Joined: Jul 2007
4/9 Ride Back to Thailand
It was an early morning after a relatively short night, but fortunately, neither of us was any worse for the wear after last night's festivities. While I began packing up the room, Re again, headed out to pick up breakfast. At Yasmeen, Re had to break the bad news to her new boyfriend/roti chef , Mohammad, that she would be going to Thailand for several weeks. He was apparently a bit upset and wanted to know when she would be back. As she left, he kissed her on both cheeks and said he will cry until she returns. Some guys might be jealous, but I am not worried at all. You see, there's this love that can never be. For many, many years ago, Re found her one true love: pork. And since Mohammad is Muslim, I'm safe (for now). After breakfast, we continued packing the bikes for what we hoped would be an early start, but once again, this plan was derailed by a friendly person who was interested in our bikes and trip. This morning, it was an Australian gentleman who spied us loading up and wanted to know more. Consequently, we didn't end up boarding the ferry until about 10:00 am.
Once we exited the ferry, the ride to the Thai border was warm and fast. Before we crossed back into Thailand, we filled up our tanks and both jerrycans with inexpensive, Malaysian fuel. We are going to miss being able to buy 15 liters of fuel for 10 USD. Sigh. The border formalities were easy, quick, and free (since we already had our visas). The only problem was that our temporary import permit for the bikes is only valid for one month. I had read on HUBB that the TIP should be valid for as long as your visa, but after speaking with several Customs officials, that is apparently incorrect. I was told that if we need more time, I should be able to get it extended at another Customs post. I don't imagine we'll be in Thailand for more than 30 days, but you never know. Immediately after we crossed into Thailand, we stopped for lunch at the convenient (and more importantly, air-conditioned) McDonald's at the border. After lunch, we continued our ride to Trang, where we spent the night. The afternoon ride went by fairly quickly and easily, but it was interesting to note the differences between Malaysia and Thailand as we rode. Malaysia seems like a much more western country than Thailand. Whereas the roads in Malaysia are excellent and well signed, the roads in Thailand are a little more basic (but still very good). In Malaysia, most people seem to have adopted western-style clothing, while in Thailand, there's still plenty of western-style clothing, you still see a wide variety of traditional dress as well. Another thing you see a lot in Thailand is little motorbikes with sidecars. They are everywhere and are used for deliveries, taxis, and as mobile restaurants. Conversely, I can only recall seeing one of these combinations in Malaysia, and it displayed a handicapped sticker.
There are many other differences, but these were the few that struck me on the ride today. We arrived in Trang at around 6:00 pm and were fortunately, able to remember our way to the hotel where we stayed two years ago. My GPS doesn't cover Trang very well and was of limited help. One of the reasons we did not want to return to Trang is that there are few decent, inexpensive places to stay, and the one we stayed at last time was more than a little dingy. But, the price was right, so we returned to the Ko Teng Hotel once again. What a difference two years makes! The prices were still cheap, but they painted and did some other work to the rooms, and it was much nicer this time. As a bonus, they allowed us to pull our bikes into their cavernous lobby overnight. After unloading the bikes, we walked up to the night market, where we bought salads, fried chicken, sticky rice, grilled pork, and Thai iced teas. We sat on the steps of some government building and ate our yummy food. For dessert, we bought some sort of thick pancake filled with shredded coconut and coconut jam. It was hot off the griddle and delicious. On the way back to the room, we picked up some cheap Changs.
225 miles in about 8 hours. So far, we have spent 74 days in southeast Asia and have spent 3666 USD, for a daily average of 49.50 USD. This number seems high, but crossing into Laos cost 130 bucks, Cambodia was 45 USD, and our 60-day Thai visas were 80 USD. These expenses alone add 3 dollars a day to our average cost.