Undoubtedly, one of the hardest climbing routes in the world, the Mae Hong Son loop offers a great challenge for experienced and keen road cyclists. A bucket-list trip to do at least once in your lifetime.
This trip features 6 stages that cover 550 kilometers and a whopping 13,000+ meters of elevation gain, a true test for your climbing legs!
There is no better way to attempt this challenge than under the guidance and support of our local expert team. Our deep knowledge of Northern Thailand and professional expertise organizing cycling tours will ensure your every need will be taken care of so you can just focus on cycling and enjoying the views.
*A very good level of fitness it’s recommended for this trip. We also vouch for the use of big cassettes, 32T or 34T.
What's included on this trip:
8 days/7 nights
6 ride days
95 Km/day avg
2,300 m/day avg
From THB 49,900
+THB 9,900 indv. room
+THB 6,900 bike hire
We'll pick you up from the airport and transfer to the hotel in Chiang Mai. After setting up your bikes it's time to relax around the old town and later go for a welcome dinner.
The local ride leader will give you advice on the type of terrain you will encounter on this trip, safety tips to ride in the North of Thailand and interesting stories of what’s lying ahead.
We’ll drive a few kilometers North from Chiang Mai’s busy city center and we’ll roll off over tranquil roads surrounded by paddy fields. The terrain will get a bit lumpy by the time we stop for coffee and at around the 40 km marker the proper mountains arrive.
We’ll tackle three main climbs of a maximum of 6 km in length and with gradients not exceeding 10%. Once we reach the highest point, we’ll cruise over a ridge with astonishing views on both sides of the road. The very fast and technical descent into Pai valley will test your skills before the last few rolling kilometers.
We’ll enjoy the swimming pool at our hotel and the relaxed vibe of this little town’s walking street.
Yesterday wasn’t easy, but today we’ve got an even bigger day on the saddle. We’ll quickly traverse the short Pai valley and we’ll encounter a massive HC climb just after 10 km. The ascent known as the “Doi Kiew Lom” is 15 km in length at 5.8%. Not only the stunning views at the top will reward our efforts but the amazing downhill that follows, with quick wide bends and smooth tarmac.
The day is far from over and we’ll have to tackle a series of leg-breaking short climbs with some gradients creeping up towards 20% at times. The closer we get to Mae Hong Son the quieter it gets as we seem to enter the heart of the mountains that separate Thailand from Burma. The isolated Mae Hong Son village will welcome us with unique views of wood-carved temples and shiny golden pagodas.
With 5,000 meters on the legs so far you’ll come to appreciate an easier day. Rolling out of Mae Hong Son we’ll get more nice views of the local Buddhist temples, and just 10 km later we’ll deal with the main climb of the day, with just under 3 km at 7%. The views from the coffee shop at the top will leave you speechless.
From this point we’ll get deep into the Namtok Mae Surin National Park, one of the most remote areas in Northern Thailand. The traffic is scarce and you’ll enjoy a peaceful ride under the shade of the trees. The road can be a bit rough at times though!
Not long since we departed Mae Hong Son, we’ll reach the even smaller Khun Yuam village. Our hotel features 360-degree views of the mountains to enjoy a serene recovery.
We’ll enter into the second half of the trip hopefully with fresh legs after yesterday’s short stage. Today we’ll descend to the lowest point of the route, but the road is so lumpy we’ll end up accumulating 1,700 meters.
Heading South on the same quiet backroad we’ll lose track of our whereabouts surrounded by endless forests and no signs of civilization apart from our very own service car providing us with yummy snacks.
Towards the end of the day, a couple of very fast downhills will take us to the next main village, Mae Sariang, where we’ll enjoy a hearty local feast and chill by the hotel pool overlooking the Yuam river.
Heads up: this is the queen stage, so be prepared for a very very long day on the saddle. An early start will give us favorable weather conditions to tackle the first long climb right out of the gate, 15 km at 5.5%. This might be the longest ascension but the rest of the day is a constant energy-sapping up and down with short steep sections.
At around kilometer 70 we’ll enjoy a fast descent that will lead us to a gorgeous narrow valley right beside Op Luang National Park. The last difficulty of the day is a nasty climb of 3.6 km at 10% with ramps up to 18%.
Once that one is conquered, enjoy the run into Mae Chaem with outstanding views of the towering Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand.
Today we’ll ascend to Doi Inthanon (the highest road in Thailand) by the lesser-known side. This ascension starts right from Mae Chaem Village at under 500 meters of elevation, taking us up to 2,565 meters above sea level… in just 30 km!
As opposed to the most famous ascension on the other side of the mountain, here you can see the impressive top of the climb right from the beginning, making it the most beautiful side of this climb.
The average gradient for the 30 km from Mae Chaem is an impressive 7%, but be prepared for much, much steeper sections. The toughest comes at kilometer 10, with 3.6 km in length at a fearsome 13% average with ramps in excess of 25%. For the last 9 kilometers at 9% average gradient, the road merges with the main ascension from Chiang Mai. As we grind our way to the top, the air gets thinner and the views are more and more impressive at over 2,000 meters of altitude.
Upon conquering this beast of a climb, we’ll celebrate our achievement and optionally ride the fun downhill or jump on the car to get some rest. We’ll have a 50 km transfer from the base of the climb to Chiang Mai, where we’ll have our farewell dinner.
We'll pick you up from the hotel and transfer you to Chiang Mai international airport. We’ll also support you if you need help cleaning and packing bikes and equipment... Or maybe you choose to stay in this cycling paradise for a few more days!