LaosPosted by Jan Lamers 29 May, 2013 11:44:26
Via Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok, Khon Kaen and Nong Kai I rode into Vientiane, Laos to meet my girlfriend Clarena again. Being from Colombia she wasn't granted a Thai visa so we had to meet in Vientiane. But finally it all worked out well and we are reunited for the third time. I left the bike in Vientiane and together we travelled by public transport to Vang Vieng. The limestone rocks around Vang Vieng are spectacular. We rented bicycles and rode to some caves and lagoons. Although the village of Vang Vieng itself is pretty touristy there wasn't too much going on due to low season.
ThailandPosted by Jan Lamers 13 May, 2013 17:07:47
Andy, Eng and I decided to ride together from Mae Hong Song to Pai. I was having breakfast when I saw two other bikers gearing up for probably the same route. After breakfast I met with Andy and Eng. After half an hour of riding we seemed to be held up by road construction work. But as we came closer we saw a dead body in a puddle of blood in the middle of the road. It was one of the two bikers I had seen one hour before at breakfast. We were shocked by what we saw and the image of the dead body on the road stayed in our minds the entire day. In Pai I met my friend Dee again, who lives here. I met Dee earlier in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. Dee thrashed me at playing table tennis but after a while I managed to steal a game from him. In the evening I rode back to my hotel after a very strange day.
ThailandPosted by Jan Lamers 13 May, 2013 14:01:56
One must do for a motorcyclist in Thailand is riding the Mae Hong Son loop in the utter north west close to the Burmese border. It is a very nice ride with a lot of twisties and the scenery is spectacular. At the end of the first day I was watching the sun sinking into Burma from the porch of my riverside guesthouse in Mae Sariang. The second day I had another very nice ride to Mae Hong Son, which has a beautiful lakeside temple. In Mae Hong Song I met Andy and Eng again and together we visited the long neck village of Huay Pu Keng.
ThailandPosted by Jan Lamers 13 May, 2013 13:47:34
I stopped for a week in the city of Chang Mai. Very touristy but very relaxing at the same time. Chang mai is dotted with temples (wats). It has more wats than Bangkok. The nicest wats I visited were Wat Pra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang and on the crest of a hill, Wat Doi Suteph. I ran in to my Singaporean friends Andy and Eng again and they invited me to a moo kata joint. Moo kata is a Thai style barbecue. It was packed with people, only Thai no tourists, a very bad band was playing but the food was really good.
ThailandPosted by Jan Lamers 05 May, 2013 07:24:59
On my way to Lampang I stopped at the Wat Phra That, a huge teak wood temple. I asked a guy in a high ranked officer uniform who was just standing around if he could watch my bike and my motorcycle gear for a while. When I returned I saw that he took his job very serious as he was firmly holding on to the bike's subframe. He spoke very little English but he gestured westward and yelled "Lai Hin Luang".
I understood that Lai Hin Luang was temple and according to the general it was much nicer than Wat Phra That as he yelled: "Lai Hin Luang number one!" So I decided to visit Lai Hin Luang and after asking around here and there I finally arrived at Wat Lai Hin Luang. It is a very old temple dating from 1683 but it is much smaller and less decorated than Wat Phra That. Nonetheless the ride to through the countryside to Lai Hin Luang made up for that.
ThailandPosted by Jan Lamers 05 May, 2013 06:50:22
As I was riding around on my bike in the Sukothai historical park, where the ruins from the Sukothai kingdom can be seen, I saw an old BMW airhead parked next to the road. It belonged to Andy and his wife Eng, a couple from Singapore. Like me they had quit their jobs and were riding around South East Asia on a very well maintained R 100 RT from 1979. That bike is even two years older than mine and to me it was the nicest museum piece in the whole of the Sukothai historical park. Andy and Eng have a very similar itinerary so we might run into eachother again. It is always nice to meet some brothers in arms.
ThailandPosted by Jan Lamers 29 Apr, 2013 18:05:14
As I got closer to Bangkok the traffic got more and more frantic. People driving like mad men overtaking left, right and in between like they were fleeing from a new tsunami. I passed Bangkok on the west side and made my way to Ayutthaya the former capital of Thailand. There are some nice old temple ruins here that remind of the Ayutthaya heyday. What struck me at the ruins was that nearly all buddha statues miss a head. As I asked why this was people told me that the heads were stolen and sold to rich people in the west who wanted buddha heads in their house for decoration. So if you ever see a buddha head on the cabinet at a friend's place you know where it originated from.
ThailandPosted by Jan Lamers 26 Apr, 2013 14:37:04
As I entered the city of Chumpon I was looking for a place to stay because I needed to break up my ride to the north. The city looked pretty uninspiring to me so I decided to move on a bit. On my gps I saw a small string of hotels right at the beach 20 km north of Chumpon. And that is how I ended up in Thung Wua Laen, by far the nicest stay I had so far in Thailand. Thung Wua Laen is developed for tourism but not to the extent of the big beach resorts like Phuket or Pattaya. It mainly caters to Thai tourism so you see hardly any Westeners around. I found a nice little beach hut where I had a perfect stay for a couple of days.