Cycle Tour Stage 6: The Elephant's Trunk


Advertisement
Thailand's flag
Asia » Thailand » Southern Thailand
February 28th 2013
Published: March 2nd 2013
Edit Blog Post

The Thai PeninsularThe Thai PeninsularThe Thai Peninsular

Once you have managed to escape Bangkok, you are then pretty much cycling along the coast for about 3 weeks until you hit Malaysia!
Aranyaprathet (Thailand) - Penang (Malaysia): 7th - 28th Feb 2013

Distance covered so far (since 20 Dec): 4735 km

In some of our earlier blog entries we showed off about the challenges we faced from cycling through Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. However, we have found that our fantastic trip down the Thai peninsular (i.e. the bit that looks like an elephant's trunk) with all its beaches and seaside towns has left us little hardship to boast about, but plenty of 'gloatable' times instead. Much like swimming in chocolate, Thailand has been rather pleasurable, gluttonous at times, and resulted in us being quite brown.

We’ve still covered some big miles, but on this stage our ‘off-the-bike’ days have incorporated Scuba diving (Ko Tao), climbing (Krabi), and eating pancakes on the beach (everywhere). So, a few lists about Thailand:

1. We love Thai people because....
- Whilst looking for shelter from mid-day sun, we inadvertently joined a conference on banana plantation fertiliser, and they fed us for free.

- We became gainfully employed as night watch-men (which entailed sleeping for free, on the beach, in a massage parlour shack.) The owner thought our tent would be less comfy than her mattresses and pillows. We agreed.

- They are considerate drivers.

- They mob us if we have a puncture (which is very regularly – see our stats), and “help us”. This makes the puncture entertaining, despite lengthening the mending process considerably.



2 (i). Cycling in an all-day monsoonal downpour is BRILLIANT because...
- It feels like taking an 8 hour long warm shower.

- Your fingers and toes go all wrinkly

- There are fewer large bugs flying into your face.

- Sun-burn, dehydration and heat exhaustion worries disappear



2 (ii). Cycling in an all-day monsoonal downpour is BAD because....
- Our cheap speedometers stop working, so finding that particular small turning off the main road, 52.3 km from the last junction becomes tricky.

- The sound of water sloshing around you quadruples the number of toilet breaks required.

- Mel gets her face freckled from the road dirt spitting off Andy's back wheel.



3. Andy is getting chubby because...
- Thai pancakes involve three critical procedures: Procedure 1: Deepfry; Procedure 2: Fry egg
Thailand - The Quiet RoadsThailand - The Quiet RoadsThailand - The Quiet Roads

34 Degrees Celsius - rather warm weather for cycling.
in pancake; Procedure 3: Drizzle with condensed milk and sprinkle with sugar.

- There is no shame in sitting down to a meal in a restaurant, eating, getting up, and going next door, and sitting down for another meal in a restaurant.

4. Mel is getting skinny because...
- She is less keen (than Andy is) of BBQ'd unidentified animal parts on skewers (served with a satay sauce).



5. Twenty-three minutes in Burma is curious because...
- You are there long enough to be offered Opium.

- And counterfeit Viagra.

Both were offered to us during our 23 minute visit to Burma. (We had to nip over the border to renew our Thailand visa).



A final mention must go to the ever-cheerful Lee from Blackpool (UK). He appeared by the side of the road and then (together with his GPS) we had 5 fantastic days of cycling south via the little country roads instead of the highway. We really enjoyed his company, and wish him well on the rest of his round-the-world cycling adventure (and his Kung-Fu course).



Key
The Blow-OutThe Blow-OutThe Blow-Out

Mel's back tyre exploded with a bang. The necessary repairs were then aided by these characters.
Stats:

Distance covered in this stage: 1454.38 km

Distance covered so far (since 20 Dec): 4735 km (This is 200km further than cycling from London to Damascus!)

Total Hours in saddle (since 20 Dec): 261 hours and 5 minutes (If you cook soft boiled eggs (medium sized) one by one, over this time, you could have 4475 eggs! - assuming you boil the water at sea-level, of course.)

Cumulative Mechanicals: Sheared Pannier Rack x1 (Mel); Snapped Bike Chain x3 (Andy); Puncture x5 (Andy), Puncture x 21ish (Mel); Explosively Burst Tyre x1 (Mel); Tyre worn through x1 (Mel), Tyre worn through x 1 (Andy); Superglue repair on slashed tyres x1 (Mel); Snapped Water Bottle Cages x2 (Andy), Pannier bag rail snap x1 (Andy); Snapped sunglasses x2 (Andy), x 1 (Mel)


Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


Advertisement

Road KillRoad Kill
Road Kill

The momentum of a 52kg bike gives little ability to weave out the way of obstacles. The result... Andy 1: Snake 0
Tsunami HazardTsunami Hazard
Tsunami Hazard

Be ready to run to high ground!
Accommodation - The GoodAccommodation - The Good
Accommodation - The Good

The massage parlour. Posh camping, for free, on the beach.
Accommodation - The GoodAccommodation - The Good
Accommodation - The Good

The massage parlour on the beach (look at our comfy mattresses!)
Hotel Rooms – The Bad and The UglyHotel Rooms – The Bad and The Ugly
Hotel Rooms – The Bad and The Ugly

Unbelievable. The picture doesn’t quite capture how bad this one was. Mosquito and Cockroach infested. Still in outskirts of Bangkok, so no option for camping. This hotel rented by the hour as well as for the night! (£4 per night).
Rest Days - ScubaRest Days - Scuba
Rest Days - Scuba

Diving off Ko Thao - the most perfect way of escaping monsoonal rain!
Rest Days - ClimbingRest Days - Climbing
Rest Days - Climbing

Andy leading on the 1,2,3 wall in Railay
Rest Days - ClimbingRest Days - Climbing
Rest Days - Climbing

Mel tackles the long 6B climb on the 1,2,3 wall in Railay
Rest Days - ClimbingRest Days - Climbing
Rest Days - Climbing

Mel on 1,2,3 wall in Railay (5C)
Rest Days - ClimbingRest Days - Climbing
Rest Days - Climbing

Andy celebrates his first successful 6B climb!
Dawn on the beachDawn on the beach
Dawn on the beach

Ready to set off for cycling after a night on the beach.
Picturesque Fishing VillagesPicturesque Fishing Villages
Picturesque Fishing Villages

.....dotted all down the coast line and existing side by side with mass scale tourism.
Visa Run To MyanmarVisa Run To Myanmar
Visa Run To Myanmar

Stamp out of Thailand - Boat over river - Stamp into Burma - (get offered illegal drugs) - Stamp out of Burma - Boat over river - Stamp into Thailand.
Thailand Salt HarvestingThailand Salt Harvesting
Thailand Salt Harvesting

Did anybody else know that in Thailand they harvest salt from the sea? We didn’t...but they do.....loads of it! It makes you really thirsty to cycle past them for a few hours as it makes the air really dry. It’s like cycling through a desert.
Road Side HooligansRoad Side Hooligans
Road Side Hooligans

You have got to watch out for them.....they will try and attack the bike for scraps of food!
Ao NangAo Nang
Ao Nang

Round this headland to Railay, where we did our climbing on the fantastic cliffs.


2nd March 2013

Mud and floods
Our field is permanently flooded and Herefordshire still appears to consist mostly of mud, so we're looking forward to a warm, dry spring. We much enjoy your letters and are very envious, except for the cycling bit. Hoping you'll visit us when you're back - we're between Ross on Wye and Hereford. Love from Simon and Sally
7th March 2013

Hi from Sumatra
Hello Simon and Sally, thanks very much for your note. Its nice to hear family news! Your new home sounds lovely - we are very much looking forward to seeing it when we get home. We are also suffering from wet weather. Monsoonal Sumatra turns out to be rather wet! Love A and M
2nd March 2013

Hi Guys!
Hi guys! Just read your blog, never fails to make me smile! Stay safe. Miss you guys xxx
7th March 2013

Hi Guys!
Hiya Claire, thanks so much for your comments on our blog... it's so lovely to hear from you and to hear your news. I am so glad that we are now regulalry in touch. How is little Eva doing? I feel like I m missing so much... I cant wait to meet her! Lots of love to you all, Mel (and Andy) x x
7th March 2013

Hi Guys!
Hiya Claire, thanks so much for your comments on our blog... it's so lovely to hear from you and to hear your news. I am so glad that we are now regulalry in touch. How is little Eva doing? I feel like I m missing so much... I cant wait to meet her! Lots of love to you all, Mel (and Andy) x x
3rd March 2013

Grounded in Koh Samui
Hi there cycle buddies.... I had the best time riding with you two. Those pictures are full of happy memories. I wish you good luck with your ride and with your future adventures. All the best Lee. Big hugs x.
7th March 2013

Hello to our Northern friend
Hiya Lee - good to hear from you! Hope the course is going well! Sumatra is wicked - you're gonna love it.... Bite the bullet and fly to Medan rather than cross over by ferry half way down - WHY..... because Lake Toba is the most beautiful cycling we have done so far!! Take care - Andy and Mel x x
7th March 2013

Hello to our Northern friend
Hiya Lee - good to hear from you! Hope the course is going well! Sumatra is wicked - you're gonna love it.... Bite the bullet and fly to Medan rather than cross over by ferry half way down - WHY..... because Lake Toba is the most beautiful cycling we have done so far!! Take care - Andy and Mel x x
4th March 2013

Chocolate mmmm
'Like swimming in chocolate' is my fav simile of 2013 so far! It's not quite the same cycling in Scotland at this time of year. Sounds like you are having a fab time and thanks for making my lunch break so much more entertaining! Grant xx
7th March 2013

Thanks so much for the compliment.... hope you are well. We must catch up in May when we are back in Blighty! Andy (and Mel)
7th March 2013

momentous occasion
Hi. Looks like you guys are having an amazing time. Things are a little more ordinary here. Eddie has reached the grand old age of 5 months. We had a momentous occasion in the bath last night, he discovered his boy bits for the first time. Apparently they'll make a very good bath toy, and ideal for the travelling baby, as much more portable than the plastic fish! Take care, Katie
7th March 2013

Hi Katie (and Chris and Eddie)
Wow - can't believe he is 5 months already - sounds like he is quite a character! Looking forward to meeting him.... Take Care, Love Andy and Mel x x
24th March 2013

Simply Amazing
The photos are fantastic.
25th March 2013

Many thanks for the compliment!
Been enjoying looking over your blog - it looks like your visit to Taktsang was better timed - we were in thick cloud 90% of the time!

Tot: 0.061s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 13; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0073s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb