Suggested motorbike trips in North-East Thailand

The North-East of Thailand is for motorbike touring and for tourisme in general a bit under-visited area. Although it is a wonderful area with mountains, the mighty Mekong River, ancient Khmer history and lovely small villages and some bigger cities.

So in a serie recommended motorbike trips I will show you some great routes to ride in North-East Thailand. The routes are chosen to be passing many points of intrest. But you will have to find them yourself or contact me.

Some people will ride routes like this on a big bike in 1 day but you could also do it slow on a scooter and take 2 or 3 days (you will see much more). As I did live for 5 years in Khon Kaen city all trips will start in Khon Kaen. It is a bigger city with good restaurants, shopping malls and some nightlife.

For now there are 5 trips and I am still a bit working on it. And in the following days I will try to add some more trips in North-East Thailand. For motorbike trip-reports in Thailand click on the label "Motorbike Trips"

Click on the "CLICK HERE" to see full description of a few routes you can do in North-East Thailand.

Day-trip 1 : From Khon Kaen to Lomsak (430 km)

My trips west-wards did mostly go to Loei province. Now there are many ways to get there, but I always try to avoid the big highways. I really hate route 12. First of all this is not a 1-day trip. I would suggest to stay overnight in Loei, Dan Sai or Phetchabun.

We start on the west-side of Khon Kaen at the PTT gasoline station along route 12. After about 20km you make a u-turn and ride 500m back to take a left in direction of Ubolratana Lake. Just follow the signs on the small local roads along the lake in direction of Ubolratana.

After about 40km you will enter a T-section at route 2109. Go left and after 500m go right again. After about 5km the road will change from route 2109 to route 2146. But just follow the signs Loei and follow the main road. About 3km after the PTT gasoline station (left) there is a T-section where we go left. Just keep on following the main road (route 2146) to the lake again and then along the lake again. Continue on route 2146 until Song sila where you will hit a T-section with .... route 2146. Take a right in direction of Nong Bua Lamphu. Keep on following route 2146 until just south of Nong Bua Lamphu where you hit a T-section with route 228.

Go to the right and continue straight ahead into Nong Bua Lamphu. Until you get at an intersection with route 210. Go to the left and follow route 210 in direction of Wang Saphung. Here you will hit an intersection with route 201, go to the right in direction of Loei. Just follow the road for another 20km and in Loei you will hit a T-section with route 21.

Go to the left in direction of Phu Ruea. Just follow route 21 for another 70km until you get at a kind of T-section where you take a right to Dan Sai. Just follow route 2013 to Dan Sai. Drive straight thru Dan Sai and keep following route 2013 in direction of Nakhon Thai.

Just before Nakhon Thai there is a Y-section. Take a left in direction of Phu Hin Rong Khla. After about 5km there is a T-section, take a left in direction of Phu Hin Rong Khla National Park. Just follow route 2331 to, into and thru Phu Hin Rong Khla National Park (entrance fee). Route 2331 ends at the other side other side of the mountain in Lom Sak.

During this trip your will be passing Ubolratana lake, Erawan caves, Loei city, Phu Ruea, Dan Sai, Phu Hin Rong Khla National Park and Phu Thap Boek.

If anyone wants to have more information about hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, gasoline-stations along the routes please contact me at The Little Elephant in Thailand

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Day-trip 2 : Loei loop (600 km)

Most of this route is highway, but with some stunning parts in it. Like at Nam Nao and along Phu Ruea.

Again the trip starts at the PTT gasoline station along route 12 on the west-side of Khon Kaen. It is simple, just follow route 12 all the way until Lom Sak. In this way you will be passing the stunning part of route 12 that goes thru (along) Nam Nao National Park (no entrance fee). There are a few nice view points.

At Lom Sak there is a an big intersection with route 21. Here you go to the right into Lom Sak. In the "city" is a small weird intersection without signs, but here you have to go to the left in direction of Phu Ruea and Loei. Just keep on following route 21 and you will be passing stunning mountains and later also Phu Luang and Phu Ruea. At Loei there is a T-section with route 201, take a right in and keep on following route 201 until you get at an big intersection with again route 12. Take a left and follow route 12 all the way back to Khon Kaen.

When riding this route you will be passing Nam Nao National Park, Phu Ruea, Phu Luang, Loei city, Phu Kradung and Phu Man caves. And of course many stunning mountain roads.

Day-trip 3 : Chiang Khan loop (640 km)

Not really a 1 day-trip, I would stay overnight in Chiang Khan. As you can see I avoid the highway 2 from Khon Kaen to Nong Khai. Taking that route would be faster (and boring) but you would also be able to ride longer along the Mekong River (very nice).

Again the trip starts at the PTT gasoline station along route 12 on the west-side of Khon Kaen. Just follow route 12 until a bit weird intersection with a huge dinosaurs. Here you take a right in direction of Phu Wiang and route 2038. Follow route 2038 until Phu Wiang and keep following the main road that will change into route 2133.

Keep on following route 2133 until you hit a T-section with route 228 and take a right in direction of Nong Bua Lamphu. Ride into Nong Bua Lamphu until a T-section and take a left on route 210. Then after about 5km take a right to route 2097.

From here it is going to be all small upcountry road until you will hit route 211 along the Mekong River. I did choose to ride in direction of Sangkhom but you could also enter route 211 a bit more east-wards at Ban Than Thong.

Just follow the 211 along the Mekong River until Chiang Khan. At Chiang Khan take a left to Loei via route 201 in direction of Loei city. At Loei you will have to take a left at the main T-section. Then again follow the 201 in direction of Chumphae where you will hit again a T-section with route 12.

During this trip you will be passing Phu Wiang, Mekong River, Chiang Khan, Loei city and Phu Kradung.

Day-trip 4 : Mukdahan loop (560 km)

Again of course not really a 1-day trip, I would stay overnight in Mudahan. And again as you see I tried to avoid highways.

This trip begins on the east-side of Khon Kaen on route 12 in direction of Kalasin. Just follow the road until Yang Talat. Here you take a left and continue in direction of Kalasin. Some maps call this route 213 but it is also called route 12.

Just before Kalasin is a Y-section, take a right. After 1km is an intersection, take a left to route 227. Keep following route 227 (with a few weird curves) in direction of Lam Pao lake. Just after the lake is an T-section in a curve, take a right to route 2041. This goes back to route 12 again. At the intersection with route 12 take a left in direction of Sakhon Nakhon and follow route 213. From here you will start to go into the mountains.

Follow route 213 until just after Sang Kho Police station. Here you take a right to route 2291. Keep following route 2291 until you get to a T-section with route 2287 and take a left. Keep on following route 2287 until Wat Pho  Si Keao. There in the curve go straight to a very small road, route 3008. Follow route 3008 until a T-section with 212, take a left for 100m and then a right again to route 3010. Follow route 3010 straight ahead for a few km and you will hit a T-section right along the mighty Mekong River. Take a right in direction of Mukdahan. Following this small road you will end up right in the city of Mukdahan.

From Mukdahan take the upcountry road back to Yang Talat via route 212, route 2047 (Ban Sawat), route 2136, route 2116 (Phon Thong),  At Yang Talat enter route 12 again back to Khon Kaen.

During this trip you will be passing Lam Pao lake, Mekong River, Mukdahan and Kalasin.

Day-trip 5 : Mekong Trip (850 km)

A total of almost 900km! But many nice places to stay overnight. Like Nong Khai, Bung Khan, Nakhon Phanom or Mukdahan. And many things to visit. This route made by Google Maps takes the main roads but in reality many times you can actually take smaller roads and ride really along the Mekong River.

This trip begins north of Khon Kaen on route 2 in direction of Udon Thani. Just follow route 2 until Udon Thani and then take the eastern ring-road (route 216). North of Udon Thani take a right to get to route 2 again. Just follow route 2 until Nong Khai. In Nong Khai you will hit an big T-section, take a right and start following route 212 along the Mekong River. Route 212 goes all the way along the Mekong River and will pass Bung Khan, Nakhon Phanom, That Phanom and Mukdahan. Exit Mukdhan via route 12 and follow route 12 to Somdet. Here take a left and continue on route 12 in direction of Kalasin. Take the ring road and follow route 12 in direction of Yang Talat. From here follow route 12 back to Khon Kaen.


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