All Packed for Ladakh! Road Trip to Spiti and Leh

All packed and ready to go! This is Behzad on the Bullet. He’s Amigo #2 on this trip. Amigo #3, Avi on a KTM 640, is joining us at our 4 am departure. Behzad runs Voygr and rode up from Bangalore. He’s carrying lots of specialized camera equipment. We’ve spent the past few days figuring out the route, getting supplies and prepping the bikes. Big thanks to Sean at Big Bad Bikes for providing us with SW Motech Dry Bags. sanDRina is excited to be heading out to the mountains. Her panniers are full of food as we plan to camp as much as possible, far away from civilization ๐Ÿ˜€

Packed for Ladakh

Transcon: Goodbye Laos and Luang Prabang

New Years was lovely in Luang Prabang with lantern lighting and intense fireworks ringing in 2015 with a bang! I took a few days off with my special someone at a nature resort on the banks of the Nam Khan River where we kayaked and swam at the Se waterfalls. Laos is full of waterfalls and this limestone landscape creates mesmerizing blue lagoons at the waterfalls. Lots of elephants here and after having some refreshing coconut water, I gave the meat and husk to a patiently waiting elephant. Gentle giants they are. Oh and there was a bear sanctuary at the Kuangxi Falls, Free The Bears, where Asiatic Black Bears are rescued and allowed to be their natural playful self

The time has come to bid goodbye to Laos and what a fantastic experience this journey has been! Noel, thanks for being an awesome riding partner and I’ll try to be on time for the next ride

Onwards to Hong Kong…

Overland riders in Laos
Overland riders in Laos.

Touching elephants in Laos
Touching elephants at Tat Se, a waterfalls near Luang Prabang.

Kuangxi Waterfall Luang Prabang
Kuangxi Waterfall near Luang Prabang.

Asiatic bears in Luang Prabang
Asiatic bears in Luang Prabang at the Free the Bear centre.

Sunset on the Mekong River at Luang Prabang
Sunset on the Mekong River at Luang Prabang.

Happy New Year from Laos!

2014 has been a fantastic year!
In January, there was India Bike Week in Goa where I got to ride with Ted Simon ๐Ÿ˜€
February saw me launch my motorcycle adventure travel company, Jammin Global Adventures Ltd!
March, I started thawing out from Delhi’s winter, brrr and enjoyed Holi,
In April, there was the Motorcycle Travellers Meet in Bangalore,
May saw our first regional MTM in Mumbai,
June and it was roasting hot in North India!
July was when I took this wonderful night walk through Old Delhi during Ramzan,
In August I had my first tour in Kenya and it went great!
September and I was in Mongolia on another tour for my company,
In October I celebrated Diwali with family in Hyderabad and there was MTM North in Delhi.
November saw the start of this motorcycle journey heading east from India, and
December was the highlight of the year as I rode through Myanmar, Thailand and Laos.

If 2015 is anything like 2014, I can’t wait!! Enjoy the last few hours and have a Happy New Year ๐Ÿ˜€

Cheers from Laos ๐Ÿ™‚

Riding in Thailand
Happy New Year from Southeast Asia!

Transcon: We did it! Delhi to Laos, 7400 km!

Woohoo! We made it to the end of the journey ๐Ÿ˜€ Jammin South to South East Asia successfully crossed from India through Myanmar and Thailand into Laos. The 33 day trip covered 7,400 kms across plains, mountains, jungles and valleys. Noel and I are thrilled to be one of the first few riders to have crossed Myanmar on a motorcycle! We met so many gentle and smiley people on this trip and ate such delicious food, mmm. The Royal Enfield Machismo 500, prepared by Vintage Rides, did a super job and besides a slight clutch issue, the bikes were very reliable. There’s something about riding a retro bike through new lands that made us feel more like explorers ๐Ÿ˜‰

The last day’s ride from Vientiane up past Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang was quite epic as we crossed a high mountain range and could look all the way to the valley below. A great ending for the journey. And now for some much deserved R&R. Thanks for following along and I’ll post more videos and photos soon. Cheers!

We did it! Delhi to Laos.
We did it! Delhi to Laos. 7400 km. India – Myanmar – Thailand – Laos.

Transcon: Dirt Riding in Northern Laos and Christmas in Paxan

The journey is nearing its end but the adventure doesn’t stop! We left Phonsavanh in the cold and after crossing a mountain range it got really hot and we were back in tropical jungle. We were trying to follow a route along the eastern edge of Laos down to the south but we got lost amongst the construction roads of a huge hydropower project deep in the jungle. The dirt roads were tough with deep ruts and steep climbs and single lane wooden bridges. And on top of that, Noel๏ปฟ just had to find the biggest nail possible and rip his rear tube but with my expert tire changing skills, we were back rolling in under half an hour ๐Ÿ˜‰

We emerged from the jungle roads on smooth tarmac and realized we were heading west towards Thailand instead of south towards Cambodia. Haha, well that’s what adventure is all about! We were lost for a reason – exploring new lands on two wheels… Plans changed and we got down to the Mekong River just as the sun set and enjoyed Christmas Dinner in Pakxan with some other two-wheel travelers over hot pot beef and BeerLao.

Now we’re in Vientiane, the capital, and it feels so flash compared to where we’ve been and we splurged on seafood pizza and espressos. One more day left on this Transcontinental ride!

Noel dirt riding
Riding the wonderful dirt roads of Northern Laos, getting lost in the jungle.

Paddy fields of Laos
Sublime paddy fields.

Crossing narrow bridge
Crossing a narrow wooden bridge. Just do it!

Sunset at the Mekong River
Sunset at the Mekong River.

Christmas in Pakxan
Christmas with travellers in Pakxan. Cheers!

Transcon: Hmong New Year and Phonsavanh

Back on the road after a few days rest. We left Luang Prabang and started climbing high and what a sight to see the clouds trapped in the valley. We were literally riding above the clouds, although it was just fog.

It’s time for Hmong New Year and they are the people of the mountainous area of Laos. In every town and village we saw people decked out in the their traditional wear and there’s this courting custom where girls and guys stand across each other and throw a ball to play catch. If the guy drops it, he’s considered not worthy.

The beautiful thing about riding your own vehicle and especially a motorcycle in a new land is noticing the gradual changes between places. Luang Prabang had more tropical forest and now we’re south a bit in the east, in Phonsavanh, where the trees are deciduous and pine. The altitude is a little higher but the scenery has changed quite dramatically. Riding in Northern Laos meant twisting and turning tightly around the rugged mountains and now in Central Laos it’s more open and flowing. We visited the Plain of Jars where there are these huge stone-carved jars scattered over a wide area. They date from the Iron Age and it’s a mystery how they got here. Archaeologists think they were burial urns but the local legends say the gods made them to brew Lao Rice Whiskey ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cheers and Happy Christmas!

Riding above the clouds in Laos
Riding above the clouds as we left Luang Prabang.

Hmong New Year
Coming across Hmong people as they celebrate their New Year. Very colorful attire.

Riding a Royal Enfield in Laos
Royal Enfield Bullet, best captured in Black & White…

Plain of Jars
The Plain of Jairs in Phonsavanh.

Transcon: All roads lead to Luang Prabang

All roads in northern Laos lead to Luang Prabang. We took a day off to explore a bit of this unique town that has kept its charm through the years. There’s a mix of Lao and French colonial influences everywhere from the warm baguettes to the hammer and sickle flying from every building. We’ve been enjoying tasty noddle soups that come with heaps of fresh greens and for a change we found an Aussie sports bar for lunch! The day off was well used to wash all our gear that was covered in dust and take care of some bike issues, flat tire, welding, just the usual stuff ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now we’re heading for the last week of this journey, a loop around Laos.

Royal Enfields in Luang Prabang
Royal Enfields in Luang Prabang! Riding from India to Laos.

Noodles in Laos
Super tasty Laotian noodles with crispy pork.

Communist presence in Laos
Laos is a communist country and we saw the red sickle flags all over. Every building has to fly it.

Transcon: Exciting Northern Laos, Nong Khiaw

Exciting riding in Laos! From Luang Namtha, we continued on more sublime twisties and then there was a long stretch of construction through the jungle that made for fun offroading. It’s the dry season now so that means we were covered in dust, the fine powdery kind that gets in everywhere! The landscape is just stunning here with so many limestone karst formations and the people are very friendly and always up for a photo.

Laos feels less developed than Thailand and I guess Vietnam also and we’ve been riding through rural areas seeing people working hard on the land. But China is just to the north and lots of construction is going on here. Glad to visit before it becomes too easy to travel through ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ended up in Nong Khiaw for the night and what a location with steep mountains on either side of the Nam Ou River. It’s nice and warm during the day but the nights are cold. Noel and I stayed right on the river and had some Beerlao while going over thrilling bits of the ride from the day.

Laotian girl on a scooter
Laotian girl on a scooter

Tractor and Bullet
Tractor and Bullet

Nong Khiaw Sunset
Nong Khiaw Sunset

Adventure Riders in Laos
Adventure Riders in Laos

Offroad riding in Laos
Offroad riding in Laos

Transcon: Sabaidee, Welcome to Laos!

We crossed into Laos! Sabaidee and welcome to the 4th and final country of this journey. Smooth ride up from Chiang Rai and now there’s a new bridge to cross over the Mekong River from Chiang Kong on the Thai side to Huay Xai on the Lao side. I wasn’t expecting so much paperwork as entering Thailand was very quick but we spent over 3 hours crossing the border! And once again we had to change sides and now we’re back to riding on the right side of the road. We’ve just being going left-right-left-right from India through Myanmar, Thailand and now Laos.

Oh and we picked up some other bike travelers at the border. Zackey here is riding from Singapore on his BMW R1200GS and it was good fun trying to keep up with him. The Royal Enfield Machismo feels so antique compared to the fancy technology on the beemer. But he was envious of our thump ๐Ÿ˜‰

First impressions of Laos are that the landscape is amazing! So many tall mountains, all covered in thick green forests and the roads, wow, banked so beautifully that we hardly have to change gears while leaning through the corners. The kids are smiley and wave very excitedly as we pass by and there’s more animals crossing the road now. It’s cold and refreshing. Come along as we explore this quickly popularising destination of South East Asia…

Saibadee, Welcome to Laos!
Saibadee, Welcome to Laos!

Transcon: Northern Thailand Motorcycling Paradise

Northern Thailand is a paradise for motorcyclists, especially those with an adventurous stomach ๐Ÿ˜‰ We got the bikes serviced in Chiang Mai and now my Bullet is feeling crisp! We left the big city behind and the mountains and forests welcomed us. Food has ranged from slow-cooked buffalo to raw papaya salad to chicken blood in noodle soup. Oh and some blueberry cheesecake. Noel and I are just swinging the bikes from left to right as we glide through the mountainous north of Thailand. We swung by Chiang Rai and its weird White Temple, which is most stark against a clear blue sky. Last night in Thailand as we continue east…

Fantastic riding in Northern Thailand
Fantastic riding in Northern Thailand

Well-marked road signs make for enjoyable riding
Well-marked road signs make for enjoyable riding

Meat shop in Chiang Mai Market
Meat shop in Chiang Mai Market

Cold baby and grandma near Phrao
Cold baby and grandma near Phrao

White Temple of Chiang Rai
White Temple of Chiang Rai