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6 Motorcycle Trips to Take in Thailand: Exploring Hidden Gems and Offbeat Sights

Introduction

Thailand, with its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and enchanting hidden gems, has become a favorite destination for adventurous expats seeking thrilling experiences. Among the myriad ways to explore this captivating country, motorcycle trips have emerged as a popular choice, allowing travelers to delve deeper into Thailand’s vibrant tapestry. Beyond the well-trodden tourist paths, these motorcycle journeys offer an exhilarating opportunity to discover offbeat and lesser-known destinations that unveil the true essence of Thai culture.

One of the alluring aspects of motorcycle trips in Thailand is the freedom they afford. Riding on two wheels provides a sense of liberation and connection with the surroundings that cannot be replicated by any other mode of transportation. Whether winding through lush mountains, cruising along coastal roads, or immersing in the tranquility of rural landscapes, the open road becomes a pathway to uncover the hidden treasures that Thailand has to offer.

While famous tourist hotspots like Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai have their undeniable charm, it is the lesser-explored corners of Thailand that hold the true allure for intrepid travelers. These motorcycle trips provide a gateway to unravel the mysteries of offbeat destinations, where traditional customs and rituals endure and ancient traditions meld with modern sensibilities.

From encountering remote hill tribes in the northern mountains to unearthing ancient ruins and spiritual retreats in the heartland, each motorcycle trip unveils a unique tapestry of sights, sounds, and flavors. These journeys are not just about ticking off popular landmarks but about embracing the weird, obscure, and unconventional experiences that could rival the explorations of culinary legend Anthony Bourdain or the intrepid adventurers of old-school VICE.

So fasten your helmet, rev up your engine, and embark on these six motorcycle trips that will take you off the beaten path, deep into the heart of Thailand. Get ready to experience the country’s hidden gems, discover cultural curiosities, and immerse yourself in the extraordinary journey that awaits. The open road beckons, and Thailand’s secrets are waiting to be unveiled.

Northern Loop Adventure: Chiang Mai and Beyond

Itinerary: Chiang Mai – Pai – Mae Hong Son – Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle

1. Explore the vibrant street markets and temples of Chiang Mai:
– Begin your Northern Loop Adventure in Chiang Mai, the cultural capital of Northern Thailand.
– Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the city’s night markets, such as the famous Sunday Walking Street Market.
– Visit the revered temples of Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang, marveling at their intricate architecture and spiritual significance.

2. Ride through the scenic mountain roads to Pai and indulge in its laid-back atmosphere:
– Embark on a thrilling ride from Chiang Mai to the charming town of Pai, known for its picturesque landscapes.
– Enjoy the winding roads as they lead you through lush mountains, serene valleys, and cascading waterfalls.
– Explore Pai’s bohemian vibe, with its cozy cafés, hot springs, and vibrant art scene.

3. Visit the remote village of Mae Hong Son and witness the intriguing Long Neck Karen tribe:
– Venture further northwest to Mae Hong Son, a remote town nestled amidst stunning mountain ranges.
– Discover the fascinating culture of the Long Neck Karen tribe in the nearby village of Huai Pu Kaeng.
– Witness the women adorned with brass neck coils, a traditional practice unique to this community.

4. Discover the mystical temples of Chiang Rai and explore the infamous Golden Triangle:
– Continue your journey east to Chiang Rai, a city known for its unique temples and serene ambiance.
– Explore the mesmerizing White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) with its intricate white facade and unconventional artwork.
– Visit the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), a captivating contemporary temple adorned in shades of blue and gold.
– Journey to the infamous Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. Experience the intriguing blend of cultures and learn about the region’s historical significance in the opium trade.

The Northern Loop Adventure takes you through a diverse array of landscapes, from bustling cities to remote villages and awe-inspiring natural wonders. Each stop along the itinerary offers a unique experience, showcasing the cultural richness and natural beauty of Northern Thailand. Get ready to ride through breathtaking mountain roads, encounter fascinating tribes, and immerse yourself in the mystical allure of this captivating region.

Jungle Expedition: Kanchanaburi and the Thai-Burmese Border

Itinerary: Bangkok – Kanchanaburi – Sangkhlaburi – Three Pagodas Pass – Hellfire Pass

1. Immerse yourself in Kanchanaburi’s World War II history, including the iconic Bridge over the River Kwai:
– Depart from Bangkok and head to Kanchanaburi, a town renowned for its historical significance.
– Explore the somber yet captivating World War II sites, including the Bridge over the River Kwai.
– Visit the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre and the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery to gain insights into the harrowing past.

2. Ride through dense jungles to Sangkhlaburi, known for its floating houses and the Mon Bridge:
– Embark on a thrilling ride through lush jungles as you make your way to Sangkhlaburi.
– Experience the unique charm of this remote town, where the Burmese and Mon cultures intertwine.
– Witness the famous Mon Bridge, the longest wooden bridge in Thailand, connecting the town’s two sides.

3. Cross the border at Three Pagodas Pass and explore the border town’s unique blend of cultures:
– Venture across the Thai-Burmese border at Three Pagodas Pass, a historically significant crossing.
– Discover the fascinating blend of Thai and Burmese cultures in this border town.
– Engage with locals, sample traditional cuisines, and explore the bustling markets.

4. Visit Hellfire Pass, a poignant reminder of the hardships endured by POWs during the construction of the Death Railway:
– Journey to Hellfire Pass, a site that holds a profound historical significance.
– Learn about the grueling conditions endured by prisoners of war during the construction of the Death Railway.
– Pay homage at the Memorial Museum and walk along the poignant Hellfire Pass Walking Trail.

The Jungle Expedition takes you on a historical and cultural journey through the dense jungles of Kanchanaburi, offering a glimpse into the region’s tumultuous past. From the World War II sites to the unique border town experiences, this itinerary combines adventure with poignant reminders of history. Prepare to ride through lush landscapes, immerse yourself in local cultures, and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by those who endured the construction of the Death Railway.

Coastal Serenity: Hua Hin to Phuket

Itinerary: Hua Hin – Prachuap Khiri Khan – Chumphon – Ranong – Phuket

1. Explore the charming seaside town of Hua Hin, with its lively night markets and beautiful beaches:
– Begin your coastal adventure in Hua Hin, a popular resort town renowned for its picturesque beaches and vibrant atmosphere.
– Indulge in the lively night markets, sampling delicious street food and browsing through local crafts.
– Relax on the pristine sandy beaches, take a dip in the turquoise waters, or enjoy thrilling water sports.

2. Discover the tranquil atmosphere of Prachuap Khiri Khan and climb to the stunning hilltop temple:
– Ride along the coastal roads to Prachuap Khiri Khan, a peaceful town exuding a laid-back vibe.
– Ascend to the Khao Chong Krachok hill and visit Wat Ao Noi, a hilltop temple with breathtaking panoramic views.
– Explore the local fishing village and savor fresh seafood delicacies.

3. Ride along the picturesque coastal roads to Chumphon, known for its pristine islands and seafood:
– Journey southward, relishing the scenic coastal roads that lead you to Chumphon.
– Explore the nearby islands, such as Koh Ngam Noi and Koh Ngam Yai, known for their crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life.
– Indulge in the region’s renowned seafood, sampling delicacies like grilled squid and spicy seafood curries.

4. Reach Ranong and visit the lesser-known island of Koh Phayam, an unspoiled paradise:
– Continue your coastal expedition to Ranong, a town famed for its hot springs and natural beauty.
– Take a short boat ride to Koh Phayam, a serene and untouched island with pristine beaches and lush jungles.
– Enjoy the laid-back island life, relax on the secluded beaches, and witness breathtaking sunsets.

5. End the journey in Phuket, exploring its vibrant nightlife and visiting lesser-known beaches and viewpoints:
– Conclude your coastal adventure in Phuket, the largest island in Thailand, renowned for its bustling nightlife and stunning beaches.
– Venture beyond the popular tourist spots and explore lesser-known beaches like Nai Harn and Kamala Beach.
– Discover hidden viewpoints, such as Promthep Cape, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Andaman Sea.

The Coastal Serenity itinerary takes you on a picturesque journey along Thailand’s western coast, from the charming town of Hua Hin to the vibrant island of Phuket. Along the way, you’ll encounter stunning beaches, indulge in delicious seafood, and immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere of lesser-known destinations. This coastal expedition offers the perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and exploration as you discover Thailand’s coastal gems.

Ancient Ruins and Spiritual Retreats: Ayutthaya and Sukhothai

Itinerary: Bangkok – Ayutthaya – Lopburi – Sukhothai – Kamphaeng Phet

1. Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ayutthaya and explore its ancient temples and ruins:
– Depart from Bangkok and journey to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam.
– Explore the expansive historical park, home to magnificent temple ruins and impressive Buddha statues.
– Visit iconic sites such as Wat Mahathat, known for its Buddha head entwined in tree roots, and Wat Phra Si Sanphet, once the grandest temple in the kingdom.

2. Visit Lopburi, famous for its monkey population and ancient Khmer temples:
– Ride to the city of Lopburi, known as the “Monkey City” due to its lively population of macaques.
– Witness the monkeys roaming freely around the ancient Khmer temple, Prang Sam Yot.
– Explore other historical attractions such as Phra Prang Sam Yot and Phra Kan Shrine.

3. Ride to Sukhothai, a historical park with impressive ruins from the 13th-century kingdom:
– Continue your journey to Sukhothai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Sukhothai.
– Marvel at the well-preserved ruins of the Sukhothai Historical Park, including the iconic Wat Mahathat and Wat Si Chum.
– Explore the sprawling complex, rent a bicycle to roam the park’s vast grounds, and discover the serene ponds and ancient Buddha statues.

4. Explore Kamphaeng Phet, a lesser-known archaeological site boasting well-preserved ruins:
– Venture to Kamphaeng Phet, a hidden gem in the historical park circuit, less frequented by tourists.
– Discover the well-preserved ruins and ancient city walls that surround the historical park.
– Visit Wat Phra Kaeo, home to an exquisite Emerald Buddha image and intricately carved temple structures.

The Ancient Ruins and Spiritual Retreats itinerary takes you on a journey through the remnants of Thailand’s ancient kingdoms. From the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai to the lesser-known gems of Lopburi and Kamphaeng Phet, you’ll be immersed in the rich history and architectural wonders of these ancient civilizations. Prepare to be awed by the grandeur of the temple ruins, soak in the spiritual ambiance, and uncover the secrets of Thailand’s ancient past.

Island Hopping Adventure: Phuket to Koh Lanta

Itinerary: Phuket – Koh Yao Noi – Koh Phi Phi – Koh Lanta

1. Start the journey from Phuket and take a detour to the idyllic island of Koh Yao Noi:
– Depart from Phuket, a bustling island known for its vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches.
– Take a boat ride to the serene island of Koh Yao Noi, where you’ll find a peaceful and authentic Thai island experience.
– Relax on the pristine beaches, enjoy kayaking through the mangroves, and savor delicious seafood.

2. Visit the iconic Koh Phi Phi, famous for its turquoise waters and stunning limestone cliffs:
– Continue your island hopping adventure to the famous Koh Phi Phi, a tropical paradise renowned for its breathtaking beauty.
– Explore Maya Bay, made famous by the movie “The Beach,” and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters teeming with vibrant marine life.
– Hike to the viewpoint for panoramic vistas of the emerald-green lagoon and towering limestone cliffs.

3. Reach Koh Lanta and explore its secluded beaches, local fishing villages, and lush rainforests:
– Journey to Koh Lanta, a laid-back island that offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.
– Discover the island’s pristine beaches, such as Kantiang Bay and Long Beach, ideal for sunbathing and swimming.
– Explore the traditional fishing villages, immerse yourself in the local culture, and sample fresh seafood delicacies.

4. Experience the laid-back island life and immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere:
– Embrace the laid-back island life of Koh Lanta, where you can unwind and rejuvenate amidst tranquil surroundings.
– Engage in activities like yoga retreats, spa treatments, or simply lounging by the beach.
– Explore the lush rainforests of the island, go hiking to discover hidden waterfalls, or embark on a snorkeling or diving excursion.

The Island Hopping Adventure from Phuket to Koh Lanta allows you to experience the beauty of Thailand’s Andaman Sea islands. From the serene and authentic Koh Yao Noi to the iconic Koh Phi Phi and the laid-back vibes of Koh Lanta, this itinerary offers a diverse range of experiences. Immerse yourself in the turquoise waters, marvel at the stunning cliffs, and embrace the tranquility of the islands as you indulge in the island life and create unforgettable memories.

Northeastern Expedition: Ubon Ratchathani and the Mekong River

Itinerary: Ubon Ratchathani – Khong Chiam – Nakhon Phanom – That Phanom

1. Discover the cultural heritage of Ubon Ratchathani and visit the magnificent Ubon Ratchathani National Museum:
– Begin your northeastern expedition in Ubon Ratchathani, a city known for its rich cultural heritage.
– Explore the Ubon Ratchathani National Museum, which houses a remarkable collection of artifacts showcasing the region’s history and traditions.
– Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting temples like Wat Nong Bua and Wat Thung Si Mueang, known for their intricate architecture and serene ambiance.

2. Ride along the Mekong River to Khong Chiam, a small town with stunning river views:
– Embark on a scenic ride along the Mekong River, soaking in the picturesque landscapes and serene atmosphere.
– Arrive in Khong Chiam, a charming town nestled on the banks of the Mekong, offering breathtaking river views.
– Explore the Khong Chiam Observatory, a viewpoint that provides panoramic vistas of the Mekong River merging with the Mun River.

3. Explore Nakhon Phanom and witness the mystical temple of Wat Phra That Phanom:
– Continue your expedition to Nakhon Phanom, a city with a rich historical and cultural heritage.
– Visit the iconic Wat Phra That Phanom, a revered Buddhist temple believed to house relics of the Buddha.
– Marvel at the temple’s impressive architecture and soak in the spiritual ambiance while learning about its fascinating history.

4. Visit That Phanom, known for its sacred pagoda and vibrant night market:
– Conclude your expedition by visiting That Phanom, a town renowned for its sacred pagoda, Phra That Phanom.
– Explore the grounds of the pagoda, which holds great significance for Buddhists, and admire its striking golden spire.
– Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the night market, where you can sample delicious local street food and shop for unique souvenirs.

The Northeastern Expedition takes you off the beaten path to explore the cultural and natural wonders of Ubon Ratchathani and the Mekong River region. From the historical sites of Ubon Ratchathani to the tranquil river views of Khong Chiam, and the spiritual landmarks of Nakhon Phanom and That Phanom, this itinerary offers a unique glimpse into Thailand’s northeastern charm. Prepare to be captivated by the rich heritage, serene landscapes, and warm hospitality of this lesser-explored region.

Conclusion

Thailand is a country of endless wonders, and exploring it on a motorcycle offers a unique and exhilarating experience for expats and travelers alike. In this blog post, we have covered six captivating motorcycle trip itineraries that take you on a journey through the diverse landscapes and cultural riches of Thailand.

From the Northern Loop Adventure, where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant street markets of Chiang Mai and witness the intriguing Long Neck Karen tribe in Mae Hong Son, to the Jungle Expedition that takes you through historical sites like Hellfire Pass and the Thai-Burmese border, each itinerary promises a wealth of extraordinary experiences.

The Coastal Serenity route unveils the beauty of Thailand’s western coast, leading you to charming towns like Hua Hin and Prachuap Khiri Khan, while the Ancient Ruins and Spiritual Retreats itinerary allows you to explore the ancient cities of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, where history comes alive in the form of majestic ruins and serene temples.

For those seeking island paradise, the Island Hopping Adventure from Phuket to Koh Lanta offers a taste of Thailand’s renowned beaches, crystal-clear waters, and laid-back island life. And lastly, the Northeastern Expedition takes you off the beaten path to Ubon Ratchathani and the Mekong River, where you can delve into the region’s cultural heritage and witness sacred sites along the way.

These itineraries showcase the hidden gems, obscure attractions, and offbeat destinations that go beyond the typical tourist trail. Whether it’s witnessing breathtaking landscapes, immersing in local cultures, or indulging in unique culinary experiences, each journey promises unforgettable memories and a deeper understanding of Thailand’s rich tapestry.

So, grab your helmet, rev up your engine, and embark on a motorcycle trip that will take you on a thrilling adventure through Thailand’s lesser-explored corners. Step off the beaten path, discover the obscure and extraordinary, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Thailand awaits, ready to reveal its hidden treasures to intrepid explorers like you.


To learn more about relocating to Thailand as a digital professional, download the free Shelter ebook!

26 May
2023
Grant
Caldwell