Thailand – Country No. 3

After completing the 110k to Sisophon the previous day the 55km to the Poipet border was fairly easy going. 

The ride was pretty unadventurous apart from Annie had to request a toilet stop in a rice factory. It is definitely the strangest place Ive had to stop.

Poipet crossing is notoriously busy and full of scams and thieves so we were on our guard as we arrived at 1.30pm and didn’t let the bike out of our sight the whole time. 

I managed to dive into the border control office before a huge group of Spanish tourists so the wait out wasn’t too bad in the end. We then headed down the short stretch of road to be stamped into Thailand. It was time to say farewell to Cambodia.

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We stayed a night in Aranyaprathet down the road. The difference between Thailand and Cambodia is instant. It was strange to see brand names we recognised… E.g. Tesco ?!

Stocking up at the small market and searching for kerosene took a bit of time in the morning but we finally got going at 12 noon and headed into the lush green countryside.

We’re instantly met by rolling green hills and it’s great to have some different scenery. We’re really enjoying sleepy, rural Thailand, the land is still intensely farmed but with a greater variety of crops than in Cambodia. It feels a lot more peaceful here and the weather is cooler.

We stop for lunch under the shade of some trees and enjoy the view. 

We continue on, this time keeping an eye out for a suitable camping spot but by 5.30 hadn’t found anything so some nice locals took us to a guesthouse.

The next morning Paddy had a bit of a shock. He went to put his shoe on and found this little fella hiding inside. Paddy is rather shook up by the whole experience and since has merticulously checked his shoes every morning.

 

We were both feeling very tired the next day, we had barely done 25km before we came across this perfect wild camping spot. We decided to have an afternoon resting and drinking up the view. 

   

We have been getting a bit bored of playing repetitive games of whist and rummy so decided to look up a new, 2 player card game and settled on learning the complicated rules of Sixty Six, it involves lots of counting! Once you get your head around all the various phases of the game it’s pretty addictive!  

We enjoyed a bath in the lake before dinner (a luxury when camping) and we ate both feeling very satisfied and content…

That is until I started complaining of feeling a bit queezy. Hoping it was nothing a good sleep wouldn’t cure, we locked the bike to the tent and settled under the fly sheet. 

Paddy woke later to the delightful noise of me being violently sick 😦 over the side of the bank of the lake… At 2am we finally managed to both drift off.

Morning came and we put our energy into finding a guesthouse. Paddy went to explore the options on the bike and came back triumphant. He packed the whole campsite up while I sat slumped in a Helinox chair in the shade. He even did his Dracula impression with big Agnus to cheer me up!

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I needed a full day of sleep to recover. 

Thai Visas in Phnom Penh

Because Paddy has an Irish passport and we would be crossing the Thai/Cambodia border by bike we knew we would need to apply for a 30 day visa for him at the embassy in Phnom Penh. (My British passport allows me a 30 day exemption visa, see our section on Visas under ‘Before We Go’ for more info).

A warning to other cyclists/border crossing travellers, do not listen to agents who say you need proof of either certain bank funds or flights into Thailand to get a visa. They are trying to swindle you. Guys hang outside/in the embassy and will try to convince you too. You can do it all yourself.

Simply go to the embassy with a passport photo and complete the form (before 4.00). Our visa cost $40 and because we are travelling by bike we needed to write a brief letter detailing our general travel plans – e.g what border crossing, wherel we plan to exit etc.

We found the Embassy very friendly and efficient. Visa pick up is currently (Jan 2016) between 3-4.30pm week days.

Good luck!