Now I spoke to a lot of local friends who have done the ride, and spoken to many people on Facebook groups also. I did my research, and my only real preparation to the bike was taking off the top box due to the steep inclines anticipated.
I opted to leave the side boxes on as I wanted to take my DSLR along, as well as some food and drinks. With the boxes on, the wet weight of the Versys comes in around 218 kg as I also have the bar work on the sides. Not exactly a light bike, especially for this adventure.
The ride out from Ban Pong Ratchaburi is quite nice through to Suan Pheung district. There are a large number of resorts littered along the side of the road, with the Banyan Leaf Resort being one of the larger.
Next door to it you will find a nice little tourist farm called Alpaca Hill which would be a great place to take kids if your so inclined. I specifically stopped there as I wanted to take a photo of the mock houses they had constructed in the hills.
Back on with the ride, once you turn off the main road to start your climb, it’s a pretty steady ascent on the black stuff, but as you move up the mountain further, pot holes start appearing, the the road starts to get covered in loose gravel.
Moving further skyward, the roadway starts to disappear and turn to dirt. The day I went up, there hadn’t been any rain for a few weeks, and the roadway consisted of dusty white powder. It’s loose, almost like riding on soft sand at the beach.
There is a stable wooden bridge covering one end of it, which is quite easy to negotiate but stop and check it out before you decide to ride over it, because if you lose your footing on it the fall off could be nasty. Luckily for me I made it over intact.
Once you leave the bridge, the road starts to take a turn for the worst, getting much steeper, more large rocks and ruts the size that can swallow your bike.
Looking back over Youtube, it’s filled with videos of guys falling off their bikes riding up the mountain road here. This should have been a decent warning but I didn’t find the videos until after I returned.
Suffice to say I dropped the bike a couple of times on the way up, losing momentum on the steep incline and thus losing traction. The bike got layed over into the embankment luckily and not in the middle of the track.
It was still a massive chore to get the bike upright again, and even bigger chore getting started again on the loose surface up the hill.
One of the biggest recommendations I can make for riding up here would be to remove the 25 amp fuse for your ABS if you have it. Trying to come back down having your brakes go bezerk is a recipe for disaster.
I had successfully negotiated the last of the really steep rutted sections on the way back down, I was within 10 meters from the bottom of the section, only to be finding myself fighting with the ABS causing the front wheel to drop into one of the ruts and me to come off second best.
So I am here to tell you one thing, riding up Khao Krajom Mountain is bloody hard, especially on a Kawasaki Versys that weighs over 200kg.
Remember if you decide to do this trip on your own, make sure you let people know exactly where you have gone, as mobile reception does disappear about half way up.
GPS co-ordinates 13.571538, 99.227050