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Possible Thailand route

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Possible Thailand route

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Old 10-10-18, 08:54 PM
  #1  
esassaman
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Possible Thailand route

Going to Thailand this year for a month (November). A rough plan is developing and I'd love to get some feedback.

I'd prefer not doing over 70km/day. I don't like long days in the saddle but I'm not a slow rider when I am rolling. I'll bring a bivy sack instead of a tent so I have more options, but I realize places to stay are plentiful so though I love camping I probably won't much. Taking my new Bike Friday folder for my first international tour so I'll be pretty mobile, trains/busses/cars will be much easier.

Here's the rough plan:
  • 2 days: Arrive in Bangkok - warmshowers/hostel/whatever, explore the city.
  • 9-10 days on the road + 2-3 rest days to Chiang Mai, following the Chao Phraya river up to Kamphaeng Phet then north. Route here.
  • Explore Chiang Mai, 1-2 days.
  • 1 day - Train back to Bangkok.
  • 5-6 days + 2 rest days along SE coast to Chanthaburi.
  • 1 day - bus back to Bangkok, find place to stay.
  • 1-2 days minimum to chill out and get sorted out for flight back home.
So that adds up to about 27 days if I take my sweet time and I've got a few days buffer. Plus if the trip to Chiang Mai takes crazy extra time, no big deal I'll cut the coast leg short or pedal harder, by then I"ll be able to slam more klicks out.
Anyone with experience on those routes? What is the central area like between Kamphaeng Phet and Chiang Mai? I really think I'll enjoy the route along the Chao Phraya river, exploring Google street view there are tons of fascinating tiny backroads along the river to follow. And the SE coast looks fantastic.
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Old 10-10-18, 10:28 PM
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A couple of hints: take the night train back to Bangkok, it has sleeping cars, also, don”t camp. Accommodation is pretty cheap everywhere, including the coastal route. Bangkok is a traffic, exhaust ridden hell hole for getting around, so don’t plan on taking the bike with you too often, and, if you do, take a proper lock. Personally I’d use riverboat transport where possible, sans bike.

I’ve done parts of the coastal route, and it’s well worth the effort. It’s easy to avoid the main roads, plus the scenery is great. If you want to survive, avoid the aforementioned main roads, they are highly dangerous. Check the Australian Foreign Office website https://smartraveller.gov.au/Countri.../thailand.aspx before you go, they give detailed reports on hotspots to be avoided in most countries.

Always buy water, and make sure the bottles are sealed. You’ll need to take plenty of it, especially if you aren’t used to the humidity.


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Old 10-11-18, 06:26 AM
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a couple notes:


bangkok is yuuuuuge, like 100km wide. will take you half a day of boring urban blight to get from the airport to the main station.


heading east from the airport to chachoengsao isn't so bad, quickly gets into farmland. you can then turn north and avoid the city.


for return, train from cm to bkk (easy with baggage car), then can catch the local train from main station to lat krabang station just outside the airport. no baggage car, carry into the passenger car with you.


some areas outside of the major cities and in/near national parks don't have much lodging (at least not reasonably priced) available, so tent might be useful.
some smaller towns have no lodging in town limits, you'll need to stay at a "love shack" a couple km outside of town. will be a collection of small bungalows, probably with some stupid grinning ceramic sheep arranged on the front lawn.


there is a 1x daily train from bkk to (near) rayong, south of pattaya. also some buses leaving from the international airport to various destinations.


from somewhere around rayong east along the coast is a bike path that goes long time. you can google it.



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Old 10-12-18, 08:32 AM
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I've lived in Udon Thani Thailand since 2005 and have cycled extensively through Thailand and the neighboring countries. I rarely use commercial transport as cycling is just so much nicer for me. There are tons of decent places to stay all throughout the country. Thailand is miles ahead of its neighbors in this area. I've never had a problem finding a nice clean place to stay for the night no matter where I was at the time and I'm really picky when it comes to finding a place to stay. No need to camp at all when decent accommodations with AC, fridge, tv & warm water shower run about $12US/night. Many of these small motels (called resorts here) also have a restaurant and some may even have a swimming pool. Sure there are seedy places as well but they're easy to avoid. Hotels are located in every major city/town or tourist area as well. i looked at your proposed route and can safely say you won't have any problems finding a nice place to stay for the night. Please note highway 1 is very busy. Try to avoid it if at all possible.
I've only cycled in Bangkok once and that was on a Sunday morning when traffic was relatively light.
Traveling from Bangkok to Chanthaburi will probably take you more than the 5-6 days you allotted yourself unless you plan to use public transport.
Thailand is not Washington so you should expect for hot days which may limit your time on the bike. The rainy season should be finished by then but that means clear skys and that sun can be a real bear (we're about 15 deg north of the equator)
Hope this helps.
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Old 10-12-18, 09:05 AM
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another mention of being wary of how the heat will affect you and being realistic about distances per day when dealing with heat.
I have not been in this part of the world, but have gone from Canada to Latin America for bike trips and like the others have mentioned, you must not discount how suddenly biking in fricken hot and humid conditions will kick the stuffing out of you, well, can most likely anyway.
Also, take into account perhaps not drinking enough as you get used to the temp change, and its not out of the realm of possibility to feel kinda crappy due to not only maybe not drinking enough, but simply from being walloped by the sun on you all day, which does take getting used to for us northerners who havent been in it for a number of months.

just be realistic about planning for this, and visit the website Crazy guy on a bike and look up trip journals from this part of the world to give you some better insight of what riding is like in these areas.

have a safe trip
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Old 10-13-18, 07:55 AM
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I wanted to add one thing to my previous post touring in Thailand. The OP indicates he will use commercial bus transport at some point during his tour. Please be advised that most all inter-provincial buses in Thailand are powered by either LPG or NGV both of which require large fuel tanks which are normally placed in the luggage compartment under the bus. This may or may not hinder you putting your bicycle in there as well especially if the bus has a lot of passengers. An alternative would be to hire a normal pickup truck or one that's being used for passenger service to get you to your destination. You should be prepared to bargain with the driver over the price. Bargaining when purchasing something from anyplace other than a supermarket or 7/11 type is commonplace in Thailand. This could also include accommodations. No fixed rule here regarding bargaining. Other possibilities would be using the trains or flying both of which are quite affordable.
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Old 10-13-18, 06:45 PM
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So much great info, thank you everyone! Advice will be heeded! Especially about the heat. I am generally good with heat, though it will be a big adjustment from the really cool daytime temps we have here now (61 F). I'll take my little bivy sack, it's so small and light, very waterproof (slept in a downpour once) and that will give me more options.

Train suggestion to Pattaya was extremely helpful, I have an idea, after taking the night train from Chiang Mai, looks like Train 14 arrives in BKK at 6:15, the "rapid" 997 to Pattaya leaves at 6:45, looks like I can go direct and cut a few days off the itinerary by skipping another stay in Bangkok. I assume the 14 arrives and 997 departs from the same station, Hua Lamphong? Though it looks like 30 min to get unloaded, get a ticket, and transfer trains with my folding bike is cutting it close? I could try, and plan B is to find a place nearby to stay in Bangkok then get on the 997 early the next day, no big deal. Plus I assume the trains never arrive at the scheduled times so that may be a crap shoot. But if it works out, great I'm on the road in Pattaya the same day and that cuts a chunk off the distance.
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Old 10-13-18, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by esassaman View Post
...after taking the night train from Chiang Mai, looks like Train 14 arrives in BKK at 6:15, the "rapid" 997 to Pattaya leaves at 6:45, looks like I can go direct and cut a few days off the itinerary by skipping another stay in Bangkok. I assume the 14 arrives and 997 departs from the same station, Hua Lamphong? Though it looks like 30 min to get unloaded, get a ticket, and transfer trains with my folding bike is cutting it close? I could try, and plan B is to find a place nearby to stay in Bangkok then get on the 997 early the next day, no big deal. Plus I assume the trains never arrive at the scheduled times so that may be a crap shoot. But if it works out, great I'm on the road in Pattaya the same day and that cuts a chunk off the distance.

better check recent timetables. the 997 was a temporary test service on weekends. don't know if still running. the established service is weekday only to ban phlu ta luang, south of pattaya, close to rayong. i think that's the 283, leaves bangkok hua lumphong around 7am, gets to the end per schedule around noon. in reality.....maybe 3pm.


you might be able to buy a bkk-ban phla ticket at the station in chiang mai, should cost a couple bucks. if you miss that train, no great loss.


i believe there are plenty of backpacker hostels near the station, but you could jump on one of the eastbound commuters (wait until after the morning rush) to lat krabang. there is a ground transport terminal at the airport with buses to pattaya every hour. the suvarnabhumi website has a link to the bus schedules and fares.


another option is to stay on the eastbound to chachoengsao or kabinburi, head south from there. less than 150km to the beaches at rayong.



https://www.thai.lt/blog/459-new-wee...kok-to-pattaya
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Old 10-16-18, 05:19 AM
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Avoid Pattaya, and head on down to Rayong, which is the gateway to Koh Samet. Lovely island away from the bustle of mainland living.
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Old 10-21-18, 08:20 PM
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Not all trains have a baggage car to accept a non-folding bike. You need to plan carefully regarding putting your standard non-folding bike on a train/bus/plane here in Thailand.
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Old 10-22-18, 12:45 AM
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There's a cycle track at Suvarnabhumi Airport now, which would make a good introduction to your trip.
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Old 11-10-18, 06:18 PM
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Howdy neighbor!
Yes, October was nice in the Seattle area but it has turned cold now. Something that you might be wishing for in the heat of Thailand. At least you're not riding during the hot Thai summer! I used to live in Bangkok and have done a number of long distance rides from Bangkok to Pattaya and Bangkok to Rayong each in a day. Have also cycled all over the south of Thailand from Surat Thani down to the Malaysian border and then back up the west coast to Phuket. Some good advice on here. Avoid the main roads as they are much more dangerous. There are times when you might not be able to avoid them but take caution. Never ride in the dark in Thailand at night as it's not worth the risk.
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Old 11-10-18, 06:20 PM
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I might ad that I'm leaving for Thailand in two weeks and will be there for a month. I'm also taking my bicycle along this time.
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Old 11-11-18, 02:19 AM
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Not much to add here, but once I had to get my boxed bike (large cardboard box) across Bangkok. A tuc-tuc driver said he would take me, and I was surprised how easily the box fit in the back.
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Old 11-11-18, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
Not much to add here, but once I had to get my boxed bike (large cardboard box) across Bangkok. A tuc-tuc driver said he would take me, and I was surprised how easily the box fit in the back.
Yes, those tuk tuks are pretty amazing. They can get just about anything anywhere or will die trying!
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Old 11-11-18, 09:52 PM
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for those arriving at the bangkok airport, they gots big taxis available...for a price.

self-service take-a-number kiosk at the taxi stand outside departures lets you pick regular or oversize taxis. oversize will fit two fatbike boxes once the driver removes the spare tire velcroed to the back of the rear fold-down seats. he don't wanna do it of course.....says it's not removable. just ask him how he changes tires in case of a flat. lazy buggers.


anyhoo, fixed cost into the city should be 500 baht....about $15....double the price of a regular taxi.

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Old 11-14-18, 07:01 PM
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Taxis at airport

Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
fixed cost into the city should be 500 baht....about $15....double the price of a regular taxi.
In my case I reserved a spot at a hotel very close to the airport. After complaining that 500 baht was too much for such a short trip he said he can’t since he is a “long distance” cab, that goes anywhere in the city for 500 bht but that there are other short-distance taxis I could have gotten that would have cost less. So if you are real close, there’s no option on the machine that gives you a ticket number for short vs. Long, but apparently you can get a short-distance cheaper.
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Old 11-14-18, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by fdimike View Post
Not all trains have a baggage car to accept a non-folding bike. You need to plan carefully regarding putting your standard non-folding bike on a train/bus/plane here in Thailand.
And that’s exactly why I took my Bike Friday folder. My first bus trip was a breeze, the folded bike slipped right into the luggage area. I did get charged double because of the bike but I’m seriously wondering if next time I don’t even mention “bicycle” whether there would be a problem. No one even checked my ticket to see if I paid extra, they just happily loaded my bike and bags. Probably didn’t even really recognize that it was a bike. When I said “bicycle” they probably thought a full-size bike and didn’t understand that it’s a folder so charged me extra for that.
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Old 11-15-18, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by esassaman View Post
....a hotel very close to the airport. After complaining that 500 baht was too much.....

i've mentioned this hotel before.....silver gold garden suvarnabhumi.
https://www.agoda.com/silver-gold-ga...angkok-th.html



you can book on agoda for $15-20. (about 600 baht) located in lat krabang just outside the airport. they have free pickup/dropoff in a large van with room for bike boxes. will store boxes while you're off touring.



located close to the lat krabang railway station (trains east to cambodia border or to pattaya/rayong), on the main road headed to chachoengsao, or cycle back into the airport grounds to the ground transport terminal for coaches.
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Old 11-15-18, 06:42 AM
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Thanks for the hotel tip, just booked it.
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Old 11-17-18, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
Thanks for the hotel tip, just booked it.

it's been a few years since i've stayed there, you might want to confirm the van schedule by email.
as i recall the van TO the airport leaves hourly, not sure about the timing tho.

after arrival, go thru immigration, then waltz thru customs in the nothing to declare lane, go thru a short glazed glass corridor, and you enter the arrivals area. across the hall (10 meters or so) against the exterior glass wall, is a row of desks for rental cars and info booths....i'm thinking the pick up drivers congregate just to the left a bit, near an exit door. they should have signs indicating which hotel they go to.
if i recalls, there's a night market that appears mid-afternoon just outside the hotel. good, cheap eats. according to the website, hotel now has a pool. yay.
there are banks inside by the luggage carousels, but rates aren't that great. best rate is the private company (superrich?) in the basement level at the entrance to the airport link train into the city. there's also a subway sammich shop there and a bookstore that carries a dual-language map series.
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Old 11-17-18, 09:12 AM
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It’s an internal flight. I’m taking the bus up from Hua Hin, so, after a brief look at the bike track, will be going straight to the hotel then leaving early next morning. Will probably book it again for my return flight to europe.
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Old 11-17-18, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
It’s an internal flight. I’m taking the bus up from Hua Hin, ...

domestic flight to hua hin, then bus to suvarnhabumi?
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Old 11-17-18, 05:32 PM
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Bus to Suvarnabhumi, no flights to or from Hua Hin as yet. See http://www.airporthuahinbus.com/V2/ It’s a good service, and there’s no charge for folding bikes.
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Old 11-19-18, 03:46 AM
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All commercial taxis operating in Bangkok are metered. The driver is required to turn on the meter. Refused to go unless this is done. A driver who refuses to turn on the meter and quotes a flat rate is just a scam artist and should be avoided because there are lots of good taxi drivers available. The best/safest place to get a taxis is at the taxi stand inside the airport. The clerk will take your information and secure a taxi for you. There's an additional charge of 50THB for taxis picking up passengers from the airport.
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