Yesterday I (David) had made the decision to move on solo as from today. So once we had packed our gear and collected the bike riding gear from the laundry we wished each other well and I moved on at 08.30am.
As the hotel did not do breakfast I stopped by the local Tesco’s and grabbed a bite to eat before heading south once more.
Today’s ride was an easy ride as it was a continuing on down the highway towards the Malaysian boarder. Speeds were up as the road had been improving and the traffic was light (Sunday).
It was 5.00pm when stopped at HatYai after travelling a distance of 645k and now only 65km from border. The day had been clear with only a slight drizzle at one stage.
As the south of Thailand has a significant fishing industry I had found the smell of dead fish in many parts! yes, it smelt bad. I gathered there are many fish processing factories along the way and it also smelt like the fish remains may have been used for fertilizer for the farming industry.
Hat Yai, however was a modern thriving city, one that you could easily mistake for many medium sized places in Europe, with shopping malls (where the kids hang out) etc.
Distance for week: 1,742km
Average Fuel consumption to date: 4.8 litres per 100km
We left the bikes at the hotel today and will collect them again tomorrow as today involved going into the town where a fleet of small trucks are used to ferry visitors up the nearby mountain to visit Kyaiktiyo Pagoda or “Golden Rock” as it was better known.
Cars were banned from travelling up the mountain road up to the Rock due to the amount of crashes. So now a fleet of trucks are used to do the job with a well managed entry and exit procedure as the road is extremely tight and steep with many hair pin bends and no room for error. For those of you who enjoy a good roller coaster ride, then this ride is for you!
Once up the mountain we checked into a hotel as the sunset over Golden Rock was a spectacular site we were told. As the day went on it was clear that we were not going to see the sun set as it was cloudy and raining and for the first time since Spain the temps were only in the “teens”.
After settling into the hotel we had a wonder around the area, which was solely geared for tourists. Fortunately the rain stayed away for most of the daylight hours left.
It is said that the rock is only being held in place by a well placed strand of Buddha’s hair which stops the rock from falling. Visitors buy small stamp sized pieces of gold leaf and rub it into the rock as part of religious practices.
As this area is a religious site, shoes were band from the immediate area around the rock and congregation areas nearby.
Distance traveled this week: 1,348km
Average speed to date: 53.1km/h
Average fuel consumption to date: 4.8 litre’s per 100km
Following our discussion with the two “Aussie blokes” that arrived last night from Myanmar we had decided not to move onto Moreh (Indian Boarder town) as it was pretty horrible by all accounts and we should make the run to the boarder (100km) in good time on Monday morning which is when we actually need to cross the boarder.
This morning when we woke we read newspaper reports of more civil unrest in the Manipur region which is the area we are currently in and runs to the boarder of Myanmar. This is another reason to stay put for the day in Imphal.
The bikes required fuel which was proving an issue due to the unrest as deliveries were not happening to the petrol stations we had to buy fuel on the black market at approx 2.5 times the normal rate. The fuel was delivered to us in 1 litre mineral water bottles by some chap on a scooter. We find the hotels always have a “fixer” guy who knows people who know people when things need to happen.
So today is an easy day to collect our thoughts and we are research trying to understand the various requirements to allow us to ride our bikes in Singapore. We have been advised it may be an expensive and bureaucratic exercise to do so. We shall keep you posted.
Trying to do business with freight forwarding companies via email is also proving to be a major issue. We are trying to arrange flying (if possible) the bikes from Singapore to Darwin and getting a response to email enquirers we have sent off is proving rather hopeless!
Distance traveled for the week: 1,020km
Average speed to date: 45.4km/h
Average Fuel Consumption to Date: 4.8 litre per 100km
Chitwan to Kakarvitta was a distance of 481km and was pretty straight forward. We had approx 80km of rough road to start but then it opened up to good sealed roads.
There had been several riots and a strike in the region over the past days causing a lack of supply to petrol stations and due to the strike those that may have had fuel remained closed. This was now causing a problem for us.
After searching for around 80km;s we came across an open station, the problem was approx 200 other motorcycles had arrived before us! This would have meant an hour or two of queuing but thanks to the local police we were quickly ushered to the front of the que and allowed to fill our bikes. 50 litres of fuel and we were sorted. Both Steve and I felt rather sheepish for being allowed to the front of the que, we quickly scampered off before anyone could say anything.
The temps were low 30’s early but cooled down in afternoon which was a pleasant change especially as you become more weary.
Kakarvitta is the town on the boarder with India and we located a reasonable hotel that also had a casino attached. No locals were allowed in the casino so it was full of Indians who come over the boarder to gamble, get drunk and then stagger back home penny less. The casino was not out thing so we left after a quick tour.
Distance for week – 844km
Average speed to date – 52.0km/h
Average fuel consumption to date – 4.7litre per 100km
Today was the ride back to Pokhara and to finish up our ride.
The day started with pretty good wether and progressively got quite hot and humid, however the final leg into Pokhara the rain fell for a short period.
There was still plenty of mud to negotiate throughout the ride, so deep in places that it would simply drag your feet off the pegs and you were doing all you could to keep the bike and yourself upwright. It was loads of fun however as both Steve and I were amazed at how robust the bikes were as we were riding “road bikes” in places We would not want to take our big BMW GS Adventures!
As we passed along the one road in and out of this area of Nepal we would come accross individual traders who would carry huge loads of produce and sell to house holds along the way. This is very hard way to make a living but the locals always are friendly and have a smile waiting for you.
Unfortunately Steve’s bike had an electrical fault a couple of hours ride short of Pokhara which halted our journey for an hour or so while Mutu, our guide went and found another ignition coil to replace the faulty part.
Fortunately it gave time for Steve and I to venture down to the nearby huge suspension bridge and walk accross. Yes, it’s long and yes it’s very odd walking across it.
We made it back to Pokhare all ok and met up with the rest of the Hearts & Tears bike rental team to laugh about what we had been up to. It was hot and we deserved a beer so we all agreed to catch up at one of the local bars for a drink in an hour. A great way to finish our ride.
Statistics For The Week;
Distance travelled for the week: 1,056km
Average Spped to Date: 50.8km/h
Average Fuel Consumption to Date: 4.6 litre per 100km
It was an early start for the day as we we advised to get to the Tajmahal early due to the huge crowds that develope as the day goes on and today was only going to be worse due to the holiday weekend.
So we were out the door at around 06:40am heading to the East gate entry with tickets in hand that we had already purchased yesterday. Arriving early certainly gave us the best opportunity to view this wonder of the world as there were limited numbers of people about.
The building itself is amazing with with such detail and symmetrical layout. Steve found it peacefull an serene to look at where as I found it huge, but actually quite simple being all white and symmetrical. We both agreed it is like no other building we have seen.
On the way back we stopped and had breakfast at a great little cafe that actually served a good cappuccino which was a bit of a standout for this town.
In the afternoon it was off to see the Old Forte which is a military establishment that was originally built around 1,000a.d. And has been added to in several stages since.
We relaxed in the evening on the rooftop restaurant back at the hotel watching the sun go down over Agra with the Tajmahal n the background. Not a bad way to spend an evening.
Statistics For The Week;
Distance travelled for week: 738km
Average Speed for Trip: 58.1km/h
Average Fuel Consumption To Date: 4.5 litre per 100km
The ride today was from Amritsar to New Delhi, a distance of 518km. As we progressed it involved passing through smallller townships which were very hectic and crowed at times.
Unfortunetly Steve had an incident with 2 buses as he passed one, another tried to squeeze by in the opposite direction resulting in him being clipped by a bus on his left hand side damaging his pannier which required a bit of roadside repairs. Fortunately Syeve did not go down and was all ok.
The roads finally opened up into a more significant route making the progress ok until we go to the last 50km which took 2hrs due to significant Delhi traffic. This traffic was compounded by the start of a 7 day Hindu festival in which devotees walked along the roadside with support vehicles and music playing which through the already bad traffic into chaos.
As we made our way towards Delhi we started to experience rain which we had been clear of since the 2nd day we arrived in Spain a couple of months earlier! I suppose we were due rain sooner or later. Ha
Unfortunetly due to the design of our BMW motorbikes being air cooled they required forward motion to have air passing over them to contain the temperature. The result of the traffic jams for an extended period meant we were forced to park up the bikes on several occasions and allow them to cool before progressing. Not what you want after a long ride in very hot and humid conditions.
We finally made it to our destination which was located on the Southern side of New Delhi as we have an appointment with the BMW dealer to have the bikes serviced in the coming day(s).
Statistics For The Week;
Distance travelled: 1,600km
Average Speed for trip: 57.5km/h
Average Fuel Consumption To Date: 4.5 litre per 100km