Srimahapho, Prachinburi to Sakaeo to Phang Ngaun

Elephants and Monkey biz, healthcare the Thai way, pizza due the dog factor, and the squiggly lines Resort. Also….time to talk traffic.

We came all the way here to see things we don’t see in Canada. So far, we’ve not been able to report any elephant sighting until yesterday. They weren’t exactly in their natural habitat. Strangely enough, as we were pedalling down the road we looked up and in the back of an open air truck were two elephants being transported to somewhere. Not something we see at home!

The other wildlife sighting was today as we rode along and spotted a side road that looked intriguing so we hung a left. About 50ft down the road our eagle-eyes that are always scanning for dogs noticed something else. Monkeys! On the road, in the trees beside us, and one just 20 ft away sifting through some roadside debris. Monkeys everywhere! And the locals seemed to pay them no mind. We of course were snapping pictures, hoping they’d keep their distance because we’ve heard they can be very curious and proficient at re-allocating anything they spy that catches their eye. So, we felt it necessary to protect all our bags and their contents by keeping a distance.

Last evening we wandered over to the Big C (again) and decided to look for some antibiotic ointment for Randy’s irritated eye. We located a pharmacist we hoped might recommend something. He looked at the eyeball, wrote a prescription, packaged up some antibiotics, and five minutes and $3.50 later we were done! It really made us ponder the reality of time and inconvenience it would have been at home.

We had a reasonably situated Resort in town last night, near a whole lot of commercial activity so we thought venturing out to a restaurant we located on Trip Advisor would be easy. Not so. After hanging a right to follow a narrow street, about 50ft in a few dogs came at us. They barked up a storm and out came 20 or so of their friends. They had the upper hand…many more of them than us. And they owned that alley. We were not going down there, risking a dog pack attack. So we backtracked and went for pizza at the Big C. We’d been curious anyways about the pizza here. Now we know The Pizza Company has great food but anything that’s not Thai food is on the pricey side. All relative of course….still cheaper than what we are typically accustomed to at home.

Let’s talk traffic. We are becoming pro at this whole left-side-of-the-road thing. We even prefer the divided four-lane highways now due to the fact that that there’s always a slow lane in which all the scooters, motorcycles, and other slower moving transportation modes can use. And that’s where we ride. We fit in nicely. But when we get just a two-lane road the shoulder also seems to shrink and we are sharing the road with very fast moving cars, trucks, tankers, motorcycles etc. without the benefit of any passing lanes. We frequently experience heavy transport trucks passing in the oncoming lanes with no regard whatsoever for giving us a little space. We find ourselves just a few feet away from oncoming vehicles travelling well in excess of 100km per hour all the time! It’s like we become invisible. So, we feel safer in the congested city areas with multiple lanes.

Each day when we have reached our destination we have a procedure we need to complete. Hand-washing the days laundry, charging our lights and other devices, washing water bottles, seeking water to rehydrate with and then start planning the next day. Sometimes we have absolutely no idea where we’ll stay because every Thai sign is just a series of squiggly lines to us. Unless they use pictographs or numbers, all written indicators are meaningless. So today we blew up the google map really big to look for icons that looked like hotels. We spotted a possibility that may or may not be a hotel so we do a Street View, snap a picture of the sign and run it through google translate (which doesn’t work very well). The sign apparently translates to SO219 Arabia Mountain View and said Room Service. Well, that’s the teeny tiny sliver of information we had to go on, hoping that when we get there it’s a place to stay. We lucked out! Not only is it a little resort, but it has a most excellent gigantic salt water swimming pool! We’ve died and gone to heaven. And there’s a mountain view to go with it! We love the Squiggly Line Resort think we’ll stick around a few days. Our legs are feeling the wear and tear of 1200 km on the bike so far.

Lol. We decided we wouldn’t eat at Tummour
Breakfast. It was surprisingly good!
The sign for our resort.
Lunch today.
Stairs up to a hole in the mountain. Probably a great view but we chose not to subject our legs to the stairs.
The police, who stopped us to check passports, took our mug shots, then got selfies with us.
The pool and the mountain view at our squiggly line resort.

Ayutthaya to Nakhon Nayok to Srimahapho (Prachinburi)

We are decidedly non-tourists, but we do like our 7-Elevens, takeout food at the Khaohom Resort, Lollygagging poolside, and the little “Big C” experience.

Its hard to compete with the sights and experiences at Ayutthaya, but as we left the area we both agreed we aren’t really the “touristy” type for very long. You’ve seen one ancient ruin you’ve seen em all! Now that we are halfway through our trip we can stop and notice smaller things.

Like 7-Elevens and our dependence on them. In a land where we know not a single Thai word, 7-Eleven feels like comfort food. We choose routes now that will ensure rest stops there. They have all the right things! Air conditioning, an ice machine, pineapple turnovers, cold lemonade, and beer for Randy. Unless of course it’s between the hours of 2 and 5pm, in which case they aren’t selling to him or anyone else. There’s regulations around that, and apparently it’s because they don’t want school aged children getting their paws on beer. Randy feels quite confident that no child, rabid dog or otherwise is getting hold of any beer he be in possession of after a 100k ride (not during a ride, mind you), but he’s not about the change the laws, so he wanders a few doors down and gets his beer from an independent seller who is a little flexible on the issue.

Night before last we checked into the Khaohom Resort and it turned out to be a cute little, super clean, roadside motel-style accommodation near Srimahapho. The operators there spoke no English but we managed to communicate anyways. Too exhausted after our 106k day to seek food so we looked at a takeout menu they had and with the help of google translate selected a dish and hoped for the best. A half hour later the friendly Thai guy on the motorcycle brought our food right to our door with steaming hot pots full of shrimps with glass noodles, along with real plates & cutlery. Such a nice experience. That wonderful young Thai man assured us (with the very little English he knew) that he was there ALL night and would watch our bicycles ALL night while we slept. He then did his rounds on his bicycle, diligently riding up and down the length of the row of rooms (there were only about 10), ensuring ours, and the other two guests’ security.

Yesterday we saw the most crazy busy 7-Eleven. It was at a busy intersection, almost no parking, a steep driveway to get into it, and street vendors were setup all around it, almost right up to the doorway. Pork balls, noodle dishes, BBQ bananas, chicken on sticks, fresh fruit of every origin, bags of strawberries (bought some of those!), clothing enough to dress an entire country, flip flops, brooms, veggies, dollar-store housewares, dried mangos, you name it. There were vendors lined right out to the street and almost a half kilometre down the road.

We had two fairly hard days of cycling. The heat compounds our efforts exponentially. The first day was 106km in 36c heat and the second day was about 63km in the same but the added dimension of strong headwinds. It’s like an open-air convection oven and we are roasting inside of it!

So, when our hotel in Prachinburi showed a pool, we just knew we needed to have a rest day, sitting in the shade staring at the pool, occasionally cooling off in it, and wondering how everyday citizens deal with the heat. Since we could not in good conscience just sit motionless ALL day, we ventured across many lanes of traffic on foot and checked out a Thai shopping mall & grocery store called The Big C. Randy read somewhere that it was a “little” one, but hey….we needed to see how Thai people experience grocery shopping.

The Big C is like an open-concept shopping mall/food court/Walmart-style department store/movie theatre/shoe store all combined. There was a KFC, a DQ, and a Mr. Donut among a whole bunch of Japanese & Thai foods. Parking outside was predominantly for scooters & motorcycles and cars were relegated to the outer perimeter of the parking facilities.

Walking through the aisles of the Big C was an experience. Mostly hunting down snack foods, we saw things that simply don’t appeal to us. Like Basil Seed Drink with Peach Flavor, or the Shredded Seasoned Cuttlefish, or the sheets of Roasted Seaweed. We left the Grilled Seaweed Giant Sheet Paprika Flavor behind in favour of Gummi Bears.

We noticed that ground meats and pork chops etc were sold in a scoop-it-yourself style, much like we do with our fruit and veggies, and then they are weighed. Not quite sure about how refrigerated these meats were, but they did appear fresh.

Prices of things are such that if it’s an internationally recognized brand, expect the prices to be similar to home. Domestic brands that we are unfamiliar with are super-bargains. Shoes were going for about 180 bhat which equates to about $7.50 and there was great selection. Clothes were equally bargain priced.

We typically spend evenings planning the next day. Looking at maps, doing Google Street views, checking out hotels on Agoda.com and looking at weather. Temperature and sunshine don’t vary much. Pure sunshine every day, 35 or 36c. Still not a drop of rain has fallen since we arrived.

7-Eleven
The guy we met at a roadside bicycle shop.
The Khaohom Resort
Takeout food! Baked shrimp and glass noodles.
Our Thai menu that we couldn’t read.
The forecast seems pretty consistent
Strawberries! (Not really a bargain…$6 for a kg) but worth every bit!
Breakfast at the Hotel.
Weird dessert thing at our hotel breakfast buffet.
Our pool at our fancypants Hotel! ($46)
Parking at the Big C
Good thing we have any space in our bags for shopping!
Not a chance….
Ugh. Floaties in drinks seem to be popular here
The fresh meat section of the Big C
Giant Milkweed. Growing everywhere here!

Ayutthaya—day off, being a tourist

Ancient Ruins, a boat ride around the City, and the biggest Buddha imaginable! We looked and played the part of Tourist.

After another night in a traditional Thai wooden Guesthouse we decided to stay an extra day, be tourists, and head for the ancient ruins that the city is built around. They are old, majestic, and mesmerizing. Not wanting to disrespect Buddha at the ancient Wat, we paused at a nearby store to pickup a pair of long pants ($6) with pretty elephants all over them to cover-up my Canadian legs.

Ayutthaya is 70km from Bangkok and was founded in 1350. It was the capital of Siam for 400 years until about 1767. The city is surrounded by waterways, important for trade for hundreds of years. The city fell in 1767 when the Burmese brutally attacked it, much of it by fire.

After the ruins we hopped into a rickety TukTuk to take us to the start of our river expedition through the surrounding waterways. What a fascinating way to see the City! We finally did more than just photograph a Wat from the outside—we took off our shoes and quietly went inside. Absolutely amazing! The Buddha housed inside the Buddhist temple Wat Panan Choeng is one of the oldest, largest, and most worshiped in Thailand. Great. Big. Gold. Buddha!!

After the boat tour we walked the 1.5km back to our Guest House, and passed another market. We couldn’t resist a few chicken dumplings and some fresh oranges. We noticed that most of the vendors were preparing Halal food and the place was busy with locals but very few tourists. They were all at the touristy Night Market a few kilometres away.

It was a great day for picture-taking! So many to choose from!

Sing Buri to Ayutthaya

What a fantastic day—No dog encounters, beautiful scenery, and the historic City of Ayutthaya. We are living the dream!

Every day is different, and this was no exception. Not a single dog encounter. Oh, they were all there, just laying docile on the road—perhaps we are starting to blend a little with our surroundings and they paid us no notice.

With overcast skies most of the morning it looked like it might rain but didn’t. We haven’t seen a drop of rain since arriving. We we’re so grateful for a break from the sun! We made it to our destination with fewer lemonade stops than usual.

Approaching Ayutthaya, we travelled alongside the Chaya Phrao River for some of the 75km. Omg! There was gorgeous, traditional looking Thai architecture lining both sides of the river and equally beautiful gardens. We noticed (as we have for several days now) that many properties had very large water reservoirs (ditches) in in front of their properties. Mamy were filled with water lilies, water hyacinths, and all sorts of various tropicals in bloom.

As we get closer to Bangkok we notice that the greenery is more lush. We are also beginning to see very large corporations and manufacturing facilities. There’s a lot of commerce going on in these parts,

We love flowering tropicals! Bougainvillea are in abundance and especially striking when they are mixed with multiple colours, all in bloom. Bananas are sprouting in trees, mangoes hang from branches. We are far from home, that’s for sure!

There are literally Wats in every town, and always impressive. Today we happened across a few that just made us stop pedalling, get off our bikes, and take in the spectacular elaborate details. Wow….just wow!

The Night Market in Ayutthaya was a feast. That, and many other experiences today are best described with pictures!

An outdoor gym. This one looks a little better than others we have seen.
Bougainvillea
Boring grey buses are not a thing here….
Thats a gorgeous riverfront home!
Bananas!
Lazy dog (we like those kind)
Typical intersection
Randy is buying some jack fruit
Ugh.
Pink eggs are a “thing” here
The things in front look gross and we don’t really want one.
We are getting used to navigating these streets!

Uthai Thani to Sing Buri

Beautiful Roads, (“beautiful” now means fewer dogs), and resort-ing it in the City of Sing Buri.

The “beauty” of our days are directly proportionate to presence/absence of aggressive dogs, while either cycling or making our way on foot. They are everywhere and it’s a real deterrent to exploring as much as we’d like. We make road and route choices hoping to minimize encounters. They seem more prevalent on city streets. However….yesterday there weren’t many. We enjoyed long stretches of country roads with pretty scenery. After several days of heat and fairly long distances we decided to stay two nights in our resort in Sing Buri in order to enjoy the pool, and our beautiful surroundings.

Our resort is a beautifully manicured place, with a restaurant, a pool. We noticed that there are only 4 rooms that we can see, and there is not one other couple here. We had the pool entirely to ourselves today.

City streets are busy and are always buzzing with activity. There are vendors selling everything from roasted corn on the cob, to watermelons, to bbq fish. Cats and dogs wander in and out of traffic, and motorcycles carry entire families here and there (usually without helmets). They just throw Little Baby in front, balanced between Mom and the handlebars and off they go! Curiously, we’ve also noticed how locals cover up from head to toe with full face masks, hoodies, long pants etc. Obviously not a sun-worshipping society. We sweat just looking at them! 35C here and people don’t seem to notice.

We really feel for those in the tourism industry here. So few tourists, plenty of minimally occupied resorts, and mostly just us and a few visible Europeans when we go to restaurants.

Unfortunately, the only real part of Sing Buri we’ve seen is our hotel and a coffee house a kilometre away. Just too many dogs….

Flooded rice field
Many towns seem to have a beautiful “grand entranceway”
We won’t talk about this
A bus shelter
Getting closer!
Not sure what the are intended for, but we see a lot of them for sale. We figure they are “portable” wats.
Free food!
That’s the local variety store where Randy picked up his Chang beer.
Fish at the Amazon Cafe (much like Starbucks)
Our room (on the left)
Big giant fruit hanging from a tree at our hotel.
Lots to choose from on the menu
Our gorgeous room (complete with one live gecko on the loose inside)
Randy tried em….
So many pretty tropicals here!
Sing Buri
Sunset, sitting poolside

“Somewhere” to Uthai Thani

One fall off the bike, one snake on the road, lots of highway riding today and pizza, Thai-style

We got off to a slow start. About 6k into the ride we were presented with a dirt road to tuen onto. We’re not falling for that again, we told ourselves. The bikes get filthy, we get grimy with all the red dirt, and there’s almost always dogs. So, we backtracked and ride back to the beginning to start over. Once on the main highway (yeah, sometimes we gotta take those!) we pulled over to the side to consult the map and somehow, some way, I managed to fall off my bike again, and injure my wrist again. Twice in as many weeks! Fortunately the lady we’d been talking to was able to provide ice for my throbbing wrist. We had been talking to her for a while. She’d seen us at the roadside looking at our map and walked over with a baby to meet us. We are quite a novelty here, apparently. She wanted to get a picture with us. We’ve had a number of people wanting to get their pictures taken with us. We feel a bit celebrity-ish!

It was a rather uneventful next 90km during which we saw very loooooong stretches of flat roadway, banana groves, rice fields, mango trees, and a variety of small modest villages. We rode through some countryside and nearly ran over a rather large, menacing looking snake. It was curled up on the roadway but looked quite alive, and we didn’t want to stick around to snap a picture.

Sometimes we take highways. Not itty bitty ones like highway 2, but big ones with big trucks exceeding 100k per hour, like the 401. But at least here inThailand there are a lot of road users with scooters and small motorcycles so there is always a very wide shoulder provided where most of the two-wheeled traffic makes its way. So we actually feel relatively safe riding the main highways. They are however, noisy and there’s not much in the way of interesting things to see. Only one nasty dog encounter today!

We were starving by the time we checked into our hotel. It’s easy enough to locate hotels with maps.me, but in practical terms it becomes a challenge actually locating it in person. There’s rarely English on a sign, and that applies to resorts. Tonight’s accommodation took a very long time to locate and we’d been standing right on the street in front of a laneway that led to the hotel and we didn’t even know it because the sign was in Thai.

After checking in, we went for pizza (it was a stroke of luck to find that place!). Not sure what to expect when they took our order and asked if we wanted cheese on it. (Really? Cheese is an option?) then they asked if we wanted sauce (again, really?). In any case, it arrived and by “sauce” we discovered they meant ketchup which nicely decorated the top in a pretty swirl pattern. But it was tasty, we were starving, and it went down fast!

And now we are in a city called Uthai Thani (usually unable to remember city names, we just kept referring to it as Uma Thurman all day) about 200km from Bangkok. Not sure where we’re headed next, but every day is a new adventure.

The nice lady who brought me ice for my wrist who wanted a family picture with us!
Roadside stop at Amazon Cafe
“Shots of fruity power” (frozen treat from 7-Eleven)
The sign to our Hotel
The hotel is a collection of mini-cabins. We are Cabin #5.
Pizza with the “sauce and cheese” options.

Kamphaengphet to Who-knows-where

Big giant Buddha, 7-Elevens & Amazon Cafe’s are our friends, and being foreigners at the CK Resort. A great day!

There’s a Wat in every town. Gorgeous gold, red, ornately decorated beautiful Buddhist temples and we just never seem to tire of seeing them! They just crop up roadside near any given town. We typically see about 3-5 a day. Today we saw one with a giant sized Buddha. It makes you wonder….where do they make these gigantic figures? Is there a Buddha manufacturing company somewhere? In any case, they are are stunning, and as tall as Randy is, he was a shrimp next to this one!

The ride was great today. Not a single free-range dog lunged at us, and we noticed more greenery, leading us to think the drought hasn’t impacted this area as much as more north of here. We have almost left Northern Thailand and entered Central Thailand. Don’t ask where we are, because we can’t figure it out! The names of the towns all sound similar “Ban this” “Kao that” “thing thong” and here we are! We made good time today, mostly due to the flatness of the route. Flat like a pancake! We did deal with headwinds but they served to cool us in what feels like a big outdoors convection oven.

Simple pleasures make for a great day! When it’s stinking hot and you happen across a 7-Eleven its like striking gold. We filled water bottles with ice, got toasted ham & cheese sandwiches and pineapple turnovers, then guzzled lemonade. We also came across an Amazon Cafe. It similar to our Starbucks, with a variety of interesting offerings. Instead of the Crunchy Love Pinky Milky Frappe, or the Perfect Match Iced Pinky Butterfly Pea (who comes up with these names?) we just ordered simple coffees. And we were happy enough.

We checked into a little roadside “resort” called CK Resort. We found it with Maps.me and it is a cute little motel style place with individual car-ports for each room. The young man “Sam” was very happy and pleased to see us. His English was very good. (He previously worked on a cruise ship). We learned that foreigners rarely stop there, and we are the first foreigners in at least a year! We walked about 500m down the road to find an establishment serving dinner and stopped in at a “night spot”. Several smiling happy people all came to happily serve us. Big smiles all around. More excellent, tasty food!

Another happy day in Thailand.

Big Buddha. Little Randy.
Outside the 7-Eleven
Amazon Cafe
A selection of sunscreens available at 7-Eleven. Most promise lightening, whitening of the skin. (And here we are, working on our tans!)
I think this sign probably says CK Resort, but who knows?
CK Resort
“Sam” at the CK Resort

Kamphaengphet

Tourists! That was us today. Meeting George. And those gosh darn dogs!

We made like tourists—shopping at the market, avoiding the sun (we get enough of that!), and enjoying tales from the road with another cycle tourist we met from the Netherlands. “George” as he told us to call him, has been on the road for 5 months. He’s the one and only cycle tourist we have seen in our time here so far. We stopped in the road to talk and then we headed into the nearby restaurant for some Pad Thai. We were happy to be exchanging like-minded conversation about where we’ve been, and our common experiences. We picked up some good tips from George about how to deal with ongoing issue of aggressive dogs. He carries a few sticks on his bike, both front and back and exhibits an attitude toward them when they pounce. So far he’s been successful.

We sure could have used some sticks tonight when we walked down the street again to our hotel. We dealt with a group of three dogs that came out barking and ready to give chase. Earlier we avoided a few pit bulls with muzzles (fortunately) who vocalized their desire to do battle, and at one point a very large and fat bulldog fell off the steps and into the bushes as he lunged at us. We applied the “stare them down” method and it appeared to work. After a while we just decided to walk along the median that divided the road, figuring dogs would need to battle the cars to get to us. Not a bad strategy.

Shopping is an extravaganza that needs to be seen with your own bare eyes to be believed. We can barely contemplate such a concentration of consumer goods, industrious individuals making things, food stalls, produce piled 6 feet high, stores with deep and narrow aisles with merchandise layered floor to ceiling, cars & motorcycles and pedestrians all sharing the spaces, and utterly endless rows of stalls selling everything imaginable as far as the eye could see—it’s like a confluence of Dollarama on steroids, and frenzied farmers markets all hyper-concentrated in the steaming heat of the city.

My only purchase (due to an overwhelming array of choice that made me simply unable to choose much at all), was a simple white shirt for 100 bhat ($4) from a location that sold only white shirts….thousands of styles to choose from. Right beside the “white shirt stall” was a one offering an absolute mountain of socks & underwear and the other side sold phone cases with thousands of styles to choose from.

We left, thoroughly impressed by the magnitude and impact of the market, but equally appreciating the simplicity and neatness of Cobourg’s Farmers Market.

“George”
Just three dogs who finally backed off
Our “safe” median where we walked to steer clear of the dogs

Sukhothai to Kamphaeng Phet

Riding on the left, surviving the relentless sun & heat, we tested fate — fate won, our Pink Room and the incredible Festival, omg!

We are riding in the left hand side of the road like we’re pro’s! We ride right on into busy cities along with silly traffic and just move with the flow. It does seem to make sense….we do most things, directionally, from left to right, so why not? Honestly, we agreed that the drivers here allow us a little more space and consideration than do our Canadian counterparts. Perhaps it’s because there are so many scooters and motorcycles on the road. Drivers expect and accommodate them/us everywhere. We even roll on down multi lane highways comfortably now! And it must be said—our previous CanBike Safety Training has been absolutely invaluable. We feel safer, more confident and we make darn sure we are visible and predictable.

Today was hot. There’s never a cloud in the sky it seems, and we can feel the heat radiating upward from the road and downward from the sun. As long as we keep moving we do all right. We have little tricks for making the heat bearable—stop every 10k and wait till we drip sweat. Once we are underway again the evaporation has a cooling effect. We seek out cold drinks constantly. The water in our bottles gets hot quickly. We pour cold water on our heads and that works wonders. we probably drink about 5L a day and still finish the day thirsty. Today we spotted some gorgeous lime & orange popsicle-like treats at a gas station and it was like heaven. If the weather wasn’t hot enough, we biked alongside a farmers field that was burning. This is common at this time of the year as farmers want to burn off all the debris that remains on the ground. Everywhere we go we see blackened fields.

Whenever we stop, people want to know where we are from, where we are going, and how long we are here. They eye up our bikes and give us gigantic smiles and thumbs up. Today a woman named “Penn” made conversation with us despite neither of us knowing a word of the others language. Charades is a fun game in every culture and always makes people laugh. I could tell she was trying to tell us about something big happening in the town we were going to, but we had no idea what she said. We’d have to wait and see….

This morning our pump broke. Not a cheapy pump either. It is a good quality one that should do the job,but broke while topping up our tires this morning. The nearest place to buy a new one was 22km back the way we came yesterday. We took a gamble that today wont be the day we get a flat. Our destination was 82k away. We stopped just a few kms short of our final destination to locate a bike shop on Google Maps to but a new pump. With address in hand and just a few kms to go, we leave our roadside rest spot and wouldn’t you know it…a flat! Big bummer. No pump. We notice some people at a school across the street and decide to ask about where we can call a taxi. These wonderful Thai people all came to our rescue—a young teacher translated our situation to a nearby kind and generous man who offered to take the bicycle wheel himself on his motorcycle down the road to a place to get it filled with air. Everyone there was so kind and thoughtful as they all tried to help. Thank you, thank-you, to the wonderful teacher “who sometimes teaches English”, and thank-you to the 72 year old man who transported the bicycle wheel to and from the shop. You are all so lovely and kind!

We found a hotel to check into. Our little cottage is a cute little Pink doll house that just exudes happiness. It’s actually Barbie pink both inside and out. Ugh I k it was 500 Thai Bhats. That’s a whole $21 and our breakfast is included. 😁

Coming into town we saw there’s a HUGE festival underway. It looks like a carnival extravaganza, with endless rows of super inexpensive clothing, toys, plants, shoes, and weird foods to try. Trust me when I tell you….we will not eat fried up giant cockroaches! Supergross! However, the other 99% of the food looked intriguing, smelled amazing and looked tantalizing.

We may stick around an extra night here, but aren’t committing to anything. We won’t know till we wake up and see what strikes our fancy!

Our accommodation last night near Sukhothai Historical Park. Very beautiful place!
“Just another” ancient ruin
Just one of the endless flowers we see in bloom.
Roadside burning.
Roadside field burning. Didn’t see a single person managing the situation
“Penn” who despite knowing not a single word of English, we found mutual laughter while trying communicate
A typical roadside rest stop for us.
All the people discussing the Stituation of My Tire.
Off goes my tire to be pumped up.
Our little pink Cabin for the night
Deep fried. Big. Giant. Cockroaches. Eeeewwww.

Thung Saliam to Si Samrong then to Sukhothai

Easy riding, new friends Doug and Tippy, food markets, ancient ruins and, as always, more great food! But hey, where are all the tourists?

Finally some easy riding days! Just 58km yesterday and 34 today. All flat! It was a Buddhist holiday in Thailand yesterday, Magha Puja. Most establishments were closed while people partake in “merit making” activities. (It’s a good thing!)

Yesterday we met up and stayed with new friends Doug and Tippy who we’d been in touch with via email prior to travelling here, but had not met yet. Doug rode his bicycle out to meet up with us at the 7-Eleven in Ban Rai then we rode together to his and Tippy’s home in Si Samrong. Doug is a wonderfully insightful Canadian national and Tippy is a beautiful, warm & friendly Thai national who have re-located from Canada to live here in Thailand where Tippy has family. We had a yummy dinner in a local restaurant where we shared stories and laughs. In the morning Tippy served up some traditional Thai rice porridge that her own mother made, which was delicious. Thank you Doug and Tippy!

Last night Doug took us to the nearby outdoor market. Now that’s an experience. The sights and sounds are all so irresistible and it leaves us thinking that if we lived here we would never ever cook anything! Randy is pretty adventurous, (me, less so), but there’s no way any crispy fried grubs, crickets, chicken feet, frogs, will find their way into our bags for late-night snacking. There were lots of BBQ fish-on-sticks, savoury looking crabs, chicken this & that, veggies prepared in every imaginable way, sweet things, soups, and spices. It’s a busy, busy place!

Today we left and rode a fairly short (34k) to the historic city of Sukhothai which was founded almost in 1238, making it 680 years old and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. The ruins here are amazing! There’s a real feeling of peaceful serenity when you wander the monuments, imagining the workmanship that went into these things! Simply amazing and a visual feast for the eyes. It feels old, looks grand, and inspires. Which makes us wonder:

Where are all the tourists? Wherever we go we marvel at how few people appear to be travelling. We have stayed at more than one place where we sense our aloneness. Restaurants are frequently empty. Doug explained that a terrible drought has affected the economy for locals who rely heavily on agriculture in some regions. They aren’t dining out. The coronavirus is keeping Chinese and other nationals, who would normally be plentiful, away. We haven’t met a single other Canadian. We haven’t seen a single other bicycle tourist. In any case, there is always a vacancy at any given accommodation and nothing seems to be crowded. Today we are at a resort with a pool—a fabulous resort. There were four of us at the pool. No shortage of lounge chairs!

Our little hut for the night at Thung Saliam


Ugh. Double ugh.