This is a route that is also labelled the Mae Sa Valley Loop. It is an incredible half-day or whole day tour out of Chiang Mai depending on your time. In these Covid – 19 times it is a great ride do to when you live in Chiang Mai since you can get nature and mountains views without leaving the province. In addition, you can even spend the whole ride in the car and not getting out. Start off by just enjoying the scenery. Having said that, in non-pandemic times it is also a very nice drive since there are so many places to see and so much to eat on the way up to Samoeng as wells as in Mae Rim’s Mae Sa Valley. We began our drive from Hang Dong, the Samoeng road begins just a few minutes from there.
We took the ride again at the beginning of July after a few years pause. Firstly we stopped at the Lanna Rock Garden and secondly driving onwards to Samoeng Forest Park view. Consequently we continued over the mountains and down to the Mae Sa valley via the Zombie cafe. The final stop was at Solao restaurant to enjoy some Bing Suu shaved ice on the last leg before we would reach home.
Plenty of places were shut down but some places that we liked were open. It is clearly visible that subsequent lockdowns has forced the adventure travel attractions to close for the moment at least.
In normal circumstances with a motorbike or scooter, you will probably need around 4-5 hours for this jaunt, all depending on how often you stop of course. The Samoeng Loop is about 100 km long and it covers the 1269 road and then the route 1096.
This is a favourite spot on the way up to Samoeng. It is easy to social distance, very wide outspread area. The kids love playing in the peaceful stream that flows through with rocks to jump on, or using the small play area, and checking out the water buffalo. No food from outside is allowed in but they do have a small kitchen and they serve different kinds of coffees and teas. If there is no rain, it is nice to sit by the river in small bamboo shafts and if the rain starts it is possible to move in under the roof next to the kitchen.
Located roughly 30 minutes from Lanna Rock Garden you get some spectacular views of the forest and mountains here. There is a nice, wooden sign welcoming you and you can park here. Drive-in slowly because there are some quite sharp curves at this spot. In good weather, you can also catch stunning sunsets up here.
There are so many themed coffee shops in Chiang Mai nowadays. We got the impression that Zombie would be one of those, but the place is more like an old nightclub turned cafe in a nice garden setting. Staff was friendly but the cafe itself a bit overly hyped. Apart from the guy on the photo and the signboards not much of a Zombie character to this place.
However, there were many choices of food and drinks on the menu. Decent taste but nothing special. This place was really full when we were there so we took a seat outside to keep distance. Outside in rainy season meant quite a lot of flies and some mosquitos. It was ok to have seen the cafe, but none of us have a direct desire to go back.
First some nice places on the road 1269 section up to Samoeng.
Route 1069 passes by elephant camps like the famous Mae Sa camp, cobra and monkey shows, ATV rentals, and a shooting range. But the recommendations we would like to put the spotlight on are the following :
As of today Chiang Mai is again a red zone. During this period it is necessary for any outings to make sure to update where you can go and what is open. It is constantly changing.