Phrao Loop – Basic Guide (Full & Half loop)
THE PHRAO LOOP
Clockwise Loop: From Chiang Mai city, head onto the 107 and continue along this road for approximately 30km until you hit a junction at 19.377176, 98.946189 (see photo – click image to enlarge).
At this junction you can choose to keep riding along the 107 or turn left towards Chiang Dao Caves. The road to the caves has a variety of interesting eateries, coffee shops and accommodation (including the well-known Chiang Dao Nest 2). This is a good area to stop for a bite to eat before heading on. Once finished in this area head back to the junction onto the 107 and head north.
At junction 19.459214, 98.993626 turn right onto the 1150 to Phrao.
Approx 30 km you will hit the town of Phrao. This is where you can decide to do the half loop or full loop. If you are doing the half loop then turn right after the PTT petrol station in Phrao on to the 1001 (19.369362, 99.200968). If not, go straight ahead, carrying on the 1150 (see image below).
FULL LOOP (click map to enlarge)
If you are choosing the full loop, carry on along the 1150 for approximately 50km until you hit the 118 junction. This stretch of road leading to the 118 is really pretty and lots of nice twisties.
At the junction (19.324894, 99.512445) head right towards Chiang Mai. Follow this route until you hit Chiang Mai.
*Tip*: The 118 passes pass through Khun Chae National Park. There is a beautiful stream there and a small shop/restaurant, straight off the highway. Worth a stop and a cool down. Very scenic.
HALF LOOP (click map to enlarge)
If choosing to ride the half loop from Phrao, then take the right after the PTT onto the 1001 (see Phrao image above – two photos up). Carry on along the 1001 until you reach the junction at 19.099703, 99.077795. At this junction you can either take a right on the 4046 rural road to Mae Ngat and visit the dam, or just continue along the 1001 down to Chiang Mai.
(I recommend taking the 4046 to Mae Ngat and carry along onto the 3038 until it links up to the 107 back to Chiang Mai. Much more scenic.)
The 1001 will take you into Chiang Mai as will the 107 route. You can choose to carry on the 1001 or link up to the 107.
END OF LOOP
*Tip* Chiang Dao area is great for exploring and recommend it for a day trip in itself (or a few days). The caves are definitely worth seeing also. I also recommend paying a guide (easily found within the cave) to take you into the deeper caverns of the caves.
*Tip*: Just after Chiang Dao on the 107 is the Wieng Hieng Loop (junction: 19.425979, 98.975677). This loop is more for those who enjoy unfinished roads as there is a lot of rubble etc on this route. It wasn’t for me personally, but some love it. I did a small write up on it here.
*Final Tip* If you have time Buatong Waterfalls is well worth a visit.
Let me know in the comments! 😀