The Siamerican Wanderer has embarked on his longest and furthest motorbike venture yet; 6 hours on the motorbike covering over 400 kilometers through the kingdom’s breast up into the Korat Plateau, to one of Thailand’s largest cities, Nakorn Ratchisima, the gateway to Northeastern Thailand–on a personal challenge of endurance, spontaneity, and of course, leisure.
When an acquaintance initially made the invitation, the first thought was to commute via the one hour + van from Samut Songkhram to Bangkok’s northern bus terminal, (Mochit) and than catch another 3 hour, 200 baht bus the rest of the way. Though obviously the safest and surest, such a route lacked any challenge or adventure, which is the real reason why the Wanderer has devoted his weekend to finally checking out what is arguably Thailand’s second largest city after Bangkok.
After finishing teaching early afternoon, Thursday, the Siamerican found himself with a solid three day weekend with not much else on the plate, when his friend’s invitation came to mind. Looking at the map, a journey of atleast 300 kilometers was expected, and the Wanderer sought out a route to avoid Bangkok’s bustle and perhaps provide a short cut.
About 14.30, the Wanderer set off heading north on highway 325 towards Nakorn Patom via Damnern Saduak and Ban Pae districts of Ratchaburi, continuing on Highway 4 (Petkasem highway) to Nakorn Patom city, continuing north on highway 321 to Kampaeng Saen district, where he diverted on highway 346 heading west all the way through Nakorn Patom, Nontaburi, and Pathum Thani provinces before finally making it to a Chao Phraya river crossing in Ayutthaya province. Continuing on highway 1 towards Saraburi province, city, the wanderer now had to share the rest of the way with speeding motorists and large 10-16 wheeler industrial trucks: the horror of Thai roads for motorcyclists. Around Saraburi, the day’s sunlight had expired with still some 170 kilometers to the destination.
Luckily on one of Thailand’s main highways, street lights were abundant throughout with minimal potholes. What the wanderer wasn’t prepared for, though, was the wind chill that would attack him unexpectedly taunting and overcoming him in the misty evening hours through the water-plentiful hills leading to the Northeast.
There’s not much comparable occasion in the land of smiles where the Wanderer has shivered as he did on the Saraburi-Korat highway–note the height of the ‘cool’ season is still a few months down the road–with teeth rattling and arms full of Goosebumps, as he yelled out Native American like chants to draw up his inner chi and warmth as he coasted the highway averaging 90 kph, the Wanderer felt as if he were much deeper in the northern hemisphere. A simple tee-shirt wasn’t cutting it, even considering the Wanderer grew up in the Rocky Mountains, famed for its wild winters, Thailand has certainly showed it has much more than just hot and humid weather–a land of its own extremes.
Roughly 21.00+ the Siamerican Wanderer finally made it to Nakorn Ratchasima, clocking 400 kilometers in 6 + hours. The modern and bustling city full of all the famous shopping chains and lots a few reckonable 10 storey high rises, was farely peaceful though far from dead in comparison to somewhere like Samut Songkhram at that hour.
Aching yet content with his survival and yet another met goal to add to his plate of confidence and daring achievement, the Wanderer had little left in him other than lax and rest–sightseeing isn’t so much a priority as as the Wanderer regains his energy, strength, and will. The first leg of the journey out of the way, the main thing on his mind now is making the second leg back likely on Saturday or Sunday’this time not taking the sun for granted, even in all its harshness.
In the meantime, he shall have a look around. Until then, Stay tuned!