Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thailand: North to South

April 21. Chiang Mai to Mae Sot. 432 km.
We were up early and at the post when it opened at 8:30. We knew we had to cover some kms and get south. We headed south west toward the Myanmar boarder. There wasn't much for villages along the way but the riding was pretty good. The road was twisty and good scenery. Only a 10 km stretch or so with 20 year old tarmac. The rest was new or being rebuilt. Mae Sot is a pretty big town and there are many expats living there. Most of them trying to help the refugee situation with Myanmar. A quick search on Google revealed an amazing burger shop. I was craving a burger and this place was just the ticket. After a burger, salad and dark beer, I was ready to go back and pass out. It had been a long day.

Some times the road is really bad.

Sometimes the road is really good then really bad. 

Its dry season.

Myanmar on the other side of the river.

Small village near Myanmar border.

Coolest bottle opener ever. Its a connecting rod for a scooter cut so it can open bottles. Every key in the hotel had one.

Why does this remind me of Minnesota?

April 22. Mae Sot to Kanchanaburi. 510 km
From Mae Sot we went over some hills toward the main north/south road in Thailand. After about 100 km of nice riding, we hit straight, hot, boring 4 lane road. It was hell. Days like this make you wonder why you are traveling on a bike. You really need to turn your brain off so you don't think about how boring or uncomfortable it is in the sun. You also need to make sure you are drinking as much water as you are loosing. The guest house we stayed at had a pool so we cooled off while we watched the sunset.

New tires needed soon

Our AC and ice sanctuary. We kept the camelback filled with ice cubes and water.

Really? A 2.8 liter Duramax Colorado? I would love this truck in US. WTF Chevy?

Sunset from our place.
April 23. Kanchanaburi to Bangkok. 132 km.
Originally our plan was to go to the "Tiger Temple" but after reading some reviews and accounts from locals, we decided against it. There are allegations of illegal tiger trading and drugging of the tigers. When you think about it, how else could you take a picture cuddling with a tiger if it wasn't on some sort of sedative. To each their own I guess. I can't say whether its true or not, but I wasn't going to give my money to them in the chance that it was true. It was a hot quick ride into BKK. Traffic in BKK is always shit but we got to the guest house relatively quickly. Only a few times I was not able to fit between cars and had to wait for the light to turn green.

There is a Thai person some where who thinks I'm from "Motorcycle". 
April 24. BKK.
Explored the city some. Went to "Little India". We didn't see any protest, soldiers or anything. We didn't go looking for it though. Now when I am writing this, friends in Chaing Mai and BKK are posting pictures and videos of Soldiers. Now there is a curfew. I'd rather there isn't violence and unrest. But when people are starving, they will do just about anything. The river taxi is kind of crazy. They dock quickly and you basically jump the gap. Everybody jumps the gap like its no big deal. Even grandma. The river is very rough because there are so many boats running.

I thought we were not supposed to make assumptions?

Seems safe.

Everyone has an iPhone but me :)

Back-alley electro-plating. 

Seems legit.
April 25. Bangkok to a beach village near Chumphon. 467 km.
Torn from my dream at 6:00 am, I was forced to get up and start packing. I know how shitty the traffic in BKK can be so I wanted to get on the road. By 8:30 we were 70 km out of the city so we sat down and had breakfast and coffee. By noon we had already ridden close to 300 km. I often forget how much distance you can cover if you get on the road early. We finished up the day in a small village on the beach with a handful of small bungalow resorts. $30 got us a pretty new hotel room with AC right on the beach. We drank a bottle of wine, ate street food on our deck and watched a movie on my computer while the waves gently massaged the shore.

April 26. Chumphon to Khoa Lak. 348 km.
The ride to Ranong was nice. About 150 km and the road was smooth. Long sweeping turns around the hills made for a good morning. Even though our visas were 60 day visas, they only stamped the moto temp import for 30 days. This meant we had to extend it or leave in 4 days. We were not ready to leave Thailand just yet. Still a lot of beaches to explore. So I went to the Ranong customs office to extend my paperwork. The paperwork was straight forward and relatively easy but it still took nearly 2 hours. Ranong is a boarder crossing with Myanmar. It is a ferry crossing and I'm not sure if vehicles can cross there. Maybe that's why it took longer.. they weren't used to it. We ate lunch and headed south for Khoa Lak. It poured on us some on the way. A friend Ty said to come stay at his hotel. We were pretty surprised when we got there. This place was way way to nice. We felt like we didn't belong here. But after a shower and a swim in the crazy pool we started to settle in just fine.

Swimming and sunrise.

Customs dude wanted to sign my bike. I figure it was best to let him. He could make my life hell if he wanted.

Are you kidding me? This place is amazing!
An infinity pool went past our room. We could swim to a bar.
April 27, 28 and 29 we melted into the lap of luxury. We got spoiled. We lounged on the beach and swam in the waves. We watched movies on a tv bigger then my motorcycle. We drank white wine on the beach while we dined on local seafood on a table made from bamboo. We got spoiled. This place was way to nice for a scumbag like me. But Ty is a cool guy. He is a surfer and a moto rider. He has just purchased a 690 so we discussed everything from tires to tents. Thanks again Ty. I'll probably never have a chance to stay someplace this nice. I know she loved it.

Ty at a local surfing competition.

Kids learning early makes me happy.

Ty catching a wave.

Fuzzy bug.

April 30. Khoa Lak to Phuket. 311 km.
Khoa Lak is only 1 hour north of Phuket but we took an indirect route. Near Khoa Lak there is a National Park called Khoa Sok. There is a huge reservoir there that is quite beautiful. We heard they have floating cabins different places on the lake. We decided to investigate further. At the boat dock we found it would be about $100 for the cabin and at least $60 for a boat ride. The price combined with the idea of leaving my bike a the boat landing made it a no go. We rode on. I was getting tired and hungry in the afternoon so we stopped for coffee. The shop just happened to be owned by a Thai couple who were bikers. They told us we should ride to the Samui bike week in a few days with them. We exchanged contact info and rode to Phuket. Once on the island we rode to where we thought a nice place to stay would be. Phuket is crazy. And not so much in a good way. We didn't find the place we were looking for and just stayed somewhere.

Amazing views everywhere.

New friends! 
May 1. Phuket.
We wanted some seclusion so we went to a different part of the island that was more low key. We found a decent unit next to the beach and had a nice relaxing afternoon. In the evening we watched the sunset with a bottle of wine.
I'm a classy broad.

May 2. Phuket to Samui (Samui Bike week). 453 km
We were up early to meet up with our thai friends to ride to Samui. We were on time but nobody else was so we ended up waiting for a few hours. Once everyone got there we were riding in a group of about 11 or 12 bikes. There were some rockets, some Harley baggers, 2 Vrods, a few ER6 Kawis, A few BMWs and Us. As the day went on, people started to ride faster and faster. With my gearing 120 kph is about the fastest I wanted to go so that's what I did. No need to rush. We had dropped back about 1 km from the group and we were coming up on a sweeping left hand turn. The road was 4 lane, 2 in each direction. Some Thai locals were slowing down traffic. I got a sinking feeling. I knew what had happened. I didn't want to believe someone from our group had crashed but it was obvious to us even before we got there. A expat on a BMW 4 cylinder street bike went into the left corner to hot and lost control. He slid into the guard rail and hit pretty hard with this legs. They had put a splint on one leg then started to move him. The left leg was also broke about halfway above the knee. I felt so bad for the dude. The local medics didn't really know how to split his leg and it looked like it was moving a lot. What worried me most is the amount of blood near the femur. If you move broken bones around to much, you can sever these blood vessels and he could die from internal bleeding. We later found he survived the injuries and his family is taking care of him. When we got to the ferry we had to wait about 2 hours because they wouldn't let us on the first ferry. By the time we got to Samui it was dark. We found our hotel, got a decent dinner then went to find all the bikers at the party.

Not a good way to start the weekend.

May 3,4 Samui
We moved hotels to stay closer to the party so we could walk there. I don't ride when alcohol is involved and the taxi would break me. Most of the guys were staying at a decent hotel nice and close so we joined them there. They had a pool which was great because it was hot. We decided not to leave on Sunday and stayed an extra night. The party itself was great. But shame on me, I didn't take ANY pictures. Neither did she. There were a lot of sweet custom bikes. In my opinion the best customs were Yami SR400s. I have a soft spot for the Yamaha single and twin. They are just a good looking motor. The huge raked out choppers are still a thing in Thailand. When will this style go away? Of all the custom bikes I've seen on this trip, some of the bikes in Japan were best. But there were a handful of bike here that would have taken home trophies at any bike show, anywhere in the world. It was cool to see. Again, sorry about not taking any pictures. I'm not sure what I was thinking. 

May 5. Samui to Khanom
We took a 1:30 ferry to the mainland. There were a few other bikers on the boat that had to head back north to BKK. They turned right and we turned left. We tried to find a nice place on the beach like we had about a week earlier. We couldn't find a place like we had. He beaches were way more dirty. At least we got to watch an amazing lightning show during dinner. It was getting closer and closer.. then the rain and wind hit us. We had to move into the shelter to avoid getting wet. Good times.

May 6. Khanom to Khoa Lanta. 338 km.
Khoa Lanta looked is another island kind of like Phuket.. but there is no airport and you have to take 2 short ferries to get to it. We headed that way. We found bamboo bungalow right on the beach. We planned to relax for a few days.

One of the 2 ferries to get to Khoa Lanta

Warm sweaty Noah is a frowny face Noah :(

May 7-11. Khoa Lanta.

We woke up late. We swam in the ocean. We ate seafood almost every meal. We rarely changed out of our swimsuits. Our beach was quit and every night we had a sunset that was better then the night before. It was a good way to end Thailand.

We had 2 of these big guys in our Bungalow. 

I found all this ocean glass in about 1 hour. 

1 comment:

  1. Why is it that we bail them out but get stuck with the shite vehicles eh!