Offroad Riding from Sangkhlaburi to Umphang and back with Jungle Jack aka Muddy Rider

Discussion in 'Central Western Thailand Road Trip Reports' started by TonyBKK, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Got back last night after 4 fantastic days in the jungle with Jack, aka Muddy Rider!
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    More to come!!!
     
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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Leaving Bangkok- Departure on borrowed bike- thanks a MILLION Rob!!!
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    Stopped a little no-name gas station near Kanachanaburi and discovered a treasure trove of dirt bike parts! Tubes, cables, sprockets, brake pads, oils and lubricants and much more- quite amazing! Marked this on on my GPS!!
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    Crazy hot on the ride out!
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    Cooling down stop somewhere between Kanchanaburi and Sangkhlaburi-
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    Checked in at the P Guesthouse and hooked up with Reza and Jack-
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    Sunset in Sangkhlaburi-
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    After failing to find a shop in Sangkhlaburi that would mount my tire I ended up, after far too many beers, doing it myself [​IMG]
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    The days ride followed by GPS track:
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    http://www.asianconnection71.com/2014-03-28%2009.38.22%20Day.gpx
     
  4. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Day 2!

    Packed up and ready to hit the road!
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    Bye bye P Guesthouse! See you again soon!
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    Meeting the rest of the group, ready to leave Sangkhlaburi!
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    Today's route, as recorded on my GPS, along with the GPX track should anyone want to try this ride (though it's NOT recommended to venture in here without a guide!)
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    http://www.asianconnection71.com/2014-03-29%2009.59.36%20Day.gpx

    Welcome to the jungle!!! [​IMG]
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    Our merry band consists of Bank on the KTM450, Kae on KLX 150, Rezabong on CRF250L, Satonic and Tony on KLX250 and our guide Jack on an old 200cc Yamaha 2-stroke.

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    We're riding in the Tung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Preserve which is generally off limits to motor vehicles and for which you are supposed to have a permit to enter. This is where having Jack, aka "Muddy Rider" as our guide is invaluable. He knows how to get in and out without having problems with the rangers. He also knows where all the best trails are, where to find food and fuel and he's a pretty awesome jungle mechanic.

    Reza- a crazy cat from Pattaya, being an Islamiac he doesn't drink, but apparently the prophet didn't say anything about weed? LMAO!
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    Quickly we are into some awesome terrain!
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    During the rainy season the villages along this road are pretty much cut off. Even now in the dry season it's a challenging road.
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    Satonic the city boy, jumping right in to the deep end!!
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    Here comes Kae! This cat was funny as hell. Super chill, doesn't talk much, riding in HORSE boots, zero armor and even forgot goggles / glasses, but always powering through and he's the only guy I never saw crash- Respect!
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    Trying to keep your feet dry here is a bit pointless, but, oh well [​IMG]
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    Jungle Jack on his "digital" Yammie smoker- Power ON, or off, nothing much in between, which can be a real challenge on some of these trails!
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    I don't care how hung over you are- get up you little girl!
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    ^ Was here that Satonic burst his wine bottle.

    Can't let that go to waste!!!
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    Drinking wine in 40 degree heat... Hmmm...
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    Bottoms up Kae!
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    We stopped in the Karen village of Tilaipa for drinks, fuel and some food- nice spot!
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    This awesome old Karen dude was chewing on betel nuts and smoking lord knows what and was obviously feeling no pain!
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    I like him even better in B&W!
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    They were selling fuel out of bottles, and as Satonic mentioned, some of them had a lot of crap in the bottom of the bottles. Satonic filtered his gas through his shirt... Good thing no one was smoking!
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    Off we go! Great trails and lots of water crossings. Got a sequence of Satonic crossing this one:
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    Deeper than it looks!
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    Slippery!
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    He made it!
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    More crossings-
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    I worried for a sec that Satonic had broken his leg here...
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    We'd been chasing Jack through this bamboo forest and the trail was covered in dry bamboo leaves that were incredibly slippery and hid all the ruts and obstacles. Satonic went down HARD and I could tell he was in a lot of pain. But he sucked it up, straightened out his bent shift peddle and got back on the bike- respect!
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    A brief stop at one of the "friendly" checkpoints in the Tung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Preserve-
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    This innocuous looking water crossing is one of the trickiest of the whole ride. I remember it from last year-
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    ^ Here it claimed the KTM...

    More prudent riders walked across...
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    Slippery as hell and a huge hole in the middle-
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    I was happy to have put on a fresh knobblie the night before- makes all the difference in spots like this.

    Satonic made it through!
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    Had to pull the air filter and drain the water out of the KTM-
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    Rezabong, typical stoner, friendly and a bit useless [​IMG]
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    Kae-
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    It was getting late and we were beat! Jack brought us to a new camp he'd built- nice!
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    Day one is complete! Thanks Jack!!!
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    Jack is the real deal, he can make just about anything from the jungle-
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    Here he's building a campfire tripod out of bamboo which he'll use to cook our dinner-
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    Damn nice campground, with a small river running right behind-
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    Chillaxin!
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    Dinner is served!
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    Chicken, beef, pork, curry and soup- wow we ate like kings and enjoyed some whiskey and herb before Jack surprised the hell out of us when he pulled out his phone and played the new Jackass movie on a "screen" he'd rigged up on the ceiling of the sala-
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    It was while getting down off the sala barefoot to retire to my hammock that I nearly stepped on one of these beasties-
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    (not my pic!)

    Thai's call them "Takap" and they have a nasty bite! It scurried into a hole and that's where we discovered all these other critters- a big black spider, and a couple of tiny little frogs-
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    Well, I zipped up the fly on my hammock and made damn sure to check the ground before I stepped out again! Good night!
     
  5. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Day 3! Good morning from somewhere near the Burmese border!
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    Woke up to the sounds of someone shouting way off in the forest. WTF? Turns out Rezabong had wandered off and gotten himself lost! (It's actually really not that hard to do). No worries though, Jungle Jack went and rescued him before getting started on breakfast-
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    Satonic is NOT a morning person! Hahaha!!!
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    He'd bought a cheapie swimming pool matress (I think he called it a Lolita??!? Fekkin Brittles eh?) [​IMG]

    Well, anyway, that lasted him all of 5 minutes before he popped it, so he ended up sleeping on the hard ground and it took me a long time to roust him!
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    I wandered over to the little river running behind our camp for morning ablutions-
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    In Bangkok you have to pay to have fish chew on you. Here it's free [​IMG] (Mind your privates tho!!!)
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    Another look at our camp as I'm wandering back-
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    Enjoying breakfast in Jack's jungle shack-
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    My borrowed bike is running great, tho I discover as I'm oiling the chain that the rear sprocket is badly hooked. Pretty confident it will last the weekend, but need to keep an eye on it-
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    Super cool butterfly- his **** looks like his head. Who does that remind me of? [​IMG]
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    We need to top of our water supplies as it's going to be another long hot day. Jack is intrigued by my water filter ;)
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    In the dry season he boils drinking water, but he said that in the rainy season it can be difficult to build a fire and that a filter like this would be quite handy.

    And we're off! We encounter occasional minor obstacles on the trail-
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    No electric start on Jack's 2-stroke, but he's strong as an ox and always gets it going-
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    Incredibly hot and dry and not even a whisper of wind. I'm ok as long as we're moving, but when we stop I cook!
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    Stop at a small farmhouse in the middle of nowhere for water. Even though the folks out here are dirt poor, no one seems to go hungry.
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    Eureka! We've reached the Suriya River!
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    It's a bit of a crazy drop from the trail to the river, but we work as a team to get the bikes down and across.
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    Bank's shit-hot KTM struggles in water- the air box seems unusually low to me...
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    He ends up having to push his bike across-
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    Satonic went next-
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    Slippery!!!
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    You see Kae and Jack pointing the way? Well, Satonic decided to do his own thing and rode through some really deep water, but the Kwacker didn't seem to mind [​IMG]
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    Almost there!
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    The cool river feels so damn good on such a hot hot day!
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    Satonic told me he can't swim, but even he couldn't resist the Suriya-
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    Here comes Jack!
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    His bike stalled and needed to be pushed across as well-
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    Reza made it across without any drama-
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    Thumbs up!
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    My turn- I think Bank took these pictures-
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    Made it!
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    Helping Mr Kae get his KLX150 down to the river-
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    Bank helping him get across-
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    We get by with a little help from our friends [​IMG]
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    Look downriver a bit and you can see the remains of an old bridge that has fallen apart. During the rainy season this river becomes treacherous and impassable.
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    Jack looped his bike in rather spectacular fashion climbing the far bank, but flashes us a thumbs up so we know he's ok-
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    Why is Bank trying to drown our guide? [​IMG]
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    After three days with no women Bank's man boobs are looking better and better [​IMG]
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    A lovely Karen family, no doubt attracted by all the racket we were making, came down to watch us cross the river. What beautiful people!
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  6. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    I didn't realize it at the time, but turns out that whole bit from the farmhouse to the Suriya river was actually in Myanmar- cool!
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    After crossing the river back into Thailand we still had a ways to go to reach the village of Laytongku where we'd be spending the night.

    Just as the temperature was peaking Satonic decided to wipe out on a steep off camber trail >.<
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    The rest of the group were well ahead of us so it fell to the two of us to drag his bike back up to the trail. 140Kg of bike plus maybe another 20Kg of gear in >40 degree heat- Ugh! But we got it back on the trail!
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    Don't do that again!!! We made it the rest of the way to Laytongku without any drama [​IMG]

    Laytongku is a fascinating and unique village- home to the "Loe-si", a Karen sect who are neither Buddhist nor Christian (despite the missionaries best efforts) but rather wear their hair in distinctive top knots and worship a kind of sage in a temple decorated with huge intricately carved elephant tusks:
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    (not my picture) Strange too that they have a Buddha in their temple...

    Lordy it was hot! But fortunately they had a cooler box with some cold drinks. Thumbs up from Bank!
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    Anyway, the Loe-si are some of the most fit people I've ever seen- every guy looks like a prize fighter, all muscle and not an ounce of fat-
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    Damn cute kids too!
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    We would spend the night at the village clinic and dropped our bags there before riding on the the border town of Peung Kleung where we could get gas and more importantly COLD BEER! [​IMG]

    Peung Kleung is a sizeable village that one can reach via paved road from Umphang. There's a crossing here into Myanmar but it's only set up for Thais and Burmese. Foreigners can not cross here. Some pics from last year-
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    Welcome to Myanmar!
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    Lots more here: The Missing Link- Sangkhlaburi to Umphang and back!

    There's really only one decent restaurant in this town, and we quickly drank them dry. Bank, ever the character, jumped on his bike to find more beer!
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    We were supposed to rendezvous with Big Dave here. He was riding down from Chiang Mai on a rented dirt bike and I'd told him I expected we'd reach Peung Kleung around ~2 or 3 in the afternoon, which, as it turned out, was about right. But no sign of Dave, and no cell phone service in this town. They do have land phones though, so Jack attempted to reach him, but no answer, which meant he was probably in an area with no service and / or riding.
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    Satonic, ever photo shy, off in search of fuel, beer and ice-
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    How many days with no women now? Too many apparently! [​IMG]
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    It was getting late and I was a bit worried about Dave, but fortunately he rolled up a little before sunset!
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    All bow to the man with the Jamesons! [​IMG]
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    Get a room fellas! [​IMG]
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    It's getting late and it's about a 20km ride on a terribly dusty road to Laytongku. We do not want to be riding that road in the dark. Time to saddle up!
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    But before we go we strap as much beer and ice as we can to our bikes!
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    Ready to roll!
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    We're whacking along at a pretty good pace when I come upon Dave taking a nap in the middle of the road [​IMG]
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    That poor rental... I think he lost track of how many times he crashed it! He'd actually managed to pop the radiator the day before and had to get it patched up in Mae somewhere which I think accounted for his tardy arrival.
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    As you can see, this road was incredibly dusty- the goal was to stay out in front, so I fanged it all the way to Laytongku, slowing down occasionally to make sure someone was following me. Alas, in my haste I lost all my beer and ice! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Also, Dave had an ugly crash coming in to Laytongku and really tweaked his knee. He was limping around badly and was worried about riding further into the wild with a bum leg. What a shame he'd some all this way only to suffer an injury [​IMG]

    Still, he popped a ton of ibuprofen and iced the heck out of his knee in hopes it might feel better in the morning. Despite my lost beers the ever resourceful Bank had arranged for a truck to deliver a case of beer and plenty of ice, so we did not go to bed thirsty in the end!

    Funniest part of the whole trip was watching Dave try to get into his hammock. Tried and failed more times than I can count! There's a video floating around that sums it up pretty well but I've lost the link; will add it here when I find it. HAHAHA!!! [​IMG]
     
  7. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Good morning from Laytongku village on the Burmese border of Umphang Province, Thailand!
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    We spent the night in the village clinic, which is undergoing massive expansion-
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    If you find yourself in Laytongku you must visit the local waterfall of the same name! But watch out, the "trail" to the falls is treacherous!!
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    But if you survive the trail you will be rewarded!
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    The beautiful Laytongku Waterfall!
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    Satonic at Laytongku falls-
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    Some pics taken by friends:
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    Monkeying around ;)
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    There's a deep hole right in the middle of the pool, suitable for jumping-
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    Jungle Jack, aka Muddy Rider, striking a pose :)
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    Bank, Kae and Rezabong :)
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    The trail back up- don't slip!
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  8. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Nice one Tony.

    Really wished I could have joined you guys..
    This Bangkok Weekend Warrior had to work :-(

    Great report...
    Brings back great memories of our recent trips out here with Jack.

    Cheers
    Brian
     

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