The Gathering - Samui 2018

The Gathering - Samui 2018

The idea came about as a few friends had declared their desire to try riding up north to Thailand. Only a few of those who eventually went have ever rode into Thailand before (Jim, Naeem, Shenon and Yusuf) while the rest will be their first attempt at riding their motorbikes into The Land of Smiles, Red Baron Diaries is happy to organise a newbie ride to Koh Samui for the first timers to learn the ropes of border crossing as well as for the experience of riding their own bike overland into Thailand. The plan was made for a 5 Days 4 Nights ride with ample stops in between for everyone to rest for the night. As we were bringing many first timers riding long distance into Thailand, we decided to break up the normally long first day into smaller distances as well as for the way back as well. Everything was planned for the September 2018 and it was opened up to friends who have expressed interest.

The Participants

From Left to right:

Reza (Red Baron, Quim, Annabel, Nadjmi, Tony, Jim, Shenon & Naeem

Not in photo: Yusuf (Andrew)

The following is a Video of our adventures in Thailand.

The Gathering - Samui Red Weekend Sept 18

Episode 1: Singapore - Hatyai

The Gathering - Samui Red Weekend Sept 18

Episode 2: Hatyai & Samui

The Gathering - Samui Red Weekend Sept 18

Episode 3: Samui - Hatyai

The Gathering - Samui 2018

Day 1

Singapore - Hatyai


The night started off with a dinner party at Marina Bay Sands. Attended the party and left half way through the party (what could be more important right). Rode up to Gelang Patah RnR to rendezvous with the other riders who will be going with us for the trip. Changed into my riding gear along the way at Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim Shell petrol kiosk. A quick change and we are ready to cross over into Malaysia.

Regroup with the rest and before departing, gave a briefing to everyone so that they are able to know what to expect for this journey north. Important was on safety aspect as well as the multiple rendezvous point for each leg so that no one will be left behind. It is important for everyone to be able to ride at their own pace and not ride too hard to keep up with the leaders or too slow to slow down the pack therefore it is important that every rider understand that they need to learn and start to be familiar with the highways in Malaysia as well as be independent when they are on their own. We shall always wait for everyone at designated stops that has been assigned and will always be in contact. As much as possible we try to maintain the group together.

Riding through the night can be a new experience for some hence we chose to stay in Hatyai once we cross the border so that everyone has some rest as not everyone can get use tto riding "iron butt" (do look out and read my iron butt ride) in one stretch. However there was one thing that i appealed to all that is to cut their breaks short and that we try to hit the Thailand immigration by 7 in the morning before the crowd start to pile up. When the border get packed, it will not be a good experience and may turn off new riders who will get fatique setting in due to the hot weather and hours lining up at the immigration. Riders were also guided on the documents to bring along as well as the process of filing and submission of relevant document at the border control.

Upon clearing the Thailand immigration we stop by the raod side stall for some breakfast since we had rode the whole night through without replenishing our energy levl. Roadside food was always fun in Thailand as they are authentically Thai. From there, as we were early (8am in Thailand), we rode on to catch some places of interest before heading to the hotel. We even passed by and visited some of the dealership and boutique of the different brands, BMW, KTM, Ducatis. This went on until its about noon time when we checked into the hotel. As usual we placed our stuff in the room and after a quick shower, we were out roaming the streets again. Of course there were some who needed to catch up on their lost sleep...hahahaha. But they did join us after a few hours of the much needed rest.

Hatyai Cable Car

Hat Yai Cable Car in Thailand is a recent addition to the Hat Yai Municipal Park and has its base station located at the picturesque look-out point of the rather amazing Phra Buddha Mongkol Maharaj (Standing Buddha). Its opened on the 5th December 2011. The cable car hatyai ride lasts for around 10 minutes and offers breath-taking view of the city. It stops at Thao Maha Phrom (the great Brahman Shrine) where the Four-Faced Brahma is set. During weekend or on a public holidays, there are lots of people especially locals therefore you may have to wait a while to get on. When you alight at the hill top after your hatyai cable car ride, you will be at another place of worship which is the Elephant Temple or Brahman Shrine.

Problem along the way

Along the way we did have a problem with one of the bike. Shenon's KTM had broken its mainstand along the ride on Malaysia's north south highway. We had cable tied the mainstand to the frame for temporary measure and found assistance in Hatyai for it to be welded back. At least it is something temporary and Shennon agrees to continue the ride.

The Gathering - Samui 2018

Day 2

Hatyai - Koh Samui


After a good night rest for everyone, on the second day we proceeded to our destination that is the island of Koh Samui. It was a good decision for us to stop over for the night in Hatyai as everyone especially the first timers were refreshed and raring to go ...riding further into Thailand. As mentioned to most of the riders...whenever they join a Red Baron ride, it will never be a point to point riding. We shall and will always find interesting stops along the way that may require them to hike, climb, swim, take a boat etc in order to explore a location. As such we started off the day early, heading out for halal dimsum in Hatyai town (pre booked the venue) that was so popular that they are always packed. Advance booking is advised. From the lunch location we rode out of Hatyai and towards Koh Samui stopping by some sites to explore along the way.

A common sight during our petrol stops

Beautiful bikes parking at the rest stop always attract attention.

Route 41 Cafe, Phattallung

Fopr the first stop, We brought everyone to Route 41 Cafe in Phattalung where a long time friend of ours has set up a cowboy themed cafe that has further developed with adding of a steakhouse. Soon they will be adding on some motels in the area. Visiting this cafe has always been part of the plan whenever I ride past this stretch of Highway 41. Khun Jirajiot (the owner) has been a long time friend of mine ever since 2 months after they set up shop along this strecth and has nopw become so popular among bikers from Malayisa and Singapore. The setup itself is very nice and not to mention the coffee and food is great.

Nam Yen Cave

It is a very different experience for us. The ticket to go boating inside the Nam Yen Cave is 200 baht per ride. Maximum of 4 people per boat and 30 minutes cave exploration with 2 tour guides. We entered the cave with a big spotlight provided by the guide, and slowly as the front tour guide rowed the boat into the cave. The local tour guide cannot speak English well and fortunate for us, one of the guides able to speak Mandarin and he is trying to explain what is inside the cave. Inside the cave are the different rocks formations and stalactites some of them glitter and a lot of bats of coarse. We are not sure what is the water level inside the cave and the cave smells a little bit bad. At some points of the caves are, we would need to lie down completely on the boat to be able to pass. It make us feel a little bit like the real explorers. It is such a good and brand new experiences for all of us!

From here we headed on to the Pier to catch the Seatrans Ferry to Koh Samui. Visitors have a choice of two different ferry to head out to the islands of Samui or Phangan, Seatrans or Raja. Both ferry runs hourly ferry schedule till 9pm at night. Tickets can be purchased on the spot at the counter. Note that you will need to ride your bike onto the ferry on your own. The ferry journey itself is about 2 hours so do find something to occupy yourself on the journey across.

The Gathering - Samui 2018

Day 3

Exploring Samui

We spent the day going around Samui and bringing everyone to the places that we enjoyed each time we cam to Samui .... yes this is probably our 5th time in Samui (twice this year alone). After a simple breakfast we headed out with our own bikes to roam around the little island in search of nice places for everyone to visit.

Our plan for today

Samui Round Island

Lamai Viewpoint

Lamai Viewpoint is on an elevation and a short distance from the sea. From here you can clearly see the part of the region and the endless sea of the Simsky Gulf!

Tar Nim Magic Garden

Secret Buddha Garden is hidden high up in the hills in Koh Samui's interior, offering majestic views and an unusual collection of statues amid lush jungle surrounds. The gardens are a creation of an old Samui fruit farmer, Nim Thongsuk, who began erecting statues and temples around his family's verdant land to the north-west of Lamai Beach in 1976. The statues depict several animals, deities and humans in various poses, including one of Khun Nim himself, in a relaxed sitting position on a rock. Khun Nim continued to work developing his garden until his death at the age of 91. The garden has a waterfall and stream flowing through, all shaded by thick foliage. With the steep and bumpy access road, getting up here is a challenge best undertaken in a 4WD vehicle.

Grandparents Rock

Hin Ta and Hin Yai are the highlights of some fascinating rock formations at the southern end of Lamai Beach on Koh Samui. They've been a source of giggles and wonder on the island since they were discovered by the locals many years ago. Known as Grandpa (Ta) and Grandma (Yai), the rocks look, respectively, like male and female genitalia.

Set on the rocky coastline between Lamai and Hua Thanon, Hin Ta and Hin Yai raise indulgent chuckles or embarrassed titters from those who go to see them. This unusual and titillating sight has, naturally, given rise to a legend explaining how the rocks came into being.

Namuang Waterfall

Na Muang Waterfalls, a majestic set of 2 cascades on Koh Samui, show that the island’s beauty is not limited to its beaches. Found about 12 km inland from Nathon Bay, the Na Muang falls are reached by taking a walking path from the entrance to the park. The first waterfall, Na Muang 1, flows down into a pretty natural pool that provides a cool escape from the heat. About 30 minutes' walk further uphill is the smaller yet equally inviting Na Muang 2.

Lad Koh Viewpoint

Of all of these viewpoints across Koh Samui, few rival the one found at Lad Koh, both in terms of the actual view and its accessibility.

Also known as Zenith Viewpoint, Lad Koh Viewpoint is located just off highway 4169 between Chaweng and Lamai Beach meaning that it’s among the more conveniently placed viewpoints for tourists to reach. It’s a short 15 minute drive away from Chaweng beach and the route is signposted all the way. Those without transport of their own can take a taxi; most will take you there for a negotiable price and it’s also advised to travel with other people as some will charge a little extra for a special excursion like this one. Due to the viewpoint being located on the island´s ring road, the site provides a popular stop-off for many day-trip tours, as they continue onwards to other attractions such as the Mummified Monk and surrounding waterfalls.

Laem Son Pagoda

On the very seashore, in the western end of the beach of Bang Kao bay there is a golden pagoda Laem Sor Chedi. On closer inspection, one can see, that it isn’t made of gold, but it is encrusted with small yellow squares of mosaic, which, shining with different shades under the bright sun, mislead impressionable tourists. There are a lot of not very large statues of Buddha on the pagoda: some of them in the pose of meditative contemplation, while others hold the bowl of mercy or encourage us with a pre-emptive gesture (a mudra of fearlessness). And one of the Buddhas, facing the sea, has folded his palms across his chest – it is a symbol of ‘the union of bliss and emptiness’.

Ended the day walking around the night market and shopping area of Chaweng Beach.

The Gathering - Samui 2018

Day 4

Chilling out in Samui

Today's plan is a much more relaxing and chilling out in the sunny island of Samui. We did a few visits around the island but spend our time mainly chilling by the beaches, in cafes or taking an aircon respite from the sun by heading into the shopping malls.

Fisherman Village Bophut

Big Buddha Samui

Guan Yu Shrine

Guan Yu Shrine. A Chinese respected and prayed by police and Chinese underworld gangsters. Guan Yu, also known as Yu Chang, who was a well-loved and respected general during the Three Kingdom in China. The bike was so beautiful that we got some unwanted attention from tourist who wanted to pose with our bikes.

As usual a nice group dinner at night and spending time walking the bazaar.

The Gathering - Samui 2018

Day 5

Samui - Hatyai

365 km

Day 5 trip is meant to take us back south to Hatyai where we will spend the night before departing for home the next day. On the way down to Hatyai we sgtop by Nakhon Si Thammarat where it was declared to have the cleanest Ozone in Thailand. We spent some time in the vicinity of the foothills of Khao Luang (Luang Mountains) enjoying the fresh air and the river.

Holes in the radiator

Suddenly during one of the rest stop i realised that coolant was leaking out from the bottom of my bike while I was filling petrol. Gave it a check and determined that the caause was the radiator being hit by stones from the road....must have been riding too fast. Anyway decided that the best way to solve this was to get the bike into Hatyai and send it over to Ducati Hatyai for repairs.

The Gathering - Samui 2018

Day 6

Hatyai - Singapore


As today was supposed to be the day that we are departing hatyai and I had tyo get my radiator repaired before I make my way back to Singapore. I had two option, one was to leave my bike in Hatyai for a week and come back next week to collect it up or I may have to wait the whole day for the mechanic to get it fixed up and tested.

As I do not want to delay the convoy and some of the riders was very familiar with the way home, we decided that I would stay back in Hatyai to attend to my bike while the rest ride home to Singapore. SOme of them have to work on the next day so I do not want to inconvenience anyone. Quim and Naeem agreed to wait up with me in Hatyai till evening in case my bike cannot be ready in time which would mean that I would have to pillon one of them back home to Singapore.

Thank you to these two brothers who held out a day with me in Hatyai siotting down and bumming around till we got bored. My bike was able to get fixed and tested on time just before sunset. We had a night run home from Thailand back to Singapore. Surprisingly we were nlot far back from the main group...LOL.

Catch us on our other Adventures on RED BARON DIARIES