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
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.
Safe and exclusive parking : )
After a bath we went in search of food. We had a local version of chicken rice here...yum.
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.
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 ...
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.
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 ????
It was a short distance to the Sukhothai Historical park.
Ancient city actually.
Playing with light.
Our ride there from the hotel.
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.
The next day we headed up north again.
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.
Guardians of the entrance.
They just love alien & predator statues.
Drink and die.
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 ??
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
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.
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
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 : )
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
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
After a hot shower we headed north.
Lao customs i think.
Why ride here ??
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 : )
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
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!!
Our highest altitude
Temp at the same place.see the time
Screen up ha ha ha
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.
Rant over.the food was excellent.BTW our standard drink every where was hot coffee ha ha .
Mutton Samosas. mmmmmmmmmmmmm
The view from our room the next morning.
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)
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
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
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
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 : )
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.
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 .