Cycle touring Thailand

by tkos on April 27, 2013

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Hands down, Thailand is one of the best countries in the world for cycle touring. The roads are in excellent condition, the people are super friendly and endless roadside 7-elevens offer air conditioning and chilled water! The best part of cycling through Thailand is the extremely courteous bicycle lanes and/or service roads. The is barely a bump in any road that we have been on and the traffic is not nearly as bad as we expected.

In addition to that, you can’t cycle any more than a few kilometers down any road in any direction without an amazing assortment of food stalls to choose from in case you’re hungry. The mountains in the north provide some breathtaking views and the limestone caves in the south send a shiver down your spine.

All in all, I think Thailand has been my favorite country for cycling in regards to road quality, food and sleeping options, traffic conditions and scenery.

At the bottom of this post is a table detailing the exact route and the distance between towns if you are planning on a fantastic journey of your own and then below that is a few pics to tempt you even more!

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What we loved the most:

  • Everything. Roads, food, markets, people, scenery, sunsets- there is nothing not to love about cycle touring through Thailand. It is definitely one of the easier countries to cycle through.
  • It sounds silly, but unlimited 7-eleven air conditioning gives you a nice break from the heat. The highways are filled with them and we often found ourselves treating each other to frozen coffees from Amazon Cafe’s as well!

What we struggled with:

  • Most people have some idea about Thailand but we cannot stress the importance enough of planning your trip. This is the key to make the most of it. If you are looking for secluded isolated beaches, don’t go to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or even Koh Tao. If you are looking for local culture, stay away from Pattaya. All the popular places in Thailand cater for tourists which loses some of the authentic charm, but provide Western comforts when you need them.
  • Bike shops aren’t as plentiful as I thought they would be, especially if you need something specific. Bangkok has a few but Chiang Mai struggles to provide anything more than labour and local parts for tourers. There are shops set up for racing bikes however. Apparently there are decent shops in Phuket but we did not go there.

Top tips:

  • Dive the Similan Islands. It is one of the best scuba diving locations in the world for a reason and worth every baht. We dived with Khao Lak Scuba Adventures and found them to be excellent. The boat for the 4 day live-a-board was first class, as was the food, but more importantly, the staff were friendly, professional and fun. It was the absolute highlight of our trip and a great break from the bike.
  • Shop in Chatuchak market in Bangkok. Also known as the weekend market. You can get some amazing bargains and if you’re not careful, you can find yourself sending home 63kg worth of clothes like we did! Just remember that you might need more than just one weekend to cover the 8000+ stalls.
  • Eat from the street stalls in the markets. It’s as good as any restaurant you’ll find back home

What’s it worth:

  • You’ll find north Thailand a little cheaper than the south. Needless to say, the more Westerners about, the higher the prices. At the time of writing, AU$1 & US$1 is about 30 baht and GBP1 is about 46 baht.
  • A hotel room can be anything from 300 baht to 700 baht for a basic room with air conditioning, a window and wifi. If it’s not to hot and your happy to forfeit the air con, fan rooms range from 150 baht (cheapest we found but only in one place) to 500 baht.
  • A meal in a basic roadside restaurant or food stall can be 30-50 baht but you can easily spend 100-120 on a curry or something a little more substantial.
  • We think 1000 baht per day on average will make your life comfortable for all your basic needs. Everything else is for extra fun!

 

TownKm'sNightsWhere we slept
Udon Thani871Hotel
Loei1521Hotel
Dan Sai841Hotel
Uttaradit1682Hotel
Lampang1411Hotel
Chiang Mai1032Hotel
Ban Hong681Hotel
Thoen1161Hotel
Kamphaeng Phet1671Hotel
Nakhon Sawan1261Hotel
Ang Thong1431Hotel
Bangkok1072Friends place
Cha Am1651Hotel
Prachuap Khiri Khan1251Hotel
Bang Saphan931Hotel
Chumphon1061Hotel
Lang Suan751Hotel
Surat Thani (Dan Sak)1621Warm Showers
Phanom1252Hotel
Similan Is1004Live Aboard
Khao Lak03Hotel
Krabi1351Hotel
Trang1301Hotel
La Ngu1001Hotel
Border601Hotel

 

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