Poodling to Pattaya.

Discussion in 'Central Western Thailand Road Trip Reports' started by bigal, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. bigal

    bigal Ol'Timer

    Chiang Mai to Pattaya, planning what planning!

    My friend Ian from the UK was over in February and as he had never been to Pattaya I suggested we perhaps could ride down there for a couple of nights. The answer, even though it is pretty much a highway drag and not one of the stunning mountain trips that can be taken in the north, was yes.
    Suits me, I ride a bike more suited to the highway anyway and Valentino Rossi I am not, my bike is heavy, I am heavy so you get the picture 
    Anyway here is the story; I hope it is of interest to someone.
    Ian flew into ChiangMai at about 10.40pm so it was just past 11pm when we grabbed out first beer in O’Malley’s, a couple of hours later we got home to get some rest ready for the ride.
    Next morning it was off to Pops to hire a bike for Ian, a Kwaka Er-6, and the first bike was really new but just before we left I noticed there was no number plate, problem, well possibly not around ChiangMai and the golden triangle but Pattaya? Highly likely
    So it’s a different bike and new paperwork, pay the money which was 1200 baht per day including 1st class insurance and off to the gas station and then Mad Dogs for breakfast (it’s sort of a tradition we are just starting).
    Route planning was done over breakfast and was simple, as time was getting on we would use highway 1 despite the road surface and we put a way point in the zumo at Saraburi so we would give Bangkok a wide berth. So just after 11am we set off and with any luck you can see a Google map of the route. The blue line is day 1 going down, purple, day 2 going down, red day 1 on the return and orange day 2 on the return. To be honest there may be some inaccuracies and can anyone tell me how you can get the snap to road feature to work without it including lots of little loops around side streets?
    Chiangmai to Lampang is a nice ride, highway 11 is a good road and the ride over the hills is nice. Turning right onto highway 1 I feared for the worse, especially as you near Tak but in many cases the road improvements and resurfacing are marked and there is a reasonable ride. Not always though, in places where the road is under repair you simply end up riding in a dust bowl, unable to see a thing with the sheer amount of dust thrown up by trucks and you do have to keep an eye out for the unexpected but overall it wasn’t a bad ride and when we got to highway 32 it was almost a surprise as to how easy it had been.
    We decided that we should find a hotel but without tracking back so hotels in a south east direction were looked at on the nav, 30min later and now in the dark we arrived at a pretty strange place. There was a sort of reception and we asked for rooms they said yes, 350 baht per night. It didn’t look that great but we were tired and they had a fridge with beer in it so we went to look at the rooms. They were clean, has a TV, aircon and a bathroom and a couple of single beds so we said ok, were handed a couple of towels and shown to our rooms.
    I met Ian about 40 mins later at the counter that we had adopted as a bar, “did you notice that there are no windows in the rooms he said” I hadn’t but he was right. On top of that they didn’t do food and the nearest food was a bout 1km away, we made do with beer, pot noodle and banana chips. Everyone was very pleasant but they spoke no English, very LOS. Total distance for the day, about 540km with messing about etc.
    Day 2 started with 2 needs, the first and most urgent, fuel for the bikes, the second fuel for us, breakfast would be a good thing!
    I hadn’t noted that we were, in fact, on highway 1 so as we could see a service station across the road we did a u turn and called in but it was packed with lots and lots of kids and mothers with kids all gassing up their 100cc Honda bikes, we opted to look for another services but after 10km with no services on our side of the road we u turned again and called in a gas station, only gasohol! Off we go again and we end up in the original gas station, 20km later although to be fair all the kids have gone now. Fuelled up we decide the sat nav probably knows what it is doing so we let it guide us. Off we go 10km down the 1 again and we branch off along a khlong road, nice travelling on rural roads not the main highways until we hit the 311 and head into Lopburi. We did see a sign to bypass Lopburi but the sat nav had us go through the city, what had Lopburi got, roundabouts and monkeys is how I would recall it but on the route out we called into a gas station with a food place and enjoyed some pig curry, sorted.
    Highway 1 is ok around here with some interesting rock outcrops. The only hold up was a big police check point where we were pulled over for a chat, they were ok though and soon we were on and taking the left onto the 33 having taken the wrong lane at Saraburi and gone via the city centre rather than the bypass, oh well.
    Upon reaching the 3051 we took a right and started to take the county road route south, so we were off the big highways again but a lot of trucks use this cut through and there was quite a lot of road resurfacing, and where there wasn’t the road surface was a little varied! The same applied to the 3001 which met with the 314 and before we knew it we were past the 7 and on the 3 heading to Chonburi and on to Pattaya.
    That’s about it for the trip down, Pattaya traffic was as bad as ever and day 2 distance including messing about, say 390km. We stayed at Lek villa, a good hotel even if, as in the most of Thailand, the beds are a little hard. It has a good pool, a great buffet breakfast on the eat all you want basis that is open from 7am until 1pm and for the single men amongst you, I am unaware of any partner charges.
    We were going to surprise another friend of mine who was over in Pattaya on holiday from the UK and my mate Ken who lives in Pattaya and whose birthday it was but my Mrs. let the cat out of the bag when they phoned to speak to me!

    You might have thought that the lack of planning on the way down would lead to a little more diligence on the way back wouldn’t you, well there are just too many things to do in Pattaya to worry about such details!
    On top of that I somehow deleted the route so, unknown to me the nav just did a route back. I should have clocked that we had gone way too far on the 34 but it was the passing of Suvarnabhumi that really gave it away. This lead to a serious conflict between my understanding of highway 9 and Garmin’s latest map so any advice welcome. Garmin routes you on the 9 from the 34 north, not for far but it takes you on. The signs at the entrance slip have big no bike indicators. So which is correct? In either case not wanting to have a dispute with the law, we spent an hour or more missing turns and doing u turns having again put a way point into the zumo that had it take us away from Bangkok.
    The route was interesting id a little “bumpy”. We followed a khlong bouncing in and out of the saddle until we eventually met the 305 and a road we knew. From there we decided getting somewhere was probably a good idea so we stuck pretty much to the highways, bypassing Saraburi and Lopburi and having decided not to leave much to chance we headed for Singburi where after a little looking at possibilities and a chat with a very helpful girl who owned a big house that we thought may have been a hotel, we settled on the Palace hotel which for 600baht including breakfast, is pretty good. I rate this hotel; very Thai orientated but clean big rooms, resturant and bar (combined) where there was a party on the night we went and some cracking waitresses. Oh there is covered bike parking with a security bloke. Days trip about 360km with the usual cock ups
    Day 2 back was a simple hit the highway and run, stopping for gas and water as required and a few little strolls to get the blood moving again. Highways 32, 1 and 11 and that’s about it.
    If someone can tell me how to get the links to work there could be a map and a u-tube video for those that may look at this from afar and have not been on Thailand’s highways.
    if not they are on google maps (poodling down to pattaya under user created maps) and u tube(lets go to pattaya) anyway
    Hope it wasn’t too boring a post, routes around Bangkok very welcome (for going both east and west).


    http://maps.google.co.th/maps/ms?hl=en& ... ad&t=h&z=7
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