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4-WD Safaris

Biking is an idel way to discover the country's diverse cultural and natural heritage. Mountain-bikers both novices and veterans will find challenges galore in the mountainous terrain of the North. The Central Plains, with its archaeological ruins and cultural attractions placed close together in historical parks, offer leisure-biking opportunities.

Biking in Sukhothai Historical Park

Chinag Mai ( Chiang Mai Hotels Reservation Service )

The road from Doi Inthanon National Park to Mae Chaem Valley and Op Luang Gorge is one of the most picturesque and most challenging, with a series of sharp plunges and steep climbs.

The 20-kilometre Doi Inthanon-Mae Chaem section is strictly for experienced bikers with its downhill slopes and sharp turns. The trip may take anywhere from one to three hours. The 30-kilometre Mae Chaem-Op Luang route is a succession of straight roads punctuated by steep ascents. The first half of the route is under the jurisdiction of the Forest Industry Organisation, which manages huts for overnight camping; the second half is easier, and this trip should suit bikers of intermediate skills. To explore the hilltribes of Chiang Mai, mountain biking may be combined with 4WD trek on the Mae SuaiBan Huai Krai-Doi Wawi-Ban Mae Sa Ket route.

Getting there: Buses leave Bangkok's northern bus terminal at 20- minute intervals. Trains and sprinter trains leave daily from Hua Lamphong station. THAI has several daily flights to Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai you can rent a car or bus to Chom Thong and on to Doi Inthanon.

When to go: All year round.

What to bring: A sweater in the winter months of December and January.

Biking in Ban Phu Historical Park

Mae Hong Son ( Mae Hong Sin Hotels Reservation Service )

Nestling between mountains and valleys and shrouded by mist for most of the year, Mae Hong Son is home to many highland tribes and immigrants from Shan State of Myanmar. Pai District is the ideal starting point for biking explorations of the hilltribe villages, waterfalls and hot springs in the area.

Getting there: Buses leave Bangkok's northern bus terminal daily. THAI flies to Mae Hong Son daily. From the town centre, you can take a bus or rent a car to Pai.

When to go: November-May, avoiding the rainy months between June and October when biking can be dangerous.

What to bring: A sweater in the cooler months, December and January.

Ayutthaya ( Ayutthaya Hotels Reservation Service )

Present-day Ayutthaya offers historical grandeur alongside simple country traditions. Traffic jams on the roads into town are rare, so biking around is quite safe. Most of the sights on the historic City Island are a good bike ride apart. One of the most popular routes is the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace - City Island. The journey can take one or two days.

Getting there: Take a bus to Ayutthaya from Bangkok's northern bus terminal or train to Bang Pa-In from Hua Lamphong station.

When to go: All year round.

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