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Trip Tracker: 2 Wheels, 6 Months, 9 Countries

We are a Husband & Wife team overlanding on an R1200GSA through Tasmania, SE Asia, China, Mongolia and Japan.  On this page you can follow along with our adventure as we share our experiences and photos we make and take along the way.  We hope you enjoy following along.
We would like to give a special Thanks to Rob and the Motohansa Team for being our primary sponsor for the trip.  They have kitted us out with the latest and greatest in gear including Motohansa Pro Series Toolkit, GS911 WIFI, Dynaplug Micro Pro Inflator & Dynaplug Pro Puncture Repair Kit, SPOT Gen3, Boosterplug and MachineArt Moto Mudsling & X-Head Covers (all available at the Motohansa web-store and in the links *How's that for a shameless plug?* :D ).
We will update this space as often as we can.  In between updates you can see where we are on the map below as our SPOT GPS Tracker fires off our location every 10 minutes or so.
If you have Instagram you can also follow along with us there:  @moto_auslander
If you want to ask us any questions about overlanding, border crossings or any of the countries we travelled through, drop us a line at  ljmalina(at)
Tasmania  >  Vietnam  >  Malaysia  >  Thailand TAIWAN  >  Cambodia  >  Laos  >  China  >  Mongolia  >  Japan  >  Journey Home  >  Mongolia: Part 3  >  Russia: 1  >  Kazakhstan  >  Russia: 2  >  Georgia  >  Turkey  >  Bulgaria  >  Romania

Lots of planning went into setting up this trip with Carolin and myself spending hours searching for all the locations in each of the countries we want to visit. We have not pre-planned an exact route we wish to follow but will create this spontaneously as we go. With the general route we wish to follow however we will require multiple visas and some of them we need to apply for along the way. Also after much research we have found that not all border crossings are the same when traveling with your own 'foreign' motorcycle. This means we need to plan to cross at the crossing points reported by our fellow ADV travelers to be most 'bike' friendly.
All of this planning grew into what a friend referred to as 'The War Room'.

After arriving in Sydney at 6am we spent the whole day getting sorted.   No time for jet lag.  We picked up the bikes and some new gear (boots and pants for Carolin and some other bits and pieces), and got to packing.  Luckily everything fit!

We set off from Rob’s in nearly 40 degree heat which was a bit of a shock after leaving -4 degrees in Munich.

Day 1 was long, as we rode from Sydney to Melbourne in one hit (approx. 860km’s in 11hrs.)  What can we say about the Hume hwy…. its straight, hot and long!

We got to Melbourne in the late evening and were greeted in true Melbourne fashion, we saw it like a giant black wall coming towards us, then it hit us, an insane thunderstorm.  We couldn’t see 20 meters in front and we had to navigate to Lucas’ brothers house through the back streets. Thanks to our new gear we arrived with luggage and selves ‘pretty much’ dry and were warmly welcomed with towels and hot showers by the Malina crew (thanks again guys).

The next day saw us up at 5:30am (again, no time for jet lag) and headed for the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry.

After a 10hr journey and with a little dose of sea sickness for Carolin we landed in Devonport and headed for our first camp in the Narawntapu National Park.  On the way in we saw 50+ Bennet wallabies, kangaroos and Paddemelons.  Our first camp site was a secluded spot on the end of the point.  Our neighbours dropped in uninvited for dinner and wouldn’t leave until late in the night.  (see our “neighbours” posing in the picture below)


After a morning walk we headed in search of Mt Paris Dam.  This lead us down in Launceston and out of the A3 through the Tamar Valley to Scottsdale, the roads here are amazing and Lucas thinks they rival some of the Germany serpentines.  Following the GPS turned out not so easy and we were quickly onto gravel and then headed down a single lane track which ended in a dead end at a beautiful stream.   Even after tackling the dirt roads and goat tracks head on, Carolin drew the line at rocky river crossings and after a few photos we turned around.  By chance a few km’s back along the main gravel road we stumbled across the real road to Mt Paris Dam and our efforts were rewarded with an old dam structure and a lovely water fall flowing between lush Fern trees, an amazing tranquil place with not another sole around for miles.  We ended the day in St Helens.

Wednesday lead us from St Helens up to the Bay of Fires.

We then back tracked and headed for Evercreech Forest and the ‘White Knights’.  Again to Lucas’ pleasure the asphalt quickly turned to gravel and we snaked our way for 2 hrs through bush and rain forests (with some light rain to go along).  The scenery was amazing and it was hard to stay focused on the road.  Carolin began practicing standing up while riding and quickly became a pro at negotiating the rocky hills and deep gravel on the corners.

After visiting the ‘White Knights’ which are a group of 4 of the oldest and tallest White Ghost Gumtrees in the world (see below), we made our way to Coles Bay in the Freycinet National Park and set up camp.

The next day Carolin hopped in the water for a swim which was quite short as the water here is pretty icy.  The rest of the day was spent hiking to Wine Glass Bay and right around to Hazard Beach which was around a 5hr walk.  In the last hour we passed an old man who appeared to be running in the other direction.  As we arrived back at the carpark we were astounded to see the old man coming down the track, he had completed the entire loop in around 2hrs... CRAZY!

We also found lots of cool little Christmas spiders along the way.  Very deadly looking but Lucas says they are harmless.... he thinks!

Friday had us riding for Port Arthur, with a few stops along the way.  We had a great lunch at Lucky Ducks in Nubeena and settled down for an early camp at the Port Arthur Holiday Park near Stewarts Bay.  The night was spent surrounded by all types of wild life including many little Pottaroos (little tiny wallabies).

The following day we visited the Tasman Arch and Devil's Kitchen which were arch formations created from thousands of years of sea errosion and the collapse of caves.  We had lunch in Hobart at the Salamanca Market and pulled up for camp in an amazing tranquil spot next to the Arve River in the Huon Valley.  We had some wet washing with us so decided to hang it out to dry :) .

Sunday came the real rain but we still managed to have a lovely tree-top walk at the Tuhane Air Walk in between showers.  A wet and windy ride back to Hobart followed and a welcome shower, beer and night in a hostel gave us a break from the cold.

A new week and more rain!  We headed from Hobart out into the clouds and rain down towards Lake Pedder.  We stopped at Russell Falls and suddenly had blue sky and sun.  We keep hearing the saying “If you don’t like the weather, come back in 5 minutes!” and it couldn’t be more accurate.


Russell Falls

Horseshoe Falls

We continued on south and had a huge storm with winds so strong a single gust nearly made us change lanes.  We decided to skip the lower lakes and headed for Strathgordon hoping so badly that something more than a wooden information board was waiting for us at the end.  To our relief we found a wilderness lodge with roaring open fires and great food.  While we were roasting our frozen feet we chatted with some other bikers about where we were heading and where they had been, we have found constantly people coming and chatting with us about the bikes, our set ups and our where from' s and where to’s, its been a great way to meet people along the way and we keep see them here and there out on the road.

After a quick visit to the Gordon Dam (largest dam in Aus at 140m high) and with a small break in the weather we decided not to stay and instead make a break for something a little further north and hopefully out of the weather.

Gordon Dam

The decision was quickly regretted with more storms and wind but after an hour things turned blue and we pushed on to a beautiful place called Wayatinah Lagoon.

We had a great little hut to ourselves, cranked up the wood fire and spent the evening warm and chilling out.

The next morning we discovered Carolin’s pannier had broken a mount and had been resting on the exhaust pipe and started to melt.  A quick trip to the local service station for the lend of a drill and some cable ties had us back on the road headed for Strahan (apparently pronounced “Strawn” by the locals?!?).  The weather was nice a warm and we stopped in a Lake St Clair.

The mountain pass from there went through bush, rainforest and onto rocky cliffs down into Queenstown.  Apart from the quality, the roads rivalled even some of the best European alpine passes, just awesome!  We both agree even Carolin’s dad would be impressed.  We finally reached Strahan and after a hearty pub meal settled down in Macquarie Heads about 30 mins out of town.

Blue skies again then next day for the drive up Cradle Mountain and again we managed to get the last available camping spot.  We have been seriously lucky with not booking before we turn up.  We then took a nice afternoon scouting trip out to Dove Lake where we saw a mother and baby wombat grazing on the side of the road.  Tomorrow we head for the summit!

The summit….. Well! What can we say…. Breath-taking… Marvellous… Amazing… ahhh forget it… words don’t do it justice…. See for yourselves!

Dove Lake (Cradle Mountain in the background)

We started the summit walk at 8:15am with the shuttle bus into Ronny Creek.  After a cold, windy and cloudy walk to the Marions Lookout we began the final section to the summit.  After Kitchen hut the track disappeared into a series of poles marking the way and nothing but boulders as far as we could see.  The track at some points was so steep we needed to scramble and pull ourselves up, working on all fours.

As soon as we started the final section to Cradle Mountain Summit the wind picked up and pushed the clouds away revealing blue skies, sunshine and the most amazing view.  We were later told that the weather we had only occurs around 5-10 times per year… We were so lucky.

The full 16km round trip took us just under 6 hrs not including breaks and took across the face of Cradle Mountain and back down round the Dove Lake circuit.

We rewarded ourselves that night with some beers and chips and spent the evening relaxing by the fire and talking with a funny old English couple.

Friday and our first medical emergency of the trip.  Carolin had been suffering with a toothache for the past few days and finally it was too bad to continue, a quick change of plans, phone call to the health insurance and search for a dentist and we were on our way to Burnie.  A few hours later and 1 tooth less we decided to hold up for the night in a backpackers and give Carolin good night’s sleep and some time to recover.  Tomorrow the plan is head back south to pick up our original route and head up the Western Explorer (C249)!

After a good rest we left Burnie to ride the Western Explorer. We heard a variety of different road conditions from easy gravel to some quiet tough parts so we were very curious what we were heading into. We went the long way around so we could take the barge in Corinna over the Pieman river. We waited a long time to get picked up but the $12.50 each was worth it and we got taken over to the other side and had a yummy lunch.

Quite quickly we found ourselves on a nice unsealed easy riding road. After a while it turned into gravel but the steep parts up and down the hills were sealed. Lucas was a little disappointed it wasn’t more of a challenge but we both really enjoyed the amazing scenery. We had to stop a few times to enjoy the awesome view.

After 2,5h we arrived in Arthur River. Unfortunately we haven’t seen a Tasmanian devil yet but we will keep our eyes peeled, maybe we are lucky to see one. We stayed at a campground called Peppermint Campground and I had the most amazing Take away instant coffee from the shop across the road and Lucas enjoyed the chips a lot :) We went for a walk and ended up at a beautiful place called “The edge of the world”. Standing at the edge of the rocks felt like being far away from everything.

It rained the whole night but everything inside our tent stayed dry. We had a lazy morning and by lunchtime we left our little campsite in dry conditions hoping that we won´t get too wet today. On the way to Stanley we stopped at “Lake Chisolm” and “Tasman Arch”. We made a little friend while walking at Lake Chisolm, Filbert the tiny little frog, he was hopping along the path so we helped him off to the side so he didn't get squashed by other walkers.

This day we were really lucky, a little Tasmanian devil puppy was crossing the road in front of us. We just got a glance at it because it disappeared into the rainforest but we couldn´t believe our luck that we saw one. They are very shy and endangered and the rangers told us sightings are very rare. Carolin was running low on fuel again and after the first 80km she prepared herself to sit on the side of the road until Lucas will come back with fuel. But to our amazement we made it 116 km with the fuel light on, all the way to Smithton. We got rained on and hailed on but after a late lunch and the bikes filled up we were on the road again to our destination, Stanely, which is a small town at the bottom of “The Nut” a beautiful rock formation.

At the caravan park we bumped into our Dutch pushbike riding friend Erwin who we had met back in Cradle Mountain. We set up camp and it was quite a cold evening.

The next day we hiked up The Nut and enjoyed the beautiful 360degree view. We decided to have a lazy day off the bikes and walked along the beach. On our last evening in Tasmania Carolin cooked an amazing Thai curry and we spent the evening and night chatting with Erwin.

Today we are riding back to Devenport to catch our ferry so we are packing up and leaving this very beautiful spot in Tasmania. We visited Dip Falls on the way and stopped in at Boat Harbour beach for lunch. This little cove impressed us with its turquoise water colour and we had nice warm, sunny day for our last day so enjoyed some time at the beach.

Getting on the ferry was quite an experience again, we had to wait until we could get on board, so we lined up with roughly 30 other motorbikes. Carolin was the only female rider which was a bit of an awkward feeling for her but she was pretty proud, some of the other riders came for a chat and were amazed she was off roading on her Dakar. After a much more gentle trip back to Melbourne we headed down to Phillip Island to stay at Lucas’ mums house for a few days.

The following week we spent visiting family and friends and celebrating Lucas´ brother’s wedding, which was great. We had an awesome time and like always time was flying by and we were on the road again to Sydney. This time we planned to do the trip in two days and it was a much nicer ride with good scenery and not just Highway like the previous journey to Melbourne. We overnighted in a little town called Eden and found a great spot near the beach.

The morning view from Eden camping spot

Carolin on the way to Eagle Point in Victoria

Coming into Sydney we got rained on again but by now we are used to it and well prepared. The next two days we were very busy. Carolin is selling her motorbike so had to give it a good clean. Lucas was busy changing tires and suspension and other bits and pieces on the R1200 we plan to do the rest of the trip on. Finally with uncle Rob´s help and support we got the bike ready to go on the aeroplane to Malaysia

We are heading off to Vietnam tonight for about 15 days. It is unbelievable that it is all happening now and we still can´t believe we are on our trip already. We are living our dream!

Just as we remember! Arriving in any South East Asian country is like getting hit in the face with a steamy, warm, wet towel and Vietnam is just the same.  Walking out of the airport and greeting the muggy heat we both looked at each other and with a nod and a smile, silently acknowledged…. We were finally in Asia!

We decided to take the local bus into town and with our stop lost in translation and a bit of a hike back through some busy streets we managed to check in and headed straight back out into the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh city or Saigon as its also known.

Some everyday impressions of Vietnam traffic

Typical scooter parking lot

How much can you pack on one scooter..... We have learned there is NO LIMIT!!!

Traffic Jam in Hoi An before the latern festival

We also learned a valuable lesson... Bigger and Heavier always has right of way (who can guess which side of the road they drive on here??)

Lucas was browsing FB in the airport in KL while we waited for our transfer the night before and noticed a photo of Howie in Vietnam! (Howie lived with Lucas and I the whole time we were in Perth).  We couldn’t believe it so sent him a text and sure enough after a year of not seeing each other here we all were together again in Vietnam!  So crazy!  We caught up with him and his mates Mel & Dion who worked in the same area as Lucas had worked (up north near Karratha).  What a small world it is.

The next day we took a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels.  Lucas visited the tunnels in 2010 and thinks it has become much more touristy but it was still great to see the tunnels and learn about the history.  Our tour guide ‘John Wayne’ was really funny and actually had studied in Victoria.

After we headed to the War Museum and found a great vegetarian restaurant for lunch which served lots of different local dishes, amazing food.

Although its not the way we normally like to travel, after some discussion we decided we would try a 2 Day 1 Night, Mekong Delta tour.  Off we went early the next morning and although we visited some interesting things the tour quickly reaffirmed why we don’t like to take tours.  The first day we visited a local Bee Hive and tried the honey (Carolin’s friend Edith would have really loved it as she has her own hive at home in Germany).


We also visited a crocodile and fish farm and had a mediocre lunch followed by a boat paddle through some canals and a visit to a coconut candy factory which was interesting but still all seemed very set-up. 

That night however we had a homestay and a really great dinner which started with ‘Make your own’ rice paper rolls, followed by local fish, chicken and beans, spring rolls and noodles with local veggies called ‘Morning Glory’ (we cant stop giggling about that one every time we order it) and they even had a full spread of vegetarian food for Carolin. 

The night boat ride to the homestay really felt like we were in the Mekong, chugging down the river past all the stilt houses, water lilies and boats.

The following day we visited Cai Rang floating market which was great and then a rice paper and noodle factory and fruit farm which was very interesting.

Dragon Fruit Plantation

Jack Fruit Tree - With Plenty of Jack Fruit

(The little ones are the male and big ones are female which are the ones for eating)

The tour ended with a 4 hour bus ride back to Ho Chi Minh where we hopped on our first “sleeping bus”, bound for Nha Trang.

We arrived in Nha Trang at 5am and headed straight to the beach to watch the sun rise and it was spectacular.

Keen to get back on 2 wheels we rented some 150cc bikes and headed for Da Lat via a mountain pass.  What an amazing ride!! And the traffic in town was much easier than it looked, what seemed like complete mayhem with no rules or even established ‘right’ side of the road, to our surprise quickly became quiet flowing and easy to navigate through once we were in it.  We have heard a funny saying about the traffic lights here.

Green – Means I can GO!

Yellow – Means I can GO!

Red – Means I can STILL GO!  (and many of them ride through red lights as if they were cherry green!)

140km’s and 4 hrs later we made it through what was a serious mountain pass and up into the highlands and did some sightseeing and found a place to stay for the night.  When we ventured out for dinner we stumbled across a big local night market and enjoyed trying some different foods.

Carolin got just a little dirty after 4 hrs riding with no face shield

So now we do as the locals do!

The next morning after a quick photo shoot with our ‘big bikes’ and the hostel owners baby we rode back to Nha Trang.  Today’s ride however we constantly met oncoming trucks over taking other trucks and buses on blind corners and shuttle vans zooming towards us on the wrong side of the road pushing us off just because they can.  In Vietnam the biggest and heaviest vehicle always has right of way.  To calm down the nerves we hit the beach and the water was beautiful and warm.

10th March, today is Lucas’ birthday so we headed for the mud baths and mineral pools for a day of relaxing.  It was really fun and amazingly relaxing.  After spending the day there we enjoyed a nice dinner and jumped back on the sleeper bus to Hoi An.

Today we woke up our hostel owner at 7am because the neighbors saw us waiting out the front by the locked gate and rushed over and starting pressing the bell button over and over haha.  But she didn’t mind at all and we quickly found this hostel had the loveliest couple running it.  She welcomed us very warmly, made us a great breaky and showed us all the best places to visit and local places to eat.  We hired some push bikes and on 2 wheels again headed off into the ancient city of Hoi An.  After a few hours working our way past the temples and old houses we headed out to the beach and did some more swimming and relaxing.  It’s a hard life this travel life…

Tonight to our amazing luck and surprise we got the chance to be a part of the Annual Lantern Festival but first we caught the 6 o’clock Water Puppet Show. It was really interesting and a little bit funny. The puppets and storytelling were really amazing. We spent the rest of the night admiring the lanterns on the river and headed for some drinks with some new friends.

Again the urge for 2 wheels overcome us, so we hired a scooter this time and headed up the coast for an adventure. First stop was Marble Mountain a big cave set into a marble mountain full of religious Buddhist statues and carvings. We then headed through Da Nang and out into the countryside over the Hai Van Pass which had amazing views and tons of corners. After lunch in a dodgy road side eatery, we continued on to Elephant Springs and spent the afternoon swimming and playing in waterfalls. (I know right! More waterfalls!)

4:30 am start and back on the scooter we headed out to My Son Ruins, a UNESCO world heritage site, where the remains of some very early period Champa temples have been restored. We tried to make it for sun rise and were on time but unfortunately cloud cover meant the sunrise was not to be, this didn’t however over shadow the beauty of the ruins and we had them basically all to ourselves.

Back on the sleeper bus, we headed for Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park. For Lucas’ birthday we decided to do a 2 Day 1 Night jungle and cave trek. It was amazing!!! We were a group of 9 and our amazing tour guide Dung (pronounced Djoung or for the Germans Tschung – definitely not pronounced DUNG (like cow dung haha) so he told us.) We started off trekking through the thick jungle over sharp rocky mountains and through rivers. Our first stop for lunch was in the entrance of a cave where we had the most amazing food of our trip. Make our own fresh rice paper rolls and Banh Mi. We then headed into the jungle again and things got more serious with Mama Hill.

We then reached our camp site which was set in a beautiful spot at the entrance of a cave with a waterfall, small lake and river running through. From here we set off into our first cave and it was straight into the water for a swim into the darkness. The formations were breathtaking and climbing through the caves was an experience we’ll never forget. Back at camp we swam in the lake and found a cave under the waterfall. We then had ‘THE BEST’ food so far in Vietnam, our cooking crew at the campsite was 5 star quality. After a little rice wine (happy water as the locals call it) we played some games by the open fire and had a good nights sleep.

Up early again and after hearty breakfast of pancakes and fried noodles and we set off straight into the water to swim to our first cave. The rest of the day was spent swimming and trekking through 3 caves in total each with new and more interesting formations. We then trekked back out through the jungle and after a welcoming shower, went to a local restaurant for some noodles and beers with the crew. It was really an experience we will never forget!

Back on the sleeper bus and another night of limited sleep and hundreds of stops later we finally made it to Hanoi. Greeted by rain we quickly headed to the hostel and again had to wake up the hosts (who knew 24hr reception was only open until 9pm haha). As per usual check-in was not available until after lunch so we headed off in search of food and found a great juice/tea/coffee place. Many of the streets in old town reminded us of Melbourne with trendy and vintage style cafes and bars everywhere. Charlotte, Lucas’ sister, would have been in hipster heaven.

The rain didn’t stop for the next two days so we used the time for re-organising our gear and getting ready for the next part of our journey, with a few breaks to enjoy the great food Hanoi has to offer.

We also took a few walks through the streets and visited Hoan Kiem Lake and Pagoda.

It was a nice relaxing, wind down after an amazing couple of weeks and gave us the time to reflect on all the amazing sights and flavours we had experienced in Vietnam (and a few of the smells :D ). It also let us recharge and prepare ourselves for the next stop, country number three, Malaysia.

Firstly to everyone following along we are sorry for the long delays between updates, wifi is hard to find and wifi good enough to upload pictures is even rarer, also it’s a busy business this travelling so it’s hard to find the time between swims, great food and mountain roads to pull together an update. But we love you all and please stayed tuned as the next update will eventually come! Cheers Caro + Lucas

We touched down in Kuala Lumpur Airport early afternoon and jumped on the 10RM (Ringgit) Star Shuttle into the city (which takes about an hour). We are definitely ready for our bike now, but it is Saturday and the shipping company won’t open until Monday so we are on foot until then.

We are teaming up with some other travellers, Toby and Laura, for our China crossing and as they were also shipping their Land Rover into KL we decided to meet up for a beer and a chat about the journeys ahead. After a good night eating and drinking we headed back home for a well-earned rest.

Sunday and with another day until we could find out where our bike was we decided to check out something a little different, a huge shopping mall, Berjaj Times Square, with a fun park (and roller coaster) inside the mall. After having some breaky and sorting our documents for our China visa’s, the rain came in hard so what better thing to do than ride the indoor roller coaster…. 3 times. It really is something different flying through the mall doing loop the loops and barrel rolls over the people shopping. After the rain stopped we headed back out and did some sightseeing before another evening of good food and drinks with the Toby and Laura

Monday morning and Lucas was up at the crack of dawn ready to go so we had plenty of time to organise the motorbike pick up, but…. TIM (This Is Malaysia) and sure enough by 11am still nobody knew much accept yes the bike is in Malaysia…. Somewhere?! More phone calls and waiting around we finally got the sms every overland traveller fears, the Carnet (export documents) had not be signed going out of Australia and since a scan copy wasn’t good enough, we now had to send the documents back to Australia to be signed and stamped and then have them sent back to Malaysia before the bike would be released!!!!! To make things worse it was 4:30pm Malaysia time, so Australia had already shut down for the night. We were staring down the barrel of a week or more delay waiting for the bike to be released.

To blow off some steam we headed to the Hawker Markets of Petaling Street and after some dinner Carolin stumbled upon a tea shop and the owner asked us in for a special Chinese tea session and impromptu photo shoot, it was great.

At midnight we caught up with Azmi, a friend from Perth who was now living back in KL, and with some local status we headed out on the town for some beers and shisha and ended up eating Roti at 3am with a great view of the Petronas Towers.

With only 3 hours sleep Lucas was up again early to try and beat the time difference and started emailing back and forth with the shipping agents. It turned out that the Australian customs had in fact signed the correct place and Malaysian customs were reading the document wrong (TIM right!!)…. So after finally managing to organise payment for clearance fees we were given the pick-up address and asked to arrive by 2:30. Easy right? Wrong!

Another hour back on the bus to KL Airport only to find what appears to be 500m away actually takes a 20minute taxi ride around to the cargo area. We then had to get special entry permits to the cargo area which took a number of phone calls back and forth to organise (and which of course were never checked by security), we then had to head to the forwarding agents office to collect the motorcycle. But, what weren’t told is it was a good 2km walk from the entry gate of the customs area in the sticky heat to where the bike was supposed to be and we had already let the taxi driver go. As we were walking along a truck drove past and Carolin yelled “THAT’S OURS! I SEE IT!” so we chased after the truck only to see it turn around and drive off again…. So we go into the forwarding agents office and TIM struck again…. The customs checks had not been done yet, which we were told were done, so back to hurry up and wait for another hour. Finally at around 5pm we were called and the bike was ready to go. We grabbed the documents and headed out to inspect the bike which appeared intact. Unfortunately closer inspection revealed at some point in the journey the fork lift had driven into the bike and dented in the exhaust pipe, left a large scratch on the frame and starter motor and busted off some electrical parts mounting brackets. Asking questions received only shrugs and since everything seemed to operate correctly we decided to put it down to TIM. Getting the bike ready to head off a crowd started to gather, we were obviously more interesting than work, after half an hour we had at least 6 or 7 audience members all eagerly filling up their Facebooks with pictures of us :).

Due to all the issues and taking so long to get the bike released we now had to extend our stay in KL another night so we could apply for the Chinese visas. In Malaysia bikes are allowed to go around Toll points with a special lane, all other lanes are ‘Touch and Go’ e-tags or similar. This system was working well until the GPS tried to lead us into the KL Tunnel, it turns out, bikes don’t use the tunnel so we were met with locked boom gates with only e-tag entry and no way around. We were forced to do a U-turn and drive down the highway in the wrong direction a few hundred meters until we could escape the e-tag lane and take the long way around into the city centre. Great start to overseas driving! But no incidents.

TIM strikes again! To some unknown reason our pre-booked room was given to someone else and we ended up in a cockroach infested shoebox above a “massage” parlour. But luckily we had our little friend on the street who after taking a million photos with us and his friends told us no problems he would watch the bike for us all night.

After sleeping the night through with one eye open, watching for roaches, we got up early as possible to get the hell out of there. A quick stop at the Chinese embassy (which went extremely smoothly to our surprise) and on to Batu Caves, a Hindu temple built high in a cave. At the caves we started to wonder who was the tourist attraction the temple caves or us? People even wanted pictures with just the bike and many people kept asking “Selfie? Selfie?”

On to Ipoh, its super-hot riding with all the gear but safety before comfort is the motto of the moto trip. We were enjoying being out of the big city and zooming along the highway surrounded by jungle and palm plantations. We had a beautiful guesthouse waiting for us in Ipoh and after dropping our bags we headed into the Cameron Highlands to check out the tea plantations. After a nice pot of tea heavy rain pushed the decision on us to turn back and try to complete the loop tomorrow.

Early morning and after a Chinese breakfast we packed everything up and back on the bike our first stop was Kek Lok Tong a temple suggested to us by our drinks lady from the night before. It was also a cave temple and had the lot, monkeys, turtles, koi pond and some large golden statues which were very detailed.

We then retraced our steps back into the Cameron Highlands, we wanted to complete the full loop as the road is a continuous stream of twists, turns and switch backs and of course we also wanted to check out some more Tea Plantations.

After a rainy descent through the mountains we hit the highway and bee-lined for George Town, Penang. Again we got lulled into a false sense of security as we dodged around toll point after toll point but what we didn’t know as the only ‘OTHER’ road where bikes have to pay toll is on the George Town Bridge! Lucky for us we didn’t have to drive into oncoming traffic again, we were saved by a fellow two wheeler (a nice scooter rider) who tapped his card for us and waved us on with a smile.

Today we spent wandering around Penang and organising the ferry for Langkawi. The morning was super, super hot and so we sought refuge in a small Chinese antique shop. The owner was a lovely old man and we spent some time chatting about his family history from the area and where he got his statues and other bits and pieces from. He also told us about the Nyonya people who are Chinese people who have moved to Malaysia and were then denounced by China and the locals back home but are still not Malay. They have established their own cuisine and food specialities which are now very popular in the Penang area. We also visited a temple and took a ride along the coast to Batu Feringghi and finished the day with a food tour through little China

Another early start and back on the bike, this time headed for Kuala Perlis and our RORO (Roll On Roll Off) Ferry bound for Langkawi island. After a non-eventful departure and with the bike sitting snuggly next to a Harley Davidson and a Ferrari (no straps to hold the motorbike down of course haha… TIM right) we had a nice trip across chatting with a local biker about the area.

Our destination for the night was at Subri’s place a great family run Airbnb which is tucked away from the busy, loud, touristy areas. It is really an amazing spot!

We headed to the beach and Caro took her first Malaysian swim (she has been dying to get in the water) and after some dinner we sat back and watched the sun go down. Did we mention life is hard as a traveller??

Finally!!! A sleep in!!! After slow morning we headed to the Penang Cable car and enjoyed amazing 360 degree panoramic views of Langkawi and could even see some islands from Thailand. Lucas’ mum will remember the sky bridge.

Included in the cable car ticket was entrance to a 3D art exhibition, it was really amazing and there was also a laser show. We even got to see Schloss Neuschwanstein next to a big water fall next to the Pyramids of Egypt! :)

After dinner (Carolin finally found her Vegetarian Curry she has been searching for) we took a night ride out to see the Eagle statue, the symbol of Langkawi.

Back to the early mornings, you snooze you lose right? and today we are taking a Mangrove boat tour (something Lucas’ mum would also fondly remember when they came here together back in 2010). We saw again lots of Monkeys and this time some Eagles feeding and visited a fish farm.

Back on the bike and we rode out to a waterfall suggested to us by Subri. Just as we arrived to the car park we were hit by a torrential rain storm. After some time deliberating what to do we came to the conclusion we were planning to swim at the waterhole under the waterfall anyway so may as well head out in the rain. Just as we got to the waterfall the rain stopped but it was lucky for us because we were told by someone swimming at the pond already that only half an hour before there was only a trickle of water coming down the waterfall, but for us there was a good stream.

We headed back to base to get ready for dinner and Subri was waiting for us. He had some real treats in store for us, first was Quinin tasting (similar to mango but with a funny extra flavour, it was great) next was his stingless bee hive, we got to suck the honey out of the wax pods with a straw (it was an interesting mix of sweet and sour and was very liquid) (Edith, Carolin’s friend, would really have been in heaven here). Last up was Bird Cucumbers, they looked exactly like miniature cucumbers when they are young but when you bite into them the inside is bright red, we also saw a ripe one and they are completely bright red, they taste exactly like a normal cucumber. These local experiences were so amazing and we would have missed them had we gone for more mainstream accommodation but Subri wasn’t done yet, he invited us with his family to one of his favourite restaurants, we really felt like one of the family. When we go back to Langkawi we are definitely staying with him again! For those heading to Langkawi here is the link to his Airbnb page we 100% recommend staying there. Thanks again Subri and to your wife and son as well!

Up early and back on the RORO Ferry back to the mainland this time we are headed for Ulu Legong Hot Springs. But first RAIN, RAIN and MORE RAIN! And, as we never stick to the promise we made to ourselves of not riding in the rain if we don’t have, we got…. Well soaking wet doesn’t begin to describe how wet we were, on a scale of 0 to ‘Drowned Cat’ (or Getaufte Maus ((Baptised mouse)) for our German followers) we were well past Drowned Cat. But spirits soared when we saw the hot springs, they then dropped briefly when we saw the quality of the room and how much we had to pay, but they soared up again when we hit the hot springs. Ranging from 30 to 60 degrees the pools were so relaxing and we spent the next 3.5 hrs that night switching between ponds, relaxing and soaking our sore bums.

Today we are crossing West to East over the dividing range the splits the top of Malaysia. We are running parallel to the Thai border and the mountain road (that many of locals suggested to us for motorbike riding) was really amazing and wound through the thick jungle where shy Elephants and Tapia’s live, past a large lake and on to the coast. Arriving in Kuala Besut we quickly found boat tickets (thanks to a scooter man flying past and gesturing for us to follow him, why not right) and a safe place at some old mans house for our bike to stay 5RM per day seemed like a good deal for 24hr security. After a bumpy speed boat ride where our seat collapsed, twice! we arrived at Pulau Perhentian (Kecil) and luckily found the last vacant chalet (in our price range lol) in the whole of Coral Bay.

The next few days we spent living on an island! Snorkling, eating, relaxing and swimming (its hard to keep Carolin out of the water). The coral and fish here are amazing and we did a boat trip with our new friend Joe (number 1 boat man and number 1 fish finder!) who showed us Black Tipped Reef Sharks, a giant Turtle (Lucas managed to spot it before the other boats so we even got some private swimming time while she grazed the bottom) and some smaller ones, Sting Rays, even a large Manta Ray (Dani, another friend from Caro, would have loved it!) and of course millions of colourful fish and plenty of Nemo’s haha.

Bright and early Sunday morning we jumped on a speed boat back to Kuala Perlis packed up the bike and headed for Taman Negara. Along the way we met a local bike group out for a Sunday ride. The group leader pulled beside us at the traffic lights and we shook hands and quickly exchanged where from’s and where to’s with lots pointing, windy road hand gestures and thumb up’s haha. After some trouble with our indicator switch we decided to push on and pulled into Taman Negara late afternoon.< /p>

Into the Jungle. Today we decided a 4 hour hike in the humid heat would be a good idea. The trail took us through the jungle and up into the canopy where we did a high canopy walk amongst the tree tops. We then headed to a peak and completed a round trip loop which took us back to the park headquarters. We met some Russians along the way and were all attacked by the most amount of leeches we had ever seen! They were everywhere and really searching for us, every 10 meters we saw at least 5 leeches and they were even biting through the socks and pants! It was crazy! We were also soaked through with sweat so headed for some beer and food and relaxed the rest of the afternoon.

The next day we decided to try a non-touristy hike to a waterfall suggested to us by one of the local guides. We got some local help to find the entrance which was a bit hidden and they even cleared some fallen trees from the path for us. Things started well and we hiked along in the sticky heat following some small yellow markers, but after about 1.5 hrs we hadn’t seen a marker for some time…. We decided to continue along what was the only clear path around and wandered straight into another (L.I.Z) leech infested zone, after another hour we still had not found any sign of waterfalls, just the occasional river crossing and so decided it was getting too late to continue to search. We turned back sweaty, tired and hungry but a little relieved we didn’t have to swim with all those leeches.

The next morning we headed back to KL, along the way we decided it would be a good idea to take a small detour into a palm plantation. This turned out to be a seriously bad idea…. It had rained the night before and the clay was insanely slippery, our road tires instantly filled and with all the weight on the bike it took a few goes to get back up the hill and onto solid ground, it left us covered in mud but laughing all the way into town.

Arriving in KL we picked up our Chinese Visa and organised shipping of our bike to Cambodia for the next day. A few weeks before we made contact with Diddy from Big Boy Adventures and he invited us to stay with him the next time we were in KL. It was great to finally meet him and hear about his adventure tourism business (Check them out here: Diddy was extremely helpful, he gave us a great place to stay, helped us sort everything we needed for packing up our gear and took us out for a great dinner.

The next day we boxed up our bike at Cheah BMW and were even lucky enough to get a genuine BMW crate. The guys at Cheah BMW were amazing, especially the workshop manager David! He unpacked a new bike just so we could have the crate, brought cakes and drinks while we worked on packing our bike and even fork lifted the crate onto the truck for us. We then headed back to Diddy’s for a BBQ with a group of his friends who were also fellow motorcycle riders. It was a great night and great end to Malaysia. Thanks again Diddy for your amazing hospitality we look forward to seeing you and the guys in Germany!

Due to new regulations in Thailand with entering with a foreign vehicle we have decided Thailand is too much trouble and instead will ship from Malaysia to Cambodia.  We have also decided we will take a few week trip to Taiwan instead and do a tour there before continuing on our journey in Cambodia.

TAIWAN!!! Who would have thought we would ever go to Taiwan? Not us!

At the end of this section of our trip we are going to write a few extra words in German because we really want Carolin’s dad to come and visit Taiwan. It is biker heaven!!

Also for Taiwan, through the help of Guido (a good friend of Uncle Rob’s), we have hired a Triumph Tiger 800 while our bike is on-route to Cambodia.

We arrived into Taipei in the late afternoon and got picked up by Guido. Guido and his wife Lishou welcomed us into their house and we immediately felt at home. They took us out for dinner at a lovely local restaurant and we then headed home to prepare for the next day and get some sleep. Guido likes an early (just to beat the traffic he says haha) so we were up at 4:30am packed the bike and headed off with a group of his friends out of the city and into the mountains. Amazing doesn’t describe it…. The mountain roads wind continuously, seemingly without end, with a crystal blue river snaking along beside, deep in down in the valley.

The crew having a Taiwanese breaky before getting stuck into the serpentines.

After a few hours the group split up and Guido took us up into a special camping spot for the night, but not before taking a quick detour across a hanging bridge (it really got both our hearts racing). We set up the tents and headed off on a hike into a bamboo forest and out to some amazing giant trees, the walk was stunning. The view from the campground was also beautiful especially with the blossoming trees surrounding the area.

Up early again and we headed back down the mountain pass and stopped for a 7-11 breaky (another of Guido’s favourites… they have air-con he always says haha!) we then said good bye and headed off on our own (we plan to follow a route that Guido mapped out for us which completes a full circuit of the island). We stopped by a strawberry field where Carolin enjoyed picking some fresh berries with some pumping techno as background music, it was a bizarre experience but lots of fun. We then headed on to Ta Ta Jia a mountain pass which is famous amongst local riders and up to our campsite.

The view the next morning was epic.

Serpentines for breakfast and on to a small town where tea is grown in the hills, we had a tea ceremony with a lovely family and talked via our google translate app, it was hilarious but got the job done.

After lunch we arrived at Maolin and got to ride across a long hanging bridge, Lucas had fun crossing back and forth a few times.

We then headed for the nights final destination, a campsite in a riverbed recommended to us by Guido, but unfortunately we arrived too late to get ‘Mountain Pass’ permission. The police spoke zero English so out came the app again but this time no service, lucky for us a local cyclist was happy to help but he also spoke no English and so he called his friend to help (somehow he had service?!?). After multiple phone calls over the next hour or so and lots of discussion the police officer then led us with the cyclist following behind to a ‘campsite’ for night. Well ‘campsite’ is a bit of a stretch it was actually a rubbish truck depot with a toilet block… After they left and we set up the tent the wind changed and man did it stink! But, happy to have a place to put the tent and with no other options we decided to stick it out and headed in search of some food.

Just like the wind changed, so did our luck! At the top of the hill from our rubbish dump camp ground was café Kaduvoo and the owner Timothy! We had great pizzas and started to chat with Timothy and he quickly offered us to move the tent up next to his café. After a quick discussion we graciously accepted and even got upgraded to a hot shower at the local firefighters where Timothy’s friend James was working the night shift. We spent the rest of the evening chatting with Timothy and Carolin even got to play with the coffee machine.

Campsite 1 – Stink Town

Campsite 2 – City Views

Timothy and his amazing Café – A must visit if you are ever in Sandimen

The next morning we headed down into the riverbed to explore , this time no problems getting in, and spent the day riding through the gorge, wading in the crystal clear river and exploring the mountain villages.

On the way down from the mountain we decided to stop in and have a coffee with Timothy before continuing south to Kenting, but after a few hours of chatting we decided it was nicer to spend some more time with our new friend. Evening came around and he took us to a family member’s homestay in an aboriginal village. We met again the next morning for breakfast and took a walking tour through the village and learned about the local aboriginal art and history.

We then packed up the bike again and headed for Kenting, Taiwan’s go to beach destination. Unfortunately the rain made our beach stay quite short, as we decided the next morning to keep moving up the coast and head for some hot springs we had discovered in the mountains instead.

Rain Rain Rain and more mountain passes, but with the thought of hot springs pushing us on we continued into the fog, higher and higher up the mountain. We set up camp close to the entrance to the Lisong Hot Spring trail, managed to get a fire started and enjoyed the quiet and serenity of our isolated camp.

The next morning we climbed for 1 hour down the mountain side with some challenging steep sections which required ropes and even rope ladders. It was all worth it. The Lisong Hot springs were amazing, ranging from 40 degrees in the pool to 70 degrees coming off the cliffs. The colours were really impressive with intense greens and whites created by the minerals in the water. The river beside the spring was freezing cold but was really refreshing after a few minutes bathing in the hot spring water.

It was so beautiful we didn’t want to leave but eventually we dragged ourselves away and made the hour climb back up to the bike. A few hours and thousands of serpentines later we arrived at our next campsite (another Guido recommendation) at the start of the Taroko Gorge.

We woke up early the next morning and hiked out to a waterfall, the river was running fast in the gorge and looked spectacular.

We then planned a rendezvous with Guido, but first 2 hours of serpentines up the Taroko Gorge with pristine weather to give us amazing views of the mountains and rivers. After meeting up with Guido we continued further up the mountain above the tree line to 3,275m. We then made our way back down and after some lunch and a puncture repair on Guido’s bike with the Dynaplug kit and pump saving the day, headed back to Taipei.

Lucas having a break from the curves while waiting for Guido to arrive.

We finished off an amazing day and amazing tour with a schnitzel and beer at ‘Die Deutsche Hütte’.

Easter Sunday we had a relaxed breakfast in the garden and headed out for a Guido city tour. We visited the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial, Taipei 101 and the Grand Hotel. Lishou cooked a really yummy dinner for us and late that evening Uncle Rob arrived. It is so funny for us that it worked that we are all here together.

We spent the next week cruising around on Guido’s scooter exploring Taipei, getting Lishou personal tours of the mountains and Tamsui (a sea side town) and hanging out with Guido, Lishou and Rob enjoying plenty of good food (especially Lishou’s amazing cooking) and of course a few beers. We even got to meet up with Timothy again, he came all the way up to Taipei to see us and we had a great time hanging and exploring around together.

Thank you so much for everything Guido and Lishou. We loved staying with you and you made our visit to Taiwan one we will never forget.

Eine kleine deutsche Übersetzung auf spezielle Anfrage meines Papas, auch mal einen deutschen Satz zu schreiben.

Wir hätten nie gedacht, dass es uns mal nach Taiwan verschlägt aber wir haben unsere Entscheidung keine Minute bereut.

Wir haben mit Hilfe von Guido (ein Freund von Lucas Onkel Rob) eine Triumph Tiger 800 gemiete und Guido hat uns zu wunderbaren Plätzen in Taiwan geführt und uns Ideen für eine gut einwöchige Motorradrundreise in Taiwan gegeben.

Taiwan ist der Motorradfreunde Himmel auf Erden und die wunderschönen Bergpässe und Schluchten können ganz klar mit denen von Europa mithalten. Die Serpentinen winden sich die Berge hinauf bis auf Höhen von 3275m und die Landschaft ist so abwechslungsreich, dass man aus dem staunen kaum heraus kommt. Wunderschöne kristallblaue Flüsse winden sich durch das Land. Die heißen Quellen, die Taiwan an der Ostküste zu bieten hat, sind prima um die müden Knochen und Muskeln entspannen zu lassen.

Das leckere taiwanesische Essen läd zum munteren Probieren ein, denn traditionell bestellt man mehrere Gerichte und teilt sie dann mit allen Freunden die am Tisch sitzen. Wir hatten von einfachem (aber super leckerem) gebratenem Reis, Wassergras, Wasserspinat mit Knoblauch, alle Variationen von Tofu und Hühnchen bis hin zu gebratenen „Betelnuss Blumensprossen“ und gebratenen„monkey head mushroom - Affenkopfpilz“.

Die Menschen hier sind überaus freundlich und hilfsbereit und die meisten können doch ein paar Worte englisch und falls das nicht geht, sind alle hier bereit Kommunikation mit Händen und Füßen fortzusetzen.

Vielen Dank nochmal an Lishou und Guido für alles, es war wunderbar bei euch zu sein.

(Lieber Papa, du solltest unbedingt mal das Abenteuer Taiwan wagen und diese tolle Motorradinsel bereisen)

Calla Lillies

Shilin Night Market and Temple Celebration

Tamsui tour with Lishou

Hike up the mountain behind Guido’s house

Meeting with Timothy (and his mum :D ) in Tamsui

City Lights of Taipei

Next Stop -----> CAMBODIA!

Man! Phnom Penh is hot! We decided to fly into Phnom Penh because we were told it was the better and easier destination for shipping our motorcycle… We quickly found out this was wrong… Very wrong!

We arrived on Saturday and the motorcycle was due to arrive on the Sunday and we were told we could pick it up on the Monday. So we decided to check out Phnom Penh and also visit the Killing Fields which was a very emotional experience, some horrible things happened in this country not so long ago.

After a couple of days we were over the big city, did we mention it was really hot? and we were itching to get the bike. Monday came around and no one would answer our calls, worse yet when they did they didn’t seem to know anything, finally we got the address for the forwarding agent and headed there. We are then told, for the company to clear the bike through customs (which hadn’t even been unloaded from the ship yet, even though it was already 3 days late arriving) we would need to pay around $950 USD which is nearly double the cost to get it from Malaysia to the Port of Cambodia. So we said we would clear it through customs ourselves, but of course first come the “handling fees” of $209 USD must pay or no release letter… hmmm… So we pay and ask “is this all the documentation we need? Yes yes of course go there!” ok! So we catch a shuttle 4.5 hrs south to the town of Sihanoukville where the port is.

The next morning we cruise into the port with our hire scooter only to be told we need a special letter of permission from the Tourism office, endorsed by the chief of customs…. In Phnom Penh!!!! No if’s, no but’s… No photocopies! No emails!!!! Must go there in person…. (WE WERE JUST THERE!!)

Right, we have a scooter and we want the letter so may as well drive the 8hr return trip to Phnom Penh to get the letter with the scooter. A giant rain storm and 450km’s later Lucas had the letter signed by the Chief of Customs and Carolin had a great tan from chilling on the beach (Can you guess who is the smart one in our family? Chill on the beach? Or ride 8hrs on a scooter? Haha)

Day 2 of customs clearance. Well we wont bore you with the grimy details but $140 USD worth of $1 and $2 bribes (or tips as they like to call them… since when do you tip police?) and custom fees and charges etc. etc. etc. and a full day later we had her back! We rode straight past security asking for more “tips” on the way out, just gave a polite wave and smile and we were finally free!!!

Sihanoukville wasn’t all bad though! Carolin had a great time swimming at a pristine beach and we stayed over a great little café owned and run by some lovely German girls.

Carolin enjoyed some time on the beach

One of the girls from the great Café and a sample of their amazing food

Early start and we headed out of the heat of Sihanoukville and into mountains of Bokor Hill Station. We checked out a hotel built in the 1920’s which was abandoned during the time of the Khmer Rouge and an old Church. It was a great temperature up in the clouds, we didn’t want to leave. Eventually we headed back down the winding road and on to Kampot. We had met some other travellers up the hill and they recommended their bungalow resort to us so we headed there to check it out and maybe catch up for a beer.

Bokor Station Hotel

Chilled out is the vibe we felt in Kampot so we decided to stay another night (also we drank some dodgy water the day before and were both violently ill most of the night and into the day so weren’t going anywhere haha but we enjoyed the extra time there.)

Feeling much better we made an early start the next day and headed for Battambang. The only thing we want to report on this is that the drivers in Cambodia rival the drivers in Vietnam!

Overloading is the name of the game

Local Roadside Market Meat Fridge (or lack there of)

When we arrived in Battambang we headed straight for the guesthouse pool (we treated ourselves) it was a great way to cool off. The guesthouse also had the best overnight secure parking we have come across so far, right next to the front desk!

Today we head for the Bamboo Railway super touristy but still lots of fun. It turned out to be quite a crazy experience! Flying along at maybe 25-30 km/hr along misaligned and uneven rail tracks on a bamboo bed powered by a tiny engine at the back. It was great but a bit scary in the beginning.

No problems if you meet someone coming the other way. Just take one train apart!

After the train we headed to a temple on a hill, Wat Banan. 358 stairs later we reached the top and enjoyed the temple ruin and the nice breeze. We then headed back to the guesthouse for another swim until it got a bit cooler and visited the bat cave in the evening where a mass exodus of bat occurs every night. It was really fascinating to watch.

On the way to dinner tonight we went for a look in a Bric-a-Brac shop, it was full of all sorts of statues and interesting trinkets. We met one of the owners and after chatting for a while we got some great recommendations on non-touristy temples to visit. With our new plan we headed for some dumplings and pulled noodles which he also recommended, they were great! Hopefully that is a good sign for things to come.

On the road again today we are following the loop from Battambang to Preah Vihear via Banteay Chhmar temples. After some fried rice for breakfast out on the road, we reached our first stop at Banteay Chhmar temple ruin. We had the whole place to ourselves except for two young boys who followed us through the temples showing us funny things while constantly being amazed by the size of Lucas’ feet.

After dropping our bags at a random roadside guesthouse we headed for the cliff temple of Preah Vihear. This temple lies on the border of Cambodia and Thailand and after a windy, steep road to the top you can walk through the temples up to the cliff top. Its an amazing view over the flat lands of Cambodia. There were only a few small groups of locals and we were the only real tourists it was an amazing place.

Back to early mornings, today we are visiting Koh Ker temple complex on our way to Siem Reap, it is really amazing to see the nature taking over the temples.

We arrived early afternoon in Siem Reap and again we treated ourselves to a guesthouse with a pool (which was more like a bath as the water was so warm) but it was really nice to cool us down. We spent the evening looking around the night markets and drinking watermelon ice slushies.

Today is Angkor Wat day! Up at 4:00 am and in the tuk tuk by 4:30 we made it for sunrise of the Angkor Wat temple, it was a really spectacular way to welcome another day of templeing (even if there were a couple of hundred of other tourists all with the same idea).

The rest of the morning we spent wandering around in the temple complex and working our way with the tuk tuk from place to place. We will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

We got back to our hotel around 2pm and spent the rest of the day lazing in the pool and organising some bits a pieces. Siem Reap is a very ‘hip’ and trendy city with many cafes and restaurants. We took time out of the heat in the evening to have a nice ice coffee and tea and reflect on an amazing day.

On the road by 8:30 to beat the heat we headed for our next destination in Kratie to see the dolphins. We made a quick stop in Kampong Cham to ride across the bamboo bridge, wow talk about nerve racking. Its very much like riding in deep sand but much scarier when you are suspended a couple of meters over a river.

With a huge storm closing in we made a dash for Kratie and were lucky to only get sprinkled on a couple of times. Just after we arrived the huge storm hit and knocked out the power, the rain was torrential and we were very happy we were safe and sound in our room.

After a chill day we rode up and took a boat to see if we could spot any Irrawaddy dolphins swimming in the Mekong River. They are very rare freshwater dolphins which have a very funny head shape compared to normal dolphins. There were only three of us on the boat and our boat driver was knowledgeable and found the dolphins straight away, then much to our relief and happiness he shut off the engines and paddled/drifted around for the next hour while we watched the dolphins hunting and playing around us. They are very quick and extremely hard to get a picture of, but in total we saw maybe 10 and 1 baby.

No pictures of the dolphins. Either they were too quick or we were too slow.. plus we also got stuck watching them

Today we head for our last destination in Cambodia, a town called Banlung. After only a short couple of hours we dropped our bags at our Home Stay and headed straight for the Volcanic lake to wash the dust off. It was amazingly clear and very warm in spots. We splashed around for a couple of hours and then headed back for some dinner and hit the sack ready for waterfall exploring the next day which was great fun and again ended with a couple of hour swim in the lake.

Katieng Waterfall

Kachanh Waterfall

Today we head for our first land border!We got up early and after a couple of hour ride the road turned into a pothole filled mess and we bumped our way up to the border checkpoint. To make sure we don’t get stuck Carolin walked over to the Lao side and confirmed we could get visa’s on arrival and bike entry for enough time until our tour in China starts. All confirmed we headed back to the Cambodian check point to stamp us and the bike out. Then the fun started…

First we were directed to see the Customs Officer.. No problems we though since we had the 15-30 pages of customs documents we got when we picked the bike from the port. But we thought wrong.. pay again he kept saying through the translator… we already paid we kept repeating… this went on for nearly two hours with us intermittently playing dumb as to what was going on… we were not paying again! Finally after his lunch break (and we think he had snooze too) he must have been completely sick of us because all of a sudden he stamped our carnet (which had been refused at the port when we brought the bike in) and off we went. GOOD BYE CAMBODIA!!!!! SABAIDEE LAO (hello Laos)!!!!

Loa, beautiful Lao! Entry into Lao was as easy as 1, 3, 2. Literally we visited window 1 (apply for visa), then window 3 (apply for bike entry) and window 2 (pick up visa and pay) and we drove away. We even got the carnet stamped even if Lao isn’t a carnet country. The whole process was smooth as silk, especially compared to Cambodia.

After a quick lunch (the food here is amazing) we rode to the area of the 4000 islands. We decided to do a round trip of the big, main island, but after 1.5 hours of pothole dodging (they were massive) we were pretty sick of it, so we found a guesthouse and settled in for a beer and to plan the next few weeks. The view of the fisherman from bridge over to the island was great.

The next morning we headed for Pakse. We had heard about a loop that is popular for motorcyclists and decided it would be a good one to try. After finding accommodation and dumping our bags we headed into the Bolaven Plateau (also known as the Pakse loop). We visited two waterfalls Tad Fane and Tad Yuang which were really amazing and then headed on to a town called Paksong for lunch. It began to rain really heavily so after lunch we chilled out in a coffee house called Jhai Coffee House and spent the afternoon chatting with the owner/creator about his amazing project where he works with the local coffee farmers to help them produce high quality coffee and then puts the profits from the sales into community water projects for Lao schools and teaching the children good hygiene and sanitation. It’s a really inspiring project he is running and we would like to raise some awareness for him. He is really making a big difference here. Please visit his website or facebook and have a look through all the amazing things the project is achieving. Here are the links:



Before we knew it was starting to get dark and with the rain still coming down hard we decided not to finish the loop and instead head back to dry off and have some dinner.

Tad Fane Waterfall

Tad Yuang Waterfall

Up early, we had breakfast at a great café/bakery that teaches locals all types of hospitality and baking during the day and provides English classes in the evenings. We then made our way north to a town called Thakhek where we had heard there was another bigger loop for motorcycles with awesome scenery and plenty of places to visit along the way. We had a slow, quiet afternoon and went to bed early, ready for a big days ride the next day.

The scenery in Lao is breathtaking! We rode out of Thakhek and into giant karst mountains. Our first stop was a big cave called Tham Nang Aen Cave, it had excellent colourful lighting. We then drove up into the first windy roads we have seen for weeks, this took us to a place called Thalang where a huge area has been flooded by a hydro power station down river. The result is an eerie landscape full of dead trees in a large lake that stretches into many valleys; it is beautiful but sad at the same time to see the areas trees killed by the flooding. We then stopped for lunch at a small guesthouse and actually had the feeling we were back in the Allgäu, the cows had bells around their necks and we nearly felt a little home sick… Nearly…. Back on the bike we headed to some cool pools…. They were really cool (both really cold + awesome) haha. We had a great swim with some local kids doing flips from rocks and trees into the pool. The water had an amazing blue colour.

Flooded Dead Woods

Cool Pools

The road then took us again among giant karsts and onto a place called Kong Lor where a huge cave was, we managed to get to a room just before a huge storm hit and we sat back and watched the lighting and rain. We decided to spoil ourselves again with a riverside bungalow at the Spring River Resort.

Local girl fishing

Today we waited for the rain to stop and decided to head into the cave. Kong Lor cave is a 7.5km long cave with a river running right through to a village on the other side. The boat trip took about 45 minutes to go through the cave and about half way we were able to walk through a section where they have set up some amazing lighting to display the beauty of the stalactites, stalagmites and other different structures inside the cave.

We then took a local wooden boat from our resort and paddled ourselves up the Spring river. It was extremely peaceful and quiet (apart from the occasional scream from Carolin when we accidently went through some spider webs. In her defence the spiders were huge! See previous picture.)

Sunday today (it is funny, we have no idea what day or even date it is most of the time.. we only know roughly how many days to the next border crossing, but we managed not to forget mothers day :D ) Today we rode to Vientiane, we managed to catch some rain coming into the city and quickly got to our accommodation. We headed out to the night food market and Lucas managed to accidently order himself a whole BBQ duck (lost in translation) but then managed to eat the whole thing standing next to the stall he bought it from. After a few beers we headed to bed.

The next day we got up early and headed to the Mongolian embassy and got Lucas his double entry visa. $100 and half an hour later we had the visa in our sweaty little hands, still warm from the printer. We then headed to a bike shop and BMW dealer and organised some bits and pieces for changing oil and fixing a broken mud guard. We thought we better see something from the cultural side of the city so headed to a Buddha statue park, it was interesting and nice to wander through and look at all the different sculptures. After a successful day and to have a break from rice and noodles we treated ourselves to a Pizza which actually was very good and tasted like authentic Italian pizza.

The next day Lucas took the bike and changed the oil, air filter and fixed the mudguard in a local bike shop (Fuarks Big Bike Shop) while Carolin spent day browsing through the local shops.

Rain, rain, rain. Today we rode to Vang Vieng but due to the rainy weather we decided just spend the night relaxing and eating. We had planned to stay longer but the town is based around river and other outdoor activities which we didn’t think would be enjoyable in the rain (haha we prefer riding in the rain).

We then took the 13N up and into the mountains. Cold, rainy and hundreds of curves. It was a great ride with some even better views but the low cloud made it slow going at times. We enjoyed a fried rice at the top of one of the mountains (while we warmed our fingers on the bowls) it was so cold we could actually see our own breath. We then headed back down and luckily the rain had stopped and we enjoyed a nice dry ride into Luang Prabang. We finished the evening with a Lao BBQ and met with two members of our China crossing group Yuliya and Sebastian. After more beers than we needed and a late night visit to a bamboo bridge we called it a night.

Lazy day! Today was slow and lazy. We checked out Luang Prabang, walked along the riverside, visited a local Wat and took a stroll through the night market.

Carolin started her day today with a long awaited riverside Yoga session. We then took the bike out to Kuang Si Waterfalls. They were really awesome and again had an amazing turquoise blue colour, with gentle cascades and a roaring waterfall at the top. There was also a Moon Bear Rescue centre which saved bears from poachers, it was funny to watch them sleep in weird positions and play around with each other.

The next day we rode further north to Nong Khiaw, a sleepy town by a river, recommended to us by a backpacker we had met a few nights earlier. Yuliya and Sebastian accompanied us and we found some cheap riverside bungalow accommodation. We spent the evening wandering through the town and enjoying the sunset from the bridge. The following morning we got up at 5:30am and hiked up a mountain for roughly an hour to a 360 degree view point. The views were incredible. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and trying to beat the heat.

Back on the bike we headed to our last stop for Laos, a town called Luang Namtha. We also got our first puncture of the trip which caused a bit of a headache but also slowed us down enough that some other members of the China crossing group caught up with us, Amandio and Joselle, a Brazillian couple travelling in a Chevrolet pickup/camping truck. We limped into town and met with the rest of the group (Toby & Laura in their Land Rover and Sergio on his loaded up Africa Twin motorcycle).

Fixing the puncture

Meeting with some more of the China gang

Crazy looking bug

Our last day in Laos was spent relaxing, trying to fix the tire and wandering through the town. Tomorrow…. We head for CHINA!!!

For the next 21 days…. its TIC – THIS IS CHINA! We all met bright and early in the main street of Luang Namtha to set off on our big China adventure as a group. Our group consists of 5 vehicles and 10 people, (Toby and Laura from England in their off road Land Rover Defender, Amandio and Joselle from Brazil in their pimped out Chevy Colorado camper, Sebastian and Yuliya from Germany/Russia on their packed out Triumph Tiger 800 XC, Sergio from Italy on his camouflaged Honda Africa Twin and of course us. The final member of the group who we hopefully pick up at the border is our Chinese guide from NAVO tours, Shannon, she will be travelling with us in one of the cars. NAVO Tours is a great company if you are interested in doing a trip through China we highly recommend them. Check out their website here:

We arrived at the border and to our delight our guide Shannon was waiting for us. We were actually so early the Lao side of the border was not even open yet so we parked up and waited. A bus load of Chinese people turned up and we immediately became the star attraction. We posed for a quick million photos and even had to tell them not to get on our bikes, they were going crazy. After a crazy exit process, which took about an hour to get everyone stamped out, we then rode about 2 km’s through no-mans land to the China border. A couple of hours later and with a lot of Shannon’s help we finally made it!!

We quickly found that here in China, for the locals, our little group is the best thing since sliced bread… And they don’t even have sliced bread!!! Every single day, every time we stop, before breakfast, after dinner, any time of the day, they appear camera phones recording or pictures being taken. Groups of 5 or 6 quickly form, especially around the bikes. It also became quite a dangerous hazard while on the roads as the Chinese would record us while trying to drive, some even stop in the middle of the road and reverse into traffic just to get a good look and the best angle for their photos. It was crazy!!

Our first night was at Mohan in the border province. We sorted out our Chinese drivers licences, medical checks (which were just someone looking at us over a desk and checking off and signing a sheet) and Chinese number plates for our vehicles, got sim cards and settled in for our first night in China.

Chinese Licence

Bike Test for Chinese Registration

We were super keen to hit the road and start our adventure so we were all up and ready to go, engines running, at 7am. Our itinerary said 390 km’s driving for the day to Mojiang on National Roads with an estimated travel time of 11 hours. We thought this was way off but we quickly realised the condition and types of roads we need to travel on, through crazy mountain passes, valleys and through heaps and heaps of road works, 11 hours ended up being pretty spot on.

We arrived in the evening to our hotel and then headed out to visit a special well. The city we are staying in is known as China’s city of twins. The legend is, when the water from the well is drunk by a woman, she has a high possibility of having twins. The girls headed to the well and filled up their drink bottles haha.

7 am start , engines running again. Big driving day, around 400 km’s on rough roads to Kunming. Sometimes it is difficult in China to find hotels for foreigners as they are not all allowed to have them stay, we also must register with the police in some cities. Tonight we had an issue where the hotel accepted us but were not registered to take foreigners, the police came in the middle of the night and the hotel got in lots of trouble and even has to shut down for 2 weeks. We had no idea about any of this when we booked, they told us everything was fine, it was pretty crazy but our amazing guide managed to sort everything out for us.

The next morning we had steamed buns for breakfast, they were awesome and quickly became the popular choice for breaky.

Today the roads from Kunming to Zhaotong were a mixture of good and terrible but we were rewarded with some great turns, views of mountains and farm land and drove alongside a huge dam with turquoise water. After we arrived we headed to a local market and wandered through the back alleys. We were a bit of a tourist attraction with many people asking for pictures as we wondered the streets. We really wonder what they do with all the pictures and videos they take… We like to imagine our pictures are framed and placed on the wall in their house haha.

Lucas assuming his position during a rest stop

We don’t know what these ladies were doing, but they were chopping the surface of the road with axes. One of the many strange things we saw along the way

The roads conditions were forever changing

With Toby & Laura at the local market

Dusty and dirty was today’s theme. The road from Zhaotong to Leshan was rough but rewarding as we stumbled across some great waterfalls, one of which was right onto the road. The bikes did our best to avoid them to stay dry but Toby and Laura decided getting a free car wash was the better way to go. It was really beautiful scenery. We rode from 7am to 4pm today with only a short lunch break, we also crossed through some really scary tunnels, some were up to 2km’s long with no lights and no ventilation. The air inside was horrible and if that wasn’t bad enough we had to contend with crazy Chinese drivers overtaking us inside the tunnel. It was a hard day but lots of fun.

DAY 6 in China started bright and early (as usual) but this time with a cultural activity. We visited the 1,200 year old, 71 meter tall, Giant Leshan Buddha which is carved into a cliff. It was awesome to see and to look through all the temples that surround it. Back on the bikes we headed to the city of Chengdu. Once checked in, we went to the "Narrow and Wide" street and wandered through the old buildings. We had Chinese hot pot for dinner with Shannon and spent the rest of the evening looking around the city centre and at the giant statue of Chairman Mao.

Amusing English translations were everywhere

Pictures of old town – Chengdu

Statue of Mao

Finally a day off the bikes but no sleep for the wicked, because today we are heading to the Panda Research Centre. Panda’s are pretty much the cutest things we have ever seen!!! EVER!!! We spent the whole morning adoring these cute, fluffy teddys. They really look like a teddy bears and have the most amazing mannerisms. The small ones were even cuter!! It was so great to see them. We then saw some Red Pandas which are much smaller and more like a fox or racoon. They roamed freely around where we walked and all of a sudden one ran up to Lucas and bit him on the foot, it was so funny. It wasn’t a hard bite, just checking what this big smelly thing in its way was, but still gave him a bit of a shock haha. We then all headed to meet with the other NAVO tour staff for a big lunch. These are the amazing people behind the scenes, organising everything. After months of talking with them via email and sms it was great to finally meet and put faces to names. We then even got T- shirts, stickers and some great gifts.

Red Panda – Looking cute and fluffy right before he attacked haha

The whole NAVO Crew

Aftermath – Usual case after lunch the table looks like a murder scene

The rest of the day was spent sorting laundry and Lucas went and changed the tires on the bike. In the evening Laura and Toby came with us to try to find some non-oily food in the Tibetan quarter. We really enjoy the flavours of the southern Chinese food but it is all swimming in oil and the whole group is struggling with it a little. We managed to find some great Tibetan food but it turns out it is also swimming in oil haha.

Lucas made a new friend and got a free bike wash

Our new travel companion Wei the panda

On the road again!Big day of riding today with more road works and some great scenery after lunch. We arrived in Guangyuan in the late afternoon and headed out to look around the city.

They rolled out the red carpet for us :)

Today we are heading to Foping. Along the way we saw another motorcycle rider so stopped to say hello, after a few pictures it turned out he was heading the same direction on his way home so he decided to ride along with us. Today was amazing scenery with road crossing over mountains and stretching along a turquoise coloured river. Tonight we all shared a few beers and Chinese hot pot again for dinner.

Photo Credit: Toby Rogers

Foping to Xi’an today. The amazing road continued on along the valley and river. After leaving the clean mountain air we descended into the smog and pollution of the big city of Xi’an. This city is famous for its ancient wall that surrounds the inner part of the city and for its pagodas, towers and Muslim quarter. It rained heavily while we were there but we still had fun exploring the Great Mosque, enjoying the food and visiting bell and drum towers. We also visited the Wild Goose Pagoda and our No. 1 tour guide Shannon explained the history and ancient stories shown in each of the temples. Carolin and I both then headed for haircuts which was a hair-larious experience, with a rough head massage and blow wave for both of us. Carolin even got some curls. We also had the mandatory pictures and videos taken for the hairdressers Chinese facebook and maybe even to be printed for the wall, who knows!.

Photo Credit: Toby Rogers

The grey is smog and pollution not cloud

Giant Goose Pagoda

Street food chef cooking up some veggie noodles for Carolin

DAY 12!! This morning we visited the Terracotta Warriors. The 8th wonder of the world. An ancient army buried under the earth for thousands of years. It was really impressive to see.

This is the only Terracotta warrior that was found completely in tact. The rest were found destroyed by a previous Dynasty and have since been carefully reconstructed by experts.

We then continued on to the city of Hancheng through some amazing valleys and farm land. Many years ago the local people used to live in small caves they dug into the mountain side. When we arrived, Shannon took us on a tour of the old city, through Buddhist Temples and we enjoyed a dinner of BBQ and noodles. Again we were the star attraction with many people (even the people cooking our food) crowding around and taking photos and videos. Lucas even managed to trade pictures for beer and got a sneaky second beer when they tried to take a second picture. It was a really great night.

Lucas trading pictures for free beers

By the way did we mention the Chinese driving style yet? It seems late to mention it now but really it is seriously crazy!!! We are used to all sorts of Asian driving styles but never something this aggressive! The driving attitude here is "Me first, me first, me first"!!! Even if it means running a red light! Causing an insane traffic jam or just two trucks trying to go through a single lane road at the same time… In the OPPOSITE direction!! They just sit there looking at each other, on many occasions so far we became traffic police, getting off our bikes and sternly making one party go back so traffic can start moving again. Sometimes it means 5 or 6 vehicles move back as they all tend to pile in on top of each other as soon as the smallest blockage occurs. To say driving in China is an eye opening experience is a massive understatement.

The other truly eye opening or should we say eye watering thing we found in China were the toilets. In rest stops and restaurants they were most often just a concrete gutters, sometimes without even a divider for privacy and often covered in… well… use the deepest, darkest part of your imagination. They were gag worthy to say the least. It was shocking to see the state people were ok to leave the toilets in after they had done their business. Public toilets quickly became for emergency use only, even for our Chinese guide.

Our next destination was the city of Pingyao. This province has a huge coal industry and thus the pollution is really, really bad. Everywhere you look is a grey haze and the mountains are only just visible as a faint outline in the distance. We wont even try and describe the smells. We reached the city and took the evening to again walk through the ancient part of the walled city, the contrast from the busy, noisy, smelly streets outside the wall to the clean, calm, quiet atmosphere inside the walled area is astounding.

Today we managed to break away from the smog and pollution and head back into the mountains. We did a big days riding with many trucks on the road but today was one of the biggest highlights of our entire trip. We found THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA!! On our way down the other side of the mountain range we saw an old wall snaking across the mountains. We pulled over to take some photos and got really excited as we realised this was the oldest part of the great wall. Nearly 2,000 years old, this part of the wall is a long way from the newer touristy parts near Beijing. We spent the next 2 hours exploring all around the wall with only an old local farmer coming to see what we were up to. We had the whole place to ourselves it was a surreal experience. Lucas managed to ride his bike right alongside the wall by doing a little off-roading and we headed down some dirt tracks to check out some other parts across a valley. We explored some turrets which were used as communication/guard towers and the old farmer explained they used smoke signals to send messages to each other when the Mongol enemy was coming to attack. If we use the borders from when the wall was built we were actually now in Mongolia!

Photo Credit: Toby Rogers

Photo Credit: Shannon No.1 tour guide

Photo Credit: Shannon No.1 tour guide

Photo Credit: Shannon No.1 tour guide

Photo Credit: Shannon No.1 tour guide

Shannon our amazing tour guide :P

Photo Credit: Toby Rogers

Photo Credit: Shannon No.1 tour guide

An ancient grinding stone

The next morning we visited a hanging temple. This temple is built into the side of a huge cliff and is the only temple in China to worship 3 religions (Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism). It was originally built about 1,400 years ago and even though it was refurbished around 500 years ago it is still considered one of the most unstable buildings in the world. The poles holding the walkways up are really quite skinny and rickety, we had to put a lot of trust in them as we walked from room to room. Many of the group, even some of the boys, were very nervous.

After a few hours exploring the temple we continued on to the city of Datong. After dropping our bags at the hotel we headed to the Yungang Grottos. These Grottos were built between the 5th and 6th century AD and the entire complex consists of 252 caves and niches. Many of these house wall carvings and giant Buddhist statues. It was amazing to see the detail of the work in the carvings and the beautiful colours (even after so many years).

Today we take a detour off the main route towards Beijing. Our first stop was the Great Wall of China near the Badling Area. We picked a less touristy spot and headed up on the wall just before the ticket office closed. This section of the wall is from the Ming Dynasty and is only around 600 years old but is still just as impressive. We started our steep climb in the late afternoon and had a great time exploring, enjoying the wonderful view and even drinking a coffee on the wall (Toby and Laura brought their espresso machine and camp cooker.) Lucas spotted some camels off the wall in some bush land and he and Toby went camel hunting (with their cameras of course). The rest of the group stayed on the wall and laughed at the boys being chased around by the camels. It was a great experience again on this magnificent ancient structure, the sheer size of the wall is mind boggling.

Photo Credit: Toby Rogers

Toby’s first encounter with camels haha hilarious!

Photo Credit: Toby Rogers

Next mission! Try to survive a city with 22 Million people living in it. To give some context only 24.7 Million people live in the whole of Australia!! Traffic ended up being not as bad as we had predicted, despite the usual honking, cutting off and talking on the phone while trying to merge across four lanes. Lucas and the other boys went on a mission to find some bits and pieces for the vehicles, while Carolin, Laura and Joselle went into downtown on the subway. After visiting Tiananmen Square (the largest square in the world) the girls were dying for a coffee and sure enough managed to find Beijing’s western shopping street and took a break from China by visiting Starbucks and chatting the afternoon away.

The next day the group visited the Forbidden City and went out for some famous Peking Duck. As always Shannon did an amazing job at being a guide, telling us all about the history and many interesting facts. Exhausted after a big day walking around in 38 degree heat, we headed back to the hotel to re-organise our bags ready for Mongolia. We then went out for a final meal with the Brazilians as they are now headed for Australia and not coming with the group the rest of the way to the Mongolian border.

A rough 6AM start today to beat the Beijing traffic. We hit the expressway and headed back to the north road which leads to the border town to Mongolia. The scenery changed dramatically as we entered Inner Mongolia. We were lucky to catch only the edge of a huge storm but still experienced some hail, this was the first ice we have seen (that wasn’t in our drinks) since we left Tasmania more than 4 months ago.

Our last day and night in China was spent in Erenhot, the border town, changing money and stocking up on supplies. China has been incredible and surprised us in so many good and bad ways but by far in good ways that has left wanting to return as soon as we can. Until next time!!! Next stop Die Mongolei (Mongolia). Thanks again to Shannon and the NAVO crew for an amazing experience.

Goodbye China!!

For those wondering why the tracker has stopped here is the update.

Our favourite saying: A picture tells 1000 words.

A short story for the pictures: We were riding in the East Gobi and hit a patch of deep sand. We fell down at around 25 km/hr and for all it seemed a soft landing. For Carolin it was. Very soft. For Lucas it wasnt. The result was a broken collar bone. With the help of our Gobi travel buddies Laura & Toby and their mighty Landrover Defender 110 we recovered the bike and the broken Lucas back to safety. After an overnight stay in the small clinic at the closest desert village and an 11hr drive the next day, we made it all the way up to Ulaanbaatar and into hospital. We got very professional medical help and two days later Lucas had his surgery. He is now fixed up with a plate, 6 screws and some wire and after a week in hospital is recovering well.

Soon we will continue our trip through Mongolia. We had to reorganise our whole trip as Lucas will be out of motorbike-order for the next 8-12 weeks. Unfortunately we have had to cancel Japan but we wanted to continue travelling Mongolia. Japan will come another day. We have changed from two wheels to four wheels and the driver will be mainly Carolin.

If you like our adventure and stories please stay tuned. We will put up Monoliga Take-2 in about 3-4 weeks. The tracker will be on again as of Tuesday 27th June so you can follow along with us as usual.

Lucas will then be returning to UlaanBaatar in September to pick up the motorbike and finish the trip solo all the way back to Germany. Carolin will be going back to work in Germany, someone has to pay for all this travel right haha.

For now here are a few pictures we snapped during our two days in the Gobi.

While Lucas was in hospital Carolin did some sight seeing around UlaanBaatar.

Lucas' Mongolian trophy.

The old and new are blended together through Ulaan Baatar

Genghis Khan

Carolin even starred in the advertising campaign of a local laundromat.

After 13 days in hospital, Lucas was finally cleared to leave hospital and we have managed to get our travels back on track. We are happy to present our new travel companion: The Happy Camel Landcrusier.

Otgon from Happy Camel Tours was amazing in setting us up with a self drive [no guide and no driver] rental 80 series Landcruiser and although not cheap it was 100% worth every penny, for those who are familiar with Mongolian roads and wonder why we went for self rental, we really wanted to finish our travels ourselves and experience true Mongolia without any buffer or translator and we were ready for the new challenges Mongolia has to offer. Otgon made sure the rig was Mongolia ready and even put 4 brand new tires on for us. No matter what time of day she was there to help us with anything we needed. We seriously recommend Otgon and Happy Camel Tours for both organised tours and self drive rentals (which are seriously hard to find in UB believe us we have the phone bill to prove it!). Here is a link to the Happy Camel Tour webpage for those heading to Mongolia and looking to do it on their own.

First Mission: Rescue the motorbike.

After the crew from Happy Camel dropped off the rig to the hospital and we said our goodbyes to the amazing hospital staff and especially to our new friend/doctor who went above and beyond; from driving out to meet us when we were trying to find the hospital, to bringing us home cooked Mongolian food made by his mother, proper coffee for Carolin and even helping us out with storing the bike while Lucas heals up in Germany. Caro then climbed behind the wheel of the rig and we headed south back into the Gobi for a casual 9hr drive and through a massive sand storm, to where the bike was being stored. The next day, after hours of searching, we found a 'Porter' truck and after strapping it down nice and tight we headed out into the desert bound for the next biggest town Sainshand where we hoped another truck would be waiting to take the bike to Ulaanbaatar.

So a truck was waiting for us... just not the one we thought. With the bike on the big 18 wheeler "securely" strapped to a mining machine, we were off back to Ulaanbaatar.

We wont bore you with the rest of the story but lets just say it took another 24 hrs and another truck and lots of phone calls to get the bike to the final storage. Looking back now, the whole relocation mission was all part of the big adventure, but at the time it was quite difficult, really exhausting and seriously tested the limits of our on the fly organisation, dealing with language barriers and the bond between each other. We are so happy and thankful we came out smiling on the other side :D.

After all that we really couldnt wait to get out of the city and get on with a slightly more relaxed Mongolia experience. The first night was spent free camping out of a small town called Lün and we woke to a nomadic cowboy hearding his sheep, goats and horses.

The next day we headed West along what the map showed as a Major road.

Here is what the Map showed.

Here is how the road looked.

We heard so many stories about Mongolia not having proper fuel (expect dirt and water they said), there is no water (fill up every chance you get and you will normally have to drink river water they said), there is no food (vegetarians will need to become meat eaters again and if you do find food they wont sell it to foreigners because there isn't enough for themselves they said), the distances between areas of civilisation are massive (you will spend many days without seeing anybody they said) and the final one was a satellite phone is a must! (no service or internet accept for in the big cities they said). Now, despite the pictures above, we found none of what we had heard to be true.

Fuel stations with 92 at each decent sized town, 95 some places and 98 we saw multiple times outside of Ulaanbaatar but always in larger cities.

Carolin didnt eat one piece of meat, sometimes a small discussion was required and google translate was always there to help, they always happily made something just for her (even if it was with a confused "HOW CAN YOU NOT WANT TO EAT MEAT?!?!" look on their face.) [side note: They seriously love their mutton! Literally breakfast/lunch/dinner meat/meat/meat :) ]

Every town and by town we mean group of more than 8 to 10 houses/gers/yurts had a source of water, most often a well and it was either free or cost a few cents to fill up 20L.

Everywhere we went, even in the middle of nowhere when we tried to get away from people cars/motorbikes/herdsmen/horse riders were always cruising by and sometimes stopped for a look :D. We even got passed, 2hrs from the nearest town on a serious four wheel drive track, by a Granny driving a Toyota Prius (not because we were going slow but cause we think Granny was in a hurry haha.) It quickly became our joke... Can we make it?.... Ahhh there is a Prius on the otherside! We can make it! River crossings - No problem for the Prius... Rocky mountain pass - No problems for the Prius... Mud or deep sand - No problems for the Prius... Middle of no where with no road for hours - No problems for the Prius!!

I think we found where Granny lives.

Ahh yes the phone service.. well sure there were times we didnt have service but there are many places in Germany and Australia right in civilisation, where you dont have service. But 3G in the Gobi desert, hours from the nearest town, is pretty damn good coverage if you ask us.

The only piece of information we received prior to arriving in Mongolia that was correct was the serious lack of paved roads. A small number of major cities are connected by highway (which still stretches for 100's of kilometers) but the rest is follow one of the 4-8 dirt tracks heading in the direction you want to go (see previous pictures) or find your own way!

The next days we spent free camping around moving from place to place at an easy pace, enjoying the scenery, having camp fires and making our way north to Hövsgöl Lake.

Hiding from the heat and the sun while we have some lunch.

Ovoo's are everywhere. They are sacred monuments used as altars/shrines in Mongolian religion.

What an amazing place to have a shower thanks to Toby and Laura who gave us the travel shower.

We got a flat tire at one point but had it fixed quickly by some friendly locals happy to open the tire shop on a Sunday.

The first night we spent on the West side of Hövsgöl Lake.

On East side of the lake we decided to spend the night in a Ger/Yurt at the Alagtsar tourist camp. Carolin took a horse ride and as she was the only one with the guide (Lucas obviously couldn't ride) she was invited in the horse guide's home. It was an amazing experience, she was greeted by the family with many smiles, some tasty Mongol Yoghurt (made from Yak's milk) served straight out a big, non refrigerated :), plastic bucket and even got to try some other hard, dried, yoghurty, cottage cheesey, tooth braking biscuit type thingy haha mmmm mmmm Lecker!

Our Yurt :)

Making flat bread in our little Ger.

On the way out from the lake we stopped in a small town which had a Wrestling Stadium for a few snaps :D

We then headed South, bound for White Lake (Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur) and wanted to take a short cut. We got a bit lost, did some serious four wheel driving up mountains, over rocks and even had to break out the compass but found the "main road" again and we were rewarded with an amazing camp site among some fantastic rock formations.

These little fellas are everywhere all through Mongolia. We think they are Ground Squirrels.

After a freezing cold night (sleeping at over 2,500m will tend to make for a cold night) we continued on our way. One of the descents down a mountain side was extremely steep, so steep we had all our things in the car rolling to the front. Unfortunately we werent able to capture a picture which shows the true steepness but it was pretty exciting. We arrived in a small town (Jargalant) to pick up some supplies and saw some back packers surrounded by a group of locals. After 10-15 minutes we headed over to see if they needed any help or a lift. They were a lovely french couple and were very appreciative for our offer and luckily we were heading in the same direction. We travelled the rest of the day together and enjoyed a lovely lunch of pot noodles next to a creek. While we were there two young boys came up on their horse and started playing in the river riding their horse back and forth. It was fun to watch them playing.

View from the top of the mountain.

Even the smallest track often showed up on the GPS.

We arrived to the White Lake in the early afternoon and headed past to visit some sink holes and a sleeping Volcano. The frenchies then invited us for dinner at their hostel and we enjoyed a great meal of fried meat and vegetables with rice it was very tasty. The funniest thing was at the tiny guest house we met a couple who already knew who we were, they saw Lucas' sling and knew us from the stories they had heard on their travels, the owner from the guesthouse also knew us from stories other travellers had told her. For such a big country news travels fast (faster than us anyway haha).

Our camping spot we found at midnight in the pitch black dark! (We got stuck chatting with the frenchies until very late) We just turned randomly off the highway and aimed at a mountain silhouette and stopped at the base of it, it turned out to be a great little spot.

The following day we made our along a canyon and headed for Tsetserleg. We stumbled across a mini Naadam festival. It was awesome, maybe only 4-5 other tourists and the rest locals, we saw wrestling and the end of a horse race. For those who haven't heard of it, Naadam festival is like the Mongolian olympics where they do wrestling, archery, knuckle bone shooting and horse racing. The games are extremely important in Mongolian culture especially wrestling and horse racing.

We continued on to Fairfield Bakery (owned and run by a really nice Aussie guy) and enjoyed a very tasty lunch. He came down and said hello and knew us already as well, travellers had already spread the news of our accident here too. We drove on further into the mountains to some hot springs and camped next to a river for the night.

The Yakkiest looking Yak in Mongolia.

???? No idea what this was about. No owner in sight. ????

Today we drove to the Orkhon Valley and visited a large waterfall. The road was again full of rocks, sand and crazy river crossings (one deeper than the bonnet of our landcruiser) but Carolin managed it all, no problems.

We came across a big group of eagles and vultures feeding together. They are seriously big birds.

Erdene Zuu Monastery in Harhorin was our destination today. The oldest Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. It was great to look around and we met a very nice Mongolian girl who gave us some Airag (fermented horse milk) to try. It was ahhhh.. an acquired taste and kind of fizzy :D but great to try.

We were then lucky enough to see another mini Naadam (our new Mongolian friend told us where to find it) and watch the end of another horse race. This one was much larger than the last one. We watched archery, knuckle bone shooting with throat singing (amazing to hear and watch) and watched some more wrestling. It was excellent to see all of these traditional events, we were so lucky to keep stumbling upon them. While driving out to some sand dunes that afternoon we even saw a horse race underway, the children (5-13 years) race the horses for up to 25-30 kilometers, and fast! We spent the afternoon playing in the sand dunes and set up camp near the base of another mountain.

Pondering on what the future holds. We call this one 'The Thinker' hahaha

Back to Ulaan Baatar we headed to the black market (dont worry its only a name, not a real black market) and after buying some bits and pieces, picked up our tickets for the Naadam opening and closing ceremony. Everybody we asked said the tickets for the ceremonies are super hard to find but Otgon found us two at a really great place. We then drove out to the east and camped by a river. A quick side note for those planning to travel through Mongolia: We ran out of white Benzin for our camp cooker and despite trying in many many places couldnt find it anywhere (we even asked at a hospital as they sometimes use it as rubbing alcohol.) We needed to buy a gas stove and some gas bottles which are super cheap and in every store you go in.

We didnt buy them but it was fun to play dress up

After a sleep in and slow morning we drove to Turtle Rock and the giant Genghis Khan statue. We camped the night close to Ulaan Baatar so we can get a good early run into the city for the opening ceremony.

Naadam Festival Opening Ceremony! Wow... just wow! Talk about an amazing show! There was a stadium full of actors and this year they told a story of the history of Mongolia. With horses and white doves and giant eagles and a war with the Romans and of course the story of Genghis Khan. Some famous singers sang along with a live marching band. It was incredible.

The next day we watched the finals of the wrestling, some archery and the closing ceremony. The whole experience was really a perfect way to end our time in Mongolia and finish off this amazing trip.

We would like to say thankyou to everybody who followed along with our trip and sent us lovely messages along the way (especially when we had our little accident). It was an incredible journey, with ups and a few downs, amazing waterfalls, sunsets and people. (The doctors say we should start to recover from our Temple and Waterfall fatigue in the next few months haha just kidding we loved everyone of them). Lucas won't be able to update the blog on his journey home as he won't have a computer but he will continue to post on instagram and the tracker will be up and running for those who are interested. He heads back to Ulaan Baatar on the 26th of August.

Japan The Road Home

The journey home: Mongolia to Munich

After a few weeks recovery, getting reorganised and a couple of sessions of physiotherapy Lucas was ready to hit the road again. First stop Mongolia! (Again).

Off the plane and straight to the hospital for a check-up x-ray. Our doctor and now close friend insisted on a check-up as he wanted to personally clear to make sure I was really ready and healed enough for the trip. With the all clear I grabbed my bike out of storage, loaded up my gear and headed up into the mountains around Ulaan Bataar to wait the five days it was going to take to process the first of my Russian transit visas.

Ready to get this show on the road!

Saying goodbye to my good friend/doctor

Camping around Ulaan Bataar

Amry Radio Base I accidently stumbled upon

Finally after receiving the Russian visa I made a bee-line for the border. The roads and weather were great for the first two days. Then things turned wet and the road ran out. I didn't get any photos unfortunately but when it rains in the desert the track very quickly turns into a river! Then I had to actually cross a river 4 times, it was deep (one time over my knee) and running fast and I was lucky the locals saw me searching for a place to cross and came to show me the best place to get through. Some other highlights from my 3 day, ~1,750km trip across Mongolia were meeting the many Mongol Rallyers heading in the other direction, camping in the hills above Ölgii, the seemingly infinite stretches of open road with nothing and no-one around and meeting my new Russian mates while waiting for the Mongolian-Russian border to open. FYI they keep bankers hours at the Ulaanbaishint border, 9-5 and weekdays only.

For those wondering here is a Road Report: The roads from Ulaan Bataar are in great condition (many new highways) up until Bayankhongor. Sure there are a few areas of bad pot holes but for the most part its smooth sailing up until here. Then I took the southern road to Altai. This is currently under construction as a highway but far from finished as of August 2017. The road got worse and worse going through the previously mentioned rivers and through some deep sandy areas until it pops out, about 100km from Altai, on a road which looks brand new. Now the road looked in highway condition back in the other direction as far as I could see, which would be the north route. I cant say its good all the way but it looked a hell of alot better than what I rode through. From Altai the road is back to perfect highway up until Khovd. Leaving Khovd towards Ölgii turns straight into sandy, bumpy, rocky road. Again, about 60km later you reach a point where a highway is being built, but still in the early stages and you are forced to ride beside it for a few hundred km's until just around the Tolbo Lake where it turns back into perfect highway. This remains in great condition until you reach Ölgii where the potholes return through the town and stop on exiting the other side. Great highway sticks around until around Tsagaanuur (I think) where it turns back into bumpy, rocky, dirt road which stays until you reach the other side of the Russian border. So that's that.

Some say Lonely... I say Peaceful

Photos camping in the hills above Ölgii

River by the Road, Yaks by the River

After the border openend up, my new Russian mates, a cool couple, Dinar and Garlina who were touring around on their GS, and I cruised through the Altai and snaked our way north to the town of Barnaul. The Altai region we passed through was breathtaking and unfortunatley I didnt take too many pictures because I was too busy marvelling at the mountains and rivers and trying local tasty treats recommended by my travel companions. We did however stay in a hotel as we arrived quite late and it was a treat for me as I hadn't seen running water (that wasn't in a river) since I left Ulaan Bataar 6 days earlier.

Beautiful Russian Altai

Boutique Hotel in Barnaul

The Russian couple and I decided to stick together for the trek down to Kazakhstan and they were so amazingly helpful and showed me the best Russian food in the region. The next day we rode from Barnaul down into Kazakhstan and stopped just across the border for the night.

After mincing around in Semey for a few hours the next day, we said our goodbyes and I headed south for Almaty and they headed back North-West to the capital Astana.

I was hoping the perfect road conditions of Russia would continue into Kazakhstan but alas it was not too be. Hours and hours of these strange dips, like inverted long speed humps, which were spaced perfectly so that there was no rhythm, only jarring, socket braking uncomfortableness... My Mongolian hardware in my collar bone was really put to the test and doing wonders! Not even the slightest pain from that area. My elbows, kness, wrists and general mood unfortunatley were not doing so well.

After the first 10 hours or so of this and a windy nights sleep, finally the road conidtion improved and the last few hundered km's of road into Almaty were as I had heard, like a brand new highway. Reaching Almaty I dropped in to meet with the guys at MCC Motors where I had organised to change my oil and do some general maintenance (they organised the oil for me and were kind enough to let me do the work in their workshop free of charge - thanks to Sebastian from our China group for the contact!) Those passing through Almaty and need some work done, I strongly recommend you contact Victor and the guys at MCC Motors they speak Russian, Kazak, English and German and answer on whatsapp. Great bunch of guys!

As I was planning to do the work on the up coming Saturday, I set a time with them and following their advice headed up into the mountains towards the Big Almaty Lake to camp for the night. It is a seriously beautiful area and only a very short drive from the city.

Over and around Big Almaty Lake

The next day I applied for my second and final Russian transit visa and kicked around the city. I then headed back up into the mountains to stay by the Big Almaty Lake again and unfortunatley met a young driver going way to fast around a hairpin corner. Long story short I couldn't get away from him but was lucky enough to escape with only a crushed pannier which after hours of arguing and him threatening to call the police his uncle finally came and paid to have it replaced. The photo doesnt really show the extent of the damage but I also broke a mount on my crash bars, scratched up the cyclinder head protectors and twisted the pannier frame, but luckily all was repairable. We came to a fair resolution.

The corner

The Car

The damage (Very minimal considering what could have happened)

The next day I headed back to MCC Motors and got everything sorted with the bike and spent the day chatting the guys and getting some tips on what to see around the area while I wait the 5 days for my visa.

Following their advice I headed out towards the Turgen Valley. I spent the next couple of days camping and exploring the region. From the north down to Almaty the scenery was largely unchanging and very step like but near Almaty there is a diverse range of landscape from the Mars like gorges of Sharyn Canyon to the lush pine forest around Kol-Sai Lake. It was a great few days and the locals were forever offering food, advice on where to go next and eager to have a chat about the trip I was doing.

Turgen Valley

Turgen Valley

Charyn Canyon

KolSai Lake

Lake Kaindy

I got my visa finally and immediately headed West, bound for the Russian border near Astrakhan. The next three days were spent with the throttle wide open as I blasted across the spectacular nothingness of the Kazak steppe. Managing to easily cover 1,200+ km's per day the trip from East to West of Kazakhstan went fairly quickly but all along the way I managed to meet amazing locals and to see some great sun sets and sun rises.


I was lucky the first few thousand km's were without incident besides running out of fuel and having to refuel from my spare Desert Fox fuel cell a couple of times (there was usually ennough fuel available within my 450- 500km tank range, but I wanted to fill up only from large petrol stations and some of these were out of fuel when I arrived.) The roads were amazing, like brand new highways all the way from Almaty until I made it around half-way between Uralsk and Atyrau. Then came the pot holes I had constantly been hearing about, some deeper and longer than the bike and sure enough about 60km's outside of Atyrau I managed to hit one, although it was more like an marked square edged speed hump than a pot hole and with a ear splitting crack from the suspension and a strange popping noise... my screen cracked clean in half... Luckily I didnt fall and I actually managed to catch the top half and limped the rest of the way into Atyrau. I pulled into the first auto repair shop with the hope of borrowing a drill and some bolts and instead for about 12 Euros the guys there patched up the screen with some steel straps and bolts. Good as new!

My last night was spent near the border to Russia beside a river, an old local fisherman came over and offered me some fish and we had a great chat about our families and my bike and trip using hands, feet and my Google translate app on my phone. He thought the translate app was the best thing since sliced bread although I had to teach him it doesnt work when he doesn't leave any spacesbetweenthewords haha.

Even the Camels get hot!

My Heidenau K60 Scout rear tire by this time, largely due to the increased speeds on the highways through Kazakhstan, was starting to look a little worse for wear and with no prospects of finding a decent tire before I reached Ankara or Istanbul in Turkey, I decided to reach out to my Russia mate to see if he could find something for me on my route to Georgia. Sure enough he found a tire dealer in Volgograd which was only a few hundered km's out of my way and even better it was an second hand tire in as new condition for only 40 Euro!

After crossing the border early in the morning, I changed course and headed north for Volgograd and the next morning I had some fresh rear rubber and hightailed it south for the Georgian border. Searching on the map for a nice place to camp for the night I found a nice green spot with a large river running through next to a city called Mozdok. As I got closer to the city it was getting dark and all of a sudden I was pulled over by three large Russian policemen. After a funny discussion half in English, half in Russian it turns out the entire Mozdok area is a closed Military Compound and I was riding straight into the middle of it. 100m down the road were checkpoints with guards and guns. There was nothing on the map to indicate anything. Ooooops!! But the police were extremly friendly and thought it was actually funny. They showed me how to circumnavigate the area, which was a 200+ km detour, and I headed off to camp a few km's down the road before continuing on the next day to the Georgian border.

I had organised to meet with Toby and Laura from our China group & our Monoglian mishap. We planned to meet in Georgia not far over the border so I crossed into Georgia late afternoon and was greeted by an amazing gorge which makes up the start of the Old Georgian Military Road. Leaving at the Russian border I was asked if I was a drug dealer since I had crossed through so many countries so quickly. I said .... "No" .... and the lady looked at me and my bags and after checking my documents for another 15 minutes wished me a safe journey and sent me on my way (never looked in my bags, I guess I look trust worthy haha). On entering Georgia, again I was greeted with suspicion and made the border officers very unhappy with my non-original documents (I used photocopies because it was very difficult to get a new original rego document from Australia.) but eventually they got bored and let me continue on my way.

The winding road from the border to the lake where we planned to meet was breathtaking. Sharp, ruggered cliffs lined the valley road and then the road climbed up and ran back down into another deep valley. I had a blast! So much of a blast I took almost no photos unfortunatley.

I reached the Lake around 3pm and found some old men fishing. With hand and feet they invited me to have a fish with them and shared some ChaCha with me (Georgian moonshine, it was like rocket fuel!). All of a sudden one of the old men handed me his mobile phone, I answered and it was his daughter who could speak English. She said her father wanted her to ask me where I was from and where I was going haha. I told her, she translated it to him and he laughed and gave me a big thumbs up.

Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument

After a nice night catching up with Toby and Laura, the next day we headed back up towards the Russian border into the mountains and hiked up to an old Monastery.

Gergeti Trinity Church

Breakfast Georgian style! So Good and full of cheese!

We camped that night back by a small lake and had a great campfire. The next morning we visited the Joseph Stalin Museum in Gori (because why not) which was interesting to say the least... More like a shrine than a museum. We then parted ways and I headed for the border. On the way I visited Vardzia cave monastery which was cool but no where as interesting as the Grottos we saw in China, but the road leading up to the monastery was fantastic. I then camped not far from the border, ready to cross into Turkey the next day and just before bed got to watch a Georgian fire truck try to fill up in the river and get bogged which was quite comical.


I hoped the cross into Turkey would be uneventful and so to try and beat the crowds and since I planned a long days ride I arrived early at the border only to find I forgot about time zones! Doh! I crossed out of Georgia in about 15 minutes and then I went to cross into Turkey and everything was closed. Stuck in no mans land for 1.5 hours with no shops or food, finally the customs/border office opened and then after giving over my documents the mean little man started yelling 'Sigorta!' 'Sigorta!' 'Sigorta!'. I repeated it and then finally a nice person next to me mentioned insurance. I told them yes no problems I will buy it when I cross over... 'NO! SIGORTA!!'... Ok so after a confusing back and forth it turns out you need to have vehicle insurance before you cross into Turkey. Right where can I change some money? Of course No banks or ATMs... even better can I pay in Georgian money.. of course not. Where can I buy it? At the small stand on the Turkey side of the border, can I walk there.. No! After arguing my point for some time (I also saw no sign or mention of Turkish vehicle insurance on the way to the border) they decided I could walk to the small shack where the vehicle insurance is sold. Of course it was closed, opening time was 9:30 and it was just after 7:30am (Turkish time). Great, no problems, I have time to wait. 9:30 rolls around, 10, 10:30 finally someone shows up and tells me they cannot sell Motorcycle insurance, only Car insurance. Excellent!!

I really didnt want to cross back into Georgia (I wasn't even sure I could) to drive around to another border crossing, which was maybe a 5 hour ride and only "Maybe" sold motorcycle insurance (they couldn't confirm it because no one would answer the phone there). So after arguing and arguing through some help from the Chief officer of border and customs I managed to swap what little Georgian money I had into Turkish money and the Duty Free Cigarette shop and after multiple phone calls we found a company in Ankara that would sell me a couple of months insurance (I only need 1 week but I took would I could get). They wouldn't accept foreign credit cards so I had to pay cash to someone and they used their credit card to purchase the insurance. I was so lucky to have met some really nice people and that the Chief border officer was so friendly (he even offered me many cups of Turkish apple tea and something to nibble on since I had still on been able to find anything to eat), otherwise I could have had a serious problem.

After I got the insurance, 10 minutes later I had my paperwork and I was on my way. But as I got to the bike, someone stopped me and wanted to inspect my entire luggage, inside and out... I looked at them and said "After my bike has been here for the last 5 hours and for most of the time you have seen me sitting next to it... you now want to look in the luggage?" I didn't say it rudely more in a confused tone. The inspection officer looked at me sheepishly and peered in the top of my backpack and then let me go on my way haha.

Lesson learned, if crossing at a small, non-touristy, border crossing. Purchase motorcycle insurance BEFORE trying to cross!"

That afternoon I rode through some amazing scenery and was lucky that some large storms that were lurking in the area stuck to the other side of the mountain ranges. That evening after having a great meal, I found a nice spot to camp overlooking a small town and river.

The next day I made my way West to the town of Göreme in Cappadocia, which is famous for its cave formations and stunning sun-rises filled with Hot Air Balloons. I met a nice carpet salesman and spent an hour or so chatting and drinking tea with him while he showed me his carpets. He knew I didnt have money or space on the bike to buy one but enjoyed talking to travellers. There are some amazing carpet designs.

After a relaxing lunch and look around, I pushed further west and camped at a lake about an hour past Ankara. People will probably say I'm stupid for skipping Ankara and Istanbul but I'm really not one for cities and prefer to enjoy the unique nature each country provides instead.

I woke up early and had ice on the tent and bike. But things warmed up after an hour or so on the road and I had a great day working my way west to the border of Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian border crossing was, thankfully, very un-eventful. I drove past a few km long line of Trucks waiting to cross (bikes and most of the time cars can cross quicker than the trucks) a 20 minute wait and I was checked out of Turkey and into Bulgaria. I got asked by the border officer if I knew "Hunter of Crocodile"? in a thick Bulgarian/Russian accent and I replied with a smile of course and that "Steve and I used to be best friends", she laughed and replied "Good man! He good man!" I gave her the thumbs up and headed off in search of food.

Tonights destination was the Moto Camp Bulgaria. It is a great place to stay and the owners are extremely friendly. They gave me plenty of great tips on roads to ride as well. If you are in the area look them up: Moto CAMP BULGARIA. Ivo from MCB also helped me out with my Green Card Motorcycle Insurance for Europe at an excellent price. Not sure if they are still organising it but worth checking in to see if they are.

I spent the next week riding some amazing roads surrounded by beautiful Autumn colours and visiting some great natural sights. The Balkans were as every bit amazing as I had hoped.

Arch of Freedom - Troyan/Beklemeto Pass

Gods Eyes - Prohodna Cave

Hiding the tent behind a tree :)

My last night I slept not far from Belogradchik. There is an amazing castle/fort and the surrounding area is breath taking. The mountains and rock formations are like something out of Jurassic Park. I woke early and was rewarded with the beautifully calm mist gently rolling through the rock formations. I sat and absorbed the beauty and tranquillity of the area.

Bulgaria was amazing! But Romania was next level! The riding in Romania was absolutely incredible and the food was great too. At first I was abit unhappy after crossing the border. It wouldn't stop raining, I couldn't find any fuel and I was running low and I couldn't find any ATM's or places to change money. I rode for nearly 3 hours without finding anything in the miserable rain and as soon as the rain stopped everything started to get back on track. I found fuel but accidently filled up watching the liters not the money amount and didnt have enough to pay, I gave my licence and the nice attendant showed me on my map a place to get a great exchange rate in a lake side town not far away. I changed the money, paid the bill with no dramas and worked my way into the beautiful country side to an enchanting cascade falls and riverside statue built into a mountain.

Bigar Cascade Falls

Rock sculpture of Decebalus

After a great dinner I found a nice place to sleep. The next morning I woke suddenly to a strange sound.. "No way!" I thought but sure enough again and again I heard what was most definitely the sound of a bear roaring. It came closer and closer. With my small knife in my pocket (not sure what I would have done with it haha) I quickly packed up my tent and road down to the road. A few meters up the road I stopped in front of a house to listen again, sure enough the bear roared again and not so far away but it was hard to pick the direction. Suddenly a man popped his head out of a window and offered me coffee and politely declined but asked by motioning my hands like a bears mouth (my fingers the teeth) if that was really a bear. He grinned and said of course! But then motioned to the other side of the river and said no problem, no problem. "Phew" I thought and carried on, not 10 meters down the road a found a bridge across the river, well and truly large enough for a bear to wander across. It gave me a real shock to wake up to such a noise!

That day I continued North and rode over two of the best passes of have ever ridden over. The Transfăgărășan and the Transalpina were truly spectacular. I won't write many words. I'll let the pictures tell the story. (I can't choose my favourites so I will put them all)

Transalpina Pass or Lord of the Rings?

Shaken not stirred!


After all that riding the next morning the big girl decided to have a sleep in Haha

Hells Gate - Stunning

More beautiful views and mountain passes

After the amazing riding through Romania I was sad to move on but it was becoming very cold to camp and being so close to home I felt it pulling me forward. Also I was very excited to see Carolin again and share some of the amazing memories I had made on the journey home. After I crossed into Hungry, after another freezing night I decided to blast the 1000 or so kms through Hungary and Austria in one hit. As amazing as the trip was, it was also great to be home!

A very chilly morning, surrounded by Ice

A big thankyou to everyone who followed along with our journey and sorry for taking so long to write the last part of our story. It was a life changing experience and even now more than a year later we constantly reminisce and recall memories, almost on a daily basis. Until the next one!! Keep the throttles open and rubber side down. Cheers Caro and Lucas