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Old 06-12-2014, 07:52 PM   #7201
flyingdutchman177 OP
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The South East Asia Awards Show

Time for the South East Asia Awards Show.

As you might know, i never had any plans to ride in SE Asia but I am sure glad I did. It should be on everyone's must do list. I was expecting it to be inexpensive to travel there (and it was) but i didn't expect it to be so beautiful. And i expected it to be crowded but i often found myself on back roads all to myself. And speaking of the roads, they were some of the best in the world. But it was the people that made it extra special.

So without further ado.............drum roll and envelope please:


Best roads: Vietnam
This came as a big surprise to me. I heard that lots of kids going over there, buying a scooter and touring around. But i thought they did it because it was cheap and trendy. My trip started out in the far south side of the country in Mekong Delta. I headed to Saigon first and the road was boring, straight with tons of traffic and crazy drivers. And north of Saigon wasn't much better. Things got better around DaLat, but it wasn't until i got north of Danang did i see the real Vietnam. South of Danang, the Ho Chi Minh trail is just a boring, crowded road. North of Danang, it turns it to a wild snake of a road thru some very remote mountains. And the traffic pretty much disappears. But just when I thought it couldn't get any better, i headed up to the extreme north of the country along the border with China. OMG. WOW. Holy S*#t.
The road dips and dives thru rugged canyons with views that tempt you to take your eyes off the road but you can't because your penelty for error is a free fall of about 2000 feet to the river below. In fact, i have to rate these roads in the top 3 roads i have ridden on so far. Definitely not at the top (Pato Canyon in Peru still remains safely at the top of my list), but it is right up there with the best.


Worst Roads: While Laos had some of the worst road conditions, i would have to give the dubious award to Cambodia for having the worst roads. And it really isn't that the roads conditions perse that were bad, it's just that the other countries had better and more interesting roads. Less interesting roads would be a better way to describe them because Cambodia doesn't have the mountains and the topography like the other countries to make them intertaining. Yeah, sure there are some cool roads in Cambodia, but they are mostly straight and boring roads, sometimes with dangerous drivers and traffic.


Craziest Road: Some of the singletracks in Thailand were certainly crazy, remote and slippery, especially for a RTW rider to be on, and the remote road over the mountain pass in Laos i did in 5 hours solo not seeing another car or moto much of the way was certainly insane, but this award has to go to Cambodia again. The dusty, silty road i did in the north east corner of the country takes the prize. In fact, it would be probably the only road i have ever been on that i hope i never see again. Riding for five hours in deep silt beds, maybe you can understand why. I kept hoping to hear from a fellow traveler who did this route as well at some point so we could laugh about it together, but so far, i have not heard back from anyone that has experienced it. And if you are anything like me, my words here will probably motivate you to ride this road even more but if you do go to Cambodia, i would like to hear from you so i can tell you........."I told you so"

Best food: Vietnam
While Thailand was a close second (Pad Thai :-) ), i think i preferred the food in Vietnam more because they had more meat in their diet. To be honest, i had a hard time finding good food in most of the countries because I was getting sick of rice and noodles all of the time.

Worst food: Laos
Being the poorest country in the region, it was hard to find anything but variations of noodles, rice and veggis. And what meat was there, was mostly fat and chewy.

Best beer: Cambodia. Hands-down winner. Thailand had pretty much only Chang, Leo and Singha which were all a pretty light beer without an interesting flavor. In Vietnam, every region had its own regional beer. I thought 333 was the best of the bunch but all the others were pretty much....... "same same". On the up side, Vietnam has probably the least expensive beer in the world. It was only about 50 cents in a bottle at a shop and about half of that on tap at a beer bar. And Laos had only one brand - Beerlao which was actually pretty good, especially the hard to find dark version. But Cambodia not only had the best selection, they had the best tasting beer as well. The Ankor Extra Stout was really really good. And the Ganzberg german style lager was tasty as well.


Worst beer: Thailand. I think there is a business opportunity here - to bring some good beer to this country. There are no IPS'a, stouts, ales, etc. Only three light tasting beers without much flavor.

Best girls: Vietnam. This one was tough because it is almost a "same same" thing here again......at least for me. All the girls had these cute skinny little figures, if you like that sort of thing - and I do. Not much on top butt not much on the bottom either. Asian chicks have beautiful skin which seems to keep them young looking. But i preferred the girls in Vietnam because they had lighter skin, soft beautiful faces and a sense of fashion. In Cambodia, the girls were also beautiful and had a little darker skin and a wider face. I also noticed a little more on top as well. If i spent more time in Myanmar, i might have ranked them tops. Some of the long neck Karin tribe gals we striking. I need to go back there and investigate this more.


Worst girls: Thailand. Sorry, but there was a difference here. The girls were a bit more plump and some didn't have a smooth round face. Sometimes, i would discribe it as money like and showing a lot of teeth. And going to the cities where the girls tend to fix themselves up more, i didn't notice a big improvement. Not a lot of cute dresses, tight tops, or short-shorts there. In Vietnam, for example, they were wearing the latest French fashion and brands (mostly knock offs i would think, butbwho cares). There were exceptions and standouts, but overall, i have to give this dubious nod to the Thais.

Best country: Thailand. Yes, dispite lacking naturally beautiful women, it makes up for it pretty much everywhere else. The people are beautiful on the inside where it counts. The roads are some of the best in the world with everything from knarrly single tracks, to twisty roads thru the mountains, and multi laned, well marked highways. The national park system is perhaps the best in the world and never crowded. I often would be the only visitor amongst the staff in these parks. They had tents and sleeping bags that you could rent or inexpensive huts to sleep in as well. There are hot springs, cool villages, lots of huts to sleep in and did i mention the friendly, helpful people?
Thailand has a higher standard of living, a Western style feel and less crazy drivers.
Prices are cheap and there is a 7-11 on every corner and sometimes two.
A very close second and a big surprise was Vietnam. Perhaps even friendlier people there and more outgoing. None of the other 52 countries i traveled to did i come out to find someone sitting on my bike taking pictures for their facebook page without asking first. But in Vietnam, it was the norm and to be expected. And afterall, i was on a huge 250 cc motorbike. And no where else in the world did i receive such a warm welcome from fellow riders. They took care of me like their own brother. Some infact called me their bother. And many thanks for that. There was hardly a hint of communism left in the country that i could see but i knew it was there when i looked. But it was not the evil empire our governments led us to believe it was. I was both terrified riding thru the major cities and exhilerated at the same time. Going with the flow with a bit more speed, one thumb on the horn and two fingers over the from brake got me thru it all in one piece. All that combined with some of the best roads in the world will call me back.


Worst country: Cambodia - ok, it was not that Cambodia was bad, it was just the least best. People told me that they were the most friendly but i found the people dealing with the tourist on a daily basis were anything but friendly. I had people telling me what to do or not to do all the time. I guess they have more rules to follow and you can't get away with things like in the other SE Asian countries. I hade the hotel people yelling at me and even a 10 year old kid on the beach cuss me out and call me every name in the book of bad words because i refused to buy any of his fireworks. Cambodia does have the best beer, nicest beaches and of course its temples. Phenom Phen was a nice city and i enjoyed my time there. But the people have raped the countryside and burned a lot of it down. Some places which were once beautiful are now ugly. It also lacks the mountains and diversity that exist in Northern Thailand, Northern Laos and Northern Vietnam. It would be the last of the four countries that i would want to go back and visit but with that said, i still had a great time there. i haven't said much about Laos here. It doesn't stand out and scream......"look at me" and that in itself is its attraction. Even its capital city is understated. It had some of the worst roads and infrastructure which to me made it attractive. Afterall, who wants to see skyscrapers and eight lamed highways outside of NYC and LA? And to me, Laos had some of the friendlist, most genuine people in the whole world. I can't wait to go back and explore more because one day it will be discovered and ruined for ever.


Best experience: Many come to mind.
Riding with 25 new Vietnamese friends on cool, big bikes on the Mae Hong Son loop in Thailand
Exploring the single tracks and remote roads solo in Northern Thailand
Sneaking across the borders of both Myanmar and China
Feeling like a rockstar on my first day in Laos on that dirt track and having all the kids come running out of their huts so they could wave to me as i rode by
Sleeping in huts in rice fields
Koh Kong cave in Laos
Don Det Island, Siem Riep and Pheom Phen
Dalat Vietnam
The ride along the Chinese border in Vietnam
But if i were to pick just one moment it would have to be getting this British chick with no riding experience up to Hanoi after riding 1000 miles together on the Ho Chi Minh trail with only a few bumps and scrapes. That was priceless.


Worst monent: there were a few. Like getting caught out in the cold rain one night in Northern Thailand and then having to ride the slippery trails out the next cold, wet morning.
Being surprised by 8 armed soldiers that night on the beach in Laos
Being asked to leave the kareoke party in that remote area of Thailand
Getting eaten alive by mosquitos that night when my zipper failed on my tent.
But if i were to pick just one, it would be being turned away from the border twice in Cambodia for no good reason. It was so frustrating. I had to ride 400 miles out of my way and change my plans to make my way in. So yes, perhaps i have a bit of a grudge with Cambodia for that. The border guys on the way out were sure nice. That kind of softens the blow.

Well, there you have it. My thoughts on SE Asia.
I plan to head back later this year to my Honda and see much more of Myanmar and then south to Malaysia and Singapore in early 2015
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:59 PM   #7202
Gbusk11
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Great report!!

I'm not sure if you are a better writer or a better RTW rider… either way, keep up the good work… paaaauuuuleeeese!?!
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:26 PM   #7203
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Question Around the World in 800 Days

Hi Ed; What tires did you use while doing the Americas? What degree sleeping bag did you use while in the Americas? Thanks.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:22 AM   #7204
VietHorse
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Holly.....
But thank, seriously thank you for your appreciation about VIETNAM.



Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingdutchman177 View Post
Time for the South East Asia Awards Show.

Best roads: Vietnam
This came as a big surprise to me. I heard that lots of kids going over there, buying a scooter and touring around. But i thought they did it because it was cheap and trendy. My trip started out in the far south side of the country in Mekong Delta. I headed to Saigon first and the road was boring, straight with tons of traffic and crazy drivers. And north of Saigon wasn't much better. Things got better around DaLat, but it wasn't until i got north of Danang did i see the real Vietnam. South of Danang, the Ho Chi Minh trail is just a boring, crowded road. North of Danang, it turns it to a wild snake of a road thru some very remote mountains. And the traffic pretty much disappears. But just when I thought it couldn't get any better, i headed up to the extreme north of the country along the border with China. OMG. WOW. Holy S*#t.
The road dips and dives thru rugged canyons with views that tempt you to take your eyes off the road but you can't because your penelty for error is a free fall of about 2000 feet to the river below. In fact, i have to rate these roads in the top 3 roads i have ridden on so far. Definitely not at the top (Pato Canyon in Peru still remains safely at the top of my list), but it is right up there with the best.

---------------------

Best food: Vietnam
While Thailand was a close second (Pad Thai :-) ), i think i preferred the food in Vietnam more because they had more meat in their diet. To be honest, i had a hard time finding good food in most of the countries because I was getting sick of rice and noodles all of the time.

----------------------

Best girls: Vietnam. This one was tough because it is almost a "same same" thing here again......at least for me. All the girls had these cute skinny little figures, if you like that sort of thing - and I do. Not much on top butt not much on the bottom either. Asian chicks have beautiful skin which seems to keep them young looking. But i preferred the girls in Vietnam because they had lighter skin, soft beautiful faces and a sense of fashion. In Cambodia, the girls were also beautiful and had a little darker skin and a wider face. I also noticed a little more on top as well. If i spent more time in Myanmar, i might have ranked them tops. Some of the long neck Karin tribe gals we striking. I need to go back there and investigate this more.

------------------------

Best country: Thailand.
...
A very close second and a big surprise was Vietnam
. Perhaps even friendlier people there and more outgoing. None of the other 52 countries i traveled to did i come out to find someone sitting on my bike taking pictures for their facebook page without asking first. But in Vietnam, it was the norm and to be expected. And afterall, i was on a huge 250 cc motorbike. And no where else in the world did i receive such a warm welcome from fellow riders. They took care of me like their own brother. Some infact called me their bother. And many thanks for that. There was hardly a hint of communism left in the country that i could see but i knew it was there when i looked. But it was not the evil empire our governments led us to believe it was. I was both terrified riding thru the major cities and exhilerated at the same time. Going with the flow with a bit more speed, one thumb on the horn and two fingers over the from brake got me thru it all in one piece. All that combined with some of the best roads in the world will call me back.

-------------------------

Best experience: Many come to mind.
Riding with 25 new Vietnamese friends on cool, big bikes on the Mae Hong Son loop in Thailand

...

Dalat Vietnam
The ride along the Chinese border in Vietnam

But if i were to pick just one moment it would have to be getting this British chick with no riding experience up to Hanoi after riding 1000 miles together on the Ho Chi Minh trail with only a few bumps and scrapes. That was priceless.
__________________
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********************
Link to All about VietNam

********************
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:38 AM   #7205
flyingdutchman177 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VietHorse View Post
Holly.....
But thank, seriously thank you for your appreciation about VIETNAM.

No - THANK YOU
it was your club and all its member that made my trip to Vietnam all that much more special.
And for that, i am forever indebted to you all

flyingdutchman177 screwed with this post 06-13-2014 at 07:49 AM
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:58 AM   #7206
flyingdutchman177 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canopus1 View Post
Hi Ed; What tires did you use while doing the Americas? What degree sleeping bag did you use while in the Americas? Thanks.
I have been using the Heidenau k60 scouts on my ride.
They are long wearing, have good grip on the dirt and pavement and are super tough.

For sleeping bags, on my BMW, for four season riding, i have a zero degree, down-filled super compressable sleeping bag (needed it an more on the volcanoes in Mexico and Bolivia
I have a lightweight 45 degree down-filled bag that has seen better days but is super duper compressable (size of a grape fruit)
And i can combine those two on those extra cold nights if needed (see Boliva)
And a silk sheet that packs down to the size of a cell phone.
Yes, a lot of stuff, but i sleep well at night
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:13 AM   #7207
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Thumb Asia report

Thanks Ed for the Asia report, I will save the info. for my future plan
Have fun fishing and be safe. Cold beers waiting for your return
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:20 AM   #7208
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Thumb

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingdutchman177 View Post
...But if i were to pick just one moment it would have to be getting this British chick with no riding experience up to Hanoi after riding 1000 miles together on the Ho Chi Minh trail with only a few bumps and scrapes. That was priceless....
and getting caught in the tent doing it by the old lady of the house didn't make the list at all!?!
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TAT-2013: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=913898
SoCal_NoDak-2012: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=829203
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:25 AM   #7209
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Originally Posted by Rough ride View Post
Tw*t
you sure do like to troll this board. how about you fish elsewhere?
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TAT-2013: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=913898
SoCal_NoDak-2012: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=829203

vintagespeed screwed with this post 06-13-2014 at 08:25 AM Reason: fixing his quote skillz
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:29 AM   #7210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagespeed View Post
you sure do like to troll this board. how about you fish elsewhere?
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:19 AM   #7211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagespeed View Post
and getting caught in the tent doing it by the old lady of the house didn't make the list at all!?!
I wasn't sure if I should have categorized that one as a highlight or a low light. Looking back at it though, it was freaking hilarious
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:58 PM   #7212
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Quotes of the day? Haven't seen any last few days or did I miss them ?
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:27 PM   #7213
flyingdutchman177 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamaralunar View Post
I think my highlight was that night on the beach with the fireworks and our 'friend'.....

Do you remember what happened?

Now that was hilarious! ;D
You mean this little prick?
I can't even repeat some of bad names he called me.
And yes, i remember what you told me on the beach when you saw the fireworks


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Old 06-13-2014, 01:29 PM   #7214
flyingdutchman177 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamaralunar View Post
I think my highlight was that night on the beach with the fireworks and our 'friend'.....

Do you remember what happened?

Now that was hilarious! ;D
Oh, wait
I just got which "friend" you were talking about
Lol
Yeah, he was a jerk too
No wonder i ranked Cambodia last
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:28 PM   #7215
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When I saw "Flying Dutchman" in the headlines today I thought Ed finally made the news

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