The Route 323, 3229, 3445, 3512, 4032, 3013
Total distance 193 km
Chicken with garlic at my usual breakfast eatery for 35 Baht
I ride to the border at Ban Phu Nam Ron to check out how things are progressing or if there has been any progress in the three years since my last visit.
I was a bit disappointed with the amount of road widening/resurfacing that has taken place if this is truly the new Asia Highway 123 like the signs say.
Just after Ban Phu Nam Ron the 3512 finishes here the same as it always did but now the construction of the highway into Burma is taking place with lots of Italian-Thai vehicles running around
The checkpoint has been moved back a few hundred metres and I leave the bike here with my ID and walk to where the border is now claimed to be
This map is where the border is now, apparently
Where those vehicles are parked is where the checkpoint and border always was before
I was told this will probably be finished and open in about three years time
Back down in Ban Phu Nam Ron and this Immigration office is only for the Italian-Thai workers working inside Burma
A lot of building work is taking place here and I guess is the new Immigration centre
For a few years now I have seen a sign saying Bong Ti and have guessed theres a dirt track linking it from here but I have never got round to riding it.
The surface turns to dirt at N13 55.811 E099 04.854, as the ground isnt red clay I decide to venture on for a bit
This guy is sitting watching his herd
I take a left fork but when it comes to this deep water I turn back as its too deep plus its going to be a dead end shortly anyway
Now back on the track towards Bong Ti and a sensible water crossing
That heavy rain for the past two nights has soaked everywhere but at least its a reasonable surface for me to ride on
The sun is out and I am really enjoying this offroad exploring adventure
Care is needed in places for the soil erosion
Safely bypassed and on my way
This appears to be a stream bed and I wonder if its passable in the wet season
Further along and that looks like a car in there
Now that certainly didnt get in by my route, I am full of confidence now that today is going to be an easy trip across to Bong Ti, how wrong I was going to be proved on that one
This chap tells me I am on the way to Bong Ti
Chillies being dried when it isnt raining
They confirm I am heading in the right direction but motion with their hands its a lot of steep stuff now, here the road forks and I am guessing the car goes out in the other direction
Shortly in a small village this Lady tells me no I cant get to Bong Ti this way but I ride on anyway to see for myself
At a furtherstop I am told not possible and get the impression the road is not intact or is collapsed
Lets try another fork then that appears to go in a similar direction, the GPS is of no use now as theres no track showing that goes across and even now I am riding on nothing recorded
Another small settlement and here a guy with a truck motions that theres lots of ups and downs and lots of water to ride through, I motion for him to drive the truck, he shakes his head and says cannot.
The thunder in the distance and the fact its gone 2 pm tell me to forget it for today, annoying really as I am more than halfway there and while I have no track showing at the moment I can see my waypoints at the destination that I left yesterday and there are tracks showing heading out in this direction
Thats where the smoke was coming from
I ride back to where I took the first fork and take the other one that the car must use and now the sky is darkening more
As I reach the Buddah it starts raining and the thunder is getting louder
The KLX and I sit the storm out under that shelter for about 30 minutes
That road resembles a river now and I am sitting here pondering on the fact that its 3pm, raining heavily, I am out in the woods with no track showing on the GPS to get me out of here, its offroad on an unknown track, and what lies ahead?
But always think positive, at least I am not stuck in the UK now as then it would carry on raining for a couple of days plus be freezing cold too
I let the worst of it finish then make a run for it as time is getting on
I reach another village and pick up a track again and things are looking better now
Its stopped raining now and I am not too wet apart from boots full of water
The KLX behaves impeccably as always, it has spent the wet season in the dry and now in the dry season it keeps getting wet
Good views to be had now and suddenly the road returns to a lovely wide asphalt surface at N14 01.993 E099 06.425.
My biggest break today was the fact that none of the offroad section turned to that red clay or I would have been in the shite bigtime
I ride around a reservoir at a village and ride down to the overflow where this vehicle is being washed
Between N14 02.161 E099 06.889 and N14 01.868 E099 07.147 riding around the reservoir was dirt
Slightly overflowing which isnt surprising, from here I ride back towards Sai Yok an an unnumbered good road which joins the 6018 and clears up a mystery from yesterday as I wondered where that turning went to
On the 323 just before Kanchanaburi
The coffee shop was closed though
Well a brilliant fun day exploring new territory and I must get back out here again tomorrow to do a few more tracks I saw today.
When its dried up and the water levels have gone down I will try to ride over from Bong To to join up the track
A large piece of chicken and two portions of sticky rice for 70 Baht at the street market again tonight