Saturday, 31 March 2012

Cycle Touring Bangkok

April 1st Bangkok

Yesterday we said goodbye to Donna and Chris, Maria's friends from home. It was great to spend a few days with them and unfortunately I think I talked their ears off as for 3 months it has just been Maria and me.

We visited the Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha and went into the city to the Cabbage and Condom Restaurant.  Drinking beer on the Khaosan road and having massages, a great way to finish the trip.

For Donna and Chris the the trip has just begun and I am a little jealous however we have had a great time and ready for new challenges back home.

I hope to put a little more information on my blogs just in case they are of use to other cyclist heading out, I might even get a website going.  For now though time to pack.

Cycle Touring Thailand Samut Sakhon to Bangkok

March 27th Samut Sakhon to Bangkok 44km

Not too sure how good of an idea cycling into the city was.  The roads started busy and ended up manic. It did feel at times like a possible life ending experience but like everything the longer you do it the less scary it gets.  By the time we got there we were weaving through the traffic like the locals ( well not quite).

The hotel was difficult to find as it is not on a road but on a footpath next to a canal.  The Blackberry did it's job well and navigated us straight to it, we just didn't believe it.

With our last day of cycling done we put the bikes away and started to collect the bits we need for the trip home.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Cycle Touring Thailand Nakhon Pathom to Samut Sakhon

March 26th Nakhon Pathom to Samut Sakhon 55km

Had a bit of a dodgey belly so had a couple of runs to the loo, then put some air in my tyre and the valve broke so had to change the tub.  The GPS wouldn't work so we headed out a couple of km further than we needed.  Not the best start.

All went well for a while on nice back roads, then we hit a dual carriageway but as it wasn't far we decided to stick to it.  Just s well as it started raining then pouring with a good dose of thunder and lightning.

The road turned to crap as we hit a long stretch of road works before finally turning to dirt.  How can you go from lovely smooth tarmac to a bumpy mud track in 10km on a main road??  When we got to the town the hotels were all on the other side of 6 lanes of fast moving traffic, nothing is going smoothly today.

We finally found a fly over and a hotel that didn't just do rooms by the hour!  As it turns out we could of easily crossed over Thai style and just ridden down the wrong side of the road like they do.  It would have saved 4km, I guess the rain must damped my brain.

Tomorrow Bangkok, should be an interesting ride!!

More water wheels

This was a tarmac dual carriageway before it turned into this

Sunday, 25 March 2012

CycleTouring Thailand Suphan Buri to Nakhon Pathom

March 25th Suphan Buri to Nakhon Pathom 105km

It seems we can't stop doing 100km+ days even when the plan was to only cover 87km.  The first problem was a road we were supposed to take was being resurfaced with truck carting gravel and masses of dust.  It looked like there was another easy option so we opted for that.  As it turns out google maps showed a road that didn't exist so we travelled down a slowly deteriorating track until it came to n end and had to back track.  Still we got there in the end and saw even more obscure Thai places we wouldn't of if it weren't for google.

I don't think we could of travelled around avoiding the main roads without google maps and the blackberry so it is easy to forgive it the odd mistake.

The ride today was great all in all and we crossed a temporary bridge that was the worst surfaced bridge I have ever ridden across, cool.  We passed a street party where a young lady stood in the road and jiggled her bits at me, thing is it was 9.30 on a Sunday morning.  An early start or a late finish!!!

Had another massage to finish the day off, the best yet.

A shorter day tomorrow and thinking we might ride into Bangkok instead of getting a taxi.

Nice bridge, not!

The best shop in Thailand

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Cycle Touring Tahiland Ayutthaya to Suphan Buri

March 24th Ayutthaya to Suphan Buri

Today we have come across all types of road including no road at all, well no bridge to be more precise.  Following google maps routes take you to some interesting place you won't find on a normal tourist itinerary that's for sure.

Two random things today, the first was having to avoid 2 elephants heading the wrong way down a dual carriageway!  They were accompanied but still not something you see every day.  The second was a pickup full of monks.  As they drove past one hung out of the window and had a chat as we rode along.  As they drove off you could see at least 3 of them in the back smoking, somehow did think they would.

It wasn't far today but the roads were quite slow in the latter parts of the ride.  All in all a great ride though.  Hotel 800baht including breakfast, it even has a pool although we haven't used it.

Pimp my combine

Wheres the bridge?

Massive fields

Not sure what they are doing but they liked having their picture taken

Thats a hole in the road

Massive lilly pads

Ausitn 1300

Cycle Touring Thailand Nakhon Nayok to Ayutthaya

March 23rd Nakhon Nayok to Ayutthaya 94km

Ok so we missed a turn and added about another 7km to the trip.  Today we had a mix of dual carriageway, 2 lane and dirt roads.  It was nice to have a good mix and a good tailwind.

We are stying in the same place as we did over 5 weeks ago but this time moving on in the morning.

Thai Gnome

Not a busy stretch

What can you say

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Cycle Touring Thailand Kabin Buri to Nakhon Nayok

March 22nd Kabin Buri to Nakhon Nayok 80km

Strange day today, as there wasn't a restaurant in the hotel we left without breakfast and for some reason ended up visiting 2 7/11 stores and 3 cafes before we managed to get any.  The AH1 continued to be quiet, even going down to a normal 2 lane road for awhile without much of an increase in traffic.

I think today was the day for random manufacturing on the side of the road with spirit houses, headstones, wooden and thatched cabins being some of the items for sale.  We also passed a stand selling giant bananas and a park full of cockerel statues?! 

We struggled to find a hotel but eventually stopped for lunch at Bees Cafe and got directions to a place 1km away with nice rooms for 500baht.

We covered 80km but at least 5 of those were looking for a hotel.

Since we started touring (not just riding) we have covered 8,000km.

Taxi rank Kabin Buri style

Here are some we made earlier

Home to go




Big Banana

Buffalo in the background

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Cycle Touring Thailand Aranya Prathet to Kabin Buri

March 21st Aranya Prathet to Kabin Buri 106km

No real reason to head this way other than we have a few extra days to get to Bangkok so we are taking the long way around.  We followed AH1 which is a dual carriageway but it was really quiet so we stuck with it and the GPS wasn't working.

The only strange thing today was that Kabin Buri got 3km further away, a sign read 8km then 1km later another read 10km???  Even the km markers showed the mismatch and the ones close to the town had the numbers painted out.  Map my ride seems to come up a bit short as using the km markers on the side of the road it worked out to at least 103km.
Road still needs a little work

Another outdoor gym
Hotel had interesting decor

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Cycle Touring Cambodia Sisophon to Aranya Prathet

March 20th Sisophon Cambodia to Aranya Praphet 58km

It turns out we were sharing the hotel with some of the Vietnam government last night.  That would explain the police and security guards I guess.  Because of the hotels location next to the government building this hotel is used a lot by visiting officials I was informed.  Nobody nicked the bikes anyway.

We had a headwind today but as it was such a short ride I got my head down and we were t the border in 2 hours.  The crossing into Thailand was trouble free and didn't not cost which is a bonus.

We are staying in the same hotel as last time we were here, 6 days of cycling left.

And I think I'm carrying alot!

Leaving Cambodia

Hello Thailand

Border Guard

Monday, 19 March 2012

Cycle Touring Cambodia Battambang to Sisophon

March 19th Battambang to Sisophon 66km

A more interesting ride today and fairly short which is a bonus.  We actually stopped a couple of km short of Sisophon as we found a very nice hotel.  $15 with breakfast and 100 times better than the place we stayed in Sisophon last time.

The hotel is busy with a big group, there are a couple of flash looking government buildings close by so could be something to do with that.

Got a massage and started planning our last week of cycling, back in Thailand tomorrow.

Posh Hotel for $15 a night!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

CycleTouring Cambodia Pursat to Battambang

March 17th Pursat to Battambang 112km

Hot was the best description of today.  The road was not very interesting today but at least the wind had dropped and even blew from behind every now and again.  We rode along at nearly 30kph for quite awhile and tried to stay in the slipstream of a slow moving truck but it was too hard to spot the potholes and road humps in time to avoid them.  Maria got a puncture after 45 minutes and we made a few little friends when we shared our lunch with them.  They were by no means hungry just curious, biscuits and bread were just a bonus!

We are having a rest day here then Sisophon which will complete the circle of the 2 highways before we cross the border the following day.

Battambang is the 2nd largest city in Cambodia but you wouldn't believe it.  It is much quieter than Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and although there are tourist bars and restaurants it seems this is more a base for visiting other areas than an attraction itself.  There are temples and a museum but we intend just to chill out.  We have seen quite a few western people about, the majority seem to be on organised tours.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Cycle Touring Cambodia Kampong Chhnang to Pursat

March 16th Kampong Chhnang to Pursat 100km

Noticed I had a bit of a slow puncture last night in the back tyre.  It seems to be a recurring problem so I figured I would nurse it to Pursat and then have a good look at it.  After pumping it up three times in three hours I gave in and changed the tube and checked the tyre.  I put a patch on the inside of the tyre anywhere I could see a mark where a thorn could of been including a little split in the tread.  The tyre has had it really, but 800km or so to go I will nee if it can hang on.

With the exception of several stands selling pots the day was similar to the end of yesterday.  The road is straight and flatish and in pretty good condition.  There is not as much life along the NH5 as the NH6 and the houses seem to be further off the road giving less distractions from aching bums!

When we got too Pursat we found a good hotel for $15 and even found a pack of digestive biscuits in the shop!

105km tomorrow at least then a couple of days in Battambang, should be the last day of over 100km.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Cycle Touring Cambodia Phnom Penh to Kampong Chhnang

March 15th Phnom Penh to Kampong Chhnang 100km

Back on the road again, we left before 8am and made good progress.  The Highway 5 ran along the front of the hotel we were staying in so we didn't need to make a turn all day.  The first 9km or so were busy as we left the suburbs of the city.  The road then follows the river for another 20km or so then turns inland slightly so the river is out of sight.

A couple of slight gradients you couldn't really call hills made us change gear at least and the wind was in our face although only lightly.  The road is in good condition and we covered the 91km before 12.30pm.  The town is very spread out and by the time we had cycled from one end to the other, had lunch and found a hotel we had covered a total of 100km.

There are a few western people here and it seems a popular stop for people doing the loop of Cambodia by bus. $15 for a nice room with aircon although you can pay $10 or less if you don't want wifi or such a nice room and don't mind not having a restaurant on site.  Crikey we are getting fussy!

Tomorrow we crack on to Pursat which is about 95km so same again really.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Cycle Touring Cambodia Phnom Penh

March 13th Phnom Penh

After a lazy day yesterday we did the tourist thing today.  We hired a Tuk Tuk and drove past a few sights before visiting S-21 Genocide Museum and The Killing Fields.  These to places need to be visited even though you leave feeling awful about the way we can treat other human beings. 

Cambodia's history of being pushed around lets hope, has come to an end.

At the end of the day we visited the shooting range, which maybe an odd choice after the previous 2 stops but shooting is one of my things and the chance to fire fully auto guns was too much of a draw.

Now it is really expensive and over far too quickly, $40 for 25 shots but to shoot an AK47 and an M16 single shot and fully auto was worth it.  You could fire belt fed machine guns, throw grenades and even fire a grenade launcher and RPG but these were out of my budget at $350 for the RPG!

Got to play with a few of the display guns afterwards for photos, the Rambo M60 was a beast.

Back at the hotel we said goodbye to our Tuk Tuk driver who was great all day and took a couple of snaps which we have to email him.

One more day of rest tomorrow than back on the bikes.

A sheame you have to sit at a bench but the AK on fully auto took some holding onto.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Cycle Touring Cambodia Skoun to Phnom Penh

March 11th Skoun to Phnom Penh 77km

The road slowly gets worse but still nothing to slow you down too much.  The main problem is road works so I guess it will only get better in time.  We had a tailwind for awhile so we made good time, passed a duck farm and more cattle pulling carts.

By lunch we were in the city, had lunch then found a hotel at $28 a night including breakfast it is the most expensive we have stayed in but this place is hectic and I couldn't be bothered to shop around too much.  The hotel has air con, cable, secure spot for the bikes and a nice big clean room.  We are going to have a couple or three days here to have a look around.