Northwestern Thai-Burmese border and the heart of Golden Triangle-Thoed Thai.

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by GSForLife, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    This is a 14 days ride covering the following places - Kanchanaburi-Sangklaburi-Mae Sot-Mae Sarieng-Mae Hong Son-Pai-Doi Ang Khang-Doi Mae Salong-Thoed Thai-CNX. It was originally a photography trip planned much earlier but unexpectedly turned out to be a solo ride for me 3 days into the trip with much twist to the plan and this is my story.

    Some prelim pics:-

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    Kanchanaburi

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    Intersection between Sangklaburi & Tong Pha Phum

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    Suphanburi

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    Mae Sot

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    Mae Sot - Panaromic Wat

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    Burmese refugee child at Route 105 Mae Sot to Mae Sarieng

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    Panaromic View at Route 105, 75kms before Mae Sarieng

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    A typical section of Route 105

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    Karen long neck woman at Mae Hong Son

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    Panaromic view along Route 1095 between Mae Hong Son and Pai.

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    Panaromic Doi Ang Khang

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    Doi Mae Salong mountain tribal women.

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    General Zhang Zi Fu (aka Khun Sa) at Thoed Thai

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    World Heritage Site at Sukhothai

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    Panaromic view at Sangklaburi

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    Early morning ride at Route 1340 Arunothai to Doi Mae Salong

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    Hardship on Route 1340

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    Unexpected bad road on Route 105
     
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  3. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

  4. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Trip was planned to start on 5th to 17th Dec 2010. On the 1st day, all bikes will be ridden from Kuala Lumpur to Hatyai. Distance from KL to Hatyai is approximately 630kms and arrival in Hatyai was estimated 1-2pm malaysian time.

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    1st meeting point at Rawang NS Highway RNR. Joko was seen chatting away with some cyclists. Ang was late. He apparently did arrive on time (6am) but had to return home as he forgot to bring some spare parts.

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    Our 2nd stop for a refuel and a quick drink at Juru RNR in the state of Kedah. All were fine as can be seen with the ever smiley Joko.

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    Ang taking a closer look at Joko's AT...."hmmm, is this machine good enuf for the trip?"
     
  5. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the compliment. So far 7 pics have been uploaded. There are a lot more to come as I unravel the trip routing and some unexpected events on the roads. I did have some initial hiccups uploading the pics thru imageshack. It's a teething process for me and I hope to improve as the report continues. Let's see how many pics I'd be able to upload today.
     
  6. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    All three bikes (Joko, Ang & myself) arrived at Sadao Immigration approximately 1.00pm (malaysian time). Shortly before passing the Thais' immigration & custom, we had a quick stop at Malaysian border town Changloon to get our insurance and currency exhange done. Had a quick bite & drinks and headed to the immigration centre. Lee wasnt with us then as he was already in Hatyai a few days earlier.

    All were smooth but 10 mins into Danok town heading to Hatyai, it started to rain. It was a constant to heavy drizzle and the 80+ kms ride to Hatyai was rather unpleasant compounded by a spill of amonia acid on a stretch of road by some rubber sap truck. At that point, I had my 1st encounter of the series of unpleasantness throughout the trip when my wilbers rear shock appeared to have insufficient damping force. I rode slower than usual and quickly lost sight of Joko & Ang. I caught up with them later in Hatyai much to the rather kind assistance of Lee who was quick to get hold of me and pointed me to the place where all of us were to put up for a night unexpectedly because all train tickets to Ban Pong were sold out. The plan was to reach Hatyai on the same day (5th Dec) and get our 6pm train tickets from Hatyai to Ban Pong station, load all 4 bikes with a local delivery truck company which will deliver the bikes to Ban Pong station the next morning at approximately the same time as the train will arrive. Seasoned bikers from Malaysian & Singapore are used to avoid the long boring stretch from Hatyai to outer Bangkok which is not a feasible choice to ride given the time and fuel cost factors. Ah crap. We lost a day due to unexpected train seat unavailability.

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    Arrival at a local hotel (chacadam) arranged by Lee.

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    Hatyai's skyline as seen from my hotel room...gloomy december eastern monsoon.
     
  7. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    When I was brought to the hotel in Hatyai by Lee, Ang was already there drinking his 1st local singha beer and a guiness stout. I didnt see Joko, so I asked Ang rather abruptly..."where's Joko?" Ang retorted "I dont know."...Ah crap, I was thinking to myself but you two were riding together ahead of me into Hatyai town, surely some forms of communication would have taken place? (and not forgetting Ang was Joko's buddy not mine). I was the brainchild of this trip but due to a last minute call-off by my close ridding buddy who was unexpectedly busy with personal matters, I'd to rely on Joko as my sole companion. Joko then recommended Ang to join which I have no issue. But much to my amazement, all these little nitty ranting and rather obvious characters incompatibility would later on ballooned up into a problem on the roads a few days ahead.

    After numerous attempts, I managed to get Joko on my malaysian cell phone and he informed me that he was sorting out our train tickets and at the same time seeing the local transporter to arrange our bikes for transport to Ban Pong. Joko was rather upset that all train tickets were sold out for the day and the earliest would be the next day (6th Dec) and that too was only normal class train tickets as the 1st class and sleeping bunkers were all taken as he courteously asked me if that was fine. I said not a problem and in fact thanked him for taking all the troubles to sort out what would otherwise be my own problem to take care of. A gem of a person and a top riding companion indeed.

    I then told Joko that it was fine if a day's delay was the case and I informed him of my current whereabout and that a dry warm room was awaiting him pending his arrival much thanks to Lee. Joko arrived 30 mins later and checked in.

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    Our 400 baht a nite room at Hatyai on 5th Dec.

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    Potrait of the Kings of Thailand at the main reception hall.
     
  8. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Back to my initial hiccup with my wilbers rear shock, I was in the process of rearranging my load -especially my camera gears for tying at the tank area for even distribution of load...... as I know with such a low damping force, it would be rather impossible for me to tackle the curves days ahead.

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    A bad idea?

    Anyway, long story short, I texted our mutual ridding buddy (Hazlie-much thanks if youre reading this thread) in S'pore and got some valuable information on how to 'diagnose" if the shock was wrongly set up or faulty...and it turned out that the bloody germans have the tendency to make the dampening knob to turn counter clockwise if one were to harden the dampening rebound. So all the while I was softening it instead of hardening it....ah great...problem solved! Bike's in a happy shape again.
     
  9. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    That evening (5th Dec) I retired early to bed and up early (as I usually am) to some nice delicious chocolate cakes made by my wife for me as snack while on the train...but due to the delay I'd eaten them up earlier. She been thoughtful and supportive of all my rides over the years. I shared some with Joko and he confirmed that these cakes would have been fabulous if down with a cup of coffee.

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    My fav homemade chocolate cake

    Shortly thereafter, Ang joined us (Joko & I) for breakfast opposite the hotel. Lee was absent. The food and some street photos that morning (6th Dec) in Hatyai...

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    My usual choice of breakfast when on the road....go easy on the stomach.

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    Local guys hanging out on the five foot walk.
     
  10. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

  11. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    After breakfast, Ang excused himself saying that he has got personal errand to attend to with Lee. He left, so Joko & I got our bikes to the transposrt company for delivery to Ban Pong station.

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    Here Joko & I were at Khun Sar's transport company.

    Joko: "Hi Sar, you still look as young and as beautiful as I can remember....so are the prices for transporting the bikes remain the same at 2000 bahts per bike?"

    Khun Sar: "Hi Joko, it's so nice of you to say such pleasant things of me....but no the prices are now higher at 2500 bahts per bike and that is non-negotiable!"

    (Joko & I: "Ah...crap!")

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    We proceeded to get our bikes wrapped up at strategic places to prevent abrasion.

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    Front face of the company.

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    We then headed off for lunch - simple yet delightful.

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    The way thais like to have their chickens....nothing gone to waste.
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    Shortly after lunch, I realised that my riding boot of 6 years had finally shown its age. Hmm, cant easily get savannah boots these days in KL.
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  12. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

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    Ang & Lee were a bit late in sending their bikes to the transport company and seen here was Lee trying some last minute fast prep of his bike shortly before the train ride.

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    Thereafter, all 4 of us take a walk to some nearby restaurant for an early dinner (4.30pm) before boarding the train...and must I add that the recommendation by Lee was exceptional. Up to that stage of our journey, all were good and well....and it didnt cross my mind then of anything that would be wrong.

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    Fish maw stew with chicken, mushroom and bamboo shoots. Very tasty and really good.

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    A closer look at this very nice stewed dish. Highly recommended for chinese food lovers.

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    Local rice noodle fried with prawns.
     
  13. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Incident at the hatyai train station....

    Shortly after arriving at the train station, Ang, upon seeing condition of the waiting areas and having learned that the 3rd class non-air condition seaters (which we were forced to take due to non-availability) started ranting and took up his grievances with Joko. Joko was furious and this led to some heated exchanges of words....I was watching from a distance but felt it wasnt proper of me to get involved

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    The spontenous reaction of Ang & Lee upon seeing the waiting area.

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    This is nice street photography to me.

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    The immediate reaction of Ang & Lee after Joko gave them a piece of his mind about growing up and accepting some unexpected inconveniences of travelling (at this point my long sub-due fear of the folks (except Joko) that I am travelling with, started to emerge like a huge organic chunk of carbon molecules floating up the sceptic tank!)

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    Nice to see some familiar wording from home....KTM.

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    The seating in 3rd class is, well scruffy, but will do for a nite.

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    The toilet is exceptional with overwhelming stench and it goes straight into the hole onto the rail tracks...no wonder it is said that in Thailand you have killer railway tracks.

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    This is our only ventilation aid....and windows are opened throughout the journey...I cant sleep but the noise and atmosphere didnt seem to be a problem to the locals. I reckon it's either all is in the mind or just that human body is much more capable to adapt given a chance.

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    A flooding at nakhon sri thammarat somewhere pass midnite...it had all of us worried for a while if that will hamper our delivery truck...a phone call away and all were fine.

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    I finally got a sleeping bunker at 2am after some passengers were dropped off earlier....again this was Joko's commendable effort.
     
  14. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

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    The next morning I woke up early and upon reaching the cafeteria section of the train I saw Ang enjoying the day light. I greeted him and asked if he has had any rest to which he replied yes and plenty of it.

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    Ang: "Hey this look exactly like my childhood village.."

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    Ang made a new friend last nite drinking beer into the wee hours in the morning...I remembered this train master...he asked me for 300 bahts extra for the sleeping bunker. They looked closely bonded to each other. This man drinks like a fish and can really eat...a top glutton if you ask me.

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    Passing by Hua Hin station...you guys notice the funny way those seaters are placed?

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    Hua Hin

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    Ah, didnt I tell you guys this man can eat? Ang; "Er.. nong, I'll eat your cucumber okay?..nom nom..."

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    And eat....

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    The other train master, and this one a big eater too.

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    These are typical "delicious" (as I was told) thai's morning snack. They looked awesome.

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    Joko's up and having his 1st meal on the train.

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    Deep in discussion over some early morning snacks

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    Happy to show how to eat a raw clove of garlic with a raw bird seed chili-chewy chewy. A good way to get really minty fresh breath.

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    Hatyai railway policeman-happy to show me his handgun.
     
  15. helbob

    helbob Ol'Timer

    Good, and very long trip :thumbup:
    ...and with a german motorbike :clap:
     
  16. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Having had enough of humans pics on board the train, I then turned to some views outside the cabin window and these are what I saw.....green field, lush palm trees, clear skies...and things are looking good forward...or so I thought.

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  17. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Arrival at Ban Pong station.....

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    Passing Nong Sala station.

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    Passing Ratchaburi station...and the train master leaned forward to tell me...next is Ban Pong.

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    Ban Pong finally at 9.00 am thai time.

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    The crew.

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    The last pic of the tracks at Ban Pong.

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    The infamous elephants square of Ban Pong...I'd always remember this spot.

    Shortly upon us disembarking at Ban Pong, a call was made to the truck driver and we were told that our bikes had arrived & the truck parked at a nearby school for easier dislodging as the train station doesnt have the right spot to let down those heavy bikes. Off, we went to the nearby school on a local small bike "taxi"...20 bahts each.
     
  18. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    The 2nd bad incident at Ban Pong.....

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    Joko's AT side stand snapped...

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    along with the front wind shield smashed to pieces.

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    And the cause of that was the failed side stand of Ang's 1200GS which was packed right next to Joko's AT.....

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    All 4 bikes were dislodged from the truck shortly and all lined up at the road side curb....I did some repairs for Joko whilst Lee attended to Ang's bike. Not far from the spot where our bikes stood, we found our lunch stop, a place to change into our riding gears, used the loo, had our lunch...and got some help from the very helpful lady owner of that place.

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    Joko with the helpful lady owner of the cafe...a top lady.

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    Joko in deep thought whilst having snack lunch at the roadside cafe...."hmmm,...what more to come?" While at the background, Lee was sitting down most probably thinking, why why why must we use this transport company?

    For readers' info, both the GSA (mine & Lee's) came unscathed...no problem at all.
     
  19. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    The day of repairs while on the road to Sangklaburi (6th Dec).

    With the assistance of the cafe lady owner, we were led to a steel welding shop at Ban Pong...Works were done on both Joko's AT & Ang's GS.

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    Welding the side stand of the AT.

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    Machining the new screw bolt for Ang's GS side stand.

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    Front face of the workshop.

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    The workshop resident pet dog....kinda grumpy and doesnt like his pic taken by me.

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    New stand done for AT.

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    GS's side stand being pressure pressed into shape.

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    New bolt made for GS.

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    Final touches to the GS's side stand.

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    Lee helping to set up the side stand.

    And we were done for the day....but then the clock showed 3.30pm thai time......ah, we lost a day's time. No way we could ride to Sangklaburi as our 1st stop destination.

    For readers' info, the total cost for the repair work come less than 300 baht....service was prompt and very good.
     
  20. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Kanchanaburi-our 1st destination upon commencement of the ride.

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    We arrived at Sam's river house at kanchanaburi approximately 5pm thai time...It was about 50kms ride from the steel welding workshop where the 2 bikes were being repaired earlier. Sam's place was Joko's choice, and I couldnt be happier with his choice. Life on the road at that point of time was still easy and good with him around.

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    Joko with his usual charm with the thai operator...some small talks and we got a nice bed for the nite at 400 bahts...with air cond & hot water too.

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    The river view of Sam's river house.

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    The view from outside entrance to my room at Sam's place.

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    A jewish rabbi who stayed at Sam's place....Later on, on my return trip from the north, I detoured to Sam's place again enroute Sangklaburi on my own...and there I met him again and we had some interesting conversation.

    By the time I settled down, it was already almost 6pm thai time. I felt compelled to take some sunset photography shots at the war cemetery....and I rushed out into the street on foot with my cam gears....and these are the pics....

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    A local lady cutting up some pumpkins for dinner...see the clay urns used to store drinking water.

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    I then passed a wat....hmmm...seem to have lost my way to the cemetery I thought.

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    It was a school with lots of children playing...tried to strike a conversation asking for direction from those kids.....

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    And, this was where I was led to!!.....ah crap! and it was getting dark....and I continue walking for 10 mins and then...

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    Kanchanaburi war cemetery.....finally. But no sunset that evening.

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    Comemorative plate of the past.

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    A couple of tourists who like me, arrived a bit too late as the gate were now closed for visitors..so no close shot of the tombs.

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    These are the 1st day photo shots for me. I then headed back to Sam's river house to meet the rest of the crew for dinner.
     
  21. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    The 2nd day ride (7th Dec) - the fateful day.

    During dinner at Jollyfrog cafe (arguably the most famous restaurant in Kanchanaburi for tourists) on 6th Dec evening, we all had a good sumptous meal. Lee again impressed us all with his thai language and managed to order some really wonderful dishes. After dinner, we all had some discussions and unaimously agreed that due to 2 days of unforseen delay thus far, we shall skip sangklaburi but instead will tour I Tong village loop (recommended by Sam) which is about 178kms from Kanchanaburi....thereafter we shall proceed to the direction of Mae Sot which was on our next list of destinations, though we anticipate the furthest that we could make it would be the town of Nakhon Sawan. All agreed.

    After dinner, the rest went for a walk. I excused myself as I need to retire early and up early as usual...I reminded all to be up and start tyres rolling at latest 8am malaysian time (7am thai time).

    The next day, I was up early followed by Joko and Ang. Lee was still in his room. I was ready to check out and get going on the road to I Tong village. Joko followed suit and Ang too was surpisingly prompt. But Lee was still absent. I went & knocked on Lee's room and he acknowledged. When I came up to the reception area, I overheard some small argument taking place between Joko & Ang. Joko wasnt pleased that riders arent punctual with schedule. Off Joko left on his bike abruptly and told Ang to meet him at the nearest 7-11 where he will be having his breakfast before starting the day. I followed suit. We reached the 7-11 in less than 5 mins and after our breakie about 30 mins later, Ang and Lee showed up. We told them that we are heading to the bridge of river kwai for some photos and they can meet us there later for our ride to I Tong village.

    Some pics on the bridge of river kwai:-

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    Modern day death train.

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    View from the centre of the bridge.

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    View from the ground.

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    Chinese soldiers comemorative monument/war shrine.

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    Chinese war testimony....but I cant understand.

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    From a different angle.

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    Ah, now this I can read & understand...

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    Directly opposite the other side of the bridge to the chinese war prisoners' shrine, I saw this....with fresh offering. Hmmm....doesnt this looks eerie?

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    Can anyone tell what's the significance of these colourful ribbons....looks unusually ceremonial to me.

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    A peaceful side to the bridge.

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    A beautiful bird. Not native to Thailand I believe.

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    A huge Goddess of Mercy temple being constructed nearby...should look awesome when completed.

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    A handicraft memorabilia vendor stall nearby the bridge...plentiful of such stalls all around.

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    maintenance parts for the bridge..

    Shortly after the photos session...I met up with the rest at main entrance to the bridge. Ang & Lee were there too by then (about 10am)...but they came to the bridge from the opposite end....all from relying on their GPS. Ah....I should have guessed so.
     
  22. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    I Tong Village.

    This loop is situated at the direction of Tong Pha Phum instead of Sangklaburi. From Kanchanaburi, one shall head there using route 323 and 150++kms thereafter there is a smaller route 3272 heading to I Tong loop.

    Some pics:-

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    The bridge heading to I Tong (Tong Pha Phum direction)...just before this bridge there is a right turn to Sangklaburi....The mountain, air and stream water look refreshingly different. This is exciting...or so I thought.

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    Joko, arriving at the bridge crossing into Tong Pha Phum. We then decided to take a short break at a cafe just next to this place (left hand side, slightly down a slope) and here are some pics...

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    A view from the cafe....how wrong can this be?

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    Information on I Tong loop on the wall of the cafe.

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    The lovely faces of the cafe...see how calm and genuinely happy these smiles were....can we really see smiles such as these in urban places?

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    The lady boss of the cafe...she speaks understandably decent english...here it was shown her happy face upon being informed that she had made some easy cash over the stocks counter.

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    And their furry pet named Garfield.
     
  23. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Shortly after the drinks break at the cafe, we move to I Tong village via route 3272. The following are the pics taken by me:-

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    My first view of Khao Leam lake.

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    A better angle could have been achieved if more leisurely ride is adopted and helmet is off my head.

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    Our next stop at the highest point (scenic point) of I Tong. GPS shows elevation of 737m. At this point only Joko was with me as only he would tolerate my frequent stops for photo shots.

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    My 1st view.

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    Would have been really nice if not because of the hazy horizon.

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    The unexpected arrival of Ang & Lee...hey but arent these guys way ahead of me in a mountainous single lane traffic....how can they arrived much later (15mins)? Till this very day, I never found out why.....perhaps all of us were too busy to discuss any happenings on the roads.

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    The western sky at the same point...slightly clearer and much better.

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    Trying to decipher the meaning of this signage. Lee was clueless as he only speaks...but dont read..

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    Local burmese blokes enjoying their fags break. I asked for permission to take their photo and they happily obliged....gotta love that moustache...look like Wyatt Earp of Tombstone.

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    Western sky sure looks better.

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    Joko then said..."We are most probably the 1st malaysian bikers to arrive here"....Ang was quick to join a photo shot session with Joko at the tourist info board for the record.

    We then moved on....and arriving at I Tong village in less than 25 mins later:-

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    1st sight of the village of I Tong.

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    A close look at I Tong village.

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    The wat at the tip of the village...
     
  24. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Shortly after this point at the entrance of I Tong village, all riders decided to turn back to get on our next destination - in the direction of Mae Sot. Little did we know what lies beyond the village of I Tong (as I found out upon my return to Sam's river house in Kanchanaburi on my return fom North a week's later)... on my return to Sam's river house, Sam informed me that beyond that village lies a burmese check point which we cant get passed formally but can still cross informally with some sweet talks and respectful request. Beyond that stretch of hills which separate I Tong village & Burma, in less than 3 kms in western direction, one can see the vastness of the Andaman Sea....that according to Sam was the best view in the whole of Sangklaburi province...I listened attentively...(and now here's the info for the enthusiatic readers to follow up....& please post pics if you do!)

    On descending I Tong village on the same route we ascended, Lee & Ang decided that Joko & myself should go first for whatever reasons best known to them...and off we left...Joko led and I was behind him... 40 mins downhill, a veg truck approaching the opposite way and for reasons I am not sure of, Joko slammed his brake, lost his front and down he went! I was right behind him within full sight...I missed a heartbeat...jammed my brakes, parked the bike instantly and rushed towards him.

    Much to my relief, he was up on his feet instantaneously and assured me he was fine....nothing broken, all limbs are moving.

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    The aftermath of the spill.

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    The skid mark that tells it all.

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    Joko checking his gears.

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    Ang & Lee arriving 10 mins after the spill.

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    AT coughed a while but fired up and Joko gave a thumb up, ready to roll!

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    Ang & Lee now leading the way looking for a restaurant for our late lunch using their GPS....ending up somewhere in the bushes...but there wasnt any restaurant there contrary to what they claimed to show in their GPS units. (mine shown otherwise...)

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    15 kms down the road, we got to a national park, where we finally found our place to eat.

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    I asked Joko for a pose shortly before lunch for the record, and he obliged with such a huge warm smile...top bloke.

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    As for me...I made some burmese friends again at the car park whom were attracted by my ride.

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    The squatting chap inspected my flat twin heads and gave a thumb up saying this engine reminded him of his old village community water pump.....ah say what? I remembered old boxer engine twin valves were used as fire engine water hydrant pump in Kuala Lumpur yrs ago....that could be true, so I then thought.

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    We proceeded into the lounge hall and ordered our lunch (2.30pm thai time). A water feature greets our sight just next to our table.

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    Lee did the customary ordering of dishes...chili frog legs was one of the dishes.... a bit spicy but acceptable.

    It was then during this lunch, Ang suddenly turned to my sight and retorted in a patronising and rude manner..."why you parked your bike so dangerously just now (referring to the point where Joko fell)." I didnt see that coming but in my usual style I replied, "So how would you have me parked the bike at what point that wasnt dangerous?...Joko fell, unless you want me to ride pass him down hill and not attend to him immediately?...anyway the roads are so curvy, any approaching vehicles cant go fast and would have noticed the stalled bikes.."

    Ang in his usual style...just kept numb for a few seconds and brushed a response "ah...nevermind what I said"....

    At that point, my dislike of Ang starting to boil...and all these happenings dont look any good to go.....more so that we are only at the 3rd day into our journey from Malaysia...
     
  25. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Say thanks once again for the compliment and appreciated much the explanation on the ribbons tied to the tree in Kanchanaburi. Must say that, that particular tree with the Jap samurai warrior picture shrine looks eerie. The surrounding plants were kept pruned and neat plus the fresh offerings & joss sticks burning gave it a very lively atmosphere. Being brought up in a chinese taoist/buddhist community, I get what you mean.
     
  26. GSForLife

    GSForLife Ol'Timer

    Today is Xmas eve. To all forummers and lurkers alike, allow me to wish all of you a merry xmas and a happy new year.

    Ok, back to the report....

    After lunch, we had a brief discussion and decided that the next possible destination in the direction of Mae Sot given the time constraint then (4pm thai time) would be the town of Suphanburi. We would all pass by Kanchanaburi (170km from where we were having our lunch) and from Kanchanaburi we shall head to Suphanburi via route 324 (totalled 79kms ). The entire journey shd be 250kms top.

    As usual Ang & Lee took the lead and less than 30 mins into our journey, they were out of sight. I trailed behind Joko and our speed on freeway was a constant of 130-140km/hr. Less than 20 kms after we passed Kanchanaburi into route 324 to Suphanburi at about 6.30pm thai time, darkness fell and Joko pulled me aside asking me to lead as his AT's head lamp was dim.

    The next 1 hour ride was very unpleasant with thousands of crushing mosquitoes against our bikes dan gears coupled with some young hooligans performing street racing on their heavily modified 2 strokes machines, inconsiderate pick-up trucks & tourist vans' drivers add agony to the ride.

    We reached Suphanburi at approximately 8.30pm thai time. All along the ways, we didnt see Ang & Lee nor we got any missed calls or sms on our phones. Even at strategic turn off/junctions, there were no sight of them. This was contrary to our ride rules and ethics which were discussed earlier and from that point onwards, it became clear to me that there were 2 groups within the same group of bikers....and all in only 4 miserable bikes!

    Using my GPS, we located a hotel for the nite at a very good bargain ...205 bahts for a nite.

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    The room....scruffy without air cond (you wont need one during this time of the year) but very neat and clean.

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    Toilet/bathroom was large and acceptably clean.

    We then headed out for some food & drinks when Ang called me informing me that he & Lee had found their place for the nite (which was thoughtful of him) and that they were now at certain local places ready to eat their dinner. I told him to call Joko instead as he wasnt really my buddy for this trip, but he in trademark style kept numb for few seconds and continued mumbling...There was a lot of inner conflicts then between the personalities....so I turned to Joko and related to him of what Ang was suggesting. Joko replied saying that he was tired and his wrist was painful from the earlier slip, and above all he would like to have his meal now and not later or at somewhere else where Ang would have us gone....I agreed...called Ang back and informed him...saying that we would see them later or tommorrow morning for breakfast on our way to Mae Sot.

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    Assorted seafood plus fresh oyster omelet hawker stall opposite our hotel in Suphanburi @ 40 bahts a plate...very generous portion and superbly delicious.

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    The other hawker's stall placed next to the seafood omelet serving this assorted noodle...may look not that inviting but the taste was superb nonetheless @ 25 baht per bowl.

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    Our noodle man....gladly posed for pic. Quite photogenic and a very helpful chap.

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    Local girls amused at the sight of 2 foreigners enjoying 5 foot walk hawker food.

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    Our seafood omelet. See Joko left wrist banded?...that was the sign of the end of the trip for him & rightly so, I 'd guessed.

    After meal, we had a short discussion between ourselves over some beer....and it was during that moment the place called Sukhothai was mentioned by Joko....he suggested that I shd visit that World Heritage Site on my next trip for some fantastic photography........or is it on my next trip??? find out later....

    At 10.30pm thai time, we retired to bed....The end of our 1st day of real ride...Total mileage 503kms, covered Kanchanburi & I Tong village loop at Tong Pha Phum.
     

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