Northern Thailand Motorcycle Tour

thailand motorcycle tour2024 DATES  Don’t think Bangkok and beaches!  Let’s head to the cooler climes of mountainous Northern Thailand for our Thailand Motorcycle Tour.  Starting and ending in Chiang Mai, we ride through areas of spectacular mountainous beauty, including the famous Road of 1864 Bends between Mae Hong Son and Mae Taeng and the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon, 2,565 meters.  Our ride takes us to the remote north west, where few travellers go, to the prosperous provincial capital of Nan.  This is our base to explore Bo Kluea and Doi Phu Kha National Park.  We continue further north to explore the Golden Triangle, the tripartite border area of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.  This region was made infamous by Khun Sa, once one of the world’s most infamous drug kings!  Here, you’ve time to visit the Opium Museum or take a boat trip across the Mekong River to visit the markets in Laos.  The north is also the region of the hill tribes and you have the opportunity to visit the Long Neck Women of the Karen Tribe.

You’ll love the warmth of the Thai people, their laid-back attitude and impeccable hospitality.  The culinary experiences are sublime – Tom Yum Soup with giant prawns is our favourite!  There’s plenty of the ancient ruins and ornate temples that pepper our journey, including the UNESCO listed Sukhothai. Nor can you beat the stunning roads through lush green forests that twist and turn at every opportunity.

You will be accompanied by our expert Tour Manager and there is also a support vehicle, which will carry your luggage. So join us on our Thailand Motorcycle Tour!

At a glance


Duration (days)


Miles Covered


Riding difficulty


Unpaved Roads


Culture Shock

At a glance

Duration (days): 12
Miles Covered: 1500
Riding difficulty: Moderate
Unpaved Roads: 5%
Culture Shock: Medium

Dates & Prices

The Rider Price shown is based on the rider using their own motorcycle. For tours less than four weeks, you will need motorcycle rental if you do not have your own motorcycle available at the start destination of the tour.

Shared Room
Single SupplementPassenger
Shared Room
Bike Rental
Jan 18 – 29, 2024£2,895£750£2,395Tiger Sport 660: £1,995
Tiger 850 Sport: £2,095
Tiger 900 GT Pro: £2,195
BMW R1250GS: £2,395

Dates & Prices

The Rider Price shown is based on the rider using their own motorcycle. For tours less than four weeks, you will need motorcycle rental if you do not have your own motorcycle available at the start destination of the tour.
Date:Jan 18 – 29, 2024
Rider Shared Room: £2,895
Single Supplement:£750
Passenger Shared Room:£2,395
Bike Rental:Tiger Sport 660: £1,995
Tiger 850 Sport: £2,095
Tiger 900 GT Pro: £2,195
BMW R1250GS: £2,395
  • A 12 day motorcycle tour of Northern Thailand – adventure riding on the best motorcycle roads in the region and plenty to see too!

    • Plenty of cornering on the thrilling “Road of 1864 Curves ” between Mae Hong Son and Mae Taeng, an incredible route of swooping bends through the lush green jungle of the North.
    • Visit the highest mountain in Thailand (Doi Inthanon), 2,565 meters and the Wachirathan Waterfalls
    • Take a boat to see the Long Neck Women of the Karen Tribe, famous for the brass rings that they wear around their necks.
    • Explore the Golden Triangle, the region where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet, and made famous by Khun Sa, once one of the world’s most infamous drug king.
    • Option to visit the Opium Museum or take a boat cross the Mekong to Laos to explore the local markets (no visa needed)
    • Ride through the UNESCO listed ancient city of Sukhothai and park your bike at the Elephant Temple for a great photo!
    • Venture to the remote province of Nan, which for centuries remained cut off from the outside world and take a look at the unique village of Bo Kluea with its ancient Salt Wells.
    • Ride the mountains and valleys along the Salawin River, marking the border between Thailand and Myanmar.


    For illustration only to provide a approximate overview of the route, not necessarily showing the exact roads.

  • This is a 12 day, 11 night tour with 10 days of motorcycle rental.  The overall itinerary is approximately 1,500 miles.

    Day 1 – Chiang Mai
    Arrival at airport and transfer to hotel.  Tour Briefing, Motorcycle Handover and Group Welcome Dinner.

    Day 2 – Chiang Mai to Mae Sariang.  137 miles
    A pleasant ride through small Thai towns and villages.   Then we reach the mountain ranges and fantastic curving roads!  Mae Sariang is a small town alongside the Yuam River, located near the Myanmar border.

    Day 3 – Mae Sariang to Mae Sot. 186 miles
    Before breakfast, early risers may want to visit the local morning market and give alms to the monks, which is a wonderful opportunity to experience an ancient Buddhist tradition.  After breakfast we take the road to Salawin River, border to Myanmar, and ride south running the border with Myanmar all the way to Mae Sot.  The road is winding, passing through many small communities and also a huge Refugee Camp where thousands of Burmese live. In Mae Sot we can ride to the border market for a visit.

    Day 4 – Mae Sot to Sukhothai.  143 miles
    Scenic ride over the mountains to Tak.  Our destination is Sukhothai which literally means “Dawn of Happiness”, capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries. Don’t miss to visit the Sukhothai Historical Park, an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  You’ll have time in the afternoon to visit.  Inside are the remains of the Royal Palace and twenty-six temples, the largest being Wat Mahathat.  We love getting our photos at the Elephant Temple too!

    Day 5 – Sukhothai to Nan. 199 miles
    On leaving Sukhothai, we visit the world’s oldest teak tree.  Taking the country back roads, we cross Queen Sirikit Dam by small ferry.  Disembarking, there’s a great local fish restaurant if you want to stop for lunch.  The roads here are traffic free, through hilly landscapes and countless villages.  Our destination tonight is the prosperous provincial capital, Nan.

    Day 6 – Optional Ride to Bo Kluea.  118 miles
    Without any doubt the road to Bo Kluea offers some of the best riding in all of Thailand.  Classic twisty roads with almost no traffic will make this day an unforgettable riding experience. The tiny village of Bo Kluea is located in a scenic valley close to the Laos border – it’s remote and picturesque. “Bo Kluea” means salt well, as the village has grown around two natural saltwater wells which have been used for centuries. From here, we cross over the mountain through Phu National Park.  Enjoy the stunning lush scenery and the empty roads.

    Day 7 – Nan to Chiang Kong. 193 miles
    We leave Nan and make our way on small back roads, passing through rice fields and fruit plantations.   Relax and enjoy countless bends through yet more beautiful landscapes – these roads are made for motorcycles!  We continue to the mighty Mekong River where our hotel is on the riverside, with beautiful views across to Laos.

    Day 8 – Chiang Kong / Golden Triangle (rest day) / optional ride (99 miles)
    Today is a rest day. If you like you can join a boat trip to explore this famous river region of the Mekong and head over to Laos to explore the markets (no visa needed). Alternatively you can ride to the modern and interesting Hall of Opium to learn more about Khun Sa and the opium trade in the past. Or you simply enjoy a Thai Massage and/or the swimming pool of our hotel.

    giant buddha on Mekong river (Large)

    Day 9 – Chiang Kong to Pai (242 miles)
    Today, a stop at the huge Choui Fong Tea plantations is worthwhile, as well as seeing the Doi Mae Salong Village Market or diverting in Thaton to enjoy a splendid view from Wat Thaton over the town.  Then it’s the famous “Road of 1864 bends” (the H1095) – lots of twisties over the mountains to Pai! A few miles before Pai you can stop at an iconic Memorial Bridge.

    Day 10 – Pai to Mae Hong Son (112 miles)
    A relaxed riding morning with lots of bends and superb view points. We have the option to head to the small Chinese Village of Ban Rak Thai for lunch by the lake (48kms in and out). This afternoon, we also visit the Long Neck Karen Village, by taking a small boat there in the afternoon. The Karen, a tribal minority, historically lived in the hills on the Myanmar side of the border.  Some of their women wear heavy brass rings around their necks, forearms, and shins.

    Day 11 – Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai (186 miles)
    More great winding roads, with lots to see to finish our final riding day.  There’s the local war museum in Khun Yuam, visit Doi Inthanon (Thailand’s highest mountain) and the Royal Pagodas, and see the 80m high Wachiratham Waterfall!  It’s a final 30 mile blast on the main road back to Chiang Mai.  Drop off the bikes and head out for a Farewell Group Evening Dinner.

    Day 12 – Chiang Mai – Home
    Transfer to Chiang Mai International Airport.  Please book your return flight home for any time after 2pm on 29 January 2024 or if you would like to stay a few more nights, please let us know.

    Note:  Your tour price does not include your passenger flights.  Check out for latest prices.  Please do not book your flights until this tour is a confirmed departure.

  • All our hotels are an excellent 4* standard or equivalent.  Many are small boutique hotels or private lodges, some with riverside settings, and all have en suite bathrooms, wifi, bar and restaurant.  All have swimming pools and most also have spas and Thai massage services.  To give you a flavour of the types of accommodation we use, here are some of our favourites:

    Sriwilai Sukhothai:  This is a gorgeous boutique hotel, with modern suites around a beautiful pool and gardens.  Parking is easy, the bar is well stocked and it is a great base to explore the UNESCO listed ancient capital of Siam.

    The Quarter Hotel, Pai:  Immaculately designed rooms, floor to ceiling windows with beautiful teak wood floors and balconies overlooking the garden or pool.  Located right in the heart of Pai, with bars and restaurants within easy reach.

    Fern ResortNestled in a lush jungle valley outside the town of Mae Hong Son, this is a perfect hideaway, with individual wooden bungalows dotted along the river.  A great bar and restaurant too.

    Chiang Khong Teak Garden Riverside:  A spectacular location along the shores of the Mekong River, where you can enjoy panoramic views of Laos and the Mekong River from the balcony of their bar.

    The above are hotels we normally use.  However, we reserve the right to replace them with others of a similar standard.

  • Before you go

    • Access to the GlobeBusters Team for one to one meeting about preparing for the tour and what to expect.
    • Motorcycle Tour Travel Pack, including Tour Specific Guidance Handbook & hard copy Michelin / Reise Know How Maps, marked with route.
    • Daily hard copy route notes with GPS co-ordinates and information about the hotels, the roads and the sights
    • Loan SD Card with open source GPS mapping for the region (suitable for Garmin units), downloadable routes and custom waypoints for hotels, lunch stops, viewpoints etc

    En Route

    • Transfers between Chiang Mai Airport to the hotel
    • 11 nights at good quality and comfortable hotels or resorts on a bed & breakfast basis
    • 3 Evening Dinners (including soft drinks, but not alcohol)
    • Local overnight hotel parking charges.
    • Activities – Boat ride and tour to Long Neck Karen Village.

    Support Crew

    • GlobeBusters Motorcycle Tour Manager on a motorcycle to accompany the group
    • Local Support Driver and Vehicle, equipped with satellite phone, spare fuel, water, tools, selected spare parts and emergency first aid kit, acting as a sweeper vehicle

    Motorcycle Hire

    Where you have chosen to rent a motorcycle, this is organised by us with the local motorcycle rental provider, Bike Tour Asia.   We act as agents for the local rental company and we reserve motorcycles with them in accordance with your booking.  Your rental fee includes:

    • 10 days motorcycle rental, including side panniers at no extra charge.
    • Compulsory Third Party Liability Cover for personal injury and death as required by Thai law.
    • Rental motorcycle damage and loss coverage insurance.  There is an excess of US$1,500 (F750GS/Tiger 660 Sport), US$1,700 (F850GS/Tiger 850 Sport) or US$2,500 (R1250GS).  The excess is taken as a credit card authorisation on departure of rental, and withheld until the motorcycle is cleaned and inspected upon return.
    • On arrival at the start of the tour, you will be required to sign the local motorcycle rental agreement and provide your credit details as a guarantee against damage.

    Your contract for motorcycle rental is with Bike Tour Asia and not with us and you must comply with their terms and conditions for rental.  We act as agent for Bike Tour Asia, and on arrival you will be required to sign the local motorcycle rental contract.  You can request a copy of these terms and conditions from us by contacting us in advance.  You must provide the local provider with valid credit card details with sufficient credit limit as a guarantee against damages up to the insurance excess.  Your motorcycle will not be released unless you can provide a security deposit.  Please note that on rare occasions the local provider may need to substitute your choice of motorcycle for something equivalent.

    Not Included

    • Return passenger airline flights or any other travel costs to get to the start and from the finish point for the tour.
    • Personal travel, accident and medical insurance (covering matters such as medical expenses, repatriation, cancellation, curtailment, loss or damage to property)
    • Entrance fees to sights and parks, optional local excursions or local activities, (except where stated)
    • Lunches, snacks or evening meals (except where stated).
    • Personal spending money, tips, souvenirs or other extras.
    • Personal documentation (eg visas, passport), vaccinations, personal taxes
    • We do not supply riding gear; you must bring a minimum of your own helmet, jacket, trousers, boots and gloves.
    • Fuel, oil & other motorcycle consumables, toll road fees, traffic fines.
    • Cost of parts, labour or other indirect costs (eg recovery of motorcycle) relating to the repair of any damage to the rental motorcycle
    • Any other item not specifically stated as included in the price.


    For clarity, we do not include your passenger flights.  Once we have confirmed that this tour is a guaranteed departure, it is your responsibility to organise your own flights to and from the destination.  You need to book an outward flight to our start point, Chiang Mai, to arrive no later than around 2pm on 18 January 2024.  The earliest leave date is any time on 29 January 2024 from Chiang Mai.

    Only book your flights once we have confirmed that your tour is a guaranteed departure.  We do not refund flight costs if you have booked flights for a tour that has not been notified as a guaranteed departure.

    Should you wish to arrive before the official date date or stay after the official end date, please simply request extra nights at the time of booking and we can make the reservation at our group hotel.

    Please also refer to our Booking Conditions.
  • When you book a motorcycle tour with us, we provide you with Tour Specific Guidance Handbook that give you detailed information about what you need to know to prepare and plan your tour, and what to expect when on our motorcycle tour.  Here are some of the questions that we often get asked before a rider makes a booking.   If you wish to meet with us prior to booking to ask more questions, do not hesitate to contact us and we can set up a one-to-one meeting.

    What riding experience do I need?
    This tour is suitable for a good road rider, with previous experience of touring. It is also suitable for experienced two-up couples. Traffic conditions in Chiang Mai are very busy and quite chaotic. Once outside of these major cities, the main roads are quieter but please be aware of slow trucks on some of the great twisty roads. You must ensure your overtakes are safe and progressive.   Remember that riding is on the LEFT in Thailand (as in the UK).

    Do I have to ride in a group?
    We do not make you ride in convoy.  We offer you the freedom to decide how you would like to ride.  We give you a road book, with recommendations for lunch or coffee stops, fuel stops and hotel information.  You also get an SD card with mapping, custom routes & GPS co-ordinates to download to your GPS.  You can use these tools to self-navigate.  Most riders prefer to have this freedom, so they can stop where they want and for how long they want without feeling under pressure.  However if you prefer to ride with our Motorcycle Tour Manager, then you can do this.  They will give you a time to start in the morning, so please be prompt and ready to ride with them.  Each day you can change between riding on your own, or with a small group of other riders or with the Tour Manager.  We like to have a very flexible approach.

    What is the average group size?
    Our groups are normally between 8 – 10 riders (some riders will have passengers), up to a maximum of 16 riders.  6 riders is the minimum number to confirm the guaranteed departure of the tour.

    Is this ride suitable for a passenger?
    Absolutely.  This is a popular trip for couples and we always have couples riding two-up on this tour.  Your passenger needs to also be an experienced tourer.  Your passenger must ride the motorcycle each touring day – there is no option to sit in the support vehicle as this is only for participants who are ill or injured, or unless the road conditions are too difficult for a rider and passenger to attempt two-up.  You are able to place luggage (see below) in the Support Vehicle and the standard of accommodation is also very good.


    Is there a support vehicle?
    Yes, this tour operates with a local support vehicle and driver.  The support vehicle will carry one piece of luggage per person, up to a maximum of 60 litres each.  Your luggage should be dustproof and waterproof and we recommend soft bags such as Ortleib. Hard suitcases or baggage with wheels are not recommended. You are able to leave luggage in Chiang Mai for collection on your return.

    Tell me about motorcycle rental
    Riders must be age 25 years and older, with a valid, full motorcycle licence.  We work with the local motorcycle rental agency, Bike Tour Asia based in Chiang Mai, who are BMW & Triumph Approved.  We act as an agent for them and your contract for the motorcycle rental is with them and not with us (you can request a copy of the contract from us in advance).  Your rental fee includes:

    • All motorcycle rentals include side panniers at no extra charge.
    • The rental provider does not rent GPS units or tank bags and you will need to bring your own.
    • All rental motorcycles have compulsory minimum third party insurance for personal injury and death as required by Thai law and motorcycle damage and loss insurance subject to an excess of up to US$1,500 – US$2,500, depending on the motorcycle rented.
    • On arrival at the start of the tour, you will be required to sign the local motorcycle rental agreement and provide your credit details as a guarantee against damage.  You must ensure you have sufficient credit limit for the damage deposit.

    What documents do I need?
    You will need your original documents as follows: Passport, Driving Licence, 1949 International Driving Permit.  In addition you must have travel/medical insurance (compulsory requirement).  As visa requirements are dependent on your nationality and can be complex, with constantly changing requirements, we would direct you to our appointed visa agency for advice.

    What about flights?
    For clarity, we do not include your passenger flights.  Once we have confirmed that this tour is a guaranteed departure, it is your responsibility to organise your own flights to and from the start and end point. We do not refund flight costs if you have booked flights for a tour that has not been notified as a guaranteed departure.  Once we have sent you written confirmation, you need to book an outward flight to our start point, Chiang Mai to arrive no later than midday on the official start date.  The earliest leave date is any time on the official end date from Chiang Mai.

    British AirwaysThai Airways and EVA Air all operate direct flights between London Heathrow (LHR) and Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, from where you can book a domestic flight to Chiang Mai.

    What is the weather like?
    January & February is a great time to visit Thailand.  It is in the middle of the dry season and you should expect average temperatures of around 27C degrees.  On this basis, make sure your riding gear has good venting!

    What about my health when I am abroad?
    You need to be physically fit and healthy and also take the necessary health precautions.  It is essential for you to consult your doctor or travel clinic for up-to-date medical travel information prior of travel, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition. For up-to-date medical advice you may wish to use the Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad “MASTA”, the NHS  website  or NaTHNaC

    You will be obliged to disclose any medical condition or medication that you are taking to GlobeBusters in advance and to your Tour Manager at the start of your Tour, for health and safety purposes. We provide you with our Emergency Details Form for this purpose and to collect information about who to contact for you back home in the event of an emergency.

    Please note that once outside of Bangkok and the major cities, Thailand does not have the same level of medical infrastructure nor consistent medical standards that you may be used to.  In particular, emergency services often may be a long distance away, with no co-ordinated response, or sometimes no medical response available within reasonable times. Please do not book this trip if this unduly concerns you.

    First Aid Training
    It is not a requirement to be first aid trained to participate in this expedition. However, we do strongly recommend that you consider doing a motorcycle first aid course.  If you, or a rider you are with, are involved in any accident, whilst not riding with or not close to the support team, having first aid skills may make a significant difference to an injured party.

    Travel / Medical Insurance
    It is a condition of you travelling with us that you are adequately insured.  Your insurance policy must cover you for the costs of any medical expenses, medical treatment or repatriation needed, due to injury or illness on this trip, including those that occur whilst motorcycle touring, either as the rider or a passenger.  It is important that your insurance company understands that the MAIN PURPOSE of your trip is motorcycle touring, using your own large capacity cc motorcycle or a rental motorcycle.  Your insurance must cover you for the full duration of the trip and for all countries we travel through.

    In addition, we strongly recommend that your insurance policy has cover for loss or damage to your personal belongings, delay at your outward or homeward point of departure, personal liability, overseas legal expenses and cancellation and curtailment.

    We also strongly recommend that you take out your travel insurance at the time of paying your deposit your trip as cover will commence for pre-departure cancellation from the policy issue date. This will therefore provide cover should you have to cancel your trip for an insured reason such as illness or serious injury. We do not refund your deposit simply because you failed to take out insurance in sufficient time.

    Official Travel Advice
    The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) monitors overseas destinations and provides destination travel advice for UK nationals. GlobeBusters monitors the advice from the FCDO and any decisions taken regarding a Tour’s safety and security will use the vast experience of the company’s 18 years of operating as well as the FCDO advice. In the interests of your safety and security, changes may be made to your tour based on any FCDO warnings given.

    We strongly recommend that you read the information about the country you are planning to visit to be fully informed – each country has a summary and general information as well as advice on safety & security, local laws & customs, entry requirements and health, and road conditions.

    If you are not a UK national please make sure you have checked your own country’s travel advice for your destination/s: The US Department of State: Canadian Foreign Affairs: Australian Government Travel Advice: NZ Government Travel Advice:

    As at 9 January 2023, there is no requirement to show any proof of COVID vaccination nor a negative PCR test.

    What about local currency?

    The base currency for this trip is any major currency.  All can be readily exchangeable for the local currency, the Thai Baht.  It is easy  to get local currency from ATMs using your debit / credit card in all towns and cities.  Cards are readily accepted by hotels, restaurants, fuel stations.  The websites below will give you the current rates of exchange.

    Minimum Numbers
    We require a minimum number of 6 riders on this tour.  If we do not have this number of bookings, then we reserve the right to cancel the tour. If we have to cancel the tour we will provide you a minimum of 84 days notice prior to departure.