...
Travel

When is the best time of year?

We offer our services from October to March. This is the dry season, with the best conditions. The temperatures are pleasant and it seldom rains.

Do I need a visa for Thailand?

If you don’t want to stay in Thailand longer than 30 days, you’ll be given a 30-day visa free of charge on entering the country at the airport. Otherwise you have to contact a consulate before your trip and apply for a tourist visa for up to a maximum of 60 days, which you have to pay for.

The flight to Thailand

It’s best to book flights online. Good portals at the moment are “Idealo Flights” and “Google Flights”. It’s much cheaper to fly direct from a large airport. Beware of long “stop-over” periods: sitting around at Dubai Airport for 24 hours isn’t much fun. Thai Airways flies direct from all over the world.

How do I transport my enduro gear?

Boots can go into the case and it’s sensible to make use of the space inside them for packing breakables. You can also take them as hand luggage. Under all circumstances take your helmet as hand luggage. Protectors go into the case. There’s no problem with taking this gear into Thailand because you’ll be taking it out again after your holiday.

I’ve arrived in Bangkok. What now?

Most flights from the west arrive in the early morning. When you’ve gone through Immigration, go down to the taxi ranks. Important: arrange to pay according to the taxi-meter – if you agree a fixed price in advance, you’ll be ripped off. Then, from there to the bus station. If you’ve booked a taxi service in advance, the driver will be waiting for you at the Meeting Point at exit D. If you want to fly, there’s a bus shuttle to Don Mueang Domestic Airport. From there, fly to Phetchabun by Nok Air. Book the flight online in advance: https://nokair.com/.

If you arrive in the evening, it’s sensible to stay the night in BKK. A good website for finding a hotel is www.agoda.com . We can do it for you if you prefer. You can take the Skytrain into the city centre and then take a taxi if your hotel isn’t nearby. If and when you’ve had enough of Bangkok, it’s time to move on…

How do I find you? (Onward travel in Thailand)

There are three possibilities.

By bus:

By Phitsanulok Tour from Bangkok Mochid (bus station) to Lom Sak, Lom Khao or Phu Ruea. The ticket counter is in the entrance hall, at the back on the right before you get to the toilets and Food Yard. The trip takes 6.5 hrs with a 30-minute break halfway. Load enough music and videos on your mobile. There’s no Wi-Fi or entertainment, but it only costs c. 350 bath.

By VIP shuttle:

We’ll have you picked up at the airport or wherever else you want and driven straight to your accommodation here at base in a spacious vehicle with air-conditioning. Takes about 4.5 hrs.

By plane:

There’s a connection from Bangkok Don Mueang Airport to Phetchabun. That’s less than 30 km away from us, so we’d pick you up. The only alternative is the flight to Loei or Phitsanulok and from there by bus to Lom Khao or Lom Sak, but time-wise that’s no advantage over the bus. And if you’ve got 30 kg of luggage with you, don’t forget you’ll have to pay quite a bit for excess baggage.

From Bangkok International Airport there’s a free shuttle to Bangkok Domestic Airport Don Meaung.

Medical provision

holiday medical insurance

An absolute must! It’s best to take one that offers a 24-hour international hotline (usually included in most gold credit cards). If the worst really comes to the worst, the clinic can then quickly arrange for the costs of treatment to be paid for you by the insurer. Transporting the patient back home is usually included, but private clinics in Bangkok and the provincial capitals have a high international standard.

Is medical treatment always available?

About two minutes from your accommodation there’s a GP (general practitioner), a dentist, and a chemist’s. The district hospital is about 5 minutes away.

What vaccinations are advisable?

Everything that’s advisable in western countries is advisable here, too (at least tetanus). If you wish, you can also have yourself vaccinated against hepatitis A + B. This isn’t absolutely necessary for a short stay but does no harm, particularly as many insurance companies are willing to foot the bill. As we’re often in remote terrain, a rabies vaccination may also be advisable as there are many stray dogs and wild animals, although we’ve never had any problems with them.

What about malaria prevention?

Our area in Phetchabun is not affected by malaria and an infection is very unlikely. Even if it should happen, the local hospitals have effective medicines available. Basically, it is for the individual to decide what precautions to take, weighing up the benefits and side-effects. With preventative malaria medicines, particularly, the side-effects are considerable and the effectiveness of the prescribed medication is open to doubt.

Money, debit and credit cards

Cash, credit card, traveller’s cheques…

Cash in a popular currency (euros, dollars) is best. You can change it at any bank. One serious currency provider is “Super Rich”, e.g. in Bangkok. The higher the banknotes, the better the exchange rate.

With many card you can get money from an ATM for an additional fee. But be careful: not every ATM that claims to use your payment system actually works! Many are not designed for international payments and suddenly break off in the middle of the transaction, counting it as an error and block the card after the third attempt. Also note that the maximum sum is 20,000 bath INCLUDING the additional fee.

Traveller’s cheques are old-fashioned and difficult to cash.

Booking my tour

When can I come?

Write to us via our Contact page. Let us know when you want to come and how many of you there are. We’re here for you in Thailand from October to March.

What if I want to come alone?

Just ask us about the period you want to come. There are often others who also want to come on their own. Then we’ll put a group together, but there’s no minimum number of participants anyway.

What is the maximum number of people on a tour?

There’s no fixed limit, only a sensible one. Wild-horde invasions are not part of our philosophy. A group of 4-6 participants has proven ideal.

What if I want to book more than one week?

Combining one-week tours with individual tours is not problem. Talk to us.

How do I pay?

We’re pretty relaxed about payment. Simply pay on the first day. No need for a deposit. But we would like a bit of security: just send us a copy of your flight ticket to Bangkok. Then we’ll book you in and send you confirmation.

Motor-biking in Thailand

Is motor-biking in Thailand dangerous?

On roads, most definitely! Thailand has one of the highest death tolls on the roads in the world. As the number of Big Bikes has increased only in recent years, large parts of the population still have difficulty in judging high-performance motor-bikes in road traffic. The good thing is that we hardly ever use made-up roads and if we do, we’ll tell you how best to behave. If you stick to a few small “rules”, you’ll get through the traffic ok.

Do I need a motor-bike driving licence?

No, not really. A driving-licence for cars is enough if there’s a road check, but it is sensible to have an international driving-licence with you. It’s not normally necessary, but it may be asked for if there are problems for any reason. Nevertheless: you don’t have a motor-bike licence, please let us know because a totally inexperienced biker will hardly be able to manage our tours.

How important is it to have the right equipment?

Very important! A helmet is a must, as are good MX boots, spine protection and a hydration backpack. Without this equipment, the risk of injury is simply too great.

What do you consider to be good equipment?

First of all, you shouldn’t be dressed completely in black like Darth Vader, the lighter the colour the better.

  • helmet: should be airy and light. A trail helmet would be OK.
  • protectors: spine protection is a minimum, a protector jacket would be best.
  • footwear: MX boots… no ifs and buts!
  • hydration backpack, min. 2 litres, preferably 3.
  • clothing: motor-bike summer clothing. MX shorts are also good but only in combination with knee protectors to prevent sunburn.

Isn’t it too hot for the full gear?

Not really. Our tours take place from October to March. This is the coolest period in Thailand, with temperatures seldom higher than 30 degrees. Not only that, but our region is in the mountains. If it’s unusually warm, we decide to do tours at altitudes above 1,500m, where it is noticeably cooler. And last but least, there’s the simple fact: you get used to the heat!

Is there a plan behind the tours?

A week’s touring is clearly structured. We always begin with easy, short tours to get used to the conditions and overcome jetlag. Then we increase the distance and difficulty, with the most challenging tours coming towards the end. Every 3 days we have a break to regenerate and have a look at the country and its culture.

What does one of your day tours look like?

  • 09.00 hrs meet for the day’s briefing over coffee▪ Check your own gear (camelback, walkie-talkie and GoPro) and team spare parts (water, petrol, first aid kit, inner-tubes and tools)
  • Check the bike
  • Go to the filling station and fill up all bikes
  • Go to the loo again! 😉
  • Off we go.
  • Lunch. This might be at a restaurant or the small soup kitchen that is to be found in nearly every village. On some tours there’s simply nothing, so we take lunch-packs with us.
  • Then off we go again.
  • Towards 18.00 hrs it gets dark very quickly, so we always want to be back at base before  then.
  • Debriefing: feedback on the tour
  • Check bikes, steam-clean if necessary and stow away.
  • Recharge walkie-talkies.
  • Then back to your accommodation to freshen up
  • Finally, freestyle… chill out, have a beer or two, get the grill going or go for a meal.

How difficult are the tours?

The level of difficulty of our tours is not in the extreme-enduro range. But it shouldn’t be underestimated: 8 hours and 200 km on bumpy roads with diverse gradients, river-crossings and lots of obstacles can be extremely tiring. It’s more like a marathon.

What if we have a breakdown on a tour?

Most problems can be solved when and where they arise, with the tools and spare parts we take with us. Villages always have a small workshop that can do an temporary emergency repair. As a last resort, we can always call our driver to take the biker and his bike back to base in the pickup. Then, if the bike can’t be repaired quickly, it’s replaced.

What if I damage the bike?

You needn’t worry overmuch about what happens if you come off your KLX for any reason. We’re pretty relaxed when it comes to the typical enduro wear’n tear. Your only liability is for really serious or wilful damage, but even then it’s not expensive because labour costs and spare parts are fairly inexpensive.

“Team spirit”

We don’t go on our tours to prove anything to anyone, we don’t want to be best or make a competition out of it. We want to have fun and to enjoy the landscape and the experience. You don’t need to prove anything to us either. Just being in on something like this is awesome enough. We go on every tour as a team and everyone looks after everyone else. We set off together and come back together, which also means that the group is never left on its own. We expect everyone, at some time or other, to leave their comfort-zone in the interest of the group. Which is only natural because each and every one of us can also rely on the group.

Dos and don’ts

Greeting people

The “Wai” is the usual form of greeting in Thailand.

Even though shaking hands is becoming better known in Thailand as a result of cultural exchange and through the media and although its use is becoming more and more common with foreigners and among westernized business-people and members of the government, the traditional “Wai” remains the everyday form of greeting, particularly in the kingdom’s rural areas.

With the traditional “Wai”, one still differentiates between someone of a lower and higher social rank. The “Wai” is not only the usual form of greeting and a sign of politeness and respect, but also a sign of the hierarchy that is cultivated in Thailand and learnt from childhood both in the family and at school. The lower-ranked greets the higher-ranked first, and the younger person the older person.

A “Wai” is primarily used as a greeting and farewell, but also as a sign of thanks, as a gesture of apology, of loyalty and devotion towards the Royal Family and of reverence towards Buddha, monks and religious places.

What not to do

Wearing shoes in living accommodation and holy places is a no-no, so take them off. The easiest way: if there are shoes outside a door, then put yours there too (yes, this also means MX boots). Life very often takes place on the floor – don’t climb over people sitting or lying there. Or over food.

Exchanging signs of affection in public is frowned upon. This is also the case in the presence of people demanding respect und older people. Women are not fair game (and neither are men and people of other gender identity). Arguing in public is disapproved of and damages your reputation. Avoid conflict in general. Don’t be seen drunk in public and/or be heard as a loudmouth, that’ll only attract the local sheriff. Don’t treat anyone – but anyone – disparagingly!

No illegal drugs!!! Thai prisons are no fun! The smallest amounts imaginable can lead to long prison sentences!

Criticising the King and his family out loud is an absolute taboo and punished severely in Thailand.

To a certain extent, the Thais are always tolerant towards foreigners, but their tolerance threshold is reached pretty quickly. Ours is not a tourist area and the local people’s sensitivity hasn’t yet been blunted.

Leisure clothing

What do you consider to be suitable leisure wear?

Bring perfectly normal summer clothing with you. Shorts are the best choice, but make sure you’ve got at least one pair of long summer trousers with you, or shorts that cover the knee, in case you want to visit a Wat, where uncovered knees are frowned upon. For women: a long dress with modest décolleté.

You’ll only need sturdy shoes and long socks for the journey, otherwise flip-flops are quite enough… You can buy good ones here very cheaply. For every day we do a tour, you’ll need a fresh pair of appropriate socks to wear in your MX boots.

In the evenings and at night it can get quite chilly, so don’t forget a pullover and hoodies.