17 lutego 2015

GeAr on the road

Few remarks about the gear & gadgets I used during the trip.

* Honda PCX 150cm3 was flawless. Never let me down, even once. Quiet and economic enough (200km per tank). But the best feature by far is relatively compact size. It made very comfortable commuting around bigger cities and saved tons of hours from traffic jams.
The only thing that needs improvement - seat comfort and position. But I guess only bigger bike can provide that.

* Coocase top case - served well especially its mobility - easy take off and carry to the room. However it's not fully weatherproof as advertised. During heavy storms the water tend to gather in lower bottom of inside the case.

* Samsung Galaxy Note3 - this gadget served fantastically! Completely replaced laptop on the go. It delivered quality music to my ears, GPS navigation, booked hotels and flights, served as language translator, managed bank accounts, took thousands photos and lots of 4k video footage which i'm gonna use one day. Absolutely awesome.
There are things that annoyed me a little a bit too: display could be much brighter outdoors, real waterproof chassis would be great as well as much faster camera speed. And there's big personal complaint when driving - touch interface is so inconvenient that it's almost useless. I am aware that Note3 wasn't designed as bikers dream device but there must be some workaround available. To control device without touching. Touch screen just doesn't work well on bumpy Indonesian roads.

* GPS Navigation - I'm a huge fan of completely Off-Line maps for one big reason - I don't have to be constantly on-line when using them. Maps + gps chip = works like charm. FREE :)
I used 2 applications: "Sygic" which worked just fine as main navigation system, Besides its little clunky interface and outdated POI, the Sygic never got me into trouble. And planning route is a pure pleasure.
And "Maps.Me" which provided very detailed maps of area like for example at Toba lake which was stunningly accurate.
When wifi - I used "google maps" for planning trip the next day. Too bad cannot download anything for offline use.
I also tested two other free navigation apps: "CoPilot" and "Navigator" but both of them were pretty bad. Very lagging interface and slow navigation made me give it up.

* Nikon D90 + lens 18-200mm. - Actually, I haven't used it much at all! What the hell! I became so lazy or...just more video obsessed? This camera served very well for many years but i think that's it. Time has come to move on. It was probably the final trip for my Nikon.

Honda PCX 150cc. Only 1 flat tire during whole 2 months trip! It happened in Georgetown and it was partially my fault. 

for booking hotels I used: www.agoda.com or boooking.com . Worked great as usually.
"Maps.Me."  in action on the ferry from Melaka > Dumai.
Sygic 3D view in Jakarta

the stylus of Note3 comes in handy quite often. But especially when I had to explain something to locals or ask for help :)
Photo above: evening set in Kanchanaburi resort. But why no beer on this picture?

15 lutego 2015

Kanchanaburi re-discovered

On the way back to Chiang Mai I stopped again in Kanchanaburi at the Kwai river. And this time I was really lucky. Found perfect mix of crystal clear weather, fantastic accommodation, good food and great thai people to socialize with. What else would I need? Maybe few more days to hang around the area.
Sometimes second visit changes everything. I have a list of such places which grow on me over time. Bkk, Hua Hin, Hat Yai, Kanchanaburi.

Bungalow about 300m from THE bridge, built on the water with fantastic view and quiet environment. 350bht per night.

12 stycznia 2015

Malaysian food

Although the trip is over, I still have some stuff never published. That's one of them. Enjoy malaysian food.

pork burger in Georgetown nearby my guesthouse, The sandwich is huge! like a dinner. 60bht
classic Georgetown breakfast my style , "Boost" the best candy bar in Malaysia, it's imported from Australia.
Indian set in Georgetown, around 120bht, super tasty
rice fish soup for breakfast 40bht
western breakfast in chinese
 restaurant nearby my hotel, 90bht. Coffee similar to fresh Thai/Lao style, delicious set! 
sweet & sour chicken noodles - my all time favorite asian dish. This one I found in chinese noodle shop and served with vegetable spring rolls. The best in town! 90bht
Chicken noodles with black pepper. Another favorite dish. 50bht.
homemade Tiramisu cake - pretty good! I bought it somewhere in Cameron Highlands. Expensive, about 60bht.
Noodles with curry paste (i think?) is served everywhere in Malaysia. It's nothing special though.
This was fantastic snack/meal! Pita butter bread + onion-pepper-spinach sauce. And milk tea. Only 40bht for all, tasty!

18 grudnia 2014

random sHotS

cactus plantation at Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Sibolga and Indian Ocean, West Sumatra
Switzerland? No no no, Toba Lake, Sumatra
Living Under Volcano, near Bukkitingi, Sumatra
 tea plantation at Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

somewhere north of Hua Hin, Thailand
Georgetown, Malaysia
tea shop at Cameron Highlands tea plantation, Malaysia

17 grudnia 2014

How much for A DREAM ?

It's the first time I kept approximate record of my expenses. I was very curious how much I'm gonna spend for all this trip. Bike trip! So here it is.
  • accommodation                                                           22 500 bht
  • gas (distance 12.000km)                                                7100 bht
  • shipping bike fee Georgetown                                     12000 bht
  • shipping bike fee Belawan                                             7090 bht
  • carnet for bike                                                                5650 bht
  • airasia Medan > Georgetown                                       1380 bht
  • indonesian visa                                                               1500 bht
  • taxi to medan airport                                                        818 bht
  • thai visa in Georgetown                                                 1400 bht
  • bus Georgetown > Melaka                                          500 bht
  • bus Dumai > Medan                                                    460 bht
  • ferry Melaka > Dumai                                               1000 bht                                                                                          
TOTAL COST:                                                                      61 400 bht   ( 6400 PLN )
(food expenses not included)

I estimate cost of food for about 1.5k bht. So It gives total amount about 8k bht. I guess it's not too bad for 2 months trip to Indonesia.

bungalov, 1 day before arriving to Chiang Mai. Cost 390bht per night.

Back home

Arrived to Chiang Mai, trip is completed. It lasted exactly 60 days which is fine to catch a glimpse of Indonesia and definitely not enough to explore it deeper. But it was worth my time and every money. I plan to go back there in the future obviously. There's still thousands of other islands to visit!
Statistics will follow in the next post.

Anyway, good to be home.

11 grudnia 2014

awesome people of InDonesia

People I met in Indonesia, mostly in middle and south Sumatra, were absolutely amazing. Super kind, helpful and curious. Very easy to interact with especially that language is not too hard to learn. From my experience only Iranian people can rival them in terms of friendliness. 
But does it mean that would I like to live among them? No. The islam set of rules is the answer.

familiar scene - morning ceremony in Tuk Tuk at Toba lake. Just like in thai school.
mobile internet truck at the Toba lake. Gets the job done.
If I remember correctly I took this pic in Mae Sot. Border town, Myanmar style.

Cameron Highlands Tea. Malaysia.
Mae Sot. Thailand. Interesting mix of thai and Myanmar people. Lots of Muslims too.

Medan > Penang

On the way back to Malaysia I used the same agent as before. Extremely helpful and kind "the shipping guy" Mr Adnan. I had a chance to meet his family and few friends. And socialize a bit so the whole day of preparing my bike was fun and great experience.

While the bike was shipped by boat, I decided to take the airplane to Penang via AirAsia. (1380bht). I chose to fly due to pure FEAR of dying in a random bus crash somewhere on way to nearest ferry pier - in Dumai. :-)

 the last meal on Sumatra was an amazing one. Too bad I can't say the same about the price - almost 200bht! in the street restaurant, wtf!?!
 "office" of shipping agent :-)
 familiar boat waiting to ship my Honda
 Medan Airport

Penang harbour! Honda PCX happily returned to Malaysia. There is still few thousands km to go though.