Friday, August 14, 2015

The VERY South Thailand Ride (VSTR) Aug 2015 - Prelude

Our inspiration for this ride came as a result of our amazing South Thailand Ride in 2014 from Phuket to Chumphon where we crossed the Kra of Isthmus. Starting from the very south of Thailand at Thammalang Pier, 30km south of Satun, the plan was to inched our way north through Thung Wa, Trang, Pak Meng, detour to the beautiful island of Ko Lanta and fly back from Krabi, which is near enough to Phuket.

Planning began some 6 months ago and our last STR team of Ying Chang, KC, George, Wendy and I signed up immediately. New additions were Papa Mike, Celia, Lance and newbie tourers VT and Claudine, making the team a rather large but incredible 10. We managed to get air tickets for under $150 return, flying Air Asia into Langkawai, then catching a ferry into Thailand. Return was via Tiger Air from Krabi and the super value airfares certainly brought big smiles upon our faces.

Being a history buff, this region fascinates as its predominantly Muslim. Although Muslims make only 5% of Thailand, they reside in these parts for good reason. Satun province was once part of the Malay Kingdom, the state of Kedah to be precise and culturally and ethnically, these people are the same as their Malaysian brethren save for the colour of their passport. Hence, it was so easy for us who speak Malay to communicate and understand the "Thai" people here. The reason for this anomaly was the Anglo Siamese Treaty of 1909 where the British made concessions with the Siamese Kingdom. With the stroke of the pen, these poor people switched from Selamat Pagi to Sawadee Kup! But this can only mean the best of both worlds for us who love both Thai and Malay cuisine and we were in for a gastronomical treat. Our fears of gaining weight proved real in this trip.

As with all Lovethefold Adventures, we use folding bicycles for the simple reason of going multi-modal. For this trip, we travelled on planes, large and small ferries, train, van and even a pickup truck.

Though July August period is generally the wet season, we strategically chose this time as the monsoons meant riding in the wet and much cooler conditions as compared to the scorching tropical sun. The rains also comes predictably at certain times of the day and when it stops or becomes just a light drizzle, it is truly a marvellous riding experience.

Anyway, what's with a little water seeping through your bottom bracket and hubs? With the right attitude, we can forge ahead through anything!

We hope you will enjoy reading our adventure and sharing this beautiful journey through the quieter part of Thailand and its incredible people!

Pics - YC, KC, Lance


Taiwoon said...

wow! thats some adventure! Hope to join u on a ride soon sir Al!

winson gan said...

Excellent spirit of adventure in the downpour !
Yr blog inspires my plan to bike packing on my Tern soon.
Thank you so much for your write up to serve as guide for us in our plan.