From Kunming (China), we flew to Bangkok to solve a technical problem : Anthony’s Shimano hub broke on Chinese roads because of… overweighting and an occasional use of the Brompton as a 4×4 added to normal wearing.
When we arrived in Bangkok, we immediately suffered from the ambient stifling moisture. On human terms, we went back into a particularly warm world. A soothing warmth this time.
In Bangkok, Tiny Wheels and Mod teams, official Brompton resellers, welcomed us as kings! Spare parts, new bells, new light, good food, and a complete maintenance of our Bromptons by absolute experts! Mod offered the replacement of Anthony’s hub for free. They provided so many things to us! But above all, beyond the material considerations, through this kindness, this friendship, these smiles, they gave us back the energy and optimism we were precisely needing at this time.
Before leaving Bangkok area, our Thai friends Som and Kla drove us to Ayutthaya province. We visited the remains of the beautiful Historic City of Ayutthaya, founded in 1350.
In Thailand, we also met Clive, an English world tourer, on the road since 2013. We shared with him one week of adventure, great discussions, and lot of fun! Together, we also bit the record of the amount of ice creams per day per person. So nice to discover new local flavors such as coconut milk or red beans!
These hundred of kilometers cycled with Clive will be part of our best times during the trip. That’s sure ! Here is his very interesting travel blog : https://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Sturdmeister/. In Thailand, we also joined Thiago and Julie from Brasil, cycling too. We met them 3 month before in Nepal and we had made an appointment in a Temple. For the portuguese-speaking, here is their blog and its wonderful pictures : diocanaestrada.blogspot.com.
Then, in the Temple, we met P.Pid and Komar. They invited us at their lovely guesthouse Na Koa Rimley, the feet in water. P.Pid cooked for us some nice traditional things : crabs, caramelized little cakes stuffed with fish and big mussels (pull up from the sea before our eyes) served with a ginger sweet sauce. She also served us a purple beverage made from the flowers she grows on her terrace.
Well, in a nutshell, Thailand is the paradise for bike hiking because :
1) Accommodation and local cuisine are very cheap. Along the road, with less than 3 €, you have 2 homemade complete menus. If there is no picture or no english menu, you must go through your shyness and never underestimate the power of body language. And if it’s still unsuccessful, just by saying « pad thai » (traditional thai noodles), you’ll get a cheap, copious and tasty meal at every turn. In cities, for 10€, you can get very correct rooms. On the seaside, there are some very convenient campings on wild beaches, for less than 2€ per night.
2) There is a lot of secondary roads. It’s concrete path sliding among coconut tree fields or under the cool shade of the great forests of heveas. Also, there are many quiet little roads along the sea. The « long tails », traditional Thai boats, have such an unforgettable beauty. In the countryside we cycled on wild paths where we discovered the sound of the jungle : the strident whispering of the crickets disturbed by the exotic bird song.
3) It’s flat.
4) Thai people is so kind and generous! Back of the great « Hellos » and encouragements along the road! So many times, we’ve also been provided fresh juicy coconuts by farmers on our passage!
5) In every Thai Buddhist temple you can find hospitality and even sometimes free meals. It’s never the uxury but a shower, a roof and a fan are enough to spend a very comfortable night. It has been an honor to live close to the monks. Their serenity and generosity are really touching and definitely unforgettable.