January 03, 2009 GMT
Oz Christmas

Christmas day was spent with a early swim on Coolum Beach. Dom Rafaele & Nick joint us for lunch and a few more swims be for heading of to Budrim to visit Peter and Sue for a delicious supper and a few x-mas cheers.

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Christmas

on Boxing day the beach called again for a swim and a walk to work up a appetite for lunch. after watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race we where invited to Peter & Sues for a traditional x-mas lunch. While Peter did all the hard work we spent the time in the pool with gin & tonics topped with lemon sorbet. Yummmm!!! Tash's recipe.

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x-mas dinner

Saturday Peter & Sue organized for all of us to go to Trios Restaurant on Noosa Harbor for a lunch and a few more hours with our kids and peters family.
thanks again for a wonderfully x-mas and you very generous hospitality.

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Peter and Sue

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Lunch at Trio's


It was now time to say our goodbyes as we are getting ready to set of on our journey.( just in time as I dint think our suspension could handle another lunch)
From Coolum we head north toward Rockhampton and the west toward Mt. Isa
we leave Rockhampton at 5.AM to make the most of the cooler hours in the morning the first few hundred km's nice and cool riding over the Dividing Range,
as the day goes on the roads are getting straighter and the temperature hotter.
we stop in Alpha to have a break and change in to some cooler riding gear, after a rest in the shade of a tree we are ready to hit the road again.We can see some dark storm clouds on the horizon but we seam to travel parallel to it so we are not to concerned about it. A few more ks further on, the road takes a right and we are now heading straight toward the storm ( its the only turn between Alpha and Tennant Creek) as we are getting closer the wind seams to push the rain away from us so we keep driving thinking all is good , no need to change in to wet weather gear.

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after the storm
So much for nature, another change in the wind and we are in the middle of the storm within seconds, drenched to then bone we emerge in to clear sunshine within a few minutes we are dry and hot again, so we ride on and arrive in Longreach mid afternoon and 600 Km's later.

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Sunset at Longreach

from Longreach we keep riding west toward Mt. Isa the roads are long and very STRAIGHT.
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Bike riding in Oz: you ride for hours and you still got a long way to go..........
The only thing that keeps you awake is looking out for wild life on the road, dead or alive, mainly Kangaroos, Cows, Sheep and Birds that feed on roadkill.

We arrive in Winton, in the distance we can see the monsoon clouds building as the day gets hotter, we keep our riding gear on so as not to repeat yesterdays episode, the sky is getting darker and we seam to drive right in to the storm...
Not a drop, totally missed it, the wind just moved it out of our path. As we come around a corner and over a crest there is a small river ruining over the road that was created with the last downpour, we are traveling at about 120ks, hit the breaks, straighten up and go for it we still doing about 60ks when we hit the water,
never knew that a bike creates so much wash, soaked again. The temperature is raising and as we approach Cloncurry we reckon it's about 40 C just outside town is a big sign claiming that the hottest day in town was 51.4C a couple of years ago, so what are we complaining about ? It's a mild day. After a stop at the local and some hydration therapy we tackle the last 120km for the day and arrive in Mt Isa about a hour later.

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Comming in to Mt Isa


We have a look around town and end up staying at the Irish Pub for the night. The following morning we set of early to cover the next 450ks to Berkley's Homestead where we stay and spend new years eve. We had a few beer's with some fellow travelers and wished each other a happy new year!!

Early in the morning we set of toward Stuart Highway ( Tennant Creek) after ca 180km we came to the three way Homestead where we met 2 Scottish guys, who are riding around Australia. We set off along the Stuart Highway toward Daly Waters, where we had to stop at the famous Pub for a beer.
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Daly Waters

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In the Pub

It started to really to hot up, on our way to Katherine, we meet our 2 friends again and rode into Katherine together. With the help of Forbes's GPS we find a hotel for the night. After a few more beers and a Chinese meal it was bed time , traveled 850 km today.

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Forbes

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Frank


Not to early the next morning the 2/1/09 we headed to wards Darwin ONLY 360km away (easy).
On our way we stopped at the Lichtfield National park at the Florence Falls for a very nice swim. Beautiful Falls, like in the pictures and because of the wet season a lot of water.

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Lichfield National park


One hour later we arrived in Darwin, staying at the Pine City Resort ( Tip from Rod thanks Mate great place ).
Darwin is hot, wet, green and lush, a great place, lots of Restaurants, Nightspots, Shopping, great Harbor, lots of things to see and do. We are having a great time here, after a week of the outback.

Posted by Mark Allenspach at 04:43 AM GMT
January 09, 2009 GMT
Singapore

Got the bike organized to go to Kuala Lumpur. Beau from Hellmann in Darwin has been a great help,no problem at all. We organized a Dangerous good certificate and a inspection of the bike and within 2 days the bike is ready to leave for KL.
No crate, no dramas, no worries.
We left Darwin on Wednesday the 7th Jan. on a flight to Singapore, arrived late afternoon and stayed on Geylang Road in a Hotel. Geylang is the red light district of Singapore it's a very happening place. After checking in to the hotel we went for a walk to check out the neighbourhood and find a place to eat, after a short stroll and a few offers ( food and other) we settled on a street corner eatery and enjoyed a great chines meal with a Tiger Beer to wash it all down.
Across the street from the Hotel was a row of shops with " Dance Studio" signs above them and lots of guys hanging around, must be popular to learn how to dance in Singapore ? Hmmmm...........
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The next morning we put on our walking shoes and went into town. we started of with Orchard Road, Maggie was in shopping paradise all the big labels and brands are there ( too bad the bike is already full to the max) after a good look around we went on to China Town and then to Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling.

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China Town, Rafffels an down the river in Singapore

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After a long day walking around town we got a taxi back to the hotel, had a meal and colapsed in bed, a 5am start for the next morning was on the list to get on a plane and fligh to Kuala Lumpur.

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Maggie in the Orchad garden

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Markets and Food stalls in KL

Kuala Lumpur is buzzing with life, we staying in China Town, went to the Night Markets, soooo much stuff.....
All is decorated for Chinese New Year it looks great.

Posted by Mark Allenspach at 02:13 PM GMT
January 16, 2009 GMT
Malaysia

Monday the 12/1/09
Today we pick up the bike from Kl airport. we arrive at Cargo terminal at midday, we leave at about 4.30pm.
First you go to office no 1 to get a pass to get in the gate, now to office no2 for a stamp and a piece of paper, then its of to office no3 and another stamp and then back to office 2 for some more paper and more stamps, by now its 1pm and everything shuts for 1 hour. We start again at 2pm and go to office no 2 to to get another stamp
and we can know proceed to office no 4 to get paperwork witch needs to stampt by office No 2, then back to 4 and we finally get the bike out of the warehouse. we unload it from the cradle reconnect the battery and go back to office no2 to get a clearance stamp witch we have to take to office no 5 to inspect and sign the paperwork, now we go back to no2 for the final stamp, we are out of the gate and all is left is to go to office no1 to collect our passports and just one more stamp for good luck. How easy is that.
We leave KL behind us and drive into our first Asian thunderstorm. WOW can it rain over here. We are forced to pull over into a service station and wait. lucky for us there is a motel and we end up sating there for the night.

The next morning we head up to the Cameron Highlands
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Ringett

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Thara Ranta

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Tea Fields Around the Cameron Highlands

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Cup of Tea on the road ( our bag)

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After the highlands we drive on to Georgetown on Panang and stay in a small Guest house right on the beach.

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Bridge to Georgetown

From Georgetown its a long and boring drive to the Thai border, the crossing into Thailand is easy and we are trough in no time at all.
from the boarder we head north and arrive in Krabi in the afternoon where we are staying for a few days.

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Posted by Mark Allenspach at 12:27 PM GMT
January 20, 2009 GMT
Thailand

From the Malaysian boarder we Head north towards Hat Yai we have been told that the very southern part of Thailand is not to save to travel in so we just keep going. The scenery has changed the moment we came across the boarder, it's very busy and the pollution is quiet bad. From hat Yai we head we ride towards Phattalung and then west to Trang and finally Krabi. We end up in AoNung a beach suburb of Krabi, we find a hotel and set of to check out town. The place is overrun by tourist, there is shop after shop after restaurant's and so on. The whole place has a very resort like feel about it, you can get newspapers from around the globe, drink in Irish pub's and if you feel like it have some German sausages with Sauerkraut, its all here and then some more.

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Ao Nong

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Cove on Phi Phi Island

The following day we booked in for a speedboat trip to Ko Phi Phi. We set of at 9 am, first stop Monkey Beach on Phi Phi Le there we for a snorkel over the coral reef, next stop "The Beach" where the movie was shot, as we come across the corner into the lagoon there is dozens of boats and hundreds of people on the beach ( spoils it a bit)

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The Beach

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The Beach


We head of to Phi Phi resort for lunch, on the way there we are told that 10000 people died here in the 2004 Tsunami and all buildings were destroyed, it's amazing what can be done in 4 years you would never guess that anything ever happened here.
From AoNong we drive in a north- west direction towards Than Put and then on to the coast to Khao Lak. The beaches here are as long as you can see dotted with Resorts and Guest Houses but not as overdone as in other parts of the coast.

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Sunset at Khao Lak

From Khao Lak we travel along the coast as far as Ratcha Krut and then head into the mountains towards Lang Suan, just north from Sawi we encounter our fist police control point, all they wanted to see was our drivers licence but we were surrounded by about 6 policemen taking photos and checking out the bike.

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Pink Bungalow
From Cha am we follow the national Highway up to Bangkok, the smog is hanging over the land like a thick fog, trucks blowing out black clouds of diesel and everybody has a fire in front of there haus to cook on.
the traffic is getting heavier but we are going OK until a sign tells us that motorbikes are not allowed to drive on tollways our freeways, so we have to stick to normal roads and that's what got us lost. We pull into a service station to fill up and ask directions, as I talk to a taxi driver to get directions I feel a tap on my shoulder and a Aussie voice saying " you look lost mate" Robert from Chon Buri , east of Bangkok, just happen to be in town and pulled up behind us to get petrol when he the aussie flag on the bike and me looking confused at a map with the taxi driver he came over and offered us to follow him to the ferry that will get us to the main road leading out of town. THANKS ROBERT
A few more hours and we arrive in Pattaya where we look for Siam Reap Racing a big motorbike shop on the main road to organize some new tyres, Scott the owner greets us and its no problem at all we have them in the morning.
Pattaya is a full on party town full of Clubs and Bars, you cant see the beach for umbrellas and sun chairs. we end up staying in a guesthouse just of the beach and join the party atmosphere for the night.
the following day we pick up our tyres and head of south to a little fishing village for a bit of peace and quiet.

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wharf near Pataya

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Fishing Fleet

The following day we visit the Botanic gardens.

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guess witch one is us ??

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Maggie feeding elephants

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Botanic Garden Pattaya

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After a visit to the Botanic gardens we continue our travel down the coast and aim to get to Ko Chang a island of the coast from Trat, its taken us a bit longer than what we had planed so we don't arrive on KO Chang until nightfall, with out a map and no idea where to go we drive of the ferry and turn left ( sounded good at the time ) after about 15min i notice a sign on the side of the road naming a lodge i remember from the travel guide so we on going until another sign directs us along, after about 45min the road turns to gravel, by now we are in the middle of nowhere and getting a bit anxious to get somewhere to rest, I lose my concentration for just a second and the front end slides out and the two of us end up tumbling in to the bush. luckily we where going very slow and nobody got hurt. We pick the bike up and continue or journey, after about another km we finally get to the Lodge only to be told its all booked out. One of the staff members takes us along to another lodge where we get a Bungalow and the best Phat Thai we had so far. the next morning we wake up and find our self in the most beautiful spot so we book ourselves in for a few days to chill out.
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Long Beach Paradise found!!!!!!!!!

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4 days of this " tuff "

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Tree House

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Lunch at the Tree house

Posted by Mark Allenspach at 09:45 AM GMT
 


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