08 Aug 2016, Monday. I didn’t want to wake up this morning. No, it wasn’t because of the “end of holiday” syndrome, but my entire body was aching. For the first time in a very long while (and the first time on this trip), I lay in bed until 9am. The hotel’s breakfast was from 7am to 10am. So I knew I was gonna miss breakfast if I didn’t pull myself out of bed. So reluctantly, I dragged myself out of bed, washed up, got changed, and headed downstairs to fill my stomach.
While at breakfast, a mild, throbbing headache started developing. “Oh, oh. Not good.” I said to myself. I recognised the signs. I think I’m falling ill soon. Being only 240km away from home, it wasn’t difficult to decide my destination for today.
07 Aug 2016, Sunday. I woke up this morning freezing under my sheets. And there was no air-conditioning! What happened was that I had turned the fan on last evening, and since the oscillation wasn’t working, it was pointed directly at me. The temperatures up here in Cameron Highlands dip to the low 20’s deg celcius at night, and can get quite cold.
I had initially planned to head towards Bukit Tinggi today – somewhere near Genting Highlands. I’m not sure if it was the cumulative toil of the journey or the descent, but when I got to the foot of Cameron Highlands, I felt really, really exhausted. Travelling on a fully luggage-loaded small cc motorcycle on a winding mountain pass is not fun. Also, my tires are reaching their end of life and I didn’t dare lean into the curve as much as I would have liked.
In this condition, I was certain that I wasn’t in the condition to make the climb up to Bukit Tinggi. So, I decided to head to Malacca instead.
06 Aug 2016, Saturday. I got a room in the same hotel as Michel and Pim. And after breakfast, we got ready to leave Georgetown, Penang. Michel and Pim will be heading north into Thailand via Sadao. And for me, southbound. And to think about it, when we last met, they were southbound while I was heading north.
05 Aug 2016, Friday. Border crossing day. Will be heading into Malaysia this morning. I didn’t like Hat Yai very much. Not that there was anything wrong with the town. It was just that after visiting the other places in Thailand (and Laos, and Cambodia,) Hat Yai just wasn’t too exciting. Many Singaporeans making their way into Thailand or beyond typically make Hat Yai their first night stop before punching further up north.
04 Aug 2016, Thursday. After a good night’s rest, I felt much better in the morning, and figured that I should be well enough to ride again. I took the anti-clockwise southern route from the pier to Chaweng Beach when I arrived, and figured that I’d like to see the rest of Samui on the northern side and continued anti-clockwise direction on the ring road to head back to the pier.
The 3 Singaporeans I met 2 days ago also took the Raja Ferry to Samui. But they intended to leave Samui on the SeaTran instead. Raja Ferry and SeaTran are the 2 main ferry operators between Don Sak / Surat Thani and Koh Samui. I too thought it’ll be nice to try the other ferry operator back.
It’s been SEVEN years! It’s been SEVEN LONG years! And I know if I don’t do something about it, my interest would wane. NO people! I’m NOT referring to the seven-year itch. It’s been seven years since I last went diving!
I had somehow planned for this, and brought along my PADI certification. I obtained my PADI Advanced Open Water certification back in 2009 and have not went for any dives since. And since I was in Koh Samui, diving was my main objective here.
I found Silent Divers while googling for dive shops in Samui. They had pretty good reviews on the internet and my accommodation was merely 30m away from their shop. Actually, I had first found Silent Divers THEN decided to get an accommodation somewhere near here.
I walked into Silent Divers and spoke to Steve – the new general manager of the dive shop in Chaweng Beach. Steve was from the UK and now works in Samui. When I enquired about the dive options available, he broke the bad news. Continue reading “The sgBikerBoy 2016 Trip – Day 44”
02 Aug 2016, Tuesday. I woke up this morning feeling a little frustrated with myself. I left my original iPad charger and lightning cable in the serviced apartment in Samut Sakhon. So I’m one USB and one lightning cable less for the remaining of this trip. Thankfully, I brought spares – as keeping my iPhone charged is very important to me. It’s not only a phone, but also a GPS, internet device, currency exchange calculator, messaging device, hotel booking apparatus, weather forecaster, language translator, and possibly another 1,001 other uses. You can tell that my iPhone is probably the next most important tool after my motorcycle itself.
After iron butting my way down south to Surat Thani, and with really nothing too much to explore around here, I headed to the nearby ferry pier to make my way to Koh Samui – a very touristy island on the southern side of Thailand.
The journey from Surat Thani to Don Sak took about an hour. Ferries run from Don Sak to Koh Samui every hour on the hour. I headed to the Raja Ferry pier as during my (very quick and very limited) online (iPhone) research, Raja Ferry had the most complete information and transparent pricing on their website. 220baht for the crossing for the motorcycle including the rider. Not exorbitant at all for the 1.5hr ferry ride.
1 Aug 2016, Monday. After the slow progress yesterday, I was thinking if I should even head to Hua Hin. Perhaps I should push my way down south a little bit more today. I went back to McDonald’s for breakfast at 0530h (they are opened 24hrs) and left Samut Sakhon at 0730h.
But wait, it’s been more than 500km since my last chain lube, and I’ve already finished my bottle of Motul C2 chain lube. I stopped by a Big C hypermart along the highway and went in searching for some lube (and a perfect excuse to get some airconditioning too). They didn’t have a chain-specific lube, and I eventually ended up getting the Sonax MoS2 Oil multi-purpose lube.
31 July 2016, Sunday. I strolled along the Walking Street of Pattaya last evening. It was very crowded and filled with both tourists and locals. The street seem to be an attraction in itself, and I saw multiple groups of tourists with their tour guides holding up a flag for easy identification of the tour group, lest the little hatchlings (aka tourists) get lost.
29 July 2016, Friday. After breakfast, I spent the morning in Siem Reap wandering around town. I’m not quite a shopping person, so last night’s walk along the night market didn’t quite excite me. I’ve been away for more than a month now, and it was about time I got myself a haircut, lest I start turning into Tarzan or Robinson Crusoe.
Rather reluctantly, I left Siem Reap and headed to Poipet – the Cambodian-side town of the Cambodia-Thailand border. My GPS tells me that I should reach Poipet at approximately 2pm, and I was still deciding if I should put up the night at Poipet or if I should just head over to the Thailand border town of Aranyaprathet. If you google the Poipet-Aranyaprathet or the Poipet-Klongluk border (same thing – Aranyaprathet being the nearest Thai town to the border, and Klongluk’s the name of the Thai border itself), you’d realise that it’s infamous for border corruption and basically a overland traveller’s nightmare. Continue reading “The sgBikerBoy 2016 Trip – Day 39 to 40”