The Motorbike Diaries - Part 3: A 1,000km Detour

Riding on the back of Nemo, his motorbike from Vietnam, Matt Dworzanczyk continues his cross-Asia journey via Thailand


DAY 39

VIP treatment


The initial goal was to continue from Laos into Myanmar. With Myanmar’s restrictions on foreign motorbikes, I wasn’t getting my hopes up but planned to try my luck at every possible crossing anyways. Indeed, from Laos it was ‘no go’. Well, off to Thailand then!


Arrived like a VIP — with a police motorcade!


5km into Thailand, I suddenly remember — damn, they drive on the left!


DAY 41

Stalker Cows


Tachileik border crossing. I can practically reach my arm into Burma from here. But nope! Can’t cross here, either…


Chiang Dao for the night. Found a perfect camping spot in a forest, by a river, really scenic. Made two ‘acquaintances’. They moo, smell, get too close for comfort and won’t stop following me.



DAY 43

The Trap


Big happening right outside Pai! Cops put up a checkpoint and with huge grins pull over every backpacker on their rental bikes ‘ticketing’ them for not having licenses. Oh, how much satisfaction it gave me to turn the guy’s grin upside down when unlike others I showed him my papers!


DAY 48

Bad Day


10km out of town, bike dies. Another 30km — first fall. 20km more — mad rain.


Lost my spare sparkplug somewhere, tore up my only pair of shoes and spent the day drenched. Lucky the tent and sleeping pad absorbed the damage from the fall. Nemo’s fine and I’ll find new shoes. Tomorrow will go better.



DAY 51

The War


Mae Sot border crossing. Almost but still no…


Found a guesthouse. There’s a mad looking French guy chasing after me. He keeps calling me ‘champion’ and offers all his help since “you Polish people helped us French in the war!”


…which war?


DAY 55



There is no road from Umphang to Bangkok. I should’ve checked before driving 200km to a dead end. Then again — I like it here. Quiet, peaceful, perfect little noodle shop nearby, a nice café where I can write; plenty of nature… and to remind me it’s still Thailand, a group of proud American high schoolers in town saving the locals from imminent demise through their gracious voluntourism.



DAY 58

One Night in Bangkok


Of all the crazy roads I’ve been on, Bangkok driving is by far the most stressful. Corrupt cops and mad rain don’t help. No, Bangkok, I didn’t like you much before and guess I won’t this time either.


The night? Bottles of Sangsom on obnoxious Khao San Road, riding in circles through the city, sneaking into a high-rise swimming pool at 3am (getting kicked out soon after). A decent night after all to mark some 6,000km on the road.


DAY 61

Parting with Nemo


I tried every crossing. Reached out to every contact. No chance to cross into Burma with Nemo. That means Nemo’s catching a boat to Bangladesh. I’m hitching a ride to Ranong, crossing Myanmar bike-less and we reconnect in 4 weeks. Not ideal, but it’ll be an adventure either way. Safe journey, Nemo.


For more on Matt’s films and travels, check out the Etherium Sky Production Blog at

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