The border crossing at Koh Kong is a lot more modern than the hut and the wooden boom gate between Laos and Cambodia. Before we can leave the country we have to pose in front of a camera and our passports are scanned.
Thailand lies in front of us and we see some differences straight away. There are many traffic signs and stripes on the road, there are signs for touristy attractions and in front of every house there is a beautiful yellow garbage bin. There are a lot of supermarkets and money comes out of the ATM’s just on the side of the road.
We cycle on the smallest part of Thailand towards Trat. It’s not wider than a kilometer with on one side the green mountains and on the other side the sparkling blue sea. We find ourselves a big room in Trat where we park our bicycles inside with our bags still on the bikes. In the evening we stroll along the market where we find a delicious meal.
Along huge fields with pineapples we cycle towards the ferry to Koh Chang. It’s nice to see how the pineapples grow. The men in the field who are harvesting the fruits enjoy us watching them and their work. We leave the fields with 3 fresh pineapples in our bags given to us by the workers.
We have to work hard before we find a place to stay at the island of Koh Chang. We could have expected it because the name of the island means: Elephant Island. The hills are as big as the elephants and the local people and the tourists as well are encouraging us while we are climbing. We arrive at White Sand Beach, which sound beautiful to us. We have great days on the island which starts every day with the best breakfast in times. The Dutch André and his girlfriend Kai serve real Gouda cheese on baguettes. Here we meet the Dutch Gino as well who has his own bar. The last evening we eat Dutch meatballs together at Gino’s place.
Gino, André en Kai wave us goodbye from their island. We cycle in the direction of Bangkok through fields of banana’s, pineapples, papaya’s, mango’s, coconuts and cactus fruit. We try to find some small roads but that seems quiet difficult. Most of the times we are soon back on the main and big roads, with a lot of traffic. All the roads are decorated with flags of Thailand and also with flags of the king. These are hanging there in honor of the king who celebrated his 82nd anniversary and who is the king for 60 years already. The people adore him because besides all the portraits of their king, also many people wear a T-shirt with the king sign. It looks like the orange Queensday in The Netherlands, but here it is everyday!
In Pattaya we learn to know a different kind of tourism. The people don’t come here for culture, sun, sea and beach, but they come here for the bars and Thai girls. We don’t stay for a long time in this city and we cycle in two days towards the capital. We have a nice stop in Samut Prakan where the only place where we can stay is a motel with a garage and a curtain in front of our room. The crew of the motel looks surprised the moment we arrive and they arrange a man who speaks a bit of English. We park our bicycles behind the curtain and enjoy all the luxury in our room with TV, a filled fridge and airco.
The next day it’s actually an easy ride into Bangkok. We buy a map in a service station and we figure out how we can reach the centre the best. It’s busy, but the traffic respects us and they give way to us. Before we know it we see the big golden palace in front of us and we are standing in the middle of this big city with ten million inhabitants. We find a place to sleep, but we are not very happy with it when we see some insects crawling out of the pillows. ….the next morning we go searching for a better place and we move to a room without any animals.
Bangkok is a great place to spend a couple of days. We move from one beautiful place to another by boat, metro, tuktuk and skytrain. We visit some temples and we walk trough the parks where the Thai and the Chinese do their workouts at the end of the afternoon. Of course we wander around in the massive and modern malls which seem to be everywhere. We find a nice cycle shop where we meet the Belgium Gert, who plans to cycle back to his country. He does know the ’wereldtrappers’, which is funny. After spending a week in this big city, we are looking forward to cycling again.
* Border with Cambodia – Trat: 93km
* Trat – Koh Chang: 50km
* Koh Chang – Chantaburi: 92km
* Chantaburi – Laem Mae Phim: 84km
* Laem Mae Phim – Sattahip: 95km
* Sattahip – Pattaya: 34km
* Pattaya – Samut Prakan: 131km
* Samut Prakan – Bangkok: 36km