@ 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.

@ 14 September 2015- Myanmar

The trucks used to carry us up the mountain. Scary ride!
The trucks used to carry us up & down the mountain. Scary ride!

The original plan for today was to awake at 05:00am and watch the sun rise over the mystical place. the only problem was that it was a bit too mystical (in the cloud sense) and visibility was still very poor. Needles to say we took the opportunity to sleep-in instead.

Oh well, it was a magical place to visit either way. The morning was then all about the impending ride in the back of truck back down the mountain!

The first run for the trucks was at 09:30am so we made sure we were there on time as we were advised you can get held back with people queuing waiting for trucks. We managed to get on board for on of the first runs down and it was exciting to say the least, Very steep roads with sharp hairpins, blind corners and one extremely committed driver/pilot!

By the time we made it back to the base camp we all knew we were alive and there was a distinctive smell of over heated brakes wafting up from the poor truck.

Steve Climbing on board for the mad ride up the mountain
Steve Climbing on board for the mad ride down the mountain

Soon we were back to our bikes and climbing back into our riding gear for the 225km stint to Kawkareik which is the last destination before we hit the Thailand border tomorrow.

We finished the evening off with a wonderful dinner with our new friends (Ye & Bargyi) who had made excellent guides showing us their magical country.

Bargyi, Ye, Steve and I relaxing over dinner.
Bargyi, Ye, Steve and I relaxing over dinner.

@ 13 September 2015- Myanmar

Steve and I at Golden Rock
Steve and I at Golden Rock
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Overlooking the countryside, a wonderful site

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.

Ye (our guide), Steve and David
Ye (our guide), Steve and David

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.

Visitors rubbing Gold Leaf into the rock
Visitors rubbing Gold Leaf into the rock

As this area is a religious site, shoes were band from the immediate area around the rock and congregation areas nearby.

Weekly Statistics

Distance traveled this week: 1,348km

Average speed to date: 53.1km/h

Average fuel consumption to date: 4.8 litre’s per 100km

 

@ 12 September 2015- Myanmar

A local lady doing the daily task of collecting water.
A local lady doing the daily task of collecting water.

Our ride today will took us to Kin Pun Sakan which is the town located near “Golden Rock”, Myanmar’s 3rd most important religious site. The distance was 320km.

The ride went straight forward, we were finding the roads much better the further south we travelled as they were less damaged by the wet season and flooding. It did start to rain as we approach our destination, fortunately only lightly.

 

Ladies selling food to the buss passengers when it stops
Ladies selling food to the buss passengers when it stops
By any means necessary as this guys does not have a fuel tank so a water bottle will do!
By any means necessary as this guys does not have a fuel tank so a water bottle filled with petrol will do!

 

@ 11 September 2015- Myanmar

A farmer climbing a tree to collect and milk the fruit
A farmer climbing a tree to collect and milk the fruit
The fruit which produces a very sweet liquid
The fruit which produces a very sweet liquid

Today inloved travelling from Old Bagan to Taungoo, a distance of approx. 360km. The ride took us along the Yangon – Mandalay Expressway which is a multi-laned top class toll way heading North/South. Our guides advised that we were the first motorcycles they were aware of that had been given permission to use the road, as bikes are typically banned from this high speed road as the typical 100cc motorcycle would be a danger due to their lack of speed.

Three young ladies observing us foreigners at a road side restaurant
Three young ladies observing us foreigners at a road side restaurant

All aspects of our tour were subject to  being granted permission by the government which involved copious amounts of paperwork prior to our arrival by the tour company that did such a great job of looking after us.

The day was hot (mid 30’s) but fortunately the roads were easy going. We stopped for a break at one stage and was shown some the traditional farming techniques which involved milking a local coconut sized plant for its sweet juice that is then dried and used as a sweetener. We were also shown how the local “home brew” spirit was distilled.

How the locals produce their home brew alcohol
How the locals produce their home brew alcohol
A lovely old chap watching the world go by
A lovely old chap watching the world go by

As we made it to our hotel for the end of the day, a group of around 12 Ducati Multistrada motorbikes road by in the opposite direction on what appeared to be some sort of group organised tour. It was an exciting moment seeing other bikers riding by in such a country, unfortunately they did not stop so and we have been unable to work out any details which was a pity.

The Adventures of David & Steve