Folding Bikes - Riding in Betong, Thailand
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02-07-11, 07:41 PM
Michelle and I just got back from the Yala Province in Southern Thailand. We toured a few places of interest in this little-known part of the Thai Kingdom called 'Betong'. Back in the days when Malaysia had declared the state of emergency, there were border skirmishes between Malaysia's security forces and communist troops from the Malayan Communist Party. A peace accord was signed in 1987, ending all conflict between 1948 - 1960 and through the 70s and 80s in Peninsular Malaysia. Most of the ex-communist troops (mainly of Malaysian-Chinese heritage) have settled down in the Betong Basin and became successful farmers and businessman.
Our contact in Betong had given us some World-class hospitality and during our stay, we toured the infamous Piyamit tunnels (used by communist troops to evade Malaysian security forces), Hot springs and the beautiful Winter Flower resort.
We've had a great stay and cycling tour of this town and hope to do Bangkok sometime in the future.. Here are some pix from our touring adventure..
It took us about five hours to drive to a small border town called Kroh - which is now known as Pengkalan Hulu in Northern Perak to access Betong..
Our ride organiser Mr TT Siang and wife Angela seen here setting up his ride: A heavily modified Dahon Curve SL near the border checkpoint.
Leaving the Malaysian border for Thailand..
Getting our travel papers stamped at the Malaysian immigration..
Riding into the DMZ
02-07-11, 07:43 PM
Nice pics, Thanks
02-07-11, 07:52 PM
On the Thai side, we were greeted by our host, Mr Keong and Uncle Meng on their recumbent bicycles. Uncle Meng is a seasoned tourer and one of few recumbent bicycle riders in Malaysia..
An adventure awaits us - seen here, is the Thai Customs and Immigration Checkpoint..
The border demarkation area..
In Thai soil at the CIC compound..
Sorting out our travel documents
Its a short ride on a hot day..
After clearing our travel papers at the Thai CIC, its an 8km downhill roll to Betong town..
The town was in a carnival mood as many residents there are of Chinese descent who also celebrates Chinese New Year..
02-07-11, 08:00 PM
After a 30-minute ride, we were on our way to our hotel in the mid-town area..
Taking a breather before checking-in at the hotel..
Sorting out the rooming arrangements..
Off to Mr Keong's farm - some 9km from town for lunch..
Pit-stop at a fruit stall..
Riding along the Thai countryside..
Arriving at our destination..
02-07-11, 08:09 PM
Parking the bicycles..
Taking a break after the 9km ride under the hot sun..
Mr Keong (seated) our host, offering beverages to the cyclists..
A sumptous meal - cooked a'la country style..
A group shot in front of Mr Keong's farmhouse in Betong, Thailand..
02-07-11, 08:15 PM
After an afternoon break, its time for a night ride around town and dinner at a BBQ restaurant..
Locking the bikes...
Food on the grill!
We've really enjoyed ourselves..
02-07-11, 08:28 PM
Betong is basically a basin area surrounded by mountains. Its quite cold in the mornings..
A street scene..
Residents giving alms to Buddhist monks early in the morning..
In return, they get their daily blessings..
A dolled-up kitty..
Mrs Samo taking a snapshot of the kitten..
Due to the political unrest in Southern Thailand, the streets in most of its provinces are patrolled by the Army. In Betong, its relatively safe.
A narrow alley leading to our hotel..
Our breakfast - a bowl of soup noodles..
Mrs Samo enjoying a bowl of piping hot soup noodles..
02-07-11, 08:35 PM
We have to send off a team of cyclist who rode to the Piyamit tunnels - some 18km from town..
Recumbent bros: Mr Keong and his older brother Uncle Meng..
Finalising the ride arrangements..
Waiting for the rest..
Ready for take-off!
Off they go..
02-07-11, 08:45 PM
Getting ready for our lift to the Piyamit tunnels..
Setting up the bikes..
Getting up on the truck..
The drive around Betong town..
Moving with the bikes..
Mrs Samo and friends at the entrance of the Tunnels..
At the entrance..
Another view of the tunnel's entrance.
02-07-11, 08:54 PM
A baby flying squirrel spotted along the way down from the tunnel complex..
We caught up with the team who departed earlier.. Man, it was tiring riding up the hills!
Our co-organiser Angela, making her way uphill.. Simply amazing!
We exchanged notes with the other riders before parting ways..
The group, departing for a hilltop resort, some 5km away..
02-07-11, 09:07 PM
The hills were steep, and taking no risk in damaging the bicycle's brakes, we pushed it down a bit..
Then, its a free-rolling ride all the way..
We made a pit-stop at a stall along the way for lunch and replacing a punctured bicycle tube..
Som-tam or papaya salad..
Enroute to the Betong Hot Springs..
The hot springs.
02-07-11, 09:14 PM
Getting ready to leave the scene..
Back in the town area..
At the town's largest post box..
An early day in Betong town..
A shot of town with the general post office in the background..
Coffee at a tea stall..
Fried Chinese crullers..
02-07-11, 09:46 PM
After spending half the day at the hot spring, its time to move on..
Checking-in at the Winter Flower Resort..
This is a beautiful place for a short holiday..
We were just happy that they serve beers!
The resort's chalet..
The main economic activity here is vegetable farming.. And ornamental flower growing too!
A scene at the farm..
Riding up the hill path..
Our folding bike gang..
Later at night, we were treated to a steamboat dinner..
02-07-11, 09:55 PM
It was a grand dinner treat at our host's farmhouse..
Samo, posing as a sentry at the store..
The tour group
Riding back to the resort..
02-07-11, 10:03 PM
Well, all good things must come to an end, so, on our last day in Thailand, we made our way back to the border CIC area and drove back to Malaysia..
We split up again from the main group to head back to Kuala Lumpur, which is about 5 hours drive from the border..
Departing from Thailand..
Cycling back to Malaysia..
Back in Malaysia..
Fried egg-plant with fish paste..
Well, there ya have it folks! Thanks for tuning in..
02-08-11, 01:07 PM
You go on great trips, and take great pictures. Thanks for sharing them with us.
02-08-11, 01:37 PM
Another well documented trip cycling Malaysia! Very nice indeed.
02-08-11, 01:40 PM
Nice. looks like weather is so cooperative in your country and that's so great that you can easily organize a group tour. keep on posting your wonderful trips. you guys are making me hungry with all those foods....
02-08-11, 01:41 PM
how is your wife with her new Speed TR ? does she like it ? any complains ? would be nice if she can also do a review since she had used it extensively.
02-08-11, 02:19 PM
Samo might have to interview his wife about the ride quality and if there is anything she would change on that bike. And how's the ride compared to her curve d3. Would be interesting to know. cause I myself is deciding on a mu uno vs curve d3.
02-08-11, 05:53 PM
Great photos, thanks for sharing your trip! This hill looks incredibly steep, you were wise to walk down...
02-09-11, 08:51 AM
Thank you for your kind words folks!
The 2011 Speed TR handled pretty well! Its new Andros steering system is something to marvel with. Stable and sturdy. Another plus-point is the new Dahon Valo light which is integrated onto the Andros stem. Excellent system which is very bright.. Handling wise, the TR is a very promising foldie!
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