Chiang Mai to Shangri-La and the Tibetan border 2013

With a long holiday coming up and not many members in town, a China trip was the most logical thing to do!

I signed up with a company in Chiangmai and that is not a logical thing for a MPR MC member to do. So I will use the excuse that this was a recon tour for future MPR MC rides.

Most of the riders showed up on big adventures bikes, and dressed to look the part too.

Fact is, I could have done this trip on the Valkyrie. And against my better judgement i followed the "tour leader" advice and settled for the 250 MX. I did have fun on that bike too. The only Adventure on this trip was the name only. 

First day we drove from CM to Luang Namtha in Laos. Next day into China. At the end there is a picture with a map of our trip.

Mt Kawa Kaepo. This mountain was at the northern part on our trip, right on the Tibetan border. Did we se it? More about that later.

Mr. Yah in front. Without him and his company this trip would be very hard to do. Here he guide us trough the Chinese immigration in record time.

In Mengla we had to stop by the local traffic police to have the bike official imported to China on temporary paper. A local driving licence was issued as well after a stern lecture about driving in China was held in Chinese. We all promised to comply with the law!

We all passed and posed for a picture.

To say that the tour leader got lost in a tunnel is to exaggerate, but he got lost a lot. Despite 2 GPS and radio contact with the guide, tracks from previous trip. Still he stopped on every intersection to wait for the guide. This was annoying. 

This is not the Police. This was at a toll gate and we where not allowed on to the motorway. Dave and his wife Susan enjoying all of it.

This is a map over the old Tea Horse caravan roads. More about this at:

And this is how the road would look like. Doable on a MX! 600 years ago?

Dave, the Kiwi has long tradition as a tea knower!

A healthy buffalo, one of many hanging out along the road.

The first of many large rivers in Yunnan. And roads on both sides!

The little 250 MX came in handy many places.

The food on this trip was really good thanks to Mr. Yah's local knowledge. 

Arrival Dali and enjoying a cold local beer called…Dali V8. Not sure what the V8 stood for, but our on tour, Austrian beer knower Axel, did not approve of any Chinese beer. I agree with him. Looks like they try to copy American beer!

After a week with Chinese food we had a steak in Dali. Only strong determination made this meal go down, oh yes. A sharp knife too.

A sunny day on the way to Lijiang. A little further up the motorway we where stopped and sent back!

Chairman Mao is not forgotten in China. He started his long march from this area. Maybe China would be better off if he had our tour leader. Then he would never have found Beijing!

John from Canada missed his real beer, Budweiser. At US 10 a bottle he could not get Thomas interested. Still not a real beer in China so far. But our quest is not over.

On our way to yet another delicious dinner.

From back left. Axel from Austria/CM. Reed, our tour leader from NEW YORK. Robert from Malaysia. Mr Yah, our 24/7 guide. Dave from Kiwi land.

Front. John from London in Canada, Phil from Rider's Corner in CM. Thomas from Germany/Hua Hin.

And Susan, Dave's lovely wife.

HOT POT the real way. The hole chicken. Head, feet, socks and shoes. It all goes in to make this famous hot pot. It did taste great, and this time with had some chasers to chase it all down.

Jade Dragon Snow Moutain at around 5500 MSL to the north of Lijiang. And building cranes which were everywhere in China. 

Yangtze river in the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Just amazing to ride along the edges. A long way down to the river valley with high peaks along both side of the river. Loose rock all over the road signalled that we should use hard hats!

Robert and John stop to take it all in. I took over 400 pictures this day. That alone should say something about the beauty along this road.

More from Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Tiger Leaping Gorge. As you can se. No CE approved Hard Hat.

High peaks along the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

I had to get a Mao cap. Looking good!

I don't think i will ever get tired of this view along the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

The north part of the Gorge.

Great view and the bike keeps up.

Hotel lobby in Shangri-La. In Tibet for sure.

And in Tibet we do as the local, and have a Yak steak. A bit chewy but tasked great thanks to the gravy and the beer.

These tunnels are superbly marked and with good light. Me, used to the tunnels in Western Norway, are impressed. The Chinese know how to build roads and tunnels.

On the way up to White horse Pass, we followed this river.

Stopping for every few hundred metres to take pictures.

Going through the fog and mist up towards White Horse pass.

The higher we get, the more breath taking is the view.

White Horse pass at about 4300 MSL. Just amazing.

My GPS which has a altimeter as well and showed this as 4349 MSL.

White Horse Pass and the Tibetan colourful flags.

And this calls for a group shot at White Horse Pass. Phil, John, Thomas, Sue, Dave, me and Robert.

A lot of girls came and wanted they picture with me and the bike, or just the bike. I don't know which they preferred. But I enjoyed it..

John enjoying the view coming down from White Horse Pass.

A view of Deqin. The city follow the valley down to Maekong River.

Axel wanted to see Mt Kawa Karpo as well, and all we saw was the clouds surrounding the glaciers around this sacred mountain. A Mountain that never have been climbed.

Our local eatery had this picture of Mt Kawa Karpo!

And the hotel provided free Oxygen..

Next morning and more clouds. Ok, next time.

First view of Maekong as it flow into Yunnan from Tibet. The border is just up the road!

Barren land along the Maekong this far up. But still a mighty river.

A month before we came there was a earth quake. Landslides everywhere. And all roads passable. Impressive work from the locals.

Tribunary to Maekong every few kilometres. And power stations.

Have a look at all the roads along the Maekong river. More to come.

Axel enjoying the view from a landslide makeshift road.

More power stations along the Maekong River.

In Weixi we had a blast. First this Karakoe place, so on to the "Pearl of Weixi".

Next morning from Weixi to Shaxi was cold. Here a stop to get some warm YAK BUTTER TEA. Tasted strange but warmed a could body.

A little detour up to a Monastery. The only dirt road on the big Adventure Trip to Yunnan!

First look at Yangtze in a couple of days.

Tobacco plants and Yangtze.

A local lady who fancied Axel?

My hotel room in a 600 year old building. The best hotel room ever..

Having a local beer in this very old building.

Nice sunset on the east side of the Dali lake.

Our "Buddy" John just back from the local 7-11 with a handful of beer.

The only truly boring road on the trip. Motorway to Kunming.

A nice little fishing village along the way to Kunming.

Peking Duck? Don't know but it tasted good.

They cook them in these stone jar and the trays under collect the fat, that you eat too. I think!

The Red River. Vietnam is just 40-50 km down the road. Another time..

The famous rice terraces in Yunnan. We came just after harvest. They look great when filled with rice plants.,_Yunnan

Axel having a hair cut to great amusement for the local kids. About US 1 for the job.

The local kids showed such a interest for the bikes and us so I gave away a lot of MPR MC stickers.

More from the rice terraces. The roads in this area was great and all above 2000 MSL.

The Red River again further North.

A nice ride up the valley to Jianshui.

The arrival to Jianshui. Nice sunset and warm colours.

Yet another toll both we snuck past.

Another day on a boring motorway. The surroundings where great with a lot of local roads that would have made this a nice ride.  

Nice to drive above the local fog, not in it.

Yet another spectacular meal in Jianghong which is a port city on the Maekong River. Daily boats depart here for Chiang Saen in Thailand.

At the border and yet another MPR MC sticker is up. Just as I turned around a kid came over and took the sticker. But at least i got a picture of it.

The Chinese border, then 4 km trough "No man land" before we get to the Laos border.

The Laos border officers had reduced their working time to 3-4 min pr hour. It took a long time for us to get trough.

The country side in Laos on the way to Houaixai.

The new bridge between Thailand and Laos will open in December when the monks can decided on a good date.

Finally a real hotel. Chiang Khong, Thailand.

Here is the route we followed in China. We drove it in a 8 figure. Some part is missing from Jianshui to Jianghong.

A trip for MPR MC? YES. But let us wait a few years to see what China will do with the new ASEAN rules!

And no tour leader. It has to be a ride in the MPR MC spirit.

The only downside with this trip was the tour leader. No preparation for any day. Relaying on 2 GPS he could not read. And too arrogant to listen to anybody. I called him Columbus. Because he had no idea where he was going and after he had no idea where he had been. And we where paying customers!

Best regards,