Thursday, August 30, 2012

Up the coast

We've been enjoying ourselves a little too much as usual and with great enjoyment comes great length of time between blog updates! (that's my excuse anyhow...hehehehe)

After somehow managing to leave our favourite Thai island Koh Phangan, we rode (a little wet) north west towards Ranong. 

Notice the empty grog bottles to the left. Bikes hiding from them on the right.
We had a night in a strange little seaside town were we stayed in interesting lodgings. We ended up with a pretty ordinary sleep as the place sprung to life at 11pm with karaoke blasting at max volume all night. It seemed to explain the load of wine cooler bottles outside our room.

We left the small noisy town and headed over the center of the country to the western side. A gorgeous ride through the mountains. Ranong initially greeted us with its great mountain backdrop. Bald mountain could have been mistake for almost any old farm on the east coast of Australia. Attempting to ride up on the very slippery clay proved fruitless, almost falling off many times.

Clarissa dominated the scale model nearby on foot. The mountains were fantastic with their big long snake like waterfalls running down the side.

Without a center stand some interesting new methods are used for the servicing of the bikes. The center stand bangs around a bit too much and steals valuable ground clearance from the bikes.

'A border run town worth visiting' said our friends. With some great food and a great place to stay we enjoyed some time to work on the bikes in a peaceful place. After a phone call and some 'hand the phone to the nearest Thai person' we were guided to the Ranong Big Bike shop. This was to do our first service of the trip. 5000kms already... We also washed them! Wow. They looked amazing until it rained the next days ride...

Ranong Big Bike is the place to go for anything bike related. Give them a call if your in town. They went and grabbed all the goodies they didn't have within minutes and were very generous on the costs of lubricants. I managed to make the first oil mess in the new workshop!

'A' was the man behind the shop. Currently upgrading from his smaller shop in town to his own home. He had his own bike in pieces in the kitchen. Awesome. Customers bike's were in various states of rebuild in the lounge room!

We left Ranong with smoother running machines and having made some good new friends. Continuing on north we encountered the shark energy drink guys at the petrol station. Did some promo shots on the bikes and they gave me a freebie! Not having had an energy drink for well over 6 months kept me going throughout the rest of the day.

Including the hard time on the beach/mangrove having a rest. 

Clarissa is seen here enjoying ordering her first noodle soup. Noodle soup aficionado's will be shocked that it has taken so long before making the plunge.

Clarissa had the same sans fishballs. FISHBALL!

I put far too much chilli in my soup. Way too much. Holy crap. My entire face was on fire and beard  full of flaming lava!

The local girls except the young lass were impressed with Neil's attempt at eating a bowl of the sun. 

Clarissa cruising along the scenic route from Ranong to Prachuap Kiri Khan. Scenic route always trumps the highway so far in Thailand. Its so quiet compared to the hellish main highway to Malaysia.

This person with the white arm was quiet rude!

Wish we got better shots of the Ranong hot springs. Wow. This was an amazing place to spend a rainy day at.

Filling up on the way out of Ranong. Its nice to be able to jump off the bike and pop the fuel cap without having to loose the helmet/gloves. Very fast F1 style fuel stops.

Our new view! Its horrible! Prachuap Kiri Khan. What a great little town.

This is what happens after a couple of beers at dinner. Apologies for the offensive bits :)

We call it 'doodle wars'. Maybe it has an official name?

A new favourite dish 'fried pork with garlic and pepper'. Potentially not the best for you, but yum. I endured some horrible food poisoning from some oyster/chilli sauce with another dish. So simple foods have been on the go for a week or so.

You can see our place by the 'touch' of color. Ning's guesthouse was an awesome place to rest and recover after my second bout of food poisoning of the trip. Garry is an Austrian chap. Basically an Australian and visa-versa as a fair few people get us mixed up so far in south east asia.

Ning and Clarissa. Ning was very caring to us as she counselled us on the woes of Thai food and the western belly.

Crazy evil clown mannequin. A bit unnerving and not the best for selling clothes.

Temple. We have been slack on seeing temples thus far but we're about to go on a temple seeing rampage.

Some art on the side of a water tank at the Force 5 Airforce base. 33 hours after the Japanese landed in Thailand the amnesty was signed. The Siamese fought a serious resistance movement until they regained control of country near the end of the war.

A little strange.

Monkeys sitting on their likenesses. Also slightly strange.

This is the new monkey bike.

Just handing a monkey a banana, on a motorbike is not enough. They must be fed in exciting and challenging ways.

I'm keeping an eye on you, strange orange creature. Both Neil and the baby were thinking this at the same time.

Fishing boats at night from our balcony. This hardly gives it justice. There's a lot of them.

This was a bin. A tall foreign person had to really bend down to use it.

Most of the footage we have from the Ranong Aquarium is in movie format. This was really worth visiting. Very professional and excellent underwater things on display. Only 60 Aussie cents per person!

Tesco is a favourite for stocking up on goodies and when hungry. They always seem to sort us out for cheese at a minimum!

Clarissa relaxing in the sweet air-con at the Jolly Frog in Kanchanaburi.

So we're hanging around in Kanchanaburi for a week waiting for some mail to arrive with our GPS maps of Laos and northern Thailand. We will head over to Cambodia next week.

 We visited the WW2 war cemetery here on an extremely sad day today. Australians have lost five Diggers and more injured in Afghanistan. Let alone seeing all the lost Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen here at the cemetery. Our thoughts and prayers with their families at this immeasurably sad time.

Lest we forget.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


So I still had unfinished business in the Khao Sok jungle. Was naughty and went on the two closed trails. My excuse was to be 'me no read no engrish'...

The call of jungle expedition was only hampered by lack of pith helmet. Notice action utility belt making up for it. Sexy.

Lots of elephant poo, tracks, scent and broken bamboo but none came out to play with me.

Jungle life involves leeches. The sooner the better you realise they pass on no disease and are actually full of protein if your hungry!

An amazing tree – there was many others but it makes me sad knowing they were once everywhere in Thailand.

Self waterfall shot. Facebook quality at best.

The prize waterfall after my Swedish friend and I reached the end of the trail.

Post trekking hydration and anti-malaria gin and tonics. You can see my hip flask in there - jungle standard equipment. 

My first internal friend. Maybe from the jungle, maybe from a dodgy local animal. A variety of roundworm he claimed. He left after I explained the rent. Seems he never learned to read a rental agreement.

If you are waiting for dinner and hungry, you take photos of each other. Clarissa seems to not like this.

Couple of cool kids checking the Rooney Special out.

Dominating the overlanding. That's what I think this one says.

Cats appreciate a good seat. Lucky I'm not superstitious. 

Leaving our friends at Green View resort in Khao Sok. Gorgeous place to stay, amazing bird and wildlife roaming around your bungalow.

Our friends told us it was certainly possible to get the ferry to Ko Phangan. Certainly advisable. So we certainly did it.

Met an english teacher lady who advised Clarissa that I had found the correct ferry and we weren't on the slow boat to the coal mines.

Luckily the seas were calm. The poor side stands copped a flogging under the weight of loaded bikes on the gentle sea, hate to see what rough seas would have done! We ended up setting our portable chairs up and researching our new island destination on the laptop.

Tron'ing it across the ocean the GPS was reassuring me.

Had to defeat this battle ship to gain entry. Too easy. Clarissa hops on the back of my bike when we travel around town, saves fuel and just easier to manage.

Doing it tough in the Amsterdam bar. Horrendous view. Absolutely Horrible!

Mr Moon delivers an excellent hammock for Clarissa to reflect/relax/revive upon. Notice his pants. Now make sure you sitting down now for this. As they are CUSTOM MADE for Mr. Moon. He's surrounded by colourful relaxation devices and refuses to wear bland pants! The man on the moon wears only the finest colours.

Mr Moon's adventure bike. Custom jerry can panniers are the main addition. 

Testing Mr. Moons 'most comfortable in the world' hammock. Its the goods. Not as compact as my Blissology hammock from Canada though!

The guard pig at the motorcycle parts/workshop. Like the pig at my local car wrecker back home I would imagine it lives off a diet of used engine oil and spark plug leads.

I always laugh at cats sleeping near/on/around our bikes. Cats like good stuff so it can't be bad.

Couple of guys who helped us out by letting us know the road further on was washed out and not worth pursuing. They may have been slightly drunk. Note boom box from man at the back - required item when drinking and swimming in waterfall.

Clarissa relaxing after a hot ride up to some fancy house for rent on the hill.

Our friends we were riding with for a part of our eastern island exploring day. They wowed us with the crazy dirt roads they were riding. Good work fellas!

Clarissa riding in local atire, a dress. People ask as though why we wearing the helmet still?

Excellent coffee. Amazing food. Carlo and his fantastic wife will help you regardless of your big bike being broken or  just being hungry!

Carlo in his workshop. Take note of fridge and copious booze around. Including Singha on tap, in frozen glasses. If your bike is really broken you can get really drunk while Carlo mends it. 

Red curry at Blue Top coffee shop. Shazbot this was a good feed.

Snorkelling here at Ko Ma was excellent. Blue ringed stingray, octopus, angel fish and many others I couldn't identify.

Walking to our part of Chaloklum bay, Ko Tao. After leaving the bikes with our friends to look after. A new island and much scuba diving to be done!

Chilling on the top deck on the steam towards the next dive site.

Little coloured trees that would quickly hide if you got too close.

Not a great place to sit down but magical to look at.

Neil doing a flip off the boat.

Clarissa doing a flip in the big blue thing.

The clams blow your mind with the ebbing of the colours.

Pretty fishy.

Serene and mystifying diving here on Ko Tao. Wunderbar.

Dr Sea slug thing. Doing the rounds.

Colourful nudibranch. Got to catch them all!

Epic schools of fish. 

Jelly blubber!

Neil watching the scuba divers enter the water. He was undertaking his level 1 freediving course instead of sucking air.

Popping up for some air. Due to some painful equalisation issues I didn't do too much free diving on the second day. Did pass the course though, down to 20m on a single breath and back up again is a magical experience. Helpful hint - bearded men should use Petroleum jelly to get a better mask seal.

Josh rescuing Bat (instructor) from 10m.

Mr Bat. Our master free-diving instructor. Seek him out on Ko Tao at Alvaro diving school for your freediving needs.

Our crazy freediving Spanish friends. Crazy straw hats encouraged.  Custom Carbon fibre super fins standard equipment. 

Hope you enjoyed this mostly picture post. I thought the way we have been travelling the last couple of weeks better suited the photo option rather than babbling on. With current plans keeping true we shall be in Cambodia in under a month! Crazy. Take care and lots of love!