~ The beauty of nature lies in its imperfections ~

Saturday, June 17, 2017

SG - China - Kazakhstan : Part 1

"When will you ever do the long one?"

This was a statement uttered to me by more than one friend; seeing how we had done so many motorcycle trips, but not wandered northwards past the Land of Smiles.

So this adventure came about from a combination of chances...  a meeting with an acquaintance in a hotel corridor, a close call with cancer and huge changes in the 2017 work environment (something which many of us have almost no control over).

By the time all the details were detailed and plans laid out, this is the sequence of venues for the ride we had mapped out...

May : North Thailand = 14 days
July : China, ride into Lhasa & Everest Base Camp, exiting into Kazakhstan = 26 days
August : Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan = 14 days

Unplugging from routine...  so many things have to be organised...  getting leave from the office, cancelling broadband plans, arranging contingency plans, not least of all, emptying out the fridge!  Months of prep leading to our last night in Singapore, made us sleepless and we prob only slept 4 hours the night before setting off!  Special mentions to Muhd, Mikael & Kin, who each made their own efforts to send us off in special memorable ways :)

As per usual, it was breakfast in Gelang Patah, dinner in Hatyai, where we met up with Philip who was already on the road earlier in the week.  The grand plan was for us three to take the first class train to Chiangmai, with the bikes loaded on-board as cargo.  This would save us time, while keeping expenses the same.  Despite buying the train tickets in advance, the station officials would only allow 1 bike onto the train, so Phil would go ahead and meet Yu Beng, while we would attempt to train up North the next day.
Phil's bike getting loaded up 

No such luck for us, despite two attempts on separate days

So we on 24 May, we hit the road, Hatyai - Chumphon - Nakhon Sawan - Mae Sariang, arriving in Above The Sea.  A small guest house owned by a bike lover, so there were rooms totally designed for motorcycle travellers + an in-house pool for lazy dips in the afternoon!

The whole team is finally assembled and planning where to go next!  
Mae Sariang - Mae Hon Song (+Ban Rak Thai)

We ride on to Mae Hon Song, where we booked The Point Villa, a collection of impossibly spacious rooms that seemed to be set up by a millionaire that has earned enough and just carried renting them out for 1980's prices :)  We chilled in MHS walking some of the back lanes and came across murals.

  Phil trying his hand at being a street vendor

Mae Hon Song Lake, the spot of choice for dating couples in North Thailand

Staying a couple of nights in one place does give the option of making day rides for exploration... so we did... heading out to Baan Rak Thai, a village with Chinese styled architecture and it's 800 residents being direct descendants from the Kuo Min Tang in China.

It's not Chinese New Year.... this Chinese restaurant looks like this everyday!

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