Chiang Mai to Prachuap Khiri Khan to Bangkok
approximately 2,000 km of sunshiny adventure!
Follow our adventures right here!
Randy, Anita and Deana are headed to Thailand for six weeks
of self-supported, free-range exploring by bicycle.
Jet fuel on the mountain top and cycling heaven
Total to date: 205km
We died today. Melted in the heat, struggled up the hills then sat on the pavement at the top of a particularly dreadful climb (well, two of us did…no names). Randy (who is celebrating his birthday today, by the way) was our bike mechanic hero and Deana was a real trooper. We all hit a low point at the high point (the top of the mountain). We pow-wowed and had a pep talk to discuss the yet-to-be travelled 35-40km that remained. Suddenly, right across from us was a little drink stand. Three colas. Jet fuel for our bodies! That was the moment in time when it all changed.Literally!
After downing our colas we hopped back on our bikes prepared for more misery. The relenting sun suddenly gave way to shade and the jet-fuel got us up the next few hills. And then…the downhill started, and it was stellar! Downhill for more than 20 km of winding, spectacular, supreme scenery. Unbelievable. We unanimously agreed it was likely the best ride of our lives! tropical birds sang, the pavement felt smooth like butter, and the beautiful turns in the road were nothing short of a once-in-a lifetime experience. Both sides of the road looked and sounded like we were cutting through a jungle. Sublime was Randy’s chosen description. Yes, we died…and then went to cycling heaven!
Thai’s are smiling at us everywhere we go, but particularly so on the mountain today. Every passing vehicle gave a little honk of encouragement, lots of thumbs up and lots of “hellooooooos”
I expect we will sleep well tonight.
The heat—Holy shmoly!
We woke up and were all enthusiastic-like, thinking we might go out and conquer 106km today… but it was just delusional coffee and heat interfering with our sensibilities. As we are riding down the road the conversation turned to pickle juice, melting, and ice cold smoothies. Some fresh black tarmac during a construction zone felt like we were in a frying pan. By the way, it didn’t stop all the workers from honking, beeping & giving us smiles and thumbs up.
We aren’t wusses. Honestly! But the heat just did us in today. And the coming days are forecasting highs of 36c and nothing but sunshine. By day’s end we were each desperately trying to keep sun off our necks & shoulders. Randy and I were nerded out with our “daBrim” over our helmets. Couldn’t care less about how we look, lol!
We wussed. Right around the 60km mark. Somewhere between downing the bag ‘o salty chips & guzzling water and staring ahead at the looming mountains a cute little roadside resort presented itself to us—none of us could resist escaping the heat. 690THB (about $28) bought us each a room.
There’s a reason they call this the Land of Smiles
It took a while to get rolling today. First time on the loaded touring bikes is a wobbly experience that makes you say to yourself “whoahhhhh”, “phew”, and then “ok, ok, I’m in charge here!” Then we took the plunge, and popped out onto the busy street to go with the flow. Right out of Chiang Mai we flowed down the left hand side of the road past streets full of cars, scooters, motorcycles cutting in and out. Here, you pick your line of travel and don’t stray because all those fast-than-bike-but-slower-than-car moving forms of transportation feels like organized chaos. Once you release your death-grip on the handlebars, it’s easy to start noticing all the gorgeous flowering trees and shrubs everywhere. You’ll just have to take our word for it because we ain’t stopping to take a picture! Despite the busyness I still saw so many Thai faces light up with big giant emoji-smiles, and sometimes road workers would issue words of enthusiastic encouragement. Yep, smiles everywhere.
When traffic thinned and we were finding our groove suddenly this big glittery golden gorgeous piece of architecture compelled us to pull off the road for a period of admiration. The Buddhist temple Wat Ton Phung Mueang was something that can only be seen. Photos don’t do it justice. There wasn’t a soul in sight so we just planted ourselves under a tree in glimmering appreciation.
Then it was time to look for a hotel or something. This was supposed to just be a little 30k warmup ride to work out the kinks. Found one! But upon arrival the gates were locked and it didn’t look welcoming. (Neither did the barking dogs across the way seem to want us there). So we revisited booking.com and found one about 6 km back where we came from. About an hour later, and after some multi-lane highway lane-switches, down a teen tiny pathway we managed to find our accommodation. “A Day Inn” (who comes up with these names?) Not fancy, and there’s a little house-gecko occupying Randy’s & mine room. I guess he can stay. He was here first.
We headed out for dinner. First to a “buffet hot pot” place that looked supremely popular but not our style. Down the road we went to the little happening restaurant where we had to cross a rickety bridge to get to it. All Thai menu—we couldn’t understand a thing on it, but it was a lot of fun trying to figure it out with our server! We got three Thais all smiling & laughing trying to help us out. We ended up placing an order for something and waited to behold what arrived. I guess it was tasty cuz we all ate every bite on our plates, and Randy ordered up a second meal! There seems to be a correlation—the less English available, the better the food! As we were preparing to leave, one of us (not naming any names) ventured to the toilet. Squat time! A cultural experience to be sure!
As we were leaving the restaurant a whole table full of cute smiling Thais were delighted to try out their English. “bye-bye” “have a good evening” “good night”. The day ended the way it began—smiles in the Land of Smiles