Category Archives: Thailand

@ 21 September 2015- (David) Thailand to Malaysia

The Thai border crossing
The Thai border crossing

I was on the road, leaving Hat Yai by 07.30am and stopping nearby for breakfast. The next stop was the Thailand/Malaysian boarder post which was only 65km away.

I arrived at the post by 09:30am and had made the crossing into Malaysia in under 1hr which was amazing as previously we had to allow 3hrs on average to pass through the borders. Both the Thai and Malaysian officials had the act together.

As I had a bit of time up my sleeve I took the opportunity to sit on the grass by the border post and have morning tea before jumping back on board  for the ride down to Kuala Lumpur (KL) which is a distance of 545km.

The Thailand to Malaysia boarder crossing. Went very smoothly.
The Thailand to Malaysia boarder crossing. Went very smoothly.

The Malaysian roads are fantastic, with great surfaces, well maintained and excellent road signage which all made the trip down to KL very fast indeed.

I was able to cruise at 120km/h pretty much all the way, with no traffic lights so  by 2:30pm I was only 75km from my destination ,however another monsoonal storm came in and I found myself hiding under an overpass bridge along with several other bike riders in order to take cover.

Hiding under an overpass with several other bikers
Hiding under an overpass with several other bikers

I soon slipped on my wet weather gear and headed back out into the wet, the lanes were difficult to see and I found the best course was to keep left and simply sit behind a car and sit tight.

I was heading to Kuala Lumpur International Airport as the air freight companies are located in the vicinity, there are always plenty of hotels nearby large airports and road directions are typically well sign posted. This made for an easy ride in (apart from the wet which slowly reduced); after chatting with a couple of local bike rider near the airport who gave me the name of a cheap easy to find hotel I was soon at my destination.

I ended up stopping at the Tune Hotel (similar concept to Ibis) which was attached to the side of Terminal 2 at the airport. I could not have got any closer.

 

Check the difference in size between the local bikes and the BMW
The BMW looks a little big compared to the local bikes at the hotel.

@ 20 September 2015- (David) Thailand

A local lady taking her poodle out for a ride in the sidecar
A local lady taking her poodle out for a ride in the sidecar

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.

Thailand has all tyhe modern facilities such as large shopping centres (where all the teens love to hang)
Thailand has all the modern facilities such as large shopping centres (where all the teens love to hang)

Statistics

Distance for week: 1,742km

Average  Fuel consumption to date: 4.8 litres per 100km

Average speed to date: 71.9km/h

@ 19 September 2015- Thailand

The view from the beach. Lovely
The view from the beach. Lovely

We got up a little slower today as we had had a few drinks last night and as we had decided to stay a couple of days there was no rush.

We had decided to was h the bikes so we jumped on a couple of loan push bikes the hotel offered and road down to the local Tesco’s supermarket for  few supplies which was a pleasant change to the motor bikes. The weather was great which also helped as it was the first morning in the past couple of months that we could look to the sky and not see a cloud.

Taking time out to ride something a little smaller
Cycling

After the trip Tesco’s I decided to wash my bike. it was nice to not rush and relax, cleaning and checking over the bike.  Steve hung by the pool and later also washed his bike.

The clean bike after taking time out to wash them
The clean bike after taking time out to wash them

Later in the afternoon our friend Marion came by again and offered to take us to the local beach and show us around. Once again we were off on the sidecar at a very leisurely pace.

As part of the ride to the beach we passed through a military complex that also had a runway that we had to ride across as it was a public road when plains were not landing! very interesting.

A WWii fighter plain outside a military complex
A WWii fighter plain outside a military complex
Prachuap Khiri Khan beach. Lovely
Prachuap Khiri Khan beach. Lovely
Local people go swimming in the clothes they are wearing. Rather odd
Local people go swimming in the clothes they are wearing. Rather odd
Steve and Marion relaxing at the beach
Steve and Marion relaxing at the beach

Later in the day and after spending some time relaxing at the beach we were taken to Maggie’s Seaview Guesthouse to meet a few other people (expat’s from various countries around the world). We spent time chatting and having a drink before it it was time for dinner so we were back on the sidecar and off to a nice local Italian restaurant for a bite to eat and off then dropped off back at the hotel.

A lovely hotel/Cafe alongside the beach. Very laid back.
A lovely hotel/Cafe alongside the beach. Very laid back.

@ 18 September 2015- Thailand

We rode from Samutsakhon (Bangkok), riding a distance of 250km continuing on down the main highway heading south. The day was very warm (mid to high 30’s) and sunny for a change.

As we made our way along the coast, the towns became far more commercial and full of large international resort complex’s. It was looking more Gold Coast (Queensland) that Thailand. Fortunately we made our way to a smaller low key town (albeit with a funny name) called Prachuap Khiri Khan. We did not have anything booked for accommodation but found a lovely hotel with a pool and individual bungalow accommodation for a really cheap rate, so we decided to spend the next couple of days and get our washing sorted before moving on.

We put our bike gear into a local laundry to be washed and were advised it would be ready for Sunday morning.

Shortly after arriving we bumped into a lovely Scottish lady (Marion) who had made the town her home some 3yrs ago and she kindly offered to show us around the area which was great. So the that evening we were off out with Marion to meet here friend and have a bite to eat. Transport was a little 100cc sidecar that the three off us got about on!

We were shown around the town and beach on this great little sidecar set up which I had great fun riding.
We were shown around the town and beach on this great little sidecar set up which I had great fun riding.

We had dinner with our new Scottish friend and other friends of hers for drinks after. which was a great laugh. We were kindly dropped back to our hotel in a car driven by a friend as it was raining once more.

@ 17 September 2015- Thai

Thanks to the team at FM Motorrad BMW garage for sorting Steve's bike
FM BMW Motorrad who fitted Steve’s new front tyre

Steve had arranged to have a new front tyre fitted on his bike at a BMW Dealer on the outskirts of Bangkok. He also needed the fuel gauge re set as the dealer in New Delhi had managed to muck the gauge up when they were going through the calibration checks  when servicing the bike.

We left Sing Buri and the ride was once again easy going however as we headed south it was clear we were in for wet weather as the clouds just got darker every kilometer we travelled.

While making our way around Bangkok our navigation took us to the start of a Toll road at which point Steve (who was in front) was pulled over by a Policeman overseeing the traffic by the toll collection points. He kindly pointed out that bikes were not permitted on toll roads (we had not seen and signs). He then proceeded to write a ticket for Steve and withheld his drivers license.

After a very engaging conversation between Steve and the officer we were guided away from the toll way and down a slip road. The officer wanted Steve to go pay the fine at the local police station (we did not have a clue where that was) and he still held the license. After further discussion Steve managed to get the officer to take the money for the fine and return the drivers license. In the mean time I had ridden off and hid in a factory complex as the officer was intimating that he was looking to book me as well.

Steve getting booked by a not so friendly Thai Policeman. Bike are not allowed on Toll Roads.
Steve getting booked by a not so friendly Thai Policeman. Bike are not allowed on Toll Roads.

So after paying the fine and having the license returned we managed to get rid of the officer and get going once more, just making it to the bike shop before any significant rain started.

It took a couple of hours for Steve’s bike to be sorted so we grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby road side diner and took our time to look over the new bikes in the show room. We did some rough calculations and bikes are extremely expensive in Thailand compared to Australia. No wonder there are not many larger capacity bikes over there, no one can afford them.

Steve’s bike was soon sorted and he was very pleased to have the fuel gauge working once more. The team at MF Motorrad did a great job and treated us like V.I.P’s.

We had another 40km to ride to our hotel destination for the evening. Unfortunately the heavens had opened up and it was once again raining very heavy to the point we had to pull over shortly after starting out due to lack of visibility. When it rains in tropical countries, it REALLY rains.

Finding the hotel proved a real pain as it was tucked away in an area where coconut plantations were everywhere and navigation proved very difficult as the GPS location also did not agree with where we were. A kind couple in a small road side shop arranged for a tuk tuk driver to lead us to our destination.

Upon arriving at the hotel in Samutsakom, having booked the accommodation of Tripadvisor the night before, the couple who appeared to be only caretaker managers, did not know anything about our booking?

It all got sorted and we finally got out of our, by now soaking bike riding gear. As there was no restaurant on site we simply cooked up noodles and beans on our camp cooker that we carried with us, and settled down for the evening.

Total distance for the day was only 175km, but it certainly seamed like a longer day, what with heavy rain, getting lost and hopeless hotel staff.

Tomorrow is another day.

 

@ 16 September 2015- Thailand

Today was an easy ride from Mae Sot to Sing Buri, a distance of 355km . The riding had suddenly become very easy, if not bland as the roads in Thailand were on a whole very well maintained and sign posted. A far cry from what we had become accustomed to in many other countries we had passed through.

The scenery was very “vanilla” as the road sides typically had either trees masking the sights behind or simple towns etc. which did not make for good photo opportunities.

Behind the scenes, Kathy (David’s wife) had been working hard over the past weeks to arrange air freight for the bikes to Darwin from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. Dealing with freight forwarders was proving very difficult. At this stage we don’t have any company flying into Darwin that we can find.

The day went well, although as the day was progressing the clouds started to roll in from the south. We made it to our hotel destination in Sing Buri without any issues.

Within a 1/2hr of arriving the heavens opened up with a large thunder storm combined with very heavy rain that occurs during the wet season. Luckily we could view the sorm from our hotel and avoided getting soaked for a change.

 

@ 15 September 2015- Myanmar to Thailand

Looking back at the border from the Thailand side. Goodby Myanmar.
Looking back at the border from the Thailand side. Goodby Myanmar.

This was the day we said good by to Myanmar, a country we had enjoyed visiting. The people are wonderful, the scenery is so lush with many interesting historical sites.

The ride through to the border was approximately 60km and to be honest was a very average road with large pot holes and dirt sections to start with. Fortunately the Thai government had built (as a gift) a dual carriage way for the last 25km’s or so. The road had only been open a couple of weeks and was great for bikers, with many bends and twists making for an enjoyable ride to the border.

We arrived at the border, completed our paperwork and then it came time to say good by.

We first arrived at the Myanmar boarder 9 days ago thinking we would have to put up with a tour company for our time in the country. Now having to say farewell to those great guys we had got to know so well, it  was a very different feeling. Myanmar Expert Travels & Tours did a great job and we highly recommend this company, thanks everyone.

The crossing on the Thailand border entry went well and we took the time to grab at bite to eat once across. The vibe was immediately very different, with fast food outlets and a far more commercial and modern feel to it.

Underway again after lunch we only had a 20km stretch to get to Mae Sot where Steve had booked a hotel. Finding the hotel once we arrived in Mae Sot was another thing. We quickly realised that the the typical sign “Hotel”was not used here and we had no hope of understanding the local writing or language.

The next hour was spent trawling the side streets until we met some kind young people who knew where the hotel was and drew a map for us and we were soon sorted. So we have now made it through another country and Thailand awaits.