20/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 95 °F ( 35 °C)
20 Dec 2006
58304 km

Today we were at the dentist. The dental care at Bangkok Hospital is great, the service is outstanding and it is much cheaper than in Sweden.

After parking our car in their parking lot, a small electric car pulls over. The driver inquires if we have an appointment already and where we want to go. He said, jump in. He let us off at the main entrance, and informed us that we need to take the escalator to the second floor to get to the dental clinic. Wow!

The treatment rooms look exactly like in a clinic at home, modern, hygienic and with the latest possible equipment. The two female Thai dentists spoke broken English, good enough for making themselves understood. They were very pedagogical and told us exactly what they were doing and why.

Catharina has had problems with a back tooth being a bit sensitive, and she wanted the dentist to take an extra look at that one. The dentist could see that there was a crack in the tooth. But she recommended that nothing should be done about as long it is not getting worse than a little sensitiveness. No cavities or other problems were discovered.

Bert had some problems that needed to be fixed. One small cavity and an old tooth filling were loose. Bert needs to come back next week to this fixed.

We said we wanted to pay for it all at once, including the fixing of Berts teeth next week. Catharina paid for dental check-up and an x-ray. Bert paid for dental check-up, x-ray, teeth cleaning, two fillings and anesthesia. Guess what we paid for it all? 150 Euro!

21/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
21 Dec 2006
58304 km

Rented a motorbike to go in to Phuket Town. We needed to go to the custom house to arrange with new documents for our car. It is not only us that need a new visa every month to get to stay in Thailand, our car need it too. But to arrange with the documents is a quite strait forward procedure. We have been here so many times by now that all of the clerks know us . Here are the guys with the SAAB again!

In the evening Bert and Anders took a taxi to Patong to check out the night life. Anders who is a dedicated photographer really wanted to get a chance too take some photos of a ladyman . The hardest part is to dare to ask to take a photo…

22/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
22 Dec 2006
58304 km

Now its time to book our scuba dive trip to Similan Islands. The scuba diving at Similan is said to be superb, 30-40 meter visibility and large animals like turtles and sharks!

When we where in Thailand ten years ago we wanted to go scuba diving at Similan. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time left to go there before going home to Sweden. Finally we are getting there and we are really looking forward to it.

We checked prices and facilities with some dive shops, and decided to go with Marina Divers. We booked a three night and two day trip, with 11 dives. For a double bed cabin with air condition, full board and full set equipment we paid 2 900 Euro per person. It seems like a reasonable price.

23/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
23 Dec 2006
58304 km

What a nice surprise! Our friend Arne, his wife Susanne and their daughter Sofie was staying at Kata Beach, right next to ours. We brought our swimwear and walked over to their hotel to stay at the pool with them. Since Arne works at the Swedish Parachute association, he knows everything about what is going on. It was great to get an update on what is happening. We have been out for close to two years now and now nothing…

The evening we with Anders. This was his last night here, tomorrow he is flying to Bangkok. Anders knows a lot about Russia. He loves to travel Russia and has been there eight times. We pumped him of all information we could get, since we plan to go there in April.

24/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
24 Dec 2006
58304 km

Christmas Eve and also Catharinas birthday today. We spent the day at the beach with Arne, Susanne and Sofie.

We got really exited when we discovered that they planed a Swedish-Danish Christmas dinner at our hotel. We signed up immediately!

Before going down to dinner we had an aperitif in our room – glögg, raisins, almonds and ginger cookies. The smell of hot glögg made us get a little bit of Christmas spirit. Our very thoughtful friend Peppe also sent us some Christmas songs by email to enhance our Christmas spirit even more...

The Christmas dinner was great. The Danish people seem to serve about the same things at a Christmas dinner as we do in Sweden. Served egg-mayonnaise-shrimps, small sausages and mashed potatoes, Jansson's temptation, liver paste with bacon and mushrooms, smoked salmon, meatballs and lingonberry jam, red cabbage stew , potatoes and cream sauce, duck, roast pork and spare ribs.

Full up and very tired we returned to our room to phone home to wish our friends and family a Merry Christmas. And by the way, Merry Christmas to you too!

25/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
25 Dec 2006
58304 km

Catharina spent the day at the beach with Arne and his family, while Bert did some work on the car. We still have a problem with the central locking. In the afternoon we went over to their hotel to work out in the air conditioned gym. It felt great!

In the evening we had dinner at an Italian restaurant, and played UNO.

26/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
26 Dec 2006
58304 km

Today Bert had an appointment with the dentist, to fix the two cavitys. He said the dentists here at Bangkok Hospital are much better than in Sweden. He didn’t even feel the anesthetic injection.

It is exactly two years today since the tsunami. At some of the beaches that where hit by the tsunami here on Phuket, they held memorial services and ceremonies for the victims. Here at Karon Beach no ceremonies where held.

We ran in to “Turbo” today, a skydiver friend from Göteborg. Last time we where in Thailand, about 10 years ago, we ran in to him too. Then we bumped in to him in a corner at Phi-phi Island. This time we found him sitting in our restaurant at our hotel.

27/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
27 Dec 2006
58304 km

Everything takes such a long time. Today we just wanted to get our car washed, rubbed and vaxed. The red color of our car is in quite a bad shape right now. The sun has been eating away at it for some time now. After hours of searching we finally found a paint shop that could help us with the hood. To rub the whole car he asked 90 Euro! That is by far too much for our budget.

At Tesco we bought a plastic box to put heavy and durable things like tow line, diverse hooks and jumper cables. We really have to use every inch of free space in the car for storage. When living two people at one square meter for such a long time, everything needs to have its own place.

28/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
28 Dec 2006
58304 km

We made a new try to get our car washed and cleaned today. The guys at the carwash washed, waxed and cleaned the front seat of the car for only 4,5 Euro, while we reorganized, vacuumed and cleaned the car.

In the evening we went out for a beer with Marika, Henna, Göran and Lotta from Sundsvall who arrived this morning. Marika who is a work mate of Bert, brought us a new one year international drives license and insurance papers in original that we need in Russia. She also brought us salt liquorice, sour sweets and Kalles Kaviar spread to last the rest of our trip.

29/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
29 Dec 2006
58304 km

Last day of sun and beach life for a long while for our friends Arne, Susanne and Sofie. They didn’t loose a moment of sunbathing. In the evening we went out for a meal. It was great fun and a nice surprise to meet them here.

Our friend ”Turbo” called to tell us he and a friend have booked their scuba dive trip on the same boat as us. On the 4th of January we all go diving at Similans. Perfect!

30/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
30 Dec 2006
58304 km

We think we will make use of our snow chains on our way through Mongolia and Siberia in April, so we wanted to check if they fit our new tires. In India we bought new tires with a 2 inch lager dimension than our previous tires. We don’t want to find ourselves stuck in the snow or mud realizing that our snow chains don’t fit anymore. But it was a strange feeling sitting in the blazing sun and heat, putting on the chains…

Marika brought us new Swedish flag stickers. Now when the car is clean and shiny we decided to change the old faded ones for the new flags. We also made the last preparation in the car for hitting the road again, by cleaning the storage boxes for clothes, throwing away things we will not need anymore to make room for newly updated wardrobe.

31/12 2006 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
31 Dec 2006
58304 km

The Thai people just love fire crackers. As soon as they have something to celebrate the crackers come out. To judge by the constant noise from the crackers, they seem to have lots to celebrate every day.

New Years Eve must be the best day of the year for them. Of course, the tourists do what they can to help. The gun powder smoke was thick over Karon. All around us they where shooting crackers and fireworks, and debris were raining all over us all evening.

Carackers seem to be a lot noisier here. Catharina had to put in ear plugs to prevent her from turning deaf. Since the fireworks also seem to be of less quality one has to watch out for eloping crackers too.

Anyway, Happy New Year to you!

1/1 2007 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
01 Jan 2007
58304 km

We have now made a rough plan for our trip back to Sweden. It looks like we should be back home again about the 15th of June. Not until late February we will know for sure if we can enter China at the15th of March. But still we have to plans like we will be allowed to cross China. If that will not work we probably ship the car to Vladivostok instead. That is as east far in Russia you can get… We are also considering a visit to Kazakhstan, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad and North cape while we are at it…

There are huge amounts of Swedish tourists here in Thailand. Swedish people are normally try hard not to take notice of us and our car. Typically Swedish! Swedish people are the only people we met this far on our trip who behave like this.

Normally people come running, enthusiastic, asking questions and want to take a look at our car. On top of that they call all their friends over to take a look too. But some Swedish enthusiasts’ works up the courage to approach us take a look and talk to us.

2/1 2007 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
02 Jan 2007
58304 km

We have had a lot of friends visiting lately. The past two months they have been one after another. This means we have been eating out everyday and also stayed in hotels a lot more than usual. We try to cut out expenses by cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner in our room at out gas cooker.

Or we buy a cheap meal at street vendors. The food at the street vensors is usually very good, and cost only 1 Euro per meal. After one and a half year of traveling, the charm of eating out at restaurant has sort of disappeared.

3/1 2007 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
03 Jan 2007
58304 km

Today we were at the dive shop trying out the gear. Tomorrow we go scuba diving at Similan. Yahoo! In the evening we went for a thai massage and foot massage.

The women at the massage parlor bought caterpillar- and beetle snacks from a street vendor. Bert tried the roasted fat, white caterpillars. They tasted like smoked prawns.

4/1 2007 Karon Beach, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
04 Jan 2007
58304 km

We dragged ourselves out of bed at 5 AM. After a light breakfast we headed for the dive shop, and parked behind the Marina Divers shop at a 24 hour guarded parking lot. It is great to have the car at a guarded parking lot when we have to leave it for several days.

At 6 AM we were picked up by the minibus, which was to take us to the Kao Lak pier. On the way we picked up our friend ”Turbo” who was going diving with us, and Rickard who was going to take his open water certificate. It took us an hour and a half to get to Kao Lak.

To get to the dive boat stationed at the Similans, we had to take a speed boat. That trip was no fun at all. It was a really bumpy ride in the rough sea. Hockey gear and a helmet would have been more suitable equipment than a life jacket.

At 10.30 AM we boarded the dive boat. After a short briefing it was time to get wet. This first day we made three dives plus one night dive.

5/1 2007 Similan Islands, no 9, Thailand
Lat N 08° 40,53', Long E 97° 38,80'
Today: 80.6 °F ( 27 °C)
05 Jan 2007
58304 km

Today we were in the water already at 7.30 AM. And we made three dives and one night dive today. Nothing much is happening on a dive boat except diving, eating and sleeping.

This far Similan has been a disappointment. It is regarded to be on of the top dive sights in the world. The visibility has been poor, usually about 15 meters. Normally the water temperature is about +29°C this time of year. But it has been freezing, +23-24°C!

Catharina was so cold that her fingers got numb during a dive. We never thought we needed to wear gloves in Thailand! Catharina was extremely happy she manged to get a 5 mm, full suite to wear.

6/1 2007 Similan Islands, no 9, Thailand
Lat N 08° 39,95', Long E 97° 38,25'
Today: 80.6 °F ( 27 °C)
06 Jan 2007
58304 km

Last day of diving. We made three more dives before the speed boat came to pick us up to bring us back to the mainland. Now we have been here fore three days and two nights and made 11 dives in total.

To sum it up; It has been great fun to stay on a dive boat. Of course it very much depends on who else is on the boat. We where lucky to have good people like for example”Turbo”, Richard, Björn and Richard . Since we paid extra for to get the master cabin we where living like a king too.

But the diving was a bit of a disappointment. Our expectations were high as we have heard a lot of nice things about the underwater life and the crystal clear water at Similan Islands. But we guess the full moon, the strong currents and heavy winds lately have had quite an impact on the visibility. But still we got to se a lot of multicolored fish, cool granite formations, large cuttlefish, sea turtles, lobster and small sharks.

7/1 2007 Karon, Thailand
Lat N 07° 50,91', Long E 98° 17,67'
Today: 80.6 °F ( 27 °C)
07 Jan 2007
58684 km

We packed our things and went Tesco to stock up on food and eat a last sushi at our favorite place, a hole in the wall shop at Tesco food court. The sushi here is excellent!

After that we went to see Kerstin and Marko and spend our last night in Phuket there before starting our journey back home. It is strange, we have only known them for a few months but it feels like we have known them for years. But it is easy to like and to get along with nice people like them. We keep our fingers crossed that they will find a solution for their legal problems, so they finally can finish their resort.

8/1 2007 Nai Yang, Thailand
Lat N 08° 05,17', Long E 98° 18,17'
Today: 78.8 °F ( 26 °C)
08 Jan 2007
58734 km

We took a sad goodbye of Kerstin, Marko and Elina. Emilia, we said goodbye to already yesterday because she had to go to school early this morning.

Now we start our journey home. Our three months in Thailand has been like a long charter vacation. Everything is so civilized and vacation like. We have had a lot of visits from at home. It does not really feel like a part of our normally very adventurous trip – more like a time lap in nowhere.

But it feels great to be on the road again. And we look forward to a lot more adventures during our last five months of the trip, when we will travel countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia and Russia.

9/1 2007 Truck-stop Thap Sakae, Thailand
Lat N 10° 59,47', Long E 99° 21,29'
Today: 82.4 °F ( 28 °C)
09 Jan 2007
59199 km

Today we continued towards Bangkok. We took a detour to check out Prachauap Khirikahn. The rumor has it that is a nice, quiet fishing town with a fantastic and completely empty beach. But we realized that we had to enter the military base with our car to get to the beach, and we decided to skip it.

We hit the road again instead. Luckily we found the SAAB work in Bangkok just ten minutes before closing time. They told us our car could get a check up in the work shop at 8 AM, the next morning. We could also park for the night at the work shop and use their shower and toilet. Absolutely perfect! The only bad part was that our parking place was only 15 meters from one of the big approach road for Bangkok from the south, and the noise from the traffic was going on all night…

10/1 2007 Bangkok SAAB workshop, Thailand
Lat N 13° 43,37', Long E 100° 27,70'
Today: 80.6 °F ( 27 °C)
10 Jan 2007
59660 km

Today we did the 260 000 kilometer service. The mechanics checked the gearbox oil, changed water in the cooler system and added glycol. Now the SAAB can take temperatures down to -30°C that might be useful in Mongolia and Siberia in April. They also cleaned the air filter and coupe filter. Apart from that our SAAB was in great condition.

The SAAB workshop sponsored us with the cost for the service. The only thing we had to pay was the glycol. We also got a free t-shirt and a calendar.

At the workshop we also met a motor journalist, who wanted to make a peace about our journey. His wife worked at Nestle, and he gave us a bag full of Nestle promotion stuff like Nescafe, Cornflakes and biscuits amongst other things.

Southeast of Bangkok a huge three headed elephant was standing by the road. The height was 29 meters, plus the podium it was standing on. Of course we just had to take a closer look at it.

11/1 2007 Pattaya, Thailand
Lat N 12° 54,59', Long E 100° 51,39'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
11 Jan 2007
59889 km

When we arrived in Pattaya yesterday it was already dark. Luckily we found a great spot to park right at the beginning of Jomiten Beach, where there also where toilets and showers only 50 meter away. Great!

After breakfast Theo and Supen from Sweden showed up. We didn’t know them from before. They used to live in Helsingborg, but since six years they live here in Pattaya. They took us for a sightseeing tour around town and invited us for coffee.

Catharina asked Supen about the recipe for making Spicy Thai Salad, but forgot to bring it. When we arrived back at our car late the same afternoon we found a recipe and a bottle of fish souse at our doorstep!

In the evening we went in to Pattaya again to check out the nightlife. It is really disgusting with all the fat, ugly men hanging out with young thai girls and lady men. No place that we have been in Thailand has been so overwhelming by disgusting people and sex trade. The bastards should be ashamed of themselves coming here and behaving like this!

12/1 2007 Pattaya, Thailand
Lat N 12° 54,59', Long E 100° 51,39'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
12 Jan 2007
59889 km

Time to plan ahead. We need to think about how, when and where we are going to arrange with visa for Vietnam, Mongolia and Russia. We also need to think about how to schedule in our friend Anneli, who is coming to meet us in Vietnamn. Last time we saw her was when we picked her up in Cairo and dropped her off in Delhi two months later. But this time it will only be a short visit of two weeks.

To arrange with a visa to Russia isn’t made in an instant. In fact it is quite complicated, at least if you go for a multiple entry business visa. That is the kind we need to be able to travel on our own and going in and out of Russia, since we also want to visit Kazakstan, Belarus and Kaliningrad.

We need to get an invitation to Russia and a HIV test not older than 90 days, before even applying at the Russian embassy. We have been in contact with a hospital in Hanoi, who say they can arrange with the HIV test. And today we sent in an application for an invitation to In all the cost for our two visas will ad up to about 400 Euro.

In the afternoon we went up in a 170 meter tower with a view overlooking all of Pattaya. We took the elevator up and the sky jump slide down. In the evening we sneaked in to use the gym facilities of a fancy beach hotel. It worked brilliantly. A big hotel like that haven got a clue about who is a guest or not.

13/1 2007 Pattaya, Thailand
Lat N 12° 54,59', Long E 100° 51,39'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
13 Jan 2007
59889 km

Parked for the night outside Sea Rescues headquarter. In the morning we took the opportunity to do some laundry. We have to do it when we both can get fresh water and have time enough and space to hang our clothes to dry.

Look at what quite a few of the dummies look like here in Thailand. They sure seem to have a lot of fun. They make us smile every time we see them.

Bert discovered that there is a Tiger Zoo only 6 0 kilometers from here. He wanted to go there. We packed our car and went there in the evening and parked right outside the entrance gate. Tomorrow they open at 8 AM.

14/1 2007 Sriracha, Thailand
Lat N 13° 09,93', Long E 101° 00,79'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
14 Jan 2007
59992 km

We have had a great day at the Tiger Zoo. Since we where at the gate already when they opened in the morning, we had a couple of hours all to ourselves before all the tourists arrived.

We got to pet a three months old tiger cub, and feed him with a bottle of milk. Since we were the only one there we could stay with him for quite some time. That was a great experience! Even if it was only a small cub there was no doubt that it was a real tiger . He bit us both kind of playfully, but still… How many people do you know that have been bitten by a tiger? We think this was a trainee tiger. When all the tourists arrived they put a better trained and slightly older tiger there.

At this zoo a quite unusual experiment is going on. They mix tiger mums, sows piglets and tiger cubs. It works brilliantly. It has been shown that tiger cubs that suck milk from the sow grow big and stronger more quickly.

We also an elephant show , a crocodile show and a tigershow and several times during the day they held a pig race, where the audience could bet on the pig. This is the proud winner . A huge elephant lifted Catharina carefully high up in the air with his trunk .

There are thousands and thousands of crocodiles here. You can even feed the crocodiles if you like, with a piece of meet on a fishing stick. In the restaurants they serve grilled crocodile meat. It would be fun to try it. But we felt kind of awkward eating crocodile meat at a zoo, so we decide not to.

They also have two very friendly orangutans here; the young one liked Bert a lot and was clinging to him and holding his hand .

As we where leaving, one of the zoo-keepers brought us in to his premises. If we gave him a tip he could arrange that we could meet one of the newest members in their tiger zoo. A one month old tiger cub, we just couldn’t say no to that! Large as a big cat but much heavier and the fur was tousled and rugged.

This was really a great place to spend a day. It is the close contact with the animals that makes it such a great experience.

Late in the afternoon we drove the 230 kilometers up to the Cambodian border. But we wait until tomorrow morning to cross the border.