Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Khon Kaen Bike Week

It all started out with a plan for a Trip to the Isaan region of Thailand.  Isaan, for those who don't know, is the Thai word for the North Eastern region of Thailand.  Most of the rice farming is done in this region.  It is bordered to the North and East by the Mekong River and Laos and to the South by Cambodia.

There is some very interesting history in this region involving the Khmer empire and it is also very diverse.  Most Thais speak a dialect of Thai and Lao known to the locals as Isaan.  In the South of this region Khmer is spoken by many thais.

I have  always been intrigued with history and always interested to learn about the culture of new places which is why this was such an eagerly awaited trip for me.  In fact, my reason for riding to Khon Kaen was simply to put it down in my books as a place that I had traveled and seen.  Seeing that I have promised myself to see all provinces in Thailand by motorcycle before I die I figured that this was a good start, to complete my "bucket list" of sorts.

The route we took was quite simple, straight there, straight back.  We had no time for curvy roads or any other sites to see, we were on a mission.  Make it to Khon Kaen and back before we had to work Monday.  Little did we know we would be in for such a good time.  Khon Kaen Bike Week was going on the same weekend we decided to visit.

 It was Friday, two buddies and I arranged to meet up at 3pm and head out to Korat for the first night.  We would stay there for the night and carry on to Khon Kaen in the morning so as to not arrive too late and miss out on some things to do there.  We met at Fast Corner as usual and then stopped to meet our third rider at MBK, big mistake, but after fighting our way out of BKK through the horrendous Friday traffic it was smooth sailing.

Our first stop was for some much needed hydration.  We had just run the gauntlet of downtown Bangkok and were ready to cool down.  Stopping at the local market was interesting and also got some great homemade orange juice and water.  Then it was back on the road to make it to Korat before dark.  We traveled a while longer and the hunger was beginning to kick in, time for dinner.

 View from our table at the restaurant in Nakhon Ratchasima.

The locals were delighted to see 3 "big bikes" as they say in Thailand.

Enjoying dinner as the sun is setting. Fried rice, fresh fish, vegetable, and everything else we wanted was served fresh and delicious.

Back on the road once again it was full speed ahead to make it to our hotel before it was very late.  Climbing the plateau up to Isaan the temperature was dropping and the bikes were loving it, there wasn't much more I could ask for, basically a perfect day.

 Finally arrived at the hotel in Korat, parked the bikes, got our rooms.  Everyone was looking forward to getting a shower and heading out for a few beers.  We decided to meet back down stairs in the restaurant in 30 min.  

Down at the restaurant across the road there was a live band playing and many people enjoying the food, drinks, and atmosphere.  We ordered a few Heineken's and some somtam and rice and enjoyed the nightlife of quiet Korat. 

Saturday morning came quickly, I woke up early and went for a solo ride around town to check out the sites and get a quick snack.  Afterwords, the other two woke up and we all had breakfast in the hotel before heading out.

Quick fuel stop and off to Khon Kaen.....stay tuned to see how the rest of the trip went.

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