We would have loved to have crossed the Gulf of Thailand by ferry and thus bypassed the Thai capital Bangkok. However, our research only turned up suspended boat connections.

Aktiviere Karte Deaktiviere Karte

We had no choice but to pedal through the middle of Bangkok or take a wide detour around the capital. We opted for the direct route through the city. The route there led through manioc, pineapple and the first palm oil plantations and was neither particularly scenic nor particularly attractive from a cycling point of view. The only exciting part was the ride through a 20-kilometre-long elephant reserve, which we passed despite the ban on motorcycles (as we don’t have a motor😉). Fortunately (or unfortunately?) we saw nothing of the animals apart from heaps of elephant dung.

The overnight stays were more varied than the days: When camping at a police station, we pitched our tent without the outer tent for the first time. Because the inner tent is not free-standing, it takes a bit of imagination to pitch it. But the little bit of draught through the door net combined with our new mini fan made tropical nights outdoors much more bearable. Our new cheap fan became so indispensable that recharging its batteries was a top priority.

On the way into Bangkok, we had trouble finding a place to spend the night. For once, we were not allowed to camp in the road police area and wild camping was not possible anywhere. In the absence of affordable accommodation, the time had come to knock on the door of a temple. Two monks kindly directed us to a huge room and brought us ventilators. We were allowed to help ourselves to plenty of donated drinking water, chuckled at the large stocks of cleaning products that had also been donated and slept wonderfully while Buddha statues watched over us.

On the remaining 50 km to our accommodation in Bangkok, we found the traffic to be surprisingly relaxed and considerate. Only the many overpasses and canals were anything but bike-friendly… We didn’t get the hang of the city: too hot, too big, too humid, too noisy, too smelly, too few sights worth seeing and we didn’t make a good choice of food and accommodation. After two days, we were drawn towards the next fixed destination of Kho Samui. We had arranged to meet up with friends who were on vacation there😊. To make the journey to Kho Samui more interesting, we included a visit to two national parks in our route. Kaeng Krachan National Park is particularly popular with birdwatchers. But the park is also home to monkeys, elephants, tigers, leopards to name just a few. We mainly wanted to spend the night at the campsite in the jungle, listen to the sounds, see monkeys and elephants and maybe say “hello” to the tiger😉.

As cycling was prohibited in the park, we left our bikes at the entrance gate and continued our journey by hitchhiking. We didn’t have to stop anyone: the park ranger had already organized a ride for us in the back of a pickup truck.

At the campsite in the park, we took a long siesta and later went for a walk along the forest road. We mainly saw park visitors with gigantic lenses. We also saw cute little monkeys, a pheasant and exciting butterflies… who needs a tiger😉? The biggest danger was the anthill under our tent, which forced us to move during the night. Apart from that, this night in the jungle was not particularly exciting, the cicadas and birds sounded the same as everywhere else😉.
There wasn’t much going on the next morning, in particular nobody drove out of the park to the entrance gate. The bistro owner assured us that she would give us a lift at 3 pm. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait that long and were allowed to ride with a nice mother and her two children.

In Kui Buri National Park further south, we tried our luck again and went on an elephant safari. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful but had a few entertaining hours with a Dutch couple and their friendly guide. It seems that the jungle is flourishing at this time of year and the elephants prefer to feed there rather than under the watchful eye of the many tourists.

The onward journey took us through lots of greenery (mainly palm oil, coconut and rubber plantations) and rarely along the coast. The roads were tip-top, the iced coffees refreshing and sweet, the food more varied and delicious than in the north and we found plenty of 7-Eleven to cool off in. But the days were neither exciting nor eventful, so we often distracted ourselves from the monotony and heat with podcasts.

After ten days, we reached Donsak, where the ferry to Kho Samui departed. If we hadn’t met our friends on the tourist island, we would never have ended up there. Fortunately, our mini-bungalow on a campsite was in a quiet part of the island. But we saw enough of the mingling tourist crowds here too😉. A bit of beach, a sweat-inducing bike ride on an incredibly steep road to a viewing temple and a cozy get-together with our friends made the time pass quickly. Steve and Darya not only brought us a chocolate bunny, which we saved from melting the same evening (thank you😋!!!), but also our latest acquisition: helmet brims with the fitting name “DaBrim”. They may not be particularly sexy, but the shade they provide has proved its worth on the onward journey.

AWe gladly avoided crossing the hot inland and visiting other vacation islands and instead took the route along the north coast of Thailand. On the way, a visit to Wat Phra Mahathat in Nakhon Si Thamarat, the pretty old town of Songkhla and Wat Hat Yai Nai were very worthwhile. The latter temple surprised us with a 35m long reclining Buddha! The Buddha was built here first and then the entire building😊.

The last overnight stay in Thailand was once again a great experience. The Highway Police officially designate their stations in Thailand as rest stops (also for cyclists). They don’t offer a place to camp, but a room for travelers in need of rest. As we were normally traveling on less major roads, we took advantage of this offer first. Here, before the Malaysian border, the highway police even put up signs advertising their free offers including overnight accommodation😊. When we arrived at the station, we were greeted by a whole bunch of police officers. Our passports were scanned, a few photos were taken and we were allowed to make the second registration in a huge guest book. The officers apologized that the air conditioning and TV in the room had not yet been installed and immediately brought us a large fan😊.

After a restful night and a short drive to the border town of Padang Besar, we enjoy the last Thai iced coffees here. We have rice and chicken wrapped in paper and plastic bags for snack. The coffee seller gave it to us as a gift, even though it’s Ramadan… Freshly fortified, we set off for Malaysia!