bikers gather at one of Thailand’s most scenic dams
for a series of races and fun activities.
Bumping over rough trails is not everyone’s idea of
having fun, but medical science appears to support the idea that riding your
mountain bike over a boulder-strewn course is actually good for building
If you need an excuse to join the sixth Bhumibol Dam
International Mountain Bike Championship, 29 to 30 August, that might be it.
But it is more likely to be that the venue, for this fun event, is the
scenic Bhumibol Dam, surrounded by forest-covered hills, in Sam Ngao
district, Tak province.
This weekend of fun rides and serious competition is a
firm fixture in Thailand’s annual sports events calendar. It is remarkably
popular because it focuses on mountain bikes as opposed to the majority of
cycle-related events that are either a triathlon with competitors using
triathlon or time-trial bikes, or the tradition road races that favour super
light road bikes.
Backing the event are the Electricity Generating
Authority of Thailand, Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Sports
Authority of Thailand. Created to promote an interest in outdoor sports and
also encourage ecotourism at both national and international levels, the
races underscore the beauty of a province that is not on the main tourist
For many mountain bikers and their families this is the
highlight of the year, a reunion of friends from both Thailand and overseas,
who share a passion for mountain bikes. Participants of all ages gather at
the starting line on the crest of the spectacular Bhumibol Dam for two days
of fun activities and serious races.
This very scenic location provides a variety of race
routes that will both challenge the semi-pro mountain bike racers and also
please recreational riders.
There are six categories to choose from; Long distance 60
km., family 16 km., tour biking 10 km., cyclo-cross on the dam’s crest, five
km., international race 39 km., amateur 24 km.
To ensure all the hard physical activity is balanced with
lots of fun, the organisers encourage visitors and participants to display
vintage two wheelers in an “ancient bike contest”. The line up is impressive
with some participants showing off bikes that have serious historical value,
while others are more exotic, possibly bordering on weird.
On the sidelines, folk music bands entertain to create a
family atmosphere, while there are even handicraft stalls supplied by shops
under the One Tambon, One Product project, a national initiative to support
Bhumibol Dam is located in Tak province, just off Highway
The race site, at the crest of the dam, is 60 km north of
Tak provincial town, where most of the hotel accommodation is located. Call
TAT Tak office at 055 514341-3. www. bhumiboldam.egat.com (TAT)
Mae Hong Son is developing the Ban Nam Piengdin border
pass as a new tourist area, with historical buildings, bridges and border
trade as a focus for the area, Thanin Supasaen, Deputy Governor of Mae Hong
Son announced after a meeting of commercial and government representatives
to develop guidelines for developing the area.
The Maejae District in Myanmar expressed interest in the
development and the Mae Hong Son government hopes to sign a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) with the Myanmar District on the issue.
The Myanmar Government has also expressed an interest in
developing the border pass at Ban Pha Homnam into a trade and tourist area
as well. They plan on meeting with Mae Hong Son Provincial Authority
officials to work out the details of the MoU for Ban Nam Piengdin and will
discuss the Ban Pha Homnam pass at that time.
“Once the MoU has been signed then Thai people and
tourists would be able to use this border point and can be issued temporary
border passes for those that would like to travel inside Myanmar,” said a
representative of the Myanmar government.
”This border pass will increase the import and export
border trade and also strengthen good relations between the two countries,”