SMOKE ON THE WATER
Trailhead’s Award Winning mountain bike tour in Chiang Mai. Ride deep into the nature and culture of the North. Descend the unique trail with stunning landscapes and experience Hmong hill tribe’s way of life.
A scenic mountain bike tour in Chiang Mai which takes you through a variety of changing landscapes. Ride the fast and flowy trails with some technical features such as berms, jumps and drops with sections of dual track as well as single track. The nature along the route is simply breathtaking, from the hillsides dotted with lychee and coffee plantations, to the seldom visited waterfall. The tour includes a stop at a hilltop Hmong village where you can enjoy a coffee and a chat with the friendly villagers.
Experience some difficult but short climbs along the way and earn the fast and fun downhill. Stop for trailside snacks and refreshments with views of Chiang Mai in the background before finishing with some technical singletrack. Once completed a delicious lunch will be provided before transport back to your accommodation.
This is the perfect option for those who have done Buffalo Soldier and are looking for a new challenge, with more technical and steep singletrack descents, rock gardens, ruts and roots to contend with.
A truly epic mountain bike tour in Chiang Mai and a Tourism Authority of Thailand winner!
What Can I Expect?
Expect steep descents and ascents in places – especially towards the start of the ride so you need to be a competent rider with a good level of fitness. As you descend, the trails are more flowy with more rock / gravel. Riding time will be around 3 hours depending on group size and fitness level.
- Premium full suspension YT Jeffsy. More details here. (Subtract 500 Baht if bring your own bike)
- Protective gear – helmet (fullface on request), knee pads, elbow pads, gloves, hydration packs
- Drinks, lunch and snacks
- National park entrance fee
- Friendly and professional guide
- 8.30 am-9am Hotel pick up
- 9.30 am Shop departure
- 10.45 am Start riding
- 12.00 pm Trail side lunch
- 3.15 pm Snack
- 4.30 pm Finish/Hotel drop off
Tour At A Glance
Trail Type (for whole Ride)
Total Cycling Distance
One of the best mountain bike experiences!!
All I can say is...wow...what a great outfit! Trailhead really knocked it out of the park. We had an AWESOME time riding in Chiang Mai, and can't recommend Trailhead enough.
To provide some context, my wife and I are from the northeast US. We ride quite a bit in the spring/summer/fall months (2-3 times per week). After looking through their available rides, we settled on Smoke on the Water, which seemed to offer a solid trail riding experience (mix of uphill, downhill and scenery). We were not disappointed. We only had one day dedicated to mtb, and so wanted to get a well rounded experience, with an emphasis on scenery and really experiencing the northern Thailand terrain.
We were picked up promptly at 8AM from our hotel near Old City, and drove to Trailhead's office location in the Old City, about 5 minutes away. We were then set up with water, a lunch/snack bag, helmets and pads. The food was actually really good -- we each got an apple, banana, sticky rice and semi-dried chicken. The chicken was my favorite -- great protein out on the trail. After getting outfitted we hopped back in their car and were driven about 45 minutes up to Doi Suthep.
For those interested -- as of February 2018 Trailhead has a fleet of YT Jeffsy 27.5 AL2's that they put you on. Awesome bike, and perfect for this type of trail riding.
Our guides for the day were Joe (shuttle driver, who is also their marketing/sales manager) and Cho (actual guide on the ride). Both were awesome -- very friendly and it was clear they love to mountain bike. Both speak a decent amount of English as well. Cho actually does quite a bit of XC racing too...really good rider.
After reaching the trailhead, Cho brought us down an awesome mix of trails. We went through dense mountain jungle, and ended up in a small mountain village with awesome views for a bite to eat. From there is was down into these small mountain farms where Cho pointed out all the different farmland (lychee, coffee, strawberry, blueberry). More awesome views. After that it was more jungle until the very bottom, where Joe picked us up again to end the day. Every once in a while Cho would jump ahead of us and take pictures of us as we came down. A few days after the ride Trailhead sent us a link to download all the pics they took. Great!!
Smoke on the Water was a really good choice for us. The riding itself was awesome itself but it was really cool to see the farmland and terrain. Very different from our usual mountain biking in Vermont.
FYI the trail difficulty ratings on their website are pretty accurate. Smoke on the Water is a 3/5 (5 being the most difficult). We were pleasantly exhausted by the end of it. Total ride time was about 4-5 hours At the pickup point Joe actually had fresh coconuts cut and waiting for us...I didn't know how much I needed fresh a fresh coconut by the end of that ride. Ha!
After getting picked up, Joe and Cho drove us to a local Thai cafe and we all sat down for a light lunch. It was great to chat with both these guys (small language barrier aside). Most of the lunch was mtb talk and sharing pictures of our different experiences. Again, really can't say enough about our guides. They did an awesome job.
Overall we are VERY happy with Trailhead. Nothing but professional, passionate mountain bikers running that place. If we make it back to northern Thailand we will absolutely be choosing them again!!!
Moutain biking - Smoke on water
Great trip ! Our guide and driver were really nice and the views during the moutain bike were great. We stopped in nice spots and really enjoyed our day. The day started with a good coffee at the shop and ended with a nice meal.
Trailhead Smoke on the water
Great guys, Professional run company use good spec bikes which are well maintained. As a plus they will email your photos at the end of the day. Had a great day and aiming to be back again next year to try the stairway to heaven ride.
I did the smoke on the water trail with my guide Mit. Very good experience! I had only driven mountain bike once, but since Mit had a big safety on safety first, everything went really well. Lucky for me, I was the only one doing the trail that day. Enjoyed the trip! The staff at the shop was also very helpful. I don't have an action camera, but the guide had recorded me, so they copied the photos and videos to my phone.
Fun and scenic
The Smoke on the Water tour was a good balance between fun and scenic. An excellent way to come down the mountain. My guide, Mit, was great. He obviously loved his job which made the whole tour a really positive experience for me. When I struggled with some of the uphill portions of the trail, he taught me how to adjust the bike to make it easier and encouraged me to keep pushing. It was my first time mountain biking and I thought this trail was just hard enough to a challenge without ever detracting from the fun. Would recommend.
Excellent Mountain Biking, Great Service
We did two tours with trailhead: Smoke on the Water together with my girl friend and I did the Numb Trail alone. It was just us two for the first trip and it was me and one other guy for the second trip. The guide Lek was very nice and friendly. He took good care of us and adjusted to our skill level. He also took short clips and photos with a gopro, which we got after the tour - a nice feature. The first trail was challenging riding for my girl friend who has some experience riding, but not too much. The second trail was a real challenge to myself. So you should take their assessment of the trails seriously. What trailhead calls more difficult is not for the beginner.
That said, we were extremely happy with the trails. They are natural trails, not like the smooth trails that you find in a trail center and the landscape was beautiful. I can only recommend it highly. Fortunately they have tours for all skill levels and are able to adjust to your needs. However, you should not sign up for a tour that is above your level. The second guy on the Numb Trail tour, who basically just dropped in on us, was much less experienced than he though and he had no fun pushing his bike downhill for a large part of the trail.