Finally concluding this blog (the trip itself ended in early November). After re-entering Thailand and meeting with the Boss in Bangkok; we rode two-up to Kuala Lumpur, via Krabi and Penang (to meet some friends). Not been to Penang for over 20 years, so it was good to see it again. Had a day riding around the island (without luggage!) to see the sights.
On to KL to see the in-laws and various brother and sisters in law and about 250 of their kids. After only a brief visit, I tried and failed to get a decent price to freight the bike back to the UK. So, I decided to ride back to Bangkok to get a better price, and extend the trip by a few days. The ride back was much quicker than the ride down, including a somewhat ill advised 500 mile today (from the Thai-Malay border to Hua Hin), the last few hours of which were in the dark. Made it back to Bangkok in one piece, my faihful XT still going strong, albeit in need of a good clean. Met Chris again briefly in Bangkok who was only just being reunited with his own bike after his adventures in Vietnam.
The day came to freight the bike back to the UK. It didn't go well. The company I was using were not good, but were expensive. I had fears for the bike, but against expectations it turned up in London with only another couple of minor scratches to add to its existing battle scars. As I finished reassembling the XT at Heathrow (on a cold, wet, miserable day in November), none other than Iain rolled up (last seen in Ulaan Bataar) collecting his bike from Malaysia airlines cargo. He had paid a fraction of what I had paid and didn't even need to take his bike apart before freighting! Oh well, you live and learn.
So, 4 months, London to KL, mostly without leaving the ground! A few problems along the way; a few plans going astray, but a superb trip, a real adventure. My XT660Z proved to be the perfect choice of bike for the trip, and I would take the same bike again in a heartbeat: robust, reliable, economical and well, an XT!
Soundtrack: Psy - Gangnam Style (sadly unavoidable in South-East Asia)
Where next? Well, China and Tadjikistan are unfinished business. Mongolia demands another proper visit. Then what about South America? Africa? Time to start planning the sequel!
EDIT: OK; it is now May 2015, I am sat in a bar in London (boooo); but I am off biking in South America (yayyy!) from September. Started a new blog here: http://teneretothailand2015.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1
See you on the road.