It’s the Good Friday long weekend and we decided to ride up to Betong, Thailand. The distance between Singapore and Betong, Thailand is approximately 740km, and the plan was to start riding through the night and arrive at the Malaysia-Thai border by morning.
DAY 0 (13 Apr, Thu) – overnight ride.
We rendezvoused at Petronas Gelang Petah on Friday, 0000h-0030h (Thursday night, really) to gather for a pre-ride briefing. At 200cc, my Pulsar was the only “small capacity” bike with the rest of the bikes (2A and CL2 big bikes) having multiple times my engine displacement, and so, the plan is for me to push off first as an “advance party” with Sufi and Siu Hon with their Honda CB400X and Yamaha XJ6 Diversion as my riding buddies (aka “escorts”). The plan was to link up with the rest of the group at R&R Sungai Perak (approximately 580km) in the morning. The big bikes will be traveling at a faster pace and should catch us up as we near Sg Perak. Continue reading “Long Weekend Ride to Betong, Thailand”
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”
11 Jul 2016, Monday. If you’ve been following my adventure tracks so far, you might have guessed that I’m trying to head into Laos. So I woke up early this morning in anticipation of the typical border hassles, especially at these relatively remote borders.