From Java to Isaan – and remembering an 830-mile Hellride to see AC/DC in 2001.
Another day, another Hellride. This time from Java in Indonesia to Isaan in northeast Thailand near the Cambodian border. I arrived here last night after a 16-hour journey and will be staying with Allan & FanFan for the next week or so. Every time I do one of these journeys I’m reminded of some of the Hellrides I did with my old band. During a Scottish tour in 2001 we had a day off and decided to drive from Edinburgh to London to see AC/DC. That’s an 830-mile return trip. The rest of the band had tickets but I was relying on a tout selling me one, which thankfully happened. I say thankfully but the only thing I really remember about the gig is Megadeth arriving in a ridiculous helicopter and all five of us standing watching the gig with our hands protecting our nether-regions as we found it hilarious to punch each other in the balls at every opportunity. After the show Baron (our bassist) attempted to drive us back to Scotland but we ended up lost in the Moors in heavy fog while running low on petrol. All this with music on full-blast and the windows fully down so he wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel. Gotta love a Hellride.
HELLRIDE: SURABAYA (INDONESIA) TO NANG RONG (THAILAND)
Left hotel in Surabaya: 8am
- Taxi from Pakuwon district of Surabaya to Juanda International Airport: 172,000 rupiah (£7.70) 45mins. I only had 150,000 on me and was tempted to get out and hitch the last mile to the airport but in the end I annoyingly took out more rupiah from the ATM, some of which I knew I wouldn’t use.
- Air Asia flight from Surabaya to Bangkok: £38. 3 hours direct with check-in baggage and meal included. Fell in love with one of the air hostesses but quickly divorced her when she mistakenly gave my chicken rice to someone else.
- Motorbike Taxi from Don Muang Airport to Mor Chit Bus Station: 200 baht (£3.60) After 6 weeks of sunshine it was a complete bummer to see rain and grey skies in Bangkok. Despite the rain I jumped on the back of a motorbike taxi to beat the traffic, the driver wearing a poncho but me open to the elements. Arrive soaked. Later told I could have got a bus for 60 baht and arrived dry. Live and learn.
- Bus from Mor Chit to Nang Rong (192 baht / £3.50). Journey took 7 hours and the bus had the aircon cranked up so much I basically just curled up in the foetal position on the back row and covered myself with blankets for six hours. The remaining hour was spent watching a terrible Thai soap featuring ghosts. (The driver also stopped at a supermarket to do his shopping.)
Arrived Nang Rong: Midnight
Total cost: £52.80
I realise the likelihood of anyone doing this exact journey is slim, but the reason for these little Hellride segments is to show just how cheap independent travel in Asia can be! ^_^