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Monday, 4 March 2013


A partly repeat and partly new route to Thailand and Laos which seen me riding to North Thailand (again) until the Thai - Myanmar border, to the east entering Laos until the Laos China border, going up and down the mountains to Luang Prabang until Vientiane, re enter Thailand, and back to home sweet home. A journey of 10 exciting days with lots of new things observed and new experiences mistakes done and new lessons learnt...Something which you will never find nor see nor learn if you travel via an organized tour. Thank you Allah for giving me the opportunity, not only to witness this beautiful world of Yours, but also to experience the lives of other mankind....
I am truly blessed...

Sunday, 3 March 2013



I started early today, at 6.45am. I hv plotted my route in the GPS, so I didnt face any problem to exit Surat town and find my way to route 44 which was a nice highway and very deserted. I turned left at the intersection to route 41 and rode straight down to Thung Song. It rained this morning for the first time since I started my ride. The road condition was quite bad before and after Thung Song. I was craving for sticky rice with red fried chicken but I told myself to hang on until Hat Yai. Unfortunately I couldnt find any until I reached the border. Since I’m hungry, I had a yummy somtam at a Muslim stall before crossing the border. 

Buying honey pineapple at Patthalung

Border crossing was smooth. I called sis Azliena and arrange to meet her at Juru. She waited for me at the R n R and took me to Coffee Bean. This is the first time I met this legend lady. She was the first Malaysian lady biker to ride her motorbike in China, up until Kunming. At first, I thought that I will only spend about 1 hour with her, but we ended up chatting for more than 2 hours. It was already 7pm by the time I continued my ride. I stopped at Bukit Gantang for prayer and arrived home safely around 9.15pm. Alhamdulillah... 

Again, I have had the best moment riding Thailand and Laos alone. The precious experience that I gained during this ride were beyond words. I know that I am going to miss Laos very much. I hope that I can ride there again soon and explore her beauty and what she has to offer. 

Thank you Allah the Almighty for giving me the chance to see Your beautiful creations, for protecting me from any danger thru out my ride, for giving me a small test and helping me to find a way to solve it, and for making me a much stronger person and wiser (from the test) in dealing with the problems.



I was sooo sleepy that I almost missed Ayuthaya station when the train arrived. I was sooo groggy that I had to ask a western girl on the train to help me carry my stuff down. As in Nong Khai, here also I didnt hv to pay for the service to lift DREAM up / down the train (unlike in Hatyai). Surprisingly, the train was delayed for less than an hour only, so since it was still dark (about 5am), I waited at the station for a while. I made my move around 5.45am and the first thing was to find a petrol station. I checked my GPS and headed to one, only to see that it was still closed. Getting worried since I know that DREAM wont last very long now, I rode slowly hoping to find a petrol station open at such an early hour. Fortunately I found one. What a relief. DREAM had succeeded a distance of 430kms before I refuel him. He’s such a darling. 

I rode on route 3262 – 340 – 346 – 321 – 4 – 41 all the way to Surat Thani. Nothing much to report about today’s ride. The road condition was good for Thai standard. Beginning from Parachuap, I saw few groups of Malaysian bikes convoying to Pattaya to attend Burapa Bike Week. I encountered at least seven road blocks today. I first targetted Thung Song as my destination, but since it was already 5pm and I am tired (due to the long ride and the lack of sleep on the train), I made up my mind to stop at Surat Thani instead. 

I met a Malaysian biker before entering Surat Thani. He was riding alone. We stopped for a drink by the road side. He told me that he was coming from Laos (Pakxe) and Cambodia. He was surprised when I told him that I was coming from Laos too, and that I am all alone. We exchanged phone numbers. I rode on to Surat Thani centre but my GPS directed me via kampong road so I have to go round and round until I was stucked at a bridge under construction. I asked a local, and he pointed me the way to a subsitute bridge (only for motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians). I crossed the bridge and made my way to the town, trying to find a GH. During my previous stay at Surat, I stayed at a GH along the highway and I didnt enter the town. The GH listed in my GPS was no longer operating, so I asked a local to help me find a cheap accomodation. I found one, Surat GH for B300 with wifi. That night, I went to a muslim restaurant which I hv spotted earlier to hv dinner, unfortunately the owner said that they are closing, and told me that I can find some Muslim stalls near the river. I found it and had a nice pad thai for dinner. 

The food court near the river / market

I went for a short sightseeing along the river to enjoy the colourful lights before heading back to the GH.



I woke up around 5.30am. The electricity has recovered. The first thing I did was to search for the pouch. I checked my backpack, searched under the bed, inside my jacket and everywhere, but I couldnt find it. Perhaps it’s in my panniers. I performed subuh prayer first and after that checked the panniers. The pouch was not there either. My heart sank. I started to curse myself for forgetting to activate my ATM (visaplus) and my credit card before I started the ride. I normally activate the cards before I started my travel, but this time I forgot. 

I tried to recall when was the last time I see the pouch. If memory served me well, I remembered that the last time I held the pouch was before I had my shower yesterday morning, at the GH in Luang Prabang. I remembered that I first put the pouch on the TV table, but I hesitated (since the table was black in colour, and so was the pouch). I’m afraid I might not see it later, so I took the pouch and put it on the floor, next to my backpack. Then I had my shower. I cant recall putting the pouch back in my backpack. Perhaps I might hv mistakenly leave it in the room? (But very strange since I always practised checking my room thoroughly before checking out). Perhaps Allah had blinded my vision from seeing it bcos someone else need the money more than me? Or perhaps someone entered my room in Vang Vieng when I went out to the reception (only for a while) to ask for the wifi password? For god’s sake, I hv no idea  and I dont hv the answer. 

What should I do now? I am thousands of miles away from home, and I have only Kips which were equivalent to RM75. If I’m not with DREAM, I can always purchased a flight ticket online using my credit card and fly back home. But now, I am with DREAM. I cant leave him behind. We came together, and we’ll go home together. What must I do? WHAT MUST I DO? 

Okey, now is not the time to panic, Anita....calm know that you cant think straight in a tense situation. Relax, take a deep breath, smile, listen to your favourite song, eat yr breakfast, and after that think of a solution. 

So, I did just that, and I updated my status in FB, only to realize how many friends were sooo concern about me. Bro Seow, sis Azliena Baharin and my sister Are Nim even inbox me offering to gv me money. I thanked them for their kindness. Its not that I dont hv any money at all. I do hv money in my savings, but I couldnt withdraw the money as I didnt activate my card. That was my biggest mistake. 

Anyway, I packed my things and before checking out, I spoke to the Lao girl (the gf to the GH owner) about the missing pouch and money. She helped me to call Sysomphone GH and asked them about it. They said their cleaners didnt mention anything about finding anything left by the guest, but they promised to check with their cleaners again about it. I left my number to the girl and checked out. First, I try to find an IDD shop where I can make an overseas call. I found one and make a call. The bank officer (as always) asked too many security questions that I cant help shouting at him, telling him that I am in an undevelop country (Laos) and I hv lost my money....I hv only RM75 left and if he’s so keen to know about me, do it once I’m back in Malaysia and he can ask as many security questions as he liked. If he’s forever asking me questions, I might ends up finishing all the RM75 to pay for the call without him able to activate my card, so stop asking too much and activate my card RIGHT NOW!!! That put him on act instantly. After that, I try to find an ATM machine which has visaplus, but since Vang Vieng is a very small town, there wasnt any that I could find. 

I checked my fuel and made some calculations. I last refuel yesterday at Luang Prabang, and I had rode 226kms. Through my experience, if I rode DREAM slowly, he can manage up to 400kms before his tank dry up. Vientiane is 160kms away, meaning that I can arrive (hopefully) without the need to refuel. So I gambled and rode on, riding 75kmh maximum speed. The road was still winding but no climbing. Certain parts were under construction, so I cant speed anyway. The view was quite nice too. 

The farming vehicle most dominant in Laos 

With the slow ride, I only managed to reach Vientiane after 3 hours of riding. Surprisingly, DREAM still had a quarter tank of fuel left. I found an ATM machine with visaplus, and try to withdraw some money. Once my ATM card entered the slot, the machine suddenly stopped responding. I waited for about 30 seconds and when instinct told me that this is not good, I punched the cancel button repeatedly. Thank god the ATM machine didnt swallow my card and I got it back. Since I still hv some fuel left, I made up my mind that I will only withdraw money from an ATM machine in Thailand. I am very confident that the fuel can last until Nong Khai (the border town in Thailand). 

I went for sightseeing in Vientiane such as visiting Patuxay, the Malaysian Embassy (but I didnt enter as I think I can manage my own problem), Wat Chedi Luang, the Mekong Promenade and the President Palace. 


Wat Chedi Luang

The Presidents Palace
Malaysian Embassy in Vientiane
Mekong Promenade
Independant Monument

Then I made my way to the border, stopping first at a money changer to change my remaining kips to Baht. It was about 20kms to the border and I rode slowly. I was quite confused in the beginning on where to find the customs office but I found it after asking a policeman. There were many people from both countries (Laos and Thailand) making the crossing, however I managed to settle my exit smoothly even though this border was new to me. I rode on the Friendship Bridge, and upon entering Thailand, I hv to ride on the left side again (feeling funny after I hv adapted to riding on the right side). Entering Thailand via Nong Khai was smooth as well. I hv to pay B200 to bring DREAM in. The immigration and custom officers spoke good English. 

Once everything settled, I headed straight to the train station. I hv planned to take a train from Nong Khai to Ayuthaya, as I hv rode route 12 twice during my earlier part of this trip, so I dont want to waste time to repeat and ride on the same road again for the 3rd time. Nong Khai train station has changed so much since the last time I took a train here (heading to Bangkok in 2007). The train officer can speak understandable English and after checking on the price to transport DREAM on the train, I went out to find an ATM machine with visaplus. Thank god I managed to withdraw some money this time. 

I went back to the train station, settled the payment for DREAM and my ticket (B1400) and just relaxed at the station, enjoying the free wifi. I didnt refuel DREAM here as he still had a little fuel left in his tank. The train departed at 6.20pm sharp. I couldnt get a peaceful sleep bcos of the very annoying noises from the food seller  every time the train stops at a station.

Saturday, 2 March 2013



I checked out around 7am. It was not difficult to exit the town and enter route 13 heading south. The road condition was similar as from Pak Mong to Luang Prabang. However, there was some off road (due to damaged asphalt road) for about 40kms before and after Phou Khoun which slowed me down. I rode a relaxing ride today to enjoy the mountainous view and the valley down below. It was lovely, but the haze kind of spoilt my pics. 

While riding today, I witnessed lots of interesting things. I saw girls in their teens sitting on the stairs of their houses searching for head lice. When was the last time I saw this kind of scene? When I was a kid? I also saw naked children bathed at the public tap while laughing and playing among themselves. They seemed so happy with their lives. I saw teenagers and some even small children, carrying piles of woods on their shoulders. I saw the men driving one type of farming vehicle with long fork (I hv no idea whats the name of the vehicle) and it seemed that this vehicle was the most dominant vehicle here in the mountains. I saw women walking by the road side with large baskets tied to their backs with all sorts of thing in it. I also saw kids with hands stretched out holding squirrels to offer to the passing vehicles. Along the way, I saw kids, men and women laying the broom plant on the road to dry or lift the dried ones up on the lorry to be taken to the nearby factory. The best part was I saw a young lady standing by the road side and urinate without the least of care of whoever saw her doing that. I remembered the term ‘Happy Room’ quoted by my kayaking guide yesterday, which meant that you can do your business anytime, anywhere, anyhow. I didnt see any censored part of hers, but what I saw was 'Niagara Falls'. LOL... 

Laugh aside, what I didnt see in the mountains is a school :( 
I may be wrong, but from my ride, it seemed that schools only existed in towns. It makes me wonder if the mountain kids ever had the chance to go to school, to learn to write, to read and to count. My heart fell for them...

I continued riding while enjoying the greens and the spectacular landscapes. Sometimes I wished that I can stay here forever to enjoy the view, but I dare not speak it out loud. Doa orang bermusafir dimakbulkan Allah, there and must be extra careful with your words Anita.

This time its going to be me, DREAM....and the clouds :)
The cloud is low here

Vang Vieng 147kms...when riding the mountains, this is still far

I didnt encounter too many pigs compared to June 2012 ride

I arrived Vang Vieng around 1pm and headed straight to Nam Song Garden GH. This GH was owned by a nice Norwegian guy who had a Lao girlfriend. His gf was happy to know that I was from Malaysia as she said that her sister married a Malay guy and lived in Malaysia. They were both very friendly. I got a small room where I can park DREAM just next to my window. The view was nice with mountains, river and greens. 

Not long after that, the electricity was cut off. The whole of Vang Vieng blacked out. To avoid the heat inside my room, I took a stroll around the small town and stopped at a bridge by the river bank which happened to be the end point for kayaking and river tubing tour. It was so happening at this place where lots of people just gathered here for a drink and people watching. It was also a spot for sun set viewing. 

I get back to my GH around 7pm. By the time I wanted to sleep, I suddenly remembered about my pouch which I kept my extra money. I normally hide it in the inner most pocket inside my back pack. I searched for it but couldnt find the pouch. I was getting worried as I hv only little money (Kips, equivalent to RM75) inside my wallet. I searched for the pouch everywhere, but couldn’t find it. Since it was dim inside my room (due to being lighted by a candle), I calmed down by telling myself to be patient and search for it again tomorrow morning when the room will be brighter, and hopefully the electricity has recover by then.


Band: NASTIA, Title: ANGGUR (taken from EP 'EKSPRESI')