02.03.2013 – 16.03.2013:
Thai border – Nan:
At the Thai border I filled one form and soon I was granted 2 weeks in Thailand (from the airport you can get 4 weeks).
Custom office was a bit further on top of one hill. I had prepared that this process will take a lot of time as in Bangkok, but I was totally wrong! Customs officer saw my carnet and stamped it without any questions! Whole process took around 1 minute!!!
Earlier when I arrived to Bangkok, I got other papers which I needed to show during departure from Thailand. From this border I got nothing, only one stamp to my carnet… I was a bit unsure if this was ok, but guys just waved me and wished me a good journey… Well, at the Malaysian border I will see if all were in order…
Few kilometers from the border I needed to choose if I take direct route to Nan, or if I would go via slower and curvier road. I decided to take slower road.
Road was really curvy, but I could not enjoy it because surface was in bad shape, full of potholes all the way to Bo Kluea.
Before Bo Kluea I had to stop for 45 minutes because I got caught by a massive thunderstorm. Luckily I found a small shop in a small village, so I did not get wet.
After Bo Kluea road surface turned to be almost perfect. Slowly road #1081 turned in to a heaven on earth. Road surface was in perfect shape, amazing corners followed each others from one hill to another. I was truly in seventh heaven! Time and kilometers lost their meaning while I followed this masterpiece, this was absolutely one of the best riding roads I have ever ridden!
All things come to an end and so did road #1081… Now I needed to head to Nan and find a hotel before dark.
I arrived to Nan around 6pm and started looking place to stay. First guesthouse looked quite questionable, so I kept on searching. I followed my gps to “Phoempoon Mansion”-motel, which looked ok and the price was sonly €10! So now I got a place to stay over night.
For dinner I found nice restaurant next to a local night market. Prices were surprisingly high and due to this I settled with fried rice and morning glory.
Around noon rain clouds had passed, so I decided to go and enjoy few hour ride, this time NW from Nan. I had picked few roads from the map, but they were quite a big disappointments compared to previous day´s unforgettable masterpiece.
I decided to turn back and ride NE area, but this time different roads than on Saturday.
I found few nice roads and one really remote road, but non of them were a match to the road #1081.
I was forced to turn back to Nan when it started to look like that I will be short on fuel. Luckily I made it back and got 95-octane fuel from the gas station! Bike sounded really happy after getting decent fuel again (Laos fuel quality was quite bad) :).
Back at the hotel I decided to go and search for an another dinner place, cheaper this time. Hotel owner offered to take me somewhere where I could buy a dinner and show Nan to me at the same time.
Dinner place was a local “meal on wheels” type of place where local chef prepared my dinner (beef meatballs and egg noodles) and put them to two small plastic bags :D. This was the cheapest dinner in the whole trip so far, costing only $0.3!!!
Back at the hotel I enjoyed this culinaristic masterpiece with an good appetite. Meatballs did not taste like meatballs, but they were still quite ok and the best part was that I did not get any stomach problems after finishing my dinner :).
Nan – Bangkok:
During the breakfast time I had a nice chat with older Danish guy. He had been living in this area for a quite some time.
Unfortunately I had to leave quite fast, because I had roughly 650km to go to Bangkok. Route was quite clear, #101 -> #11 -> #1 -> Bangkok.
Road #101 was nice, long curves and good surface.
Once I got to a road #11 it started raining. Clouds looked like that it is going to rain a long time, so I stopped and put on my goretex layer.
After one hour I started feeling that my chest got damp. Darn, my buff got soaked and then leaked water under the gore-layer… Luckily it was warm, so I did not get cold, but wet chest did not feel good either.
Worst part was the road. Surface looked extremely slippery and when I tried it with my boot, it felt like ice! This made my stiff shoulders feel even stiffer and slipping back wheel did not help the feeling at all…
Few hours later rain finally stopped and I reached road #1. This is a big motorway, so now I could ride faster.
Familiar traffic jam greeted me when I reached the outskirts of Bangkok. Seems like this city has a constant traffic jam, how people actually live travel in this city? Do they live half of their lives inside the car in traffic jams? Do they ever get home from the office?
Finally by selecting small side streets I reached familiar hotel. Hotel was almost full so I got only an expensive room, over €30. Receptionist did not give any discount, but still I decided to take the room.
Oh, I was surprised when I saw this room! Room was huge! Bed was over 2m wide, I had bedroom, livingroom and gigantic bathroom! No wonder this room was so expensive…
Because room was so expensive, I decided to save some money in my dinner, so I purchased some instant noodles from nearby 7/11.
Tuesday was a rest day. I slept late, changed to a cheaper room and worked with Vietnam story and my bike.
I have had problems with my ABS-unit when weather gets hot, so I changed few emails with the owner of the Dynamic Motors. His suggestion was that I could try to isolate ABS unit with a heat reflecting mat.
Wednesday was a service day for my bike. Earlier I had booked a time from BKK-motorcycles to get a ball joint changed to my telelever (rubber seal had broken long time ago, so it really needed to be changed).
I had been in BKK-motorcycles once before, so I knew how to get there.
I was really surprised because I did not see a familiar looking BMW signs anywhere! I made few loops in the area and finally saw a pile of rubble where BKK used to be! What the heck?
I had to ride back to the hotel and search from BKK homepage their new location.
This time it was seven kilometers away, so the location of the hotel was not ideal anymore.
Seemed like BKK was quite busy, because there were several crashed BMWs on their yard. I guess Bangkok traffic takes it toll when riding bikes over here…
I thought this service would not take so long, but it actually took several hours.
Bangkok – Pattaya:
Around 11 in the morning I left the hotel and hoped that I could get out of the town without sitting hours in the traffic jams. This time I got away without major delays and soon I passed Bangkok Airport via motorway #7.
Immediately when I saw toll-booths I knew that this road was not for motorbikes… Well, I could not turn around on a motorway, so I got through the toll both without paying and stopped next to guys with yellow vests.
They said that I am not allowed to ride here and that I should turn back. To this comment I answered that I am not going to ride motorway to a wrong direction!
They had a short discussion and called to someone. Few minutes later I was allowed to continue but I would need to take the first exit from the motorway.
Couple kilometers later I passed a police car and soon I saw flashing police lights on my mirror! Darn!
I stopped and then angry looking police came to talk to me. He said that I am not allowed to ride here. I responded something about my gps and that the guys at the toll booth allowed me to continue to the next exit.
5km later I took the exit and stopped to one gas-station for a coke. Here I saw first “lady-boy” :). Clearly I was getting closer to “wild” south ;).
Further in the south I got back to the road #7 (this time legally) and immediately I saw an accident. On a straight road one truck changed a line directly in to another truck! Air was full of glass and plastic, luckily I was able to avoid this rubble!
Once I reached the Pattaya area, I decided that I will go and check how this “Mother of all sins -place” looks like.
I rode directly to the town´s coastal road and stopped for a few sodas. To my great disappointment it did not look any different than other places, but maybe the reason was that now it was only early afternoon… 🙂
After an hour I started looking the place where Hiko lives, several u-turns and few phone calls later I found a place where we had agreed to meet.
It was nice to meet another Finn who has gone around the world with a motorcycle!
We also found a nice hotel for me, which was cheap, only 400bath, so I booked the room immediately for four nights.
Later in the evening I met Hiko and few other Finns in the downstairs restaurant. We had a nice chat and few beers.
Friday – Sunday:
On Friday I did some service for a bike by changing the engine oil.
Afternoon we visited one finnish bar in Pattaya center.
In the evening Hiko offered wonderful fish-dinner in the restaurant few kilometers away from Pattaya.
Same thing on Sunday: race, walking, sweating and a dinner. Million thanks to Hiko for showing around in Pattaya area.
And no for you readers, I did not get familiar with a sinful nightlife of Pattaya :).
Pattaya – Bangkok:
About 20km later I passed one biker who looked like an overlander, he had Austrian license plate! We stopped to one roadside market place to chat and had some tasty fresh pineapple.
One hour later we got going and I reached Bangkok this time without any incidents with police.
I find my hotel without any problems and had dinner in huge MBK-shopping mall.
Evening I spent going through a huge amount of photos from the race (I had promised to send few of them to Hiko).
While they were doing a service, I used some heat-reflecting fabric and surrounded ABS-unit with it. With this trick I hoped that the heat from the engine would have smaller effect to the ABS-unit.
While I was doing this first aid to the brakes, one Slovakian guy came to the dirt shop with his Ducati. We had a long and nice chat there.
Late afternoon I got my bike back together and rode back to the hotel without any problems with ABS-unit.
Bangkok – Kanchanburi:
First thing in the morning was to ride to Touratech Thailand to get few parts from there (new seat cover and a GPS-mount).
This time I got ABS-failure light again, but now speedo still worked! Previously this never happened and I could live with a bike like this :).
Around noon I headed towards Kanchanabur. This meant that I had to ride through Bangkok again, because TT is on the east side of Bangkok. Traffic was not too bad and I got through the city in a reasonable time.
What can be found from Kanchanabur? Famous river Kwai-bridge. This bridge is famous from the WW II.
Bridge was easy to find because it is the main attraction in this area.
I spent couple of hours there taking several pictures and just cooling down in the cafeteria.
After my core temperature had gone down to roughly survivable level, I started hunting a place to sleep. Soon I found a nice looking place next to the river, price was ok and they had pool, so the deal was done for one night.
Before swimming I installed my new GPS-holder to the bike. Old one had broken in southern Laos.
Rest of the day I spent swimming, drinking few beers and writing my diary. Tough life ;).
Kanchanabur – Khao Lak:
Big road towards south was fast, so I covered a lot of kilometers before air started to get hot.
Hiko had recommended me to turn west after I reached Chumphon. I followed his guidance and found myself from a smaller and curvier road. It was a nice change after a boring, wide and straight road :).
This road was nice, but there were a lot of road constructions going on, they will make this road wider, meaning, bye bye curves :(…
I kept on following smaller coastal road and from the signs I learned that Khao Lak is on my way. I decided to stay there for a night and see how this place looks like 7 years after the zunami.
Close to the shore I met German and Austrian couples who were there with their Unimogs. They had been travelling around SE Asia and funnily they had met Heiko and Filippo in Cambodia. What a small world :D.
Khao Lak has been completely rebuilt. I did not see any signs of the zunami (well few abandoned houses, but I do not know if it is due to zunami itself).
Khao Lak – Krabi:
In the morning when I was packing my bike, one Australian guy came to talk to me. He had lot of questions about my journey so we chatted there over an hour!
He is living in Khao Lak because Australia is too expensive… Let´s see how badly it will affect my budget… I am a bit scared about this now…
Over here it is easy to see which beach is meant for the tourists and which is for the locals. Tourist beach is always clean, local beach is totally different. I do not know why locals leave all their garbage to the beach making them look like a wasteland…
Ride to Krabi did not offer anything special, only one really nice twisty part after Tham Nam Phut.
I have heard lot of people talking about Krabi, how amazing place it is etc.
I do not know what they mean, because to me it looked just a dirty small town… I do not know why tourists come here? Maybe they just use this place to get to the smaller islands?
Krabi – Malaysian border:
At the border I noticed that I should not blindly trust my GPS. According to the map, I was at the border, but I could not find any customs or immigration offices!
I asked few locals and they guided me forward still around 1km.
Immigration was piece of cake, but getting a stamp to my Carnet was a bit trickier. After I found customs office, officer asked me where is my white customs paper. I told him that I did not get it at the Thai border. Seems like rules over here are quite flexible because he just said “ok” and stamped my carnet :).