Monday, January 31, 2011

SEA Adv Ride

D+15 (25 Jan)

Back home again! Looking for next adventure.....New Zealand?
D+14 (24 Jan)

Back into Malasia's border again

HatYai, Thailand - Kangar, Malaysia ride
Border crossing into Malaysia - No fuss
At Sadao Check point Thailand;
First, stamp out your passport
Second, deliver the temporary export/import bike document to the Custom and sign book
At Bukit Kayu Hitam check point, Malaysia
Stamp my passport
Ride pass Custom and in I am back home!
Day travel 104.7 lm
Fuel 400 Baht (last fueling in Hatyai the day before)
Over bite at Putra Palace, Kangar Malaysia @ RM 178/nite

D+15 (25 Jan)

Kangar - Sitiawan ride
Straight along highway E1
Day travel 413.5 km
Fuel RM 30
Total Travel Mileage 8000km
Total Expenditure RM 9000 (including accident compensation and police fees)

The Thai/Laos/Cambodia or the SEA Adv Ride is completed.
D+13 (23 Jan)

Prachuap Kiri Khan to Hatyai ride
Surat Thani-Songkhla-HatYai good view by the coastal road
Beware of villagers road crossing and other motorists; they seldom see big motors on road, they underestimate your speed and overestimate your distance
Hua Sai, Thai Wind Turbines
Alots of prawn farms
Songkhla nice town, avoid red light areas
Day travel 719.4 km
fuel 1200 Baht
overnite at President hotel Hatyai @ 600 Baht

Roadside fruits stall
The Gulf of Siam
Camel by the Gulf of Siam
Hua Sai - Wind turbine
Near Songkhla
D+12 (22 Jan)

Bush fire

Fried Keuw Tiau by the sea

Nite market Prachuap KK

Mobile cafe

Prachuap KK, Thailand

Ride Samut Prakan to Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand
Getting out of Samut Prakan to Route 4 is tough without GPS or large scale map. Took 2 hrs to clear Bangkok; during rush hours.
National road good view
Prachuap KK very nice quiet town by the seaside. Watch out for the monkey hill
Many Muslim Population
Nite market; place to look see look see
Day travel 348.9 km
Fuel 350 Baht
Over nite in HadThong hotel @ 950 Bhat/nite facing the sea
D+11 (21 Jan)

Boys at Floating School , Tonle Sap

Super maximum loading!

Coconut drink best for Biker

Mosque at Sisophone, Laos

Beware this monster in Laos!

SEA Adv Ride

D+11 (21 Jan)

Old Market, Siem Reap
Make your pick
4 stars Hot!
Boats to Tonle Sap
Flaoting School

Dont miss the old market place, that what most people say. I did the same. Wah! too many things to see in the market. Varied smell, sound and sight. I like the food section. Bought book, map, baseball cap.
Went to see the Tonle Sap region. Some 15 km from Siem reap.
Later ride Siem Reap to Poipet then cross border into Thailand at Pranyaphratep.
Before crossing the border, stop for Friday prayer at Sisophone, Laos
Border cross into Thailand;
First stamp out passport from Laos Immigration
Second, I check with the custom post, show to the custom officer my passport and bike registration document. He noticed I am a Malaysian and said you free to pass through. Just like that.
As I entered Thailand side, same routine repeat.
First, fill up arrival slip get your passport stamp
Second, go to the custom post, show passport and bike document. The Custom will prepare and give you the temporary import/export document, you sign an appropriate part and off you enter Thailand.
The geography on this part of Thailand (Aranyaphratep to Samut Prakan) is mainly dominated with forest land (special wood, gerharu etc)
Dry hot weather. Forest fire along the national road.
Heavy smog through out the day
Arrived Samut prakan @ 9 pm
Day travel 440.3 km
Fuel 610 Baht
Over nite at Service Residence Samut Prakan

Sunday, January 30, 2011

SEA Adv Ride

Dirt road to Siem Reap

Road sign

Land mines

Camel at Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

D+10 (20 Jan)

Ride Surin to Chong Chom about 35 km distance apart.
Border cross; Chong Chom, Thailand to Sosmach, Cambodia. Land border crossing
Park bike before Immigration post. Many helpers willing to show you which and where Immigration and Custom buildings but for a fee.
Stamp out Thailand departure immigration slip
Move to the Custom post, deliver the temporary export/import document
Ride to the Cambodia Immigration and Custom building side
Write your entry slip and get passport stamp
Go to the Custom and ask for export/import document. Show bike document and passport. They will not give you anything but just say you can go now. I asked for stamp on my bike photocopy registration document but they refuse. Reason,the bike Kawasaki, is Japan manufactured vehicle. Since Cambodia and Japan do not have trade agreement therefore no official stamp can be endorsed on the document of the bike. Funny and confuse answer. Dont get smart, if they say you can go, just ride on. But I did asked for reference just to be on the safe side when I leave Cambodia later. The custom officer gave his name and mobile number, which I considered good enough to answer any enquiries later.
Welcome to Cambodia! Read many fearful stories during the reign of the old regime in the 70s. First 60km dirt road. Lorries and trucks are king here. Maximum safe speed is just 80 kph; above that you nearing to kiss the dirt. Once beaten twice shy in my case.
Enter the Angkor Wat through this route is not adviseable because you need to buy ticket at the main registration booth in Seam Reap. Get a 2 days ticket for US20 is the best to explore the Angkor Wat and the surrounding attractions. I just got the US 20 day ticket.
The Angkor Wat and its attraction is visited for their architecture and artistic value of the 10-12 century built. Seam Reap in my mind is famous because of that heritage , no more.
Ovenite at Angkor Adventure Inn @ US 20/nite
Day travel 302,7 km
Fuel 670 Baht

SEA Adv Ride

The Ferry

Lorry moving out of the ferry

Onboard the ferry

all by myself and camel

River Mekong

D+9 (19 Jan)

Border cross Thakhek, Laos to Nakhon Phanom, Thailand via Mekong River cross
The landing site, immigration and custom posts are locate near the Mekong river across the road is the Riveria hotel.
First, stamp out your passport at the Immigration post
Second, return temporary import/export papers to the custom
Third, ride towards the ferry ramp. You may be called by the ferry operators to move infront of other waiting vehicles (mostly lorries and trucks). This is not passengers ferry.
When directed, ride on the ferry barge. Pay 400 bahts to the ferry coxswain. I get 50% discount. Gary's staff (Miss Lei) who helped me out of the accident is the ferry owner's daughter, she asked her father to give rebate for me. How sweet.
I was the only one on the ferry during the river crossing.He he!
On the Thai side, ride up the ramp and park by the Custom and Immigration building.
First, fill up arrival slip and get passport stamp
Second, go around next door the same building, enter the custom office, show bike document and passport, they will do for you the temporary import/export vehicle documentation. No fee. One of the custom officer asked for my photos along the ride. He was so impressed. After providing all the custom document, the custom officer gave me a pack of cornflake as a gift and off I go.
Ride to Surin, Thailand. Very dusty and heavy smog otherwise a good ride.
Day travel 453 km
Fuel 660 Baht
Stay at Hotel Tarin, Turin @ 740 Baht

SEA Adv Ride

Golden friends

Riveria Hotel Thakhek, Malaysian Owned hotel

Dirt riders

Thakhek riverside stalls

Mekong river sunset at Thakhek

D+8 (18 Jan)
Remained in Thakhek town.

Friday, January 28, 2011

SEA Adv Ride

upland view

roadside repair

torn boot tape repaired

vientiane promenade

Me and victim name Nang

D+7 (17 Jan)

Cool day start from Vientiane to Thakhek

The accident episode;

About 1230 hrs as I ride pass a village called Siong Hong, Hinbouh district, a group of 4 men wanting to cross the road,out of sudden one of them dashed out towards me and hit the bike left handle bar. He drop, limp and cross the other side of the road. From the rear mirror I saw him push on. I didn't stop fearing the villagers might wallop me. I continued my ride with a view to stop and make police report the next nearest town which is Thakhek (some 30 km away). Half way through there is a road block and the policemen stop me. I knew it, someone would have radio these policemen. Quickly one of them switch off the bike and took the ignition key and ask me to sit in one corner. Wah! here come trouble I said to myself. Be cool and remain composure. I text message my family in Malaysia.
Later, 2 pick-up trucks with 8 peoples came all curious and look at the bike. Some pointed out at the damages on the left fairing, and scratch on the left pannier which they believed impact from the accident. Wow! I didnt came down when the man hit the bike, it was from my previous slip at Kasi. None speak English so, it was like hen and duck. No communication.
It took 2 hours before they want me to go (via sign language) to the nearest police station under escort. At the local police station another hour of waiting for the local police to move and decide what to do. Eventually, they ask me to go to Thakhek police station for further investigation. Why all these stops, wait and see? I dont know.
In Thakhek police station, policemen and onlookers group and look at the bike. 6 policeman conduct Q and A. I was assisted by a local tourist guide who speaks little English. At the end of the investigation I was asked to sign the report. By now its almost sundown and the police tell me the investigation continue the next morning and want me to stay overnite in Thakhek. Since I dont have any refrence or guarantor, they took my international passport, driving license, bike registration, and insurance policy but allow me to keep the bike keys, The bike stay in the police station unlocked.
The police gave me 3 hotel choices; a Malayisan owned, a Vietnam or a local hotel. I choose the local hotel, the cheapest. The police drove me to the hotel. After shower and quick dinner I settled for the night not wanting to think about the accident. By midnight Gary Loh the Riveria Hotel Manager (Malaysian owned) hotel came-by. He was asked by the officer from the Malaysia Embassy in Vientiane to assist me dealing with the accident. Nice of him to come.
The next day, 2 police, Gary and one of his local staff and me went to the police station. There we waited for half an hour before we were told to visit the victim at the hospital. Apparently, the victim were admitted the day of the accident and was treated with 7 stitches on his head, a broken right arm and under right knew injury otherwise he is OK. I sat by his side and we smile at each other. He is in good spirit. By this time, the victim son, insurance agent, a policeman and Gary's staff were discussing about compensation.
In this country, if a motorist hit a pedestrian, the motorist is always wrong. 2 things to handle; the police and the victim. The police will impose penalty and the victim a compensation. First the police say, you pay 20 million KIPS the case is considered solve and you are free to go. What! 20 Million KIPS! Insurance will only pay less than 1 million KIPS (I insured for 1.2 Miilion KIPS). However,Gary advises his staff to bring down the sum. It went down to 13 Million then settled at 12.5 Million. I had to ask my family to credit some cash into my account so that I can withdraw them in Thakhek. Daily withdrawal is limited and I had to seek Gary help to make up the different. By the afternoon, we returned to the police station; the victim representative, me and Gary all sat in line surrounded by 5 policemen. Like a small courtroom. The senior policeman presides the proceeding and decides. I agree to pay compensation of 12.5 million KIPS to the victim; the money is handed over to the victim representative, he recounted and taken. I and the victim representative signed a settlement agreement in front of the senior policeman. Then, the police fine me 18,000 KIPS for traffic offences.I pay up, signed paper and they returned all my document and I am free to go.

Lesson learnt

1. Inform your Embassy and friends (if any) what, where, whither, when, how , why you are in this country
2. Make sure you have all legal document (license, insurance etc)
3. Stay calm and dont look worried
4. Get in touch with family and your nearest Embassy
5. Dont argue with the local authorities
6. Pay up and get back all your document and bike
7. Unless absolutely have to, dont discontinue your adventure; carry on
8. Think positive; if there is a will there is a way out of the thick situation

SEA Adv Ride

Welcome to Thailand

Road works

River Mekong border cross from Thai into Laos

Welcome to Chiang Khong

D+5 (15 Jan)
Oudon Xai to Luang Prabang ride
Plenty of road works. Beware
After Pak Mong good road with scattered patches and gravel
Too many corners
Very good view, especially at the Pak Nga bridge
At Luang Prabang, go for the guest house along the river, maximum US35/night
Highly recommended town to go in Laos
Many tourist spots and outdoor activities packages
Day travel 200.5 km
Fuel 350 Baht

words in Laotian language

Sabaidee = Hello, Hi!
Chop sai lai lai = TQ very much

D+6 (16Jan)
Luang Prabang to Vientiane ride
After Kasi near Hin Hoeup front tire slip into deep loose gravel/sand mixture and down we go! Eat the dirt!The damages: gear pedal bend, left fairing crack,left boot torn.
Road side repair damages for RM 10
Day travel 387.5 km
Fuel 300 Baht
Over night at Hotel Salana Boutique

SEA Adventure Ride

My daily dairy of the SEA Adv Ride

D minus 1

Final check on bike (Camel). Mileage 28830.3 km

D Day (10 Jan 2011)

Straight ride from Sitiawan to Chomphun Thailand
Good road with some potholes along route 4 Thailand. Beware of U-Turns!
Day travel 854.7 km
Fuel RM 94

D + 1 (11 Jan)

Ride Chomphun to Nakhon Sawan
At Prachuap Khiri Khan there is a junction to Mynmar border crossing
Cool weather from Suphan Buri onward and upward route.
Flat countryside, padi field dominates the countryside view
Day travel 753.4 km
Fuel 1243.20 Baht

D+2 (12 Jan

Nakhon Sawan to Chiang Mai ride
Take route Tak to Li and to Chiang Mai. Sharp corners all along
O/nite Lux hotel Chiang Mai @ 600 Baht/nite
Eco tourism area; plenty for outdoor activites
Day travel 482 km
Fuel 620 Baht
There are many tourist here

D+3 (13 Jan)

Ride Chaing Mai to Chiang Khong, Thailand.
Road works from Kheong to Chiang Khong. Beware!
ATM machines plenty, just register your card before you leave Malaysia. Every transaction the bank take 150 Baht
Choose hotel or guest house along the Mekong River not in the town.
Best check where is the landing place, immigration and custom hut a day before cross Laos border
Day ride 343 km
Fuel 800 Baht

D+4 (14 Jan)

Enter Laos
Border cross from Chiang Khong,Thailand to Houei Xai, Laos via ferry
Sort out passport first at the immigration, stamp out of Thailand.
Then, give back the temporary import/export paper you get from Sadao custom Thailand when first enter Thailand from Bukti Kayu Hitam Malaysia.
Chiang Khong custom say, you are clear to go cross border into Laos. No paper was given. I was confused. Last Malaysian bikers cross this border were given some papers. T took my chance to cross regardless.
Fee to cross by ferry 500 Baht. Pay at the ticket counter (a small shack on the right side of the ramp)before embark ferry and get into line to board. No worry the workers there will help and point out where and what to do.
Drop Camel here while trying to put down the side stand. It slippery ramp. Be careful,
The crossing took about 25 minutes roughly
Once across, park bike near a restaurant.
Sort out paper for the bike with Custom first. Counter 5 this time. Show passport and bike document. The Laos custom will give a permit to bring bike inside Laos. Stamp and get signed as directed by the Custom Officer.
Then get bike insurance. No worry, the insurance guy will always be there to follow you a n insist take their insurance. Take sufficient insurance days.
Then, ride toward passenger ferry terminal about 1 km away from where you land with the bike. Here the immigration post is located. Fill up entry Laos slip and get it stamp. All in order now, you are free to ride into Laos.
Ride from Houei Xai - Luang Namtha -Boten - Oudom Xai
Very dusty and dirt roads. Too many sharp corners
Country side like Mindanao
Scenic view
At Boten, Laos an entry to China.
Day travel 348 km Fuel 820 Baht

Note; Journey to Oudom Xai
* Mountainous area, winding roads through out
* Road under construction program PRC/Laos. Many women workers from PRC I think and lived in the kongsi houses
* Local look like Chiese China. Very white complexion and sharp small nose and small build
* Mountain rice
* Not many schools
* Boten, from out of nowhere suddenly you see many high rise buildings near the border. The town is dominate by the Chinese PRC
* Green Ecotourism

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 31-44

At some point of your ride, there seem to be a day when nothing seems to work. As I entered France soil, the toll along the expressway really piss me off. Unlike Malaysia, motorcycle in France no gratis babe! Pulling out your wallet to pay toll at the booth hamper other traffics. Worse I cant understand what they say! You in the wrong lane dude. Get out there and reenter to the correct lane! What! You think it easy to make a u-turn with a 300kg bike?God knows how I manage. I managed though to get out the motorway and riding the national road was a peace of mind. Though some road are snowy and icy which was unexpected I did cover the "Mende Tour Bicycle" route. Very very nice countryside.
Entering Geneva from Pons de Ain along the lower Alps is such a wonderful and superb riding view. Geneve, very expensive and setting just like any German towns; lake surrounded by commercial buildings and hotels. Hamburg comes into mind.
Black Forest is not to be missed town. Visit the town square and see the sculptors along the church roof. You will notice out of the scary looking animals stone there stood a bum facing towards a pink painted house. I was told, the sculptor was not paid for his job, so his final craft was bum in protest for work done not paid!
Visit Praha next. Very beautiful city with very architectural and artistic buildings. By this time, the cold front started to catch me and every riding day is very freezing feeling and strong cold wind blast.
The ride from Praha to Berlin encountered very strong freezing wind all along. Though it was wet day as I entered Berlin from the Eastern side of the city, my previous experience to Berlin help greatly me find a pension house just at the outskirt of the city. Berlin just like Berlin. Few have changed I notice since 2003; the Railway station, Jews museum and the Berlin wall remnants rebuild for public viewing are all completed now.
Leaving behind Berlin, I continued West to Hamburg. First stop in Hamburg was No 96 Wolhdorfer Damm, a house I once lived. There I met Angelika and Harder. They were shocked to see me and very very glad indeed how we able to meet up again. The house stands well and look after. After 2 days looking around the familiar places I head for the Netherland via the Afslutdijk crossing to Den Helder. Freezing cold ride though the sun manages to emerge for awhile.
A day ride at this worse riding condition for me would not last more than 200km. Had to make many stops for the nite and during the day looking for toilets a worse nitemare I ever had! The weather turns for the worse from now on. Every day ride mostly wet, freezing temperature and strong wind. Passing central Den Haag I encountered heavy traffic and I decided to take the coastal route instead. It was a wrong decision. Over the bridge of Zieriksee to Terneuzen, I was basically blown off the bike. In order to stay upright, I have to spread both legs out, balancing in wild madness causing massive traffic jam behind me.Bet they curse me!
I get closer to Dover each day with similar riding condition. Stop at Dunkerque, look see and push ahead arriving Calais. Get into the ferry and cross the English Channel. That few hours onboard a good break for a short nap and leg stretch.
At Dover check point, the police stop me for questions.The standard QnAs. Had to open both panniers to show them what I carry. All clear and the ride to London was boring enough. M20 was heavy traffic! The rain and strong wind persist.
The next 2 days I get down to repair the broken left pannier, clean the bike and rest before final delivery of the bike to Bournemouth Motorcycle Hire Ltd, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK.

Day 45 - 60

Took a flight to from UK to the Netherlands and meet up family in Harderjik. There I changed my riding mode from motorcycle to bicycle. Exploring surrounding Harderjik is very interesting experience and different. In my mind, one day how about cycle the Netherland? This country have a myriad but developed bicycle tracks all over the entire country. I take note of this and a highly recommended adventure for everyone. Its cheap and easy.
By end of November 2010, the weather in Europe gets worse. Snow and very unexpected situation as it comes too early. Many airports closed operation and it cause me a bit of concern as my return flight to Malaysia is schedule on Dec 3, 2010. Any much later I may not be able to get home. Lucky for me, Stansted London Airport remains opened and I flew home as scheduled arriving Malaysia and home safely.
The adventure taught me how small we are and be grateful what you have. There are always people who are most willing to help you out from the problem you have at that time. As I looked back, I must thank to God how lucky I am to have been given the opportunity to see, smell, touch, hear and been to places I planned for. And thank to my family and friends who endlessly pray for my safe and well being always.
The adventure end here and I am looking for the next one...The South east Asia Adventure Ride...

Europe Adventure Ride

On Oct 23,2010 arrived at Tarragonna, Spain. The next day Blackie stop and wouldn't start. Ho ho! Here comes problem. Hey! stay cool and get the UK AAA insurance work. Well, it does though take some phone calls and with difficulties trying to explain to the Spainish fellow what happened. It took 2 days to diagnose the problem ( wire connection to fuel intake broke). Then all back in good running condition.
Andorra state is not to be undercost when you stay there. It is a tourist town. You know what I mean isn't it? Crossing the Pyrenees is one of a heck dreadful experience. On the way up the long and winding road, two cars turn turtle and block half of the road. It was icy road, most campsites closed and find only me the single rider there! What a dude I am. Snow fall as I passed the mountain range. After many finger biting corners arrived Tarrasong Mcquir, the Pyrenees late afternoon.
Some tips controlling Blackie in the icy road:
1. Stay cool and calm
2. Reduce speed
3. Tug your legs firm to the tank while relax your handle grip
4. No sudden brake, instead try glide smoothly at your safe speed
5. Look ahead
6. If have to do, spread your legs out to balance (though looks ugly but it helps to stay upright)