Sunday, 25 November 2018

Riding Log – From Hat Yai to Trang

I started journey once I saw the sky in the morning. I now have a knack of predicting weather. So the routine goes without fail before a long journey is to wake up and see the sky in the direction of my travels and somehow mentally, an image will form of how well the weather will hold and how badly drench I will be by the end of the journey. 

Today I predicted that rain will be around 3pm, and by my estimation, I should just about reach Trang.

I was caught by the rain around 3pm just 13km outside of Trang. 

On the way to Trang from Hat Yai 

Initially along the way it was pretty boring till nearby Patthalung where I started seeing tourist signboards for waterfall, caves, dome caves, temples. I picked the first one out at random and it was a detour of 1.5km off the main road.

Buddhakhodom Cave

Finding the place was easy enough. I saw a cave like structure with staircase leading upwards towards a Buddha shrine and headed for it. A few steps forward and a curious kid came talking something to me ...

Entrance to Buddhakhodom Cave

The first cave ... Buddhakhodom Cave
I do not understand Thai Language I told him in my broken Thai ...

The kid could not speak English but did know some words. After digging his brain while following me up to the first cave, he said .... GUIDE ... and pointed to me and himself.

I’m ok I said and laughed.

The cave was small, looks likes not a popular detour for there was no one around. Coming down the stairs the kid pointed to go right which seams like local houses. Ok no harm looking I guess. Just round the corner and there was this cave, low height but inside line up with Buddha statue going in deeper. The cave was lit up as well with lights and we proceeded to walk in. 

Entrance to Buddhakhodom Cave - The start of cave exploration 

Buddhakhodom Cave

End of the Cave ??? Not really ... There is a narrow path behind the Buddha ... onwards 

I doubt that I would have venture far into the caves beyond 50m if it was not because of the kid. Nak was his name. He keep pointing inside and walked with me guiding me further in. There was a beautiful Buddha sitting at the deep end of the cave and when I though that was the end of the cave exploration, Nak went behind the Buddha statue and gesture me to follow into this very low height and dark path. 

Nak gesturing me to go in the dark path ahead ... 
I could not see even my hand and yet Nak knew where to go, coming back to hold my hand and leading the way. Barely 10 steps ahead and dim lights were now visible and the low height narrow cave opened up into another tunnel dome which was beautiful. Inwards and more Buddha statue and further up an exit to the back side of the cave. 

Thinking that's the end and we would have to walk around to get back to the starting point, after a short walk around the corner was a new entrance to back into the cave, more natural wonders and more Buddha Statue. 

Pitch Black Cavern ahead ... full of bats 

A bat fly by .... and a very large cavern that was pitch black could be seen. No entry ... I could smell the bat shit and knew it was dangerous to go in since it was pitch black and any lights will be a bad idea. Even Nak stayed away but he led me round again up and down more caves like a maze. 

The detour to Buddhakhodom Cave was the longest detour for nearly an hour wandering around inside the cave. My little guide Nak although I said I do not need a guide still brought me around since he had nothing to do. I was the entertainment. 

Maze Upon Maze in Buddhakhodom Cave

Buddhakhodom Cave

When we got back to the starting point, I thank Nak and gave him 100 baht. I know I am spoiling the kid and setting a bad example for tourist but that is my nature with traveling after so many years, those that ask I will be hard headed to give even a penny, but those that shown effort without expecting reward I usually over compensate in the end. 

Wat Sumano

The next stop was Wat Sumano which another cave Buddhist temple. The temple looked like Khmer type Naga Buddhist and this time there was no little kid waiting to guide me in. I only took the first 20m in and backtracked once I smelled the Bat shit again. This cave was totally not lighted up and my camera phone light barely allowed me to see my hand. Where is that kid when you need them :P 


Dark & Wet Cave 

When You cant see anything .... you turn back 

Trang Andaman Gateway

The Trang Andaman Gateway park was a no brainier stop since there was so many statue of animals and it was right next to the highway road that it was a standard photo stop. Everyone stops here it seams for toilet and photos stretching their legs.

Trang Andaman Gateway 
Next was Trang but not before rain forced me to take shelter under a bridge for an hour. I reached Trang nice and easy locating The Tree & Sleep Hostel.

Traveled on: October 2018
#roadtrip #ridingthailand #trang #watsumano #budhakhodomcave

Saturday, 24 November 2018

My Petrol Phobia in Thailand

My petrol phobia started with my Thai Cousin out of the blue saying this:

1. You must be careful when pumping petrol in Thailand.

2. The petrol in Thailand is mixed with ethanol, maybe your bike will spoil if you use it.

3. You must pump the highest grade which is the most expensive, the yellow color which is benzine explained my Thai Cuz.

Driving around Hat Yai on the way for dinner I listen bemused that I would have problems with petrol in Thailand. Many Malaysian cars and motorcycle goes into Thailand everyday so they surely have to feed something into their vehicle right.

Passing one of the Gas Station I looked up at the signboard and saw 95 Orange-Yellowish most expensive at 35++ Baht per liter. See ok, it’s there the most expensive I told my cuz, no problem I just go petrol station and say most expensive petrol and I am good I thought.

So apparently Benzine or normal 95 Octane Petrol pure and unmixed with ethanol was a rarity in Thailand. Most petrol stations does not carry the ‘Yellow’ pure benzine petroleum so rocking up to a petrol station no matter how big it looks does not mean I will be able to refuel Bluey.

I quickly found that out once I started my journey from Hatyai to Trang. In the back of my head, while amused by my cuz pessimism and fear of danger in every corner I figured it was good to know things ahead and not when I am near empty tank with Bluey. 

So first big petrol station I saw (SHELL) , a pullover to check out the types of petrol. Most expensive ... V-Power, yep that looks about right but looking closer and the small words at the side said 95 Gasohol. It was the most expensive at 35++ baht per liter. 

No Petrol at Shell Station Thailand, Only Gasohol 

What the f*ck is a gasohol .... then looking at the rest ...

RED – V-Power 95 Gasohol
Yellowish Orange – E20 Gasohol
Red/Black – V-Power Diesal
Yellow/Black – Fuelsave Diesal

Unlike Malaysia where one tend the pumping of petrol on their own, Thailand had attendant to fill up gas into your Vehicle. So while I was trying to figure out which fuel would fit into Bluey, all the attendant was calling me to the Gasohol Pump.

Gasohol .... ethanol I asked ???

Yes was the answer and a very confident assurance by the pump attendant that Bluey can take Gasohol. Remember the normality problem in the border paperwork service ? Yep these people were assuming Bluey could take Gasohol because all motorcycle in Thailand takes Gasohol. No no ... Benzine I asked ... no Gasohol ....

Only Gasohol at the station was the answer. It was a big station too with eating area, resting area, workshop for repairs, 7-11 shop. F*ck ... I could sense the danger coming quietly but surely. 

Bluey had a full tank from Malaysia so I was good for another 350km but what about after ... the thought drove me to check at every petrol station now that I pass, if they would sell petrol (benzine) instead of Gasohol just to assure myself that there will be at least some petrol station that would feed Bluey.

Petrol Station after station and only Gasohol ... I was talking to Bluey now out loud ... can you take ethanol? Your old make kinda engine would not choke up that fast by just a little 10% ethanol in the fuel rite. Look Bluey, if we cant find any fuel in the whole of Thailand that just means we have to try rite ...

At some point at one petrol station I saw the fuel price signboard and a new hope was lit. There was a fuel selling at 38++ baht per liter ... this must be the one ... inquiring the attendant and they confirmed that 38++ petrol is the pure yellow (so apparently 95 gasohol was color coded orange but the first station faded to orange-yellowish hence the confusion) There was only one pump with the pure petrol, (benzine) guess not many people use these other than the imported expensive cars. 

Yellow at the very bottom is 95 Octane Petrol or as the Local Thai people says ... Benzine
Now that I know there is fuel for Bluey, the issue is partially solved .... next will be rationing ... I’ll never know when the next petrol station with Benzine Petrol will be available. In a sense I am fortunate that a full tank of Bluey can get me up to 450km easily.

At Trang, I bump into two Singapore BMW biker while looking for the elusive benzine. Actually I saw them overtake me and seeing the Singapore Number plate I could not resist following if only just to ask if they tried the Gasohol.

They actually turned into Shell petrol station and pump in V-Power 95 gasohol .. when I asked if its ok to pump gasohol into the bike, their reply was ... its 95 standard fuel ... errr ok poor BMW bike ... hope its new enough that its tune for ethanol else these guys will have major problems in a few months with all the burn out parts

Roam roam roam Trang and I found one station that has Benzine ... 38.04 Baht per liter and so far after 100km day tripping today Bluey still purred fine ...

I’m sticking to Benzine in Thailand ... ^^

Traveled on: October 2018
#Blurtravels #Ridingthailand #gasohol #thailand #benzine

Friday, 23 November 2018

Repair, Modification and Upgrading of Motorbikes (In this case Bluey) in Thailand

Hat Yai was .... umh ... guess i did not really see much of Hat Yai ... then again I could not recognize any of the landmark ... a lot have change since I visited nearly 15 years ago and the small little city that base of the center area for tourist seamed to be eaten up by loads of development around it. It was more like a gateway town to get all the niche shopping that one needed across the border.

I went shopping for bike parts. :) Coincidentally my right side foot paddle rubber tore in two so i had to get a replacement. Time to replace the left side as well which was already broken a bit since the beginning. My cousin drove me around the next day to find motorbike parts shops and the first challenge appeared ... how to get the right parts when I cant speak the Thailand language ... parts are much much more technical and my ‘ninoy’ language of Thai can barely order a meal. 

Shopping for Bike Parts at Kanchanaburi 

Alas at lease with the broken sample in hand I still manage to convey the message across but the first shop did not have the right fit.

2nd shop gave up when I tried to speak English waving their hands in a no no manner

3rd shop was a Chinese owned shop ... could speak fluent mandarin ... great ... still handicapped anyway but with the sample and my poor mandarin saying any type and brand will do so long as the holes are the same it will fit, managed to somehow get me a part. Cost of minor maintenance on Bluey .... 40 baht.

It seams that Thailand was the best place for me to get Bluey custom fitted out with new modifications and of course beautification. The only issue was trying to find the parts which was normally hidden inside the shop storage and somehow convey the message of the modification intentions. After all the trouble in finding parts, then comes the negotiation skills to get it to a reasonable price.

I had to go to a shop near Trang to get my very very high pitch squeaky back drum brakes fixed. That was a hard communication for me for I had to make the sound like a piercing dying chicken while I keep pointing to the drum set and the back brake foot peddle. 

Fixing a Back Squeaky Brake in Trang 

Eventually once they get the rough idea, the mechanic will open the parts I indicated to inspect and from there first option was to replace but with Bluey, the right parts are hard to come by so ingenuity to modify to fix was usually the case. 

In this case my brake pads was roughen up with grinder and sandpaper and re-fixed back onto the bike. Cost of maintenance 40 Baht

My back brake lights sensor was also twitchy one day and while I was tinkering with the wiring at a car park, curious locals came to see what I was doing and eventually it became our mini project. 

From our mini project it became their project and I was sidelined to watch while they carefully strip the whole wiring system testing each circuit for the fault. It was the sensor, but of course no parts so another modification to fix it. Cost of maintenance 0 Baht 

Roadside Modification for Twitchy Break Light 

I had a broken mirror once and going to a bike shop showing the broken mirror proved difficult even to convey the message in the heart of Thailand. Many shops did I visit and finally at Kanchanaburi the more free helpful staff tried looking for alternative mirrors to fit my bike. Cost of replacement mirrors 680 baht 

New Mirrors at Kanchanaburi 

The same shop at Kanchanaburi and I saw the hydraulic system back absorber which was tempting to get an upgrade but after asking for the price it seams no different from Malaysia. 2500 baht for the set of shock absorbers ... I was hesitant but now after a month later I kinda regret not changing the absorbers 

Hmmm ... Should I get these Upgrades ... 

My conclusion was that Thailand was a good place for Bluey, unlike Malaysia, even when I bring Bluey all the way to the largest parts shop in Kuala Lumpur, one look at Bluey and they all say No Have parts. 

The mechanics in Malaysia seam to have lost the ability to tinker and retrofit bikes and those who could charge a fortune. Thailand however was different, the mechanic spend time to understand a bike before testing each parts that fits before fixing it up or if they don't have parts a clever idea with my permission of course would do the trick.

The only problem now was if I were to really custom retrofit Bluey, I will need a good translator to accompany me to a workshop.

Traveled on: October 2018

Monday, 19 November 2018

Route Info – Road Trip Southern Thailand from Hat Yai to Arayanprathet

One of the issue that was constantly on my mine after crossing into Thailand was the Tourist Visa and the Motorbike Temporary Import Permit (TIP). I had entered on the 15 October and I have till the 13 November 2018 to get out of Thailand. Both Visa and TIP was the same date.

One month to get out of Thailand. I just got in and already I have to ration everything properly so I can get out in time. Target was Surin to enter O’smach in Cambodia but counting the routes and places I would need to stop either for sightseeing or just to break the journey to less than 200km a day had me counting days every few hours in my head.

The bureaucratic red tape of traveling. In my mind the route was already set, which goes something like this ...

Hat Yai – Trang – Ko Lanta – Krabi – Phuket – Khao Lak – Ranong – Chumphon – Hua Hin – Bangkok – Khao Yai – Nahkon Ratchasima – Surin – O’smach (cambodia)

That's 14 stop all together ... if I stay two night at each place that will leave me with almost no buffer if anything goes out of plan. I hate not having buffer and planning to travel on days every two days really depends on the weather. It’s rainy season now. 

My Cuz who works in Phuket say it’s raining everyday in Phuket, Uncle says Ranong I can skip because it rains continuously for 8 months a year, but then it was raining the whole time I was traveling in Malaysia so I was not concern about the rain for I know there are always windows to travel.

Problem was I needed time to wait for windows, and with the Visa and TIP restricting my time I can’t but feel like an invisible leash around my ankle. Put your bike on the train to Bangkok was one of the suggestion, but then I wont get to see southern Thailand especially up the Andaman coast.

ARRGHHH ... the dilemma now, but for bad or worst I know that usually once I have sat down and considered all the possibilities, the way-point set would normally be the route I take for it is the best route. Only the minor adjustment that has to be done along the way, such as when I heard from Uncle that there is a Casino in Ranong but in the Myanmar side, there was no way I am missing Ranong after hearing that.

Its on the Myanmar side though.... I don't have Visa for Myanmar, although in my mind I have already thought of applying the E-Visa that only takes 3 days but had no idea if Ranong accepts E-Visa.

No problem, just go there and tell the boatmen, those corrupt bastards wants money will somehow magically bring you to the casino and sort out all the passport issue for a small fee. Stamp in Stamp out in Ranong and tada you have extended your Visa in Thailand for another 30 days. You wont have to worry about rushing to Cambodia in one month says my Uncle.

But then I could not abandon Bluey, I could extend the Visa but the TIP was still 30 days since that border crossing is only via Boat. Still .... Casino .... Casino .... I smell adventure .... and chance are that I will go over to enjoy the illegal shit of things.

Anyway back to topic ... since I have been writing this blog so ever slowly I can tell you the actual route I took through the Southern of Thailand

The Actual Route Taken

Hat Yai – Trang – Ko Lanta – Krabi – Khao Lak – Ranong – Chumphon – Prachuap Khiri Khan - Hua Hin – Kanchanaburi – Phra Nahkon Si Ayutthaya - Khao Yai – Pak Chong – Prachin Buri – Aranyaprathet – PoiPet (cambodia) 

South Thailand Road Trip Route Info - Hat Yai to Aranyaprathet

Obviously some changes towards the end ... guess as i made pass the halfway mark and still had plenty of time to spare the route changes

As those above are stop points, sometimes within that stop points of two to three days there would be internal day trips sightseeing ... but of course sometime I just too tired and have to do nothing for a while. Anyway the short version of things to do along the way ...

Hat Yai  - Best border town to restock on anything and with family around to guide me with local knowledge, best town to fine tune Bluey.

Trang - Daytrip Circuit as per map below, beautiful scenery, hot springs and unbroken waves upon waves along the coast. 

Trang Day Trip Loop

Ko Lanta - Daytrip going around the Island of course

Krabi - Day trip to Tiger Cave Temple & a crazy climb up to the viewpoint

Khao Lak - Daytrip to Takua Pa, Hot Springs, Countryside in mountain valleys 

Khao Lak - Takua Pa Day Trip Loop 
Ranong - Daytrip to Myanmar Casino (Mandatory Visit ^^)
              - Daytrip to countryside, Dam, freshwater lake, 

                Hot Spring’s ( there are many – I found 4 )

Chumphon - Daytrip Riding the southern coast visiting beautiful view point after view point 

Chumphon Day Trip Loop

Chumphon to Prachup Kiri Khan - This part is best done while riding actually and surprisingly many things to see along the way.

Prachup Kiri Khan to Hua Hin - Similarly to above best done on the road riding. Visited numerous beach, temples on hills, military base, lemour monkeys, national parks

Hua Hin - Quick Stop & go here ... so I cant really advice

Hua Hin to Kanchanaburi - Lovely countryside riding first along the coast seeing the Royal Project of coastal agricultural then inland along the Kwai river all the way up to Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi - Daytrip to Big Monkey Tree pod, temples on the mountains, view points, and of course the Kwai bridge

Phra Nahkon Si Ayutthaya - Temples, temples and more temples ,,, If you like ruins its a nice place to visit where the temples ruins are integrated by a living city

Khao Yai National Park, Pak Chong, Prachin Buri - Camping inside National Park, View Points, Nature & Hiking

Aranyaprathet ( Border with Poi Pet Cambodia )

Traveled on : Oct 2018

Friday, 16 November 2018

Border Crossing at Bukit Kayu Hitam Malaysia to Sadao Thailand with a Malaysian Registered Motorbike

As one approaches the border Bukit Kayu Hitam on the main highway road, all along the left hand side was restaurants with service provided to get all the necessary forms for entering Thailand with a vehicle. 

Signs for Restaurants with Border Paperwork Services 
I stop at a random one and after asking the price for the vehicle insurance, TM2 forms and arrival card, I was more or less ready to get it done only to be paused when I asked about the third party insurance in Thailand.

You see, the mandatory insurance into Thailand only covers personal injury and any repairs to third party or your own vehicle will have to come from your self. Even then the personal injury is also a very small sum but that makes sense since medical is pretty cheap in Thailand with all the subsidy. 

Crossing Border Services Just before Bukit Kayu Hitam Border 

Ok so back to topic .... the first counter says its about RM300 ++ but she does not know how to do the procedure for the third party insurance hence wont sell it to me. The guy who knows how to do it is somewhere and somewhere .... the lack of understanding at borders seamed to tick me off for the service provided by these people at crossing borders has the assumption that everyone that crosses the border has the same f*cking circumstances and purpose.

Onward to the second stop that supposedly provide border paperwork services and the answer was the same ....

I decided to go for a U-Turn and get petrol filled up first to the brimmed before entering Thailand ... Petrol in Malaysia is subsidized after all ... at Shell I also bought a bottle of engine oil ... just in case ... I was due an oil change soon at 600 km left anyway

Back to hunting for border paperwork services and I decided to forgo the third party insurance ... does not really help in my mind anyway since if I do get into an accident the immediate and troublesome procedure of getting insurance paid in Thailand would probably be mind boggling and chances are that I would have miss some unknown requirement or documentation or steps ( such as making claims direct instead of paying first or method of declaring/claiming ) .... thinking in this manner, I decided not to waste money on third party and just get the mandatory one instead ...

The minimum of 9 days was RM 18 .... and the more days you buy the cheaper it gets relatively ... hence I got the 1 year Thailand vehicle insurance for RM60 ... this is for bikes below 125cc ... yep it was dirt cheap in my mind and since I’ll be skirting between Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Thailand ... I’ll definitely use more than three months of insurance ... 3 months cost about RM 38 ...

So heading back to the border I stopped at the first border paperwork service restaurant on the left ... and these guys really gave me a headache ... TM2 Inbound form was filled up wrongly ... no need to fill up exit location the guy said ... its ok ... yea its ok because it will be auto assumed all Malaysian entering Thailand will exit back into Malaysia ... going out from the north border is a totally different story ...

TM2 Outbound form .... this one no need .... f*cking idiots ... so I now understand that the service provided for border paperwork in nearby border town is not to be trusted because if you are not part of the normality crossing a local border, people are bound to assume you are part of the normality and give you wrong information, wrong documentation, wrong advise and wrong assurance and eventually f*ck you up in the future when you attempt to leave the country ...

TM7 white card ... My name was written wrongly ....

Its ok .. you can use liquid paper the guy said ... and proceed to liquid and hand write the changed name ... but on the other side was still wrong name ....

I was paying for all this paperwork, (RM1 for each form) and holding official documents with white outs does not seam a good idea to me since I will be going out towards Cambodia ... they may think that it was me who change stuff after entering Thailand and not the immigration officer at the south allowing sloppy work to enter Thailand ...

Luckily I did all my paranoid reading online with all kinds of forum ... if I were to take the expert border people advise on all this ... I would have been screwed without even knowing it ... they probably screw people without even knowing it ... idiots ...

Basic Vehicle Insurance was the only thing straightforward and they got it right ...

They even returned another persons passport to me ... seriously .... * facepalm *

My advice, buy the form from them if you don't have it ready ... and fill up your self hand written ... type written TM7 form or TM2 & TM3 is not really necessary ...

Time to hit the Border ..

Going out of Malaysia border was easy ... no traffic on a Monday low season non school holiday ... the border was in a semi construction stage so part of it was open and the other part was under construction.

Rode up the window, hand over passport and surprisingly I got a stamped out ... sure is rare since normally only a scan out for Malaysia in Airports and Singapore ... so the last land border is of course Thailand. 

Bukit Kayu Hitam Immigration Checkpoint - Upgrading in Progress 

Ride up towards the Thailand immigration side and I followed all the bikes which seams to never stop ... before I know it I saw customs ... f*ck ... I overshoot immigration and the bikes I was following never stopped even at customs and continued on towards Sadao. 

Made my way back, parked my bike and try to walk back-works did not work either for the pedestrian counter was only for passengers, the rider or driver had to go through the booth ...

Ride counter flow and back to the queue and now it was immigration for Thailand 

Sadao Immigration Checkpoint 
Handed over my passport with both TM2 inbound and outbound and I kept asking the officer in Engish ..

Exit Cambodia ok ?

Exit Cambodia ok ??

Not a word was said ... stamp stamp and handed me back the passport and TM2 outbound form which was stamped as well

Customs ... went up and pass the original VOC and passport ( since it was under my name it was fairly easy ) ... same thing and I kept asking to the clerk

Exit Cambodia OK ?

What Colour is your Motorcycle ?

Blue. Exit Cambodia OK ?

One Month ?

Yes Please ... Exit Cambodia OK ?

She pass me back the Temporary Import Permit papers for the bike and usher me down the isle to the officer .... I was told to sign where required and the officer took the form to place a few more stamps around the document ...

I exit Cambodia ok ??

You Exit Cambodia ???

Yes ..

Motorcycle ??? ( A single raised eyebrow was given to me )

Can ?

Ok No problem ....

Temporary Import Permit (TIP) in hand ... and nothing that says clearly that I could or could not exit anywhere in Thailand other than I’ll be fined a heavy sum if I do not exit Bluey in 30 days ...

A big Grin on my face ... knowing that this was the actual start of the long Haul adventure ... and to celebrate my good start of the journey entering Thailand without a hitch ... heavy rain decided to start pouring ... no chance in taking shelter at the border .... I rode in the rain aiming for Hat Yai

Traveled on : October 2018 
#bordercrossing #Sadao #bukitkayuhitam

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Entering Cambodia with a Malaysian Registered Motorbike

This is a guide some sort but as rules will change with time, I have no idea if it will be relevant to those seeking this information in the future. This attempt innitiated in August 2018 and I have successfully Cross over to Cambodia on the 13 November 2018 

Poi Pet Customs & Excise Office 
Important Note: I am a Malaysian Riding a Malaysian Registered Motorbike.

Preparation From Home Malaysia (Maybe Not Worth The Effort ... read till end to understand)

First off I visited the Royal Embassy of Cambodia to gather information which was at

46, Jalan U Thant,
Taman U Thant,
55000 Kuala Lumpur,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.

The consular was very nice and helpful but the Officer thought I was organizing a convoy. For which charity he asked, which made me feel a little guilty on my very personal and selfish travel nature.

So I needed to prepare a few documents such as

1. Supporting Letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Malaysia)
2. Personal Letter to Request for Entry into Cambodia via Motorcycyle (Self Written & Sign) (SAMPLE)
3. Vehicle Registration Copy( I am the owner fully paid )
4. Insurance & Road Tax Copy
5. Passport Copy
6. Driving Licence Copy
7. International Driving Licence Copy (Purchase at any JPJ Office for RM150)

Once you get all this come back and submit the documents to me the officer said. I will then forward to Cambodia side for processing but no promises that you will get the permit to enter via motorbike.

.... so a possibility but still no assurance

So next I visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia at

Wisma Putra, No 1,
Jalan Wisma Putra, Precinct 2,

There was no real procedure for this and I had to ask from one counter desk to another until I met Officer Mr. Farhan which listened to my request quietly and ask me a few question such as why I was doing this, how many countries I planned to ride through, and for how long I was planning to go on this journey. He gave me the to do list in order to get the supporting letter from the ministry.

1. Letter address to Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia requesting the supporting letter ... (Sample)
(Must include purpose, timeline, duration, countries, route, anything you think that could be of importance )
2. Vehicle Registration Copy
3. Insurance & Road Tax Copy
4. Identity Card Copy
5. Passport Copy
6. Driving Licence Copy
7. International Driving Licence Copy

With this items submitted it would take three working days for the ministry to prepare the letter and I could collect it from the same place.

Throughout the process with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, there was no queue ticket taken, nor were there any fees and even all the document that was submitted was returned after they have used it for reference to write the supporting letter.

As I stated the route which will pass Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, the Ministry gave me four letters, one for each country to request facilitation and support on my quest and journey.

With the final document in hand I returned to the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Malaysia and submitted the documents. A copy of the letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia was made and stamped received date and I was told to wait for one month for the reply.


One Month Later came and passed and I visited the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Malaysia again but the Officer had no reply from his counterpart in Cambodia. He promised to send another inquiry to his counterpart in Cambodia and will contact me if there was any news.

At this point I decided to take the risk and started my Journey North towards Thailand.

Entered Thailand 15 October 2018

Email Contact from the Ministry of Tourism Cambodia

On the 16 October 2018 I got an email from a guy I assumed works at the Ministry of Tourism Cambodia requesting for additional information such as Motorcycle colour, Make, Capacity, Weight and Price of the Motorcycle.

I knew it was risky for it was an informal email but I took the risk trusting that not many people would have known about the documents I submitted and since no query of engine number, passport ID or any sensitive information that was already provided in the initial submission, I replied the email and waited.

A few days later another email query requesting the actual date of entry and departure. I was sure now this was genuinely from Ministry of Tourism Cambodia for I have put in the month and year of entry/exit and purposely left out the specific date. Replied and wait.

A few days later I received a document which was a letter nicely drafted and addressed to the Ministry of Tourism stating a request to enter Cambodia with Bluey particulars and finally my name at the bottom. I signed and replied and wait. (SAMPLE)

A week later I got an email informing that the documents has been processed successfully and I should retrieved it at Phnom Penh Ministry of Tourism and proceed to Stage 2 where I have to bring the documents to Customs in Phnom Penh for import permission approval then finally bring these documents to the border and enter with Bluey.

You can now understand why I say the first preparation works in Malaysia is really Redundant. I manage to get half the permit done remotely ... but half done is as good as not done ...

Below is a photo of my incomplete document (print out copy) and a completed document sample presented to me at Customs in Poi Pet border. Your document is incomplete the officer at Customs Poi Pet border said to me. 

My Incomplete Document on the Left & The Completed Sample shown by the Customs officer on the Right
Getting the Permits to Enter Cambodia with a Motorbike.

In the end, there was no avoiding the painful system Cambodia have in place for obtaining the Permits for Motorbike entry. (The alternative method is to sneak through .... but this post is not about that)

I left Thailand easily completing all the necessary documentation for export of motorbike and entered Poi Pet, Cambodia. Parked Bluey in-front of Imigration and got my passport stamped for entry then proceeded to ride on looking out for customs. 

I actually went pass customs with no one stopping me at all, but maybe I am naive or afraid ... I went back and asked around inside the customs office for someone who knows about bringing Bluey into Cambodia.

Imagine that ... if I did no effort on my part to follow the rules, I would already be riding in Cambodia. I requested for my motorbike (Bluey) to be parked inside the customs building just to be safe and they gladly accepted. The officers and people were really polite and helpful, sympathetic even but follows the rules.

Bus Ride USD 10 (K.S.O Bus Services) from Poi Pet at 10am and reached Phnom Penh at 8pm

Find a Hostel and sleep

The next day I went to the Ministry of Tourism (Map Below) to finally meet the kind young chap that helped me processed the first document in advance. I obtained the original documents from the Ministry of Tourism and proceeded to Customs Buildings which misleadingly not what is shown in Google. The actual place is at Vattanac Capital Tower Level 5. (Map Below) 

Ministry of Tourism Phnom Penh 

Location of Ministry of Tourism Phnom Penh 
General Customs & Excise @ Vattanac Capitol Tower Level 5 

Once there I just flash the Ministry of Tourism Letter around and the people will point you to the right location. Submitted my documents and wait. I got back the document close to 5pm just before closing time of the Ministry. 

General Customs & Excise Office at Level 5 of Vattanac Capitol Building 
Hop back onto overnight bus USD 10.50 (168 Sorya bus service) from Phnom Penh to Poi Pet

Back in Poi Pet .... ( Seriusly tired by this point )

Reunited with Bluey but not before waiting for another 3 hours for the customs papers to be processed. The customs process cost USD 15 and came with a receipt and I used a runner for USD 10 to get the documents processed at various customs departments at the border.

The officer explained to me that I could do it on my own for free but I’ll probably be lost since there were places that need a copy of the letters to be exchange for chops, and then there were forms to be filled up to print out the custom release note, etc, etc ... plus all these were not in English. USD 10 I parted with the money mentally exhausted.

So now I have these current documents with me travelling in Cambodia with a Motorbike

1. Letter from Ministry of Tourism & Endorsed by Customs at Phnom Penh & Endorsed by Customs at Poi Pet ( at back Page)

2. Motor List Document stating Motor & Rider Particulars endorsed by both Ministry of Tourism & Customs at Phnom Penh

3. Endorsed Cargo Release Note from Customs Poi Pet

4. Endorsed Customs Declaration Document from Customs Poi Pet

5. Official Receipt Payment for Customs Processing Fees (USD 15)

6. Additional Letter Requesting Change in Exit Border ( Read on for this )

Additional Information in Changing the Content Inside the Import Permit if required.

While I manage to obtain the approval letter from the Ministry of Tourism in advance, the problem was the information that was given for the application of that letter was outdated.

I initially wanted to exit Cambodia into Vietnam via Bavet border but as I have still no formal/legal way of entering Vietnam with a motorbike, I decided to change my plans and exit back into Thailand.

The letter from the Ministry of Tourism clearly states that I would be entering Via Poi Pet and leaving via Bavet. Hence when I submitted the documents at Customs Phnom Penh, I made it a point to inform the customs officer of my intentions to change the exit border to Cham Yeam Border instead of Bavet.

The additional measures I had to do was find a computer and write another letter requesting change in exit border with reference to the original Ministry of Tourism Letter and submit it to Customs. (SAMPLE)

I of course ran like hell to find a computer in Phnom Penh, quickly draft the letter, print, sign and submit it to the officer the same day which he gracefully processed it together with the original submission.

Back on the Road ... Welcome to Cambodia 
Traveled on: November 2018
#bordercrossing #poipet #motorbike #motorbikebordercrossing #cambodia #blurtravels

Camping in Tanjung Rhu Beach Langkawi

Camping at Tanjung Rhu Beach seamed like a good idea, but with all the glamour of camping one tends to forget about the pains in camping. I have been considering camping in Langkawi for the longest time now while I am here and everyday, while touring around for basic food of lunch and dinner, a potential camping spot was always marked on the back of my head.

In the end, I narrowed it down to three location for best possibility of camping in Langkawi.

1. Beach by the Airport Runway ... this was actually pretty nice but there was lots of Gerai’s , van stalls that would go till late at night and setting up camp while there were loads of people watching seamed like a not so suitable idea since i was alone and cannot leave my stuff unattended. The other problem was I had to leave my bike on the road ... out of sight from where I can pitch a tent .... still it was a viable option ... placed it as my worst case scenario since this was definitely doable and no private beach resort security will chase me away

2. Pantai Kok was the next best viable option ... secluded, lovely white sand beach and still clear calm waters .... problem was that my tent required some kind of support from the ground pegs. This was a pure sandy beach type so would be tricky but still doable .

3. Since I saw Tanjung Rhu Beach the first time, I have had dreams on how to camp there and the beauty of solidarity ... nearby there was a resort, Tanjung Rhu Resort with a open swimming pool up to the beach front and based on the design, no where near the reception hence no guards, no security and in my mind it was the perfect place to take a bath at night around 10pm when no one is expected in the pools. Plus this beach was so secluded it was actually a private beach.

Touring around on my bike yesterday after checking out of the hostel, I rode around and went from Option 1 to Option 2 to finally stop at Option 3 Tanjung Rhu Beach. Brought some beers, water and ciggy and it was time to engineer my home for the night since it was nearly 6pm in th evening.

I pitched my tent as far away from the resort and behind a tree that would give me some sort of cover so that the resort people would not see anything. Best part was I could ride bluey all the way in albeit a bit tricky with the sand and thankfully I did not get stuck. I pitch my tent next to bluey .... beautiful and lovely loneliness. 

Camping at Tanjung Rhu Beach Langkawi 

There was nothing to do really since by 730 pm when the sun is fully set not a soul was at the beach. Even the small rows of shops at the edge of the road was fully closed. No food, no drinks, no toilet, no nothing ... darkness illuminated only by a crescent moonlight. 

I took a slow stroll towards the resort around 8pm and beautifully lit in dim lights was the pool with no one in it. I jumped in and soak myself like a bath ... a much needed one, since after setting up the tent I was stinking all over. ... it was bliss I guess finding this hidden gem semi illegal ... the thrill was always in the illegal stuff. Wanders.

Back to the tent after a good soak, I was now ready for bed. Felt refresh and after changing I lit two candles up in front of the tent where I played some light music on the phone and then quietly ... the crabs came out to play ... they were huge as well ... the size of my palm ... that whole night I would here movement of the crabs all around my tent ...*click click click* one even came in the first tent compartment but alas I was protected by the second layer. 

My Company for the Night ... 
Early morning came and as I prepared to dismantle the tent, the urge to go shit came over me .... No toilet so somewhere in Tanjung Rhu Beach I marked my spot and stroll down to the sea semi-naked to wash my ass. Good thing it was really early and no one was around in this private beach.

They say go to the beach and take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints ... I left much natural ferterlizer from my shit and piss the whole night .... no more camping for a while for me I am thinking ...

Traveled on: October 2018

#campinginlangkawi #camping #langkawi #tanjungrhu

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Daytrip to Pulau Tuba, an Island not Known to Tourism in Langkawi

To tell this story right I have to go back a bit and tell how I found out of this unknown Island in Langkawi.

At one point of time, I stayed at MotoDorm Hostel in Langkawi. The Hostel was only listed on AirBnB and not on any other booking websites. Why MotoDorm ... well because I had free money from AirBnB and it was expiring so I find it interesting to stay at a hostel where if you book a bed for the night, the owner will lend you a motorbike or a bicycle for a day. Imagine that ... it came together ... bed and transport.

Moh the owner was a mechanic and seeing my bike and chatting with me for many hours gave me tips on how to go around solo biking South East Asia and a crash course of Bluey mechanics. He was the one that mention Pulau Tuba in Langkawi that is not part of any standard tourist package, for the traveler and not the tourist.

Getting to Pulau Tuba

The departure point to Pulau Tuba is at Pekan Rabu jetty, by a boat locally operated and cost RM5 one way per person. There is no schedule ... you get to the jetty and ask around to make sure you are at the correct jetty and just wait. People started gathering and waiting around ... wait till someone yells Pulau Tuba, Tuba Tuba Tuba, and everyone gets up and follows him to the boat.

So the boat operator will only depart when he feels there is sufficient number of people to make the trip worth while. The same goes for the way back to Langkawi Island from Pulau Tuba so a Day trip to Pulau Tuba will need a lot of luck to be quick and easy or lots of time and patients.

The boat ride was about 15 minutes and they let everyone off at the jetty of Pulau Tuba. There are two jetty at Pulau Tuba and its kinda of random which jetty the boatman wishes to go. Regardless of which jetty the boatman bring you to, there will be a few locals with many motorbikes parked at the jetty for rent. 

Boat Ride to Pulau Tuba 

Pulau Tuba Jetty 

Getting Around Pulau Tuba

There is really only one way to see Pulau Tuba, which is renting a motorbike/scooter. Motorbike rental for the day cost RM15 per bike and the business is very chill too. I got a bike for RM15, paid the man on the spot and off we go. I never showed any licence, no paperwork, just money = bike. 

No helmet was given, and is not really needed in this small Island. Returning the bike after touring can be done anytime at the jetty by just parking and leaving the keys in the ignition of the motorbike. 

Rent a Bike at the Jetty of Pulau Tuba 

Sightseeing Pulau Tuba

Pulau Tuba is like Langkawi trapped in a time-loop stopped at around 1950 where all this here never change. The small community here farm little fields of rice and vegetable for their own need and farm animals such as cows, buffalo, goat, chicken, etc all roam free around the Island.

The loop was pretty small and one can finish seeing Pulau Tuba in 20 minutes if one goes too fast, so relax and slowdown the pace to match this forgotten place and enjoy chilling around for a few hours. 

Pulau Tuba

Pulau Tuba

Pulau Tuba

Pulau Tuba

Pulau Tuba

There is also a new bridge which crosses from Pulau Tuba to Pulau Dayang Bunting. While Pulau Dayang Bunting is famous for the freshwater lake and Island hopping which is sold as day trips to tourist, this part of Pulau Dayang Bunting on the other side of the tourist attraction gets no visitors apart from the day trippers to Pulau Tuba. 

Bridge to Pulau Dayang Bunting 

Local Communal Hall at Pulau Dayang Bunting 
Finally, is food ... the famous Mee Udang (Prawn Mee) of Pulau Tuba. There is not much food around but somehow the local local people that was visiting Pulau Tuba when I was on the boat with them told me about the most famous stall in Pulau Tuba.

Ordering the Mee Udang, the Makcik asked if I wanted the special or the normal one. One Special please. RM 12 for a humongous bowl of Mee + Prawn ... 

Mee Udang - Pulau Tuba
Mee Udang Stall 
Once bored with doing nothing at Pulau Tuba it was time to head back to the Jetty and wait till there was enaugh people again to get a boat back to Pulau Langkawi.

Traveled on : Oct 2018
#blurtravels #pulautuba