This is the most direct road from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son.
It’s not used much because the road is dirt most of the way and the surface is rough in spots.
The normal circuitous way is to take paved roads but the paved way is not direct. The paved way is way longer distance wise but shorter time wise.
The direct way is shorter but there is about 40km of dirt road that are passable only with a 4WD pickup. On long stretches you’re crawling along at 5-10 kph.
Parts of the dirt road are flat and well graded like in the picture below.
You could drive this with a Honda Jazz or Civic but all the stones and dirt thrown up by the wheels would tear up your paint job.
On long stretches of the road the surface is pretty rough like in the pictures below.
No way anything but a 4WD could pass these stretches of this road when its dry and if it raining forget it.
Parts of the road are semi-paved with a concrete track for each wheel.
These are mostly sections where there is a steep hill or the road bed is completely deteriorated due to water erosion and loose soil.
In some places, the concrete is in good condition.
In other places, the concrete is deteriorated and in it’s dangerous.
If your car were to slip off the concrete it fall a foot or so into a rut and you would have to trust the 4WD to be able to drive the truck back up onto the track with 3 driven wheels.
If you did get stuck, there is very little traffic on these roads. At points, we drove for an hour without encountering an oncoming motorcycle or truck.
The truck we were driving didn’t have a winch or any other way of getting unstuck so we had to drive with care.
Being Thailand, if we got stuck we could have walked to the nearest village and gotten help from the locals.
I’m not sure if a couple of buffaloes yoked up to the front bumper would be strong enough to pull us out of ditch though.
We were waaaaaaaaay off the beaten track and the people living here were farmers growing a variety of crops.
A lot of the vegetables are loaded directly onto the farmers pickup and driven to the city and sold at farmers markets like the Klongtoey market on Rama 4 and Asok.
Watching these guys slaving away under the hot sun and in the high humidity made me thankful to be sitting in the nice air conditioned cab of a late model top of the line Toyota pickup.