From Asia to the Alps.
Each year, motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the world make a pilgrimage to the Alps. Their destination? The renowned motorcycle festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: BMW Motorrad Days. Even though the event is not until July, one BMW rider is already on his way – all the way from Thailand. Prasit Aphiphunya, 47, left Bangkok on 22 April and rode to Russia via Mongolia. In this exclusive interview he tells us more about this impressive journey on his BMW F 800 GS.
What were your reasons for doing this incredible trip?
There are quite a few reasons. I wanted to be the first solo Thai rider to make the trip from Bangkok to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I also wanted to visit BMW Motorrad Days in the home of BMW on my BMW F 800 GS, which is manufactured in Thailand.
I also plan to attend the BMW Tourguide Academy. It would simply be amazing to be an official BMW Motorrad tour guide. And finally, I wanted to get to know the route from Bangkok to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. So I can offer this tour to other passionate BMW riders.
You sound like a very experienced rider...
That's true. I've been riding BMW bikes around Asia for over 15 years.
How did you prepare your F 800 GS for this journey?
No special preparation was needed. My F 800 GS is equipped with panniers, a wind deflector, adventure seat, LED light, engine guard and sump guard. All components are official BMW accessories.
And everything is running smoothly so far?
Yes. The GS has performed perfectly so far. I think this bike is perfect for Asian riders. Simply because it's perfect in every way. I would really like to help BMW to promote this model as the best touring machine.
I'm feeling great. I’m very happy and enjoy every minute when I’m riding. However, I'm really on my bike a lot, I do about 25,000 kilometres a year.
My children are still very young. I have three boys: my eldest is only four years old and I also have twin boys, who will turn one in June. I miss them very much. But I hope that in time, my journey will be something that they will be proud of.
I'm paying for this trip out of my own pocket.
What are your plans when you return to Thailand?
It's going to be exciting. This year I'll become the official partner of BMW Motorrad Asia. I'm working on offering the best motorcycle tours of Asia.
What have been the highlights so far for you on this journey?
I'll start with Laos. In Laos the roads and terrain are fantastic for motorcycling. The high mountain roads in Yunnan, China are very impressive but also challenging – for people and motorcycles. The vastness of China is breathtaking, and Mongolia is simply a beautiful place. All in all, the trip has been an incredible experience so far. It's really changed my life.
How has the reaction of the people been in various countries when you explain to them what you are doing?
A bit strange! Most people asked me how it was even possible to do the trip.
Have you always travelled so much?
Yes I have been travelling since I was 11 years old. I was sent overseas to school and since then I haven’t been able to stop travelling! I just always have to be on the move.
And what's the motorcycle scene like back home in Thailand?
It’s getting very popular. In the last four years, the touring motorcycle market has grown very rapidly.
What do you know about BMW Motorrad Days?
I know that it is biggest BMW festival in the world. Right at the foot of the Alps. In the homeland of BMW. So it was a huge honour for me to finally arrive at BMW Motorrad Days. Especially after doing the whole trip on my BMW F 800 GS.