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Old 03-10-2014, 02:20 AM   #1
Falang OP
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Cambodia, Laos, Thailand - 8300 km, 31 Days

Cambodia, Laos, Thailand - 8300 km, 31 Days

Here are some photos from my one-month ride from Singapore around Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos from 1 February to 3 March, 2014. The bike is a sixteen-year old BMW 1998 R1100R with 157,000 km / 97,000 mi on the odometer. This is the tenth time I've ridden it into Thailand, and the second time into both Laos and Cambodia. For photos of the previous trip in 2012, see "Cambodia, Laos, Thailand - 9900 km, 7 Weeks: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=940988

As with previous trips, I tried to get on the road at dawn and finish each day's riding by early afternoon, in order to (1) avoid riding under the afternoon tropical heat and humidity, (2) eat lunch in a clean restaurant, and (3) have many hours of remaining daylight in which to resolve any breakdown or accident. When you break down in the third world, you are really on your own.

There were 25 riding days plus six non-riding days for diving and relaxation, roughly a week in Thailand going north, a week in Cambodia, a week in Laos, and another week in Thailand going south. I averaged 330 km / 200 mi and six hours per riding day. The average speed on riding days was just 55 kph / 34 mph, counted from the time I started the engine in the morning to the time I shut it off at the end of the day, thus including fuel stops, water stops, photo stops, rest breaks, and border crossings but not meals because I only snack while on the road (this is in order to avoid the drowsiness that can be caused by a full stomach, as well as to avoid nasty roadside eatery bacteria).

On four riding days in Cambodia and Laos my average speed was less than 37 kph / 23 mph. Some days the bike hardly came out of first and second gear because the road surface was so poor. Yet on three riding days in Thailand my average speed was over 80 kph / 50 mph, reflecting the excellent road and traffic conditions there. Thailand has the best roads by far, followed by Laos and Cambodia, in that order ... but it is still necessary to watch for potholes and road debris.

The Route

The route (red line) was the result of wanting to avoid roads I had already been over on previous motorcycle trips from Singapore (blue lines):

The ride also includes the entire length of peninsular Malaysia on the North-South Expressway, which I do not show here. The 900 km / 550 mi from Singapore to Thailand is ridden in one shot each way on the first and last day, with six stops. It is like riding Interstate 5 from Vancouver to the California border: efficient, but mostly a chore and not a pleasure.

The route was counterclockwise, so as to ride the hottest country (Cambodia) before the coolest one (Laos). This is because the average temperature gradually rises from January (following the end of the rainy season) to April (preceding the start of the next rainy season) in Southeast Asia. The coolest and driest time to ride is December to February:


The Itinerary

The journey (nights per city) was:

Thailand (Northbound):
1 Hat Yai (JB Hotel, 7.013280,100.476441) 891 km / 550 mi at 69 kph / 42 mph
1 Krabi (Princes Ville Resort, 8.031640,98.821600) 292 km / 180 mi at 70 kph / 43 mph
1 Ranong (Suda House Bungalows, 9.967040,98.633070) 354 km / 220 mi at 57 kph / 36 mph
2 Hua Hin (Veranda Lodge, 12.560180,99.962740) 385 km / 240 mi at 70 kph / 43 mph
1 Pattaya (LK Royal Suite Hotel, 12.934747,100.888555) 380 km / 240 mi at 53 kph / 33 mph
2 Koh Chang (Top Resort, 12.098265,102.275462) 310 km / 190 mi at 52 kph / 32 mph

Cambodia:
1 Koh Kong (City Hotel, 11.614470,102.978950) 148 km / 90 mi at 37 kph / 23 mph
2 Sihanoukville (Coolabah Hotel, 10.609090,103.522570) 238 km / 150 mi at 62 kph / 38 mph
1 Kampot (Sela Vibol Guesthouse, 10.609188,104.179831) 207 km / 130 mi at 43 kph / 27 mph
2 Phnom Penh (Riverside Suites, 11.570670,104.929630) 191 km / 120 mi at 41 kph / 26 mph
1 Kratie (Santepheap Hotel, 12.485275,106.016650) 252 km / 160 mi at 33 kph / 20 mph

Laos:
1 Don Khong (Senesothxuen Hotel, 14.115160,105.855350) 236 km / 150 mi at 35 kph / 22 mph
1 Paksong (Tad Fane Resort, 15.183360,106.127160) 192 km / 120 mi at 44 kph / 27 mph
1 Thakek (Sutthida Guesthouse, 17.396126,104.803807) 391 km / 240 mi at 58 kph / 36 mph
1 Kong Lor (Chantha House, 17.962083,104.744315) 198 km / 120 mi at 50 kph / 31 mph
1 Phonsavan (Nice Guest House, 19.450210,103.218900) 376 km / 230 mi at 46 kph / 29 mph
3 Vang Vieng (Kianet Guesthouse, 18.922103,102.447835) 267 km / 170 mi at 33 kph / 21 mph
1 Vientiane (Rashmi Plaza Hotel, 17.942841,102.618849) 220 km / 140 mi at 41 kph / 26 mph

Thailand (Southbound):
1 Udon Thani (Pannarai Hotel, 17.406381,102.802158) 104 km / 60 mi at 41 kph / 25 mph
1 Phetchabun (Kosit Hill Hotel, 16.414758,101.148823) 367 km / 230 mi at 56 kph / 35 mph
1 Ayutthaya (Grand Hotel, 14.351234,100.605841) 341 km / 210 mi at 85 kph / 53 mph
1 Hua Hin (Veranda Lodge, 12.560180,99.962740) 275 km / 170 mi at 57 kph / 35 mph
1 Chumphon (Garden Hotel, 10.497800,99.174580) 280 km / 170 mi at 80 kph / 50 mph
1 Hat Yai (JB Hotel, 7.013280,100.476441) 490 km / 300 mi at 77 kph / 48 mph
0 Singapore 890 km / 550 mi at 71 kph / 44 mph
25 Riding Days
30 Hotel Nights

Thailand (Northbound)

Day 1: Singapore to Hat Yai (891 km / 550 mi in 13 hours)

I got on the road at 05:00, to get in a few riding hours before the tropical heat set in. Sunrise at Pagoh, Malaysia, two hours after leaving home:


Police in Hat Yai, the largest city in southern Thailand:

Smile, but carry a big semiautomatic pistol.

I always look forward to a good meal at the Swan Pub after the all-day expressway ride, even if the elephant hawkers target it nowadays:




But most locals prefer to eat at places like this, which are much cheaper:


Hat Yai traffic, as seen from the back of a Tuk-tuk:


The JB Hotel has seen better days, but the value and motorcycle security are good:


Day 2: Hat Yai to Krabi (292 km / 180 mi in 4 hours)

Refueling at a PTT gas station. In Thailand it is getting harder and more expensive to find gasoline, rather than gasohol, but PTT usually sells it. Most PTTs have a large Seven-Eleven and an Amazon coffee outlet - everything a biker needs for a break.

I ordered a double espresso, and was served this:

"Best before 14 July 2557" doesn't mean Mr Waffle from Holland uses excess preservatives in his Amazon stroopwafels; in the Buddhist calendar 2557 equals 2014 in the Gregorian calendar.


The highway to Krabi, typical Thai highway road conditions.

Thai roads are very good, but access is unrestricted, so anything from trucks to children can suddenly pull out in front of you.

Krabi, a popular tourist town:




Day 3: Krabi to Ranong (354 km / 220 mi in 6 hours)





Viewpoint at 8.53638,98.55964:


Buying gasoline at a gasoline vending machine kiosk:

I couldn't figure it out:

So I went to the owner's house behind, and she came out of her living room and helped me:


Ranong

Suda House Bungalows:

And the restaurant near it:


Around Ranong ... not too many tourists here, pleasant to walk around in:






Ranong school:



Ranong public market:










Ranong nightlife:





Day 4 and 5: Ranong to Hua Hin (385 km / 240 mi in 5.5 hours)

Early in the morning, the monks do their begging rounds:


I could not buy an early breakfast in Ranong:

But I could get my hair done!


Hua Hin





Day 6: Hua Hin to Pattaya via Bangkok (380 km / 240 mi in 7 hours)





Bangkok traffic jam ... the railway barrier broke in the down position so we waited for 20 minutes under the hot sun for it to be fixed and raised.


Crossing the Chao Phraya on the motorcycle ferry, because motorcycles are banned from the expressway and from the excellent bridge you see in the background.


Pattaya and Jomtien








Day 7 and 8: Pattaya to Koh Chang (310 km / 190 mi in 6 hours)

The traffic from Bangkok to Pattaya is heavy and unpleasant, but after leaving Pattaya far behind, enjoyable riding starts again:




Wat Khao Din Chum Thong 12.81526,101.54476:


Koh Chang (Elephant Island)







Koh Chang is like Samui 20 years ago, and is now developing rapidly. The tourists tend to be older Europeans but there are retirees and meatheads as well.

Diving from Koh Chang was pleasant, and it was worth spending an extra day there to do it; however, the underwater visibility was not particularly good.



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Old 03-10-2014, 02:21 AM   #2
Falang OP
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Cambodia

Day 9: Koh Chang to Koh Kong (148 km / 90 mi in 4 hours)

Hat Lek border crossing:

I was through in 20 minutes. The visa in my passport (which I had purchased back in Singapore) was stamped and the motorcycle was ignored, the same as last time.

It was good to be back in Cambodia.

Look at how empty the roads are. I love it!

Koh Kong

I intended to stay at the Dugout again, photo from 2012:

But I found the Motobar at the same location:

John, the antipodean owner, retired and sold the business back to Cambodians. He moved a few km down the road. The new owners restored the original name and closed the attached restaurant and bar.

So this time I stayed at the Koh Kong City Hotel, awarded 1 star by the Cambodia Ministry of Tourism. $15 with air-conditioning and a peaceful river and bridge view:





Around Koh Kong with the Canon G12:













Hammocks are popular:




Espresso is coming to Koh Kong:

And prosperity is coming too:


Intravenous drip ... the child is probably suffering from severe diarrhea:


Damn, I really want to kiss you:



I'll pass, thank you!


Good riverfront dining and sunset views at Café Laurent, next to the City Hotel.



Day 10 and 11: Koh Kong to Sihanoukville (238 km / 150 mi in 4 hours)

Dawn. No traffic. Wonderful.








A bit of fog near the Boutum Sakor national park:


At a gas station I remembered to tape a cover over the headlight, because riding with the headlight on during the day is illegal and an open invitation to a police shakedown.


Sihanoukville

The Coolabah Hotel:

The Coolabah was $37 with air-conditioning. Since my last trip two years ago, when the place had an Aussie receptionist, the hotel has targeted the Russian market and has hired a Russian receptionist. The signs in the hotel are now in Russian and English. Russians are a very visible presence in Sihanoukville:



Happy Herb is still in business:


Around Sihanoukville:






Dive trip to Koh Rong Samloen:



A day and a lunch on a dive boat is always relaxing change from motorcycling, but, as at Koh Chang, the underwater visibility and sparse marine life was disappointing:


Behind the fishing boat, the Mirax Resort on Koh Dek Koul (it reminds me of Alcatraz). Rates are from $300 to $3500 per night (including breakfast):

It is owned by Russian exile Sergei Polonsky, now a Cambodian citizen. http://www.miraxresort.com/.

The sunset from the dive boat was spectacular.


Day 12: Sihanoukville to Kampot via Bokor (207 km / 130 mi in 5 hours)

Bokor Mountain

My Bokor Mountain GPS track on Google Earth:

The maximum elevation on the Bokor Hill road was 1100 m / 3600 ft. Cool, a break from the tropical weather. The original road to the hill station was built by the French a century ago in six years at the cost of a thousand lives, presumably none of those sacrificed were French.

Look at the twisties, the new pavement, and the absence of traffic. This 80 km round trip is surely one of the most motorcycle-friendly runs in Southeast Asia:




View of Kampot, from the summit:



The temple at the summit:




The new hotel, casino, and residences at the summit:



The original hill station, ruined by the Khmer Rouge:



At the foot of the mountain, a Type A gas station the way gas stations should be: a free cold drink from a smiling attendant:

This was the last day the bike looked clean. Other types of gas stations found in Cambodia and Laos are Type B, hand pumped from fuel drums:

And Type C, sold from glass bottles:

I bought fuel from Type B stations many times on this trip, but never from Type C. I was going so slow that my range was 50% farther than at expressway speeds. It is good to know those Type C stations are everywhere, though, should you get stuck.

Kampot




The Sela Vibol Guesthouse was $10 with fan, $20 with air-conditioning.


The litter-covered view from the hotel window:


House with Chinese characters for sale in English:




Kampot is a cheap and sleepy town for backpacker tourists:






Prosperity is coming soon:




Day 13 and 14: Kampot to Phnom Penh via Kep (191 km / 120 mi in 4.5 hours)

Good Morning, Kampot!




Kampot Prison and prison garden:



Kampot Primary School:


Kampot friendship monument ... with guns:


Today's track on Google Earth:

The road was about 1/3 gravel.

Highway to Kep:



Kep




As at Bokor, the government has big plans for Kep:


Kampong Trach





Highway to Phnom Penh:





If you have an accident, however minor, involving a local, a crowd will gather and you will have to pay, and pay, and pay:


Phnom Penh






Anti-corruption is big business in Cambodia:





Day 15: Phnom Penh to Kratie Along the Mekong via Kampong Cham (252 km / 160 mi in 8 hours)

Today's track on Google Earth:


The road was 80% dirt, my lowest average speed for the trip and the most technically difficult riding day, especially with Michelin Pilot Road street tires instead of dual-purpose tires (which are not available to fit R1100R wheels). I was rarely out of first and second gear all day. The road was actually worse than this in many places, but there was no way to stop safely to take a photo. Sometimes oncoming traffic produced white-out conditions, where visibility dropped to zero, like dense fog. I often rode with the four-way flashers on (because it is illegal to ride with the headlight on) and hoped that no one would run into the back of me.







Objects in mirrors are closer then they appear:



Prosperity is coming soon:




At last off the national highway at Kampong Cham and onto the quiet Mekong back road. Less dust, but a more difficult road surface:









Wat Peam Cheang at 12.10070,105.54848:












A piece of tissue after blowing my nose:

I hate to think what the air filter in the bike looks like.

Kratie








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Old 03-10-2014, 02:23 AM   #3
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Laos

Day 16: Kratie to Don Khong, Laos (236 km / 150 mi in 7 hours)

Good morning, Kratie!



Tourist and Cambodian ... who is happier?


Another child on an intravenous drip:


Today's route on Google Earth:

The route was 40% dirt, and on these stretches I was rarely out of first and second gear.




This motorcyclist was amazing. 15 mattresses on a scooter. For miles and miles on the national highway. I followed him, passed him to take photos, and followed him again.


When he came down from a bridge abutment, his front wheel lifted six inches and he brought it down under full control. He's a better rider than I am, Gunga Din.



One of the reasons I no longer have a Camelbak is so that I have to stop often and buy water from local stands, like this one:



I rarely pity people when I travel, but this woman touched me. Imaging the condition of her lungs, living in that Martian landscape.


Logging, Cambodian style:


Why don't we do it in the road?


Cassava drying on the road, a common and sweet-smelling sight:


A Type A and Type B station all in one:


While I was refueling I saw another long-distance touring motorcyclist. He rode by on a BMW GS without seeing me, even though I was waving. That is not surprising, given the intense focus on driving which is required. He was the only other touring rider I saw north of Bangkok during my trip, other than some Thai couples on Kawasaki Versys motorcycles just across the border into Laos, who stopped, talked to me, and took my photo. They were amazed anyone would take a trip like mine solo.

Veun Kham Cambodia-Laos Border Crossing

Immigration:


And Customs:


Unlike Cambodia, motorcycles are properly documented when entering Laos. Total crossing time was about one hour. Unfortunately, I was hit up for a $2 bribe "overtime fee" at immigration on both the Cambodian and the Laos sides. I suspect this is because the proportion of tourists crossing here as a percentage of the total traffic is high, hence the corruption. I have not had this minor but annoying problem at Hat Lek, Osmach, Pakxan, and Houei Xai.

Don Khong on Siphandon "Four Thousand Islands"









Don Khong attracts older tourists who wear Tilley Hats, socks in their sandals, and sensible tourist-shop clothes that they wouldn't dream of wearing at home:


Day 17: Don Khong to Tad Fane Falls on the Bolaven Plateau (192 km / 120 mi in 4.5 hours)

Today's route in Google Earth:

The maximum elevation I reached on the Bolaven plateau was 1000 m / 3300 ft. Comfortable and cool.

Good morning, Don Khong! Breakfast at dawn:



A loop around Don Khong island in the cool of the morning:





Who needs Touratech?


Wat Saen Nua at 14.09387,105.79443:


Muang Sen Secondary School:








It won't be long before the ferry is no longer required:



Highway to the Bolaven Plateau:




This lady had class. Pity about the rooster:


Tad Fane Falls from Tad Fane Resort:


How can you spot the biker's room?


Meet the Tad Fane coffee pot family:

The French bequeathed the Lao a wonderful coffee culture.

Day 18: Tad Fane Falls to Thakek (391 km / 240 mi in 7 hours)

Today's route in Google Earth:


The Bolaven Plateau is famous for coffee:



A half-kilo bag of coffee was the only souvenir I brought home from the ride.

View of Pakse from a Chinese temple:




Highway to Thakek:




Thakek

Sutthida Guest House:


The central square must have been elegant a century ago:


Cows at the Riveria (sic) Hotel:


Sunset over Nakhon Phanom:

Nakhon Phanom is Thakek's sister city on the other side of the Mekong, where I stayed two years ago on my previous ride.

It's hard to keep a biker's room tidy:


Day 19: Thakek to Kong Lor Cave (198 km / 120 mi in 4 hours)

Today's route in Google Earth:











Hin Poun Viewpoint at 18.17915,104.48477:



Generating and exporting hydroelectric power is a priority for Laos. Pylons are everywhere, as are dams under construction. Hydroelectric power even features on the 500 Kip banknote, worth about 6 US cents:




Kong Lor Cave










You hire a boatman to take you through in a longtail speedboat, a 15 km round trip. Except for one illuminated spot, the only lighting is the LED headlamps that everyone must wear. Recommended.

Kong Lor

It was 18C / 65F during the day and 14C / 55F at night. The room had no heating (or air-conditioning). Kong Lor village is rustic and it seems the government wants to keep it that way so the tourists can walk around, take pictures, and do village home-stays. The tourists here - and there were lots of them - were mainly young Lonely Planet gap-year types.

The last few km into the village were like this:

I was told that not long ago, the entire 40km back to Highway 8 was like this.

The Chantha House hotel on the right:


I did not have to ride across this bridge, but I watched several scooters ride across it:









Tobacco harvesting:




Tobacco dryers:



Electric rice thresher:


This villager's homestay business is expanding:


I still love you, darling.






Nightlife in Kong Lor:



Day 20: Kong Lor to Phonsavan (376 km / 230 mi in 8 hours)

Today's route in Google Earth:

The elevation reached 1200 m / 3900 ft, so it was pleasantly cool in places.




I would not want to hit either the piglet or the giant lump of dung.


"Bomb Boats" under Highway 8 at Thabak:


They are made from US bomber fuel pods (drop tanks) that survived their fall from the sky during the Vietnam War half a century ago.

Good riding:





Gas station, type B:









The lack of four-wheel traffic is a major attraction for bikers in Laos. The ride was wonderful, very little traffic, very little gravel, lots of natural scenery and curves ... but lots of livestock and potholes to watch out for.

Phonsavan



It was 14C / 55F at night. I wore all my clothes, including the filthy motorcycle jacket. I slept under two thick blankets, like camping in the hotel room.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:24 AM   #4
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Day 21, 22, 23: Phonsavan to Vang Vieng (267 km / 170 mi in 8 hours)

Today's route in Google Earth:

The road reached 1500 m / 4900 ft, the highest point on my trip. Wonderfully cool and comfortable.

Good morning, Phonsavan!




MIGs and cows at the airport:






What a great motorcycle highway:


But watch out for pigs:


... and potholes:
















Vang Vieng





Day 24: Vang Vieng to Vientiane via Nam Ngum Reservoir (220 km / 140 mi in 5.5 hours)

Today's route in Google Earth:






Vientiane

My bike meets the Laos GPS Mapper's bike, the one that was used to make most of the Laos GPS map:


Thailand (Southbound)

Day 25: Vientiane to Udon Thani (104 km / 60 mi in 2.5 hours)

Last fill-up in Laos:

The Lao Happy Toilet joins the Cambodia Happy Pizza and the Thai Happy Ending.

Udon Thani

The Irish Clock pub, next to the new Pannarai Hotel:


Kawasaki Versys promotion in the Udon Thani Centara Mall:


Another common sight in the malls of Isaan:


Day 26: Udon Thani to Phetchabun (367 km / 230 mi in 6.5 hours)



Viewpoint at 17.45388,101.49867:





Viewpoint at 17.50523,101.46271:

The maximum elevation on the road from Loei to Phetchabun was 900 m / 3000 ft.

Phetchabun

The layout of the Kosit Hill Hotel is like the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, and it is probably of about the same vintage:



Phetchabun itself is uninteresting:


Day 27: Phetchabun to Ayutthaya (341 km / 210 mi in 4 hours)

The highway south from Phetchabun is also uninteresting:


Ayutthaya






Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand before the Burmese sacked it and moved it to Bangkok, so it is rich in ruins like these:

Wat Phra Mahathat:






Wat Chaiwatthanaram:



Dual pricing - in Thai the price is 10 Baht (40 cents); in English the price is 50 Baht ($2).


Day 28: Ayutthaya to Hua Hin (275 km / 170 mi in 5 hours)

Thailand photos stop at this point as discussed under Travel Tips below.

Day 29: Hua Hin to Chumphon (280 km / 170 mi in 3.5 hours)

Day 30: Chumphon to Hat Yai (490 km / 300 mi in 6.5 hours)

Day 31: Hat Yai to Singapore (890 km / 550 km in 12.5 hours)

The North-South Expressway covered in acrid smoke blowing downwind from Indonesian plantation fires, a seasonal problem. On the day I rode south, the smoke covered half the country.

My eyes were red and burning by the time I got home.

Washing Cambodia off the riding suit in the bathtub at home:


Travel Tips

A major mistake this trip was to change antimalarials. On previous trips to Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar I took Malarone and had no problems with it. This trip I used Doxycycline, which is 1/20th the price, but after a week on it I started to feel slightly but constantly nauseous, lost my appetite, and started to feel lethargic. When you are burning high energy motorcycling in third-world conditions, or could run into problems requiring even more energy, this is a potentially dangerous problem. Originally I had planned to ride back via Cambodia on more back roads, re-entering at Osmach from Thailand, and to do some more scuba diving but the feeling of exhaustion at the end of every day made me change my mind; for safety's sake I rode straight home via Thailand, taking several days off my originally planned trip. Unlike Malarone, Doxycycline is an antibiotic and to be effective must be continued for four weeks after leaving the malarial area (which is all of Laos and much of Cambodia), and I'm looking forward to stopping it after six weeks on it in total. Next time, I will take Malarone again; it never made me feel ill.

An improvement on this trip was to upgrade the maps in my Garmin Oregon GPS. For Thailand I generally used the latest Garmin Citynavigator Southeast Asia Map. For Cambodia I used the latest Asia map from Open Street Maps http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/. For Laos I generally used the Laos map from Laos GPS Map http://www.laosgpsmap.com/. For both Thailand and Laos I used the Open Street Map as a backup; the Open Street Map is not copy-protected, so it is possible to load it into the GPS at the same time as a commercial map, and switch between one map and the other (using the Garmin Select Map function), in order to compare routes and map errors.

For some other tips and more photos (I tried not to duplicate photos between this and the previous ride report) please browse my 2012 Cambodia, Laos, Thailand ride report: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=940988
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:33 AM   #5
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Falang,

Your talent as a protographer provides a window through which to view daily life in a faraway region many readers will never have an opportunity to visit. Thank you for taking the time to share your journey.

.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:21 AM   #6
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Glorious.

Thank's for showing me these places. I hope to find the time to go and visit them myself one day.

Awaiting your next RR.
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:01 AM   #7
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Great!
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:31 AM   #8
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thanks for the report, I'm from Singapore and would love one day to make a trip like you did!
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:45 PM   #9
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Fabulous pix....my girlfriend owns property in Cambodia. Could be heading there in the fall.

cheers,
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:41 AM   #10
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Great pics and trip. I remember the traffic in Bangkok being really hectic and thick.
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Old 03-12-2014, 01:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acejones View Post
Great pics and trip. I remember the traffic in Bangkok being really hectic and thick.
You are right...I felt like I could walk across the tops of the sea of motorbikes here...
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Old 03-15-2014, 02:26 AM   #12
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As asked in a private message, the 31-day trip cost US$4,800, so about $150 a day, including everything spent on the trip including visas, fuel, hotels, food, drinks, and scuba diving, but not including bike servicing (so not including tires and normal maintenance on the bike at home before and after the trip). The previous Cambodia-Laos-Thailand trip in 2012 cost US$8,600 for 47 days, so about $180 a day. The daily cost was higher in 2012 because (1) the bike broke down so I was out of pocket a trucking charge and a return airfare and (2) I stayed in some expensive cities and hotels on that trip, notably in Bangkok for the bike repair and Chiang Mai to wait out Songkran (Thai New Year), during which it is dangerous to ride.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:05 PM   #13
Falang OP
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Joined: Nov 2013
Location: Singapore
Oddometer: 107
One more tip: If your bike burns some oil like mine, about a liter in 10,000 km / 6,000 mi, top up in Thailand before you enter Laos or bring a bottle of your favorite oil with you. I use Castrol synthetic motorcycle oil because that is what the official BMW dealer uses, and it is impossible to find it in Laos. It is very difficult to find it in Cambodia. Even in Thailand, only about one in ten motorcycle shops that sell Castrol motorcycle oil (which is most of them) sells the very expensive fully synthetic Castrol oil. Many do sell Castrol mineral motorcyle oil, which can be mixed with the Castrol synthetic oil if necessary. Many also sell Shell Helix and other brands of synthetic oil.

In Laos, fully synthetic Castol motorcycle oil is priced beyond the reach of the market and is considered by some a marketing failure. From "The Changing Face of Multinationals in South East Asia":
http://books.google.com.sg/books?id=...ailure&f=false
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:33 PM   #14
G.Man
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Great report. Thanks for all the photos. I'm inspired now!
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:23 AM   #15
TinyTim
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Location: Singapore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G.Man View Post
Great report. Thanks for all the photos. I'm inspired now!
+1 Yes. Great ride. Thanks again.
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