I just got back from my second mountain biking trip to Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. It’s nicknamed the mountain bike capital of asia and it’s easy to see why. The variety of riding, combined with the friendly Thai culture, great food, great shopping and relatively low prices, make it a wonderful holiday getaway.
There’s a lot of scope for cross-country mtb with numerous doubletrack and singletrack trails that criss-cross farmland. For less technical riding, there is also a lot of primitive and dirt roads that you can ride, just let your guide know what it is you like. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of published information about trail locations or maps. Local knowledge is a must. Either go with somebody who knows the trails, or upload GPS coordinates from somebody who has been there before. If you need a guide, I highly recommend King Saksipong. If you’d like to hire him, let him know well in advance. He’s already been booked by 117 riders for November this year. firstname.lastname@example.org
Chiang Mai is the second largest largest city in Thailand, but it feels less touristy than the beach resort of Phuket. Two places for shopping are the night bazaar on Loi Kroh Road, which is open nightly and is heavily patronized by tourists; and the ‘Pae Walking Street’ (Ratchadamnoen Road) in the old city, which is only open on Sunday night and frequented by the locals.
Thai massage is something of an art form. Getting a good one is an experience not to be missed. The Loi Kroh Massage School http://www.nuad-chiangmai.com on Loi Kroh Road gives the best Thai massage I’ve had, and at a reasonable price. It’s a treat and a great way to end your ride.
Top: The Hills of Chiang Dao, near Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand
Right: Night shopping at the Pae Walking Street, Ratchadamnoen Road
More photos from this trip here