LOG ENTRY 49
Hua Hin - Suratthani - Ferry to Koh Samui (511 km)
We managed to fall back to sleep twice so it was only 10 in the morning when we finally left Hua Hin. The weather at first was great and the traffic got much better than yesterday. This is our 70th day riding and put 11,000 kilometers behind us so far. Not as impressive as we managed almost half of it in the first week but we are back on track again.
We planned to reach Chumpon a provincial mid size city to board a ferry to Koh Samui where we planned to stay the next day or two with our friend Rudolf. He is a Hungarian expat, well known for his writings in the Wild magazine. He was a lively member of the Hungarian Harley Davidson community until he decided to settle on the island famous for its coconut plantations, Koh Samui. He and his wife Monika have been in contact with us and we were looking forward to have a few drinks with them that night.
Coastline of the Gulf of Thailand
As usual faith had different plans. We had to put the drinking plan aside and give our livers an extra day of break as there was no ferry from Chumpon which would take us with the bikes. At the port thy directed us to Suratthani which is a provincial capital about 170 kilometers from Chumpon.
The further South we progressed the nicer the scenery got, empty long stretch of roads with rubber and coconut plantations on the side often decorated with large horizontal rock walls and mountains. Perfection was only distracted with periodic rains which at first made us wear the rain suits but as quick as it came as fast the rain stopped so after the second stop we decided just to ride the rain through. Mom and Geng had no rain clothes anyway so if the ladies can take same rain surely we can do it to.
We arrived to Suratthani a little bit before 5 pm and the ferry port was still a good 50 kilometers away so we decided to head back to the city to find some accommodation. As the city lies a good leap away from the coast no sign of tourism can be seen. Every places in Thailand we seen many backpackers and guest houses but Suratthani was different. It was more of a trading and transportation hub with very little things to do. As dusk was really made its appearance on the horizon we started to look for a cheap accommodation. Using Geng as a translator we managed to find a very interesting place to stay. It was a kind of roadside motel where every room had its separate drive way and soon as you drove in to your room the staff pulled a curtain behind you. Later one we figured it out that it was a so called short time room where local guys driver their misuses for a discrete few hours of fun. Being on the outskirts of the city we still managed to get a very decent price on the rooms which was little less than 10 dollars for a night. As nothing being close to our room we ended up sleeping very early without much dinner, preparing ourselves for the ferry ride in the morning.
Rolling, I mean sailing to the port, Koh Samui
Even the beautiful sunshine couldn’t wake us up early and it was only 8 in the morning when we headed to the ferry. The expected 60 kilometers went up to 80 as we managed to take a wrong turn thanks for Geng’s advice. The ferry ride is only an hour and a half and it is absolutely breath taking. Large rock islands mounts over the shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand and as the silhouette of Koh Samui emerged on the horizon we knew that this place will be a really special stop in our trip.
In the next LOG ENTRY I will cover our few days on Koh Samui, how I ended up beating an English tourist, how Geng left us and why we did a run down to Malaysia and back on the same day.
LOG ENTRY 48
Today's LOG ENTRY will be different from the previous ones as the story will continue in the next entries how we progressed towards South. Today I stop and remember the tenth anniversary since we started the trip.
Exactly ten years ago, 23rd of June, 2005
It was a sunny but not so warm morning; light clouds gathered over Budapest, threatening us little with shower even thought we had the wet blessing for the past few days. It was an ordinary morning, except that we were about to do something extraordinary.
We got on our bikes like we did every morning prior to that day, except this day we carried two full panniers and over fifty kilograms of stuff with us. We didn’t go to work, we headed to Hero’s square to say a farewell to friends and family and to start a dream which after a decade we are somehow still living.
You can guess who is this
Today marks the tenth anniversary that Dad and I left Hungary with two mighty V-stroms. Today also marks the tenth anniversary of living abroad, being away from home and I feel today marks the tenth anniversary of being an adult.
There’s been lots of ups and downs, accidents, surgeries, moving, jobs to survive, jobs to prosper but we are still breathing and carry our dreams on.
If you are in a close vicinity of a bar, please pay a visit, drink one for us and two for yourself and dream a dream that involves a motorcycle.
Australia's smallest bar somewhere in Northern Territory
LOG ENTRY 47
As Mom finally arrived from Hungary we are all together, four of us headed down to South Thailand with a night stop at Hua Hin
Just a bit of issue with our home made pannier.
Everything in the universe is glued together. Whether the gravity keeps us on the ground or the Ionic and Covalent bonds which hold atoms together with electrostatic interactions, everything is glued together. My family is just like that, Mom is our glue and her love and caring is what physicist calls an electrostatic interaction.
It has been a good three months since the last time I seen her and it was a great pleasure to see her walking out of the arrival hall at Don Muang international airport. Dad and I are like brothers, do crazy things together, fight, argue and then wash off our differences with a bottle or two. Mom on the other hand is the mediator, she is cool headed when she needs to be and she is the only person knows how to handle us individually or together as a bunch. Our plan was as I mentioned before is that she jumps on the bike with us and ride all the way down to Indonesia, either until Bali or further south. As she came a few days later we decided not to waste too much time in Bangkok but head down south a day later of her arrival. Of course we showed her around Khaosan road and all the magical places we have been discovered in the past week with Dad. Drank cheap liquors mixed with locally made Red Bull from a bucket, tried out all the seasoned and grilled insects and ate from the most gut-twistingly spicy papaya salad we found on a street corner.
One of the many floating market around Bangkok.
After we managed a draw with our battling hangover in the morning we put the panniers back on the bike and paid our bill at Apple guest house. As it was planned Geng is joining us until the Thai border so her small pack had to go on my bike too. Soon as we crossed the Chaopraya river, only hundreds of meters from Khaosan road a policeman stopped our bike and started to explain something vehemently. According to our translator Geng, the policeman found our bikes too wide and demanded 1000 baht, about 35 USD cash if we wanted to continue riding. Obviously a scam but he wasn’t giving it up even after 20 minutes of argument we ended up paying half what he asked for.
There is two main highway leaving Bangkok to the South-Southwest and both of them are wide and good quality (by Asian standards). We headed Southwest at first and turned South on Rama 2 highway towards Hua Hin. This mid size city is a popular holiday destination for Bangkokians and also many retired westerner lives here. The town is located about 200 kilometers South of Bangkok which is way less than we expected to progress that day but we stopped half way at a floating market and spent a good few hours there. Funny enough we met a Hungarian couple at the floating market who remembered us from the TV show we’ve been into before leaving Hungary.
The four of us with Mom and Geng.
Hua Hin unlike I expected is a very hotelish town. No palm trees on the beach, no exotic bays or turquoise water, only brown sandy beach with greenish but very hot sea. Excuse me for my wild expectations and naivety but that time we didn’t google everything or read reviews on tripadvisor before checking into a hotel. All we had is a paper map with towns circled around with a red pen.
Our first proper riding day, although only 250 kilometers, was pretty nice. Mother is on board, we have a translator and finally dipped into the Gulf of Thailand.