Posts Tagged ‘bangkok’

One Night In Bangkok

Posted: January 14, 2013 by andrewmentzer in Transworld Tour
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Made it to Bangkok this morning and received my first taste of 24/7 rush hour. Three lanes of traffic occupied five, six, seven wide by buses, trucks, cars, tuktuk’s, you name it–not to mention millions of motorcycles whizzing between lanes and on the sidewalk. The pace is erratic at best. This place is intense, beautiful, surreal and intimidating.

Courtney Allen–who used to work for me at Idahostel–and her boyfriend, Stephen, live in Bangkok. I will surf their couch for the next few nights.

We rendezvoused for dinner and drinks following a nerve racking rally across this city of 8 million on the Green Hornet. Getting the bike parked away in a garage was perhaps the most relieving experience of the trip thus far.

Contrary to popular belief, Bangkok is not a seedy, lawless place. It is, in fact, a productive, tickytack city with incredible representations of wealth and prosperity throughout its core. True, it does come off as chaotic to the casual observer, and reasonably so. But I found it interesting that despite to intensity of traffic, hustle and flow, etc. that Bangkok is a very organized place.

It takes a while to see it, but soon enough it becomes apparent that the people here do not yell and scream at each other, they do not push, they do not shove. They simply operate amidst the most miniscule margins between success and disaster. Spatial ability–a miserly 6 inches, tops. It is an opportunistic reality, but one that works.

Takes a little getting used to.

Following a filling meal of lamb, rice, beef and Singha beer, we mosied across town on Bangkok’s elevated light rail. A quick walk through one of the city’s red light districts to check out the elder European males in their recreational pursuits, and we landed on a comfortable hookah patio for a few quiet drinks. We rapped over life, travel, and philosophy until what seemed like closing time. But nothing evers seems to close here. You simply decide that you are done and go home.

Closing In

Posted: January 13, 2013 by andrewmentzer in Transworld Tour
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Well folks, this leg of Transworld Tour is nearing completion. I made it to within a few hours of Bangkok this afternoon, following a nice ride with the ever-capable folks from the BMW Motorrad–South Thailand. We rendezvoused about an hour north of Ao Nang and rode into Surat Thani where they were meeting the rest of their crew for a Sunday Funday tour.

Goran, Wittaya, Sarayut and company are the motorcycle authority in this region, organizing several international rides every year under the sanction of BMW international. Great dudes, excellent riders.

They effortlessly carved ahead of my KLR650 on their 1200GS’s and 1600 sport tourers, but were kind enough to wait up along the way.

We parted ways in Surat Thani, and I pushed north to Chumphon–gateway to the eastern diving island of Koh Tao, and hot route to Bangkok. In the name of self preservation, I plan on taking a sleeper train (with the bike, of course) into the heart of Bangkok in order to avoid some of the worst traffic on planet earth–not to mention the trickiest toll roads in all of SE Asia.

Relaxing on a cold Singha beer at The Independent Bar at the moment–across from the train station–waiting for permission to bring my bike on board.


Plans from Bangkok are imprecise, but the desired end location for SE Asia is just a stone’s throw away. More from Bangkok (provided they allow my bike on the train).

Chiang Mai? Kanchaniburi and the Bridge Over the River Kwai? We’ll see if time frames will allow…