It’s a warm summers day, and the crew and I are about to go drop in on a rad day of Mountain Biking in Thailand. We are making the winding shuttle run up to the top of Doi Suthep Mountain to embark on some epic downhill descents that will take us through all kinds of natural terrain as we make our way down to the city of Chiang Mai.
The adrenaline kicks in as we take that first pedal stroke mountain biking somewhere other than your local dh track or enduro trail or bike park. Lush green rainforests, panoramic mountain views, knarly ridgelines, technical rock gardens and tight tree-lined single-track are just some of the types of terrain you can expect when you swing a leg over the saddle up north in Thailand.
The best city to ride bikes is in Chiang Mai, Thailand, arguably the fastest growing Mountain Bike mecca in Southeast Asia and we are here to give you some in-depth knowledge of what to expect when planning your mountain biking adventure here, in the Land of Smiles.
Keep in mind Thailand has a high season (November to February) and a low season (March to October.) Prices are typically cheaper in the low season and you will see fewer tourists around offering you a chance to negotiate on prices from everything from accommodation to tours.
The weather should also dictate the deciding factor on when you plan to visit. We recommend visiting between October–March as this will allow for better conditions on the trails. It should be noted that April is typically the hottest month and can make for some uncomfortable riding conditions due to the heat. Furthermore, August is typically the wettest month in terms of rainfall and should also be avoided if possible.
Chiang Mai offers some of the best variety of trails in terms of mountain bike disciplines. Explore ancient temples, discover remote waterfalls, ride through hill tribes, stop by beautiful lakes or traverse mountain peaks, your two-wheeled adventure will leave you with beautiful photos and memories to last a lifetime.
Whether you are a cross-country, enduro or downhill rider, choose a ride that suits your ability to get the most out of your mountain biking experience.
For those with a strong level of fitness on the bike and fancy a good mix of uphill, single-track and moderate downhill, we suggest the ever so popular “700 Year Chiang Mai Stadium to Huay Tueng Tao Lake” trail. Your journey will take you through varied terrain over 4.6km en route to your beautiful destination. Arriving at the scenic lake and cycling around, take a break to re-fuel at one of the many lakeside huts for a delicious local meal and ice cold drinks.
Of course this is just one of the many options when it comes to cross-country riding in the area and will make for a good starting point and your first taste of Thai dirt on two wheels.
With 8 National Parks all within an hour or so drive from the MTB mecca of Chiang Mai, each offering a different terrain and scenic viewpoints to your enduro ride, we challenge you to ride as many as you can.
If we had to choose one location that stands out from the rest it is without question, Doi Inthanon. From its breathtaking mountainous views, abundance of nature along with high alpine ridge trails, this ride will make for incredible photos and memories and keep you coming back to explore more. Summit the highest point in Thailand, get a glimpse of the Royal Twin Pagodas, take a dip in one of the many waterfalls and cap off your ride with an epic sunset. Those are just some of the reasons why we recommend visiting this place.
Of course what really sets your enduro ride apart from others disciplines is the ability to experience the true Thai culture of remote villages, hill tribes and a more off the grid way of life that some locals live.
When is comes to downhill, look no further than Doi Suthep Pui National Park. Get your adrenaline flowing on one of many fast, technical, steep, rocky, single-track DH tracks. Our top picks go to “ATV” and “Bamboo Trail,” both offering you a natural feel that take you through the thick forest jungles eventually opening up to drier bamboo tree-lined single-track.
Starting at some 1500m high above the city of Chiang Mai, these trails are what make Thailand a famous riding destination. MTB legend Steve Pete and friends even came to experience what all the hype was about a couple years back.
Take your pick on over 10+ downhill inspired trails and you will be sure to find one that suits your riding style as you shuttle lap after lap.
So with that knowledge, we suggest you pick a tour company that has the knowledge, solid reputation and top level customer service to deliver an outstanding afternoon, day or multi-day adventure on two wheels. The folks over at X-Biking Chiang Mai, a rider owned company who all grew up in the area, are someone we used and can stand behind.
We hope this article can provide some inspiration as well as some useful information in planning your next mountain bike adventure in Thailand. See you on the trails!
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