We have spent just over a week in Bangkok. It has been a very busy week, but we’ve not spent much time exploring the city as tourists.
Now two months into our trip, it was necessary to spend some time planning the next stretch (Central Asia really doesn’t seem that far away now).
Applying for visas and permits, replacing any gear and giving the bike a thorough service were also high on our list of priorities.
Bangkok is an excellent city for cyclists do all of the above, especially as there are LOADS of warm showers hosts dotted all over with good transport links to everywhere you need.
A couple of weeks ago we had noticed that our back wheel rim had cracked (it held up well for three weeks after). As we have 15000km still left to do we decided it was worth replacing both with new Andra 30 rims. For more info on how we went about ordering these parts and building the wheels in Bangkok click here.
The first 5 nights were spent with Mike (Joseph is his warm showers name) and his great friends east of the city.
Mike has travellers turning up pretty much every day of the week (he’s also a couch surf host) and our stay crossed over with two Russian travelling musicians who had found each other online and hitch hiked the whole way from St Petersburg, and a family of four from Italy who were in their last week of a four month trip across Asia. There was plenty of space to spread out and reliable wifi.
Their street was a real community and everyone was incredibly friendly. We cooked together every night and we both really enjoyed staying with them.
We then headed north to spend four nights with Tim, an old friend of Annie’s who currently teaches at Harrow International school, his boyfriend Mick and their little beagle ‘Stevie Nicks’. It was a treat to have our own bed and great to spend some time with a familiar face.
Tim had very kindly received a package for us (with our kick stand) sent from a friend in America (took 4 days with US postal service, roughly $80 with a 500 BHT custom charge the other end). If you’re having trouble finding an address to receive a package try asking your embassy. The Irish embassy confirmed they would have done this for us.
Tim and Mick are avid game players and shared a range of new dice and card games with us including Perudo, Yatzy, Diamonsters and speed Monopoly which is the most ruthless game either of us have ever played! (must get a pack for George)
Visas took a good chunk of time as did dropping off and picking up our wheel rims. We also made a trip to Outdoor Unlimited in Amrin Plaza where there is a range of outdoor and sports gear, although, in the end, we didn’t get much except a second sports bra for Annie.
We also met up with another cycle touring couple who we contacted via the warm showers forum. We have been desperately trying to find some up to date info on the Myanmar/China border crossing at Muse – in the past it has not been possible to cross here without a special permit and guide due to regional fighting. Geart and Sytske also want to take this route and will be in Myanmar at the same time so hopefully we can team up and cross together. We’re still exploring the options but are pretty sure already that it’s possible and safe enough to cross.
We have both been reading books about Myanmar. Paddy has nearly finished Orwell’s Burmese Days and I’m deep in the midst of Letters from Burma written by Aung San Suu Khi. We’re both keen to cross the border now and will meet up with the Mum and Dad Sheen in Mandalay/Bagan which should be fun!
So, onwards north to Phitsanulok (by train) and then a four day cycle to Mae Sot border.