A quick one day drive around Petchaburi province, South-West of Bangkok, exploring the Kaeng Krachan National Park and Dam, trying to conquer some mountains and the usual plantation ride, all together around 650 kilometers.
|Rider's Log....... Lifelong journey around the world||
It was a sunny Saturday morning with absolutely nothing to do that day so I decided to go and ride somewhere. The weekend before I went North of Bangkok to the Kao Yai National Park so I decided to head South this time to Petchaburi province. I have been around here for endless times but mainly with a car or with my V-strom so no serious off roading so far, something I seriously need to change on.
The weather was great and as I left Bangkok a little bit late, the traffic was light. Normally when you are heading out of Bangkok on the Saturday morning the traffic is a nightmare, it was a bit congested on Rama 2 (the main highway towards the South) but nothing serious. Thanks for the CRF I can literally fly trough traffic, even if it means that I have to go off the road a bit.
A little over an hour and I was already far away from the smoggy city of Bangkok and all I seen is empty roads and long stretches of green rice fields. My first destination was the Kaeng Krachan Dam which is at the end of Thailand's largest National Park. The reason I like Thailand is that no matter how low ranking is the road you are driving on, it is guaranteed that you will see some sort of Buddhist temple, shrine or statue just like the one above.
After taking a few pictures at the dam I headed to the entrance of the park. On its website they said that no motorcycle is allowed inside the park, only cars but I hoped that I could convince the rangers at the gate that my bike is pretty comfortable on a dirt road. The reason I really wanted to get in is this national park has long stretches of dirt trails leading to stations where you can stay over night in rented tents.
As soon as I arrived to the ticket counter the rangers told me that motorcycle is not allowed in the park. I tried to explain the difference between a scooter and an enduro and its off-road capabilities but the lady was reluctant to let me pass. I used all my charm, all the little tricks normally work perfectly in Thailand. I was very cute, smiled a lot, being as polite as possible and firm in the same time but no luck. It did piss me off thought that regular passenger vans, Honda Jazzes and other four wheeled vehicles considered suitable for the trip but not my bike. At this point I was getting very furious and decided to find my way into the park.
As soon as I left the gate I started to look for ways to get around it. I thought if I can get pass then no one will bother me on the way to the station. I had a few attempts to cross the forest but even after driving towards the right direction I couldn't find the trail. As usual, I had no compass with me so I started to worry whether I will find my way back to the road I turned off from in case I don't find the trail.
The picture doesn't give back the real slope of the hill but if you ever tried to capture a steep slope you can have some idea that getting up on this one was pretty hard. Being alone added to it too. I couldn't stop thinking about all the hassle I would have to go through if the bike or one of my bone decided to brake down.
After I managed all the way up to the top I found a small trail which I believed not the right one but looked pretty promising to continue my way on it forward.
This trail was fairly good, I would say too good, made my Sunday trip feels like a Sunday drive but I didn't mind it so I could rest a bit. A few kilometers later the vegetation started to grow on the trail, first trees and then the lower greens started to take over what was once probably a shortcut for farmers in between their lands and to the forest.
I stopped here for a while just to fool around with the camera. I actually had to get off from the bike otherwise I couldn't get over this spikey tree arch which had thousands of ants on it.
After the fun in the forest I arrived to another trail which lead to plantations. At this point I knew that I am completely of the track and nowhere near the national park. Oh well, as usual I ended up driving around different sorts if plantations. To be honest I like the dirt roads on a plantation because they are pretty predictable, you can see the curves from a distance and they always have some jumps.
Also, different plantations tends to have different types of soil. The pictures above and below were taken only about a kilometers from each others but they provided completely different driving experience.
A trip in Thailand wouldn't be complete without monkeys. Soon after I got back to the sealed road I found this group of cuties hanging around. They weren't so friendly and trusting as the ones in Ratchaburi or Phrachuap Khir Khan so I couldn't take a picture with them. At least some of them showed some interest towards my bike.
This is a very rough outline of where I was riding around. Unfortunately I can't mark off-road trails on google map's directions option.