OMG, it’s great to be in Thailand, finally
|Travel From||–||Vientiene, Laos|
|Ending Location||–||Dansai, Thaiiland|
|Miles Driven Today||–||202 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||13772 Miles|
|Countries visited Today||–||Thailand|
|Countries visited on trip||US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Laos, Thailand|
I’m now in the 20th country since leaving my home in South Carolina. Its hard to believe that the trip is approaching to the end. I’m going to write a few posts that recap some thoughts on the whole journey, but as I wake up, on this morning of the 23rd of October, and work on finishing this post, I see that there are only 3 more riding days of the tour.
I will enjoy them, and enjoy the ride into Bangkok on the morning of the 25th.
We departed the hotel at 8:00 AM.
20 miles to the border
We left the hotel, and traveled 20 miles to the Immigration office, where we were processed out of Laos, in pretty quick order. In fact, the outbound processing was remarkable.
Border crossing into Thailand
The exit from Laos took only about 3 minutes to complete. This largely due to the fact that our guide, Pong, had taken our passports, and processed everything for us, leaving no details to complete by us, in person.
In many countries, you are not allowed to film the entry point into the country, but Laos is much more relaxed, so here is a video of our group, arriving at the Laos Immigration point.
The bridge into Thailand, over the Mekong river is lined with flags from Laos, and at the midway point, the flags change to Thailand flags. I have to admit that I felt touched that they had gone to such great lengths, to make visitors feel welcomed. The video below shows the entry into Thailand.
The guides for Thailand, also did as much processing in advance as possible, but because we’re importing the motorcycles, through the customs process, things are much more arduous, and complex overall. We arrived at the immigration booth at about 9:00 AM, and spent the next 2 hours filling out, and signing paperwork. Finally, we were allowed to pass through the gate, into Thailand.
Thailand Gas is easily available just about 3/4 mile up the road. So, we headed to the gas station, and I was surprised to find that it’s a gas station, and a 7/11 store.
We spent about an hour at the 7-11, waiting for our passports, and replenishing fluids. The woman with the passports eventually arrived, and we were reunited with our passports.
The morning ride
The morning ride
We did almost no riding in the morning. This time was spent taking care of paperwork at the two border crossings, after which we spent a little time at the 7/11 where we found a restaurant to have lunch.
We knew that Thailand would be hot, but today has confirmed that it’s relentlessly hot, every minute of every day. The temperature throughout the day today will fluctuate from a low of 80 F in the morning at departure, to a high of 96, as we rode in the hot sun through the afternoon.
We gassed up, and purchased some drinks at the 7/11, but were surprised to learn that we would have to wait a while for another one of the guides to arrive with our passports. So, we took this opportunity to have a little lunch, and another drink.
I purchased 4 drinks at the 7/11, and finished them all in about 10 minutes. I then enjoyed some spicy pork for lunch, with another drink. It seems my body was craving fluids, and it felt good to cool down a bit.
The afternoon ride
The afternoon ride was bliss. We were on a stretch of road/pavement that was very well paved, did not have water, gravel, oil, or potholes throughout, and was a gracefully connected series of turns. In other words, the perfect motorcycle road. I’m looking forward to more riding like this tomorrow.
We rode about 110 Kilometers, or 80 miles from our lunch/gas stop, and were hunting for a place to take a break. Marc pulled over into what looked like a nice rest stop, but when we checked with the owner, we found that they do not sell any cold drinks at all, don’t offer coffee, and don’t have a toilet for us to use.
So, Karin, Stephan and I decided to continue, and to try to find another stop as soon as possible. We did not need to travel more than 5 miles, perhaps less, and we found an amazing place to stop at. This place offered cappuccino, smoothies, chocolate cakes and other desserts, and a clean bathroom It was great.
I ordered a strawberry smoothie, to try to combat the heat, which was at about 95 degrees for the past 2 hours. Stephan and Karin ordered cappuccino and all of us enjoyed the stop very much.
The other bikes rolled up to our stop about 15 minutes later, but they quickly continued to the next stop along the way. And so, the three of us rode along as a group, and eventually met the group again, about 100 K (68 miles) later.
Oops, I missed a turn
We were riding along, fat, dumb and happy, and we came upon a left hand turn. I was following Charles pretty closely, and we hit the turn about 4 seconds apart. As is always the case, I leaned the bike into the turn, and started to look ahead.
We were both surprised to find that the turn took a sharp pitch downward, and that the radius of the turn decreased significantly, after entry. So, we call this a decreasing radius turn, and the combination of the turn, and the downward hill caused both of us to run a little bit wide in the turn.
Charles and I don’t usually miss any turns like this, and so it was a bit of a surprise to both of us that we missed the turn. So, we rode a bit more cautiously for the remainder of the day.
The smells of Thailand
Riding a motorcycle gives you a more visceral experience of a road, any road. You can see the people’s faces, the children’s erratic movements on the side of the road, and you can also smell the Earth around you. And so, as I ride in Thailand this afternoon, with humidity in the air, and the temperature at 95 F, I can’t help but be in a sense of wonder about the smells of Thailand.
I smell the Earthen soil, the different types of trees and plants, the humidity from the river, and the fruit. I can smell the fruit on the trees. it’s not a specific smell, but more of a smell of abundance, a smell of richness, and a smell of mouth-watering fruit, growing everywhere. It’s a great experience to smell things so richly and completely, I only wish that everyone could experience it along with me.
We finally arrived at the hotel at about 5:30, after a brief stop at a gas station to top off the tanks.
What will tomorrow bring?
Tomorrows ride is expected to be much the same as today. Many wonderful roads, intense heat, and about 200 miles to ride.
Your comments on the enjoying the smells of Thailand reminds me of the expression: “Being in a car is like watching a movie, riding a motorcycling is like starring in the movie”.
Yes, as a motorcyclist we get to feel, smell and taste things that our friends in cars cannot. Thanks for sharing your memories of these very same smells.