Adventure motorbike trip around Southeast Asia - Thailand, Laos and Cambodia


 
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My driver's license had won a few months vacation in Flensburg, Germany. I had been riding my motorcycle to fast on a 6 metre wide, straight section of highway through a construction site. Of course without endangering anyone.
Using very low speed limits this is the easiest way for the Government, to get some money out of their citizens.
Without my licence I lost my job and with it the only reason to stay in a narrow-minded but well-paid country like Germany. The Government lost a taxpayer and I had to make the decision "sozial service or motorcycle trip?" Of course this decision was not hard to make. I can still get my money back from the government later when im old. life is to short to waste it working. The weather in Thailand should also be a lot better than in the the cold weather in expensive Germany. In Thailand are also motorcycles for rent everywhere. I had 1200 € left. That should be enough for a 4 months long journey.
 

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Asienkarte
Thailand Laos Kambodscha Thailand Insel
For just 550 euros I found some return flights, parked my bike at the airport, sent my driver's license to the police office and went to South East Asia, to visit Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The necessary visa for Thailand i got "on arrivel" free at the airport with a validity of 30 days (other nations got only 15 days).
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The farangs called tourists know Thailand for its beautiful beaches and cheap girls. In Pataya, a girl costs 1000 Baht so 22 euros for a night. The main customers are however not the tourists, but 95% of the Thai husbands, who are unfaithful. Because Brothels are illegal in Thailand, they are called in massage shops. There you can order foot massage Which one with a "happy ending". The Ladyboys are also a phenomenon in Pataya.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Many people are also know storys about "scams", were jet skis have been repaired with not waterproof glue. As soon as stupid tourists rent them, they fall apart in the water and the tourists have to pay for "their" accident on return. Similar things can happen while renting a motorcycle and scooter, so one has to be carefull.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
In addition, Thailand ranks world wide on the third place in terms of dedly car accedents. There is also malaria and dengue fever and still a lot of amunitions and landmines from the war around in Laos and Cambodia. Perfect conditions so for an exciting journey :) To be continued ...
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Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
To simplify the trip to Cambodia I booked a 125cc scooter in the internet one month in advance.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
They confirmed me that I could go across the border to Cambodia with it,
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
but when i came to pic it up, they told me i could not leave the country with a rented motorbike.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Flexible as I am so I changed my travel plans and decided to take the excellent, cheap train in Thailand. Later on, I wanted to take the bus in Laos and Cambodia.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
In between, I wanted to rent different motorcycles to explore beautiful areas. At the end these machines allways have to be returned to their starting point.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
First however I transformed into a backpacker and got rid of my own helmet at on of the "we buy everything / anything / all" shops in Khaosan road. Helmets always come for free with 125 any motorcycle. Only expensive motorcycle rental shops charge their customers an extra fee for the helmet.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Only very low prices were offered at the various "we buy all" shops. For my 100 euro Canon EOS 400 d SLR camera for example they offered just 11 Euro...allready the 32 GB memory card is worth more but its good to know that here one can buy used or well faked brand backpacks for 900-1500. Good to know for next time...
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The only things I took in my backpack along with a 10 euro tent (here one can get the same for 5 euros), a sleeping bag, papers, GPS Navi and a mini alarm system were my photo equipment including NetBook. All together still 12 kg.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
For weight reasons, I did not take any changing clothes. Instead I just wash my clothes every time I find a shower.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
They get dry in the sun very quickly. This is a big advantage when travelling in warm countrys.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I also did not take any cooking utensils. Food is offered everywhere, where people live. Asia is especially known for its fried insects. Mmmmh ;)
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Very imporetend is to allways carry lots of drinking water. It costs only 10 per litre Bah. In Thailand you can still get colera.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
But lets start from the beginning. It was raining and snowing while I was riding to the airport. There they did not even want to take me to Thailand, because my return flight was later then the 30 days I was allowed to stay there.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Luckily I had expected that and created via photoshop a bus ticket to Laos, so the airline had to do what I had payed them for.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
From Frankfurt we flew to Jordan. In Amman we could use free Wi-Fi in a luxurious mall while waiting for the connecting flight.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Because the plain was not full and i know that in such cases usually the seats between the toilets are free (because no one wants to sit there)
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I went strait there and got a whole row of seats to sleep, while most of the passengers were squized together like sardines :)
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Fresh and rested after 8 hours of flight I arrived in Bangkok at the Buddhist year 2558 at 34°C. The issuance of the visas went quick and easy.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
From the "visa on –arrival" counter they send me directly to the imigration desk. As a German I did not need a visa, but received a stamp for 30 days holliday for free. No one wanted to see a bus or return ticket.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
On the way out of the airport I came past many different currency exchange offices. The exchange rates were getting better and better towards the exit. Finally I changed 100 euro to 4200 Baht at the last one.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Quickly, I draw a little bus (because nobody understood english and its difficult to make a bus is pantomime) to ask for the bus stop of the bus line 556, which goes to the place of democracy which is very close to the famous back Packer street Khaosan road at 13 ° 45' 32.12 "N 100 ° 29' 50.15" E.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
From the new Suvarnabhumi airport 13 ° 41' 32.71 "N 100 ° 45' 3.21" E, i took the clean, cheap, blue line train built on pillars for 35 Baht (not even one euro) 30 km to Makkasan station 13 ° 45' 13.05 "N 100 ° 32' 50.55" E. The Red line goes the same route for 100 Baht without any stops in between and a taxi will cost for more than 500 Baht per person)
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The people here were small and incredibly friendly. No one begged or touched me they just asked "TucTuc?". As soon as I entered the bus, the driver gave me a bottle of cold water in my hands. That was exactly what I wanted now. "Cape Unkap" thank you very much :)
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
When walking around I came past the first Buddhist temple, called WAT here. Wrapped in an orange cloth, monks there were waiting fore food and gifts.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
When darf came, I went looking for a hostel. I was not tired yet because of the 7 hours time change. In a side street, which was so narrow that you cant even go there with a motorcycle, I found what I was looking for:
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
A simple hotel with fan, electric power (German plugs fit without an adapter) and WiFi (all restaurant/hotel/massage networks are secured with WPA, ask for password) for 200 Baht per night (Khaosan RD direction Burger King.) Turn left. After 100 meters across the street at the UPS sign GPS 13 ° 45' 31.99 "N 100 ° 29' 56.84" E. Then turn left 20m towards Khaosan RD). You have to bring toilet paper only. Perfect. If I want hash wool? No thanks. On drug sales and even drug consumption are up to 99 years jail and even the death penalty in Thailand. With 100 death tourists each year Thailand is the world's the most dangerous holiday destination. To be continued...
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
After a refreshing shower, I went to Kharosan RD to get some food. Fresh tasty fruits, Vegan fried noodles with bamboo shoots, egg, spring rolls, meat on a stick but also maggots and scorpions were offered everywhere.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Because each dish comes with a plastic plate and plastic forks it creates a lot of plastic waste which is pailed to big mountains beside the streets and attract big rats. They did not interest the many wild cats at all.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The was a big party going on in Khaosan road. Most tourists were jetlagged and not tired until early in the morning.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Thousands of tourists strolled among hundreds stands. There was not only delicious food and alcohol, but also clothes, drivers licences and flip flops. A must have at these temperatures.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Not to be ripped of, a lot of negotiation is necessary before buying anything. Its much cheaper, if you buy in side street.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Instead ask in Khaosan road I paid not 500 Baht for the same shorts, but only fair 100 Baht (2.50 euros) and a smile.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The smile is especially important in Thailand. The people are here A lot more polite than in Europe.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
A smile helps (outside the tourist area) to pay normal prices or nothing at all.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The last thing surprised me Very much. while I walked aimlessly through Bangkok and trusted my GPS with free Openstreatmap to find the way back, I came to a square, which was filled with people eating.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Always looking for a good photo, I mixed myself among the people and soon realized, that it was the square in front of a small temple.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Many women were busy preparing food in large pots. Due to lack of linguistic communication, I smiled at a chef because I wanted to photograph them in their activities.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
After they had posed for me and I wanted to continue, they offered me a plate of food. When I wanted to pay, she waved me off.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I tried the soup which was a lot too sharp for me. Because many eyes were watching me, the only tourist here,
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I finished the soup I had got me into. Just before I was finish, they refieled my bowl ;)
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
It was hard to communicate but I learned that a high monk, who had lived in this temple, died a few days ago.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
As a celebration for him they offered 100 days of free very very spicy food to everyone. A great tradition. Hardly, I could deny without being rude.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Proudly they led me to a different place. There they served noodles with bean sprouts, which tasted A lot better than the noodles they sold at Khaosan road. It is quite interesding to try real thai food at the stands away from the touristic areas.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
For dessert, mango with something looking like shugar was served that sprinkled over it. I should not have done this.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Although I love mango, the stuff tasted so bad that I could hardly restrain the gag reflex. I was however not so rude to throw the food away, but saved it under "interesting experience".
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Then they led me to the Temple at GPS N13 ° 45' 35.7 "E100 ° 29' 59.0". My flip flops had to be left at the door.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
A large Golden Buddha statue was housed inside the big Temple. People were praying in front of him.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
It did not bothered them that I took pictures. In this Buddhist Kingdom everybody owned a smartphones and took puctires continuosly, although the average salary here is only 160 euro per month.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Many people spend their money to bleach their skin. Bright skin like rich people who dont have to work on the felds, is a status symbol here. The opposite to the sun studios in Europa.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
After this positive experience about the friendliness of the people, I continued to visit other temples in the city.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
West of Kharosan RD along the river I went. I could have taken a crowdet boat for 15 Bah. To use a TucTuc was not an option due to thousands of protesters people on the streets.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Soon, I found another temples and another one. Bangkok has so many that I completely messed up att their names.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
They all had one thing in common: a large, golden Buddha statue was inside each of them.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Admission to most temple was free using the entrance marked "Exit" ;) Otherwise to enter the largest one called Wat Pho GPS N13 ° 44'46 "E100 ° 29'38" with "Big Buddha" will cost 100 Bah.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
As the sun slowly went down, I could see a further temples on my way back on the other side of the River, which was lit with changing colors. Other buildings and parks were also beautifully lit.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Although it was dark now, I did not feel insecure at all. Insted I enjoyed my walk and if someone came towards me, I smiled at him. To be continued...
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Since I allways stayed up very long at night, I was still very jetlagged. As a result, I awoke in the afternoon. After a refreshing shower, I left the hotel with a freshly washed, wet T-Shirt.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
A wet T-Shirt is the best defense against the heat and helps maximum one hour, then it is dry. But not this time. When I stepped out of the house, it was pouring of rain as just in the shower.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The small cooling was quite right now, but I was worried about my electrical devices, which I allways took with me as a precaution. You never know. (Looking back I can say that during my absence never someone had entered my room.)
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Today I wanted to find out, how much a visa for Vietnam would be and how long it will take to get one. Result: 35 euros but four days processing time. At the same time I learned that Phuket was currently flooded due the heavy rain and the train is not going.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Here it rained every now and again. It was oppressively humid. Because I wanted to visit other temples, this time I wandered into the opposite direction. But I came not far.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Many bridges were blocked with NATO wire, concrete barriers and heavily armed police officers. It feled like war. Millions of well educated people protested whistling but peacefully at the democracy monument against the corruption and lies of the Government.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Here Germany could still learn a lot from this. 19 countries gave out a travel warning for Bangkok. Many people seemed to camp here for days already. Whole families listened to big speakers or slept under temporary indoor courts.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Here again, food and drinking water was distributed free of charge. A few people tryed to explain in English, what happened here.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
They also recommended me to visit the 45-metre-high "standing Buddha", which was not even listed in the free map from the airport.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
There also was the "golden monument", from which one had a beautiful view over Bangkok.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
On my way back I wanted to my favourite hobby: eating. Many small restaurants on the street were offering something that looked like the Brazilian national dish: Rice with black beans.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I sat down, ordered a portion and waited until it was delivered. Instead of Fishuada however I got sauce ice cream with Krusty bread pieces and chocolate. Also not bad * laugh *.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
While eating, as the only tourists within miles i got to know other people. There was a man who told me that he stepped on a mine in Laos, which then ripped off his leg.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Later on a whole gang of bikers arrived and proudly presented their modern bicycles. This is a status symbol hier...like big cars in Germany. People everywhere in the world a are very equal.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Like allways the conversation changed to football. Since I told them its a game for child, they changed to the next main topic: money.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Amazingly they knew that milk in Germany is so a lot cheaper then here. Many Asians still drink it as a overpriced lifestyle drink, even most of the asian people are lactose intolerant.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
When I told them, how much it costs to rent an apartment in Germany, and that our Government is just as dishonest as theirs, they quickly agreed that it was easyer to life in a country like Thailand. Last but not least because of the warm weather.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
A work permit in Thailand is Baht 25,000 per year. By email, I learned that it has snowed in Germany and was very cold.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
My new friends tried hard, to teach me a few words of Thai: Soadikap means Hello, thank you is "Kapunkrap", women say "Kapunka". This must be enough ;)
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
They also told me that one can recognize ladyboys on their throat and their size. Good to know * smile *.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Later on I was approached by an extremely thin girls. She spoke fairly good English and I could hardly prevent here from sitting on my lap. If I wanted to dance with her? No thanks.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
After I had made it clear that I'm not one of here custemers, we had a good conversation.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
She always workes at night and preferes older men, because they treat here better as the mostly drunken and jung man. Each time she earnes between 1000 and 5000 Bah.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
A part of the money, she sends her daughter, who lives with her parents. From the rest she has to pay the hotel rooms and Crystal Meth...
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The next morning I felt it was time to go. I got up Very early (even i still feeled jetlegged), grabbed my stuff and walked to the station were one of the buses took me to Sanamluang station. From here i took the line 25 (alternatively one can also take the line 1), which brought me to the railway station Hua Lumpong.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Usually this costs 15 Baht but the bus driver did not want any money from me. I don't know why. In Hau Lapong, I wanted to buy a train ticket to Chiang Mai. The weather in Phuked should be even wors now.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Some of the tourists there could not leave their Islands anymore and had to be saved by the Navy.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Unfortunately, I learned that The same bad weather has also damaged the railway tracks to Chiang Mai, so I could only travel to Uttaradit.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
I booked one ticked for only 196 Baht 4.-euro (Thai people go free) third class for about 500 km on the train.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
In third class are allways two benches for 6 people facing each other. The seats have numbers. The luggage is stowed in the shelf above the heads.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The train was stacked full and already started with a few hours delay. Scince the train usuarly went slower than 50 km/h, I could watch the beautiful scenery and the many rice fields out of the window.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
In between we even passed a city with many wild monkeys. Also, I saw many storks and water buffalos.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
The ride became hard when it went dark. Then through the open Windows and doors many mosquitoes came in and bit the poor sweaty passengers.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Also some dealers were passing every few minutes to sell food, beer, or candy. A portion of food is 20 Baht / 10 Baht for 1/2 liters of water / 5 Baht for an ice cream also cheap candy. This is very nice. Only if the dealer offeres you bear for the 100th time even you dont drink alcohol, this is going on your nerves.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Becourse the train did not arrive at the specified arrival houer but 5 hours later. I grabbed my bag and moved into the 2nd class. As the doors of the wagons were open during the ride, I had to be careful not to fall off the train.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
For curiosity I went to see the toilets. They were not as bad as I had expected and they even had toilet paper, a rarity here. Normally, people dont need it, but uses a jet of water similar to a shower to clean up. Here, the railway actually made a pretty good impression. There were no damage or graffiti or anything. The second class was already considered comfortable. Here the seats were aranged like in a bus and could be layed back.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Apart from two backpackers from Denmark, Alex and Emilio, the entire car was empty. I sat down and tried to sleep. Only after midnight we reached the town Uttraedit. Together with Alex and Emilio we negotiated the price of a taxi to the bus station at 50 Bah. We were totally tired.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Arriving at the bus station, the taxi drivers suddenly wanted 50 Baht from each of us. People allways try to cheat tourists here but with us he did not have any luck. We compared the prices of the different busses and bought the cheapest tickets for the 158 Bah. Nevertheless, we were allowed to enter in a comfortable, air-conditioned bus with adjustable seats.
 
Riding through Thailand, Laos and Cambodscha
Because of the cold air condition i was glad to bring my sleeping bag and even a cap ito the bus. I took the cap over over my eyes when someone tapped me on the shoulder. Already 4 hours had passed and we were already in Chiang Mai.
Quickly, I grabbed my stuff and left the bus, looking for a place to the camp. In the light of the street lamps I found something that looked like a small park a few meters further. Perfect. I ignored the gate with a sleeping gatekeeper and disappeared between two palm trees, built up my tent behind them and spent a comfortable night. I was not worried about my valuables my mini alarm system would wake me up. To be continnued on the next page.
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