Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Cycling Chanthaburi to Soi Dao

February 28th Chanthaburi - Soi Dao 77km

Back roads to start with what is now a common dose of dirt tracks thrown in.  If you don't have GPS around here you would be greatly restricted in your choice of routes mainly as most of the roads aren't on the map.

After 20km or so we got onto the 317 which took us all the way to Soi Dao.  Not much here but it breaks the trip to the Cambodian border.  We had our first half decent hill today, well about 300m vertical and not that steep but it made us change out of the big ring for a change.  I stopped at the top to wait for Maria then realised I had stopped next to a solider standing in the road under a pink umbrella.  With closer inspection I saw he was holding some kind of assault rifle AR15 style, glad he didn't notice or take offence about the toy guns in my crossbar bag.  I decided to move on.

I had to use the cap gun yet again today to scare off a couple of dogs, so far 100% effective.

Found an awesome villa style room for 800baht including breakfast, there is even a great restaurant on site with cheap beer!

Which way?

Hundreds on neat piles of dirt, why?

Sack to marketing guy

Not bad for 800baht 16gbp

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Cycling Laem mae Phim to Chanthaburi

February 26th Laem Mae Phim to Chanthaburi 80km

We have finally left the coast and travelled the 80km to Chanthaburi.  The roads were quiet and we were soon back into the agricultural areas.  Fish farms seem to be the most popular, with plantations coming in a close second.

Chanthaburi is known for it's gem trade with markets on the weekends.  The downside is all the hotels fill up on the weekends and the prices increase.  We planned to miss this as we don't need to buy anything else that's for sure!

One extra day here should put us on schedule for the border, tomorrow we will have a look around, service the bikes and get ready for Cambodia.

Sidecars and trailers, so this is where they come from

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Cycling Laem Mae Phim

February 23rd Laem Mae Phim

Just chilled today and cycled back to Phe and back without the bags.  I passed a Thai cyclist who tucked onto my back wheel for a bit to dodge the headwind before he turned off.  On the way back I saw a line of mountain bikers heading out.  50km in just under 1 1/2 hours was a bit faster than we usually ride!

Not an aquarium but a restaurant

Cycling Laem Mae Phim

February 22rd Laem Mae Phim

We have decided to stay here for a few days as this will be the last beach of the trip I would guess.  We hired a scooter and headed of to a national park about 35km away.  Apart from a little navigation issues all went well and we walked along a river stopping at the waterfalls along the way.  There were a huge amount of fish below each fall and some were quite a respectable size.  You would never believe there was enough food for them to survive in such big numbers.
The paths weren't wheelchair friendly

A couple of Monks out for a stroll

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Cycling Phe to Laem Mae Phim

February 21st Phe to Laem Mae Phim 28km

Super easy day today so we left Phe after brunch and covered the 28km in not much over an hour.  Laem Mae Phim is just hotels resturants and a lovely beach. We have hired a scooter to go to Khao Chamao national park tomorrow.  We are going to spend the following day chilling on the beach.  We might ride a bit further along the cost before heading to Cambodia but we are not sure as yet.  We have about 10 days before we have to be across the border.

Beach on one side woods on the other, not a bd road to ride!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Cycling Pattaya to Phe

February 20th Pattaya to Phe 100km

We left at about 8.30am and Pattaya was still sleeping off last nights activities.  An inland route kept us off the highway for most of the way with the exception of 20km or so around Rayong.  A small climb and yet another stretch of dirt kept us on our toes, especially as the lovely smooth dirt road must have just been graded and had a fair bit of loose sand grabbing at the wheels.

Once passed Rayong we managed to do a lap of the industrial area and then head along the cost following a lovely beach.  We kept riding to Phe but should have stopped at the beach before as the town here is nothing special and is just the ferry port to Ko Samet Island.  The rooms here are expensive for what you get and not the best.  We managed to get a fan room for 650baht with a sea view though so can't really complain.

Not sure of the plan for tomorrow yet.
More dirt

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Cycling Pattaya

February 19th Pattaya

Lie in, the wandered around Pattaya.  The relax I needed.  This place is all about sex tourism and it is rare to see an old man without a Thai girl on his arm, or even a young man come to think of it.

It has been interesting but not somewhere I would hurry back.  However if you wanted to motorbike around Thailand you would get a cracking deal on a bike for a month, bring your own helmet and bags and you'd have a great time.  Maybe when the legs can't pedal anymore.

We have found an off highway route for tomorrow of about 80km, not sure what the roads are like but we will soon see.  Will post all the pics from the last few days when I have a better connection.

Team lie in, check out the tan line!

All for hire, take your pick

Even pimped up monkey bikes

Not so sure about this place

Cycling Pattaya

February 18th Pattaya

Well it turned out I didn't take the blackberry off the handlebars soon enough and it wouldn't work.  So I took the bike back and tried to get it fixed as it is our only source of navigation.  I got pulled by the cops and they almost seem disappointed when I had a licence and the relevant documents, no bribe here.

I then spent 1 hour waiting for the shops to open, another hour trying to find a repair shop which didn't open for another hour4 and finally waited an hour for him to fix it.  6gbp though and it is now sorted.  In all that time waiting I walked up and down the seafront about 5 times getting propositioned by the local working girls along the way.  It is a different place when you are walking around on your own.

So another day of running about so I am having a lazy day tomorrow before we move on.

Volks bar

Same same but different Volks bar

Open for action

Cycling Pattaya

February 17th Pattaya

Well this is the rest day but I thought I had left my sunnies in the hotel in Prachin Buri.  I wasn't sure but it was the only place we could phone, typical!  So I decided that if I could hire a nice bike I would ride there and back which is nearly 400km roundtrip and if they weren't there no big issue as I would have enjoyed the blast on the bike.

Now in Pattaya you can hire any kind of bike you want from a harley to a monkey bike, I went for a supermoto DRZ400 which cost all of 10gbp for the day!  It was a bit rattley but it was perfect for the dodgey roads once you got off the highway, on the highway it went fast enough considering the lack of safety gear and a helmet that wanted to blow off at anything over 100kph.

As it turned out the glasses weren't there but I enjoyed the ride up until 40km from Paattaya and it poured down.  I stopped under a highway bridge to take the blackberry off the handle bars and had to do old school navigavtion back to the hotel through flooded roads where the splash as I went through was going over my head, luckily the bike kept going.

Cycling Chon Buri to Pattaya

February 16th Chon Buri to Pattaya 74km

Playing catch up as we haven't had wifi in the room for a few days.  We left Chon Buri and rode through the town before picking up the costl road.  This road is still very urban but we passed a chinese temple and took a few pics.  We then rode across a starting grid which turned out to be for a cr race which was last weekend, shame we missed it.

We had to get back on the highway all the way to Pattaya, busy but not life threatening and finally rode through the town to Jomtien Beach where we got a room in the Lek hotel.

That evening we headed into Pattaya to witness the infamous sex tourism.  We saw a show whicch I can't describe here but it was less errotic and more hilarious, yes ping pong ball were included.  A quick beer in a gogo bar and thats about that side of Pattaya done.

The beach at last

Best avoid these on your bike

Walkinjg street

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Cycling Prachin Buri to Chon Buri

February 15th Prachin Buri to Chon Buri 112km

Today we had to make do with 7/11 breakfast as the restaurant at the hotel didn't open before we left.  No big problem but by the end of the day we both felt worn out mainly down to lack of food.

The ride itself was great taking in everything from the hectic traffic as we rode past a school where the kids were being dropped off to a long straight flat road following an irrigation channel in what seemed like the middle of nowhere.  The traffic reached it's busiest in Chon Buri, the last 10km were interesting.

The road surfaces today have been a mix of everything from new super smooth tarmac to dirt and everything in between.  The long straight road I mentioned before had just about all the different types somewhere along it.  I think the only way to be sure of good surfaces is to stick to the highways but where's the fun in that!  Today we have seen crazy looking motorised trikes, raced kids on bikes older than me and scared countless dogs with the cap guns.  The bikes took the terrain in their stride with panniers being dislodged over big bumps the only problem.  Mountain bikes or that style of tourer may be better for some of the terrain but the skinny 700x32 tyres allow you to rip along when the surface is good and still keep going in the loose.

The roads great for drying corn

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Cycling Autthya to Prachin Buri

February 14th Autthya to Prachin Buri 131km

The traffic was hectic at the start of the day with lots of lanes to confuse.  After awhile we turned off away from the craziness and out into the rural areas round Bangkok.  There is no surprise this area is prone to flooding as each field or plantation has several irrigation ditches running through it.  The remainder of the land is flt as a pancake so once these channels are full only trouble awaits.

The networks of channels are impressive and are in much better condition than the roads!  Dogs were fairly quiet today with a few get of my land barks but no real chases.  As we approached the hotel that changed but 11 cap sent the little devils running.

The oddest thing today was a police bike parked up which was fully airbrushed with chrome grips and big pipes, chopper style.  The we saw the policeman and he was sporting a nickel plated semi auto!  He was the man!!!
Busy start

Every other row had an irrigation channel

Quieter roads

Pimped bike silver gun, top cop!