Thailand & Our First Road Trip
We arrived in Bangkok on August 1st, and checked into a cold hotel room bright and early. After a ton of discussion in India and knowing that we wanted to purchase some kind of transportation in South East Asia, Thailand was the answer that we landed on. We spent several days exploring the city and vehicle options (including designing and buying our own tuk-tuk), we figured that heading North to Chiang Mai would be best. Bangkok was amazing, though, and we had the best time racing scooters in the busy streets, eating from food stalls, and exploring temples.
Our search for a motorbike had us exploring Chiang Mai from top to bottom. With some persistence (which my husband has) and some luck (which my husband definitely has), we hooked ourselves up with an amazing Thai mechanic who helped us purchase, register in our name, and customize a Honda CRF 250. This motorcycle became our first major purchase as a married couple, and our first piece of Thai property. Pick (our mechanic) was able to have a rack built for us that accommodated both of our backpacking bags and camera equipment. While we waited for the registration to go through, we were able to take the motorcycle for a test run for a long weekend to Chiang Dao, Mae Salong, and Chiang Rai. We were back on the road again, and the freedom felt incomparable.
After receiving all of our paperwork in Chiang Mai, our ownership was official and we mapped out our trip to head South, knowing that we wanted to at least make it to Singapore to visit some friends. We first headed to Sukhothai, and hopped around to several cities in that part of the country that has some amazing ancient ruins.
We were craving some beach time, so after passing Bangkok, we headed straight to the east side of the peninsula. All of the beaches were quiet, friendly, and had few tourists, which was exactly what we needed.
From the east side, there are a few islands that are well traveled, but for good reason. We visited Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. For the first time since we were married, we felt like we were on a real honeymoon where we laid out on the beaches, did some sun-worshipping, ate colorful meals, and read...a lot! We experienced some of the best snorkeling right off of the beaches in Koh Tao, and motorbiked to the tops of lookouts on Koh Phangan.
From the islands, we booked it south to Malaysia. After the easiest, quickest border crossing to date, we made our way through downpour to the east coast of Malaysia. We hung out for a couple of days in a beach town called Cherating, where we got to lay out and watch hoards of Muslim families enjoy the ocean for their Islamic holiday. After some bad weather further south, and booked out accommodations on some islands we had planned to go to, we decided to race down to Singapore for a couple of days. We were not so lucky to cross the border with our bike there (they requested a carnet among other things that did not quite make sense), we spent a long nine hours back and forth in immigration and customs before finally getting through and making it to my friend's home. We spent a few days walking the city, visiting botanic gardens and museums, and eating fantastic meals with our friends. It was so nice to be with familiar faces and sleep in a homey, and comfortable home. We were so thankful and really enjoyed ourselves. Our favorite was the farm land in Cameron Highlands. The scenery was the best in Malaysia so far, and we loved buying all of the fresh fruit from the farms.
After Singapore, we headed North on the West coast of Malaysia. We did a lot of eating in the cities of Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, and the island of Penang. The food options were endless, cheap, and exotic. Outside of KL, we spent a day at a Formula One race, which was a first time experience for both of us, and so much fun (although it rained a bit). We loved Georgetown on Penang for the street art and shopping, but really loved riding our motorcycle all over the island to spice gardens and hidden beaches.
After Malaysia, we were in a bit of a time crunch to get back to Chiang Mai to meet Trevor's brother for the next part of our adventures. We had such an amazing time exploring Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. If anyone has questions about these countries or overland travel in the area, feel free to reach out through email or commenting below!
Bree and Trevor