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Current Location : Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia
Last entry date : 22/Feb/09

View of 3 countries from village of Sop Ruak. Myanmar on the uppper left side of the Mekong River, Laos on the right.

From 17/Jan/09 to 24/Jan/09

Friends who have been to ChiangMai say it’s a friendly place with comfortable climate and plenty of things to do while in the area. My friend Henry, who lives in Melbourne Australia (survey rate it as amongst the top place to live in the world !!), says he will later retire in ChiangMai. What’s so nice about ChiangMai ??

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So I limped into CM with a broken bike on early Sat afternoon 17/Jan. To my delight, the BMW dealer’s workshop is business as usual till 5pm and the mechanics were familiar with my bike. They didn’t give me the looks, but got working on it immediately, very friendly assuring that I could ride away within a few days. Now, if same incident happened in Central Asia, I would kick myself v.hard since bike shops are almost non existent over there.

Despite the time lost due to my “slide incident”, we (Anja, Holger & myself) made it just in time that evening to the mini-meet which the biking website, Horizons Unlimited, was hosting in the city. Present were other long distance riders on their way somewhere … and other iron-butt enthusiasts. A small crowd but many kms covered on 2-wheels. Of course, helmet off to the organiser speaker rider (Greg Frazier) who rode 4x round-the-world !! To me, that sounds like a lot of riding.

I start to ♥ CM when I saw it was not really a “city” despite it being the 2nd largest city in Thailand. It’s rather slow paced and orderly, unlike Bangkok. A bit like a small town that refused to change its way. I have the impression there is everything I need “nearby”. Anja & Holger found a clean & cheap guesthouse within the charming historical city wall for 250 baht / room per night, with real hot shower, so I joined them there. Around the corner I rented an old scooter with manual gear shift for 100 baht/day – good deal. I found good food and these are reasonably priced. Its true, the people are friendly and smiling. So is the weather, friendly. What more to ask for ?? Now, I know why many foreigners are here on long term basis. Henry does have a good argument point.

A week later, the 3 of us rode north towards the Golden Triangle area (historically known for its opium trade) with intention to cross the Mekong River at the Chiang Khong border checkpoint into Laos. On my “if I had the time list” : would like to visit the hill tribes, see some real village life, but … its definitely worth another visit in the area.

Its here at Chiang Khong that I say goodbye to my riding company Anja & Holger. They decided to go back to BMW CM as Anja’s rear brake problems did not go away. Would have loved to go back with them to comfy CM, but … still got thousands of kms to cover.

Its definitely great riding company with these RTW (round-the-world) Dakar riders. I hope to see them in Nice when they’re on their way back to Germany from their world trip in 2010 ??

22 Responses to « ChiangMai and… the Golden Triangle  »

  1. very nice pictures! continue de nous faire rever avec ton beau
    voyage 🙂

  2. Les photos sont magnifiques! Chaque nouvel article fait plaisir. Plein de gros bisous pour toi Dada

  3. When you are free you should comment on the food that you’ve seen and ate along your way ….. compile in one small little section for people like us who are craved for varieties! ….. Where are you now? KK ….. Anyway do take care!

  4. Hi Sheen,

    Good to know you arrived well in Sabah. I really enjoy looking at your pictures. They keep getting better at showing the richness of the Thai culture. I wonder whether you were able to learn some of the Thai language when you were there.


  5. Update : Sheen arrived in Tawau Sabah this evening. He has problem to access this website due to poor connection speed or any update at this time. Very soon he will try enter Kalimantan, Indonesia.

  6. Hi Lydia,

    I’m glad everything is O.K. The connection is also unstable in my area and it can be very frustrating at times. Luckily you can still provide us with an update. My husband is on the way to Kuantan right now and will be coming back tomorrow. He says the weather on the East Coast is getting better. I’m surprised Sheen can go so fast and I hope he still has people accompanying him in his trip. They could be of great help.


  7. Update : Got better connection today. The story telling post is up. Currently in Tawau figuring a way to get the bike across into E.Kalimantan. Big task, they’ve not seen any biker turning up here wishing to get across the sea to the other side. In the meantime …

  8. Hi Sheen!!

    Comment vas tu?? je vois que ton voyage se poursuit bien les photos sont vraiment trop belles! ca donne envie de repartir en voyage!
    et oui je confirme Melbourne est vraiment une super ville pour habiter!
    Moi je finis les cours demain avec 2 oraux de droit… puis lundi stage…
    Mardi dernier nous sommes allé au concert de Pink avec tes 2 filles c’était super!
    Je t’envoie de gros bisous

  9. Hi Sheen,

    ChiangMai must be the perfect place for a stress-free holiday. I will make it a point to visit it if I ever go to Thailand in the future. What else would anyone want in a place anyway?

  10. Hi Sheen well if you were at Tauwu on 25th feb and going into Kalimantan then you surly will not be in Bali any time soon From your route you do Sulawesi next great island our next holiday. Are you going to Derawan great chain of islands near were you access Kalimantan or pushing on down to Samarinda or Balikpapan before the hop to Sulawesi We are in Padangbai
    at the moment till 6-7th March (you will take Bali Lomboc ferry from here). Look forward to reading your blogs on Indo.
    Great journer
    y regards

  11. Update :
    Arr. Tarakan, E.Kalimantan 3 days ago. Its tough to get bike here and out !! Tough logistics problems unavoidable, which then get into a mess with local practices, no wonder bikers don’t make journey thru here. Furthermore, onwards ferry to Sulawesi can’t take bike.
    Hi Dave, looks like will miss our rdv down south. Pushing my way down to Samarinda & Balikpapan once I get across to the mainland Borneo v.soon.


  12. Anxiously waiting for you to emerge from the jungle of Kalimantan. When the going get tough, the tough get tougher !!

  13. Same feelings here, Lee. Lydia

  14. Hi Sheen,

    Are you there yet…? Hehehehehe…

    I am still waiting. Interesting to read about your trips. Nearly there, mate. Stay away from all the mosquitos and snakes. Hehehehehe…

    Hope to meet up with you soon.


  15. Hi Sheen,

    Take advantage to admire the beautiful natural surroundings of the rainforest. I cannot really pinpoint your exact location but I suppose this is one of the most exciting parts of your journey because it seems to be more challenging.

    God bless

  16. Hi Sheen,

    Lee Francis is in West Kalimantan in an estate off a town called Ngabang. Near to Pontianak!

    Ride carefully

  17. Siew Hoon & Victoria5 March 2009 à 4:27 pm

    Thinking of yr. exciting journey in Borneo. Take care.
    Siew Hoon.

  18. Hi Sheen,

    I hope you were able to see some of our LSU friends who are staying nearby. I feel they could provide you with some tips on how to cross from one place to another. Don’t forget to take pictures of the wild life like the hornbills and orangutans. Cheers.

  19. Hello All, thx messages. Just emerged from the jungle of Kalimantan. The road I’ve just taken I don’t think its possible for a biker in the rain and mud conditions of the last 3 days. There are queues and traffic jams in the Borneo jungle !! How can I now even complain about potholes of 2mtr wide ?? Great to be out. Expect to be on Java island sometime next week.

  20. Sheen,

    Glad that you toughed it out and through. Kuda has proven to be an all terrain work horse. But I bet the heat, humidity and the wetness really were tough on you. Tell us more about it later !

  21. Hi Sheen,

    Your description has reminded me of my time working in the Pahang jungle many many years ago. I can certainly relate to that kind of conditions. During the wet season, the road condition were so bad that not even a Land Rover or a timber truck could go through. If one was looking for a road, there wasn’t one. There were tons and tons of mud everywhere.

    Well, like big Lee said, glad that you’ve toughed it out, mate. In hindsight, I bet, you would have chosen to travel in a drier season. If there is a next time.

    Anyway, safe journey and take care.


  22. Agung Gede Agung3 June 2009 à 2:54 am

    Hello Dear Rider .

    I am Agung I meet you in Bali when you wash your bike .

    exelence Journey bro…

    Best Regards

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