Bo Klua Loop and other Motorbike Trips

The Bo Klua Loop is one of the famous attractions of Nan province, to do by Motorbike / Scooter / Vespa or even with your bicycle. Most people doing the Bo Klua Loop come on their own motorbike or rent one in Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai. But in Nan town are nowadays also a few shops renting Motorbikes or Scooters. For more information have a look at Motorbike Rental Shops. Besides the famous Bo Klua Loop there are also other very interesting loops & routes to be made with stunning view, small villages and rivers in the mountains. And the nice thing about the roads here in Nan province is that that they are not busy, so relatively safe to ride.

As for scooters it is recommended not to rent a "small scooter" but at least 150cc. And of course ALWAYS wear a good helmet, jacket, gloves and good shoes. Also be aware that scooters are by law motorbikes and that you will need a motorbike driver-license for it (check your travel insurance).

Motorbike riding in Nan province, North Thailand
Route 1081 to Bo Klua

Warning

Be aware that after rain roads can be slippery. Especially in the mountains, also in the early morning with fog. In the raining season there could be landslides blocking roads or some parts of road could be washed away.

Bicycling

Nan is a great area for bicycling, both on road as off road. The routes here mentioned are on-road and of course all routes could also be done by bicycle, but i.m.o. you should adjust the routes a bit to avoid using the main roads (like route 101) as that is really not safe for bicycling.

When to go?

Best to be done at the end of the raining season or during the cool season, from September to February. But of course you could ride the all year long. But in the raining season be aware that due to the rain there could be landslides and in the mountains roads could be blocked or gone.

Where to go?

Within Nan province there are 2 wonderful main loops to be done : the Bo Klua Loop in the northern part of Nan province and the Mae Charim Loop in the south-eastern part of Nan province. Both loops of course have a slightly optional way of taking. And then there are of course a few minor routes or loops to ride in Nan province. Beside loops / route within Nan province there are a few stunning routes to travel to / from Nan province coming from or going to Chiang Rai, Phayao or Loei. Under most of the maps you will find a link to Google Maps.

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1. THE BO KLUA LOOP


From Nan town cross the main bridge and after about 20m take a left into a small road what is the beginning of route 1169 to Santisuk. After about 15 km the road starts to go into the mountains. Follow route 1169 until a T-section in Santisuk. Going to the right is the slow route to Bo Klua via route 1257. Going to the left and continue follow route 1169 until the intersection with route 1081. Here you go to the right in direction of Bo Klua. Keep on following route 1081 until Bo Klua. This is a small village that is famous for its ancient salt pits. After Bo Klua take a left to route 1256 to Pua. This is a part of 50km full of curves, ups & downs. Lovely road to ride. From Pua take route 1081 again in direction of Santisuk. Along the route you could make a stop at Sila Phet Waterfall. In Santisuk again just take route 1169 back to Nan. Of course you could also take route 101 from Pua to Nan and make a stop at the famous Nan Riverside Art Gallery or the Wat Nong Bua. For more information about Bo Klua have a look at Introduction of Bo Klua


You could do the Bo Klua Loop but taking a more scenic route via route 1257, the Bo Klua Loop with route 1257. And you could even extend that loop by also taking route 1333 (passing Phu Fa Royal Project), the Bo Klua Loop with route 1257 & route 1333. Be aware that on some maps route 1333 has another number.


2. The Huai Kon Loop

And while you are in Bo Klua you could extend your loop with Huai Kon or do this as an separate loop from Pua or Bo Klua. And while doing this loop you could make 2 side trips, first to Phu Phayak (Communist Memorial) and later to Manipruek (Hmong hill-tribe village and stunning view points). As extension from Bo Klua to Pua via Phu Phayak, Huai Kon and Maniruek this loop is 260 km. Doing almost the same route but then from Pua this loop is 310 km. Without the side trips to Phu Phayak and Manipruek the loop is 110 km shorter.

Stunning route but do not forget that some road parts are in bad (put-holed) condition. But you can do it with an road bike or scooter. The trip starts in Bo Klua (or Pua) and goes north via route 1081. Just follow the main road. There are not much side-roads. After about 50 km you will come at a kind of T-section in a curve. Here you can take a right to Phu Payak Communist Memorial. Continuing the 1081 another 30 km will bring us to to an intersection with the 101. Here you can take a right to the International Border Crossing Huai Kon to Laos. Take a left to the 101 in direction of Nan. Just follow the main road for another 50 km and you will be passing a intersection with signs to the left for Manipruek. Manipruek is an dead-end so you will end-up again at route 101. Continuing another 20 km and you will end-up in Pua. In Pua are some restaurants, hotels/guesthouses and pub's. 

3. THE MAE CHARIM LOOP


This trip starts again on the east-side of the main bridge crossing the Nan River. Just follow the main road straight ahead  and follow route 1168. After a few km there is a round-about, here you go to the left and continue to follow route 1168. After about 40 km you get at a Y-section. To the left route 1168 continues as side-trip. But you continue straight ahead (or you could call right) on route 1243. After about 20km there is a road to the left going to Mae Charim National Park. You go straight ahead until Man Muap. There at a T-section route 1243 continues to the right, but you take a left to route 1162. Just keep on following route 1162 until Wiang Sa. At a T-section you will hit route 1026, take a right in direction of Nan. At the intersection with traffic lights take a left until another intersection with traffic lights at route 101. The take a right and continue another 20 km to Nan. Be aware that the side-trip extension will take about 1 to 2 hours extra at least.

4. To Nanthaburi National Park & Ban Sop Khun

Not a loop this time and the begin via route 101 is a bit boring (although you could make some side trips here) but the rest of the route is stunning. End destination is a hill-tribe village on the border of Nan province and Phayao province. The route is 90 km one-way. From Nan town take route 101 in direction of Pua. Then in Tha Wang Pha take a left for route 1148 in direction of Chiang Rai. Then after about  2 km turn left (signs for Nanthaburi National Park) and start following route 4022 thru a small village.

5. The Na Noi Loop

This loop goes to Na Noi and with a side-trip will be passing Si Nan National Park with Doi Sammer Dao and Khun Sathan National Park. Near Na Noi you could also visit Sao Din Na Noi. Without returning to Nan town this route is 216 km, returning to Nan town would add an extra 60 km. But Na Noi is restaurants & hotels. Be aware that this route ventures into Phrae and that this part of the route might not be in good condition.

From Nan town follow route 101 to Wiang Sa and from there route 1026 to Na Noi. From Na Noi you can make a side-trip to Si Nan National Park (stunning view points) via route 1083. From Na Noi continue via route 1026 to Nathong (have a drink at 10.000 miles Bikers Cafe). In the village go straight ahead an start following route 4010 in direction of Phrae. Take route 1217 and 1216 to Khun Sathan National Park. Keep on following route 1216 back to Na Noi.


6. ROUTE FROM NAN TO CHIANG RAI


Not the shortest route to Chiang Rai, but a stunning route to ride, 238 km in total. From Nan you go north and follow route 101 for about 40 km to Tha Wang Pha. There we take a left to route 1148. Just keep on following the main road. Do not forget at Song Kwae to go to the left, otherwise you end up in Laos. Until Chiang Kham it is just following route 1148 thru the mountains. There is not much along the road here, only a few coffee shops & restaurants at Phu Lanka. From Chiang Kham I prefer to take the short-cut to route 1020 (not really shorter in time or distance but less traffic). Just keep on following route 1020 in direction of Chiang Rai. You will be passing a kind of by-pass road and then you will be crossing route 1 and ride into Chiang Rai.

7. ROUTE FROM NAN TO PHAYAO


Shown here is the shortest route of only 149 km from Nan to Phayao, one could also take a more scenic route and going north around the mountains on the east of Phayao. The trip starts on the west side of town on route 1091. Just follow the main road for about 65 km and continue route 1091 until Chiang Muan where is a T-section. Route 1091 continues to the right. After about 10 km take a left for route 1251 (for the scenic route keep on following route 1091 north). Keep on following route 1251 (not ride into Doi Phu Nang National Park) thru some villages. At the T-intersection with route 1021 go left and follow route 1021 until route 1. Take a right and after a few km take a left into Phayo.

8. ROUTE FROM NAN TO LOEI


Riding from Nan to Loei there are many route to take, this is the route along the Thai-Lao border. From Nan go south via route 101 to Wiang Sa, from there take route 1026 to Na Noi. At Na Noi change to route 1083. Keep on following route 1083 until you hit route 1243 at a kind of T-section, take a left and follow route 1243 for a few km. Then take a right for route 1241 and follow this route until a T-section with route 1268 to Ban Khok. Follow route 1268 to Na Heao. At Na Heao change to route 2113 to Dan Sai. From Dan Sai take route 2013 and route 21 to Loei. You can ride this in 1 day, but it will be a long day. Coming from Nan personally I choose to make a stop in Na Heao or Dan Sai. Coming from Loei you could make a stop at Na Noi.

Motorbike Riding in Nan province, North Thailand
Viewpoint at Si Nan National Park

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