Category Archives: 02_Thailand 2012

First rides and impressions outside of Bangkok; central and west Thailand

First rides and impressions outside of Bangkok; central and west Thailand

On the way out of Bangkok our first stop was a big Honda shop which we saw on the side of the street and reminded us of our broken speedometer cable. Immediately 3 guys were surrounding us, observing and discussing while Sascha tried to explain what we need. In the meantime another boy came to me and gave me a big bottle of cool water with a big smile – what a nice service. After it was clear what we need one of the guys left on his scooter and came back after 10 min with a cable… unfortunately too long. So he left again. The second one was fitting, hurray! The cost was 150 THB (not even 4 €). Happy we continued getting out of the city.

In Kanchanaburi next to the Kwai River we spend our first night in a raft (room on the river) watching the moonlight and the jumping fish after a nice curry from the street. Restless and excited to see more we left the next morning to Sanklaburi, a dead end street because of the border to Burma (Myanmar) with plenty of villages and their kitchen streets along the road. Up in the mountains we found a place to stay with a view over the lake and had some nice small tours on the bike around the area. Of cause we had a look at the border (which was more or less unspectacular as we did not tried to cross it ;-)) We met a group of Thai-Biker who went out for a weekend trip and had some nice chats with them as one of them studied in Germany – we were meeting them again and again on the road.

When we left we decided to go through the National Park as we saw there could be a ferry to cross the lake. We followed a nice small road which turned dirt road after a while climbing up the hills and going through the jungle in the end. A bit scary as we did not now what animals they have there around. We heard later on that they have Leopards and some other things… We had some stops there and every sound in  the bush let us …. ;) When we arrived at the ferry stop cars were already cuing up for the ferry in the middle of nowhere! Lucky we just could fit the bike in a small corner. We hopped on the ferry and crossed the lake. Following a great curvy mountain road finally we arrived again in Kanchanaburi. But back to the road through the mountains for a second. There was fire everywhere in that forest, anyway there is fire around us most of the time, either they burn the sugar fields down after harvesting or the forest is just burning somewhere. It doesn’t bother the Thais so why it should bother us at the moment – except for the smell of fire surrounding us.

For the next segment we decided to go for a longer distance direction north, to Sukhotai which is about 450 km north. The sky was grey when we started and we were quite happy about it as it not that hot. Nevertheless our bumps were hurting after a short time already and we had to make some more small stops before we reached a small nice guesthouse in Sukhotai. Time to relax and recap a bit and we negotiated a good price for a very big, nice and clean fan room for the next two days. We like the spirit here around, street markets, night markets, and street kitchens and not to forget the old Sukhotai, 12km away which we could enter and explore with our motorbike. We drove around the ruins and reconstructed temples of this town which is considered as the first independent Thai kingdom.

Today Sascha did some maintenance work at the bike: screws just getting loose because of the vibrations all the time. Our Voltmeter showed that the battery was charged with only 12.1V instead of 14.4… Yeah right the vibrations … Actually he didn’t screw the battery screws tied enough when we got the bike out of the airport in Bangkok… So he had to do it again properly… “I said Vibrations!” “Yeahhh right!”

Tomorrow we will go west once more following the border line of Burma on the way direction Chiang Mai… It is supposed to be a narrow winding road with not much traffic or people around and we are already excited!

Muggy impressive beautiful Bangkok and welcoming our motorbike!

Early morning we started to get done the insurance and the plan was to pass by the cargo air. Not expecting too much but gathering information and showing up in front of the responsible lady with a big smile to make it easier for us for the next day…
When we found the office of the insurance and explained what we need they told us it would cost around 1000 THB…Luckily we knew from our guesthouse neighbors it cost only 160 THB for three month As we were mention that they looked irritated but they were willing to check double and they apologized having done a mistake (^Oh sorry mister, this was price for 3 years^). Never mind but we knew the correct price in advance.
Done that we left to the airport. When we arrived at the Emirates Cargo Office around 11 am they let us surprisingly know that the bike has already arrived and we should go to customs to get it out. The process started! We were looking each other and realizing that we will fortunately get the bike within that day – meaning as well driving it back to the center of Bangkok!!!  Uuuups
Everybody was friendly and the process is quite organized. Of course we needed some patience, a lot of paperwork needed to be done (we counted more than 160 stamps and about 70 signatures from Sascha) and running back and forth to different departments within the airport. After 5 hours we were allowed to pass the security and leaving the property declining the invitation for coffee and snack as we wanted to drive as much as possible with daylight. Not allowed to enter the highway with 2 wheels it was not that easy in the beginning and we had to sneak out over the green wall 10 meter before a toll station once. As well the GPS was not really helpful as it always wanted to lead us back to the highway. It was not understanding this many streets close beside and above of each other – never trust the GPS is my opinion anyhow! The sunset and some tucktuck drivers were much more helpful showing us the direction to go. After a while we were just floating through the traffic and after 1,5 hours ride we knew we must be close the area where we stay. We stopped to have a look at the GPS and the tourist map when we recognized a shop next to us which looked very familiar… We were already there, just around the corner. Sweated but happy we reached our guesthouse. Jippiiiahjeah! What a successful day!

The day after we got sorted and packed our things. Everything needs to find a new place as we are travelling in a total different climate and some items we decided to send back to Europe. The rest of the day we spend looking around for maps and enjoying food in several small street kitchens and in the evening I had to put up my swallowed elephant feet – we definitely need to drink MUCH MORE WATER!!!

Tomorrow we want to leave Bangkok direction north and we spend the day arranging the last things. A heavy rain started just when we arrived back at the guesthouse and we are enjoying the fresh breeze and cleared air while sitting here and planning the route. So excited what Thailand looks like outside of Bangkok…

Here just a few words about Bangkok. We love running around the narrow streets full of markets and street kitchens with smiling people; every corner smells different, sometimes good like herbs, curries, spices , veges, fruits, flowers, perfume oils,… sometimes less good like emissions, heat, sweat…It is a potpourri of everything – it is alive! People let you do your own thing, always smiling; the food is fantastic, always fresh and cooked in front of you. We do not speak the language but that does not matter much; we know some vocabularies and the rest is communicated with hands, feet and always with a big smile :-} our preferred mean of transport is the river taxi, which we have around the corner, it is cheapwith a good view and fresh air outside the streets. Millions of impressive temples, palaces, gardens where you can find a quiet corner to relax if you like…