Thailand 1 – Can it get any better?

Written by Martin on January 2nd, 2012. Posted in Allgemein

Sebastian: This part of the trip is definitely one of the most emotional for me so far. I meet up with my brother and a good friend that I haven’t seen in years (both of them) and we will be lucky enough to get to know new friends that we hope to stay in touch with for the rest of our lives. Also we visit some great places and enjoy the – in my humble opinion – best food in the woooorld!!!! In short: we have a hell lot of fun 🙂 !

So, how does this Thailand trip start off…? Well, for me, not that great. After I caught something on my last day in Nepal I arrive in Bangkok with almost 39°C fever. Not that this isn’t bad enough, we have to continue our trip just a couple of hours later with a night bus – we already booked a place on a “very beautiful” island, as my brother explained us. Even though I feel like sh*t I cannot call this off since we go there with Dominik and my brother. Dominik is, with Martin, my longest and closest friend whom I haven’t seen in almost 2 years and my brother I haven’t seen in minimum 3 years (we are not sure about that 🙂 ).

After sleeping a little bit we leave for the bus ride short before midnight and at 4.00 am we reach the pier where we will take the ferry (not before 9.00 am though…). Somehow between reality and nirvana I make it to the island and I am really happy that we are here – we’ve found the lost paradise…! Koh Kut is an island south-east of Bangkok and south of the better known and well over-touristic Koh Chang island. This jewel bluffs us with countless almost untouched beaches, one more beautiful than the other and breathtaking sunsets which paint the sky in all colors from dark to light blue and turquoise, from pink to red, orange and violet. The water is crystal clear and in the inland one can find two waterfalls which seem to have been copy/pasted from the best tourism magazine. Best about all that, there are almost no tourists to ruin this peaceful place, no bars, discotheques or the like, just beach, sun, jungle,… and us :). Our bungalows are right at the beach and the food at our resort is just delicious.

Luckily on the island there also is a hospital where I get the right treatment for my “suffering” and I am back in black after 2 days to enjoy driving around with the scooter, swimming in the sea, watching the sunset at a different beach every evening, fooling and jumping around at the waterfalls with “friends n family” and EAAATING (yes, I have a Thai food addiction…). After only 5 days we have to leave again – our KTMs are waiting for us at the airport (we had them shipped a couple of days later than flying ourselves) but this island has left a branding in our memory – what a freaking paradise!

Back in Bangkok we head to the airport the next day. Thanks god my brother is with us – he moved to Bangkok seven years ago and speaks Thai fluently. He is a great help to us and leads us through the whole process of getting the bikes through customs. Still it takes from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm. When we finally get them we drive directly to the KTM dealer. KTM Thailand was so nice to pick up Martin’s Eva² from the airport since we do not think he would get far with his clutch problem. We arrive at around 6.30 pm and after a short chat with Pi Yuth (General Manager) and Pi Tui (Head of mechanics) we take the decision to join them the next day for a motorcycle trip to the north, to the region of Chang Mai! We can’t believe how lucky we are once more and how helpful the guys from KTM are. They stay until 10 at night (!) only to fix the most important things on the bikes so we can come with them – and have beer with us at the same time. We can already feel that this will be lots of fun and that those guys are very good people.

The next morning my brother wakes us up at 3.00 am (we didn’t hear the alarm clock) to drive us to the bikes which we’ve left at the shop. We meet up with a group of almost 20 people and leave Bangkok at around 5.00 am – sleepiness is in every fiber of my body…The almost 800 kilometer long ride to the north is for most of the time only straight ahead and sometimes I almost fall asleep. Obviously I am not the only one as one group member has an accident, taking out another one at the same time. He himself can continue though :), his bike escapes with only a few scratches. The other riders bike though is broken in two and he seems to also have a broken leg, so for him the trip is finished on day one already.

When we arrive in Chang Mai we are shown the way to the hotel that has been booked for us. We get a little bit scared when we see that it is a 4 or 5 star hotel and are afraid that our budget for one month Thailand will dissolve in only one night :(. What we didn’t really know is that the wife of Pi Tui has many contacts in the hotel business and in the end we do not pay more than 20 Euros for an amazing room with roof terrace, whirlpool, sauna, private massage service and… ok, just an amazing room with a beautiful bathroom ;).

Next day better luck with the road. We leave Chang Mai to drive direction Chang Rai and the road doesn’t stop bending and turning around. Almost the whole day we enjoy laying the bikes from left to right to left as much as possible. Trying to keep up with the supersport bikes seems possible with my Escargot but I decide to be responsible – we are only at the half of our trip so no sense to risk more than necessary. Meanwhile Sukie, a quite famous ex music producer, shows us that with the KTM Adventure you can easily hunt the supersport bikes (Ducati, Yamaha,…) down and even lead them the way. Honestly Martin and me were strongly impressed by the way this guy controlled his bike at the highest speed and the hardest angles!

We end up somewhere in the middle of the Golden Triangle at a beautiful Bar/Cafe with a terrace view over the mountain and valley area. Here I order a Cappuccino and feel as if I was tele-transported to Vienna within the instant. This is the first coffee since we left that just tastes like home. I am stunned. We spend an amusing evening and night with all the members of the crew and one after the other starts chatting with us which makes us feel like real members of this group of Thai people (which is a wonderful feeling).

Before driving back to Bangkok we stay over at Nan after the 3rd day close to the border with Laos. We are lucky to drive on some more beautiful and curvy roads before we go back south. We arrive in Bangkok late at night and instead of going home we have a late dinner and a beer with Yuth, his girlfriend “O” and Sukie. Back at home we are happy and happy and happy that we were able to join them and to get to know so many nice people. Under the window of my brothers apartment which overlooks the Chao Praya we fall asleep watching a beautiful moon set over the river. Live couldn’t be much better with us. Thank you! 🙂

We only spent two or three days in Bangkok before we hit the road again to go to Mae Sot, north-west of Bangkok directly at the border with Burma. Our plan is to attend a Buddha inauguration ceremony. We (brother, Martin and me) are the only foreigners to be there and it’s quite fun to participate. Best thing about it is the moon eclipse that night (in Europe you couldn’t see it because it was still day 🙂 ). The wonderful full moon slowly turned orange and stayed like that for quite some time.

So we are back in Bangkok again – for the last couple of days before we will definitely leave to the south for a diving trip. Goy, my brothers girlfriend, cooks for us whenever she finds time and like this we enjoy staying at the apartment even more. We only leave it to organize ourselves business cards (it’s really annoying to write down our emails or the website all of the time…) and some nice Eastbound shirts. We also have ourselves some clothes made for a photo exhibition that Sukie invited us to during the motorcycle trip. We want to be “hot” and not show the rusty ‘n dusty globetrotter look for once, if you know what I mean 😀

The second last night in Bangkok we meet a bunch of Florian’s friends, Michael from Australia and Ulli and Heinz from Germany. Together we check out a bar that my brother (perfectly) remodeled for the owner (he is Architect/Designer). Exactly like his apartment, the bar too overlooks the Chao Praya and offers a magnificent sunset view :). Thereafter we have a dinner with Sakchai, another friend of my brother who is, I dare to say it, a textbook example for a crazy, funny, hilarious gay Thai. I already met him when I was in Bangkok 6 years ago and again it was really a lot of fun to watch this guy play his act in front of all the people :)).

So now the last day in Bangkok has come. Tonight is the big exhibition so we meet at the KTM dealer to check the bikes after the service and pick up our clothes from the tailor. We plan not to stay that long since we want to leave early the next day – early meaning 4.30 am! But, we will have to learn once again that planning is for others, not for us…

We arrive at the exhibition and the main presentation is already over – we are late as always. First thing we notice is the free Heineken served by a beautiful Thai lady (or ladyboy – one can never be sure here 🙂 ). Soon we downed a couple of beers and chat around with all the nice people around. When we have to leave the gallery (they closed at around 9.00 pm) we end up in a group of around 10: Sukie “the star” with his girlfriend, Yuth the General Manager of KTM, my brother with some friends and us. Next thing we need is food so we follow our hosts and have some Pizza in an upper class restaurant. Being once again afraid for our small budget we are happy to pay not more than 10 Euros for meal and drinks :).

So, what to do next… of course it has to be a ladyboy show. The group splits up and I end up with Yuth, Heinz and Alina. Yuth leads us the way to one of the most famous ladyboy-bars and the moment we enter we already have some boys around us asking us to invite them a drink. I don’t like that kind of selling technique so I just say “Nope, sooo sorry” and the guy disappears in no time – he wasn’t cute anyways :). Yuth invites his guy for a drink and honestly this one I would have invited too. Such a beautiful ladyboy – just stunning. Sorry ladies, but WOW!

Anyways, after only a beer we feel like changing again. Watching some guys that look like girls dancing on the stage doesn’t turn me or the others on too much. Next stop is then a bar that could be found as is in every bigger city in Europe. The music is played via VHS tapes (imagine that!) and shown on an old TV right over the bar. The walls are full with photos and the lights are in dimmed red (at least this is the way I think it looked in my status quo at that very moment). After a while the second part of the group (my brother, Martin and Ulli) show up and all together we end up having drink after drink. The “plan” to leave Bangkok at 4.30 am already failed when we arrive at home at 5.00 am – everything but sober as you can surely imagine :). But we learned to accept things the way they come along, so we have a nap and feel happy to have spent such an amazing last night in Bangkok with people we only just met days or hours ago. We had the fun of our life!

In the morning, after only a couple of hours of sleep, we take a decision – we will leave today, no matter what. What sounds like a brave thing to do is, in reality, the stupidity of NOT being flexible (we could have left the next day…). We pick up the bikes at 4.00 pm and leave Bangkok at 6.00 pm for a 850 km ride to the south, at night and after almost no sleep but having had loads of alcohol the night before…

As mentioned before, this short time (only around 2,5 weeks) has been extremely fun, positive, emotional and whatever you can say for GOOD. I met brother, the 2nd of my best friends, made new local friends, saw beautiful places and had fun with great and special people!!! And that’s what it is all about. THIS is what we are traveling for :).

Read soon if our trip in Thailand continues the same way – or better, check out if we even made it to Khao Lak where we plan to go on board for a diving trip at the Similan Islands!