It was 20th February when we entered Kingdom of Thailand for the second time and we had a really good feeling about that. It was like we returned home or into our favourit holiday destination. Everybody were really nice to us on the border and we left immigration check with 30 day visitor visas. This length of visas gave us enough time to take it easy and enjoy camping in national parks scattered along the way to Bangkok.
The difference between Cambodia and Thailand is huge. Road quality increased, forrests appeared and landscapes got green again. It was very weird to experience such a difference on my own. It was like there were two houses built next to each other. First a luxury villa with ever green lawn next to a bamboo shelter surrounded by dry grass, dust and dirt all around. Indeed we appreciated to be in a more developed country where we had a standard of 7Eleven convenience stores or street stalls with iced coffee or thai green tea again. Over all we were still in South East Asia where vegetarian food was not easy to find in restaurants. Anyway we refreshed what we learnt in previous months so we didn’t starve in the end.
From Cambodian border we headed South-West direction to Thap Lan and Khao Yai National Parks. We camped on a cliff edge with a sunset view about 700m above bottom of a valley in Thap Lan NP. Even this camp was pretty busy we enjoyed its athmosphere. What annoyed us in the other hand it was the business approach in the area of the national parks. From Thap Lan NP to Khao Yai NP it is about 90km along northern slopes of the national parks and it is almost impossible to find reasonable accomodation. The whole area went down under a non-sense construction of overpriced resorts and accomodation. There was no supprise that those resorts and accomodations were empty and slowly rottening. Because of this fact we hade to cycle all the way to Pak Chong, 87km far away town which was no exception of what we saw on the way here. There were a lot of overpriced restaurants, luxury accomodation and residences waiting for their buyers. The tip of the iceberg of this madness was area called Toscana Valley the replica of toscanian village including famous Pisa tower.
Pak Chong is northern gate to Khao Yai national park and only reasonable accomodation we found was Jungle Planet where we took a rest day. What really make us angry about Pak Chong town was the price of food in restaurants. After a looong browsing through the streets we decided to try one. For a portion noodles with stir fried vegetable which we would normally pay not more than 70 THB we were foced to pay almost double. 120 THB for the meal left very bitter taste in my mouth so I had to get calmed by a toasted bannana sandwitch and a micro pack of M&M’s from 7Eleven. Lucky enough we left for Khao Yai NP next morning.
Up in the national park there are living wild elephants, gibbons and different kind of birds and wild life. For me personally it was a chance to see a wild elephant which draw me up there because I could see an elephant in a Zoo or TV only. Dasha wasn’t so excited about it and the chance to see this giant without any barriers made her a little nervous though. The norther climb to the national park is about 25km long but the gradient is not very big. Except one passage we cycled all the way up. Just before the NP visitor centre there was a wild life watching area including a watching tower where you can stay and stalk the wild life of Khao Yai NP. We didn’t have to go anywhere. When Dasha shouted on me that there were some odd muddy prints on the road reminding elephant foot prints I looked around. Dasha was right the elephant crossed the road and it wasn’t far away. Down bellow the road we rode on there was our first wild elephant we had ever seen. This one unfortunatelly wasn’t in a good shape. Its leg looked broken which didn’t make us very happy. After a while of watching this giant we carried on to the visitor center where is also located a café and a restaurant.
There was no wonder the restaurant is surrounded by monkey thieves. From time to time they are lucky to pintch something from tourists paying attantion just to their smartphones. After a lunch it was time to find a place where to camp. There are to campgrounds. The first we checked was mostly occupied by deers and some Thai campers. In this campground there was a café and restaurant handy as well but we decided to spent a night in the second camp which is more remote and more quiet. When we were almost in the Camp Two, we had to stop. The road was blocked by an elephant male having a lunch in the middle of the road to the campground. We were previllaged to watch it for about twenty minutes with another tourists and park rengers. When we arrived to the second camp it was empty even there were a restaurant. We picked the best spot we could, pitched our tent and rested for the rest of the afternoon. I was a little nervous before a dusk when I saw a monkey family gathering on tamarind trees above our tent. Lucky enough the family left after their tamarind fruit dinner without any attempts of stealing anything from our gear. A night in the camp was very nice. We listenned to birds and insects lullaby supported thunders from far away until we felt to sleep. We had a company next mornig. There was a deer laying on a grass in the camp and calmly watched us and we watched it before our breakfast. When we packed ourselves and hitted the road again we saw our third wild elephant! If we haven’t had our accomodation booked in Bangkok for sure we would stay longer here. The national park Khao Yay has a lot to offer especially for wild life lovers.
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and also the city with the craziest traffic we have ever experienced. From Bangkok suburb to the center it was about 30km and deeper we were the denser was the traffic. We learnt from local motorbikers quickly. We didn’t stop in the back in the que as we would do back in Europe or in New Zealand but we slowly winded through traffic jam all the way to the first line side by side with fellow motorbikers instead. I was really thankfull for my phone with navigation mounted on my stem. Without this device we would be lost in the streets of Bangkok until today. Our thai home become a cyclist dedicated hostel Granny bike.bed owned by two very kind Thai people Neemo and Parn. Neemo is a owner of a beautiful shop with decorative and ecological arts and goods and Parn owns a tiny cycloshop just next to his partner’s store. Both shops are located in Bangkok Art and Culture Center which we visited once. Otherwise during five days in Bangkok we rested, ate, planned our route through Himalayas and I had to do some maintainance on our bikes as changed rear tires and a chain on Mr. Mojo (name of my bike).
We left Bangkok by train headed North to Phitsanuloke from were we carried on our bikes towards Myanmar border on the West. Our three day travers to Myanmar ended in time in Mae Sot where we could taste Myanmar cuisine for the very first time. We were really amazed about its taste and naturally vegetarian meals. We couldn’t wait to be on the other side of border to experience new country, new culture and new people.
Second time Thailand statistics
Distance: 861,95 km
Elevation climbed: +4812 m
Highest reached point in this leg: 848,2 m n.m.
Duration: 19 vč. 7 odpočinkových
Camping nights: 2
Rainy days: 0
Falls: Still 2:2
Maintainance: 2x new rear tire WTB Trailboss 27.5×3, 1x Sram 11speed chain
Total distance: 6.396,58 km
Total elevation climbed: +56304 m
The highest point of the entire trip: 1787 m. n. m. Thailand