The Road of 1,864 Bends

If it’s twists and turns you’re after, then this route in Thailand is definitely one to add to your bucket list. Richard Millington has the low down on the road of 1,864 bends…

Think of great roads to ride and Thailand is probably not at the top of your list of destinations. But it should be. The north of the country is packed with incredible roads, both tarmac and dirt. The climbs and descents mid-corner in the hairpins is something you will not find in Europe or the USA. 

Keep your distance as the trucks and pickups drive in hard, lighting the back wheels up spinning and squealing as they scrabble for grip, spitting gravel onto the polished tarmac. They need to hit every apex on the power with as much momentum as they dare to keep going forward and make the mid-corner climb. It’s fun to watch from behind, but terrifying head-on! 

Probably the most famous of the Thai routes is the road of 1,864 bends. It is not actually one road, but a series of routes linked in an almost 400-mile loop. Starting from Chiang Mai, head west past Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain, heading for Mae Sariang and the 108. Head north on the 108 to Mae Hong Son and then follow the 1095 to the hippy town of Pai and back to Chiang Mai. 

Don’t think this will be a one day ride unless you are incredibly fit or a masochist. I first rode this route back in 2008 and it remains the only road I have ever ridden that I was actually praying for a straight. The bends seem to be endless and it is not unknown for people to get what feels like seasickness – left, right, left, right, left, right. 

Tropical forests line much of the route and the procession of bends will leave you feeling like a slalom skier. Although Doi Inthanon is only 2,500m high the route climbs and descends almost 18,000m. That’s more than riding from sea level to the peak of Everest and back down. 

The best time to ride it is November to March. There’s usually a bit of rain, but temperatures are still likely to be in the high 20s. The best bike to take? It is a tarmac route so whatever you prefer, but an adventure bike is ideal and will give you a chance to slip off -route onto the myriad of tempting trails. 

Want to ride this?

Does the road of 1,864 Bends sound like your kind of adventure? Motorrad Tours is an independent tour operator which specialises in taking the hassle out of the planning and logistics of riding the world’s greatest motorcycle routes, without taking away your freedom to ride and explore.

The Road of 1,864 bends features in both their two week Thailand tour and also their newly launched six-week overland trip, South East Asia 360° Adventure.

To find out more visit