January 3rd Brisbane to Bangkok
Here we go again! Bikes all boxed up and we just managed to get away without paying excess baggage again, every bag just about a kilo over. 2 flights today, firstly back to Sydney and then to Bangkok. I seemed to have a bad choice in films on the flight with only 1 out of 3 being any good. At Bangkok we were collected and taken to the hotel we booked “ Silver Gold Garden” $18AUD a night, far more like it. The room is clean, TV, air con and big enough to put the bikes together. Off to Bangkok in the morning.
January 4th Bangkok
We are a long way out of the city as we chose a hotel closer to the airport, maybe not the best choice in retrospect but hey. I need a bike shop to get a cassette tool to take the gears off the back wheel so I can change the spokes. A quick walk up and down the street we are on didn’t help so on the net to get addresses then a Taxi. 400baht and about 45mins to get to a bike shop which turned out to be closed! The equivalent to 8 pounds isn’t really bad for that length of journey and it was definitely an experience, I won’t be driving here in a hurry! If you can see a gap go for it even if it is not big enough and never look behind seems to be the highway code here.
The first address we had the shop had moved but the taxi driver took us to another, shame it was closed till tomorrow! So off we set on foot looking for another. I guess it was about 2 hours of wandering before we went to an internet café and found a bike shop which we had walked past really close to the closed one, oh well. I got the tool but didn’t get the chain whip to go with it, I am hoping I can use the chain to hold it still. Wandered around the shops and got a sim card, the first time I can use my blackberry properly since we left the UK. The maps will come in really handy I am sure.
We tried to get back closer to the hotel by train first and then get a taxi, it didn’t really work that well and still cost 300baht.
Bangkok is certainly a city of extremes, the shopping centers are out of this world and full of shops we know like Next, Boots and a whole host of familiar UK names. The other extreme is the street markets and food stands away from the department stores. Food being cooked on gas burners and live eels wriggling in trays waiting for their turn in the pot.
January 5th Bangkok
Maria’s bike is done and it is in much better condition than mine, pulling the trailer has certainly paid it’s toll. My bike didn’t go so well as firstly my spanner isn’t big enough to fit the tool I bought and once I had the spanner I couldn’t hold the cassette with the chain, I should of bought the chain whip as well! Luckily when we got the taxi yesterday we saw a bike shop close by so we headed there. I left him the wheel and would you believe it he replaced the spokes and adjusted the bearings for the equivalent of 1 pound. Made yesterday a bit of a waste of time but we did get the sim card and some maps while we were there and also enjoyed the day so all good. My poor bike could do with a bit more TLC like a new rear brake cable and gear cable outer but it will have to wait. The front disc also got a bit bent in transit but a bit of love with and adjustable bent it back again, well near enough.
Tomorrow we are putting 2 bags in storage so back into the center. We are going to suss the train as we are not going to ride out of Bangkok on these crazy roads. The plan is not yet 100% but Phuket is the first place to aim for and about a weeks ride. Food is a bit of a problem as vegetarians don’t seem be well catered for over here. I am sure Maria won’t starve though and we can both lose a few pounds after pigging out over Christmas.January 6th Bangkok
We got a taxi to the storage depot and have found it is cheaper to go with the meter than a fixed price! The bags cost 3000baht to store for 10 weeks which is about 60 gbp, 100/week for the rucksack and 200/week for the bike box with the trailer. From there we went to another bike shop and Maria got some shorts and I got a couple of sets of brake pads, chain lube and a new set of gloves. There was a guy in there servicing his bike who was cycling around the world on his own. A couple of other cycle tourists came in while we were there but we didn't get to speak to them. Looks like Thailand is a popular spot for cycling. We both got small crossbar bags for carrying the phone and dog deterrents, more on that another day.
After lunch and looking around another huge mall we got the train towards the hotel to check the route for tomorrow but found out they don't take bikes! A short taxi ride dropped us near the hotel and I had a hair cut which included a shave and a shoulder massage for 2gbp including a tip!
Now we are just figuring out how to get out of Bangkok!