"Life is about laughing and living in good and bad times. Getting through whatever comes our way and looking back with a smile..."
Wet Monsoon Ride
(24 - 29 Nov 2011)
|(Seven bikes lined up...)|
Thursday - 24 November 2011
The bikers gang met at Sungai Buluh R&R and started our ride just after subuh prayer. We rode free and easy on the North-South Highway towards north. The weather was sunny, we had a few stops along the way for refueling and rest.
|(The bikers gang)|
In Changloon, we settled our motor insurance, filled up border passes and changed money for some Bahts. At Bukit Kayu Hitam, the border entry was simple and easy. The Thai immigration, which is officially called the Sadao Immigration Checkpoint, used to be conducted at Sadao town but has since moved to Dannok just before the border gate of Malaysia/Thailand. We had Tomyam lunch at one of the muslim restaurants in the border town.
We rode on Thailand's National Highway 4 towards Surat Thani. The weather changed suddenly from sunny to heavy rain with some parts of the highway covered with flood water. The highway was a straight road which runs all the way to Bangkok via Hat Yai but the rain had made the road wet and slippery.
|(Riding in the rain)|
It was already dark when we reached Surat Thani. After checking in at The Grand Thara Hotel, we went for a hearty Sup ekor dinner at one muslim restaurant by the river side.
|(City Pillar Shrine)|
Friday - 25 November 2011'
|(Group photo by the river bank)|
Surat Thani is the capital of the province Surat Thani. It is situated near the mouth of the river Tapi on the Gulf of Thailand. The city offers no major tourist attractions, thus mainly known to tourists as a transfer to the nearby popular islands. The name Surat Thani mean "City of the Good People" but Surat Thani is also known as “the province of a thousand islands” -- many of which lay off the coast in the Gulf of Thailand, including the archipelago that contains Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and the Mu Koh Ang Thong Marine National Park.
|(Roti telur breakfast...)|
We had late breakfast of roti telur before we started riding towards Kanchanaburi. As it was difficult to look for muslim restaurant on the highway, we had light lunch of bread and tuna at one of the rest areas to fill hungry stomachs.
|(Deep in discussion, checking the route...)|
We took the main highway via Hua Hin, a famous beautiful beach resort town. Hua Hin Beach extends some five kilometers southwards from a rocky headland until Kao Takiap, a southern headland where a Buddhist temple clings to the cliffs.'
We reached Kanchanaburi late night. After checking-in The Luxury Hotel, we took a van to have nasi briani dinner at one of the muslim night stalls. After dinner we had a leisure walk back to the hotel to rest. Some detoured to enjoy Kanchanaburi night life, or spend a few hours of therapeutic thai massage or just laze around and listen to live bands at a nearby joint.
Saturday – 26 November 2011
On the second day in Kanchanaburi, despite an early-morning wake up, everyone seemed bright-eyed and energetic. We had breakfast of toasts and eggs in the hotel restaurant and later decided to rent a van for a personalized tour to some of the major attractions.
Kanchanaburi, is located where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers converge into the Mae Klong river and is a popular spot for travelers. Located at the edge of a mountain range makes it much cooler than the other provinces of central Thailand. Kanchanaburi boasts a beautiful natural landscape of dense tropical jungles, crisscrossing rivers and streams, and spell-binding waterfalls with emerald-coloured pools.
Hellfire Pass is the name of a railway cutting on the former "Death Railway" which was built with forced labor during the WWII, in part by Allied prisoners of war.
|(POW laborers hard at work...)|
The pass is noted for the harsh conditions and heavy loss of life suffered by its laborers during construction. Hellfire Pass is so called because the sight of emaciated prisoners laboring was said to resemble a scene from Hell.'
|(Pancakes for lunch)|
In 1942 Kanchanaburi was under Japanese control. It was here that Asian forced laborers and Allied POWs, building the infamous Burma Railway, constructed a bridge; an event immortalized in the film Bridge on the River Kwai. Almost half of the prisoners working on the project died from diseases, maltreatment and accidents.
This cave, which houses sacred Buddha images, is located approximately 55 km from Kanchanaburi, beside the surviving remnants of the Death Railway overlooking Khwae Noi River near Wang Pho Railway Station. The cave is within walking distance from the railway tracks of Wang Pho Railway Station, the most beautiful view point along travelling by train Kanchanaburi - Namtok Train Station.
|(Railway by the River Kwai...)|
|(Bridge over the River Kwai)|
Bridge over the River Kwai
The infamous Bridge over the River Kwai is probably the most visited attraction in Kanchanaburi. Once a year a carnival comes to town and is set up in the area next to the bridge. At night there is a small pyrotechnics display that re-enacts the wartime bombing of the bridge. The Death Railway is, today, one of the most scenic rail routes in the country.
JEATH War Museum
|(Art Gallery and War Museum)|
In Kanchanaburi there is a memorial and two museums to commemorate the dead. The Thailand-Burma Railway Museum and the JEATH War Museum dedicated to the bridge and the Death Railway. The city is also home to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
Sunday – 27 November 2011
|(Petronas Petrol Station, Kanchanaburi)|
We started riding early morning from Kanchanaburi and headed towards Krabi. On the way we detoured and had lunch at one muslim restaurant and performed our solat at a nearby madrasah.
Using the Garmin to navigate, we thought of taking a short cut but we were met with a dusty rough road and we had to turn back and took the highway instead.
|(Off-roading for a short distance...)|
We reached Ao Nang beach, Krabi late night in the rain and checked-in Ben’s House, a cosy boutique resort. Later we took a tuk-tuk for a hearty tomyam dinner.
|(Taking the right junction...)|
Due to its central location in the Andaman Sea and to its fabulous topography and sporting opportunities, Ao Nang is arguably Thailand’s best all-round beach destination. It is predominately a family and sports destination. Whilst it lacks wild nightlife, it does have a few relaxed bars and nightclubs.
|(Abundance of muslim restaurants...)|
Monday – 28 November 2011
|(One of the Ao Nang beaches...)|
We checked-out early and before we headed to Hat Yai, we stopped for a hearty nasi kerabu breakfast and stopped at the beach front for photo shots of the pristine sandy beach and later went shopping at the many souvenir shops along the beach.
|(Beautiful pristine beach...)|
Ao Nang itself has two idyllic, unspoilt beaches, which are lapped by clear, warm water. Other beaches are located on a number of outlying islands which can be accessed cheaply and quickly from Ao Nang by local long-tail boats. Thai and muslim food is abundant in Ao Nang and is available 24 hours a day.
We reached Hat Yai late afternoon. The Versys riders rode off to spend the night at Dannok. We stayed back with another couple and spent the night at The Lee Gardens Hotel.
|(City skyline from the 27th floor...)|
Hat Yai, a city in southern Thailand near the Malaysian border is the largest city of Songkhla Province, the largest metropolitan area in Southern, and third largest metropolitan area of the country. It is often mistaken as being the capital of the province, but Songkhla is the capital and the center of administration and culture, while Hat Yai is the business center. Hat Yai is well-known as a shopping destination for both Thais and foreigners. There are numbers of department stores and markets around the city.
Tuesday – 29 November 2011
|(Ready to ride back...)|
We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and went for a last minute shopping for t-shirts and gloves. We checked-out at noon and rode towards the Thailand/Malaysian border. We had lunch at Dannok and headed direct to KL in the heavy rain with a few pit stops for refueling...
Route taken: KL – Bkt Kayu Hitam – Dannok – Surat Thani
– Kanchanaburi – Krabi – Hat Yai – Dannok
– Bkt Kayu Hitam – KL
Bikers gang: Mus/Mun, Din/Yati, Azim, Chon, Zali, Rozlan and Syed
Total mileage: 3,300 km