Cape York & into Asia via Timor-Leste, Indonesia, etc

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by The Bigfella, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
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    I'm of two minds about heading into Jakarta.

    I'm half inclined to miss the traffic, but I've also got friends there... so yes, I'll probably head in. I'll send you a pm.

    I should have posted this one in my last post.... this lovely young lady was on the ferry from Labuan Bajo to Sape (Sumbawa) with her husband and kid....

    They got away from the dock ahead of me and I gave them a wave down the road a bit.... all three of them on the scooter of course.

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    I saw some wooden boats being built and pulled up for a quick look but I couldn't see an easy way across the ditch

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    My bike lived in the hotel lobby in Bima. The hotel was a bit of a dive and the bike was parked in plain view of the main road, so the security guard suggested I wheel it in.

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    After a lazy start from Bima, I tried to get to Tambora - the volcano that killed more people than any other in recorded history - around 90,000, many of them from starvation and caused the year without a summer in the northern hemisphere in the early 19th century, but that didn't happen. I snapped a quick shot of these two cops who were at a roadworks stop... had to wait ages while the road on a mountain pass was being widened. The guy on the left had his name on his shirt..... Aswad.

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    I had lunch with two English speakers.... The bush telegraph as we'd describe it in Oz, seems to have been at work here. I was hungry and hadn't seen any restaurants - I was passing through Dompu (well, skirting it really) and I gave up and stopped at some roadside stalls. They didn't have much in the way of food and I was getting into some sort of stale bread roll when Farel and Yani showed up. I'm pretty sure someone messaged them and told them there was an English speaker there. Anyhow, they asked if I was hungry and then it was "follow us" time again. I'd never have found the restaurants there on my own.

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    There was a group of senior cops eating in the restaurant, one of whom knew one of my friends. He ended up on the bike....

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    It was funny with the cops earlier.... there was a checkpoint... about 8-10 cops pulling up all the locals.... so I stopped and asked directions.... the cop's eyes popped looking at the bike... and he waved me on, not wanting me to stop, but I asked the way and he pointed the right way... so I popped a nice wheelie for him (that'd be about half the licence gone if I did it in Oz).

    And this is Tambora - the world's most deadly volcano... and that's as close as I got... sort of... Its the one at the back in the clouds

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    I realised when I got to about here that the water in the photo should have been on my left. Someone had given me a bum steer when I stopped for directions... most likely my fault for not pronouncing the name of a village correctly. I'd been kitted out with some emergency food back in Dompu - some sticky rice and some other concoction with a non-refrigerated shelf life of about three days, as they were worried I may not find anywhere to stay.


    When I realised I was miles from where I should be, I didn't go back. The roads on Sumbawa included the best and the worst roads of the trip so far. There is an Australian foreign aid project to widen the main roads in the eastern part of the archipeligo - and where its been done, its like riding on a brand new race track. Fabulous. The chewed up sections though haven't seen any maintenance and they are as rough as buggery. Unlike the corrugations up on Cape York, where with some speed up you can fly over the top for a smooth-ish ride, here, the faster you went, the more you shook. I maxed out at about 90kmh... and backed off. Nasty, nasty rocks everywhere.

    I'd come through a long mountain pass with lots of construction work and it'd been raining.... so I figured that the dry road ahead was a better option.


    Two trucks meet on the road here and something has to give - hence the aid project. One truck and its the bikes that give - you get out of their way. The big buses (only saw 3 today) are the real asswads. They take your side of the road whether they need it or not - every bloody time.

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    These blokes were everywhere.... saw hundreds of them - on all the mountain passes, not the flats

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    Of course.... I got mobbed whenever I stopped.... and provoked at least a reaction, if not a smile and a wave from most people beside the road (ie thousands and thousands....) I had a think about it and realised I'd been on the road for 2 1/2 months straight... and I've probably waved to more people than the Queen of England in that time.

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    It really dumped on me at one stage and I pulled in where some local folks were waiting out the rain....

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    .... although not everyone did

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    I got flagged down for this a bit later on... just outside a village. I reckon she'd just fainted... but I may be wrong. I offered water, but they didn't want it. They had phones, so they didn't want mine. They were all trying to stand the poor girl up - while she was unconcious. I decided I was more of a hindrance than a help.... and if the truth be known, I was probably more likely to cause her problems of a morality nature if I'd touched her. Again, I felt less than well prepared as I left the scene.

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    Photo... photo.... Oh, OK

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    And another one. I sure hope she didn't have nits.... she grabbed my head and pulled it down to hers....

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    Some salt making I passed..... went on for ages

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    Horse carts are everywhere on this island... because its flat - I didn't see any of these on Flores

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    .... and that's about it... I ended up in a reasonable looking dive of a hotel.... with a big restaurant about 10-15 km outside the main city on the island.

    When I went down for dinner.... the only option was 2 minute noodles. Yum Mie Noodles to be precise. So much for the big restaurant eh? Less cockroaches than last night.... maybe something to do with the can of insect spray he came to the room with?????


    Not sure whether I'll head onto the back road to the south coast here... or hightail it to the Lombok ferry. It runs every 45 minutes here, 24 hours a day. Kupang-Larantuka was twice a week, Labaunbajo-Sape once a day. Sort of reflects the population and distance issues nicely.

    I read the guide book and decided I don't want to climb the volcano on Lombok - its a 3 day hike and I'm not that fit.... nor do I have the right hiking boots. I did Mt Ramelau and Kelimutu in my Rockport dress shoes.... and a smashed up big toe - and suffered. People die on this one - Gunung Rinjani - every year.

    Ahh - just heard an "excuse me sir" - popped my head outside and there's a coffee and two boiled eggs. Lovely. Coffee (kopi) here is made by dumping ground coffee, loads of sugar and hot water into a mug. It pays to sip rather than gulp.... and to leave the last 1/4" alone.
    #81
  2. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    I didn't really have a plan, but I headed west.... it wasn't supposed to be too far to Poto Tano, where I could decided to catch a ferry, or not. I didn't really stop in the capital, having stayed just east of there. The island on the eastern margin here is Komodo, the one on the western margin is Lombok. This is what Sumbawa looks like


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    As it turned out, I gave the KTM a gutful of crap fuel on the way... I had to throw in 10 litres from plastic bottles at a roadside stall. The service stations west of Sumbawa Besa were as dry as the hotels. After I'd fueled up, I screwed the throttle open on a straight... and thought better of it... and backed off at 140, rather than detonate the engine. It wouldn't wheelstand on the crap fuel, so I think it was wise to take it easy. I was rather happy when I got to Lombok and gave it a bellyfull of Premium. Its back in wheelie mode.

    Not only that... but I hit an oilspill today. I'd seen it and avoided it for miles. Smelt it even.. it was kerosine, or jetfuel I think. It was mainly on right hand corners... and that's where I found it... hidden in a shadow. I hadn't seen it for a while, but zip... When you are leaned over on a bike and the front wheel goes away.... you sure wake up in a hurry. I got lucky and rode out of it.

    I guess I didn't want to miss my daughter's arrival, so I headed for the Lombok ferry as soon as I saw it. The ferry between Sumbawa and Lombok was a real rust bucket. I was amusing myself trying to figure out the depth of the rust holes again. It got quite windy out there too. Then it was a 75km blast across Lombok... and it was eat or be eaten on the road. I feel more secure when I am overtaking... and in that 75km, I overtook probably two thousand vehicles of all types... trucks, cars, bikes, horse carts and motorbikes. Coming into the capital, I slowed down... and you would find cars and bikes going past you inches away... on both sides at once. The only answer is to go faster than them.

    Here's what the traffic is like

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    Anyhow... I got to the capital of Lombok, Mataram, but decided to head up to Senggigi. Its a tourist town... a bit of a shock after not seeing a single other westerner for a couple of days. I stayed at yet another cheap hotel... went the non-aircon option again too, but it was fine and even served up a banana crepe and coffee for brekkie.

    ... and here's another shot from the blast across Lombok. I regretted taking this... because it meant that I met three bikes coming the other way and it was a damn tight squeeze. OH&S just doesn't feature here. I went past one big excavator working on the road the other day and he was rolling a one metre diameter rock down the hill towards me. I didn't hang around to see where it ended up.

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    I stayed a couple of days in Senggigi, before heading off to Gili Trawangan, the "party island" to meet my daughter. Her coming to town meant something bad had to happen.... (her recent trips have included Mumbai... bombed the day before she got there, Cairo... oops, sorry President Mubarak, Syria... a quick exit to the border - and so on). So, I got a very decent shaking.... an earthquake. Quite interesting actually... a couple of young English girls in the next room were still getting dressed as they came to the door... and heeded my "outside... NOW".

    It turned out to be a couple of hundred kilometres away - but it was shaking the bed and the walls here.... it sure made the local lads in reception run.

    I suggested we adjourn to a bar - a second floor one, in case of tsunami, which was a good excuse for a beer, or two.

    There are more touts (trips, souvenirs) than I'd like to see in Senggigi - and loads of them at the jumping off point for the Gilis. Damn good local band at the Happy Cafe each night, btw.

    I had a ride around looking for better accom... but decided to extend here at the Hotel Ellen, as everything was so close by. I could have a beer at night and walk back. One nice thing about being in a tourist town was that I could get a decent massage. The casual reader might think I'm a bit massage mad... but I've had foot leg and back issues for years. One specialist told me "don't walk... don't walk upstairs and particularly don't walk downstairs" Sod that. I'll walk then let someone fix it up afterwards.

    I even had one massage down on the beach here. There's a few old ducks wandering around and they are pretty polished at getting a few extra bucks out of you... manicures, pedicures ... that sort of thing. Oh yeah... staying cheap is fine by me, but I'm a sucker for a decent restaurant every now and then... and Senggigi's got them.

    Here's the Lombok Ferrari I got driven "home" in after a visit to a nice restaurant a bit further afield.

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    Well, apart from the earthquake... it was a lazy sort of day. Went up to the temple for a gander and while they were tying on my sash... someone jumped on the bike. Happens non-stop and worries the crap out of me, given the sidestand problems I've had.

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    Then, all the local tourists asked for a photo with me. A couple of these women had their arms around me... devils in disguise, methinks.... they were from Borneo, and later on, I saw them go past in their tour bus, further up the road... all waving furiously at me....

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    They went past when I was up the headland, taking in the sunset

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    While I was up at that headland, a couple of likely looking local lads in a pimped Jeep pulled up... big exhaust, tight tee shirts. One of them started chatting to me, asked a few questions and got his mate to take a phone camera pic of him with my bike. As he was leaving, the guy running a drinks / BBQ stall said "they are police". Yep... undercover cops again. Just as well I'm a good lad eh?

    So, after a couple of days I locked up the bike at the Hotel Ellen and jumped on a minibus for about an hour.... then on an outrigger to Gili Trawangan - the Party Island. Its the outer one.

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    No motorised transport is allowed... and I have to say, this one is definitely NOT off the beaten track. There's a well beaten path to it. I locked it in a few weeks earlier when my daughter booked her ticket to Bali. Its only a 90 minute fast boat ride from Bali.

    I checked into a thatched roof room on the main beach... I thought I was far enough away from the mosque... I'd walked until I didn't hear the noise, but it seems it was only a break in proceedings.... never mind, I don't find it too bad. I've only seen locals at my place... $15 incl brekkie... AND it includes a towel AND toilet paper - a very rare occurence so far. There's a pool 10' from my door.... but its under construction. Bugger. My daughter is paying (I hope its her, and not me paying) $120 a night... and she's away from the action - silly girl
    #82
  3. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
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    So... here I am on Gili Trawangan, a nice little island just east of the Wallace Line

    Wiki nicely tells me that the Wallace Line (or Wallace's Line) separates the ecozones of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia. West of the line are found organisms related to Asiatic species; to the east, a mixture of species of Asian and Australian origin is present. The line is named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who noticed this clear division during his travels through the East Indies in the 19th century. The line runs through Indonesia, between Borneo and Sulawesi (Celebes), and through the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok. Antonio Pigafetta had also recorded the biological contrasts between the Philippines and the Maluku Islands (Spice Islands) (on opposite sides of the line) in 1521 during the continuation of the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan, after Magellan had been killed on Mactan.

    Didn't expect a biology lesson eh? Let me assure you, there's plenty of biology out there... lots of birds and bees stuff, but hey... I just had a relax.

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    I lazed around and had a damn nice nachos and beer for lunch. No bottled salsa here... made fresh. Whilst I was chatting to a nice young German lass, this got towed in...

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    Empty. No idea about why it was out there.

    Meanwhile, there's a turtle conservation centre out front of my bungalows

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    ... and some support for legalising the evil weed

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    I'd been trying for a while to get Microsoft Office working... so I could, joy, oh joy, do some tender responses due in with a client back home, instead of going diving again (the coral was better in Komodo anyhow). I've decided that if I win one job, I'll do it when I'm home for my wife's operation... if I win more, I'll park the bike in Bali somewhere and fly home sooner - rather than the planned parking it up in Cambodia. Its probably easier and cheaper from Bali. I'll just shift the planned end date for the ride (mid March) back a bit if I have to... but it may mean some wet weather riding on the run through Java.

    I had Office pre-loaded but not activated on my netbook... but it wouldn't co-operate and in the end I gave up and paid double what it costs through the official Indonesian channels and got an Australian un-lock code. Thanks Billy Gates.... for the Australian rip-off.

    There's definitely different prices for things here too. The bus/boat from Senggigi to here is 75,000 Rupiah asking price (call it $7.50). I paid $5... a local I've been talking to while I write these tenders said he pays $2 for the same trip.

    Here’s one of the fast boats that does the Bali - Gili Islands run.

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    Yep – 1,200hp across the stern. They do the run to Bali in 90 minutes… much better than my 45 minutes or so in an open boat, followed by a horse cart to the bus station, bus ride, retrieve my motorbike and gear, ride to the port, 4 hours on a rust bucket ferry… and so on that I face... an all day run instead of 90 minutes.

    That life raft that got towed in turned out to be from one of the fast boats. They guys turned up that evening and claimed it. It'd fallen off and self-inflated... nice to know they work... but no-one had noticed.

    Depite meeting 5 of those fast boats at the annointed time the next morning, I couldn’t locate my daughter, but she eventually found me at the pub…. where I was watching some sport on the big screen.

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    It turned into a 14 hour stretch at the pub. Oops.
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    I stayed my first two nights in a semi-traditional bungalow… thatched roof, no air-con, outside toilet (bucket flush)…. and a rather unreliable water supply – from an uncovered 20′ deep well – brackish water btw… and I had to have a bucket wash as there was not shower, so I moved from here..
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    .. to the accommodation out back of the Fortuna Cafe. As I was walking down the path they were playing Riders on the Storm so I figured they can’t be too bad. I ended up paying more - $20, including breakfast – but got a much better bed, aircon (hey… this is the holiday leg of the trip… I’ve been staying in dives)… an inside bathroom and water, even.

    Fortuna is right next to Tuna’s cafe…. who make magic mushrooms a bit of a specialty. They were getting plenty of takers, but I grew up in a magic mushroom town - and watched enough of my mates spewing their guts up to not be interested.

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    Phew… sexy legs eh?

    I spotted these local lads the other day, whilst looking to buy a book… (now reading In Xanadu… an old travel tale), they asked me to climb it and hook up the electic cable for them… but I declined and decided not to watch them do it either… They were tying the second ladder on when I first got there. The stepladder was bad enough… extended out and sort of tied so it wouldn’t fold up…. then, with the bamboo ladder on there it was all pretty wonky. OH&S? Yeah… right.

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    Kim and I did some bike riding… we went around the whole island. Should’ve done it on one of these, a cebimo…

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    We had to push the bikes through soft sand about a third of the way (or more)… and were overtaken by some walkers, who beat us around. Kim was bright red in the face… bordering on heat stroke…. so we took a break in some shade and … a local came past

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    He had to be kidding…. a hoodie and long trousers!

    So… after a bit of a rest and some rehydration… and a massage (the woman who does the massages at Kim’s resort… but at $15 instead of the $30 her resort charges)… it was dinner at Fortuna Cafe, with live music

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    These guys were great… they murdered a couple, but in a pleasant way… and they were great with requests. I even shouted them a large Bintang each….
    … and I tucked into my BBQ jumbo prawns. Salads were great too.

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    Definitely one of the best meals of the trip so far. Kim had prawns too, and Tim… a Kiwi who was on the same boat over as Kim, had surf and turf. Amazing to think that Tim works for the same recruitment company that I used to – small world eh?

    Ruli, the boss here (in the prawn photo) is Muslim, so declined our offer of a beer… but he was a brilliant host… and he absolutely murdered me with his offer “I make a special cocktail for you…. tiger something… gin… etc” Sheesh… it nailed me and I beat a hasty retreat.

    There’s plenty of decent seafood here – lobster, Mahi Mahi, Snapper, even big Barracouda

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    It'd be rather easy to settle in here!

    My dinner guest another night, (other than my daughter) dined on whole Barracouda....

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    On my final night on Gili T., I finished up getting to bed at about 3am (plus or minus - not sure I was in a fit state to be really sure)... then got woken by a call to discuss some business back in Oz at 6am. Um, yeah.....

    Here's a couple of shots from party night


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    .... and the local lads got in on the act

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    A quick brekkie and it was an interesting open boat ride back to Lombok... and a cebimo ride to the bus depot (nearly gave the driver 2 x 100,000 and 1 x 10,000 notes, instead of 3 x 10,000.... he'd have loved that!)... and a microbus ride back to Senggigi to pick up my bike and gear.

    I discovered Andras's bike at my hotel and woke him from his slumbers at 10:15am. He'd just spent 8 days on Sumbawa and enjoyed it, but also commented that the roads there were the roughest he's ever encountered. I have to agree.

    Anyhow, after a catchup, it was off to find the ferry to Bali, which involved a blast through Lombok's capital and a run down to the port..... all with my party residual effects hammering me. Self-inflicted, but, phew. Made the 1pm ferry and got to Bali about 5:30pm.

    As I got off the ferry, I noticed a couple of surfer dudes I'd said G'day to on the ferry hanging around on the wharf... then saw why. The cops were meeting the ferry and had a drug dog with them. I got waved through, but pulled up and asked directions anyhow.

    I set off at a great rate of knots for Kuta, to try and beat the sunset, but had to pull up after a few minutes to try and discover what was crawling around inside my ear (note to self.... check helmet occasionally). Didn't find what it was - and when I told my daughter after I met her in Bali, she said, don't worry, it was probably just looking for somewhere to lay eggs....

    Its a pretty good road down to Kuta - maybe 70km and some nice stretches... but plenty of traffic. I cut around to the front of the traffic at one set of lights and was waiting patiently, but turned around.... there were about 30 people on bikes behind me - and EVERY set of eyes was on me. Smiles and nods... one old guy gave me the thumbs up, so I returned the smile and thumbs up.... and popped the best wheelie of the trip when the lights changed. I rode the whole way like a 17 year old - which I'm convinced is the safest way over here.... always stay ahead, always overtake... the only difference is that you need to use the horn ALL the time... and you need 100% concentration. Some prick in a car did a U-turn in front of me, for example - but I was ready for him.

    Anyhow - I got to Kuta just after dark and couldn't find the hotel Kim was at. No map, no idea of the lay of the land - and couldn't even read her handwriting. The traffic and roads in Kuta were horrendous.... the bike was hot, I had melted - was totally sweat-soaked and the joy was about to wear thin.

    I ended up insulting one of the locals. I pulled up in front of one of the 3 million tourist shops here... and all the staff came out. I showed them Kim's note and asked if they knew the hotel - the shop owner said he'd take me there. Now remember... I'd been travelling (by boat, horse, bus, bike, ferry and bike again) for 12 hours - maybe even still pissed from the night before (doesn't happen on a regular basis, but, hey - it was party night)... with a couple of hours sleep.... anyhow... I said "How much?".... and he was crestfallen. Oops. Anyhow, I recovered by getting him in a photo... and he told his offsider to mind the shop and he jumped on his bike and led me to the hotel (which I'd overshot).

    I did end up falling asleep on the table in the massage salon that night while Kim and I were enjoying a 2 hour package deal each.

    So - apart from a few days in Darwin, I'm in the most expensive hotel of the trip - 350,000 Rupiah a night - call it $35 - hell's bells, its even got a TV (haven't turned it on, of course).
    #83
  4. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    I've pinched some Gili Trawangan photos from my daughter...

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    Its definitely a bit more relaxed over on Gili Trawangan when it comes to drugs... but don't believe the locals when they tell you there's no cops. I was talking to an expat bar owner there and he confirmed it. All the young local guys trying to sell me hooch were saying "no cops". No thanks guys.

    I did have a couple of guys I reckon I would have trusted.... but hey, I don't like the thought of an Indonesian gaol... and I don't smoke anyhow. One was with a group of guys struggling to push a generator on a cart up the beach. I gave them a push and got things happening - I reckon I was double their weight. One of them offered me some. Another guy I spoke to a fair bit was a commission seller... selling rooms to tourists. He made $2 the day I was talking to him while I wrote up some tenders... but he did offer me some hooch and I reckon he'd multiply his earnings if he got some away.

    I liked the restaurants set on the beach. Very relaxed.

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    Here's an interesting one. Most of the cats I've seen in Indonesia have deformed tails.

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    Bit worried about that daughter of mine...

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    Speaking of her.... we did some snorkelling

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    Found a turtle chomping away at the coral

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    It was really hammering the coral

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    But it wasn't at all concerned by us. I believe its in this photo somewhere - and no, that isn't my daughter....


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    Unfortunately, my daughter won't give me the photos I took of the topless ladies floating around just off the beach. Bugger.
    #84
  5. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    The big Katoom is a pig of a thing in the Kuta traffic. This place grinds to a halt at times. The KTM gets damn hot... and yesterday, I was riding in shoes with no socks and shorts (hey - it was laundry day... I seem to have lost some socks along the way).... and my leg was almost cooked by the time I got "home".

    ... and in a first ever... I got my daughter on the back of the bike.

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    Chelsea, a miner from West Oz who we met up with at one of the bars was on the back of Marty's old Vespa... and I took this photo for her Mum. We were heading out for dinner.

    Marty is another miner who comes up here on his breaks. The miners work fly in - fly out stints at remote mines and end up doing, say, 9 or more days straight at work, then 6 or 8 days off.... so plenty of them jump on the big silver bird to Bali.

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    .... and this is one I took for Chelsea

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    ... that was for the ride out to Jimbarin Bay... a pretty popular spot, where the restaurant tables are all on the beach, so you sink your chair and toes into the sand and watch the sunset and the Balinese dancers

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    ... and get serenaded

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    I'd been blaming that lobster (I shared that one with Chelsea - that was her half... on my Bali Belly attack...

    Chelsea survived it, so it was something else. My daughter was also quite ill and ended up going to the hospital before she went home - and had two injections because she couldn't even keep water down. She survived the flight, but had to get the taxi driver to make an emergency stop on the way home in Sydney. The Doc said hers was viral with some food poisoning on top.

    Such is life. As they say... you'll never make it through Asia with solid poo. (sorry 'bout that.... but hey... it ain't all totally rosy) Minor price to pay. Maybe it was that watermelon we both had. They do say to avoid it.
    #85
  6. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    I've decided that I have to rip the innards out of my helmet and see if I can de-putrify it. Its particularly hot and humid in Bali... and a black full face helmet is pushing the boundary a bit.

    I left the bike at the hotel and caught a cab to Immigration (Imigrasi) in Denpassar - I'd never have found it otherwise I reckon. And... after a couple or more beers with Agus and the guys at the pub for lunch ... its cabs or walking.

    I'd parked the bike up at the pub on Kim's last day here - then when she ended up at the hospital, I had to jump on and get back to the hotel so I could take her to the airport. Sheesh..... I won't ride in Oz after a single beer - and here I was riding among madmen with a tankful. After a few errors in navigation though, I reckon I've got the central Kuta area sorted. The bikes can use the back alleys... the cabs pretty much can't - but they still try.

    It ended up being an interesting day. You wouldn't want to let it get to you. Imigrasi in Denpassar say "you need to have a sponsor" to extend your visa... and you have to go to Imigrasi in Kuta (where I started the day). Got my sponsor, filled in all the forms... went to Kuta Imigrasi.... "that section is closed... 11am close". "Can we pay extra"? Nah.... anyhow, Agus was with me, so five minutes of checking everything... he's said he'll take my passport back there at 9am and do the queue work. Of course.... there's a sign there saying "visa extensions must be lodged 7 days before expiry of visa".

    I ended up lodging my application on the last day of my current one. Hmmm, that's OK... because I haven't overstayed. I was just thankful I didn't have to end up doing a visa run to another country at the last minute. I scraped through with Imigrasi with 30 minutes to spare, after hiring a secretary to recreate a form with one word changed (Denpassar became Kuta)... because you can't alter an official form... but you can recreate it.

    The plan now is "coral fishing"... Agus is teeing up a boat from somewhere in his family and its off to the reef. If Chelsea and Kathy (a new German friend - who all the locals think is either my daughter Kim or her sister) ever emerge from their slumbers, that is.


    I went clubbing with them, but bailed from the nightclub a tad after 3am. It was the funniest damn thing I've ever done. Here's this ratty looking 56 year old... about double the age of anyone else on the dance floor, dancing with the cutest girl there. :evil

    All these young bucks would try and cut in and end up sulking off with their tail between their legs. It actually provoked an interesting response with a lot of expat women - half a dozen came up to try and figure out what it was that I had. I must do that again. I must be getting fit... got up at 7am and despite hours of dancing, feel (relatively) fine. The girls were on cocktails... I paced myself with the Bintang.

    [​IMG]

    Here's one with yet another young buck trying to figure it out. I just had to snap this because of the young local girls. They weren't just standing there... they were full-on dancing with a glass bottle balanced on their heads

    [​IMG]

    We'd done yet another beach sunset before dinner / clubbing. The traditional view of it....

    [​IMG]

    A more realistic view of it....

    [​IMG]

    Yeah... the bracelet, necklace hawkers were there. I actually bought a couple more bracelets (early Chrissy shopping) and bought 4 of the women a Sprite - they'd done a long day on the beach for not much return.

    .... and yeah... despite pacing myself..... its hard to stay sober in a club like the Bounty. Alcohol Free Day today.

    [​IMG]
    #86
  7. Arek Kontrol

    Arek Kontrol Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    Ex-pat Poles in Adelaide Hills, South Australia
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    #87
  8. inferno_robe

    inferno_robe tourer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    21
    Location:
    singapore, green city
    great post! love it u really inspire me to relook at indonesia and appreciate the wonderful beaches and scenery that they offer!
    #88
  9. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    Thanks. I'm home for Christmas / New Year - and my wife's come through her hip replacement operation quite well, but is still on crutches. I've booked my return flight back to Indonesia.... and I'll be heading northwest again pretty soon.

    I'll do an update from my last posting in a couple of days. I'm also going to write up the Carnet / shipping info in a bit of detail. A few different stories seem to get around about that process.

    Cheers
    Ian
    #89
  10. malmon

    malmon unknown noobody

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    207
    Location:
    Space Truckin', MD
    Good thread with good food and awesome pictures!

    :freaky

    :thumb:thumb
    #90
  11. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    I ended up spending a couple of weeks in and around Kuta... waiting to hear if I'd won three tenders that I'd submitted from Gili Trawangan... and yeah, I did, so I ended up flying home from Bali, rather than trying to find somewhere further north to stash the bike over Christmas.

    While I waited, there was a bit of fun to be had. Coral fishing with the girls

    [​IMG]

    Then, after the girls headed off, I rang my mate Agus and said "tell me about Lovina".

    Needless to say, we ended up heading straight up. Kuta, where I'd been based since I got to Bali, is down south. Lovina is up north - so it was up to Denpassar, met Agus' parents, and away. When we got to the centre of Bali and started climbing the mountains, the rain started. Terrific..... I was wearing shorts, shoes and a shirt. My only protective gear was some light gloves and a helmet.

    The road was steep, winding and a bit greasy... so I took it easy.

    There is a video that Agus took before the rain that would appear, from what I've seen, to be a bit incriminating. He's never managed to get it uploaded unfortunately..... but it does appear to show some rather hectic riding - despite me thinking I was taking it easy. Then again... I did manage to overtake a car and bike going the other way.... on their off side... and there was a bit of footpath overtaking on a few days too.

    Here's a shot from the trip back... there was even more rain.

    [​IMG]

    I had Agus' rain gear on and had it tucked in around the tank bag and it flew up at about 100kph once... so I tucked it right in and it was OK. Funnily enough, its probably the best gear for here - you don't end up sweating profusely with it. I might have to get one for myself. It was a bit disconcerting on that trip to see all the oil on the road though.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Still, I managed it without going sideways... and when I pulled up at the crater lake where that shot above was taken, Agus was raving to someone about how quick we'd got there. I must admit, I prefer to attack on the roads here.... always overtaking. If you don't, you have to start watching your mirrors... which means you can't keep 100% focused on the critical areas in front. They come at you from everywhere here. Slow down and suddenly a bike will go past you underneath your handlebars on the off side... while another one does it on the near side. Its madness... because there'll also be an SUV coming directly at you on your side of the road, overtaking someone else.... and then, someone will just pull out from the side without looking.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    It really does take 100% concentration and there's no way you can go long distances like that. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    So - it was a pretty quiet night, and about half way through dinner the sideways glances we were getting clicked with me. Ooops... nah, its OK folks... he's a friend, get yer minds above yer waists. Agus retired early (hey.... I coughed for 3 hotel rooms that night... my one in Kuta and two more in Lovina at the same price... not bad, 3 rooms for under $40 in total... although the ones in Lovina were A/C, had flush toilets and towels even)... but I ended up going into the disco next door to check out Halloween Night. Damn good effort by them... great makeup on the bar staff and waiters. I didn't overdo it though... I had the alarm set for 5:30am for dolphin watching.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    So... just me and the boatie for the trip. Agus has done it before.... Here we are. A leaky dugout outrigger with a rat tail motor setup<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    Off we go, and there's the sun

    [​IMG]

    Bit of a crowd out there. Actually, there were at least 50 boats out there at a guess... some in different areas. There are apparently 4 pods of dolphins

    [​IMG]

    It didn't take long.... about 3 or 4 miles offshore and we were among them

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And they kept coming....

    [​IMG]

    I saw them feeding one time and saw a couple jumping, but my last remaining camera wasn't up to fast focusing.

    [​IMG]

    So, after harassing the dolphins for an hour or so, it was back to the beach... with a bit of bailing every now and then

    [​IMG]

    Brekkie on the beach... tough eh, then a catnap and away about 11:30 to do battle with the soaked mountain again. Heaps of monkeys in one area too.

    Had some nice desert at Agus' place after noodles on the way. This was a sweet dish... coconut milk, banana, Jackfruit, sweet potato and maybe one other

    [​IMG]

    For some unknown reason, I didn't get photos of Agus' parents or daughters and the family compound... which dates back to Agus' grandfather. Quite a lot of his extended family live there - along with ducks, chooks, dogs, etc. Right in the centre of Denpassar. I managed to somehow miss my part of Kuta on the way back from his place and carved a few figure 8s trying to get "home". Here's a shot of what the petrol stations are always like. It doesn't take long to get through them though... most take about 3 litres.... a tenth of my tank.

    [​IMG]

    Petrol here is less than 50 cents a litre. Hmmm.


    I'm not sure I got the best of deals at my cheap hotel one night.... swapping the local lads shot for shot Arak and Laphroaig. I'd bought the Laphroaig back in Darwin, for $83... and then had to spring another $26 for a hip flask because we hadn't drunk more than half of it. I meant to send it home with my daughter, but forgot... and I'd only had two small swigs in the past 2 months of lugging it around - the first in Dili during a teary session with the medico's after they'd lost an apparently healthy patient, and the second to celebrate being on the dry island of Sumbawa.

    Anyhow, I wandered back through the hotel courtyard after dinner and the local lads grabbed me.... as usual, and shoved the shot glass my way - yep, one shot glass for half a dozen folks... and mentioned that this Arak was different to the one we'd had the night before... and what did I think of it? I told them it was good, but I wanted them to try my Scotch Arak. Yep. They like Laphroaig.

    So.... there we were, swapping Laphroaig... at a million or so rupiah a bottle and Arak, at 20,000 a bottle. I ended up shouting them another bottle of Arak and retired graciously. They're good lads. The hotel is a dive, but I ended up staying a week or so at it. The nightly drinking session was with some workers building a new restaurant at the hotel and the manager.

    I worked out with Agus that I could park the bike over at his family compound and leave most of my gear there. I'll get back to Bali, rather than Cambodia, as planned, and see if I can make up lost time... or, more likely simply extend my trip out the other end. I still need to check on wet season timings and the like.... but I'm pretty sure it will be right. First impressions are that I'll still catch the tail end of the monsoon season going through the rest of Indonesia, then I'll be in the hot dry season up in Laos. Such is life.

    In a bit over 3 months, I travelled just on 12,250 kilometres. One month in Australia - the toughest month for me physically, given the injury I sustained on Cape York; one month in Timor-Leste - the toughest month emotionally for me, with far too much third world hardship and so much that needs to be done; and one month in Indonesia - with its incredible variety and people.

    Just a quick note on Indonesia, out of the paper the other day - Indonesia is "the fourth most populous nation, the third biggest democracy, our (Australia's) second nearest neighbour and the world's biggest Muslim country - Indonesia is by any account a giant"

    So - the plan is.... back to Bali in late February... taking a new front tyre with me - and on into mainland Asia. There's at least 10,000 more km of this trip to come. In the meantime, I'll post up some more of the photos I've taken so far.

    I might have mentioned that my visa extension took 6 visits to Imigrasi. The last one, to pick up my passport the day I flew home was interesting. I got there at the annointed hour (1pm for the 1pm-3pm allowable pickup time)... and was among the last of a pile of 30+ collected... and got told to take a seat. Fortunately, they piled them on top, then worked down from the top... so much for western views of queuing eh?

    Anyhow, I got sent into another office... and it turned out I had to be photographed with a digital camera, fingerprinted and my signature captured digitally. Gee - I wonder why they didn't ask me for my bank account details and passwords too? I was about 3rd to come up... but they were having trouble processing the guy before me - the camera batteries were flat, so out they came and into the charger for 10 minutes. Nope. Try another 5 minutes. Ahh... yes, that worked. My turn. Sit down and the guy keeps hammering away... trying to get the system to work. They didn't sweat, of course, but its dripping from me (they've only been sitting... I had to walk from the cab... hence the sweat). "Having trouble?" "System very slow".... "You guys should sell Bintang here... would make life easier" That one worked and they cracked a smile... well a laugh actually... and we eventually got it done.

    So yeah... my visa got extended till December 24th... then I flew out.


    ... and here's the KTM's new home for the next 3 months.

    [​IMG]


    I'd have liked to have changed the oil before storing it, and to have got it off the wheel bearings, but.... such is life. I've unlocked the fuel cap and told Agus that there's 15 or 20 litres of fuel in there that I want him to use. He liked that idea.

    Speaking of home... I finally got a photo of Agus with his eldest daughter. That room is home. Its a large family compound and if I had to guess, I'd say 15 - 20 similar rooms cater for the wider family. It pretty much looked like one room per family to me. Matresses on the floor, but I didn't want to intrude. I think his family has it pretty good, compared to many.

    [​IMG]


    I had to get that visa extension or risk an "overstayer" stamp in my passport - which isn't a good look. Also, if I hadn't won the tenders that I did, I'd have put another month in on this stint and parked the bike up in Malaysia or Cambodia for Christmas.

    My original visa was too short because I had the misfortune to be sitting with a nasty old woman at the Indonesian embassy in Dili... so didn't get the visa I wanted (60 day, multiple entry)... just a 30 day single entry one, so I had to get the extension. I should have applied for the extension a week before it was due, but was on the move, so ended up applying the day before I became an overstayer. It meant that I was legal when I left. When I go back, flying in means I can get a visa on arrival... rather than having to apply for one, like I had to with the land border crossing.

    Back to the nasty old woman. Hungarian by birth, grew up in South America, then the USA. 68 years old and a veteran traveller, with more than 100 countries visited. Nothing but whinges and moans now. In the end, our host did the right thing by the rest of his guests and told her he didn't have a room available when she wanted to extend her stay. She put in her 60 day visa request at the embassy, then sat down with us 10' from the applications window and started to bitch and moan about over-officious, nasty staff at the embassy "the uniform goes to their head, Indonesia isn't what it used to be 20 years ago, blah, blah". When I got called, the guy... who'd heard everything she said, asked me "you travel with her"... "No". Didn't matter... I'd been sitting with her, so I got tarred with her brush. Miserable bitch.

    There was a Belgian guy staying at the same place in Dili with a similar attitude. Bitched and moaned about everything. He'd been travelling by pushbike for 8 years straight. Reminded me of Forest Gump. He hated Indonesia because he was there during Ramadam - so he pulled up right in front of every mosque he went past, sat down out the front and ate something. I asked him if he ever stopped riding his bike to speak to the locals "why would I want to do that?" Miserable prick.

    ..... anyhow, I'm itching to get back over there.
    #91
  12. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    I'm starting to get things ready to head back up to Indonesia and resume the trip in about a month's time.... and I figured I'd look through the pile of crap that I had left over. Here it is... most of the stuff I took off

    [​IMG]

    I bit the bullet and bought a new DSLR to take back.... another Nikon, a D7000 with an 18-200. As much as I'd like to take my 80-400 and maybe an ultra-wide zoom.... I won't. I'll stick to throwing just the one body/lens in the tankbag with the netbook.

    Here's a snap from the new camera today. A Rainbow Lorikeet on the back deck at home

    [​IMG]
    #92
  13. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    Obviously, I replaced a few of those bits with something else... the twin headlights cost me about a kilogram, but the grabrails along weigh nearly that much. Saved plenty of weight elsewhere.
    #93
  14. Reefdog

    Reefdog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    618
    Location:
    Cairns FNQ
    Bloody good RR Ian
    how do you think a beemer F800gs would go there??
    just for future reference..looking at riding home (Cairns) through there when I finish my stint here in Dubai in a few years...
    keep it coming

    Reef
    #94
  15. Llamaha

    Llamaha Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    853
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    Great RR, it's been a long time since I read one from start to finish and I enjoyed every moment. Actually I was tossing up the idea of Russia & Mongolia -> UK but I think you've changed my mind as it seems that a great experience can be had much closer to home!

    Hey I'd love to know what route you took up in the North and how much did you spend on island hopping through there?

    Something like this would be a perfect trip for my WR250R.............
    #95
  16. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    Thanks folks. I wouldn't hesitate taking any bike through. The question becomes one of just when to call it quits. One place we parked the bikes and walked, I'd happily have ridden my old TY 250 trials bike that I had 30 years ago past :evil but not much else. It worried me walking it actually.

    The big bikes suffer a bit in the really heavy traffic.... places like Kuta - and I'm of two minds whether or not to take the 950 into Jakarta. I'll suck it and see in a few weeks time. If I find it too taxing, I'll hire a smaller bike. I've got a couple of people to catch up with in Jakarta... so???

    A 250cc bike would be ideal in a lot of the places I've been - with one proviso - how much gear do you want to take? I've decluttered twice on this trip - sending parcels home. I'm travelling light with clothing, but spares, cameras and a computer start to load things up. I'm not taking my Klim jacket back... I'm changing to armour for this leg and will buy one of those local poncho things for any downpours.

    Riding back from Dubai would be brilliant. I had a friend who's just back from 3 months there with the RAAF.

    What route did I take? I presume we are talking once I left Darwin, not the Australian component, as you mention island hopping. It was Dili to Kupang after exploring Timor-Leste.... so call that the back way, rather than the main road. Then it was island hopping to Bali so far. So a ferry from Kupang to the eastern end of Flores.... rode east to west through Flores, then a boat tour of Komodo and Rinca (can't use the bikes there, but well worth seeing).... a ferry to Sumbawa, again, did that east to west... and there's a few options there, then across Lombok, boat to the Gili Islands (again, can't take a bike there), ferry to Bali... and that's where I have the bike now. Its island hopping from there to Java, Sumatra and then across to Malaysia.

    I'm on track to fly back to Bali in 10 days time. I've got a stack of work to "finalise" first... and even then, there's problems. There were supposed to be mid-February review meetings on the projects I decided to do while my wife was recuperating. Those meetings are now in the second half of April. I'm doing my bit and heading back to move the bike from Bali to Malaysia. A 30 day Indonesian visa is the only limiting factor - apart from me getting back to Oz ahead of the review meetings.... then I'll head back to the bike a month later.

    I've not got much planned for the Java / Sumatra / Malaysia leg. I wouldn't mind picking up on a bit of the WW2 history as I go, I want to see the Volcano at Bromo and the Lake Toba supervolcano site (about 70,000 years ago - largest explosion on earth in the last 25 million years). I'd like to take in more of the wildlife, without getting recycled as tiger poop if possible and to that end, I'm toying with packing my big lens and a tent.
    #96
  17. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    I'm trying to organise what I do and where just a tad, so I thought I'd take a look at what lonely planet say about the weather. Trying to draw it together a bit, I've come up with this. Bright blue seems to be the "best" months for each country.

    [​IMG]

    It looks like I'll get wet when I get back to Indonesia and riding up into Malaysia during March.... miss a relatively good month while I'm home for work in April, then get back there in time to ride into the monsoon in Cambodia. Lovely eh? Still... a bit of mud could be fun.
    #97
  18. gavo

    gavo Slacker

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,911
    Location:
    Gympie QLD
    While info in lonley planet can be very helpful, my experience with Vietnam and Cambodia last year says they're not always accurate. Google weather for your place on the web and get conflicting opinions.
    As with weather anywhere it could be the driest or wettest year in the last 20, just the luck of the draw.:evil
    You know June, July and August are going to be the hottest, tropical climate , you just got to dodge the rain as best you can.:D
    #98
  19. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,543
    Location:
    One of the Burj's
    Yeah, we found some pretty woeful stuff in their books as we travelled, but at least it was a starting point. Our best info came from people we met who were headed in the opposite direction to us.

    The only place I'm really concerned about the weather is the Ho Chi Minh Trail. I don't think I want to get stuck in a remote village between a couple of flooded rivers for a few months.

    I'm more trying to figure out when to change my flight back to.... the more I look at it, the more it looks like I'll extend the carnet and leave the bike over there until around Christmas.... flying home during the main monsoon months again.
    #99
  20. Keef

    Keef .. just add pasties

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    59
    Location:
    Cornwall, in the far southwest of England, UK
    G&#8217;day Bigfella .. and a belated Happy New Year to you .. :1drink

    For what it&#8217;s worth, me an&#8217; Er Indoors are planning on going back for 2-3 months and riding through the northern Thai-Malay Peninsular + Golden Triangle + Indochina part (where possible) of our trip starting right (literally) after Christmas &#8211; partly cuz we want to see-in the New Year somewhere in the region &#8211; but mainly for the same reasons as your line of thinking &#8211; the climate &#8211; especially the rainfall and humidity factors. Although I have absolutely no doubt you&#8217;ve studied them already &#8211; see the charts below, which say it all.

    I hope we're able to catch-up with you some place mate.

    All the best

    K&E

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]