June 10, 2006 - Saturday
Hua Hin to Hat Jomtien

Like the trek into Hua Hin this would be much the same heading out of - urban areas for the whole ride with traffic, traffic, traffic. A difference would be that Bangkok was in the way.

Coming into Bangkok - the multi lane road was at a near standstill. I was moving along using any available space. Lane splitting (riding on the dashed white line / riding between the two lanes) or riding in the motorbike lane / shoulder (wide vehicles were using the motorbike lane too much and it was somewhat clogged). Oddly there was a "Traffic Police" guy on a scooter that I rode up upon. This was in the "motorbike lane" and he was riding very slowly. When the position presented itself I rode abreast and got his attention - I pointed to me and then pointed to the white line space between the vehicles - asking if I may lane split. An easy nod of his head was all it would take - I had permission from the authority (thought I got the impression he thought it odd I even asked). No sticking behind him rolling at the snail's pace - take the middle "lane" - and move out.

Bangkok by motorbike - it was slightly different from the rest of the riding. It was a bit slower and a bit more cramped. I did more watching of the bike's coolant temp - it was running higher than normal but staying just south of the danger zone.

Wide vehicles did what they could to move forward and bikes did what they could to fill any gap and keep moving. I had the side bags "polished" by a bumper corner or two and I did some bumper polishing in kind (though only from pickups and buses - I gave extra concern around nice cars as they gave care as well).

I followed the traffic flow until I came to a set of tollbooths. Perhaps eight lanes wide with cars parked three to five deep in all lanes. The attendant, when I pulled up, said - "no motorbikes - go back" Aw crud. Heck - I keep up with traffic. Turn around. Turn around - left - and a hand pointing somewhere "over there" was all I got. So that's the deal - no "going through" and finding a smooth exit spot. Right then and there with cars waiting - turn around and drive against the parked cars. The stopped cars were fine but then I got to the cars coming in to queue up. Then it was a filter against traffic - though traffic that was moving down to stop - as I crossed over to the edge lane. I found the "turn left" area he was pointing to and followed "that line" of cars. That line would route about and take the roadway that was underneath the tollway.

It was in this lower level that some of the unpleasant spots of Bangkok presented themselves. I'm sure all of those people and animals were doing just what they could to make the best of life.

From there I did some "keep the pointer on the GPS moving in the right direction and follow the crowd" riding. Unfortunately the crowd and GPS would put me in a dead end area. I needed to be on the other side of the river and I could find no bridge. I'd get to go back the 10 kilometers and work farther up into the city, cross the river, then process southeast once again.

It was an interesting diversion - I'll take the positive side of it. Riding in Bangkok - slow gridlock to high speed stuff - nothing to be afraid of - it's just a bit more cramped.

Coming close to Pattaya the highway ends and traffic into town all takes a left hander 270 degree loop - standard interchange ramp. It has a typical shoulder / motorbike lane. Traffic was bunched up behind a behemoth bus just starting the loop. One was a Camry that had been slicing through traffic trying hard to get somewhere quick. I slipped over to the nice motorbike lane, kept speeds reasonable, and stayed in the lane as I passed all pickups, cars, and finally the big bus. By mid-ramp I had clear roadway and had a smile across my face - This should be legal in the U.S. Reasonable and Proper - that's all it would take.

Down into the Pattaya area I thought about stopping at the beach area south of town - Hat Jomtien. It's a more laid back area. I checked into a hotel on the beach road and the hotel crew - on a busy Saturday night - must have thought me a bit odd - they spent a a couple minutes flipping between room assignments - with much talking between themselves. I had just arrived from 5 or 6 hours of traffic riding on a warm sweaty day. My hair is always messed up and I'm sure I didn't smell too pleasant. Maybe this presentation is why I think I've been given lesser quality rooms - he's just a dirty guy - don't give him one of the good rooms (I now ask for "clean and quiet"). When I arrived into the room I looked into the mirror. In addition to my standard messed up hair, dirty clothing, unkempt look - my neck - across my throat - had BLACK soot lines from the pollution. I don't blame the hotels if they are giving me "that room".

After spending a day and a half at the beach town of Hua Hin I figured I'd better get at least one photo.... Bike loaded and ready to hit the road I motored a block down from the hotel.... The Gulf of Thailand

Walking by the vendor gauntlet from the parking area to the beach.

Hua Hin's main drag - standard stuff.

The "tunnels" caught my attention on the trip into town. I couldn't quite place them. Today the nearby airport control tower gave it away - it's an elevated runway.

My "under construction" dead-end road in Bangkok

Elevated roadway under construction.

Bangkok traffic
Red light and no space for any of the bikes to filter up

Slowly getting out of there.


Yea, that's the ticket.

Hat Jomtien - nighttime with a light show
MPG, 3 MB, 43 sec

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