Preparation of a saleng expedition!

Our crazy road trip around Thailand and Laos on a tricycle.

When I was living on Koh Samui I once went on a visa run on a scooter to Burma which turned out as a big adventure. No fixed schedule (as with public transportation), low costs compared to renting a car of taxi and enough fresh air to enjoy the surroundings at my own pace. It was really something to repeat another day in another setting...

Now is the time! After seeing plenty of tropical islands in the South of Thailand over the last months it is time to hit the road again and see some of the rural land, beautiful national parks and more cultural spots.

So, here's our crazy plan

  • Sharing one vehicle with two, to be able to share impressions and take pictures while driving;
  • A pace of max 40 km (25 miles) per hour, to stay save and enjoy the ride;
  • The absolute maximum is 200 km (124 miles) a day, 150 km (93 miles) on average - pillows or a new saddle/seat are still in consideration;
  • At least two nights in one place if there is 'stuff to see/do';
  • Enough spare days for problems the scooter or border crossings for example, to work online (extra) or meet people for example.

The travel plan

A road trip from 20 November 2015 to 20 February 2016 (three months) in Thailand and Laos. 6000 km (3728 miles) on a scooter with two backpacks (2x max 15kg) plus hand luggage.
Driving from Phuket to Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang to Si Phan Don to Bangkok with many sightseeing (and bum recover) stops in between. No fixed plan, no hotels booked, just a main idea about our stops due to distance and things to do...

The preparation - Stage 1

The original plan was to buy a tuk tuk but we couldn't find an affordable one in the Phuket. We didn't want to buy two scooters or a car so we decided to go for a tricycle. Since we are not fluent in speaking or reading Thai webpages we rented a scooter and drove around Phuket Town for a scooter with sidecar. Finding a scooter with sidecar on sale didn't work out so we went on to buy a scooter and side span separately. Luckily we ran in to a custom bike shop were the side spans were made at time of visit. It was possible! First a scooter...

Various official motor dealers and little repair shops had cheap offers, but we needed to organize the official papers as well. Even huge dealers told us this green book was not available due to 'fire'. But, we found this lovely bike for (hopefully) a good prize:

Honda Wave 125r manual with 30.000 km (18 641 miles).

Luckily it was an official dealer and a friend of the custom bike shop which was located in the same street and they both speak well English. Of course you think about the stories that happen to other people with fraud, but let's keep the faith.

To organize the green book we need to stay for at least another week, plus we needed an official form with our personal information from immigrations to register the scooter officially in our name. Otherwise it might be stolen and for sure you can't cross any border.

In the meantime we ordered the side span, as basic (aka cheap) as possible. No flat areas to sit on, no lights, wooded floor and as small as possible. Only two backpacks and hand luggage should fit in there basically. Lights we can add-on manually (cheap head-lights) as well extra protection for rain, sand and other conditions.

Tourist visa, scooter and custom side span: CHECK!

To do next:

  • Organize the green book: Go to immigration with a accommodation rental contract to get a withdrawal of our personal data;
  • Go to immigration to get our tourist visa extended;
  • Wait for the scooter and side span to be ready - from now on we call it a tricycle until we give it a proper name;
  • Buy helmets, lights and a plastic cover/tarp plus straps to keep the bags dry along the way;
  • Get the supplies we need; light in weight and small in size;
In 'getting the supplies we need' there are three different categories:

Things we really need: Ponchos for the rain, travel books, power banks (charging phones without electricity - for Google Maps!) and other chargers.

Things that are useful: Instant water heater! This is an amazing little water boiler to make early morning coffee! Love it and costs only 250 bath. Plus some things to try to eat and stay a bit more healthy, salt and pepper (for the boiled eggs, but I have to figure out a way with the heater :)) and cups and cutlery to take food/drinks home and save some money.

Well, I also collected a few things we don't really need and they are not really useful, but it's really nice to have (at least that's my opinion and this is home:)). Games, candles, mosquito coil, lucky charms, electrical toothbrush, etc.

And, I don't know which category this belongs, but this is part of the road show.

To be continued, stay tuned!

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