I always wanted to be first at something

Feb 21, 2006
You know, “to boldly go where no man has gone before”. And I am. Well, at least I'm the first person I've ever heard make the claim that they have ridden their motorcycle in all 76 provinces of Thailand. I’m sure it’s been done before but like I said, I’ve never heard anyone make that claim. I did this on my GS and it took me a while as I was reluctant to visit the Deep South. I was waiting for the violence to subside, which doesn’t appear likely to happen any time soon. I had planned a ride to Cambodia with Dr. G on February 16 and this seemed like a good time to head south and finish my objective, bombs or no bombs!

When I left Chiang Mai on February 10, I had already visited 64 provinces and had but the 12 southernmost provinces to conquer. I spent the first night in Bangkok and left for the south early Sunday morning. I hate riding the GS in BKK and leaving early, especially on a Sunday, makes the ride more bearable. Made Surat Thani the next night and stayed in a cheap bungalow on the beach so I could take the ferry to Samui the next morning. The ferry takes 90 minutes and costs 180B from what I remember. Samui is part of Surat Thani province so I didn’t have to go there to complete my objective, but I’ve never been there and wanted to confirm that it was indeed a place that I wouldn’t want to spend a holiday at.

Samui, like Phuket, embodies many of the things I like least about Thailand. Lots of big white tourists walking around with their Lonely Planet books standing on corners trying to find their way to the next hot tourist spot. I also hate the tourist prices on those islands. Besides which, I am a very white skinned boy and do not tolerate the sun well at all. In the short time I was there, I saw two different tourists crash their rental step-throughs’. I felt really out of place riding there because I was wearing a helmet and protective riding gear. It doesn’t appear that there is any helmet enforcement at all in Samui. Like most other places in Thailand, helmets are those things you wear so that you have something to hold the face shield so you can ride faster.

I made a loop around Samui and was back on the 11:30 ferry. I made Hat Yai that night and stayed at the Pink Lady Hotel. I hadn’t done any research on where I wanted to stay while on this trip and just happened to stumble across this place. Hat Yai is a happening town. Lots of tourism business geared to Malay and Sing people, very few farang spotted.

The next day I was going to ride Thanon lombert, the road of bombs. I left the panniers in the hotel so I could ride faster and headed south through Pattani, into Naratiwat (the southern most province), crossed the border, took a photo and headed north so I could make a small side trip to Yala. The biggest differences I noticed in the deep south was a very strong local dialect that made difficult to even buy gas, the girls look very Malay – not Thai, and the checkpoints were manned by soldiers surrounded by lots of razor wire instead of cops looking for tea money.




The 3 southernmost provinces – the ones you read about in the news.



Interesting traffic signs in Hat Yai. Drivers actually obey the no left turn on red sign!


Razor wire


It's a long way to Bangkok from the northern border of Pattani.


It's also a long way from Ratchadapisek road to Ratchadapisek beach.

I spent a second night in Hat Yai and headed northwest to visit Satun, Krabi, Trang and spend the night at my buddy Gabe’s place on Kamala beach in Phuket. With Phuket out of the way, I only had one more province to go and I woke early the next morning to take the 4 through Ranong. Ranong town is a lot like Samut Sakhorn – everything smells like cat food. Both towns have big fish/shrimp processing plants. Another thing to look for when riding in the south? Stinky fish water/blood dripping from trucks. You can usually smell it as you’re coming up on them and get in the other lane so you don’t get splashed. A couple of times I wasn’t lucky and got hit.

The roads in Ranong would make good motorcycle roads if they weren’t shiny, greasy and covered in fish blood. I didn’t get to enjoy much lateral acceleration there. From Ranong I headed north towards Bangkok and played leapfrog with a group of Harley boys heading to bike week in Pattaya. They invited me along and told me that I was going to miss a hell of a party. I told them that there is always a party in Pattaya.



I found an interesting place to buy gas in Ranong. I've never seen a self serve coin operated gas pump before.


Oh yeah, I found another province that I’m sure no one else has been to – the 77th province in Thailand. If you don’t know where it is, ask your tg to read it for you.

Total km: 6500 including Cambodia with Dr G. 18 days.
Oct 17, 2006
would have loved to spoil you one evening here on Phuket, Barry.

Tell us more about the situation, how much you felt of ...it or not down deep South. For me the yard stick in such problem zones is =

the risk / the odds is higher OR lower then to get into a road accident.

Feb 21, 2006
Thanks guys, it was a fun ride and I'm glad I was able to do it in good weather, not rain. I didn't spend much time in the deep south and only made 1 gas stop and 2 drink stops. From Hat Yai, I took the highway to Naratiwat and back. Even when the people in Songkhla thought I was a little crazy when I told then I was going to Naratiwat. Like I said, the language is quite different and the people seemed a little less friendly. I'm used to being stared at wherever I go in Thailand but if I crack a smile they almost always smile right back. When I was stared at in the deep south I didn't always get a warm fuzzy feeling, kind of like the feeling I got when I stopped once in south central LA to check my map for directions.

Danger? Traffic wise the roads aren't that busy and in good shape. Bomb wise? I guess you'll never know when your number is up. If I would have had a cloaking device I think I would have been a little safer.
Jun 21, 2006
mmm... the province of barry, culturally linked with buriram, surin, and khon kaen provinces no doubt!