Umphang 2013

Discussion in 'Central Western Thailand Road Trip Reports' started by rob7711, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    This ride had been on the back burner for quite awhile now and we finally found the time slot to do it recently over the Songkran period 2013. This ride took place from 15/4/2013 to 24/4/2013 starting from Kuala Lumpur and covered a total distance of just over 5,000km over 10 days. Our ride route is as follows:-

    Day 1 KL to Chumphon
    Day 2 Chumphon to Mae Sot
    Day 3 Mae Sot to Umphang
    Day 5 Umphang to Mae Sot
    Day 6 Mae Sot to Amphawa
    Day 7 Amphawa to Sangkhlaburi
    Day 8 Sangkhlaburi to Kanchanaburi
    Day 9 Kanchanaburi to Chumphon
    Day 10 Chumphon to Hatyai
    Day 11 Hatyai to KL

    The Midnite Run
    We did the ghost run at midnite from Kuala Lumpur to the border crossing at Bukit Kayu Hitam with a supper stopover in Ipoh. The weather was fine all the way and border crossing was painless. We were expecting heavy traffic due to Songkran and Phuket Bike Week but this was not so. We also expected some water dousing as we passed through the smaller towns but this did not happen at all. We did see a couple of pickups with water drums and revellers at the back but no splashing happened. The closest I got to a dousing was when a kid with a squirt gun took aim at me when I rolled past and he missed miserably. We took a break at Phathalung and thats when we heard of a Malaysian gs rider fatally hurt and his pillion was hospitalized while returning from Phuket. Over the course of the next few days we would learn of more accidents (some fatal) involving Malaysian bikers making the journey home after Phuket Bike Week. Thats sad news to carry along for the rest of our ride.

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    It was a hot ride with the air temp at 39degC as we passed Suphan Buri and beyond. We arrived at Mae Sot around 7:30pm and after a quick wash we headed for a nice dinner at Khamao Khaofang Restaurant which had a pleasant garden atmosphere to the place. I bet this would be a fantastic place to dine out during the cooler months.

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  3. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    The Search For Magic Hill and The Cousin Of Mae Hong Song
    After breakfast we decided to try and locate "Magic Hill" which is supposedly to be nearby to Mae Sot but its exact location is unclear to us. We were pointed to try the road heading north towards Mae Sariang by a local tire workshop (where we stopped by to fix a slow air leak) but after 20km we reckon this was incorrect. We stopped at a checkpoint and tried asking the officer there but to no avail as this guy pointed us towards the Myanmar border. We decided to check out the road heading back to Tak (which we rode thru in the dark the previous night) and after about 12km we found the spot. As this road is currently undergoing major widening and roadworks the km markers and signages have all disappeared. Apparently at this stretch of road your vehicle will roll "uphill" on its own if left on neutral. This was indeed so as we tested it out on our bikes. The gps location is N16 46.096 E98 38.772 on Highway 12 from Mae Sot to Tak. This is a great optical illusion and it makes for a good rest stop for travellers. I hope the thai authorities will preserve it despite the roadworks but it would seem that it will end up as a "used to be" site.

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    Major roadworks ongoing on Highway 12

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    Trying out the Magic Hill and "look ma ... I am rolling UPHILL!"

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    A quick visit to the border crossing at Mae Sot and a view of the friendship bridge

    After a quick lunch we headed out for Umphang which was our target for this ride. The road to Umphang ranges from good to fair with the mountain bit being a bit worn and potholed especially in the corners where heavy traffic has made its mark. Lots of loose stuff to watch out for and lots of twisties.

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    Anybody knows what the marker says? Is it 1219 corners or something to that effect? This was at a rest area about halfway to Umphang.

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  4. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    River Rafting and Thi Lor Su Waterfall
    We spent the morning enjoying a river rafting ride and a visit to the Thi Lor Su waterfall. It was a 2 hours of pure serenity as we cruised down a river cutting through some limestone hiils with steep sides abutting the river. Couldn't get the name of the river that we were on from the two boatman that accompanied us. It was a shady and cool ride as we drifed downriver and came across some cascades ... beautiful views and hardly a soul along the way.

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    We returned back to our hotel around 3:30pm and after a quick shower we packed our stuff and headed for Mae Sot hoping to do all the twisty bits before we run out of daylight. We made Mae Sot just after dark and had an early night after dinner.
     
  5. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    HOT STUFF!!!
    Today our destination was Amphawa which was about 728km away. It was blistering hot as we passed Suphan Buri district with the air temperature hitting a high of 41.5degC. We found it cooler to have the visor closed as we were met with a blast of oven hot air whenvever we had the visor up. After lots of cold drinks and wet towels we finally made Amphawa in the late evening just in time to catch the floating market come alive.

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    Check out the man-bag

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    Delicious dinner by the canal

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  6. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    Are We There Yet?
    Today we head for Sangkhlaburi but we decided to take an in-direct route deciding to head for SiSawat and the Srinagarindra Dam and later passing through the Sinakharin National Park. This route turned out to be the most enjoyable day of our entire ride. It was a nice and pleasant ride skirting the lake on good tarmac. We headed to the 1st ferry crossing where the tarmac changed to paved concrete road leading to the jetty. There were a few vehicles doing the crossing together with us. It was a 15 minutes ride across the lake and a good break for iced coffee on the ferry.

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    After landing we found ourselves riding on a concrete paved road leading up beside the lake and later turning to a tarmac. We were headed to check out a place with a 3,000 year old hand painting according to our gps. We turned off the tarmac and rode up a concrete paved road going up a hill. After a couple of sharp corners the tarmac suddenly ended and we hit loose unpaved road which caught us by surprise. We both had a good laugh while quickly grabbing our cameras to record our predicament. It was then midday and the temperature was about 38degC. We both struggled to upright our heavy bikes and I was facing heat exhaustion and had to scamper to find some shade to rest. We finally managed to extricate ourselves after about an hour due to high temperatures and we were glad to be out of there but unfortunately without getting to check out the painting.

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    We were looking for a place for lunch and to cool off but there weren't any to be found on this stretch of road. We came to the turnoff to the 2nd ferry and decided to make a stop at a nearby shop where we bought dearly needed water, cold drinks and ice cubes. It was good to get out of the sun and into some shade where I literally "songkraned" myself with ice water to stave off impending heat stroke. We rested for a good hour here though there was no food but the cold drinks was pure heaven.

    Feeling much better after the cooling down and it was already 3:00pm in the afternoon we headed to the jetty. It was a 4.5km of gravel road to the ferry and we took it slow.

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    We were the only passengers on the ferry and after a wait of about 15 minutes the boatman came puttering down on his moped and soon we were off. The ferry ride was about 45 minutes and we took the opportunity for some shut eye though some food would have been good too.

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    It was a climb up the loose sandbank that made up the shore and we soon found ourselves on a gravel trail that wound its way into the jungle passing through bamboo groves with no habitation in sight.

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    After 25km of dusty bumpy gravel we arrived at this checkpoint at the crest of a hill overlooking this views. After a steep decent for a few kilometers we soon found tarmac again and were glad we were out of there with sunset just about an hour away. We made a drink stop at the first shop we found and experience real hospitality from Khun Chat. He sent his worker off to get us a large bottle of water with ice cubes and shared some local fruit with us and he refused any payment.

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    It was sunset soon and we needed to get going for Sangkhlaburi which was still more than a 100km away. We got drenched along the way as we were met with heavy rain all the way to Sangkhlaburi and to top it off there was a power failure that night. The whole district was in darkness. What a day we had ... the most fun.

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  7. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    The Longest Wooden Bridge and The 3 Pagoda Pass
    It was a restless night's rest as there was no airconditioning, no lights and the mossies squadrons were on patrol the entire night. We had a quick breakfast and went to visit the sunken temple and the famous mon bridge.

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    We then headed to visit the 3 Pagoda Pass which is a border crossing into Myanmar before heading for Kanchanaburi.

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    The journey back to Kuala Lumpur is pretty boring but the temperature did drop a little compared to central thailand. We had

    an enjoyable ride and thanks for reading.
     
  8. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    It must have been a really dry year as the water level was quite low. Even the river in Umphang was low.
     
  9. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    You Malaysian guys don't sit still for very long...
    Wasn't that long ago you were in Laos.

    Well done surviving Songkran... some of the most dangerous days on Thai roads.

    Great pics..

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  10. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    Really and what about them mud trails that you left behind all over thailand Brian? Haha. Thanks for reading. Cheers!
     
  11. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Yes Great Trip and Fantastic Photos Guys, Well Done. It Must have been Really Hot, Even Your Bikes Laid down for a Rest!!!
     
  12. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    It was terribly hot Ian and the highest temp we recorded was 41.5degC in one of the pics of my instrument cluster. The bikes taking a nap was fine with us but getting them up sapped all of our remaining energy under the sweltering heat but still it was fun. Thanks for reading. Cheers!
     
  13. tommywth

    tommywth New Member

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    > Anybody knows what the marker says? Is it 1219 corners or something to that effect? This was at a rest area about halfway to Umphang.

    It says 1219 curves. :)
     
  14. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    Great! Thanks for the confirmation mate. Cheers!
     

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