Bo Klua Loop and other Motorbike Trips
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).
WarningBe 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.
BicyclingNan 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 - Thailand you can make 2 wonderful loops, the "Bo Klua Loop" in the northern part of Nan - Thailand. And the "Mae Charim Loop" in the south-eastern part of Nan - Thailand. Beside loops there are a few stunning routes to travel to Nan - Thailand coming from / going to Chiang Rai, Phayao or Loei.
How to get there?On your own or rented Motorbike / Scooter / Vespa or even bicycle. For rental see Motorbike Rental.
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 15km 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 Wat Nong Bua near Tha Wang Pha. For more information about Bo Klua have a look at Introduction of Bo Klua
Read everything about Accommodation, Food & Drinks and Things To Do in Bo Klua
2. 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 40km you get at a Y-section. To the left route 1168 continues as side-trip. But you continue straight ahead (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 20km to Nan. Be aware that the side-trip extension will take about 1 to 2 hours extra at least.
3. Route from Nan to Chiang Rai
Not the shortest route to Chiang Rai, but a stunning route to ride. From Nan you go north and follow route 101 for about 40km 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, I saw only 1 coffee shop at Phu Lanka. Just before Chiang Kham route 1148 goes via a T-section (take a right). I did go straight ahead and after Chiang Kham route 1148 changes into route 1021. At Thoeng route 1021 changes into route 1020. 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.
4. Route from Nan to Phayao
Not the shortest route but a route with good roads and stunning views. The trip starts on the west side of town on route 1091. Just follow the main road for about 65km and continue route 1091 until Chiang Muan where is a T-section. Route 1091 continues to the right. After about 10km there is a road to the left that also goes to Phayao, but you continue straight still on route 1091 in direction of Pong. And even at Pong we still follow the main road and continue on route 1091. About 30km after Pong you will get at a T-section where route 1091 ends and you go straight ahead on route 1021. Just follow route 1021 for another 50km until you hit route 1 just south of Phayao. Take a right and after about 4km go to the left into Phayao.