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Koh Chang  28th July 2011

Quick update. Taking a few days off from riding and staying on the beach on Koh Chang. It’s off season here so pretty quiet which suits me fine.
Onky about 400 kms left to ride this weekend then I’ll ship the bike home and make my own way back on a plane … boo hooo!
Meeting an old mate who I haven’t seen in a while in Bangkok and hopefully will be catching up with my cousin and her husband who are relocating to Bangkok next week. Should be a good last few days.
Will post some more pics later

Chonburi, Pattaya and Rayong  26th July 2011

Hi all! Just a quick update. Apologies to everyone who has emailed, I’ve had email problems but will reply ASAP.
After leaving the Cambodia border & a good night’s kip I headed towards Chonburi & Pattaya.
Another great days riding was followed by a proper drunken night out eating loads of fish, drinking with two very sexy young Thai girls in The Blue Sky bar home to one of the best covers bands I’ve ever seen, doing everything from George Michael to Rammstein! Careless Whisper one minute to Ich Will the next! ‘kin brilliant.
Woke up the next morning in The Nag’s Head (no sign of Dave the landlord) with a shocker of a hangover to find my jeans covered in girls names written in biro. Don’t ask why as I don’t recall.
Had a lie in then headed off to meet Peter Coates at the Triumph factory. It’s huge! Spent a couple of hours being shown around by Peter before meeting the QC team who were keen to check out what 16,000 kms on some of the worst (and best roads) between London and Bangkok does to the new Tiger. Thanks to Peter, Andrea and Dave Lilley for organising the visit. Genuine thrill to see it all close up …. Oh, Mr. Bloor, if you are reading this, if you ever have any jobs going down here I’m up for it! 🙂 I’ll send you my CV as soon as I get back.
Currently sitting on the beach In Rayong eating fish, crab and fried rice after another sun drenched ride south. Did I mention I don’t want to go home.
Songs of the last two days…
Ich Will by Rammstein
Dirty Love by Thunder

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Phitsanulok to Choburi via Cambodia  24th July 2011

Phitsanulok was lively. Found a good hotel near the river which was right opposite a lively and nosiy night market so spent the evening wandering round the market and eating. Early night for an early start.

London to Bangkok by motorbike

Almost there ... but Cambodia first

I got about 200 kms south of Bangkok and figured I’d change the plan and head for the Cambodia border to see if I could get my visa extension today. I was making good time so figured I could get there by 5 which meant the border would still be open.

At the border I met Mr. Rady, a Cambodian entrepreneur, who for a small fee, guaranteed me a visa renewal within 40 minutes, so I gave him a  go. One of his

VIP Visa at Thai Cambodia Border

Mr. Rady, true to his word turned me around in 40 minutes

lads kept an eye on my bike and kit in the car park, one did the paperwork on the Thai side and another did the do on the Cambodian side while I sat in the shade and took a breather. True to his word 40 minutes later I was back on the bike and heading towards Chonburi. He saved me an afternoon’s messing about in the heat. If anyone wants his contact details, let me know and I can pass on his number.

Should make Choburi by lunchtine tomorrow and find a pool, some shorts and a good book for the rest of the day.

Cheeky bird enjoying someone else's lunch

Heading South  23rd July 2011

After another late night drinking with the 2 Phils, I loaded up the bike to start making my way to Chon Buri and the Triumph factory. Feeling as rough as a big sweaty rough thing.

I’ll head for Phitsanulok for the night (an alcohol free night and an early night).

The road is mainly 2 lane highway all the way so I hold a steady 120k all the way. Sun’s out, no rain all day. Big smile on my face.

Reclining Buddha near Phrae

Reclining Buddha near Phrae

What a day!  23rd July 2011

Yesterday was a cracking day. Once I’d shaken off the hangover, I jumped on the bike to see more of the countryside  around Chiang Mai. Truly a beautiful place.  The national parks are amazing, the wildlife so diverse and the riding is the best yet on this trip.

On Phil’s advice I took way os known locally as the Samoen Loop and took in the

Tigers Chiang Mai

This little fella jumped straight into my lap and wanted to play. Tigers in Chiang Mai

Tiger sanctuary which was scarey experience, but loved being in with the cats, and the elelphant camp which included an elephant ride up to the village of the long neck women. The old addage that says you can’t get an an animal to do something they don’t want to do defintely applies here. When big Billy the elephant (my ride) decides he wants to stop to eat, you just have to wait. And when he wants to pee … it’s like listening to Niagara Falls!

 

Spent the rest of the day riding the Samoen Loop before heading back to Rider’s Corner and another evening talking bikes and beer with everyone in the bar.

I really, really, really don’t want to go home!

Tigers in Chiang Mai

This big boy is only 21 months old and already weights 170 kilos. They expect him to grow to double that weight by the time he is 5.

 

 

Song of the day – Just Like Paradise – David Lee Roth

Elephant Camo, Chiang Mai

Elephant Camo, Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Tigers

How amazing is this?

Last day in Chiang Mai  22nd July 2011

Feeling very rough after a heavy night drinking with Phil & Dylan, two Canadian riders fron Medicine Hat.
The bike is back after being cleaned & serviced by Britbike, the local Triumph dealers. Great job.

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Hanging Out In Chiang Mai  20th July 2011

Fat Lad Gets To Rider's Corner, Chiang Mai

Fat Lad Gets To Rider's Corner, Chiang Mai

 

 

Mohan, Boten, Chiang Khan, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai  19th July 2011

Just arrived at Riders Corner in Chiang Mai

Am currently sitting with an ice cold beer and steak for lunch at Rider’s Corner in Chiang Mai run by Phil and his wife. Great food, great company, cold beer, great music, comfortable room, bike mechanic, Triumph dealer and service centre next door. What more could I need? Even if you’re not a biker come and stay here next time you’re in Chiang Mai. Love it. And Journey on the juke box!

Here’s the story of the last few days …

Got to the China/Laos border at Mohan without any problem. Mostly express highway all the way – getting shouted at by the toll gate guards everytime, but I just lift the front of my helmet so they can see I’m just an idiot tourist, I grin like a mad fool and shout “lovely to meet you too” – that seems to work most of the time. On the odd occasion it doesn’t work, I load the bike onto the back of a pick up, hide in the back then a mile down the road, drop it off the back and ride on. Nice.

So, Mohan. Stange new town that looks like it was all built a week last wednesday. Everything is wet so I do my best to dry everything out to no avail. It’s about 90% humidity so no chance.

A final dinner with Mad Frankie Fan and Geordie Sh, more donkey cock vodka, beer and apricot vodka.

Mohan to Laos

Mad Frankie Fan, Philthy Phil and Geordie Sh ... F Troop or The Dream Team?

Next morning (July 18th) breakfast is very subdued. I’m really feeling sad about leaving China and parting company with “the lads”. We’ve had a real laugh, even on the days that were crap, we still ended up in a restuarant somewhere eating drinking and laughing. Good times.

The weather is foul again so I decide to take the advice I’ve been given and take the short route through Laos as I’m told some bridges and roads have been washed away in floods, so Vientienane will have to wait until next year. It’s a shame as Laos is beautiful. I follow route 3 and 3A. The road is good (some rough patches), and the rain stops to reveal the scenery. Stunning.

Laos Countryside

On the road to the Mekong and Chiang Khong

A few hours later I’m at the border crossing over the Mekong which is a rusty barge/ferry full of trucks and me and the Tiger. Like a berk I managed to drop the bike on a slippery hill leading to the ferry slip road. Interestingly none of the dozens of westerners came to help, only the locals. Had a long chat to a Chinese trucker who spoke good English. He’d seen me about 200kms before the China/Laos border taking a pee!

Ferry Cross The Mekong (say this in a Scouse accent)

Only takes an hour to check out from Laos and to enter Thailand at Chiang Khong. As always the customs and immigration people are very friendly and helpful.

And in no time I’m heading for my first overnight stop in Thailand. The Triumph Tiger’s loving these roads and so am I. It’s weird, I’ve only been to Thailand once before on a two week holiday and very nearly stayed. This time it feels a little like I’m coming home. Odd?

The Red Rose Hotel

The Red Rose Hotel, Chiang Mai, Disneyland on drugs

On the advice of Steve who lives in Pattaya I headed for The Red Rose Hotel in Chiang Rai. This place has to be seen to believed, it’s Disneyland on drugs! I get the Star Wars suite and it is just like spending a night on a space ship! All for £10/night.

Regular readers will alreadt know, I love my food, and I love Thai food, so I head straight from the Death Star to a local restaurant for Tom Kar Kai soup, seafish and fried rice and half a dozen Singhas. Song of the day – If God Was A Woman – Ritchie Sambora.

19th July – up early and leave the USS Enterprise to head to Chiang Mai. Again the roads are superb. The weather’s perfect, dry and a little overcast so it’s warm but not hot. Hardly any traffic. I’m heading for Riders Corner in Chiang Mai to meet up with Phil who has given me loads of useful advice and help while I was planning this trip. As luck would have it a new Triumph dealer and service centre has opened up next door … which is timely as this morning both the front forks started leaking oil and need new seals and there’s a horrible knocking sound coming from the back end, so it’s straight in tomorrow morning for a full service and repairs.

Going to spend a few days here doing some short rides before heading south towards Bangkok and the coast. Don’t want to come home, just want to keep riding round Thailand.

Today’s song – Keep On Runnin’ – Journey

Kunming to Pu'er  16th July 2011

Yunnan Province seems to be a lost more laid back then elesewehere in China. I blagged my way on to the Express Highway again and no one seems bothered. I even got a tug from the old bill an hour from Pu’er and all he was really interested in was checking to see my paperwork was in order.

I crossed the Tropic of Cancer half way to Pu’er and suddenly the weather and scenery has become much more tropical … including the intense rain showers.

Observatory on the tropic of cancer on the road to Pu'er

I also crossed what claims to be the world’s highest bridge. Will find out more later. In the meantime here’s a picture.

The world's highest bridge?

Hanging out in Kunming  15th July 2011

A lie in this morning. Luxury. My room is on the 2oth floor of a very strange hotel. Great views of the city, but the bathroom lights don’t work and the bog’s blocked! Sod it, I’m off into town.

The gardens leading up to the Taoist temple in Kunming

Mad Frankie Fan decides we need to climb yet another mountain first to see another temple. This time though it is Taoist not Buddist.

Just what my knees and thighs need after the last too days, but I’m happy to go with the flow and the park that leads up to the temple is lovely and quiet so a nice easy morning.

Kunming is huge and expanding at a rate of knots. It’s noisy, polluted and the traffic is mental but I like the place.

I spend the afternoon wandering round the shops with Frankie (all the big brands are here including B and Q!). Frankie fancies KFC for lunch so to my eternal shame I agree. I’ve counted at least 6 KFC outlets and they are all mobbed. Bloody shame. Globalisation! No one is immune to it.

Downtown Kunming

Later we collect Geordie Sh and head for dinner. We find a restuarant that is run by people from Geordie’s home town in NE China, a place called Harbin so we dine on Harbin specialities including a type of black pudding and a pork and cabbage stew that reminds me a lot if good old Irish boiled beef and cabbage. Great grub.