19 December 2011

4 Nation Ride : Malaysia-Thailand-Myanmar-Laos

My friend Han (www.tayargolek.com) and i recently took a ride up north. Over this time we had a ride of a lifetime. The things we saw ,the people we met , the things we went through cannot be described . The pictures here are only a part of the experience . 
* (all the ''on the bike'' shots were shot by Han)
(click any photo to enlarge )


Come ....ride along with us



DAY 1


Ready , bright and early. My bike is still shiny......for now  : (


Red Versys ready for action. little did we know how much actions we would get.


The first day was to make up the miles .


Along the north south highway



We met up with a fellow biker at a rest stop and he joined us till Penang



From Penang we stopped at Gurun for our insurance and road tax and proceeded to the border.
Crossing was painless and soon we were riding in Thailand.


A rest stop in Sadao



We stopped right here on our last trip to Koh Samui.


A long day was planned so we stopped frequently to stretch and hydrate.


Nice Thai roads. Evening already. Getting close to our destination.


A last stop. Its around 6+pm Malaysian time here.


We soon reached our hotel in Surathani. About 860km so far today.


Nice rooms.



Safe and exclusive parking  : )


After a bath we went in search of food. We had a local version of chicken rice here...yum. 





DAY 2


A view of our hotel the next morning. 



View of Surathani from our 7th floor room.  




My wife sent her minion along on this ride  : ) 


A pit stop on the way to Chumpon 



Great weather and nice roads all the way north along the isthmus of Kra.



Todays ride was less miles but we still had to pass the outskirts of Bangkok.
The nearer we got to the Bangkok turn off the worse the traffic got.


After a few hours we reached our destination of Kanchanaburi.
Nice hotel again.



Safe parking within the compound.


After freshening up we went to see the main attraction.


The bridge over the river Kwai.


River Kwai.


cops here ride in style ....cool


The famous bridge.


There was some festival going on so the bridge was all lit up.




Memorial to the servicemen who lost their lives.


The bridge is still in use and the train passes with people still on the bridge . OSHA anyone ?


We didnt stay for the fireworks as we were more interested in this  ...




DAY 3


Early the next morning we took our bikes to the bridge. 


We made it...... FJR and Versys




If youre still not sure where we are   ; )


From there we visited the JEATH museum.


Cool merc


Part of the museum


Many of these were around.




montage of life(or should i say death) at the Bridge.




Actual bike used by the Japs . looks like a BMW.


cattle cars ??


Replications of the POW life.




Many, many guns .....



Actual photos from that time




After having our fill of Kanchanaburi , we headed north again.


Looks like a lake eh ?


See how far the water extends. These are all Paddy fields after the recent floods


A short water break.



This really looks like a lake...........nope ,more paddy fields.


After a couple of hours we reached our destination of Sukhothai.


Nice hotel run by an Italian character named Paolo .nice guy.






Why Sukhothai ????
For this.


It was a short distance to the Sukhothai Historical park. 




Ancient buildings.


Ancient city actually.



Nice huh 


Playing with light.




Our ride there from the hotel.


Cool reflection.


A temple in the middle of the lake.




Another one also in the middle of the lake.
But a lot bigger.




This is the same Wats as the picture above.



Its a UNESCO world heritage site.


Our bikes locked up safely for the night.




DAY 4


The next day we headed up north again.
Cute kid. 


The temperature was slightly cooler.


That piece of wood had a nice big nail sticking out facing my tyre.
Its a good thing i didnt back up all the way .


We don't need no stinkin lorries  ; )


Heading north we just had to stop at the side of the roads cause the view was just great here.


One of the 4 or 5 photos of me in this whole blog.  : )


R& R along the way.


Thats me in the distance


Along the way we just had to stop here.
I saw photos of this place on GT rider and was blown away. 


Need to get one of this.
Park here and you DIE  !!!!!


Need to get one of this also ....


Its located just before Chiang Rai.


The famous White temple.


Awesome.




Guardians of the entrance.


They just love alien & predator statues.


Drink and die.


So cool......


Amazing architecture and details.


Its the most beautiful temple i've seen so far.  And i've seen a lot !


Need to get me some of these too.


I think the hands represent souls in HELL   : )




Minion wants to see too     : )


We bypassed Chiang Rai .


And we entered the border town of Mae Sai.
Border to what ??
Myanmar !!


Our guide. Speaks excellent English.


Getting our paperwork done.


Busy border town on the Thai side.


Thai immigration and customs.



From there we proceeded to here. 


Welcome to the Republic of Myanmar   ; )


Memories are being made.


After all the paperwork we rode into Myanmar.
I was the the designated taxi for our guide  : ) 


He took us to our hotel. Not too bad .




And from there we had dinner at a nice place.
During dinner i nearly fell off my chair as we suddenly heard......

wait for it..


Christmas carols..    : )


The all important entry permit.


Streets of Tacheiliek at night.


This is the main street. Its was cold ..around 18 - 20 celcius at night




DAY 5


Early the next morning we set off. 
Here i'm trying to get a pic of our bikes in front of our hotel and our guide jumps in  : )


This is the furthest we can ride in Myanmar. Till the Towns border. 
Hope fully one day they open up as i really want to see the Irrawady river.


2 Malaysian bikes in Myanmar ...


From there we headed to a temple on a hill.



View of the Shan state.


Interior of the temple.


It was damaged in the recent earthquake.




The picture shows the Hindu gods on the right and left. In a Buddhist temple , in Myamnar......cool



The roads were bad though.


The towns name ...



People were all looking at us funny as we rode by.



As we were riding we got some great views of the Shan State.






Dont you just want to see whats in those misty mountains ??



Here we stopped at a Akha and Karen village.


Its more like a tourist trap rather than an actual village. 


Open air showers.


Handicraft for sale.



An actual Akha tribeswoman


And a Karen tribeswoman


Cool traditional  outfits.



That was as much as we could see in Myanmar due to restrictions on travel within the country.
Well ,  we went as far as we could.....



Heading back into Thailand.



The biggest problem getting out of Myanmar was this   : )
You had to be there ... damn funny   ; )





Safely back in Thailand   : )   
We noticed that sign behind the bikes...


Zoomed in   ...



Finishing the Thai side paperwork we stopped to sort our documents before continuing our journey.
Again damn funny , the guy on the right kept asking so many questions in Thai.
Finally he went to a nearby shop borrowed a calculator and asked us to write down how much the bikes cost in Baht. 
To freak him out we entered the actual cost. 
Thats him after seeing the cost ...... ha ha. 


From Mae Sai we headed East. Cool  ''roads '' huh


The views were amazing !


After a short trip we reached here.
Minion wants to see again(  *inside joke with my wife )


FJR at the golden triangle. cool .


We did it bro 


Standing in Thailand, Myanmar on the left, Laos on the right. you can brag that you swam to 3 countries under 30 minutes : )




From GT we headed south east 



If any of the Mat rempits need cash , here is a suggestion.


We arrived at Chiang Kong



Going to do the paperwork on the Thai side


Bypassing the lorries to get in front of the queue.


Why ,, cause we're heading to Laos   , 
Here Han is giving his patented rock/biker look   :  )


How far we have travelled.


Getting on to the barge.
Picking the proper line ...
When in doubt gun it  ; )


We were lucky we didnt have to wait long. about 30 mins.



Blue skies.


Here i'm trying to take a pic of the bikes and the lorry driver decides to pose with the peace sign.
Showed him the pic and made his day  : )


So long suckers  , ha ha 




Amazing views.


we spent the whole time just soaking in the views while crossing the mighty Mekong.


Passing another barge. 


Lao here we come.



After finishing the paperwork which went smoothly and i have to say that the Lao people are really pleasant we stopped for a drink here and to absorb our first feel of Laos.


Streets of Huay Xai



2 cans each. cold please .



From there we headed inland.  The fun that is Lao roads was about to start.
This is just a preview.



In hindsight, these roads were nothing ...



Suddenly we were riding on smooth tarmac.
And from the border onwards , it was all curves, for hundreds and hundreds of miles



Climbing up, temperature going down .



As you can see the roads were really busy  : )


Ever upwards.


And curves



We were headed to Luang Namtha. We underestimated the latitude( as it got dark earlier then we expected)  and roads . So we had to ride at night, something we try to avoid. Pitch black , no street lights at all. Here is where i really appreciated the FJRs lights. bright as a cars. 



We rolled in to Luang Namtha , at 9pm. freezing cold (   or so we thought  : )


1st order of business - food.


Then hotel  and crash .zzzzzzzz




DAY 6


Early the next morning we went back to the same restaurant for food.


Both of us hopped on my bike, all the locals were covered up and there we were, in shorts and t-shirts.
Geniuses i tell you  


Brekkie


After a hot shower we headed north.
Lao customs i think.
Why ride here ??



For this...........


yes we can  : )



The smile says it all   ; )


After that Arch its all China.


Hmmmmmm.......familier sticker   ha ha 


Today we ride from Luang Namtha to luang Prabang via boten.
340 km. Easy right .....


A village along the way.



You cant buy these photos. you have to earn it.



Riding in Laos, you'll really earn it ..




Great views along the way.




The veiws got better the higher we got.




It also got colder.Here its 57F at  around 1pm



Another stop at a village .




nice huts on the hillside



On the right of my bike is the communal well




Even the locals were cold




Adults and kids all work.they walk for miles...daily



Han decided to share the old womans fire for a while 





Soon the villagers came to see the 2 strange people  : )



local 7-11



As it is we were having a tough ride.Cant imagine how these guys do it.
Remember its mountainous and cold.



And the roads.Terrible.From gravel to sand to mud to stones to broken tarmac ,each for miles on end.I can only imagine what Africa is like after riding here.



The roads kept going up and it kept getting colder. i cheated,all i had to do was raise my screen as in the pic below  and i was quite warm                           : )



These kids offered us a snack



We were not that hungry  ; )


Again the villagers came out to talk to us



Passing through Odoumxay



Further down the road ,we passed a big bike and we both came to a stop.soon 2 more bikes and a sidecar rig also stopped.






Meet Bea and Helle. from www.timetoride.de



These guys are 6 months into their round the world trip



 



After a nice chat with them,(we promised to meet up when they come to Malaysia) and exchanging road conditions on the way ahead we continued on our way.



you thought 57F was cold right?



This is not mist, or fog ,or rain



Its riding through clouds  : ) we hit our record temp of 50F or 10Celcius here. in the Afternoon!!




Again we were held up mainly by the terrible road conditions.Riding at 30kmph with a max of 40kmph meant we arrived at Luang Prabang late.  Riding through the town we found a nice hotel around 9 pm and checked in.Had dinner and zzzzzzz.  340km in 11 hours yay






DAY 7

The next day we could see the name and surroundings of our hotel.



Nice.5 star i think.




All that mattered the night before was safe parking.



Our bikes were filthy.The whole under carriage had clumps of mud.




Early morning procession of monks





After breakfast where i got the worlds smallest sausages



we asked for a hose to clean our bikes a bit.



Infront of a grand hotel. This is how we roll ,classy    : )



now we could appreciate our surroundings.






The mighty Mekong



After cleaning our bikes we took a drive around Luang Prabang



French colonial architecture







Staple mode of transport.





Bridge to a local village




Terraces for vegetables along the river.



Going to work



2 cool old mercs




Views of Luang Prabang






Breakfast by the Mekong





Our hotel's breakfast terrace



Also overlooking the Mekong



Someof those boats come from Chiang Kong



After the tour its back to our hotel and  time to move



Riding through Luang Prabang



Again the roads lead uphill




we came from there



This guy could speak quite good English and we had a nice chat



Absorbing the view



Again the roads sucked.dont worry it only gets worse.



Curves and bad roads. add in cold!!




Gravel roads



Our highest altitude



Temp at the same place.see the time



Screen up    ha ha ha 



Amazing vistas





 FJR surveys its domain
 




As the roads kept winding along the highlands we stopped for a break



Women doing manual labour



We met these 2 guys and made friends



Thats Dunhill they are smoking ,universal currency  : )
the guy on the right had a rifle and the left a machine gun. 



Too cold to smile    : )



Look carefully at the Versys engine block.You'll see my gloves tucked in to warm my hands later 



No drama.we actually did this to warm our hands




on this curve we saw this magnificent hills




We pulled up to a viewing point and soaked in the 360degree views








it was just awesome



High way along the hills




From the viewing point we finally started to descend



The kids all over laos kept waving to us and if we wave back they just go crazy  : )



After descending 1000m we stopped for a break.Our first straight road.
unfortunately the roads only get worse here onwards.





The famous twin peaks



These 2 heroes came up and had a great time with us.





After some time we restarted our journey




Surrounded by the magnificent Karst hills.
See the crappy roads.It only gets worse.




20km to Vang Vieng took us almost an hour.Super sucky roads




After finding a hotel we took a walk to the famous Nasim restaurant



We were surrounded by pubs and stupid drunk farangs




These 2 drunk morons were practicing drunken kung fu in the middle of the road. Not to mention a drunk chick with them who changed her top in the middle if the road also.We being somewhat travelled Malaysians found them distasteful,just imagine how the Laotians feel.
Stupid assholes.



Rant over.the food was excellent.BTW our standard drink every where was hot coffee   ha ha .



Mutton Samosas. mmmmmmmmmmmmm



DAY 8


The view from our room the next morning.





Awesome!!!!!!







After soaking the view in ,its back to Nasim for breakfast.




Our initial plan was to go from Luang Prabang to Phonsavon and from there to Vientiene.
After 2 days of riding at night we decided to head from luang prabang to Vientiene with a stop in Vang Vieng the night before.
Bad roads,extreme temperatures(for us la) and iffy fuel. 91 RON i think ,our bikes took every thing that was thrown at it.





If i had to title this ride it would be '' My bike thinks its a GS''   : )



An example of crappy roads



Different type of crappy roads



After 3 days we finally see the sun.its still a cool 75F



ADV rider in action




More crappy roads




a stop to rehydrate




We finally reached Vientiene.
Our initial plan was to stay the night and ride 660km the next day.Since we were early for once we rode around the capitol and saw the sights first.



That Dam or the black Stupa





From there we headed to Patuxay Park








To see the vertical runway(look it up)






Nice design



We then headed to the friendship bridge and crossed over to Thailand




Back in Nong Khai




Looking back at the friendship bridge which runs over the Mekong



I will never ever curse Malaysian roads.EVER.
riding in Thailand after 4 days in Laos, we were doing 80kmph and it felt like we were doing 180kmph



After a couple of hours we stopped for the night at Udon Thani. Nice hotel and the guard could speak Malay. After a nice dinner .....zzzzzzzzzz




DAY 9


Bright and early we headed south west



As usual we took a relaxed ride and stopped almost every hour.



1st order of cold drinks as we are finally riding in the sunshine after so many days.


Again the roads lead near Bangkok and the traffic increases too.


If i joined him i wouldn't have gotten up   : )



From the last stop above we reached our destination of Ayuthaya.



Nice hotel  with excellent staff.




A large compound with ample parking.



See the discoloration on the middle building , just under the railings. thats the level of the water in the recent floods.   



Why Ayuthaya ?


For this....the historical city



So cool




Eventhough we are headed back we tried to make all the stops in interesting places










Our Mr.Bean tuk tuk   : )



Another Wat with 3 towers







You have to see this yourselves





Finally we came here


Not just for the Wats.......




To see this. I saw this picture many many years ago.
So cool to be standing here .. : )




After a long and fulfilling day it was dinner , massage and zzzzzzzz






DAY 10


Again we had to brace the Bangkok bound traffic.


Imagine this is about 60 km away from Bangkok.



After Samut Songkran we turned off onto the south bound road and stopped to recover from the traffic.
From here onwards its 1500km of smooth riding home.


Today we are headed to a different setting.


From the mountains to the sea.


found a nice chalet.


The sea never fails to relax you  .





Bike has been through a lot but just keeps on rocking   : )


These 2 bikes have been through a lot.


Dinner by the sea . How else la  : )




DAY 11 


Today our plan is to head to the border town of Dan Nok


A last look at the rising sun over the south China sea




660 km today ......should be ok 



I cant grow flowers in my garden and here they grow wild by the road   : (


After all the hard riding conditions , riding here was nirvana.


About 200km from Dannok it started to rain. Really rain , super heavy rain . But we kept on going.Wet and cold at a petrol stop we saw this cafe. 


So we had an unplanned Mee Soup and hot cofee  : )



Back on the road , conditions got worse, but we kept on going . Then it got dark, with rain , wet roads ,traffic , glare from other vehicles , slippery roads and foggy visors we decided to find a nearby hotel and continue tomorrow as it would have been dangerous to continue.So we set the GPS for the nearest hotel. On reaching there i started to laugh. 
See my room.
See the mirrors.
See the chair on the right with stirrups 
Get it  ?




It was not your normal hotel but the staff were really cool. Being on the outskirts of Hat Yai there were no tuk tuks so they took us in their pick up for food nearby.Cool guys.



DAY 12

The next day it was still raining lightly but with good visibility it was soooooo much better.An additional 60km added to todays ride but...safety first . On reaching the border and crossing into Malaysia we both felt a feeling of homecoming and relief after all our  miles.
So what do 2 Malaysian do after being away from home for so long????


Kedai Mamak beb



A nice and relaxed ride south.We're almost home . 



After 5722km we reached Setia Alam where a few friends were waiting for us. our ride officially ended there .And the sense of relief for a SAFE ride was just great.



And this brings a close to this excellent adventure.



Our route. green for stops there and red for stops on the way back.



Looking back now at the pictures the memories are still vivid and clear. This ride was an adventure in every sense of the word and  eventhough there were some days of hard riding , the things we saw , the people we met , the experiences we had and the challenges we overcame to reach home safely made this a ride of a lifetime.

Laos is such a beautiful country with amazing vistas. The people are really pleasant and very nice and we had an amazing time there. BUT....the roads suck so badly. I would love to go back there  .....only once they fix the damn roads..if not no way in hell   ; )

One thing i realise....... there is no tomorrow . We don't know  what the future holds .
What we can do ... do it now.
Live life........  NOW.
Ride safe .

Cheers.

16 comments:

  1. bro..bila baca stori you..simple but very nice! 1001 memories bro that will never forget. Phiewwwww..!

    TerBAIK bro..!!
    p/s: byk sgt muka i dalam tu..malu ler! ahakss

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  2. Bro , ride yang memang terbaik. memories yang tak akan dilupakan. thanks for every thing bro .

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  3. uisshhh..! i yg patut say TQVM for the greats ride + organizing..bla bla..haha

    Yang paling x blh lupa..camera 'kong' bro!! kalo xde backup...dunno la wat to say.

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  4. Kita sama2 belajar & dpt pengalaman baru bro,lain kali ride to UK bolehla guna pengalaman ride dekat2 ni ha ha ha : )

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  5. superb...and im totally jealous la..haha

    -APIT-

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  6. Pit - bila mahu dapat moto baru, Jom plan ride baru : )

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  7. lambat lagi griffin..now slowly kumpul duit kahwin.haha..after that baru kita ride sama lagi.tapi i memang nak sampai border china juga =)

    -APIT-

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  8. No hal bro . take your time. Tapi ''tong'' kena ada , klu tak susah sgt. takpe , nanti bila ride baru kita roger : )

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  9. cayalah my bro Griffin & Han.. Really nice pic & great experienced.. Jelesnyer...

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  10. thanks bro . up sikit dari betong je : )

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  11. hehe.. i pun tengah duk kumpul modal ni, ade rezki bulan 4 ni sampai la kesana.. minta2 hajat tercapat laa...

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  12. Bro , bulan 4 tak jauh lagi. Route, stops, documents,tempat menarik dah recce ke. Kalau datang area sini boleh kita semua tts dan bincang. Apa2 nak tahu roger je bro . Go for it bro . respek : )

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  13. i follow member2 yg dah ade experience ke sana sebelum ni.. so mmg byk minta tau info dari dorang lah.. harap2 tercapai la hasrat tu nanti.. cuti tak approve lagi ni.. hehe.. u really my mentor la bro..

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  14. Harap2 tercapai hasrat , bro. Takde mentor2 la, kita semua sama je bro. go for it : )

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  15. terbaik bro... boleh dijadikan panduan untuk biker yg nak jejak langkah mcm u dgn Han


    rizal affendy

    ReplyDelete