Quest for the Silk Road – Vientiane, Laos – an AROC Adventure

Published on January 4th, 2010

The members of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club (AROC), who are also known as ‘Alfistis’, are truly an adventurous, daring and active lot who seem to enjoy challenging long distance driving and travelling in their Italian stallions, so much so that they go the full distance where ownership experience is concerned.

Recently at the newly renovated SDAC (Sime Darby Auto ConneXion) Alfa Romeo centre in Section 14, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, AROC members from all over the country, including those from the neighbouring island Republic of Singapore, came together to support, celebrate and see off a group of eighteen adventurous, brave and daring fellow ‘Alfistis’, who embarked on an exciting overland journey from the Klang Valley to Vientiane, Laos, which was aptly called the ‘Quest for the Silk Trail’.

The convoy of eighteen various different models of AROC affiliated Alfa Romeos travelled an astonishing distance in excess of 5000km from the Klang Valley in Malaysia, then through neighbouring Thailand, before coming to an end in Vientiane, Laos, which so happened to be the host country of the recently concluded SEA (South East Asia) Games.

Among the Alfa Romeos that were driven for the ‘Quest for the Silk Trail’ were the Alfa Romeo GT, Alfa Romeo Brera 3.2, Alfa Romeo 159 Wagon 3.2, Alfa Romeo 155, a couple of Alfa Romeo 168 Supers and a couple of Alfa Romeo156s.

The convoy began their epic ‘Quest for the Silk Trail’ journey on the 18th of December, reaching Vientiane, Laos three days later on the 21st of December, and successfully ended their overland trip on Boxing Day, the 26th of December, back in the Klang Valley. The overland convoy of Alfa Romeos managed to travel from the Klang Valley to Vientiane and then back again in just nine days.

SDAC’s Managing Director, Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, proudly said, “Sime Darby Auto ConneXion is a proud title sponsor for this event. As the importer and retailer of Alfa Romeo products in the Malaysian Automotive market, we are happy to participate in events that capture the spirit of the Alfa Romeo brand. In AROC, SDAC has a common partner, who shares this vision. In our minds, the ownership of a vehicle should not be merely limited to daily travelling needs. It should give the owner more than that, it should be a total experience. Alfa Romeo and AROC fulfills this and so much more.”

One to two weeks before the ‘Quest for the Silk Trail’, all the Alfistis who took part in the convoy brought their beloved rides to the Alfa centre in Petaling Jaya for a complete and thorough inspection and service to ensure that their Italian stallions were running perfectly and ready for the long, grueling drive. According to Rashid Karyeo, the well-traveled owner of the Alfa Romeo Brera 3.2, who also happens to be AROC Singapore’s president and an experienced and well respected Alfisti, on the many previous trips that have been organized by AROC, no participating Alfa Romeo has ever broken down or had any major mechanical problems. Rashid also expressed his gratitude and appreciation on behalf of the Alfistis to Auto ConneXion for providing mechanical support, and to Automotive Synergy for providing Garmin GPS units for the convoy marshals.

The ‘Quest for the Silk Trail’ journey was smartly divided into ten sectors. The first sector saw the convoy of eighteen Alfa Romeos driving from the Klang Valley in Malaysia on the beautiful northern stretch of the North South Highway, crossing the Bukit Kayu Hitam border checkpoint into Thailand to the Thai border town of Danok. The second sector was from Danok to Hua Hin, a beautiful beach resort which happens to be a royal town for the Thai King and the Thai Royal Family.

The third sector was from Hua Hin to Nong Khai which saw the convoy bypassing Bangkok via Saraburi in order to reach the cowboy town of Nong Khai, which is famous for its liveliness and Los Vegas atmosphere. Prior to the convoy’s lively overnight stay at Nog Khai, the convoy made an important stop at Saraburi in order to witness, attend and support the Alfa Day Thailand Parade and celebration which was held there. AROC Thailand were prepared to host the convoy as they were duly informed before hand that a convoy made up of AROC Malaysia and Singapore members would be joining them for the Alfa Day Thailand Parade enroute to Vientiane, Laos.

Sector four had the convoy travelling from Nong Khai to Vientiane which involved driving down history as they drove across the famous Friendship Bridge over the even more famous Mekong River. In Vientiane, after a long, enduring and tiring drive, the ‘Alfistis’ rested, relaxed and recharged their batteries over two days by staying at the best hotel in town, the Don Chan Palace, which faces the Mekong River.

Fast forward to sector seven, day six of the ‘Quest for the Silk Road’, the convoy bade farewell to Vientiane, Laos as they began their journey back by driving to the capital of Thailand, Bangkok, which they had bypassed on their way to Vientiane, Laos. In Bangkok, the convoy checked into the Grand Mercure Fortune Bangkok which was their temporary home for the next two days.

After two entertaining days in Bangkok, day eight was the day the convoy departed the Thai capital and headed for one of Thailand’s best known holiday destinations, Hatyai which was the ninth sector. In Hatyai, the convoy enjoyed themselves by taking in the colourful and vibrant night life of Hatyai, by visiting the various, shops, clubs and other attractions which draws hundreds of thousands of tourists to Hatyai every year.

Day nine signaled the beginning of sector ten, the last sector of the ‘Quest for the Silk Trail’ and the end of the journey as the convoy left Hatyai and headed back into Malaysia, making their way for the Klang Valley, as well as Singapore for the Singaporean Alfistis. The Alfistis who made up this ‘Quest for the Silk Trail’ convoy enjoyed and cherished the fun that they had during this Alfa Adventure Trail and most of them will be looking forward to the next Alfa Adventure Trail regardless of where or how long the next journey may be.

words & pix: Azdee Amir

Comments

  1. Posted by oreedo on January 5th, 2010, 16:47

    gotta love those Alfa………..

  2. Posted by Traffic Mag on January 6th, 2010, 15:47

    yup.. one of the traffic crew might be getting one soon… heheh!

  3. Posted by oreedo on January 7th, 2010, 14:44

    sweet… can’t wait to try out…. tke cre bro

  4. Posted by tuah on March 10th, 2012, 01:39

    Oreedo : Alfa GTV!

Reply

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