South Thailand and Cambodia

Feb 23, 2003
Start March 10
After finishing my Laos trip with Greg Frazier I decided that it was time to head south due to the lack of rain. Loaded up my 1150 GS with my girlfriend and headed to Hua Hin direct from Chiang Mai. I have ridden in Thailand for three years and kept zooming by Hua Hin. Spent one night there. Had a great dinner at a series of restaurants overlooking the beach. Lively little town at night, with even a few bar beers to spice things up.
Next day on to Phuket catching a little bit of rain. My brother has a forty two foot sailboat at Phuket, so it was park the bike and off to the open sea. Great snorkeling with scenic islands everywhere. The last day we spent at Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi island, where the movie The Beach was shot. Daytime was full of daytrippers but at night they all went home to the hotels on the big Koh Phi Phi island, so had the bay all to ourselves. An amazing area, has to be seen to be believed. After a return to Phuket spent a few more days there. All the bars were packed with fun lovers, who apparently do not spent a lot of time worrying about war, terrorism, etc.
Then with my brother on his BMW Paris Dakar it was off to Koh Samui, one of my favorite places in Thailand. Five days of sitting on these perfect white sand beaches, coconut trees waving overhead, and munching on roasted corn the vendors sell you on the beach. Everytime I go there I always feel like I am sitting in the middle of a post card.....
Then it was off to Bangkok. A long hard one day trip. One day in Bangkok, and then my girlfriend went back to her home in Sakaew.
I then headed down to Trat, and then to Hat Lek where I crossed the border into Cambodia. Easy one day ride, leave BKK early in the morning, and you can easily cross the border before it closes.
For the visa you need one thousand baht and a picture. They will try to charge you 1100 baht which is a scam. They got me.... Just ask for a receipt and that should stop them. I did not have a picture. While drunk in a bar in Phuket my brother paid some street person with a pet eagle to take a picture of me. To save the 100 baht picture fee I took out this Robert/eagle picture and offered to cut my head down to passport size. They were so amazed by this giant eagle sitting on my shoulder that they about fell off their chairs laughing, and politely decided to waive the picture requirement.
At the customs building they demanded that I have carnet in order to enter Cambodia. I politely informed them that was not a requirement for Cambodia, even though other bikers had given them carnet paperwork. A one minute radio call to someone, and then it was all smiles and welcome to Cambodia.
Spent the night at Koh Kong which is just across the border from Hat Lek. Small quiet town with sufficient number of small guesthouses. I paid 300 baht for a nice air con room with TV.
Next day on to Sihanookville, about a five hour ride down a very good dirt road. They could not afford bridges so the four river crossings have small ferry boats to get you across. Twenty to forty baht a pop. Once you leave the border area it is all American dollars, so bring plenty of small bills , ones , fives and tens. Everything is priced in dollars. Go figure.......
Interesting night life there. Hook up with a local guy and he can show you. In Thailand the bar scene is in your face. Here it is sort of underground. Endless guesthouses, from in town to right on the beach. Town is little bit noisy, next time will try by the beach. Rooms from five dollars for fan to 15 for pretty nice with air. From there a great two lane paved road to Phenom Pehn, about three hours. Watch out for the usual dogs, kids, cattle, old people, and young boys on motos not afraid to die. Now my third day here. Wild bar scene !!!!!!!!!!!!! Traffic is a real eye opener. Uncontrolled four way intersections where the brave venture out first. Survival depends on a fast bike to punch your way out before you get hit, lightning quick reflexes, and fast moving eyeballs/head movement to figure out this moving three dimension puzzle. DO NOT drive and navigate. Before you enter check you map and know where you are going. If you can survive entering the city, once here you can take a moto taxi for a buck anywhere in the city. I stayed at the Walkabout guesthouse. Sort of a expat hangout with reasonable rooms and a good location near Sharkys and Heart of Darkness, two well known bar scenes.
Tomorrow I will head up to Siem Reap to see Ankor Wat. It poured rain here in PP today so the road should be interesting...... After that back to Thailand to pick up my girlfriend and back to Chiang Mai. Then figure out how to get my bike into Vietnam. Good riding to all. Come to Asia for the best riding in the world. Cheers Robert Hiekel