Thai Lao Border Ubon, Scouting Around

 

 

 

The plan:-

A Bangkok Weekend Warrior has to work hard for his rides out of the Big Durian – AKA Bangkok.

Friday 5:00 Wake up
5:20 on the KLX and heading the Hualumphong Station (Train leaves at 6:40)
All smiles and bike booked on the train with a 3rd class ticket (No intention of riding the train 😉
Head back home by 5:45 AM and greeted with a lovely sunrise over the city from the toll way.

Back home and to bed just on 6AM. 30 mins later up again.

In the office by 8:00am (early start and early finish)

On the 6:20 PM flight to Ubon and arrive at 7:20pm

James kindly met me at the airport and off we go to pick up the trusty KLX from the station..

Now, you know you can plan your day by the inefficiency of the SRT…

Train should have arrived at 6:10pm
We arrive at the station on 8pm. 5 mins later the train is pulling in.
Perfect, right off schedule by the expected 2 hours 🙂

Load up the bikes. All good.. James grabs the back tyre and gives it a pull to make sure it is secure as part of the final check before driving off.
The rear tyre is moving way too much.. The local motorcycle taxi driver concurs with James.. Bearings..

Crap.. now it is 8:30pm.. Where are we going to get anything done at this time of night.

James said lets go to Kawasaki.. Surprise to me, as didn’t know Ubon has a Kwaka dealer..
Even better surprise.. They are sitting outside having Beer Leo’s.

We rock up and explain the situation.. They kindly agreed to take the bike in and replace the bearings.
– With a nice handsome tip 😉

You can see in the picture.. 8:50pm on the clock..

Here is the bearing.. You can see light through it. There is a lot more light actually.. This is the best I could capture it with the phone camera.

Bike all done and we are on our way.. Can’t remember the time…

We are in Chong Mek after 11pm…
Pretty knackered with the 5 am wake up, work day, dramas with the bike etc..

Big thanks to James. James knows the owner of the dealership which really did help things along.

Saturday early AM..

Of course.. being so tired and late to bed I wake up early with the sun coming through the window

Snap of the room

As it is so early, go for a walk around the market at the border.

Selling fish by the truck load.

Getting ready to open..

A great omelette for breakie at the place opposite our luxurious hotel.
They were not sure what to make.. So went in to the kitchen and pointed at the ingredients

Ready to ride….

 

The pictures below are a combined effort from James and myself.

Looking on most maps for this area. GPS and paper, there are really not many tracks mapped.
Even the ESRI map I always use in Thailand has pretty good tracks in the bush.. In this case, the ESRI map would be lucky to have 2% of the trails we would ride.

We thought it would be fun to go off and explore the area and map it as best we could and upload the results to OSM.
It really is a lovely area and not many people in this neck of the woods.

Many trails are dead now.. This one here. James nearly rode through the long grass and in to the ravine!

Some very interesting volcanic rock formations.

This is a river. Must flow pretty high and fast in the rainy season..
There is a waterfall further up the river.

 

What a view…

A few snaps to move on with..

Yet another great view..

Time for a splash in the puddles

Some nasty deforestation taking place in the name of rubber plantations.
We accidentally stumbled across a small crop of marijuana and moved on before bad guys with guns appeared.

 

Yet another great view towards the sindrahorn dam

Better buy DUREX.. The way of the future.

 

To our pleasant surprise. Reminded me of our rides at Khao Khiew, Chonburi..

1km out of Chongmek we saw a trail and thought.. lets take a look.

What should every weekend Shogun do?

Here are the GPS tracks on Google Earth

Saturday

Sunday

 

Part II

Pretty much the same routine as last time.. But this time the KLX is in Ubon with James.

James meets me at the airport with both bikes loaded up and off we head to Chong Mek.
Nice to get there around 9pm and early night sleep…

Up and meet for breakie at 7am before heading off to James family house near where we want to ride for the day.

Gear up on the farm and then time to start exploring..

We found some great trails again.. Lots of junctions to go exploring next trip

Some of the hills / mountains are 400 metres above sea level but steep and technical..

It is not all flat by any means

 

Nice and challenging

We started out exploring. Looking to make our way back to some great tracks from the day before.
Decided to head back to this fantastic area.. So many junctions and you have to choose.. At each junction we said..

“Have to come back and see where those other trails goes”.

There are wild Elephants here also
Looks like the stool sample had been here a while.. Dry and like straw and very light.

We kept riding along the trail and came to a couple more trails that went in the direction that we wanted to go.
But we could see on the GPS the previous weekends way points..

We were heading towards to Marijuana crop.. The area we couldn’t find the trail last time.

We decided very quickly to see if we can get through from this side..

Some of the track is no longer in use and was a challenge and great fun..

What a ripper track.. We made it through the unused trail, over logs and rocks and through long grass.
The loop is 23km long and so varied, single trail, rocks, logs and rubber plantations with a couple of creeks thrown in..
The rest of the track is a combination of or similar to pictures already posted in this report..

Can’t wait to go back next time and warm up with the Loop..

After rambling around the trails and finding new ways and joining up tracks..
We started going on a track that looked like it would take us to Laos…

We thought that would be fun if we can get to the border and take a snap with the GPS coordinates displayed.

Almost, nearly, not quite.. We made it to around 400 metres from the border..
The border is in the hilliest part of the entire area with lots of trees and pretty much impassable in most places.. only animal tracks..

We ride up the hill / mountain.. and the track continues across the rock area..

You can see how well warn the rock is.. Guessing cattle as well as human traffic.

Then we leave the rock area and back in to the trail..

It starts to get interesting from here

We go through the trail and arrive at a clearing.. We see all the Bamboo that has been chopped and M100 bottles all over the place

Walk around and follow the track.. Now it is steep and through rocks that are too close together for the bikes.

Walk down and come back another way between some other rocks.. This looks easier I tell James..

Well.. James kindly volunteered me to go first.. LOL. As I went down, managed to get stuck between the rocks twice and had to lean and wiggle the bike around.
Started to think.. opps may have misjudged this.. Then started thinking.. Glad I have that rope in the bag…
In the end all was good…

Next James…


  Then back on the single trail.. Sure it is more a trekking trail than a bike trail.. Very technical. Rocks and tree roots, steep ups and downs.

More of these along the way.. Human traffic are using this route.

Got quite tough to ride so we would walk ahead to make sure if we couldn’t go on, we could at least turn the bikes around with out falling in to the ravine.

The GPS said we were around 400 metres from the border.

James walked ahead and came back and said we can’t really go any further.. Looks like the trail has water flow off the mountain and over rocks ahead.
The rocks were covered in moss and very slippery..

By this stage we are really buggered. Plus we have to get out of here.. so turn around and figure we will save this for another day..
(after getting back home and looking at the GPS track on Google Earth. Believe we may have another way to make it through – Next time)

Heading back we stopped for a drink at a small shop..

While there some of the local farmers pulled up with rubber to sell.

Really never knew much about this before.. James enlightened me.

What you see here is the cheap junk rubber.. where it is collected and then sold on
The cheapest price or around 30 or 40 baht a kilo..

This fella was biting pieces off and eating it..  Bouncy poos on the way..

Rubber stinks.. really stinks.. worse than chicken poo..

Below is some rubber that has been processed partially at the farm.. This fetches about 2 or 3 times the price of the other rubber

Rubber being collected with an drip plugged in to the tree…

Food around this area is a bit of a problem.. Nothing decent and what is available is very ordinary..
Those hotdogs were disgusting.. Threw mine to the dog and even the dog had a good look at it and begrudgingly decided to eat it.

It was getting pretty damn hot.. Both of us cooled down in the creek.

Started off exploring some more tracks.. they were pretty tough and it was getting late and time to head back to Ubon and Bangkok

To be continued another day…..