1000 corners. A ride demystified.

Posted: October 31, 2011 in 1000 Corners

My first ride to Golden Triangle in '08, I made a commemorative T-shirt to mark the epic ride.

It has taken some time for me rewrite this epic ride. I had it published in various forums and Msportbike magazine before, but here goes anyway…

It was late 2008 after much prodding from my ‘overlander’ friends I decided to take on this epic ride. I have just recovered from a nasty injury and had acquired a new bike – ZRX1200R. After hearing many tales and adventures from fellow overlander, I had to take this challenge. None of us had rode this part of Thailand before so it’s going to be a first for all of us – Myself, Din Laju, Anaha, Sarip Dol & Pie plus Lobai who skipped the 1000 corners and later met us in Chiang Mai. I think this way…

At the SAA Transport company sorting out our bikes transportation to Ban Pong Bangkok via land

After much planning and discussion we set out our ride from KL and soon reach Hatyai in the afternoon. Rather than riding our bikes through the boring Ithmus of Kra, we decided to transport our bikes via land up to Ban Pong, 75kms from Bangkok. We figured we’d save on riding time and have a good night’s rest on the train to Ban Pong later in the evening. I know it was ‘a chicken run’ but we just had to try it just to find out alternative way to go further north. Good knowledge gained I reckoned.

Loading up a Singaporean's Bro bike onto the freight car at Hatyai Rot Fai (railway station)

Good thing we had transported our bike via land (Transporter Truck) because there’s hardly enough room for bikes to be loaded in the freight car. The way the bike is manhandled into the freight cars is making us cringe!

Inside our first class sleeper cabin, Myself, Anaha & Din Laju

The Train from Hatyai-Ban Pong turn up slightly delayed but we’re off at about 8.00pm. Not much to do but talk cock and troll the whole length of the train. In the diner car there’s a ladyboy cook to chat up if all else fails…

Collecting our bikes at the Ban Pong Railway Station

At 10.30 am the next morning we reached Ban Pong and got off. Our bikes were waiting to be collected at the parking just besides the station. The driver has been driving all night to deliver us our bikes which cost us RM200 per bikes. I can see that they have arrived for quiet some time judging by the empty packets of cigarettes littering around the trucks.

Pie getting lost again...

At the elephant round-about turn left 3 o’clock and you’ll reach Kanchanaburi.

Lunch in Kanchanaburi

After a short 80km ride from Ban Pong we reached Kanchanburi.

The Menu...dodgy spelling makes you wonder what will come out of the kitchen

The Green Buffalo at Kanchanaburi

Did the customary tourist bit, visiting historical sites in Kanchanburi

Temple inside the JEATH War Museum

Adoi! That hurts.

The famous Bridge Over The River Kwai

Actually this isn’t the original bridge built during the war (blown off by British Commandoes in WW2) but a much recent one. Since no one can exactly pin point the original location this bridge was adopted to be the Bridge over the River Kwai.

One meat two veggies. Just checking...

The Green Buffalo and the Train in Kanchanaburi

We stayed here though the price might have increase through the years a Baht or two

I made a return trip to Kanchanaburi throughout the years and most things stays almost as it is in 2008.

Junction at Kamphaeng Pet

We pushed off early 6.00 am from Kanchanaburi heading towards Mae Sot which took us through Kamphaeng Phet, Chainat, Tak and Mae Sot.

Pelted by rain in Chainat

Regrouping before Tak where we stopped for lunch

Refuelling at Petronas Tak

It was at Tak that Lobai left our group to continue his journey to Chiang Mai. Having done  the 1000 corners route the year before he decided to skipped the route and continued his journey to Chiang Mai where we would meet him in a couple of days time.

The cross road to Mae Sot and Mae Hong Son

The road from Tak to Mae Sot is full of smooth rolling twisties that passes through a place called Magic Mountain. This particular spot somehow had the strongest gravity pull. You can can stand you bike upright without your feet touching the ground stationary here. Strange but ttre. Must try this one more time soon. We spend the night in Mae Sot because it was getting dark and we’d much like to explore this border town of Thai-Myanmar.

The DK Hotel, Mae Sot. Basic but listed on the Lonely Planet no less.

The border town of Mae Sot. After the Thai Immigration post, cross the bridge and you're in Mwaddy, Union of Mynamar

Coin operated fuel kiosk

Mae Hong Son 1000 corners here we go!

Early morning at the Myanmar refugee camp Thai-Myanmar border

I like that sign board. The fun begins

Thai-Myanmar border

A little bit off-roading on the way to Mae Sareang - the half way point of to Mae Hong Son

The road condition varies as we go. The bridge would have been completed by now

Pee and ciggy break in the woods

Smokingggg. Remember to put out your ciggies butts guys. We don't want to burn the whole forest!

Lunch and fuel stop at Mae Sareang

If you start your short loop from Chiang Mai your 1000 corners start from here. We on the other hand had passed a thousand corner from Mae Sot to Mae Sareang.

On the road again to Mae Hong Son!

Behind me is the valley we crossed just an hour ago.

Hills and corners to enjoy

We have reached the gate of Mae Hong Son

That’s it the mystical 1000 corners conquered! Small achievements for some but a small private triumph for me considering I’m carrying along term injury at the time. (my spine were bolted together by titanium bolts). I didn’t think I can ride this far at the time.

Certified. I conquered the 1000 corners!

What do you mean only 1864 corners? It sure felt like 1 million!

After getting the Certificate we visited the Long Neck Village

Me with one of the native.

One of the more senior natives

I was made to understand that about 600 Kayan reside in the three villages open to tourists in Mae Hong Son, or in the Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp.

The Long Neck Village main street

The Kayan Long Neck Village. In the late 1980s and early 1990s due to conflict with the military regime in Burma, many Kayan tribes fled to the Thai border area, where they live with an uncertain legal status, and villages displaying Padaung women with brass neck coils for tourist dollars. We have to cough up 250 Bht to enter this village.

Checking in The Chalet Hotel, Mae Hong Son

It was getting dark as we enter Mae Hong Son city and we soon check-in into the Chalet Hotel opposite the town Post Office. The hotel is still there now but it has change its name.

In 2008 there's not much choice for Halal food in Mae Hong Son, we had roti canai for dinner.


We're up at 6.00am ready to ride to Pai

I texted my good buddy Kapitan Azizi that I’ve reached Mae Hong Son the night before. He warned me about the greater challenge is the route fron Mae Hong Son to Pai. Plenty of corners waiting…

Round the bend




Riding above the clouds. Mae Hong Son-Pai

A bunch of friends rode up and stopped at the same place recently. The place is all done up now with proper rest-area, view-points look-out, restaurant and proper parking. But the road remain as challenging as ever.


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