TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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One Night In Bangkok, Nah, Make That Three

Posted by TravellingStrom on February 24, 2013

I am jumping forward in time a bit here and will fill in what I have missed soon, I am sure I will have time one day πŸ˜‰

I was up early and grabbed some breakfast before packing and heading away from Sihnoukville, past the Golden Lions at the roundabout. I did not get far before I was pulled over by the coppers!!! Now, fairs fair I have been here a month and never been hassled by any officials(except the dude at Ankgor Wat) so I guess my turn had to come. The silly thing is both myself and the car went through the red traffic light and yet they singled me out??? Check this out:
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Ha ha, they wanted to book me for having my headlights on, don’t worry about the speeding nor the running of a red light(which I only did because the car did), they pick on a safety feature that lets me be seen??? Oh well, what the heck, I was let off, most times it costs a dollar. Now, just for the record, I haven’t experienced first hand, any corruption by any police or officials in this country, so although they may be silly about the traffic rules, they are just doing a job, badly mind you πŸ˜‰ OK, back to the road and although I wanted to head west, I needed to head back east and south to start with, then backtrack some of the main highway that leads to this tourist resort from Phnom Penh. My goal today was to get to the border point into Thailand then see where I am at in the afternoon. I was expecting this road to take quite a few hours as Clive and Christine had done this last week and it took them 5 hours. As I was cruising along I could see all the plantations along the side of the road, mostly palm type trees, and quite often I would see large fruit just sitting by the side of the road, really big, so I stopped next to a worker dude for a close up look.

These were the size of small watermelons, and what the chap was doing was using a knife on a long pole to harvest the ripe ones. He would walk down the row harvesting as he went and bring them to the edge of the road where later on I saw trucks picking them up. I saw a sign later saying palm oil factory, so I guess that is what was being produced πŸ™‚
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Once I finished the backtrack and headed west I started to run into road works, and as there was light rain falling, just enough to annoy you, do I keep my visor up or down, that was the question??? I had 150km from here to Kho Khong, the border town, and I hoped the rain was enough to drop the dust, but not turn the road to mud!! I crossed many many rivers, with a small village at every one, and I either had potholed pavement, or dirt roads being worked on!

Now, I saw a lot of this out here in the back country, but you also see it in town, station wagons or utes or whatever, packed like sardines with bodies and always a few hanging out the back. What gets me is, why were the cops back there stopping me for having lights on, but they did not care about the overloading of the cars and I wonder how many die after falling out?
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Suddenly the fun started, the road went through the hills along the coast, real nice to find some more twisties before leaving Cambodia πŸ™‚ But all too soon I arrived at my GPS point which was a large river crossing, I had assumed that here was the international border, but I was out by miles!!!

I asked some coppers sitting near the bridge and they said on the other side is immigration. Fair enough, now it had only taken me 3 hours to make it this far so I figured C&C were slow in the dirt(I found out later they just thought it felt like 5 hours πŸ˜‰ ) I went across this really really long causeway style bridge and just over the other side was a toll booth, no escaping this one, from memory less than a dollar, then onwards a few kms down the road I found the Thai/Cambodia border checkpoint at Cham Yeam GPS – N11.65051 E102.91029

Leaving here was easy peasy, They cancelled my visa and stamped me out. Now, remember I did not get ANY bike paperwork when I entered Cambodia, the border people up north just took a look at my rego papers and after handing it back, waved me through, real weird!!! C&C came in this border and had to use a carnet so who knows what rules are what in Cambodia, it seems to change between border posts and who is working that day and mood swings I guess πŸ˜‰ Anyway, there was a check point where the customs people were inspecting to make sure the paperwork was cancelled properly. They had a boom gate(a pole) so I rode over there and while they watched me, I rode around the pole and away??? They could not give a rats! I am still confused? I thought I had a video of this but cannot find it, maybe the battery ran out!

Only a short distance up the road is the Thai border point GPS – N11.65141 E102.90916 This border took a little longer to get processed. First off they wanted to process me backwards. Usually you go to immigration, get your visa and entry stamp then move onto customs and process your vehicle, well not here. They wanted me to go to customs first, but that window was empty, so I ended up getting my passport stamped, then going to customs, then going back to immigration with the customs form, then going back to customs because the dickhead wrote Austria not Australia and immigration would not accept it, then back to immigration with the new form and finally I get a 15 day entry to Thailand, phew I am knackered after all that!!!

As soon as I left here the road turned absolutely beautiful πŸ™‚ Smooth, 2 lanes, curves and hills, a pleasure to ride πŸ™‚

Not long after this I came to the thinnest bit of Thailand, not much to spruike about really, but there was a marker πŸ™‚

I was a bit confused by the map, because on the west side the tide was right in and not much land showing, maybe the east does not like the west πŸ˜‰ So I rode a bit further on, C&C had given me a tip on a place to stay near here, in case it was a rough crossing, well I could not find it, but went through the small town and had some lunch at a shop, a nice prawn dish πŸ™‚

This whole town stunk actually so I was not really interested in staying here. If you have ever smelt prawns drying in the sun, that is what it smelt like, very overpowering. But they were drying them for later consumption, so I guess they must be ok, yech!!! I did actually find the bungalows when I left town but when I stopped and asked about WiFi they said no. That decided me, I had been nearly 10- days without a decent connection and as you know, the blog suffered, I end up not caring if it is too slow. So, I headed on north, no real destination in mind for the day, but see where it takes me, just riding the nice roads and looking at the weird and wonderful sights

Once I had fuelled up again I actually looked at the clock and looked at the distance to Bangkok and thought, why not make a run for the capital? The speed on the highway was quite good, I was about 3 hours or so out at about 3pm, so I figured, if I see something along the way that looks nice I will stop, but the place I had been told about had its attractions, especially the internet speed πŸ™‚ So, I rode on, and on and on and at about 100km out I became involved in the toll system. Now, motorbikes are not allowed on the toll roads in Bangkok, I knew that, but I never saw a sign out this way about that at all. I came to the first booth before I knew it and kept to the left and ‘just happened’ to be on the outside of a truck as it went through the gate πŸ˜‰

So, I got away from there and could now sit on the 110kmh which was real nice to do it legal like πŸ˜‰ After about 30km or so I arrived at another toll booth, I once again stuck to the outside lane and tried the same trick, but this one was guarded by the police 😦 As I got closer I was sure I was going to be turned around, but the supervisor in a different lane asked my guard what the story was(on his radio), all I heard was the word Falang, which means foreigner and he never even tried to stop me, well that was real cool, so I just rode around the gate πŸ™‚
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Well, the next toll both was about 40km in and real close to my destination. As you can see from the last one it is getting dark and the chap at this one came out and told me I had to go back(like heck I was). After a bit of back and forth, me explaining I was allowed through, him saying bikes not allowed, I agreed to go through and go see the police(like heck I would) and on that note I managed to get right to the centre of Bangkok. In fact my exit ramp was 1.5km from the toll booth πŸ™‚ Of course, once I was on the street system I hit gridlock but eventually arrived at my lodgings, and the GPS took me right to the front door, how nice for a change in a big city πŸ™‚

Yep, you got it, my place of abode was called the Sea of Love GPS – N13.76612 E100.56209 I had been told about this by a fellow biker called Moritz Alexy, we met up in Bangkok last time I was here(when I first arrived) and also in Chiang Mai for the HU meet. I must say I was impressed, pretty central to everything, $15/night, but I had to pay for WiFi(it was high speed though), and a large room but the best part was bike security, 24 hr guards here. So I checked in for a few nights and then wandered down the street looking for a feed. I found a nice bar and had some tucker and a few beers but I was really tired, so I did not stay long. It was a bar run by a Brit and they had a mix of Thai and Falang food.

So, for me a long day, I had done over 650km in 11 hours, a bit longer than it would take me to get from home to Brisbane, and the same distance, but now I had a few days wait until Neil flew in. I also had no idea if the camera I was waiting on would arrive at his place before he flew here. My Drift HD170 camera was failing again, they sent a replacement to Neil’s place (in London)a few days ago under warranty, but the only thing that arrived was a battery. But the shipping docket said that was all that was sent, somebody stuffed up, but Drift sent another by courier, hopefully I will get that one.

Cheers from Bangkok
TravellingStrom

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