Golden Triangle/Mekong River/Laos Trip

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - General Discussion Forum' started by rodav_1, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. Recently, I joined the GT-Riders on a trip to Chiang Khong, down the river to Luang Prabang and then on to Vientiene.

    I was self-conscious. Why? Because I knew that each rider had put up good money for the trip, and at my speed it must have been boring, for there was always a rider behind me. In the beginning it was Dr. G, and at first I thought he had his eye on me, but then I realized he was there for safety reasons. After he peeled off to go back to Chiang Mai, it was RobertH´s turn to motorsit. And then BarryBBQ. And the same pattern continued until I turned the bike over to the Green Discovery Travel Agency.

    As a travel writer, I am usually the least experienced person in the group. No matter what the activity is, there is always someone bigger and better. (note BarryBBQ a.k.a King Dong)

    What stands out in my mind on this particular trip. Apart from BarryBBQ crashing glass doors; upsetting Laos weddding parties; Dr. G giving me gender indentity tips for a no regrets trip to Soi Cowboy, RobertH smooth talking Laos girls and not having to pay for pleasure and Davidfl buying my farewell drinks in Vientiene and letting me borrow 200 baht to get across the border was how helpful all the above mentioned were during the trip. I would hate to use the word `caring´, because that would definately damage their biker egos.

    Here are a few of the reasons I came away so impressed with the GT-Rider group. And no, it wasn´t because I saw BarryBBQ in the shower, or RobertH manhandling his bike in the sand and out of the Mekong boat handling or read Dr. G´s Sexpedition book. It was something far more basic. Man helping another man out.

    You see, I did not have a motorcycle jacket, so RobertH came to the rescue. Although he regretted it when I gave it back and he had to carry it back to Thailand. No gloves, Dr.G provided a pair that had not been used for any perverse activities...yet. And, as I had no clue of how to strap my kit to the bike without it falling off at the first bend in the road, each of the crew came to my rescue every morning.

    During the trip, I realized three things. The importance of safety. The importance of asking for help. And the value of good quality men who put the group ahead of the individual.

    Having said all of that, I would like to ask for help. For I am writing a story for the Bkk Post, not only on this trip but on the joys´of riding in Thailand in general.

    So if any of you out there have anything to contribute to the story or would like to see mentioned that the Solo Rider has not already published, please let me know. For after this trip, I have learned the importance of asking for help.

    all the best,

    Robert Davis
    Travel Writer
  2. Robert,Bob, Roberty-Boberty, you post vigin you,a nice feelgood post!
    Most bike riders are rather nice genial hosts, till you did thei ride or their ridei[^] So it comes as no suprise that you had a wow of a time, sans sore ass,nad rash,and that other nasty little rash that don't want to go away!!
    The guys you rode with have great respect for the people they ride past an through,and it goes without saying if you invite a novice along a certain amount of carrying buy the group is involved, not to say your a lame duck[?]
    One of the best tipps I was given by our F/L was, when you stop for a drink, meal, feed, fuel, woterver, look around you an see the kids, I carried lollies an gave them out when ever i could, the looks on their faces told it all. And if we were sitting down to a meal we'd always buy someone around us a drink, a nice gesture from some Aussies riding through their country so in your next travel report write about Xpats doing their thing in creating a hand across the water thing and giving a bit while we tour.
    One of my hi-lites was going throw the Long Neck village out of MHS,
    there was an exeptional girl there that gave us a tour, her dignity , poise,and presentation spoke volumes, so if you get the oppertunity to get up there, do it, or make it happen it's a top ride and I'd like to hear your feedback.
    Regards ..Scott...Land Of Oz...
  3. Ok all you GT Riders out there, let's have some help for Robert.
    What do / don't you like about riding in Thailand / Laos / Cambodia.
    Why do we do it?
    Why come from farang country with big bikes & service everywhere, to ride around the GT region?
    Let's have some ideas / answers please....

    Keep The Power On
  4. Why to ride in North Thailand?
    People (specially girls)

    Why not to ride in North Thailand?
    No good bikes for rent (or buy)
    No "western" maintenance and spare parts available
    Not enough time to enjoy it all


    Why to ride in Cambodia?
    Bad roads
    Worse roads

    Why not to ride in Cambodia?
    No First Aid or reasonable hospitals
    Good bike must be bought
    Not enough time to enjoy it all


  5. G'day mate,
    Good question, why do CERTAIN and I mean certain types of bikers like Northern Thailand, Laos etc?
    It is not everyones cup of tea, I am back in good old paranoid Aussy at the moment were most bikes are Hardlies or Jap copies and are used to pomp around on weekends between coffee shops, with the riders dressed in the now familiar all black waste coats and black jeans. The BMW brigade are mostley up market and all over 40 and also ponse about in "the outback" also doing their coffee thing.
    I had the opportunity to ride with Davidfl and the gang from CM. in 2004 and 2005. I couldn't imagine the average biker in Aussy doing the trips that we done.
    I was even asked by an Aussy biker "was my Dakar a little bit to small to ride all the way to CM?" They have no idea.
    Summing up, the roads, the environment and the people make this area special, there is no were in my 30 odd years of riding to compare with it. Ok you are restricted on what bikes you can hire, but who cares, you can still have a lot of fun on a 250cc trail bike or a 125cc Honda, if you need to.
    I will be back in July, I like the rainy season.

    Once u go Asian, forget about Caucasian
  6. Robert, Bob, you travl'n man you[:D]
    I agree with Tom Forde,you got to, he can talk the talk, cause he's ridd'n it!
    To me ridding the G/T was beeing there! I like the feeling of standing in Times Square, Piccadilly Circus,on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, they all give me the feeling of being there, so rideing in thailand is the same, you get that twitch in the left one!
    The people the food the rideing is a great package, as you've found out.
    So Boby,dip little finger in tar,shoot a frozen Mekong,an scribe away,just spell everyones name right, an embelish on the facts,you'll be a ball tearer[8D].
    Regards Scott...Land of "OZ"
  7. Riding a motorcycle in SE Asia is the perfect lightweight adventure for someone who wants to get away from a world of overpriced coffee drinks, chain restaurants and oppressive enforcement of silly traffic laws.

    I said "lightweight adventure" because your friends will think you're nuts for heading to a place with malaria, poison water and the occasional armed insurrection. But shortly after arriving, you realize that the weather is nice, the food is cheap and the locals are actually glad to see you when you roll up on your bike.


    That's the biggest difference. People are friendly in Thailand. Kids hear you coming and run out to the street to wave as you ride past. It makes you feel good and nobody ever does that at home, except maybe your own mother.

    Also, Thailand is cheap compared to western countries. For the equivalent cost of a nice dinner in San Francisco, you can pay for a week long tour through the golden triangle. Go ahead and splurge--stay an extra night or two--you can afford it.

    Yes, then there are the girls. Even if you have a hands-off attitude, it's hard not to appreciate the confident smile of a young beauty as she catches your eye from across the street.

    And then there are the real adventures...

  8. 1 no busses or trains! you choose when and where you want to go, see smaller towns, make smaller trips, stay in cool places, not crammed in shity buses all day.

    2 You do things no other tourist does, oil changes, gas stations, new tires and such, its all cheap but the locals really think your cool and you meet really cool people actually doing regualar things that locals do every day.

    3 Antother form of fun, if you are chillin in a town or island for a little while you can drop off your stuff and ride around the place, no tuk tuks, we had dirt bikes, which i asume most people would, so you can go dirt biking! thats all we did in the south, swim and rip around coconut field trails all day finding hole in the wall places.

    4 Getting lost and reading maps tying to find places with inadequite directions give you a sence of adventure, the north is a blast and there are great trails to rip round on and guest houses to try and find.

    5 you can ride CAMBODIA! you are so close and every one takes that dreadful bus ride to phnom phen, it is a dirt bike endero dream trail on a bike. Plus you can adventure north, only a handful of people have ever done it becasue there are no good maps and the ox cart trails wash out every year, it really rellys on using a compass and guessing alot. sleeping in budhist temples and eating what ever is available.

    Honestly there is no reason not to bike thailand, there is no way I would do it any other way, once we bought and sold our bikes, not including gas, oil, parts, we only lost $400 USD on the value of our bikes to ride them for 5 months!
  9. Not much more than I can add really except I just love riding motorcycles and Thailand allows me to ride motorcycles the way I rode back in the '70s and '80s, flat out, knees down dragging the foot pegs on some of the best mountain roads and keeping my licence in tack and not having to contribute to the Gov. coffers. Throw in pot holed roads, dirt roads, dogs, avoiding pick ups passing on the wrong side in the middle of corners, the dodgy directions when asking how to get to some remote little village off the beaten track. And then there's the food, people, smiles, beer and so much more.
    That's Motorcycling and life would be pretty mundane without it.

  10. This is my five. Dave will no doubt have his own.

    Look at our photos:
    Link removed
  11. Here's some more reasons for Riding Motorcycles in North of Thailand
  12. Why ride a bike in Thailand? That's easy - it's one long adventure.

    You get used to the daily sounds of your life, the architecture, the landscape and the idea that the biggest animal you are likely to pass on the road is a horse. Imagine the cultural shift as you sweep round a bend and are confronted with a beautiful gold Buddha the size of church. The image of tranquillity can strike a resonance with any set of beliefs.

    But as we all know, it's the people that cement an experience. I ran out of petrol on the way up Doi Inthanaon and a very kind lady on her 100cc Honda Dream drove to the nearest gas station and got some fuel for me – all without being able to speak a common language. Only in Thailand can so much be done with a smile.
  13. Hi rodav,
    Glad you are giving some publicity to motorcycling Thailand. One of the things that makes Thailand so special for motorcycling, as well as the great riding conditions already mentioned is that as a motorcyclist here you are part of the mainstream and not a minority group. Because motorcycles exceed other road users in numbers and almost every family uses them, there is an acceptance and awareness not found in our home countries, and rather than being seen as misfits we are a legitimate part of the transport and leisure network. As an expat living here, owning a “Chopper” gains me great respect from my students and other members of the Thai community and also builds relationships with the Thai “big bike” boys you find in every small town. I have made many good friends in the Thai motorcycle fraternity and attended many of their rides and other functions. They are pleased to have an “old Farung” with them and they look after me and make me very welcome.
    The fraternity you have enjoyed with the GT Rider boys is repeated in the local community among both expatriates and Thai’s in a way that makes being a biker in Thailand a very rewarding experience, with the added benefit of becoming a a part of the Thai way of life that a normal tourist will not experience.
    Best of luck with your project.

    "The Journey is the Destination"
  14. Motto Aussie,the picks say it all, mate those curves winding on gives me "Bike Wood"[8D]
    Thanks for the post an picks!
    Scott..."Land ofOZ"
  15. Greetings and welcome travel writer rodav 1. Myself having just [and finally] after 5 years intent, have moved to BKk where I now write.
    Have ridden out of Chiang Mai on many occasions on previous 30 day trips to Thailand and can give much more than 5 reasons to ride the north
    of this country. Perhaps you can retrieve some of my previous archived posts relating road advertures, the're short and sweet nothings really
    but i think give some color to the adventures of riding in Thailand.

    About 30% of my reasoning to come live here is the riding and although I reside in BKK now I plan to move up north in 6 months time mainly for the
    GT- Rider commoradarie and the roads and people up north.

    But to be succinct here regarding reasons to ride in Thailand, I would say:

    The roads are excellent and the asphalt is top class and I never feel that something on the road ahead will give me any big shocking or deadly surprises although this is always possible of course. These roads are largely uncongested allowing open riding and really digging in to the experience of biking. I am a sports cruiser guy and avoid the Supers and tend to the top grade back roads that are asphalt.

    -When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It.
  16. Additionally there are always on-the-spot guesthouses that are affordable and so one can plan a multi-day/night journey without having to worry about affording some high priced accommodations unless that is what you want.

    -The Thai's are friendly and accommodating people and so biking around will always yield an openness and comfortable place in which to land for the night or for simply asking for directions although you may not find an English speaking Thai, body and sign language will often suffice.

    The weather is always warm and so packing light is the order of the day but you must bring your rubbers both top and bottom kind for that occasional drench.....

    Plenty of petrol stations so you rarely have to worry about running out.

    Eating is never a problem as food stalls and other eateries are plentyful so you dont have to pack your own lunch

    Every town has a massage so those tired and creakies can be worked out for under 200 baht in most places.

    There is usually a bar for whatever persuasion you might enjoy, so along with those tired and creaky muscles being massaged you can avail yourself of whatever the inhabitants of the bar may offer to you.

    Well, after these highlights one can vamp and ad lib your way with anything else that's on the road.

    -When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It.
  17. Stan the man, dig the vamp'n an adlib'n.Gotta ride with you could be a hoot,Davefl an fordey might find it in'm to join in, I'm shure there up for some vamp'n[B)]
    Regards SCott Land of Oz.
  18. Joys of riding in Thailand? Well, Northern Thailand?

    To be able ride up a mountain into the cool fresh air above the clouds and then take a break to look down at the rest of the world.

    To experience the rural culture and get away from the congested cities where ever that may be.

    To ride for five days and meet five different cultures. To see things that are unique like the colorful Wats in every town, the caves, the waterfalls, places like Doi Mae Salong that are in a unique world of their own.

    To stop to at a roadside cafe, and at first be greeted with curious looks but then end up making a new friend by the time you leave.

    To smell the fresh air and all the different smells like burning brush or farms as you go from place to place.

    To take a road that you have never been down before just to see where it leads.

    To take the risk of geting lost in order to discover new places.

    Not many places have the winding and steep roads in the mountains that turn back on themselves like Northern Thailand.

    To ride on the uncongested and well maintained roads in the country yet still be close enough to a town with good food and lodging to spend the night.

    And that most people from the Western world can do it all for about a third of the cost anywhere else.
  19. My 5 baht's worth - I originally came to CM 4 and a bit years ago as part of a m/c tour group. Met David and some other GT riders and was overwhelmed by all aspects of the place. After frequent visits over the intervening years I relocated from the UK to CM last October. In my brief 6 months here I can draw the following comparisons to the UK

    Friday night UK: out on the piss with mates, always looking over your shoulder in case a fight breaks out, may find some "company" in the form of a 40 something divorcee, get a taxi home. look in the wallet and find it's at least £50 lighter.

    Friday night CM: on the piss with mates, everything is cool, smiles all around. "Company" looks for you but no pressure, fun girls. Get a bite to eat off the street, tuk-tuk home - cost less than £20

    Saturday UK: wake up, look out the window - damn, it's raining! Go back to bed or watch a DVD. If it is not raining then depending on the weather, pile a bunch of clothes on and venture out into a world of speed cams, hostile motorists, potholed and slippery roads and waaay to much traffic.

    Saturday CM: wake up, no need to look out the window - it's hot and sunny (most of the time). Check out this site for a day loop and go for it. Roads can be dodgy in places with unsuspected surface changes but are generally good with some very high quality. As said before by others, fantastic scenery, great comraderie e.t.c

    Sat night UK & CM - see friday but add a good chat about today's ride if you are in CM or a moan about the probs of the ride if you are in the UK.

    Sunday - repeat saturday!

    Don't get me wrong, I spent 26 years riding almost daily in the UK (my last job involved a 120 mile daily round trip) and a lot of the time it's a hoot. I am comparing extremes here but after only 6 months and a lot less riding than I would've liked, North Thai get's my vote anytime!

    To those reading this in the UK/Europe, I hope you get a great spring/summer and put some miles under your wheels. If not, CM is great in November and you can be assured of a very warm welcome from the CM riders!


  20. hi robert
    some time back met you and david unkovich and went for a few days riding and the last time we parted was after a night of you chucking up! but it made a great piece in the bankok post, yep its marcus the chauffeur/butler from the uk. Not sure where to start, but motorcyclists all over ,on big or small bikes seem to bond better than four wheelers. So stuck by the side of the road after running out of gas on joes africa twin,along comes a young bird with two nippers perched front and rear about 7 and 8, pulls up her scoot to out my dilemar and seeing an old bird sitting under a tree promptly hands over the two kids ,plonks me on the back,drives the wrong way up a dual carriageway for about 10 klicks to a gas staition, we then borrow a watering can to pick up the gas and slop it all the way back to the bike,picks up her nippers and the old lady,excepts 100 baht and clears off with a massive grin!all done with sign language, this is one of many special things that have happened to me while takeing in the site/sounds/ smells of thailand and being on a bike always gets you closer to whats going on. good luck with your piece. Another thing theres not many places where you can plonk your 60 year old mum on the back of your honda wave with her clutching a bottle of johny walker,pull up next to trafic cops and recieve a big smile.maybe they thought i had pulled!!.
    Thanks to all the gt riders who made the last trip so great. marcus

    marcus ackerman
  21. I'm long overdue on this one, but I just wanna through my 2 cents and say hello to the nice people I rode with in January 2004.

    Most things that make riding in North Thailand attracting are mentioned above. I would like to add one thing: safety.
    When I came to Thailand I only had my license for 10 months. I always felt safe riding alone, due to the good roads and nice people. Okay, I must admit that a few times the reckless driving of locals got on my nerves, but overall I felt at ease. You just got to learn their rules (as far as there are any) and go with the flow.

    After two trips to South America, it looks like I'll be heading to SE Asia agian to do some more riding with a few mates. I hope to see some of you then.


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