saddle is a large hilltribe market where we stop to wander around.

Mae Sot is renowned for their teak workshops and they produce a wide variety of furniture and decorative carvings.  There are also many antique stores specializing in collectibles coming out of Burma, some carrying museum quality artifacts.  I always seem to find something to buy in Mae Sot.

Our nights lodging is in the plush Centara Resort.  Their swimming pool is especially spacious.  Mae Sot also has the most beautiful restaurant I have ever seen in any country.  Its landscaping has won many awards.

Length of ride: 180 kms. / 110 miles.  Driving time: approximately 3 hours.

DAY #3 finds us riding another one of the Golden Triangle’s top roads, skirting the Burma border and the Nam Moei River.  The scenery is spectacular, with deep, primary forest pressing in on both sides.

Chedi above Salween River

Chedi above Salween River

A long-running insurgency conflict on the Burma side of the border has resulted in a huge influx of refugees on the Thai side.  Along today’s route is a gigantic refugee camp built entirely of bamboo and thatch that is home to tens of thousands of displaced persons.  Again, this camp is a sight you have to see to believe.

Our goal tonight is MAE SARIANG, and if we reach it early enough, we can take an optional side trip to the Salween River.  This road is badly broken up and is more dirt than sealed, but such a spectacular drive through more primary forest is worth the effort.  

The best massage in northern Thailand is available in Mae Sariang, and there is a delicious restaurant in town that prepares several choice dishes just for us.

Length of ride: 240 kms. / 145 miles.  Driving time: approximately 4 hours.

Optional side trip: 75 kms. / 45 miles.  Side trip duration: approximately 3 hours.

DAY #4 starts our clockwise ride over the Mae Hong Son Loop.  This is this road that put Thailand on the world motorcycle touring map.

To put the Mae Hong Son Loop in perspective, when knowledgeable bikers talk about the best motorcycle roads in the world, the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps is always mentioned.  They describe how awesome the sixty-linked hairpin turns are over its thirty-kilometer length.  Well, the Mae Hong Son Loop has at least sixty hairpin turns per hour!  Completing the entire Loop takes two days!  Without any traffic! 

To sum it up, there are over 3,900 curves along the 450 kilometers of it that we will be traversing.  Some participants complain they actually became dizzy whipping around through so many turns.

This part of Thailand has a heavy presence of people from the Shan State of Burma, and you will notice the distinctive styles of their clothing and Buddhist temples.  The predominant hilltribe group in these parts are the Karen, also from Burma, and they traditionally work as the mahouts—the elephant drivers—in this part of Asia.

View from Fern Resort's Sunset Bar.
Fern Resort
Fern Resort's bungalows
Fern Resort bedroom
Pool at the Fern Resort
Fern Resort's rice paddy
Fern Resort bungalow front porch
Dinning room at the Fern Resort

Our target tonight is the provincial capital, also called MAE HONG SON, and our lodgings are in the award-winning Fern Resort.  Their restaurant has also won numerous awards of its own—wait till you taste the chicken wrapped in pandan leaves!  Another feast awaits. 

If you possibly have any energy left, there are nature walks into the bordering national park.  What most of our participants wind up doing, though, is lounge around the pool and go for a two-hour massage.

Length of ride: 190 kms. / 115 miles.  Driving time: approximately 4 hours.

On DAY #5 we complete the Mae Hong Son Loop over what are probably its toughest sections.  Towering forest, corkscrewing mountain roads, waterfalls, lakes, and hilltribe villages will not fail to impress even the most widely-traveled rider.  This is one hell of an exciting drive through some of Thailand’s most breathtaking scenery.  At one highpoint rest stop we have a great view of the road snaking up and down the mountainside.

Lunch is at a one-hundred year old restaurant run by the fifth generation of the same family, still in its original location and building.  They started out serving the elephant caravans that came plodding down this caravan route on their way into Burma.  They prepare from scratch a bowl of Shan noodles in a coconut curry broth that is outstanding.

After lunch it is a long ride up and down a long, convoluted ridgeline until we finally pop out onto the main trunk road leading into Chiang Mai.  Another hour will mark the end of five, very memorable days on a motorcycle.

Length of ride: 270 kms. / 115 miles.  Driving time: approximately 4 ¾ hours.

Cumulative 5‑Day GT South Tour distance:1,200 + kms / 700 + miles.
(Before you book this tour, please read our FAQ page, especially FAQ #2.)

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