Trips

6 Nation’s Borders Ride

March 2017 – The month that I’ve written my own riding story, traveled 8033 KMs on my SYM 171CC scooter to cover 6 Nation’s Borders remarkable ride from Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, China and Cambodia. The initial plan was to cover 7 Nation’s but due to the time that I’ve lost accessing Laos, I had to skip Vietnam.

Below is the 6 Nation’s Borders Ride Video Highlights.

Below is my travel log of my 6 Nation’s borders ride.

Day 01 – Kuala Lumpur – Surat Thani | 850 KM

Started of at 04:00 (MYT) and reached the first border, Bukit Kayu Hitam at 10:00. Easy process here, stamped my passport, obtained temporary import permit for my motorcycle and continued riding to Surat Thani which I reached about 16:30. I stayed at Room at Surat, more like an apartment with basic facilities but it was in city center.

Accommodation in Surat Thani: Room at Surat | RM 65.00/Night
Day 1 fuel cost: RM95 (It’s about RM 3.50 for RON 95 petrol in Thai)
Foods & Drinks: RM 30

Day 02 – Surat Thani – Bangkok | 688 KM

Started off at 06:00 (Thai Time) and reached Bangkok at 17:00 after squeezing into traffic. I stayed at Siam Privi Residence, an apartment with big room, with guarded parking space. It’s about 7KM to Sukhumvit / City Center.

Accommodation in Bangkok: Siam Privi Residence | RM 35/Night
Day 2 fuel cost: RM 85
Foods & Drinks: RM 30

Day 03 – Bangkok – Phitsanulok – Blue Lake – Chiang Rai | 836 KM

Started off at 06:30 and did a quick stop at Phitsanulok to see what’s interesting but nothing much here to be honest and continued riding to blue lake Lompukiew. Picture below taken along route# 11 near Uttaradit.

Arrived at the blue lake Lompukiew, the roads here are better off with a dual purpose motorcycle as I was struggling to keep my balance to reach this lake. Check out the video below:

(Blue Lake) Lake Lompukiew is in Tham Pha Tai National Park off Highway 1 near Ngao. After Lampang & Phrae Joint road. GPS: N18 45.872 E99 52.405

After the blue lake, I continued riding to Chiang Rai and enjoyed some good corners along the way.

I arrived at Chiang Rai at 17:30 and took a picture at the famous Wat Rong Khun, perhaps better known to foreigners as the White Temple. I stayed at Cordelia Chiang Rai which has good parking space and it is about 3KM to the clock tower / city center.

Accommodation in Chiang Rai: Cordelia Chiang Rai | RM 65/Night
Day 3 fuel cost: RM110
Foods & Drinks: RM 30

Day 04 – Chiang Rai – Tachileik – Golden Triangle – Chiang Khong – Loei | 811 KM

06:00, I started off my journey to Mae Sai – Tachileik (Myanmar Border) and had my breakfast here.

Soon after my breakfast, I rode to Golden Triangle where the landscape is hilly, divided by the Ruak River that flows into the Mekong (Mae Khong) River. These rivers form a natural boundary between the three countries Laos (to the east of the Mekong), Myanmar (to the north of the Ruak), and Thailand (to the west of the Mae Khong) where I was standing.

I then continued my journey towards Laos border but the roads are not in good condition. I had to reduce the tires pressure to 28 PSI so that the vibration on my scooter’s coverset can be reduced and I can have better control. I carry along air pump, so loading up air at anytime wasn’t a problem.

At 10:00, I’ve arrived at the Thai-Laos border in Chiang Khong and it was the most disappointing day. I was denied entry into north of Laos at this border. It seems, from March 2017, they seem to have dusted off the old rule book & no motorbikes less than 250cc can cross the border. I’ve tried negotiating and also offered money but no luck. I almost decided to go back 2500KMs back to Malaysia but after a long thought, I said to myself, lets try to access Laos once again via its southern border in Vientiane.

After wasted my time at the border for almost 2 hours, I then continued riding with all types of mixed feeling, tired body but my mind is not giving up and reached Loei at 22:30 local time after 15 hours being on road. Honestly, I don’t like to ride at night but I don’t have the choice as I need to catch up on the time that I’ve lost accessing Laos on its northern side.

Since this was unexpected, I didn’t had booking for hotel in Loei and decided to stay at one of the hotel that I found. Sorry, I can’t remember the hotel name and it was a long day for me.

Accommodation in Loei: Unknown Hotel | RM 55/Night.
Day 4 fuel cost: RM 120
Foods & Drinks: RM 30

Day 05 – Loei – Viantiane – Luang Prabang | 592 KM

Today, I started my day at 05:00, felt demotivated as I am unsure if I will get access into Laos but told myself, you got to try, you will never know. So I continued my ride and reached at Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge 1 which is at Nong Khai / Vientiane border.

I stamped my passport at the Thai side and it all went well and went to Laos border. The first step went OK which I’ve stamped my passport and when I went to custom’s counter and showed my papers for temporary entry permit for my scooter, they told me to go to room A15 and meet the head of custom at the border. As I walk towards room A15, I’ve already assumed that I will be denied into Laos once again with my motorcycle and as soon as entered the room, they asked for my papers which I’ve handed to them. They were 3 of them discussing among themselves in Lao language and after 10 minutes, they asked what is the purpose of my visit, how many days etc. As usual, I was being very nice, answered all their questions politely and the head of customs approved my papers after having a 15 minutes chat with me (No money given). He then said, in the future, I should have a permission letter from Malaysia Embassy in Lao and that will sped up the process but I do actually have the letter and handed over to him and it was all good then. Next, I proceeded to the custom’s counter again, obtained the temporary permit, paid 300 baht and they provided an official receipt.

I was delighted that I took the risk to access Laos once again on its Southern side. Both Borders are 800KM apart from each other but It was worth the risk! I am in Laos! I texted my wife right way and told her to take a flight and meet me in Luang Prabang so that we can both explore the nature. Picture below is the Patuxai war monument in the centre of Vientiane, which was built between 1957 and 1968. The Patuxai is dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France.

My journey continued from Vientiane border to Luang prabang and I was riding hard as it was getting late. Rode to the mountains area and it was really cold and my fingers started to feel numb despite wearing gloves. Picture below taken at 17:15.

As you can see at the picture, there are no roads marking, dividers or lamp post. I was really alert at this area as I know it is really risky road and I must get ready to expect the unexpected.

19:30, It is dark riding across Kasi’s mountain towards Luang Prabang, I was praying hard at this point to not have any issues with the bike at this areas especially a flat tyre. (I had tools but it would be difficult for repair work at a dark area). Honestly, it was scarier than the night ride I did in Loei but also a good experience to ride on such roads.

After 3 hours+ riding across the mountains, I arrived in Luang prabang at 22:30 and I was really exhausted but I’m glad that I’ve made it safely. I managed to only clocked about 45-50KM / Hour today in Laos.

Accommodation in Luang Prabang: Villa Muang Swa Guesthouse | RM 80/Night.
Day 5 fuel cost: RM95 – It is RM 4.70 per litre for RON 91 and they don’t sell 95/97? ( I can’t find them)
Foods & Drinks: RM40 (Food in Lao is slightly pricey than Thailand)
Permit Cost: 300 Baht (RM36)

Day 06 – Luang Prabang – Boten – Luang Prabang | 612 KM

Woke up at 05:00 and felt good as today I will ride to China’s border. It was cold morning and I really enjoyed the scenery.

Looks like not everyone is happy.

After 7 hours of riding from Luang Prabang, I’ve finally arrived at the China’s border and I can’t really described my feelings as I’ve now traveled almost 4000KMs and being at this border is a very big accomplishment for riders especially from Malaysia & Singapore.

Met another rider from Germany, he has been riding in Laos for 2 weeks and shared his GT’s riders map of Laos which is very informative.

Along the way back to Luang Prabang, I felt that my rear brake pads are giving out and my scooter’s continuously variable transmission (CVT) is jerking badly. I reached Luang Prabang about 21:00 and did a quick check on my CVT and there was alot of dirt and dust in it and the clutch bell seems to turned into blueish color, most likely due to heat as I rode long hours for the past few days. I just cleaned it off and the jerking issue is no longer bad as before.

Accommodation in Luang Prabang: Villa Muang Swa Guesthouse | RM 80/Night.
Day 6 fuel cost: RM110
Foods & Drinks: RM40

Day 07: Luang Prabang (Day Off) – 40 KM riding around city.

Started off today at 06:00 and went to motorcycle service shop and checked on my brakes and the rear brake pads are gone. I can’t find a replacement for it but purchased a set of brake pads which I think can fit into my scooter. I’ve then modified it and installed it by myself. It wasn’t good as original for braking but atleast I had something rather than nothing.

Once I’m done with my scooter, I went to Luang Prabang International Airport, picked up my wife and then continued to my ride to living land for farming experience. The 14 Steps to Planting, Growing, Harvesting, and Preparing Rice. Here, Laut Lee has organized a community enterprise for growing rice and for educating local farmers about sustainable farming techniques.

It was a great experience which I will never forget. They don’t use any machines, it’s all traditional here.

After the paddy field, I joined the locals to play Sepak Takraw (which I suck at it) and also played another game, which is similar to lawn ball which I turned out to be quite good at it.

Next, I went to Kuang Si’s waterfall and I was really amazed on how beautiful it is. It’s about 30KMs southwest of Luang Prabang. Entrance fee is 20,000 kip and it includes the bear rescue centre.

The water is really cold, check out the video below.

Accommodation in Luang Prabang: Villa Muang Swa Guesthouse | RM 80/Night.
Day 7 fuel cost: RM 10
Foods & Drinks: RM40 / pax

Day 08 – Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng | 242 KM

Started off at 07:00 today and stopped by at Kasi to have my coffee and the view was really good here. Took a picture with Malaysian and other SEA countries flags, felt very proud that I’ve made it this far.

Riding around Kasi’s mountain was a good experience and the view is mind blowing.

I can’t find a rest area and decided to stopped by at a river which is about 12KM to Vang Vieng to refresh myself.

The wooden bridge towards Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng.

Finally, we reached at Vang Vieng’s blue lagoon. Check out the video below.

Accommodation in Vang Vieng: CentralPark Hotel | RM135/Night.
Day 8 Fuel cost: RM 40
Foods & Drinks: RM40 / pax

Day 09 – Vang Vieng – Vientiane – Udon Thani | 289 KM

Vientiane is the capital city of Laos but the roads are unbelievable. We then continued our journey to exit Laos and entered Thailand without any problems.

Accommodation in Udon Thani: Baan Krittika | RM 83/Night.
Day 9 fuel cost:RM 40
Foods & Drinks: RM40

Day 10 – Udon Thani – Petchabun (Phu Tub Berk Mountain) | 341 KM

Started off today at 07:00 and pushed my scooter hard to Phu Tub Berk Mountain in Petchabun, it was all winding roads all the way up, at one point, the scooter can only go as fast as 15KM/H on the hills. Arrived at the top and took a picture of the winding roads.

View from the other side of the Phu Tub Berk mountain.

Check out the video below from the view point.

Accommodation in Phu Tub Berk: Unknown Resort | RM95/Night. (Just rode all the way to the mountain and picked the ones which is easy to park my scooter and has good view.
Day 10 fuel cost:RM 40
Foods & Drinks: RM40

Day 11 – Petchabun – Ayutthaya | 396 KM

Today, I started my day about 08:30, I just wished could spend more time at the mountain but since my schedule is tight, I rode to Ayutthaya Historical Park. The Buddha’s head as per the image below, was once part of a sandstone which fell off the main body onto the ground. It was gradually trapped into the roots of a constantly growing bodhi tree.

Arrived at the hotel and went out for late lunch and when I came back, I saw my scooter’s engine oil is leaking. I changed my engine oil in Ayutthaya city and it seems the guy at the motorcycle shop has over tighten the bolt and luckily, I had a spare with me, so I just replaced it myself and it was all good then.

Accommodation in Ayutthaya: Baan Bussara | RM 70/Night.
Day 11 fuel cost:RM 40
Foods & Drinks: RM40

Day 12 – Ayutthaya – Bangkok | 80 KM +132KM roaming around | 212KM

06:00, I dropped off my wife in Don Muang International Airport, went for a city ride and got my scooter’s CVT serviced at SYM’s service center in Nonthaburi.

This Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, is a royal reception hall within Dusit Palace in Bangkok

I always wanted to ride on Bhumibol’s bridge and I did it this time. I personally believe the best view of Bangkok city is from this bridge. I am not sure if motorcycles are allowed on this bridge as I heard people honking their vehicle’s horns on me but I managed to ride past both bridges without being caught by police. For your info, motorcycles are not allowed at some highways and at all toll roads in Bangkok.

Accommodation in Bangkok: Siam Privi Residence | RM 35/Night
Accommodation Price: RM 35
Day 12 fuel cost: RM 25
Foods & Drinks: RM40

Day 13 – Bangkok – Poi Pet – Bangkok | 562 KM

Started off today at 06:00 and rode to Poipet International border in Cambodia which was my last and 6th border. This border is really busy.

Accommodation in Bangkok: Siam Privi Residence | RM 35/Night
Day 13 fuel cost: RM 75
Foods & Drinks: RM40

Day 14 – Bangkok – Hua Hin – Chumphon | 498 KM

Today, I started my journey towards southern Thailand and stopped by few tourist places in Hua Hin. The beach in Hua Hin is nice but it was not beautiful as the beaches at Andaman’s sea. (Phi Phi, Krabi etc).

Rajabhakti Park in Hua Hin – is a historically themed park honoring past Thai kings from the Sukhothai period to the current royal house of Chakri.

As I continued towards south, I stopped by at few places to take pictures.

I ended my ride today in Chumphon and met my good hockey friend here.

Accommodation in Chumphon: Jansom Plaza Hotel | RM 70/Night
Day 14 fuel cost: RM 60
Foods & Drinks: RM40

Day 15 – Chumphon – Dan Nok | 563 KM

Started off my riding today at 07:00, there is nothing much to see and the roads are pretty straight forward and reached Dan Nok in the evening.

Accommodation in Dan Nok: Siam Thana Hotel | RM 70/Night.
Day 15 fuel cost: RM 70
Foods & Drinks: RM40

Day 16 – Dan Nok – Kuala Lumpur | 501 KM

The final day, I rode back into Malaysia’s border at 10:00, the process at this border was pretty straight forward and easy. I reached KL about 18:00 despite the heavy rain, I took pictures with the view of KLCC, the proud icon of Malaysia.

I reached home at 18:20 and compared the odometer’s mileage reading that I took the first day and on the last day. It was 8033KM ride.

Accommodation: N/A – Home
Day 16 fuel cost: RM 50
Foods & Drinks: RM25

Total Traveled: Final Day 35602.4 (-) First Day 275691.1 = 8033.3 KMs. The mileage includes going around at the places that I stopped for food, sight seeing etc.

Total Cost: RM 2000++ (Not inclusive of foot massage, tourist attractions parks/centers, change of engine oil, gear oil, repairing tools that I purchased before I started riding etc etc.)

As for foods & Drinks, it was not a problem for me, I usually load myself up at the 7-11 store, road side stalls etc.

To sum up, I’ve been traveling on an average 500+KMs daily and some of the days requires me to ride for almost 15 hours and being on road as early as 04:00, really tested me mentally and physically. I’ve had many close calls, almost hit a cow and I did not breakdown but got stronger as days goes by. I know someday, I may have inspired many riders out there to not be afraid to explore the world out there even if you’re alone.

How do I managed to ride for long hours? I sleep for atleast 6 hours a day, I don’t eat heavy (no rice before and during ride as I tend to be sleepy on a long hours ride), drink a lot of water and sometimes, energy drink helps. Remember, if you’re tired, just do a quick stop to refresh your self, wet your head etc.

It has been a wonderful journey for me, meeting new people, learning different cultures, seeing beautiful places and most importantly, the scooter is still in a good condition despite riding it hard without any breakdown and puncture. (There were few minor issues but it was manageable and fixed it by myself).

Riding motorcycle allows me to discover endless destinations with the unlimited freedom and the feeling is eternal. It made me to grow as a people, appreciates values of human life and it teaches me to be more responsible.

What I’ve experienced is worth priceless and some places are better off experiencing it yourself and even seeing it from photos, it can’t match what my eyes have seen.

I’m glad that I’ve completed this 6 Nation’s Borders ride and looking forward to many more rides in the future. It was never about the CC or speed but it’s all about the remarkable journey that I went through. If you had something on your mind, go for it, don’t let anything to stop you but do a proper planning, research, have some basic troubleshooting/repair skills and most importantly, enjoy every seconds of your ride. The world is an open highway, go and explore them. It will be your story which will last forever.

Some useful information if you plan to go Thailand & Laos using your vehicle.

Malaysia – Thailand Border Crossing

Thailand – Laos Border Crossing

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