Thai! Thailand! Our first real adventure. The country we had never visited before, language we don’t know and a chance of riding cycle trails is equal almost to the zero. When we landed in Chiang Mai, successfuly passed through an immigration check, picked up our luggages and bikes, we were picked up by Mr. Pond at the airport. He drove us to our rented apartement. When we entered the apartment for the first time I felt a little uncomfortable. It looked too fancy for a basecamp of two stinky bikepackers and their bikes I thought. It was super hot and humid outside therefore we were thankful for an aircondition. But in matter of an aclimatization we turned it up to 25°C. When we walked through the town, tried Thai Green Curry (bloody hot!) and bought a Thai prepaid Simcard (550THB with unlimited internet) in the afternoon I went to assemble our bikes. Everything went smooth, the bikes were all right and we could ride for a dinner. We tasted Thai chaotic traffic and Mango Sticky Rice for the first time.
Followed morning we went to hunt our breakfast. We felt in love with Thai traffic because of its buzzing vibe. Next we went to sight some temples and checked night food markets. Also we had to check local grocery stores to be able made food supplies for our travels. Replenishing food is very tricky here. First because we are vegetarians and second there are not as many options of dried food as in New Zealand. We had also shocking experience when we went to check one of the night food market and left our bikes parked on a footpath. When we returned back, the bikes were gone! Just two police officers were near by. With a thrill in my eyes I asked the officers if they saw our bikes, which were parked here. They replied “No Parking Here. Bike Park There,” pointing us in a direction of parked mopeds. We followed their direction and luckily found our bikes. With a release knowing our trip is not over we returned to the market to have more food.
The third day in Thailand we left Chiang Mai. It took pretty long time to dress up our bikes into their bags but eventually we got there. We said Good Bye to our host after 10am and went for a breakfast. Afterward we had to buy some food supplies and finally left the city. We were happy because we were back on our bikes headed to new adventures. Flats were fine and thank the speed we had we didn’t mind a temperature either a humidity until we hit the first climb. With lost of the speed, the temperature of air and our bodies rose rapidly. My ego made everything even worse because I had to biked up all the climbs in the world! What an asshole! Thai road climbs remind more skislope’s segments, they are steep and short. Dasha was more conservative and most of the climbs pushbiked. Even though she felt hot too.
Because it’s winter dry season in here, days aren’t very long. Sun sets before 6pm and because we started late that day, we made it so-so to the highest point of our day where we wanted to camp. We made the first mistake. We forgot to buy a petrol for our camping stove, so we couldn’t camp or at least boil water to drink it. We looked for some accomodation and took first we found. 1500THB! That was a price for our first night and a lack of experience. Fair enough, we had a shower, a bed and a kettle. We were fine for that night. Next morning we have to start earlier.
Day number two started well, we climbed up to a saddle and then downhilled for about 20km. In the noon we were in a town called Samoeng. We stayed in shades, had a lunch, bought water and Iced Thai Green Tea with Milk. After 2pm we continued in our day. Hills and heat were unrelented and after a while we were exhausted. The second mistake we made was that we planed to go through a junge in the late afternoon not counting with a fact of early dusk. We decided to change our route and looked up for the nearest accomodation. Lucky we have the thai sim with an unlimited internet connection and 4G services even in smallest villages. Uncle Google told us which way we should go. Eventually we discovered beauty of tiny Thai villages and their hospitality. Next two nights we stayed at Mindful Farm where Mr. Pinan leads project of organic farming, meditation, yoga and mindfulness. Everyone can go there and learn something from Mr. Pinan.
After our nonplanned stay we carried on. We headed North to a road linking Chiang Mai and Pai to accomodation named Cool Banana Homestay. Although our course had a lot of climbs, the progress was fast and about noon we were three kilometers away from our stay. We rested in a caffe sipping Iced Green Teas when we realised we didn’t have enough cash to pay our accomodation. Luckily there were three Dutch guys who helped us out and we happily could get to accomodate. But we weren’t fortunate enough to enjoy cool bamboo huts that night. We decided to hitch-hike to Pai where we wanted to widraw some money from our account for next days. We failed third time in our Thai exam. We arrived to Pai after 5.30pm, but the last bus connection from Pai to our accomodation went at 5pm. We missed our bus. We tried hitch-hike back to our place but in thirty minutes it was pitch black. I had to google some accomodation but it wasn’t hard in backpacker’s Thai capital. We were in shorts, t-shirts, with a wallet, passports and a camera. Pure minimalism. Well at least we had a reason to check out a night food market and had a great breakfast in Pai. When we arrived back to Cool Bananas next day we spent two nights there and helped Peter (the owner) a little on his Restaurant and Pizza place project. The next plan: Huai Nam Dang National Park.
2 thoughts on “Thai first impression”
Yay, Thailand! We just got home from our bikepacking trip there… The hills were so gnarly. Glad to see Dasha and I share a love of bikepushing. 🙂 As you’re heading toward the Laos border, keep an eye out for Phu Chi Fa! It’s definitely worth a stop (and worth the extra climb up to the viewpoint, I promise). The area/road between the Laos border at Ban Huak and Phu Chi Fa was my favorite part of Thailand. We couldn’t cross at Ban Huak, so we had to reroute and go north. It sounds like y’all’s trip is turning out to be similar – reroutes, hitchhiking, and wonderful people! Have so much fun!
Hi Sarah! Greetings from Laos. Thailand was great, except small food portions. We just released last blog from Thailand and tomorrow heading out from Luang Prabang to experience Laos countryside. Jakub and Dasha