(Labour Day Ride)
(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
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!!
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
Ko Lanta (Labour Day) Ride 2015
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.
TILL THE NEXT ADVENTURE !!