Friday, 3 August 2018

The whole of Thailand on a CBR500


< In April 2012 I rode 7,500km around Thailand on a Honda Phantom 200cc.

> In August 2013 I rode 11,000km around Malaysia, Thailand and Laos on a Honda CBR 250cc. As far south as Singapore and as far north as China.

In July 2018, after a 5 year gap, it was time to do it again. This time on a Honda CBR 500cc.





< This map details the 6,650km route. The black dots mark where I slept. Thailand is bigger than people think, the inset compares it to the UK.

> 6,650km is the equivalent of riding from Newcastle to Riyadh.

Below is a table detailing the main expenses. Interestingly the 6,650km cost 6,650bt in fuel. 1bt/km. I spent almost 10,000bt on accomodation and a further 13,000bt on food/miscellaneous bringing the total cost to 30,000bt.

$900 for a 30 day bike trip of a lifetime? Bargain. A return flight to the UK is around $1,200! I know what I'd rather spend the money on.


Day
District/Province
Petrol
Room
Notes
1
AoLuek/Krabi
400
400
Lunch with Stefan in Trang.
2
Ranong
400
400
Outrageous rain.
3
Prachuap
400
250
Roadworks west of Chumpon. Filthy.
4
Bangkok


Matt’s place. Pizzagate.
5
Bangkok


WC QF. Patpong activities.
6
Aranyapratet/SaKeow
400
500
186km/h.
7
KunHan/SiSaket
460
350
Endless green rice paddies.
8
KunHan/SiSaket

350
Pool. ManU bedsheets.
9
Kemmerat/Ubon
100
300
Emerald Triangle. Mekong.
10
Nakon Panom
400
450
Festival.
11
Bueng Kan

400
Vulgar Cockney.
12
SangKom/NongKhai
400
350
Hammocks and Chang.
13
NaHaew/Loey
360
500
Eerie solitude.
14
Nan

400
Cold and wet in NaNoi hills.
15
TungChang/Nan
400
400
Drenched north of TungChang.
16
ChiangKong/ChiangRai
300
400
1148. PuChiFa.
17
MaeAi/ChiangMai

350
Golden Triangle. Chinese lingo.
18
Chiang Mai
370
400
Da. Brendan. Oily.
18
Chiang Mai

400
Paddy. Oily. Drunk.
20
Chiang Mai

400
Rough.
21
MaeHongSon
380
350
Grey.
22
MaeSariang/MaeHonSon

300
Drenched.
23
KlongKlung/KampengPet
350
400
Chang Beer factory.
24
Prachuap
760
250
630km. Sore arse.
25
Prachuap

250
Chill.
26
Prachuap

250
Cycle the 3 bays.
27
Prachuap

250
Climb KaoLomMuak.
28
Prachuap

250
Chill.
29
Surat Thani Airport
360
420
Evening motorway stroll.
30
Hat Yai/Songkla
410

Home. Smelly room.


6650
9720



Honda service bigger bikes every 6000km. Here's mine getting it's first just before the big off. I racked up the km riding around the sticks and visiting this bird's coffee shop out in Nakon Nowhere.





July is Thailand's rainy season and I had a few bad days with it. Krabi to Ranong was the worst stretch. The persistent deluge turned a normally excellent run into a gritted-teeth, Bear Grylls mission. Things brightened once I hit the gulf coast again. Prachuap is a gem. I was determined to spend a few days here on the way back doon.







A weekend was spent in Bangers with me mate Matt watching England beat Sweden in the WC QF. We figured the best place to watch would be the gogo bars of Patpong where extra curricular activities might be sought.

Hit the bike's top speed of 186km/h just west of Sakeao on an empty, arrow straight road. There's simply no need to go that fast on Thai roads ...... but it's good crack!!

Onwards to Isaan and no earthly chemical can dissolve the pain embedded in my soul having slept on these sheets of shame. There are only so many bodily fluids.

Riding past endless expanses of emerald rice paddies is always a treat. Especially after experiencing so much Kok.

Was chilling in a SiSaket paradise when my mind conjured up exotic imagary of the Emerald Triangle. This is where Cambodia, Laos and Thailand meet. However, the Army turned me back about 8km away from climax. So close! We had a laugh as I tried to explain how it's like paying for a date, getting back to the room, condom on ...... aaaaaand she has a headache. Guess I'll have to make do with the less adventurous Golden Triangle.



Having dabbled a little in Physics I can tell you this floating rock is BS ..... some kind of illusion .... or proof of a flat earth?

I ended up following the Mekong for the entire length it forms the Thai/Laos border. Good laugh with these lads in the sticks of Ubon.







View from the room in sleepy Kemmarat, Ubon.














Nakon Panom. Love the replica Naga they'd made out of palm leaves. There were all kinds of festivities going on here. It's probably my favourite place of the whole trip. Wouldn't mind living here one day. Sabai sabai.






Onwards to the excellently named BuengKan (love how it sounds) where I happened upon a particularly vulgar Cockney. Sometimes avoidance is the best policy. He was in the Merchant Navy.

Me Farmers played up here. Farmer Giles. Or Nobbies as we'd say in the RN. Riding a bike for hours does nowt for em.






Got a haircut in NongKhai not far from here. I was wondering how they make these serpents when all was revealed an hour later in SriChiangMai. Just across the Mekong from Vientiene, the uninspiring Laotian capital.






Talked to these two for hours in SangKom ..... a remote outpost in NongKhai province. This pic was taken from a hammock.

Then into Loey where I met this fella who'd done a full stint in the Royal Thai Navy. He wouldn't let me go ...... quizzing me about submarines.



One of the best things about going on massive solo trips is the solitude. Finding yourself miles from anywhere. I love it. The rolling countryside of Leoy naturally lends itself to meditative breaks.

Here's a shot of the 1148, arguably Thailand's best road. Glad the rain held off. It's always an excellent way to end a trip through Nan province.




Hit 10,000km near PhuChiFa. Not a bad spot for that to happen.










PhuChiFa coffee.

I shouldn't hide the reality of hours spent twiddling thumbs under shelters. Doesn't make for very good photography or dit spinning.

Note the massive luggage. A binbag bungeed to the seat. A spare change of evening wear and a toothbrush. The day clothes (vest and jeans) stank. They only got dobied twice in 30 days (Bangers and Chiang Mai).



An interesting array of global number plates in Chiang Kong and a view from a new coffee shop near MaeSai.








However, much of the time was spent in heavy clouds. The skies perpetually pregnant with rain.









Made it to Changers and caught up with Paddy, Brendan and Da.

I didn't do a lot. Visited my old massage haunt a few times and got drunk with an insane retired German Army Officer, a young Chinese lad and a camp Thai bloke.

The German lad left the Army as the Berlin wall came down and he's been living here ever since. He has "To hell and back" tattooed on his forearms in Thai. After listening to his drunken ramblings I can well believe his ex missus has been to hell and back.





I was unlucky up north as a storm stayed in place for days. I decided I had to get further south and made a beeline for the Chang Beer Factory in KampaengPhet.

Next was a marathon 630km back to Prachuap where I parked the bike and hunkered down for five blissful days. Cycling, climbing, Burmese border markets and, most importantly, just being. Doing nowt. Prachuap is a jewel. It's number two on the list after Nakon Panom!!


Rich?


Riding through Bangers I was thinking about wealth. There are many status symbols on display there ..... plush condos, BMWs, fancy-arsed iphones etc. Naturally we examine ourselves .... where do we stand in the social pecking order? Am I rich? Are you rich? I guess it's relative. For me personally, it's an interesting question having lost my life savings of $200k five years ago. Rich to poor in the blink of an eye. But only financially. Wealth can be measured by other metrics. Perhaps I became wealthier ..... spiritually?

Adam Smith (a Jock) wrote the The Wealth of Nations in 1776, the same year Uncle Sam told Blighty to Piss Off.

In it he states: "Every man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences, and amusements of human life."

Amusements of life eh? I spent the whole of July with a mile-wide smile plastered across me boat. If I was a millionaire, what would I have done differently? Answer? Nothing. I was already doing it. Living the dream. Well, living my dream. Riding a motorbike around the tropics. Class. If people could figure out who they are and what they really want in life, perhaps the world would be a happier place.

Thanks for reading,
Sateeb, the richest man in the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be nice.