Busy, lazy, old and new – Bangkok has it all

April 2016

Bangkok has given me everything that I needed without even knowing what that was. For a while now the city had been the goal we kept moving towards. Our list of errands was higher than ever and we were also looking for a little break from cycling. After being seriously overwhelmed by all the warmshowers and couchsurfing hosts on the two sites we took our friend Anselm’s advice and asked his friend Toom if we could stay with him for a while. I felt a bit nervous about that as we never actually met Anselm himself, let alone Toom. Oh boy was that unnecessary!

Toom’s couchsurfing / warmshowers / friends paradise


Toom has an apartment in the north of Bangkok and there are almost always people staying at his place. For some reasons that are his story to tell he likes having guests and friends around and due to the relaxed and inviting atmosphere most of those people tend to stay a bit longer than planned.


There is not a lot of privacy as everyone shares the available rooms. We slept on beds or mattresses on the floor, as close to the fans as possible to get some relief from the April heat wave. And I absolutely loved it. Usually I need some time to myself and some privacy at that. But somehow at Toom’s place I did not miss it at all. First of all, Toom is an amazing person. Funny, softspoken, interesting to talk to, he is one of these people who manages to include people into the group so that everyone feels welcome. And we met so many more awesome people during our stay and I loved all the talks, the cooking and eating together, the time to just relax and not do much. The feeling of having a home base for a while is something that we don’t have very often during this journey and thus enjoye even more.

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Cycling in Bangkok

We had quite a few errands to run during our time in Bangkok. From finding affordable sunscreen with a high SPF to finally getting our Chinese Visa and repair / replace my waterlogged phone.


At first we tried using public transport which was partly fast (Metro) / fun (boat) / not moving at all (several busses) / not showing up (busses again). So in the end we cycled mostly everywhere. From reading many blogs I had thought that cycling in Bangkok would be a nightmare but it was actually fine. We were usually faster than public transport (excluding the metro maybe) and the traffic didn’t bother me too much. Yes you have to be a 100% alert at all times and listening to your favourite drum n bass band at high volume is probably not the best idea.


But given that traffic was either stuck in gridlock or slow moving most of the time it was actually fine for cycling. We’re not talking fine as in meandering along a quiet country lane, it’s still Bangkok. But you know, fine. Overall traffic here is really just too much in my opinion. Too many cars, too many traffic jams.

High and low, old and new

p1180751 We didn’t really do any sightseeing per se but cycling through the city we still discovered a lot. To me Bangkok seems to have it all. There are the huge skyscrapers but also small wooden houses nestled in between sometimes.

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There are crazy busy 8 lane roads and then you take one or two turns and find yourself in a narrow motorcycle road in old Chinatown. There are touristy areas but it’s not hard to avoid them.

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There are western supermarkets and a myriad of local markets which are absolutely amazing. Lots of parks, gardens, nice cafes, museums and so much more. My tip to stay sane: Don’t try to do it all, it might overwhelm you. Take it slow, get lost in it all and find a thousand big and small surprises.

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In the end we stayed for a full two weeks. When we noticed we were both surprised as the time had passed in an instant seemingly. There was just so much to see and do, people to meet and talk to, coffee and beers to be drunk and food to be eaten.

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For all of that, thanks to everyone of you and especially to you Toom!! Never ever would it have been the same without you and your oasis of friends. Thanks heaps and please do come visit us anytime!

It was also fantastic to meet May, one of Torsten’s friends back from his studies in Bangkok and to see Lily, our friend from Penang again!


Cycletouring Thailand – from Prachuap Khiri Khan to Bangkok

April 2016

After a few days of rest we left Prachuap Khiri Khan early in the morning and cycled past Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.


When we got hungry there was always a small store or restaurant nearby.

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Sometimes when we took a break at the perfect beach location…

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… the perfect food (fresh Papaya Salad) even came to us!


Life cannot get much better really! On our way to Bangkok we still encountered several highlights though:

We cycled past some stunning salt fields:

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We also visited Tha Kha Floating Market which is just a bit south west of Bangkok. There are some tourists there but overall it was pretty quiet and nice to just wander around and sit on the dock watching people.

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For our last night before Bangkok we had contacted a warmshowers host in Nakhon Pathom who had written to us that he wasn’t home but invited us to sleep at his cafe. We accepted gladly as this meant that we would have a short day cycling into Bangkok. And this is how we found another paradise…

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We were heartily welcomed at Kumnumm cafe which doubles as a book and art store. It felt like a small oasis in the city and was a good place to relax for an afternoon. So we enjoyed a good night’s sleep and took our sweet time the next morning before cycling into Bangkok… More on that next time!

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Cycletouring Thailand – Ranong to Prachuap Khiri Khan

April 2016

After getting our first rabies shots in Ranong, enjoying the hell out of the small town Songkran festival and doing a visa run to Kawthaung, Myanmar, we left in the general direction of Bangkok.

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Songkran was still going on, so we enjoyed the occasional splash (or bucket) of water over our heated bodies. Oh and we got some face paint :). I loved cycling though the country side and meeting people with water buckets and paint along the road. Everyone was very respectful and we were usually asked if they could pour water over us. Somehow it felt like a blessing each time.


Four our route planning we trusted Google Maps and were usually quite happy with it. Many of the smaller roads changed between tarmac and gravel a lot but we were so happy about the beautiful rides out in the countryside that it didn’t really matter.

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A short while before Chumphon we met Frank, a German long distance cyclist. He had started in Germany and was planning to go at least to Australia (which he did in the meantime).  It was awesome meeting him and we quickly found a small store, bought some drinks and chatted for about two hours. We also liked him because he was carrying even more luggage than us :).


After Chumphon we cycled along the beach. It was absolutely stunning scenery wise…

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…what you can’t see though is the heat. April is the hottest month in Thailand, just before the rainy season starts. We often cycled in about 40 degrees Celsius. Combined with the high humidity that is not a perfect combination. Of course we tried starting early each day (and sometimes we were even successful) but when it has 35 degrees Celsius at 8am there is really only so much you can do.

One windy day we tried camping at some sand dunes and even put up the tent. Of course at about 8pm the wind completely died and our tent turned into a sauna. So we just slept on the beach. The nights didn’t really cool off any more and so we spent a restless night, sweating continuously in the humid 30 degree heat. After that we decided that camping during the hot season in South East Asia is not for us. I keep admiring people who can always sleep outside but I can’t seem to get any rest when it’s that hot. Thankfully there is a lot of accommodation with relatively cheap fan rooms in Thailand.


Food was available really is almost everywhere around us. We especially loved finding those small town night markets where everyone just buys a lot of different food to bring home to their families. It just bums me out how much plastic is used to pack all the delicacies. After documenting that here we promised ourselves to use our reusable containers to get street food whenever possible.


Writing this entry on a cold November day from Germany I can’t really see the appeal of very sweet iced coffee any longer. But when cycle touring in that heat there’s just nothing better than a pitcher of strong iced coffee. Mmhhhh…


After a few more days of cycling on the beach…

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… and on some inland dirt roads…

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… we arrived in Prachuap Khiri Khan and took some days off. We slept in, wandered around, had coffees and frequented the local night market a lot. It seems that we take more and more breaks compared to the beginning of our cycle tour. It might just be the continuous heat or also the overall length of our tour and the need to let all the impressions sink in. Who knows. For now we love our time in Thailand! p1180546 p1180548 p1180549 p1180555 p1180563