Hello again everyone,
We didn't quite make it to Koh Samui.
We enjoyed our stay in Krabi staying at Richard's house/farm (thanks again mate, enjoy the fridge full of beer) with his two lovely dogs Coffee and Cookie and we caught up with the gang at Europa Cafe (Leonardo DiCaprio ate there while filming The Beach). We kayaked through mangrove forests and into volcanic caves and rode elephants and just enjoyed the break in general at Krabi.
We were eating at a restaurant called Carnivores in Krabi (a place devoted to the meat eaters obviously) where we met Trevor, he spotted us riding past and was amazed to see the UK plates on the bikes. He came over and we chatted about our trip. The conversation could have carried on over two nights, but alas he and his wife were leaving the next day, and they had just finished their dinner. After he left, he returned ten minutes later with a copy of The Long Way Down, Ewan McGreggor and Charley Boorman's latest exploits riding through Africa. What a lovely gesture, we are loving reading it, and we hope to pass it on again to another enthusiast some day. It has given us some ideas on how to write our book at the end of our journey, The Long Way Home (come on, how many of you spotted that at the top of the blog page huh?)
We left Krabi and headed for Phucket where we stayed for a week at Kata Beach (Patong Beach was a million times worse than when Steve was there 20 years ago). Phucket was OK, but we weren't upset to leave to get to Bangkok. One highlight was a place on the way to Nua Hin beach at the southern end of Phucket called The Breakfast Hut. This place served proper meat pies and as it was run by a Brit, served a delightful full English breakfast complete with Cumberland sausages. He was able to give us a contact for a fishing/boat trip, a Canadian called Jerry. We went out on the boat, just after having one of the delicious big breakfasts. The sea was rather rough and Liz was sick! The up side of this trip was a lovely unexpected snorkel in a very secluded area with many colourful fish.
We rode up the west coast of Thailand to the Burma border and straddled the border to the east cost to the Gulf of Thailand where we stopped at Chumphon for three nights then up to Hua Hin for two nights. We then rode to Kanchanaburi to where the bridge on the River Kwai is.
On the way to Kanchanaburi, Steve spotted a huge diesel slick on the road and was in the process of pointing it out and saying to Liz over the intercom to be careful but saw her bike on its side sliding along the highway. He saw her standing before he got off his bike with a local car behind her shielding her from traffic and hazard lights flashing. We got the bike picked up, and apart from a sore right hip and shoulder, the only injury was a small graze beneath her elbow. Steve patched her up on the side of the road (the first time we have needed the first aid kit for ourselves) and after sorting the bike out we were away again. Very gingerly.
We arrived at the guest house at Kanchanaburi (The Oriental Kwai Resort) which is run by a dutch/thai couple who have got running this place down to a fine art. It is just what weary travellers need. While at Kanchanaburi, we visited the bridge (of course) and Hellfire Pass, a series of cuttings and bridge ways along the Burma Railway where the Aussies were mostly involved.
We left Kanchanaburi and rode to Bangkok. We rode there on a Sunday in the hope that the traffic wouldn't be as bad, and it was a little better. The roads were still filthy with oil and diesel, if a road was this bad in the UK or Australia they would close it down until it was cleared of oil. We had a route planned which involved some expressway riding in Bangkok, but when we got to the entrance of the expressway, we were told we weren't allowed on them, panic set in as we realised we now didn't know how to get to the hotel. We did make it though, but it involved a bit more stopping and figuring out which way to go etc.
We organised for our bikes to be shipped to Australia, and that is an experience we'll tell you about later, but as we speak they are on the ship sailing for Brisbane. We saw the standard tourist things such as The Grand Palace and the various Wats - all very stunning.
We caught a train up to Chiang Mai where we are now. We'll be catching up with Stuart to say our fond farewells and until next times, then we'll be training it back to Bangkok to fly out of Thailand to Cairns. We'll be hiring a car to drive down to Brisbane where we will be reunited with our bikes to ride down the coast to Sydney and then Melbourne.
We'll next update you from Cairns and then keep you all updated on our way down south.
We miss you all and can't wait to see you again soon.
Liz and Steve