First rides and impressions outside of Bangkok; central and west Thailand

First rides and impressions outside of Bangkok; central and west Thailand

On the way out of Bangkok our first stop was a big Honda shop which we saw on the side of the street and reminded us of our broken speedometer cable. Immediately 3 guys were surrounding us, observing and discussing while Sascha tried to explain what we need. In the meantime another boy came to me and gave me a big bottle of cool water with a big smile – what a nice service. After it was clear what we need one of the guys left on his scooter and came back after 10 min with a cable… unfortunately too long. So he left again. The second one was fitting, hurray! The cost was 150 THB (not even 4 €). Happy we continued getting out of the city.

In Kanchanaburi next to the Kwai River we spend our first night in a raft (room on the river) watching the moonlight and the jumping fish after a nice curry from the street. Restless and excited to see more we left the next morning to Sanklaburi, a dead end street because of the border to Burma (Myanmar) with plenty of villages and their kitchen streets along the road. Up in the mountains we found a place to stay with a view over the lake and had some nice small tours on the bike around the area. Of cause we had a look at the border (which was more or less unspectacular as we did not tried to cross it ;-)) We met a group of Thai-Biker who went out for a weekend trip and had some nice chats with them as one of them studied in Germany – we were meeting them again and again on the road.

When we left we decided to go through the National Park as we saw there could be a ferry to cross the lake. We followed a nice small road which turned dirt road after a while climbing up the hills and going through the jungle in the end. A bit scary as we did not now what animals they have there around. We heard later on that they have Leopards and some other things… We had some stops there and every sound in  the bush let us …. ;) When we arrived at the ferry stop cars were already cuing up for the ferry in the middle of nowhere! Lucky we just could fit the bike in a small corner. We hopped on the ferry and crossed the lake. Following a great curvy mountain road finally we arrived again in Kanchanaburi. But back to the road through the mountains for a second. There was fire everywhere in that forest, anyway there is fire around us most of the time, either they burn the sugar fields down after harvesting or the forest is just burning somewhere. It doesn’t bother the Thais so why it should bother us at the moment – except for the smell of fire surrounding us.

For the next segment we decided to go for a longer distance direction north, to Sukhotai which is about 450 km north. The sky was grey when we started and we were quite happy about it as it not that hot. Nevertheless our bumps were hurting after a short time already and we had to make some more small stops before we reached a small nice guesthouse in Sukhotai. Time to relax and recap a bit and we negotiated a good price for a very big, nice and clean fan room for the next two days. We like the spirit here around, street markets, night markets, and street kitchens and not to forget the old Sukhotai, 12km away which we could enter and explore with our motorbike. We drove around the ruins and reconstructed temples of this town which is considered as the first independent Thai kingdom.

Today Sascha did some maintenance work at the bike: screws just getting loose because of the vibrations all the time. Our Voltmeter showed that the battery was charged with only 12.1V instead of 14.4… Yeah right the vibrations … Actually he didn’t screw the battery screws tied enough when we got the bike out of the airport in Bangkok… So he had to do it again properly… “I said Vibrations!” “Yeahhh right!”

Tomorrow we will go west once more following the border line of Burma on the way direction Chiang Mai… It is supposed to be a narrow winding road with not much traffic or people around and we are already excited!

Muggy impressive beautiful Bangkok and welcoming our motorbike!

Early morning we started to get done the insurance and the plan was to pass by the cargo air. Not expecting too much but gathering information and showing up in front of the responsible lady with a big smile to make it easier for us for the next day…
When we found the office of the insurance and explained what we need they told us it would cost around 1000 THB…Luckily we knew from our guesthouse neighbors it cost only 160 THB for three month As we were mention that they looked irritated but they were willing to check double and they apologized having done a mistake (^Oh sorry mister, this was price for 3 years^). Never mind but we knew the correct price in advance.
Done that we left to the airport. When we arrived at the Emirates Cargo Office around 11 am they let us surprisingly know that the bike has already arrived and we should go to customs to get it out. The process started! We were looking each other and realizing that we will fortunately get the bike within that day – meaning as well driving it back to the center of Bangkok!!!  Uuuups
Everybody was friendly and the process is quite organized. Of course we needed some patience, a lot of paperwork needed to be done (we counted more than 160 stamps and about 70 signatures from Sascha) and running back and forth to different departments within the airport. After 5 hours we were allowed to pass the security and leaving the property declining the invitation for coffee and snack as we wanted to drive as much as possible with daylight. Not allowed to enter the highway with 2 wheels it was not that easy in the beginning and we had to sneak out over the green wall 10 meter before a toll station once. As well the GPS was not really helpful as it always wanted to lead us back to the highway. It was not understanding this many streets close beside and above of each other – never trust the GPS is my opinion anyhow! The sunset and some tucktuck drivers were much more helpful showing us the direction to go. After a while we were just floating through the traffic and after 1,5 hours ride we knew we must be close the area where we stay. We stopped to have a look at the GPS and the tourist map when we recognized a shop next to us which looked very familiar… We were already there, just around the corner. Sweated but happy we reached our guesthouse. Jippiiiahjeah! What a successful day!

The day after we got sorted and packed our things. Everything needs to find a new place as we are travelling in a total different climate and some items we decided to send back to Europe. The rest of the day we spend looking around for maps and enjoying food in several small street kitchens and in the evening I had to put up my swallowed elephant feet – we definitely need to drink MUCH MORE WATER!!!

Tomorrow we want to leave Bangkok direction north and we spend the day arranging the last things. A heavy rain started just when we arrived back at the guesthouse and we are enjoying the fresh breeze and cleared air while sitting here and planning the route. So excited what Thailand looks like outside of Bangkok…

Here just a few words about Bangkok. We love running around the narrow streets full of markets and street kitchens with smiling people; every corner smells different, sometimes good like herbs, curries, spices , veges, fruits, flowers, perfume oils,… sometimes less good like emissions, heat, sweat…It is a potpourri of everything – it is alive! People let you do your own thing, always smiling; the food is fantastic, always fresh and cooked in front of you. We do not speak the language but that does not matter much; we know some vocabularies and the rest is communicated with hands, feet and always with a big smile :-} our preferred mean of transport is the river taxi, which we have around the corner, it is cheapwith a good view and fresh air outside the streets. Millions of impressive temples, palaces, gardens where you can find a quiet corner to relax if you like…

Welcome Bangkok, Thailand

Finally we had to say good bye to New Zealand and after 12hours in the plane we arrived 9pm local time in Bangkok. Cueing up for a taxi we already could feel the heat. Around 11pm we arrived in our little guesthouse in the middle of the center where surprisingly another couple with their bikes arrived today. We took a look at the closer area, got two beers and were wondering if we are really in Bangkok now ;-) Just the heat and the humidity made clear that it is not a dream!

The next day, Saturday, we did the tourist tour. Taking the river taxi boat with a fresh breeze we had a look at the Grand Palace and its closer surroundings. Sweated and full of impressions we went for food in one of the street kitchens next to our guesthouse. Just being happy we enjoyed the evening relaxing and realizing that the next chapter of our trip already started.

Chatting around with the nice people in the guesthouse we get prepared for tomorrow: Picking up the motorbike from the customs at the Bangkok airport. As we have as well Chinese New-year tomorrow we hope we will find the way back to our guesthouse on our bike tomorrow…

– Enjoying the last days in this incredible beautiful country “Aotearoa! … and summarizing (12091,1 km New Zealand)

The weather cleared up during the morning and after getting our washed clothes dried and a powerful breakfast (we could nearly not stop eating Franziska’s delicious homemade “German bread” –yummy!!!) we decided to continue having in mind that not many days are left. Again we met lovely people and we had to say once more good bye.

We went off taking the little coastline roads direction Raglan and were enjoying the narrow winding roads, partially gravel. Exploring wonderful beaches, a hidden beach tunnel and driving through rainforest and up and down the bluff hills…

On the way to Katikati were we wanted to catch up once more with our Kiwi-friends (Josie, Chris and Marty) we had a stop in Hamilton to get new tires and a new brake pads. We were really looking forward to see once more our friends in Katikati – and we spend wonderful days with them!!! As well we had the chance to (get) maintain our motorbike for the next destination in Marty’s shed. With his great experience and having all tools available Sascha (actually Marty was doing it) could fix everything within one day and I could enjoy a lovely day with Josie and some friends of her who she invited for brunch ;-) Finally we fixed as well the transport of the bike and booking our flights for the new destination: Bangkok! Due day to pass over the bike: January 18th, date of our flights: January 20th. No way back anymore…

We decided to join Chris, Marty, Beate and Tim for the first part of their trip as they planned going direction Napir where our old friend Steve is living and as well some nice roads we had not done yet were waiting for us… After a nice riding day together we end up on a camp site in Clive, next to Napir, where our friends knew the owner, Jim. As we could not reach Steve in Napir, Jim offered us to stay in his little caravan – of course for free, as we are on a “special mission”, he said ;-)  We moved in, had a real interesting walk through his garage which is full of old bikes, cars, things from here and there, heard many interesting stories and spend a lovely evening with our friends.

Next morning we had to say good bye, we met up finally with Steve to say good bye to him and hit off from there for our last three days before we will arrive to Auckland. A fascinating road of about 100km gravel road through the rainforest in the mountains of the North Island was waiting for us Tuhoi Country Road which is mainly Maui land. We spend the night up there at the lake, enjoying our self in this beautiful landscape and realizing that we are getting slowly to the end of this part of our journey…

The last night with our bike we wanted to stay somewhere at the seaside so went up quite close to Auckland and landed in Orere Point in a nature reserve were we could listen to the waves…

Yesterday, January 17th late morning we arrived in Auckland in the house of our friend Darren and his parents Gabe and Bob which seems to us a little bit like our home here in NZ. We could manage to get sorted, washed and organized our things during the day and had a wonderful “tea”(“tea” means having  lunch or dinner and Bob was cooking once more his delicious mussel cakes – so yummy) in the evening with the whole family.

Today early morning we left to the Freight Forwarder with our bike to fix in our crate (THANKS! to Dazz who stored and brought already the crate over to them) and get done the Carnet and all the other paperwork with them. WOW! Our Motorbike is gone again! Hopefully we will see it again in a good condition coming Monday or Tuesday in BANGKOK!!!

After having done that it was time for a refreshing jump in the pool together with Dazz… the day after tomorrow in the evening we will arrive in Bangkok. Some things still need to be prepared and honestly we cannot really imagine yet arriving there; big and loud, people everywhere, hot and humid – but we are really excited at the same time and looking forward our new destinations: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia…

SUMMARY of Aotearoa – The Land of the Big White Cloud

How to summarize what we experienced here after being around 12091,1 km with our motorbike? Not easy as it has so many faces, fascinating places and lovely people!? For sure the time was running much too fast and we could easily start up from the beginning again – still so much to see, so much to explore, hundreds of places worse to go again and so many people we would love to see again!!! Where ever we went the people were always open minded, friendly, helpful and interested; we found really good friends and we are sure we will see them again – when and where ever. It is really a place like paradise: you find all kind of beaches, rainforest, mountains… and in some places are these beasts around, called Sandflies,  just because to bring you back to earth otherwise it would be too beautiful we think ;-)

We would love to stay for longer, but we are on a journey for the moment and we are looking forward as well to our new destination, Thailand Laos Cambodia… pretty sure we will come back here one day!

Welcome to Wellington

January 10th

We passed the 10.000km mark:

The next day finally we saw a Vincent Black Shadow, Dean had one in his Garage. Great bike!  When we got ready to leave Lynnie gave us the key to their batch, a beach house in Koitiata, close to Wanganui. We spend the evening walking along the black sand beach full of drift wood, cooking and relaxing.

In the late morning we left for the Wanganui River Valley Road, we enjoyed the ride even though it was not much gravel road left and we past Athens and Jerusalem. The plan was to go down the “Forgotten World Highway”, a small partially gravel road in-between green hills and rain forest and staying somewhere in the nature for the night. Unfortunately it started to rain… slowly… more and more. So we continued to find any dry place, either a camp site or a pup with rooms. But we were on the “Forgotten World Highway” and nothing was around. In the end we found a little camp ground and they had a dry caravan available where we moved in for the night.

When we woke up it was still raining… but we continued driving direction Stratford, Mt Taranaki. The rain became harder the winds turned to storm, so we spend the next night in a hostel – a former old nursery school building where we were the only guests… honestly, it was a bit spooky.

Luckily the weather cleared up next day, and we went off to see Mt Taranaki.  Covered in clouds we could not really see the top but we spend a lovely day riding around it, stopping at several surf beaches and going to the west cape lighthouse. Arriving in New Plymouth we could stay in the house of Franziska and Jens with their 4 kids, who moved three years ago to NZ and offered us immediately to stay for the night. We spend a great evening talking at the fireplace… Unfortunately today morning it started heavy rains again. Thankful to have a dry place we are sitting now here, catching up, sewing our sleeping bags, looking for new tires, playing around with little 2.5 year old Elena and hoping the weather will get better a bit at least… we are not sure if we will continue today or staying in this “warm” house of Franziska and Jens for one more night.

… and it continues!

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