Overlanding IN to SG - Part 3

Overlanding IN to SG - Part 3

Motorcycle trip from Bengaluru (India) to Singapore covering 7000km, in January 2019 by three friends. This third part covers Myanmar and Thailand.

Day 10 : Moreh (India) to Gangaw (Myanmar)

Tue, 15 Jan 2019

We got to the Indian border by 8am and met the other overland travellers who were to be travelling with us through Myanmar. A French couple in their 30+ year old Volkswagen van and motorcyclists – lone rider (didn’t get his name) on his KTM 690 and a couple – Jack on his KTM 790 Adventure R and his lady friend on her BMW 650 GS. We got our passport, visa and carnet stamped. Got to the Myanmar side and had our passport stamped. Traffic lane direction switches to right hand side as in US. For carnet stamping, the office was a bit further. We rode for a few kilometers to realise something was amiss and turned back to the border. We were directed to the office that was in fact just a few meters from the border, on the left. Got our carnet stamped. The temperatures during the day was high and stayed that way till Singapore. From here on, I just loved my Rynox riding jacket for it was a mesh textile jacket that provided for lots of ventilation and air-circulation to keep me cool.

Back at the customs office, we met our designated local guide – Mr.Min Katay, a friendly young chap in his mid-twenties who was fluent in English. He gave a quick run-down of the schedule, some basic do’s and dont’s and then handed to each one of us a brochure, a T-shirt, small Myanmar flag and a local sim card with 180gb of data (to communicate on a WhatsApp group). Took a group photo and headed onwards to stop next at a eating joint for a quick lunch. Here we met the Russian couple who were travelling in their four-wheel drive semi-trailer pickup and they also part of the same group we were in. The guide directed / helped us to the nearby ATM to withdraw some local currency which is required as there aren’t many places that accept card transactions. Filled up fuel at the nearest fuel station and continued on.

Next stop was at a place called Gangaw. Vish led the way as he had the mobile (to show directions) held firmly on the Quadlock case handlebar mount (no, not the popular RAM mount). We rode for several hours until sunset. On the way, Kiran had a fall with uneven road surface and rail tracks on road. He had mild impact on the lower side abdomen area. His bike’s handlebar and left footrest got a slight bend besides the light scratches. Fortunately nothing serious. We continued to ride on carefully. Reached hotel at Gangaw by 9pm. Dinner and beer to end the day.

Distance covered : 280 km
Average speed : 51 km/hr
Road : Tarred roads but uneven with few bad stretches.
Stay : Hotel Gangaw, Gangaw 4/5

Day 11 : Gangaw to Bagan (Myanmar)

Wed, 16 Jan 2019

Up early by 6am. Started by 8am. Filled fuel. Stopped at 10: 30am for a tea break. 160km/3 hrs more to reach Bagan. Reached hotel at 3:05pm. Snacks and beer by the pool. Vish sends details to rep in Thailand to get us local motorcycle insurance.

We were supposed to exit the country and cross over into Thailand at the Mae Sot border point, South of Myanmar. However, we got information that we were to head eastwards and enter Thailand from its the North border point at Tachileik.

Distance covered : 257 km
Average speed : 48 km/hr
Road : Good but with some uneven stretches
Stay : Royal House Resort, Bagan 4/5 (Lovely resort and rooms. Kitchen 7:30am – 9pm)

Day 12 : Bagan to Kalaw (Myanmar)

Thu, 17 Jan 2019

Up by 7am. Breakfast by 8:30am. Took a few group pictures at the resort, loaded up our motorcycles and started out. Checked out a few monuments close by before getting out of the city of Bagan. At about 11:25am, we stopped to refuel our bikes (95Ron/Octane fuel – 7400kyats for 8.6 ltrs of fuel). 2 thirds of distance was mostly and dry vegetation. Stopped at Power Cafe for tea break. Tea make with milkmaid. Not to my liking. Continued on till we later climbed up a hill. Road widening work going on for trucks. Reached hotel by 5pm and freshened up. We get information about getting Thai vehicle insurance. Vish’s wasn’t feeling too good. At 7:30pm, Kiran and I stepped out for dinner as this hotel didn’t have a restaurant. We walked 350mts/5mins to Adora Hotel – A restaurant with outdoor seating that served very tasty food.

Distance covered : 263 km
Average speed : 48 km/hr
Road : Tarred roads but uneven with few bad stretches.
Stay : Junction Rose Resort, Kalaw 4/5

Day 13 : Kalaw to Loilem (Myanmar)

Fri, 18 Jan 2019

Up by 6am. Started to ride by 9:30am. Lovely scenic route going through curvy roads up and down several hills. Had a fall trying to corner on the uneven road curve. Stupid of me. Gear shift foot lever broke away. Fortunately, I carried a spare. Fixed it up in 10 minutes (thanks to Aditya for the lesson). There was 64km more to go. Stopped by a small shop for coffee break. 22 km to go. Got to hotel by 4:45pm. Rest of the group turned up with many others on their motorcycles and so did a German speaking family (from Switzerland) in their station-wagon for a caravan. Had a late lunch. Not so good. Hand-washed my inner wears (had to be done). Relaxed rest of what was left of the day. The hotel was like a home-stay. Food though was not so great though.

Distance covered : 186 km
Average speed : 45 km/hr
Road : Uneven but fully tarred roads
Stay : Pineland hotel, Loilem 3/5

Day 14 : Loilem to Keng Tung (Myanmar)

Sat, 19 Jan 2019

Started at 7:30am. 9am coffee break opposite fuel station where we filled fuel near Kun Hing. Numerous ups and downs over several mountain ranges. 1km before Mong Ping, we stopped for lunch by the road turning downhill. Next short stop was 22km before the town of Keng Tung. Reached hotel by 6:15pm. Strange hotel for it had all its doors and windows with metal grill work for added security. Had dinner & beer at a place that was 5 minutes walking distance away.

Distance covered : 339 km
Average speed : 30 km/hr
Road : Uneven but fully tarred roads
Stay : Golden Star Hotel, Keng Tung 3/5

Myanmar (formerly Burma)

Famous for its numerous Pagodas that contains Buddhist relics and some of which dates back to the 6th century. Currency is Burmese Kyat. Beautiful country with friendly sweet people who have a happy smiling face. They lead simple and yet content lives. An observation and something hard to miss is that the ladies and infants have a of-white coloured paste applied onto their cheeks. It is derived from the Thanaka tree and is a form of devotional practice besides it acting as a form of UV protection from the glaring heat of the sun.

Traffic on the road is drive on the right side – an opposite to that of India. Most of the vehicles that ply on the road are either of Korean or Chinese make. A majority of people travel on their two wheeler scooter/moped/motorcycle that is no more than a 135cc. Most common being the scooter. Everybody rides at a speed not more that 35-40km per hour – comfortable, easy going with nobody seemingly to be in any hurry to get anywhere (something that is otherwise more common in developed countries). All of Myanmar have tarred roads. No speed breakers or potholes, but uneven surfaces and loose gravel on few road turnings that can be tricky if not dangerous. Keep an eye out for animals unexpectedly getting onto the road.

Strange thing through all of Myanmar was that when it was tea or coffee that we asked for, besides the tea/coffee powder and sugar, it was always milk powder/dairy whitener sachets and never fresh milk.

Myanmar doesn’t recognize Carnet. So after stamping the passport along with the eVisa, one can simply ride into Myanmar in your vehicle. Similar situation when leaving the country. However, if the Carnet is asked for and is stamped on entry, make sure to stamp out at the border crossing when exiting Myanmar.

Day 15 : Keng Tung (Myanmar) to Pong Nham (Thailand)

Sun, 20 Jan 2019

Start by 7:30am. Returned back a short distance to take right to the border. Filled fuel on the way 7.5 ltrs of 92octane. Short coffee break at small town named Tarlay. 45km more to Tachileik town. Distance to cover 156km. Reached the border by 11:30am. The traffic direction switches here back to as in India – to drive on the left side of the road. Passport cleared. Carnet clearance was delayed as there were several other bikers who turned up at the border. A good no. of them were from Malaysia and Singapore. Customs cleared finally by 3pm.

Vish booked hotel One Resort but couldn’t find it, so booked Ban Naam Resort at Pong Nham that happened be close to the One Resort. Had lunch at 4pm. Sky had a white full moon. Went out for a walk later on and back to relax rest of what’s left of the day.

Distance covered : 171 km
Average speed : 50 km/hr
Road : Good roads
Stay : Ban Naam Resort, Pong Nham 4/5

Total distance covered in Myanmar (Moreh to Tachileik) : 1500km (approx.)

Day 16 : Pong Nham to Kamphaeng Phet (Thailand)

Mon, 21 Jan 2019

Up early and ready by 6:45am. Fuel stop for 8.85 ltrs of 95 octane (27.20 baht / litre). Scheduled to ride to Lampang via Chiang Mai to BMW motors for Kiran’s bike fix. Reached BMW Barcelona Motors (on Google Maps), Chiang Mai by 11:30am. They didn’t have any spare parts for the bike. Covered 232 km so far. Continued on by about 3pm. On the highway from Lamphun to Lampang, we passed the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. On route, at an intersection at Lampang, due to the road work going on there was heavy traffic on narrowed road, I missed Vish and Kiran. Didn’t know where to go, so logically rode in the South direction towards Tak. Ended up riding in reserve to nearing empty tank with no fuel station in sight.

Finally, at about 4pm and 98km to Tak, stopped at PT fuel station and fueled up full tank. Lots of local super bikers on road – mostly BMW and Kawasaki. 4 wheelers we’re mostly Toyota, Honda sedans and pickup trucks. At nearby Punthai coffee shop (on Google Map) (Lampang), ordered for latte. Got to know they didn’t have free WiFi and I had no way to contact either Vish or Kiran. Requested one of the lady staff of coffee shop to share her phone WiFi for a bit and she obliged. They had shared their location and they were way behind as they had stopped at a fuel station to fuel up and wait for some update from me. Shared my location and stayed put till they turned up. Reached place of stay by 8pm. This home-stay is run by an Austrian gentleman-Thai lady couple. We had dinner with beer. Vish got a small cupcake, and with a lit candle on it, they wished my birthday. The moon in the clear night sky appeared larger than usual and from being bright white (previous night) had changed color to dark orange. It happened to be a Lunar eclipse – Super Blood Wolf Moon.

Distance covered : 581 km
Average speed : 93 km/hr
Road : Very good
Stay : Malee Resort (on Google Maps), Kamphaeng Phet 4/5

Day 17 : Kamphaeng Phet to Kloug Wan (Thailand)

Tue, 22 Jan 2019

Up by 6am ready by 7:30am. Started out. Filled up full tank fuel at Shell petrol bunk at the main road. Little further, on the service lane, got my bike chain lag fixed at a small mechanic shop. Cleaned sprocket and chain of my bike and that of Kiran’s bike myself. 12:20pm reached PTT station for a break at Amazon cafe. 390km / 6.5 hours more to go. Stopped at PFF station for a break. 271 km/4.5 hrs. more to go. Vish filled up fuel here. Stopped little after Phetchaburi at 5:50pm to refuel and coffee at Inthanin Garden. Later a stop at fuel station. By 8:20pm, we reached the changed place of stay. Dinner at restaurant close by, run by German ex-sailor and Thai lady couple.

Distance covered : 601 km
Average speed : 73km/hr
Road : Very good
Stay : Kalla Pangha Resort (on Google Maps), Kloug Wan 4/5

Day 18 : Kloug Wan – Ko Lanta (Thailand)

Wed, 23 Jan 2019

Up by 6am. Start by 7:15am. First filled fuel. Next stop at 10:30am where refueled and had a coffee break. 312km/5hrs. more to go. up to Hua Hin Pier from where we need to take a ferry across to the Ko Lanta island and resort Lanta Casa Blanca. One stop for refuel for Kiran and Vish. Later at 1:30pm, a stop at PTT for fuel. 102km/1:50hrs more to go.

Reached the ferry boat by 3:30pm. Got to the resort by 4pm. By this time (after several days of riding motorcyles so far) my butt cheeks started to hurt. Let’s face it. It is bound to happen, even more so, considering the Duke’s seat isn’t the comfiest for long distance travel. Quickly freshened up, rented 2 scooters and rode out with our dirty laundry to the laundry store. Vish relaxed back at the hotel while Kiran and I explored the road that had just about every kind of store possible... Mostly restaurants. Got back with our washed laundry by 8pm and relaxed.

Distance covered : 550 km
Average speed : 54 km/hr
Road : Very good
Stay : Lanta Casa Blanca, (on Google Maps) Ko Lanta 5/5

Day 19 : Ko Lanta (Thailand)

Thu, 24 Jan 2019

Easy day off. Good breakfast. Kiran and Vish went out to the market on the scooter for some shopping. They got the chain lubricant and later we went out for lunch at the nearby restaurant. Went to the beach at 5:30pm and back by 7pm. Had dinner back at the resort and tried to work out alternatives for getting into Singapore with motorcycles. My schoolmate Srinivas who resides in Singapore got in touch and having known about my trip, he connected with two of his friends Naveen and Panduranga, both of whom have done a similar trip in the past. Just as the other biker friends has advised, these two also suggested that we do NOT attempt getting into Singapore as it would extremely difficult and not worth the effort, time and money. However, with all his prior planning Vish was determined to follow it through and made sure that we ride into Singapore.

Even connected with another friend Sushil, who has done a similar trip on his Triumph Bonnieville, just a month back. Spoke with Jayanth (ex-collegue, friend and guitarist in the metal music band Neolithic Silence) who resides / works in Malaysia. They provided with a lot of useful information, advice, suggestions that helped us figure out our next course of action.

Day 20 : Ko Lanta (Thailand)

Fri, 25 Jan 2019

Up and breakfast done by 9am. Lunch at Ni restaurant close by. Chill out the entire day exploring the town a bit, lunch outside at close-by restaurant and later chilling by the beach. Dinner and early to bed.

Total distance covered in Thailand – Tachileik to Bukit Kayu Hitam : 2100km (approx.)


Chilled out country known for tropical beaches besides its ornate Buddist temples. Currency is Thai baht. Good roads and infrastructure. Friendly people. Fuel stations in Thailand – Caltex, Esso, Shell, PPT, PT and Bangchak (green leaf logo). Each station have a coffee shop and departmental store. For eg. PPT has Amazon Coffee. Bangchak has Itinan coffee…etc. Vehicles mostly Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Isuzu. Some Chevy, Mitsubishi, Ford and of which most are either sedans or pickup trucks. Two wheelers are mostly Hondas and Yamahas 110-135cc and some super-bikes too. Similar to Myanmar, for tea or coffee it was milk powder/dairy whitener sachets and never fresh milk except for a few well-known Coffee shops. The island of Ko Lanta at Krabi for some odd reason attracts German tourists aplenty. Thailand doesn’t recognize Carnet. So after stamping the passport along with the e-Visa, one can simply drive/ride into Thailand in your vehicle. Similar situation when leaving the country. However, if the Carnet is asked for and is stamped on entry, make sure to stamp out at the border crossing when exiting Thailand.

...journey ends in Part 4 

Featured post

Overlanding IN to SG - Part 3

Motorcycle trip from Bengaluru (India) to Singapore covering 7000km, in January 2019 by three friends. This third part covers Myanmar an...