Kalay to Rihkhawdar On The Indian Border


Jul 1, 2012
Chiang Rai
Honda CRM-AR 250, Honda CRF 250-L, Suzuki V Strom XT 650 Honda XR250 Baja BMW F650GS
Today we started to gain some elevation, with elevation you gain something else, bloody cold mornings, it was a crisp start as we fought our way through Kalay and the sea of scooters.

Today would also be a test if we had made the right decision taking on the little 125cc machines.

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Sign of things to come, pardon the pun.

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Road teams starting early it was bloody cold out of the sun, must be pretty harsh in the cold season for these workers.

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Mobile shop taking orders, no 7 Eleven here.

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The house colours would be a prominent feature from here on, mostly painted in pastel colours.

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Starting to gain elevation, the highest today being around 2500 metres, sadly haze spoiling some great views.

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Pity the wasn't tarmac I would be jumping for joy.

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Piles of graded stone and drums of tar ready for the resurfacing teams.

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Distance today was only 142 km but would take us almost 6 hours to cover that distance.

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A truly go-anywhere vehicle in it's day.

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Some stretches pretty broke up and bulldust fortunately cleared quickly in the high winds.

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We pulled over for a hot drink to warm us through.

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This chap invited us in, all the homes had open fires like this, interesting to see him use these bellows.

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The smoking rack above the fire, smoke vent through the roof.

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Not seen one of these for years, old iron you would fill with hot coals.

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Bit of a one-stop-shop, the sweet pastry was a very popular snack.

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Motorcycle sellers lined the route selling pretty much anything.

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Some amazing views sadly the camera does not capture them well.

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These guys well and truly loaded, the road ahead would be fun for them.

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Some stretches are being concreted and doing a great job of it being 30cm or more in thickness.

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Luxury for these workers they had grading machines, no need for sledgehammers in this region.

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Some a little stubborn to start on the cold mornings.

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Scores of small villages could be seen from the road, i would imagine in the colder months they may even have snow.

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The road up over the valley to Rihkhawdar up ahead, should be an interesting climb.

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Considering the condition of the road, hard to imagine this is the main road to an international border point.

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The Manipur river in the distance.

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A considerable amount of money invested in the bridge over the river, another bridge being constructed alongside.

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Didn't get any shots of the zig climb, safe to say it was horrid.

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A number of vehicles pulled over for some reason.

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Turned out a car had gone over the side at this point, no walking away from that I fear, a reminder how a moments break in concentration and the result could be fatal.

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The small village of Laaitui, had several churches this ugly monstrosity being the biggest.

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Can't really see it in the picture but there is a backhoe perched on the top of that cliff, god knows how it got up there.

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Lots of heavy trucks throwing clouds of lovely bulldust all over us.

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We arrived in Rihkhawdar in pretty good time really and headed for the only guesthouse. Sadly it was full, the lady mentioned another place at the side of Rih lake a few km's out of town but was unsure of its location.

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Before we headed off in search of the place we rode down to the border point to check out the action.

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The very friendly immigration staff spotted us and asked us to report to their office for registration, they also confirmed the existence of the guesthouse.

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The obligatory picture at the border point.
A small amount of info here, but this was the location of some very fierce fighting back in the day. Rikhawdar - Wikipedia

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We made our way to Rih lake, very pretty area.

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The guesthouse was a bit bizzare, it was more like a posh outpost building complete with restaurant and VIP rooms, the problem being it was totally empty and had been for a while. There was a number pinned on the door, Nick called it and i guess the non-English speaking guy on the other end knew he had snagged some customers.

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These are the VIP rooms, note the blankets it would get bloody cold later. No electric but was promised it would come on for 3 hours, so cold showers it would be.

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What a view, but pity we couldn't enjoy it as there was no food here so we had to ride back to town.

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We parked up in town a strolled around, its a small place but it was buzzing.

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Always wanted to visit this place and see the carts kids pushing good too and from the border each day, sorry but I overindulged in pictures of them, what a great bunch of kids working their asses off for 200 baht a day.

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This is where they line up each evening to collect there pay for the day.

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Border police station.

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There appeared to be no reasoning behind what they are doing taking goods for one shed to another then back again, bringing goods over them another ream apparently taking them back.

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We found a convenient place to sit ( a bar) and watched the show.

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Nick wondered if he could slip a V8 in there...

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Alcohol is a big problem here as we would see for ourselves, there are several liquor stores selling just about everything you would ever need.

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These guys testament to the fact.

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Just one more for the road :beer :drink

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What a time he's having.

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His mate not much better, later we would see them get poured onto a scooter the rider as drunk as them and wobble down the road.

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Meanwhile, the show continued.

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Tinglish is alive and well here.

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As the bridge cannot take heavy goods vehicles everything has to be unloaded by hand and carted over the border.

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More drunks getting alife home.

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A little gem hidden in the backstreets doubt it ever gets out of town.

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As you can see everything revolves around the bridge, we saw several motorcycles simple riding across some of the shallow sections of the river, nobody seamed to mind.

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Backstreets getting resurfaced the old fashioned way.

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This guy was so tiny, he must have been paid by the bag he was sprinting along but barely able to stand.

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Precision rock laying, these kits would make great dry stone wallers.

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The senior police officer on duty, he loved having his picture taken.

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Loading the truck, by hand, almost 6 o clock now.

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We made our way back to our VIP accommodation, nearby was the lakeside restaurant, clearly, they take security very seriously around here.

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Well that was us for the night, it had been a full day and the most enjoyable so far.

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Got to love Myanmar, even had special water just for us.

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