Eastern Thailand Ride 2015

Eastern Thailand Ride 2015

This was a ride organised for couples to go on a tour to the Eastern provinces of Thailand. For this ride Udin Sudman and partner accompanied me and my wife on our trip. It was just two couples on two bikes going for a 10-12 days ride. We had planned for this ride for around 2 to 3 months. We had factored in the long hours in the saddle and also the comfort of our wives who would be following us. Hence we took a different approach this time and decided to train up from Hatyai to Bangkok and start riding from Bangkok to the eastern provinces. On the way back we also chose to head into Bangkok for the wives to do some shopping and for a choice of flying back home to Singapore on a flight (4 hour flight home from Bangkok to Singapore) instead of riding down with us. That would save them some time and cut down the fatigue of travelling.

The Couples on this ride

Red Baron & Wife

Udin Sudman & Partner

Pre Trip Preparation

The preparation for this trip begins about 3 months in advance finalising our routes and places that we wanted to visit. We also came up with a sticker to immortalise our ride as well as a Tshirt design that we plan to print at the end of our ride to commemorate this trip. A few meetups prior to the trip was arranged so that we could make sure that whatever that works was planned would be alright with the wives and arrangement were made along the way.

Eastern Thailand Ride 2015

Day 1 - 6th June 2015

GP - Hatyai - Bangkok

(880km) (By Train)

Riode off from Gelang Patah at midnight and hope to hit the border by early morning. We do have a train to catch in the morning.

The ride started off well making good time by reaching Sadao (Thailand) border by 8am. Cleared through both Malaysia and Thaialand Immigration and cCstoms and we rode straight to Hatyai Railway station at 10am. We managed to secure 4 sets of First class tickets for ourselves and settled our cargo (bikes) to be shipped to Bangkok on the cargo train. Once all that was settled we changed into comfortable clothes after a shower at the railway station and since we had time to spare, we decided to roam around Hatyai town.

We spent time walking around Hatyai shopping, lunch and even had time for massage. Chilling over coffee at Starbucks till it was time to get back to the railway station.

Another round of washing up and toilet breaks. Waited and observed our cargo being loaded up onto the train. Was dropped a bomb that one of the bikes will be travelling on a later train as our train's cargo carriage was full. Nothing can be done about that as cargo was quite full for the day. We do however feel lucky that the bikes can be shipped on the same day. Making good time, securing all the booking in time all adds up to nothing with the train delay and cargo delay (travelling in the next train).

Hua Lamphong (BKK) awaits us. Got to make up for lost time tomorrow. For now we take a good rest on this overnight sleeper train.

Trainlander moves into Overlander gear tomorrow.

Rode 880km through the night

Singapore - Hatyai

Overnight Train from Hatyai to Bangkok

Estern Thailand Roide 2015

Day 2

Good morning from Hua Hin.

Enroute to Bangkok

Arrived in Bangkok at around 11am in the morning.

We now have to wait for the arrival of the second bike. AS there were delays to the train system from yesterday, we are looking at an estimate of another 3 hours for the next train to arrived from Hatyai...hopefully with my bike on it. So with 3hours to burn, I decided to bring Udin n the rest to MBK in Siam Centre for lunch and walking around. Hua Lamphong station is within 5km to Ma Bung Kong, a famous shopping mall in the old days with plenty of stuff on sale ranging from electronic goods, local products and knock off branded wear. We hired a tuk-tuk (motorcycle taxi) to get ius through Bangkok traffic to MBK.

We went back to the Hua Lamphong Train station and picked up both bikes. My bike was already there at the cargo bay waiting to be collected. We suited up and start making our way out of Bangkok. Riding big bikes in Bangkok can be a hassle due to Bangkok traffic. First we had to navigate our way out of Bangkok Town. Due to us being late, we decided to make up for lost time by taking the Motorway out of Bangkok. Do take note that motorcycles are not allowed on paid motorway in Bangkok (Expressways). However it was the fastest way out of Bangkok where traffic would be flowy and drivers can drive at higher speeds. It would definitely make up for lost time.

High speed chase

Twice went by highway, twice got stopped by police and escorted out. We did not dare try a third time.

3 hours to go to Khon Kaen. Plans all shift back due to arrival of bike at Hua Lamphong train station.

Eastern Thailand Ride 2015

Day 2 (Continued)

Hua Lamphong (BKK) - Khon Kaen

Due to my bike not being able to load onto the same train as ours, we proceeded with the earlier scheduled train and had to wait the arrival of my bike on the next avail train.

Train ride provided a great rest time and much needed sleep. Woke up and felt fresh but received the sad news of our fellow friends and pupils of TKPS in Kinabalu Sabah. Really had my mind on it throughout the day. It could have been any of us teachers and our pupils. What would we have done in that situation. Teachers sacrificed their time, energy and blood and sweat for our pupils but yet we are often unappreciated and looked down upon by parenta who think they are much "better" than us. Is it worth our while? The whole thinking game kept playing thru my mind throughout the ride. Luckily I jad my wife with me to share my thoughts.

Spent 2 hours getting out Bangkok. Twice on purpose went into the highway of which bikes are not allowed through. And twice got stopped by police and escorted out. No fines thank god. At least we covered some distances on the highway.

As usual made a few Amazon Coffee stops. One of those time, tried their strawberry smoothies. It was great.

Decided to head for Khon Kaen for the night and make an early day out tomorrow to cover back the places that we had planned to go today but was unable to because of the train schedule.

Adventure riding teaches us to be flexible so we had to replan our schedule. This should help us to get back on track. Arrived in Khon Kaen at 11pm at night and bought sone groceries and tv dinners from our friendly 7-11.

Pushing to cover the distance. We were prepared to ride intp the night to get back on schedule due to late departure from Bangkok

Good morning shout out from Udin Sudman

The Eastern Thailannd Ride 2015

Day 3

Khon Kaen - Chaiyaphum - Ubon Ratchatani

This is Day 3 of our Eastern Thai Ride. We shall be making a loop down the Isaan province through Chaiyaphum- Maha Sarakam and towards Ubon Ratchatani. Along the way we hope to stop by some places of interest to check out the sights and things on display. We shall be goping to the Phu Wiang Dinosaur musuem and then to The Stonehenge of Thailand for today if all goes according to plan.

Good Morning Khon Kaen.

Khon Kaen (Thai: ขอนแก่น, pronounced [kʰɔ̌ːn kɛ̀n] or [kʰɔ̌n kɛ̀n]) is one of the four major cities of Isan, Thailand, also known as the "Big 4 of Isan", the others being Udon Thani, Khorat, and Ubon Ratchathani. It is also the capital of Khon Kaen Province and the Khon Kaen District.

Khon Kaen is a regional center for education, financial institutions, government offices and transportation. The city is also an industrial center, especially for the region's silk trade, as well as an agricultural hub.[1][2] Khon Kaen has played host to a number of regional conferences, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum and United Nations meetings.[3] The Lao People's Democratic Republic maintains the office of Consulate-General on Phothisan Road.

Khon Kaen is one of the major cities in Thailand's National Economic and Social Plan, along with Chiang Mai, Songkhla, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Chonburi. It is the home of Rajamangala University and Khon Kaen University—the largest university in the northeast, with a student population of around 25,000.[citation needed]

Strategically important for the Isan region's infrastructure, Khon Kaen Airport was raised to international standards in 2005, with the opening of a new terminal. However, despite efforts to expand services, as of November 2014, only 5 airlines (Thai Airways, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, and Kan Air) use the airport. Thai Airways operate two flights a day to Bangkok (BKK–Suvarnabhumi) and Air Asia (Thai Air Asia) serves Bangkok (DMK–Don Mueang) with four flights a day. Nok Air serves Bangkok (DMK) with three flights a day. Thai Smile flys to Bangkok (DMK) three times a day. Kan Air flys to Chiang Mai only on Saturdays.[4]

The city is bisected by Mithraphap Road, also known as "Friendship Highway", or "Highway 2", the road linking Bangkok to the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. A modern, multi-lane by-pass enables through-traffic to avoid the city centre to the west, and connects to the airport and to the main roads to Kalasin and Mahasarakham in the east, and Udon Thani in the north.[citation needed]

The city can be easily navigated by driving along either of the two north-south main roads: Na Muang and Klang Muang, which are east and parallel to the Friendship Highway. In addition, there are two main east-west roads: Srichan Road and Prachasamosorn Road, leading east to the city of Kalasin, and west to the airport, as well as to other small villages

Phu Wiang Dinosaur Musuem

Excitement coursed through Thailand's archaeological circles back in July, when the fossilised remains of a new species of carnivorous dinosaur, Phuwiang venator yaenniyomi, were unearthed in Khon Kaen. The dinosaur was named after the Phu Wiang National Park, where its fossils were located. The discovery was only the tenth new species of dinosaur fossil native to Thailand that has been unearthed -- and the fifth to be dug out in Khon Kaen. In terms of its physical make-up, Phuwiang venator yaenniyomi stands out from other dinosaurs whose fossilised remains have been found in Thailand to date. The fossil, which is made up of the dinosaur's lower vertebrae, a hip bone, and a set of feet and claws, measures about six metres long.

Experts say that Phu Wiang National Park was home to at least four different dinosaur species. The first fossil discovery in the park was in 1976 -- and ever since then, the park has become one of the country's main centres for education about dinosaurs. Archaeologists have confirmed that the Phu Wiang mountain range was formed alongside the Korat Plateau -- in a process which began at the start of the Carboniferous geological period between 360-300 million years ago and ended at the beginning of the Permian Period, which ended in the largest mass extinction event known to date some 299 million years ago. During this formative period, the shifting of the earth's tectonic plates created "basins" which became filled with sediment -- and one of them is the Korat Basin. The discovery of five fossils in this basin was enough reason for the authorities in Khon Kaen to start working on getting Phu Wiang National Park honoured as an Unesco Global Geopark

The Stonehenge of Thailand

Mo Hin Khao is another attraction with a natural beauty no inferior to Chaiyaphum's Siam Tulip Field. Mo Hin Khao is located in Phu Laenkha National Park in Ban Wang Kham Khan, Moo 9, Tha Hin Tambon Ngoam, Amphoe Muang, Chaiyaphum. Originally, the area was covered with forests, which was later changed to plantation. People saw that there were some large rocks in the cassava plantation (at that time) but were not interested. However, some said there are five extraordinary rocks from which a white light would appear during Buddhist Sabbath nights (full moon, 8th day of waxing moon, 8th day and 15th day of waxing moon). Accordingly, the place was called Mor Hin Khao, the Stonehenge of Thailand.

Most rocks at Mor Hin Khao are white sandstone, while some contains siltstone, mudstone and purple sandstone. During winter, tourists can admire not only these beautiful stone sculptures created by nature, but also blossoms of wild flowers scattering all over the place. The splendid scenery will definitely charm any visitor of Mor Hin Khao, leaving him or her with ever-last impressive memories. In addition, the place was also selected to be a film location of The Legend of King Naresuan. Mor Hin Khao is another challenging destination for campers. There are several groups of rocks here. First is "Sao Hin Ha Ton" (Five Rock Pillars). The rocks are around 12 metres tall, one of which is large enough for twenty-two people to hold. These five rocks are the most remarkable rocks which are the highlight of Mor Hin Khao. Next to the five rocks is a camping area. Toilets are available here. There is a path other rock groups and a viewpoint. Hin Chedi Klong Chang is 650 metres away, Lan Hin Ton Sai 900 metres away, Suan Hin Lan Pi 1,250 metres away, while Pha Hua Nak Viewpoint is 2,500 metres away. The second rock group, "Dong Hin," is located 500 metres from the first. This group is comprised of many strange-shaped rocks, such as those which look like chedi, turtle sheel and boot. From here, it is possible to travel up to see the panorama of Mor Hin Khao. In short, the attraction is great for travellers who love camping among nature.

Along the way, we stopped for lunch at one of the themed family owned resorts in Chaiyaphum. It was a sorching hot day and riding in the Central of Thailand is no joke, The sun is the hottest and dry around the Isaan Plateau.

Cutting across the Isaan Plateau

For the ride today we will be cutting through the centre of Isaan Plateau to head eastward to the easternmost province of Thailand, Ubon Ratchatani. As we did some site visiting we were prepared to ride about 2 hours after sundown to be able to reach our destination.

We made it safely... Ubon Ratchatani, will be staying here overnight & early morning move off to Grand Canyon of Thailand (Laos Border) & ride up to Khao Yai...! Let's shower & "jalan2 cari makan" (walk in search of food).

Eastern Thailand Ride 2015

Day 4

Ubon Ratchatani - Khao Yai


We are making an early trip out this morning at 5am...before sunrise. We hope to be able to catch the sunrise on the easternmost p[rovince in Thailand over at one of its attraction, "The Grand Canyon of Thailand". We had also pack all our stuff onto the bike as we shall be making our way down towards Khao Yai in Nakhon Ratchasima Province. As usual there will be some stops along the wauy for us to enjoy a bitof the scenery as well as history.

Sam Phan Bok (Thailand Grand Canyon)

“Sam Phan Bok”, is a canyon by the Mekong River. When you first get to Sam Phan Bok, you can’t help but think of “The Grand Canyon” in Arizona, USA. Although they look nothing alike, the similar rock formation of the Grand Canyon and Sam Phan Bok is the reason why the catchphrase of Sam Phan Bok is “The Grand Canyon of Siam, Sam Phan Bok of Ubon”. However, this is not what makes Sam Phan Bok a natural wonder. Take a look at the pictures to see what im talking about.

Sam Phan Bok is located in Ban Phong Pao, Moo 4, Lao Ngam sub-district, Pho Sai district, Ubon Ratchathani. This tourist attraction can only be visited during the drought season. This is because the canyon itself is under the Mekong River. When the rains come, the Mekong rises and covers this entire area.

Was really impressed with my riding partner, Udin Sudman and both our wives. Kudos to them. Initially I was very worried last night about todays ride. We had to cover 800++ km of trunk roads for todays itinerary to catch up on lost time on the first day. We had been playing catch up since day 1. Now at day 4 we are back on schedule.

Our ride took us 15 hours, departing our hotel in Ubon Ratchatani at 5am and we made our way to the Mekong river that seperates Thailand and Laos. Only thing was that the Mekong that we went to was experiencing dry season. Just what i wanted. Had planned to visit this place for over a year now, Sam Phan Bok, "Grand Canyon of Thailand". It was trully beautiful. A miniature of the grand canyon of Arizona.

From there we back track back to Ubon and made our way downwards using the roads that wind its way along the Thailand border with its neighbours, Laos and then Cambodia. We passed by the Thai- Laos Friendship bridge and then the Thai-Cambodia border at O'Smach.

Phanom Rung Historical Park

This is a grand and majestic Khmer site over a thousand years old. Built on an extinct volcano, it is originally a Hindu religious site and later became a Buddhist one. During the 15th-18th Buddhist century, several additions were made.

Phanom Rung Historical Park or Prasat Hin Phanon Rung is a key location in Buriram, Thailand. It has many important archaeological sites, which are located at the top of an extinguished volcano 350 meters above seal level. On this now dormant Volcano you will see incredible Khmer architecture, which is assumed to have been built in the 15th-18th Buddhist century. Here you can marvel at the giant stairways of red stone and sandstone. The long story of Prasat Hin Phanom Rung is part of Thailand history.

We cant resist and decided not to skip Phanom Rung although all of us were tired, hot and sweaty. It was a magnificient sight. It has to be. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Arrived at the hotel, riding through one hour of darkness. Did a little bit of offroad to get to the hotel in pitch darkness. Thank god for the extra fog lights installed. Tomorrow I declare a Non-riding day in Khao Yai, Thailand first UNESCO World heritage site. Let us pamper ourselves and our missus at Romantic Resort and Spa Khao Yai.

A good retreat at the end of our exploration.

Eastern Thailand Ride

Day 5

Khao Yai

Good Morning Khao Yai.

Khao Yai National Park was then established on September 18, 1962, declared by royal proclamation in the Government Gazette (Book 79, Section 89) as the first national park in Thailand. A major role in its establishment was played by Boonsong Lekakul, one of the 20th century's most famous Thai conservationists. It was named after the defunct tambon, Khao Yai.

In 1984 the park was made an ASEAN Heritage Park, and on July 14, 2005 the park, together with other parks in the same range and in the Dong Phaya Yen Mountains further north, was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name "Dong Phaya Yen–Khao Yai Forest Complex".

View from our room

Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai National Park is in the western part of the Sankamphaeng Mountain Range, at the southwestern boundary of the Khorat Plateau. The highest mountain in the area of the park is 1,351 m high Khao Rom.

This park lies largely in Nakhon Ratchasima Province (Khorat), but also includes parts of Saraburi, Prachinburi, and Nakhon Nayok Provinces.

The park is the third largest in Thailand. It covers an area of 300 square kilometers, including evergreen forests and grasslands. Its altitude mostly ranges from 400–1,000 m above sea level. There are 3,000 species of plants, 320 species of birds like red junglefowl and coral-billed ground cuckoo, and 66 species of mammals, including Asian black bear, Asian elephant, gaur, gibbon, Indian sambar deer, pig-tailed macaque,[disambiguation needed] Indian muntjac, dhole, and wild pig. Although evidence of tiger presence has not been recorded recently, monitoring by Freeland Foundation in collaboration with Department of National Park rangers has discovered tigers (the Indochinese tiger subspecies) in other parts of eastern Thailand where they were previously thought to have been completely extirpated.[1] Its waterfalls include the 80 metre Heo Narok, and Heo Suwat made famous from the film The Beach. Namtok Sarika is popular with the Thais.

Recent wildlife studies show that animal ranges, particularly the few resident tigers, are impacted by human activity near the center of the park. This study has not deflected the government's call for private lodging concessions within the park itself.

Haew Narok Waterfall

Haew Su Wat Waterfall

It was a dry season so the water flowing at the waterfall was at a minimum level..Do come during the rainy season where you can see waster gushing down the waterfall in its full extent.

We headed out to the Khao Yai National Park HQ to look through its displays

Out of the park by lunch time, we headed to a Cowboy restaurant for lunch. There are many themed hotel, eateries, cafe around this area. We roamed around the area checking out the beautifully built plazas, and buildings and then went looking for a nice Thai massage to pamper ourselves.

Eastern Thailand Ride 2015

Day 6

Khao Yai - Bangkok

A short ride today from Khao Yai to Bangkok. Today also mark the earliest check in for the trip.We checked into Ibis hotel at 12.30pm. partly because the wife will be flying back to Singapore today. Therefore we ride ahead of time to ensure that there is time for washing up and getting a transfer to the airport. We pray that the\ trip to airport and check in will be smooth.

Ibis Hotel is in Siam district of Bangkok. Very convenient location with an mrt station just in front. Mah Bun Krong is jus 3 mins walk and stadium can be seen from my window. Priced at sgd100 a night without breakfast. At the same time its 10 minutes to Hua Lamphong train station.

So we say goodbye to the missus of Red Baron as she takes a transferto the airport and will be back home within the next 6 hours. Our trip continues for another day in Bangkok. We roam the streets to the shopping areas and also paid a visit to the train station topurchase the train ride home (hopefuly tickets a re available).

Journal entry while waiting for Udin Sudman salon session

"Left Khao Yai after breakfast (wished could have stayed there longer) and made our way to Bangkok. Had to navigate through traffic and complicated network of roads in Bangkok. Finally reached our hotel at 12 noon. Today was the earliest check in for the trip since other days we would arrived at the hotel at night.

Washed up and said goodbye to my wife who took a taxi to the airport costing 300baht from Siam to Suvarnabhumi airport. As i am writing this, i have just received a call from my wife who is safely at home.

Had lunch at MBK mall and then went to Khaosan Road to walk through the night market and massage. Then back to MBK mall since our good friend Udin Sudman wants to create a new hairdo for himself.

As I am writing this, he is having his hair treated. Dinner probably after this. Tommorrow loading bike up the train for hatyai."

Eastern Thailand Ride

Day 7

Bangkok (Overnight Train to Hatyai)

Good morning Bangkok.

Bangkok traces its roots to a small trading post during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century, which eventually grew in size and became the site of two capital cities: Thonburi in 1768 and Rattanakosin in 1782. Bangkok was at the heart of Siam's (as Thailand used to be known) modernization during the later 19th century, as the country faced pressures from the West.

The city was the centre stage of Thailand's political struggles throughout the 20th century, as the country abolished absolute monarchy, adopted constitutional rule and underwent numerous coups and uprisings. The city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s and now exerts a significant impact among Thailand's politics, economy, education, media and modern society.

The Asian investment boom in the 1980s and 1990s led many multinational corporations to locate their regional headquarters in Bangkok. The city is now a major regional force in finance and business. It is an international hub for transport and health care, and is emerging as a regional centre for the arts, fashion and entertainment. The city is known for its vibrant street life and cultural landmarks, as well as its notorious red-light districts.

The historic Grand Palace and Buddhist temples including Wat Arun and Wat Pho stand in contrast with other tourist attractions such as the nightlife scenes of Khaosan Road and Patpong. Bangkok is among the world's top tourist destinations. It is named the most visited city in MasterCard's Global Destination Cities Index, and was named "World's Best City" for four consecutive years by Travel + Leisure magazine.

We send bike to Hua Lamphong Bangkok Railway Station for cargo clearance to Hatyaii, breakfast, rest, refresh, checkout @ 1pm and board train @3pm to Hatyaii.... Met friendly Malaysian bikers from KL @ the railway station, had a great chat with them before they leave to Hatyai too on an early train ride before us.

While waiting for the train to depart we had time to print out our very own Eastern Thailand Ride Tshirt (ready within 30 minutes). So it will be an overnight train to Hatyai.

Eastern Thailand Ride 2015

Day 7

Enroute to Hatyai on the Overnight Express Train

The train ride was quite smooth. I had a whole first class cabion to myself while Udin and partner was in the next cabin to mine. It was a rocky bumpy sleep as the train chug down the Thailand peninsula through the southern provinces en route to Hatyai.

Waking up early we had ordered our breakfast to be served to our cabin. Simple breakfast but it was filling enough to get us through.

Arrived in Hatyai Train Station at around 8am in the morning, Our bikes were unloaded frokm the cargo car and we packed our stuff into the bikes and get ourselves changed into our riding gear. We shal now ride 880km from Hatyai back to Singapore

Thank God, we are safely home, depart from Changlun @ 430pm,reached GP 11pm...total 6.5hrs ride home, unbelievable short timing.... "Eastern Thailand ride" done, kudos to Mohamed Reza for the places of interest we visited, great riding buddy, & not forgetting our wives that accompany us too & willing to share our passion of riding togather... See u all soon in the next ride...!