Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Thailand, not just nice beaches

I have to say it was with some relief that we got ourselves stamped into Thailand. With all the changes happening last year it was hard to know how it would work out, at times it looked like Thailand was going to be out of the question with new laws to do with foreign vehicles.

As it turned out our applications for temporary import of foreign vehicles was submitted just one week before the change to compulsory guiding which is now the only way in, very expensive and not really the way independent overlanders like to travel. With Myanmar already doing this it's now a major hurdle on the way through S E Asia.

Our Temp imports gave us 1 month which I thought would be sufficient, as it turned out there was a heap of great riding (on and off road) to be done in the far North up around Pai and of course some fairly unique and interesting beaches in the south meaning that we over stayed 1 day and got fined as a result, but hey it was worth it.

On entering Malaysia we decided not to get the Carnet Stamped, its optional at the land borders so why complicate things when you don't need to right? Well later I was to find out that when shipping out of Malaysia, not just shipping in you HAVE to have the carnet stamped. so this is not a great situation, There's lots of money riding on the carnet, everything has to be done right to retrieve the bond on the completion of the trip...a missing entry stamp could be a big problem.

I try to confirm that the document needs to stamped, I think about heading back to the border to see if I can get an entry stamp, and i contact the AA in NZ to see for sure what the consequences of no entry stamp mean. Turns out that no exit stamp could be a big problem but no entry should be ok as i have proof the bike has left. So with that advice i have a missing entry stamp, will have to wait and see what happens there.

The roads in Thailand are great for bikes, often narrow concrete slabs and often just straight up and down the hill....very steep and a lot of fun!

First night camping for a while, nice spot but to Nora's horror some nasty ants had a feeding frenzy on the floor of her tent and pretty much destroyed it!! Mine escaped with just half a dozen or so holes.

Heading for Pai in the distance and after alot of pavement riding we found some terrific dirt roads that had us smiling.

Trying to get to a road just a couple of k's over there somewhere!

Not sure if the big bike riders were too impressed with me for bringing them into here!!

Lots of concrete on the steeper sections of road

It was fun to check out this old Huey

Some nice obstacles out on a day ride from Pai

Johannes having some fun on the little Honda CRF 250 rental bike. There is some fantastic off road tracks here in the north of Thailand, the loamy soil being perfect for tearing around on

Lod Cave, not far from Pai

Found this awesome little spot in the hills to spend the night. It was on the edge of a corn plantation, I met the owner who was sorting some irrigation and although there was some difficulty communicating he was super friendly and let me sleep in his little shack up high on the hillside. Nice!!

and then later that day went from the country hills to Bangkok!!

In Krabi I'd arranged to have a parcel from NZ sent with a few Diabetic supplies and some parts to rebuild the forks and replace a worn shock bearing 

The beaches and limestone islands around Krabi are spectacular

...but also a very popular tourist location

In Penang, Malaysia. Time to say goodbye to Johannes and Nora, we'd ridden all the way from Kathmandu together and it was once again great to have some company. I was heading directly from Penang to Indonesia, Nora was to spend more time in Malaysia before heading over to Indonesia and Johannes was heading back to Thailand for a month. Thank you guys, I had a great time.

Heading over to the mainland on the ferry with Mr Lim to drop the bike off at the port

This is the "onion boat", one of just a few known ways of getting a motorcycle from Malaysia to Indonesia. It brought over 100 tons on veges, it is completely wooden hull!

Mr Lim was really awesome with the shipping, thanks Mr Lim!!

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