Ko Lanta

(Labour Day Ride)

Ko Lanta

(Labour Day Ride) 2015

May 2015 Labour Day, a few of us riders had decided to take a ride up to the scenic island of Ko Lanta. For this ride we are planning a 3 Days 2 Nights ride to Ko Lanta with a direct trip straight to the island. This would involve us travelling around 1300 km on the road from Singapore to Ko Lanta which is situated just below Krabi on the Thai map. And we shall be traveling up over the long weekend of labour day in May.

Ko Lanta is an island district in Krabi Province on Thailand’s Andaman coast. It’s known for its coral-fringed beaches, mangroves, limestone outcrops and rainforests. Mu Ko Lanta National Park spans several islands, including the southern end of the largest island Ko Lanta Yai, home to semi-nomadic sea people known as the Chao Leh.

Ko Lanta (Labour Day) Ride 2015

Day 1

Singapore - Koh Lanta


Started off the journey at 12 midnight leaving Gelang Patah in Johore. For this trip most of us are riding 2up either with our other halves or good friends. There are a total of 8 bikes going up and 16 pax on tour. Unknown to us, the Malaysian are also having a Super long weekend (almost a full week of holiday) and most of them are also heading northwards to Thailand. The highway was very packed with cars on that night even when you are travelling at 2am in the morning. It was heavy traffic from Pagoh onwards all the way to the Thailand border. I have never seen such massive movement of cars although I heard that it was a common sight during the Eid (Hari Raya) holiday period. We had a few of our rider friends who were unable to join on the trip but made time to give us a send off.

Sending off by our friends

Breakdown along the way

Somewhere in Ipoh along the north south highway, we saw flames coming out of the back of Amin's motorcycle. We had to signal to him to stop at the side (he did not notice it) and put out the fire. The rear brake caliper was on fire and melted. There was no way to salvage it and Amin was alright to continue on without his rear brake. We opened the caliper and tied the rear caliper to the frame. This mean that Amin only has the function of his front brake for the rest of the trip.

Do not ride without brakes if you are not confident!!

Journal entry on May 1 2015

"The ride up was eventful yet fun but tiring. We set off from Johor at 12MN targetting to reach Lanta by 2pm.

However the NSHWY was full of cars gro Johor all the way up to Thailand border.

Unknown to us, our neighbour (Malaysian) were having a super long weekend tying up labour day that falls on fri to the weekend and vesak day on Monday. Like us most pefered to spend their holiday in Thailand. Due to massive jam at different parts of the highway, we took longer than normal to make our way to the thai border.

Along the way, one rider and his pillion lost their way after missing a turn at the NSHWY. Amin bike caught on fire for awhile as his brake caliper was jammed and the friction caused it to bend and grind against the brake disc.

Doing up the thai insurance which normally took 10-20mins now took 2houra plus duw to the amount of people entering Thailand.

We opted to go by Wang Kelian instead of Sadao border as it is under renovation ...so that means less immigration lanes available will find it hard to keep up with the volume of visitors.

Wang Kelian, a rural checkpoint in perlis was less crowded. But again many others too had the same idea. We spent about 2.5 hours clearing the customs and immigration.

Arrived at Pimalai jetty at night to board our ferry to Koh Lanta. All arrived safely, tired and excited tohave reached Koh Lanta.

Am very proud of my wife who rode pillion with me for being able to endure the ride minus the sleep plus all the discomfort. - Well done.

*Due to us riding at night and trying not to miss the ferry, not much photo opportunity was taken.

Looking forward to day 2 of our short trip."

- Red Baron facebook post

Due to the heavy traffic along the whole stretch of the North South Highway, we arrived late in Changloon where we had breakfast and did our paperwork for entry into Thailand. It took some time to get the paperwork done as there were many of us. Therefore while waiting for each other to process the papers, we took the tiome to eat breakfast...a light one.

Now we are stuck at the border for 4 hours (yes you read that right)...this was the longest border crossing that I had gone through. Wang Kelian Border Checkpoint is a small border crossing on the mountain of Perak linking to Wang Prachan in Thailand. Hearing the news that the main immigration border at Bukit Kayu Hitam - Changloon was packed and that the heavy traffic was at a standstill 10km out, we decided to take a detour and go towards the smaller border checkpoint. I guess many others also had the same idea. The roads were lined with vehicles lining up to get into Thailand. We were lucky that we were able to squeeze through the side of the traffic and get to the front and soon into the border checkpoint. Even when we were at the checkpoint itself, we had to wait for a very long time as there were only two booth for vehicles (only driver stay in the vehicle) and another booth for passengers and riders (we had to park our bikes and disembark to get our immigration clearance done). After the immigration we had to import in our bikes as well. This added on to the time not top mention the rows of cars also waiting to clear the vehicles to egt into Thailand.

Getting stuck in the rows of people who are waiting in line to get into Thailand was a nightmare. There were some commotion as many were impatient and wanted to get through as quick as they could. Some even hired fixers to help them expedite the process but the advantages were very minor. After spending 4 hours to get through, most were hungry and it was way past lunch time. We decided to head out to the nearest town and get lunch for everyone before we head out to Ko Lanta.

With a late lunch over, now we have the near impossible task of trying to make up time to catch a ferry. We had to practically cover about 350km in rural roads within the next 4 hours before darkness or within the next 6 hours before the last ferry to cross. We were prepared taht if we missed the ferry, we would spend the night in Krabi which is another 100km away (next nearest town). We made it in time to catch the last ferry for the night...just in time. This has to be the longest (in time) ride for most of us in a day to cover 1400km, we took almost 20 hours. Everyone had a shagged face on but persevered through.

The Last ferry (Pimalai Jetty)

Our decision to push on towards Koh Lanta instead of Krabi pays off. We barely managed to get the last ferry for the day. As the last ferry leaves for Koh Lanta, most of us were happy and thankful we caught it.

We were to tired that we headed straight for the hotel and went up to our room. We had decided to meet at the lobby in 30 minutes time to go out for dinner. Only then did we have time to take photo with our bikes after arriving at the hotel. Dinner was a simple affair as we were more tired than hungry. Early night after dinner so that we could enjoy our full day in Ko Lanta the next day.

Ko Lanta (Labour Day) Ride 2015

Day 2

Koh Lanta

Day 2 filled with exciting activities for the group. While some opted for a snorkelling trip (4 island tour), others did something claustrophobic. Mae Kaw cave is situated on the central range of the island in its nature park. The limestone is the othwr main attraction besides the 4 island tour (pictures to be uploaded later) in Lanta Yai. Going deep into the darkness as you decend into the natural tunnels of the caves definitely gives one goosepimples. It took a good hike up a steep cliff to get to the caves. In it there run a network of tunnels deep into the mountain. One can only guess how the dwarves in Lord of the Ring felt living in a mountain. We were all sweaty from the hike amd by the time we were halfway in the caves, our tshirts were soaked with perspiration. Beautiful formation of stalagtites and stalagmites can be seen in the caves. One needs to be careful as you make your way around the caves as the rocks were sharp and some of the cliff drops way below.

Late afternoon, we took a swim in the Andaman sea while some of us took a boat out to the islands to do some snorkelling and island hopping along the coast. We had decided to plan for our own dinner.

We caught a glimpse of the beautiful sunset along the beach as we played in the sand and swam in the sea.

Finished of the night with a well deserved massage and street food.

Ko Lanta (Labour Day) Ride 2015

Day 3

Koh Lanta - Singapore


Everyone woke up refreshed for the ride home today. The ride home was uneventful with clear traffic along the North South Highway of Malaysia. Malaysia is still having the super long weekend holiday therefore the roads are pretty much clear as travellers are still enjoying their holidays. So we left the hotel in the morning and rode down to Satun for lunch before heading back to cross the border. Two ferry crossings later and we are back onto the Thai penisula and headed southwards.

It was a very hot day, travelling in the daytime in Thailand. We had to plan ample stops for the riders and passengers so that they have enough rest and hydrate. As usual favourite stops Amazon Cafe along the route. Occasionally we would stop by the roadside stalls to hydrate by purchasing the cool drinks on sale. Those who were tired or sleepy caught some quick winks.

Thank you to everyone who spent the Labour Day holiday with us on this short trip to the island of Ko Lanta in Thailand. Most of ius truyly enjyed it despite the tough ride up but our time on the island truly make up for it. We have covered the distance of about 2400km going up and down the roads for this journey.

Day 3 - The ride back

All things good has to come to an end. It was a short but we made it enjoyable. Good friends, buddies, hubbies n wifeys came to the island with the hope of escaping from the urban jungle of Singapore.

Wished we had one or two more nights to spare. The road back was uneventful. Heavy traffic on the northern stretch between Changloon to KL. After KL it was quite smooth all the way down.

Everyone is safely home and all praises to HIM for allowing us this opportunity to go on this adventure.

Looking to the next ride in June.