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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat

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    Cruising the Mekong and Riding through Laos, February 2013

    Wow!!!

    More to come!!

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat

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    Departing Bangkok's Swampyboom airport, little guy came to see me off, had a fit when I actually left...


    And we're off!


    KLX needed some tlc before the trip-

    New tires installed at Cockpit Hang Dong. Interesting shop. Owner seems pretty switched on, not so sure about the staff... ?

    Oil, filter, brake pads, air filter, etc-


    Met up with the rest of the gang just outside Chiang Mai on the 118 and we're off!


    Robert and David are on Versys, Ian and Richard on CRF250L and Brian and I are on KLX. We'll meet a couple other fellows along the way. Our fearless leader on his nicely customized Versys-


    The Ambassador!


    Robert on his Versys "GS"

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat

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    Sorry for the oversized pics guys- didn't realize this forum isn't set to auto-resize...

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat

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    It was a pleasant ride to Chiang Khong, stopping along the way for coffee and cake-


    In the parking lot of the coffee shop got to chatting with some of the Chinese tourists who have become a common sight in northern Thailand recently- surprisingly friendly folk.

    Made good time to Chiang Khong where we met up with Jurgen and Ian from Chiang Saen, then relaxed with some food and drinks while all of our customs and immigration paperwork was taken care of- how convenient is that?


    Seems David is a bit of a VIP in Chiang Khong, even the coppers know him




    Finally got the call that all the paperwork was sorted and we could board the ferry to Huay Xai-

    Robert was a bit nervous getting on the ferry as he couldn't reach the ground and the mud and wet ramp looked slippery, but he made it on without any problems.

    All aboard! Smile from Brian, thumbs up from the Ambassador!

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat

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    Next stop, Huay Xai, Laos!


    Seemed a mighty big ferry for just some bikes, but sure enough, we didn't have it all to ourselves-


    Move the bikes to make room for the trucks-


    Pair of CRFs and pair of KLXs


    And we're off!


    Welcome to Laos!!


    What's the first thing you do when you arrive in Laos? Cool off with a Beer Lao of course!!

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Nice one, great pics!

  7. #7
    Lord of Swine
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    Would green but the enormous pics make the button too small...

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat

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    We found a good use for the platform on the back of Robert's Versys


    Off to the guesthouse to drop our bags then return to load the bikes on the boat that would take us to Luang Prabang the following day. Jurgen showing off his riding gear


    The guesthouse David booked was cheap and easy to find. The other fellows had tried to book a nicer place but fell victim to some kind of bait-and-switch scam so were delayed. Perfect opportunity to enjoy a few more beers and a lovely Mekong sunset-

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat gusG's Avatar
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    Green sent, great thread as always.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99 View Post
    Would green but the enormous pics make the button too small...
    Sorry about that- I hear it's pretty easy to set vBulletin to auto-resize pics...

  11. #11
    Fuck it
    Satonic's Avatar
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    Maybe a mod could resize the couple of pics for Tony?

    Great thread and pics mate, glad you didn't let the riding get in the way of the drinking

    Cheers

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBKK
    What's the first thing you do when you arrive in Laos? Cool off with a Beer Lao of course!!
    it can even be the second or third or fourth or fith or..........Top thread keep em coming

  13. #13
    euston has flown

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    This is the first time I have ever seen anyone wearing a real helmet or even anything resembling slid protection. How do the locals react to seeing what must seem seriously overdresssed chaps?

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat

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    Time to load the bikes! No ramp so we had to physically life the bikes onto the boat...


    Check out that big piece of rebar sticking out of the cement just to the right of Robert's front wheel- can you imagine if you weren't paying attention and hit that thing?!


    Remember how I said they didn't have a ramp? Well that was the case until they tried to lift a 200++Kg Versys, then miraculously a ramp appeared


    Tight squeeze to get a Versys throught the "door" but it did fit!




    We dared Jurgen to simply ride onto the boat; he wasn't having it!


    Getting David's Versys put into place-


    My KLX tucked in for the night. It was a beautiful boat- check out the wood floor- I felt kind of bad scuffing it up with the kickstand...


    Bikes all loaded and 4 cases of Beer Lao and plenty of ice delivered to the boat, then we're off to dinner. Can't remember the name of the place but the service was quick, the beers ice cold and the food outstanding! Brian took this pic-


    Brian and I were the first to arrive and the last to leave. Relaxing with tall Beer Laos and our feet up it was a fantastic spot overlooking the Mekong with Thailand on the far side and a nearly full moon in the sky. This trip is off to a great start!!
    Last edited by TonyBKK; 18-03-2013 at 02:05 PM.

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazz View Post
    This is the first time I have ever seen anyone wearing a real helmet or even anything resembling slid protection. How do the locals react to seeing what must seem seriously overdresssed chaps?
    Where do you live? Everyone I ride with, both Thai and foreign, wears proper gear.

    Recent ride from Bangkok to Nan with Kawasaki, Thailand...

  16. #16
    euston has flown

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    I live in dusit, bangkok. I would say that as I drive along I see about 70% wear helmets, mostly bucket ones, 80% will use lights at night and about 80% will have operational side mirrors and an almost complete absence of defensive driving with utter faith that everyone will be able to get out of their way. I have almost never seen anyone driving with any kind of skid, slide or impact protection. I will admit I have seen the occasional BiB outrider, for he who's name cannot be mentioned, on very nice looking BMW's wearing some decent kit.... but thats it.

    Now I wasn't having a go at you or your mats, who clearly take a refreshingly serious view personal safety that would radically reduce the RTA death rate in Thailand if it became the norm. And yes I am genuinely curious what the locals thought of that seriousness.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat

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    Woke up at o-dark hundred on Saturday morning to make an early start as it's a full day cruise from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang on the mighty Mekong.

    Owner of the guest house gave us a ride down to the pier (photo by David):


    Beers and bikes? Check! (Brian's pic):


    Sitting on the bow of the boat, feet dangling above the river, it was quite chilly, but very beautiful- Beer Lao for brekkie! Life is good!


    Approaching the new bridge that will connect Chiang Khong to Huay Xai-


    Cheers David for putting this together!

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazz View Post
    I live in dusit, bangkok. I would say that as I drive along I see about 70% wear helmets, mostly bucket ones, 80% will use lights at night and about 80% will have operational side mirrors and an almost complete absence of defensive driving with utter faith that everyone will be able to get out of their way. I have almost never seen anyone driving with any kind of skid, slide or impact protection. I will admit I have seen the occasional BiB outrider, for he who's name cannot be mentioned, on very nice looking BMW's wearing some decent kit.... but thats it.

    Now I wasn't having a go at you or your mats, who clearly take a refreshingly serious view personal safety that would radically reduce the RTA death rate in Thailand if it became the norm. And yes I am genuinely curious what the locals thought of that seriousness.
    Ah, well in Bangkok it's a safe bet that ~90% of the "motorcycles" you see are scooters, right?

    I think there's a pretty clear distinction between more affluent people who ride motorcycles recreationally and can afford to buy proper gear and the poor masses for whom a scooter is often their primary mode of transportation and can often not even afford to fill the tank, much less buy quality safety gear.

    When chatting up locals or gas station attendants the first question they always ask about your gear is, "tao rai" (how much)?. If you answer honestly and they realize your jacket costs more than their scooter they just look at you like you're from another planet...

    That said, Thailand is a developing nation and in the ~6 years I've been living here I've noticed a definite increase in the number of people wearing helmets. Sure they're mostly cheap brain buckets, but it's slowly moving in the right direction.

  19. #19
    I am in Jail

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    ^My god. A commonsense view of Thais and motorcycles! What next?

    Great thread as well. Thanks!

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    ^^I've just twigged... I know David, haven't seen him for quite some time though. He has been involved in these biking tours for a long time. Nice guy.

  21. #21
    Fuck it
    Satonic's Avatar
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    His website, gt-rider is such a valuable source of info Ant, check it out. Some great trip reports over there too.

    If it wasn't for his site/maps I wouldn't have been on half of the adventures I have!

  22. #22
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    the dogcatcher's Avatar
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    Nice pics.
    Just as well you're wearing safety gear, cos drinking and pulling wheelies in a 4th world country ein't a good plan.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat

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    Passing under the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge that will connect Chiang Khong with Huay Xai-

    Looking towards Thailand above, and into Laos below-


    It was quite cool this early in the morning and the boat was motoring along at a good clip so the wind was a factor too- people took turns out on the bow and then retreated to the cabin to warm up-


    A beautiful temple on the Thai side of the Mekong-


    The skipper has no radar or depth finder and navigates entirely by site and memory and perhaps with a little help from the Lord Buddha? Check out that steering wheel!


    The Mekong has a lot of rapids and rocks and the hazards move as the level of the river changes. Mad skills our skipper has!


    Life on the Mekong-







  24. #24
    Thailand Expat

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    Quote Originally Posted by the dogcatcher View Post
    Nice pics.
    Just as well you're wearing safety gear, cos drinking and pulling wheelies in a 4th world country ein't a good plan.
    I daresay pulling wheelies drunk generally isn't a good idea regardless of your location... Thailand a "4h world country"? You should visit Laos, Cambo or Myanmar sometime. Makes Thailand seem positively modern!

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBKK View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by the dogcatcher View Post
    Nice pics.
    Just as well you're wearing safety gear, cos drinking and pulling wheelies in a 4th world country ein't a good plan.
    I daresay pulling wheelies drunk generally isn't a good idea regardless of your location... Thailand a "4h world country"? You should visit Laos, Cambo or Myanmar sometime. Makes Thailand seem positively modern!
    Solly.. though you were in Laos.
    Must read more carefully.
    I have a house in Laos so I know what you/I mean.
    Falling asleep and waking up is not the same as passing out and coming to.

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