Sa Kaeo Bike Week

Aug 3, 2004
Sisaket-226-Surin-214-Prasat-24-Nang Rong-348-Aranyaprathet. 340km. 4.5hrs.

Road conditions good all the way with some uneven patches because of post wet season repairs to potholes either side of Nang Rong. Driving into the sun in the afternoon was uncomfortable.

There is one vital piece of information that someone going to Sa Kaeo Bike week really needs to know. That is that it is not actually in Sa Kaeo. It is in Aranyaprathet, in the Province of Sa Kaeo. Two of our riders(Thai) found this out the long way by going to Sa Kaeo, finding no bikes there and having to come to Aranyapathet adding about 100km to their journey. Somehow they got isolated from the bunch at a vital turn.
This is the biggest bike show I have seen. The venue was in a park on a concrete area about 200M square. It was in two halves with the bikes parked in one half and the ticket only, huge stage, dining area in the other. On one side it was wall to wall bikes and on the other wall to wall people and tables etc. Both halves were surrounded by vendors stalls, food on the inside and accessories and OTOP on the outside. Tickets were B400 which included a meal and T shirt. There was also a grassed area where the hardy(cheap)ones pitched tents.


Photo: Honda Girls & me(did them a favour)

The stage show was professionally done and had good singers and dancers and big screens. It was loud enough so that if you were deaf you could feel it. The programme included Billy and Michael and Carabao and there were also some local groups doing traditional and lively western dances and a tourism promotion video on the 2 big screens. No Coyote Girls though. Colours presentation was a slow affair with my guess of over 100 clubs from all over Thailand on the stage exchanging colours with the local hosts Knights Borders.


Photo: Crowded Stage

The moving video camera setup intrigued me. A cameraman sat on a platform at the end of a 7m counterbalanced beam and was moved manually above the crowd by 3 men. They lost a lot of sweat moving the weights up and down and to each side all night. It would have to have been motorized anywhere else
There was every type of bike you could imagine both old and new, scooters, choppers and they kept on arriving. Unfortunately it was dark when most of them got there so it was hard to get a good look and photos.


Photo:Embossed Metal


Photo: Teardrop Chopper. (Note handlebar position)

Some of us stayed at the flash Aran Mermaid which was sold out to bikers. B700 per night with breakfast which is OK spread between 2.


Photo: Bikes from Hotel

On the Sunday morning everybody headed out to the Golden Gate Plaza(Salt Market) on the border and bought up peace offerings to take back home. The prices seemed pretty cheap there and the main offerings were clothes from China, cheap watches, bags and sunglasses. I was interested to see the clothes being taken out of the large bales and ironed by banks of men with irons operating on piped in steam.
We had lunch and then headed back to Sisaket the same way we had come. On the way back we were joined by a rider from Mukdahan who had a Suzuki 400 Skywave scooter. This thing handled well and could do 130 plus and was automatic It would seem like an ideal compromise between city riding and highway runs. An older BMW 1000 did a rear end bearing on the way back and we waited for news of what had happened to him. Still don’t know but suspect a pickup will go to recover the bike.
We waited at Sisaket for riders from Ubon to join us and all headed off together around 25 bikes in all. The Ubon guys set a cracking pace of around 130kph plus and I only just managed to keep in touch with the help of a tail wind. I even touched 140 a couple of times.(jing) I was not concerned from a safety point of view but it’s a little disconcerting to see the fleet disappearing into the distance and you with the neck of the bike wrung right out, with nothing left.
Each group has its Alpha male in charge and there is this rivalry of egos’ to see who can sway the bunch. What the whistle is to the parking attendant so is the horn to Alpha 1. Only an air blaster will do. It’s got to be loud and authoritative like the bugle call to battle—"onward"!!
It’s a pretty inefficient way to travel but good fun. I’d like to see a bit more communication to cater for dropouts back in the bunch but I guess they have their own ways. Eg the BMW guy was stuck 300km from home with no transport and a bike that needed special parts. We were an hour or so down the road before we found out. I don't know how he got home. We could have shared giving him a pillion back to Sisaket.
All in all a good weekend and yes I did remember it was Remembrance Day and gave thanks for the freedom we enjoy because of the sacrifice of past generations of soldiers.
Oct 7, 2006
Good story..hope to do the run next year,, was out at Aranyaphatet a few yrs ago,just about the bales of clothes,,apparently they cone from the UN. the cambodians can get a day pass to sell there goodies in the market there,, we had a bit of trouble with the lanuage,,neither me or the missus can speak cambodian.can buy a brand new english tweed suit for the market...but who wears suits anyway,,,cheers
Sep 26, 2006
I was there too, excellent well put on event, everyone was well behaved, much better than the one in Bang-Sean a few weeks earlier. Looking forward to Chiang Mai next.