GT Riders meet the Emerald Triangle

brian_bkk

Ol'Timer
Mar 30, 2010
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Starring

Benny Hill - Ubon Shogun - Brian_bkk (Bangkok Weekend Warriors)


Full trip report to come..

Cheers
Brian
 
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TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
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Ha ha ha!!! Well done and a great sound track and nice editing too! :happy2:
 

guichard

Ol'Timer
Jul 11, 2007
129
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Very funny,I loved it.

I think that now on I'llstay on paved roads!

Cheers, Lung Jacques.
 

brian_bkk

Ol'Timer
Mar 30, 2010
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Glad you guys enjoyed Benny Hill and the Two Stooges on bikes :)

At some point in the day I said to James.. What music can we put all the stuff ups to ?

James suggested Benny Hill and the idea was born..

Back to the Trip report.

This really is a contination of our first bunch of rides from Chong Mek down past Srindrahorn Dam.

Part 1 trip report
Bangkok Weekend Warrior rides with Ubon Shogun - Part 1

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GT-Riders Meet the Emerald Triangle.. (Part 2)

Usual routine, leave work James meets me at the airport with bikes loaded up and off to Chong Mek we go...
But first we stop for a pizza.. Just about he leave and the heavens open up..

We hope this is not a sign for the next 4 days.. (Queens B'day long weekend plus I took one extra day leave)
The rain stopped 10 mins out of Ubon.

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There is a new Hi So bar just down the road from the 5 star short time hotel in Chong Mek.

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We had a good laugh..
The girl jumps on her bike to buy something back for the bar / restaurant.. Walks back.. James asks.. Where is your bike?
She forgot it, runs back and gets the bike... TIT.

Next morning up early and drive off with bikes in the back.. Aim is to find a place we can leave the pickup and put the hammocks in relative safety..

This looked good.. But no one around to keep an eye on the gear

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We see a temple flag across the reservoir. Decide we may head back there if we can't find anything else.

Time for a drive out to the Lao border market

Chan Ta Oo
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The border staff were very friendly.. But can't camp here.. Wild Elephants romping around apparently.
We asked about a gov't looking building further back down the road..
He said yes, and gave his friends name..

Just about to pull away and another official pulls up.. Looks grumpy and trouble.
We head off and find the place.. While there the grumpy official pulls in and says.. No can't stay here.
After the staff there said yes.. No drama.. Lets head back to the temple.

Right near the temple we see this

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What is the first thing you do when you see someone preparing a freshly killed snake?

"Can we sleep here?"

"Yes, no problem"

We could see a basic looking house / temple where the monks slept next doors.

Our living area for the next two nights.
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The locals were really friendly and very happy to have us stay there.
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Time for some exploring around the area.
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Some nice trails.. very sandy but good on the other side of the reservoir.. fast and remote.. really have some fun zipping around.

Back to set up camp.

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Toilet and bucket shower.. don't confuse the order..
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All setup.. Flash lights at the ready.. sun setting.. Time for a walk down to the Monks and near the lake.
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Some truly fantastic sunsets two nights in a row.. Yes, more to come.. stunning.

Before our good friend the snake killer left.. He showed me a kitchen with gas cooker etc.
We were happy.. Kindly left the padlock off for us.

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I played Jamie Oliver this night..
Spaghetti with some fresh produce from the market in Chong Mek.. Plus all the supplies James had bought along.

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Just as we were tucking in. The lights came on.. Seems like we are hooked up to solar power with the Monks across the paddock.

Later that night before lights out.. One of the Monks came over and handed us two big candles.. Again very kind of them
Camping in the building under construction, let us use the gas, plates etc.. and give us two candles.

One good thing about camping.. You go to bed early.. But try telling the dogs that..
Howling all night long and one storm passed over with big claps of thunder.. But all dry... so far....

More to come..
 
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brian_bkk

Ol'Timer
Mar 30, 2010
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Better keep on with this report as already forgetting the order of events and pictures..

After a not so good nights sleep.. Dogs howling and Roosters crowing at first light right under our hammocks.

Get up and make brekkie...

Time to try out my camping cook set.
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Not bad even if I say so myself :)

James with the GTR OSM Map loaded on his GPS and me with the ESRI we head off.

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Turning down different roads and heading towards any mountains / hills as that is where it is more interesting.

We followed a road that didn't look that interesting and turned in to a absolute ripper..

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Great bridges around here.
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James didn't fall in.. We rode down and up the other side as the bridge was just too dodgy.
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Then the adventure began.. Getting out the other side.. Short video at the beginning of this report.
Some pics here.

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Going out the other way

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To give you some appreciation of the steepness it is wet and a horrible angle as the creek is too deep to take straight on.
We had to dig away at the embankment at to make it easier.

I didn't make it up and rolled back down and had to walk it up with engine running and James giving a push.
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To be fair to James.. If the HTM had an electric start this would have been a lot lot lot easier.
But the HTM hates to start after being dropped or stalled on angles like this.
So we had to do it the hard way. Digging, pushing and pulling.. I will never have any other bike than electric start..

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Heading back towards Lao. Not far away and the trail is not being used.
Lots of trees down across the trail. Really on our own out here. Getting closer and closer.. then the track just ends at jungle with no chance of getting through.
Then we are looking for little side trails to see if they will take us out a different way.. Yet again, many animal tracks.
But we did find one trail.. The ESRI map came in handy as we could at least see we were heading to a main trail on the map.

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Back to camp and get the fire started
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Another glorious sunset.. simply stunning
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Later on we had the Mother Of All Storms.. Massive storm.
I have heard of and know what a flash flood is.. But really had the reality of how it can happen that night.
So much rain and very heavy.. blowing right in, lightning that was lighting up the entire sky like someone turning the florescent light off and on.
The rain gusting in on us, rain water gushing past the building and getting deep and fast.. (we were not in danger) just amazing amount of rain, wind and lightning.

If we had been camping out between the trees.. It would not have been very pleasant at all..

Took this snap before I abandoned the hammock.. Laying in the hammock phone out for the snap.
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Wrapped the flysheet around the hammock to try and keep it dry. We were both pretty wet.
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James whacked a couple of logs on the fire and that helped stave off the cold feeling from being wet.

More to come..

Next installment my turn to get seriously stuck in the mud.. James doesn't get all the fun :)
 

brian_bkk

Ol'Timer
Mar 30, 2010
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Mixed up my days a bit with the pics so will just continue..
All around the same area..

Mega storm over and to sleep around 3am.. it was easy to sleep in..
To our surprise the monks were setting up here.. We packed up everything and made it nice and tidy before they all came up and started.

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In hindsight. This is probably a temple under construction?
Felt a little guilty drinking my Bourbon after realising that.. But then again.. The workers had killed a snake and putting it in the lunch pot.
So killing and animal or having a drink.. Both guilty...

We left a donation with the Monks for allowing us to stay and spend as they see fit.

Off we go.. This time we decided on sleeping in a hotel / motel that night and sort ourselves out..
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Lots of choice to be had and received a good tip in the market. (Will post accommodation report shortly)

People sweeping the highway.. Friendly at that
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This was not on any GPS.. new road and washed out..
Some marjuana crops had also washed down in the storm at least 6 or 7 seven ft trees..

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My turn to fight and struggle with the bike :)

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Next the ride up to the Emerald Triangle and around the area.
 

harrythefinn

Ol'Timer
Aug 7, 2003
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James is a big tough guy. If he needs some help to get across a muddy crossing, maybe he should give it some gas !! Just kidding ! Been there done that shit. You can only go as far as you can go together. Hope to have another ride some time , IN THE SHIT as we say.
 

brian_bkk

Ol'Timer
Mar 30, 2010
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Harry, hope to ride with you one day..
I will bring the bourbon ;-)

On we go....

We stop at the next town (Na Cha Luai) looking for breakfast and coffee.
We had to make a quick exit to allow the monks and followers to carry on.

They invited us for breakfast etc.. But we thought it was best to move on and let them carry on with normal life.

There is a market / bus stop and small shops around.

This sign caught our attention and we wondered what happened here late in the evening...
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A lady stood out the front and we were asking in our best Thai for coffee and breakfast..
She replied. We struggled out an answer.
She was tired of this and reverted to good English..
We both laughed..

Stop Teen 69 it is for breakfast.. and later that evening.. drinks.. 6 PM it is a bar.
This was a great opportunity to get some idea of where we are.
Where we can go and how far away everything is.

She recommended this place up the road. 5 to 8 km out of town..
https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/38820-Ubon-Emerald-Triangle?p=292578#post292578

Great place and good base to ride out of.. Clean / Tidy and secure.

Next stop to check out the waterfall..
Very good road up and twisties.. great ride for the road bikes.

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This is as far as we made it..
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It's a long weekend and full of people.. We looked at each other. Asked how far it was to walk.. 200 / 300 metres.
Then looked at the picture of a pretty uninspiring waterfall (Compared to what you get on the Boolaven Plateau)

Decided to just head off and keep riding dirt trails.. if we can find some..
There were not many until you made it back down the bottom and most of these went on to plantations that had encroached on the national park

Beginning to smell the Emerald Triangle.. (want to tick that box)

Fantastic road up there.. had fun on the twisties...
Good surface and pretty newly done.

Only one spot where the water had run under the tarmac was dodgy and would get you in trouble at speed.

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Not well used... The jungle claiming the road back in many places.
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Made it.. The triangle is at the back of the lake to the right..
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No Go.. Stop here.. around 1 km direct line of sight to the border.
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Google Earth with the GPS track

You can see the triangle at the back of the lake.
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You can see the road actually heads to Cambodia
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There is no phone signal up here.. So checked our position with OSM AND on my phone
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Time for a walk around the army check point and look at the history.
Real shame none of this is in English as would love to know more about what was being displayed.

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Will ask someone to translate or at least give some information on this.
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Model of where we are and the triangle
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Inside the check point..
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Only the lawn mower man around so walked down to the road on the other side of the barricade.
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If you are thinking.. hmmm could get past that and run up to the border...
There is a huge radio.. The guys may be sleeping.. pretty sure they will up quick smart.
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This did remind me of WWII a little.. looks awfully familiar....
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Time to find some trails..
Found some great trails.. really remote unfortunately couldn't get through any where on most..
Mainly water or trees across the track.. Back next dry season.. Looks real fun around here

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The trails have Stop signs.. We obeyed..

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One more post to come....

Decided to end the report here at the Emerald Triangle..
Few more pics.. but the best has been shown..

Cheers
Brian
 

DavidFL

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Stumbled across an interesting article about this area.

EMERALD-TRIANGLE TOURISM: Ex-jungle fighter: Site deserves respect

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/EMERALD-TRIANGLE-TOURISM-Ex-jungle-fighter-Site-de-56077.html

Few people know the Emerald Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia meet, better than 49-year-old Kongjeth Promnumpol. He spent seven years patrolling almost every inch of that land as a soldier in the now defunct People's Liberation Army of Thailand. Kongjeth, now a modestly successful businessman, would rather have kept to himself the memory of those years, from 1976 to 1982, a time filled with blood and tears, but he was alarmed recently to hear of a new plan to turn about 3,000 rai of the former war zone into a tourist spot and golf course.

Kongjeth bristles at the thought of tourists playing golf on his former comrades' graveyard. "We should be treated with more respect," he said. "This place is not just an empty expanse of land. It's a part of the history of [Thailand and Indochina's] modern political struggle. Golf holes could be dug from people's graves. I don't think we should pretend to be ignorant of the legendary events that occurred in this place."

As a Ramkhamhaeng University student activist, Kongjeth turned his back on student life and, along with thousands of young people, joined the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT)'s jungle army as the ultra-rightist government demonised the student movement in the wake of the 1976 Thammasat University massacre.

The "triangle", which comprises parts of Phu Jong Na Yoi National Park in Ubon Ratchathani's Nam Yuen district, Cambodia's Preah Vihear province and Laos' Champasak province, became Kongjeth's home for seven years. The ex-CPT cadre still has vivid memories of his years in the Emerald Triangle. He was among the few intellectuals who were allowed to join the party's People's Liberation Army, which fought Thai, Laotian and Vietnamese troops in the jungle. "

In the late 1970s, there were conflicts among the communist parties in the region," he recalled. "The CPT, which adopted Maoism, was attacked by the communist parties of Vietnam and Laos, which were aligned with Russian communism. "In addition, there was an internal conflict in Cambodia between the now defunct Khmer Rouge and the Vietnam-backed Hun Sen government."

In the early 1980s the entire area was engulfed in fighting as all the parties struggled against one another. To this day, the Emerald Triangle is filled with anti-personnel and anti-tank land-mines.
Kongjeth admitted to planting a few himself. "We did it for a good reason," he said. "It was to defend ourselves against the Laotian and Vietnamese soldiers, who would attack us as they were invading Thai territory. It was a chaotic time, every side planted mines to defend themselves.

Now nobody remembers where the mines are." The mines are the biggest threat to the tourism project, developed jointly by the Thai, Laotian and Cambodian governments. Thailand's Mine Action Centre recently said it could take years and a hefty sum to de-mine the area. The agency is not giving priority to the task, however, because its mandate is restricted to humanitarian work.

Kongjeth said he was not opposed to opening the former war zone up to tourists but it should be done, he said, with a respect for history and the stories of the people who had sacrificed their lives on this piece of land. To him, that history is still being fought over. "Why only build a monument to state soldiers in the triangle?" he asked. "The government should recognise the courage of my comrades with a memorial as well. The heroic fight of CPT comrades in defence of Thailand's territory under attacks from the Vietnamese and Laotian troops should be recognised as a chapter in the Emerald Triangle's history."

Kongjeth said the younger generation of Thais should be encouraged to learn about the CPT's role in the history of Thailand's radical movement while enjoying the natural beauty of the area. "We are all part of Thailand's history," he said. "I don't want to see this chapter erased, the way other battlefields have been."

Kongjeth said he felt bitter when he visited former battlefields that had already been transformed into tourist attractions, like Phu Hin Rong Kla in Phitsanulok and Khao Kor in Phetchabun. The two places are promoted for their interest as former CPT strongholds. However, the stories about the party and the people involved told in exhibitions there are distorted, Kongjeth said, and the relics of the time the party spent there have not been looked after. "I can't hold back my tears, seeing how the things we once built with great difficulty, such as krok kra dueng [rice-polishers], are being left to collect dust. This was one of the most important tools for our survival in the jungle. "If you can't manage our history in a proper way, don't touch it. We want to remember our past the way it was," he said.

Pennapa Hongthong THE NATION
 

DavidFL

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A bit of news on this border area

Troops move in as Cambodia sparks border standoff
31/12/2014

Thailand and Cambodia have boosted their military presence at a disputed border crossing in Ubon Ratchathani's Nam Yuen district after Cambodian authorities moved in equipment to begin work on a development project in an area claimed by both countries.



Thailand ordered the Chong Arn Ma temporary border pass shut down after Cambodian authorities brought in heavy machinery to excavate the area considered to be a watershed line.
Ubon Ratchathani governor Serm Chainarong said Tuesday he had sent a letter of protest to Preah Vihear governor Oam Mara, informing him that the Cambodian authorities were violating an agreement on a border survey and land demarcations.
It appeared Tuesday that Cambodian military officials had contacted their Thai counterparts and given assurances they would cease the construction work, according to a source.
Mr Serm said the Cambodians had hauled in backhoes and heavy machinery to work on an area around a monument to a Cambodian warrior on horseback at a Cambodian community market. The excavation is part of a project to build a casino and a hotel, develop the market, and expand roads.
Mr Serm said Cambodian residents are set to move into the area after the construction is completed. But Mr Serm called the area a "no man's land".


Ubon Ratchathani governor Serm Chainarong, second right, inspects the Chong Arn Ma temporary border pass in Nam Yuen district. Thailand and Cambodia have boosted their military presence there following a dispute. 
(Photo by Thaweesak Butchan)
The boundary line in the area is unclear and if Cambodian authorities change the original landscape, attempts to demarcate the border will be frustrated, he said.

Mr Serm said the Cambodian move is a violation of Thai territory and threatens to affect relations between the two countries.
He demanded Cambodia stop the work immediately.
He said he will raise the issue at a joint meeting between Thai and Cambodia officials. Cambodia should return the excavated area to its original state, Mr Serm said.
On Sept 27, a delegation of Thai local officials, led by the Ubon Ratchathani governor, met the Preah Vihear governor in Preah Vihear province to discuss border cooperation issues.
One of the conclusions reached was that Cambodia would relocate the market from the undemarcated area to a new location, said a source who was present at the discussion.
Cambodia's move to excavate land appears to be a violation of the agreement, which the source said has upset the Thai side.
In response, Ubon Ratchathani ordered the closure of the temporary border pass on Monday morning, the source said.
A military source said Cambodia began to funnel more soldiers and weapons to the Chong Arn Ma pass on Monday night, while Cambodia evacuated civilians from the market. It is unclear how many troops are now stationed in the area.
Thai reinforcements from the 6th Infantry Regiment's Sappasitthiprasong camp have been deployed to support troops already stationed at the border pass.
The source said Lt Gen Srai Duk, who is in charge of the Cambodian troops, has contacted the military commander on the Thai side about reopening the crossing.
Cambodia has promised to stop the digging work and called for talks to end the standoff, the source said.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting Tuesday, the deputy government spokesman, Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had stressed that demarcation of border areas must be carried out with sincerity.
Demarcation can proceed straight away in areas that have clear boundaries, Maj Gen Sansern said. "In cases of unclear boundaries, neighbouring countries should give more attention to projects that develop border trade and share benefits, rather than fight over border lines," Maj Gen Sansern quoted Gen Prayut as saying.

Source: Bangkokpost.com