Tag Archives: cycling

Cycling and resting in northern Vietnam

July 2016

As mentioned here we were on our way to China. We were going to leave the bicycles in Kunming and go home to Germany for a break. So with Germans being able to get Visa free entrance into Vietnam for 15 days at the moment we took that possibility and cycled from Nam Can to Hanoi.

The extremes were staggering. At first we cycled through small villages and over quiet roads. Had a beer in the evening at one of the many local draft beer shops.

When the Ho Chi Minh Highway began the traffic was starting to get a bit more intense. Many drivers that passed us had a rather intimate relationship with their horns and honked at us and every other vehicle in sight.

We quickly learned a few words for vegetarian food in Vietnamese and after that it was quite easy to find something delicious to eat. We loved the green tea that always came with the food.

What I especially appreciated in those days were the ever present clouds. They clang ominously to the sky without ever unleashing on us. So we had a few relaxed days of cycling without the sun constantly beating down on us.

And then suddenly we arrived in Hanoi. The other side of the extreme. As we drew closer to the city, traffic started to whizz past us from all sides and the honking was like a huge dissonant concert. And suddenly I felt like drowning in the city traffic and noise around me. I didn’t want to continue any more, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and stop. Stop cycle touring, just not move forward any more.

So we stopped for a coffee, had a break and then of course continued. Stopping in the middle of a busy road is not the best of alternatives after all. Torsten took over navigating and I just followed as best as I could. We stopped once more and I waited with the bicycles while he bought some supplies for dinner. Soon after we arrived at Mike’s place, our warmshowers host in Hanoi.

And as much as I hated the traffic at first the more I loved Hanoi from the next morning on. Use the search engine of your choice for some pictures as I was too busy with all the city life around me to take any. But I really loved the millions of coffee places, the fruit vendors walking through the street and the difference between the loud and busy roads and the quiet side alleys where people live.

We also found the perfect place to celebrate Torsten’s birthday: A vegetarian buffet with Yoghurt coffee for dessert. Freakin’ delicious, let me tell you!

Here in Hanoi we also finally found a place to replace Torsten’s broken handlebar. At Lam Velo George was very helpful in finding a used handlebar in good condition and even helped us with some matching brakes.

Our week in Hanoi went by way too fast. We met lots of fantastic people: Mike introduced us to a group of Vietnamese cyclists that had just finished cycling for a few weeks. We also went to a couchsurfing meeting and socialized with lots of the people living in Mike’s house. And we were happy to meet Siria and Nick from Out and Away. We had been in touch with them since Malaysia and it was nice to finally meet in person. So that week was exactly what I needed. Not too much cycling and moving from one place to another but lots of human connection instead. And that always makes everything better anyways.

After camping on the roof of Mike’s house for a week, Torsten got sick in the last two days. As this was the last day on our Visa we took the first bus to get to the border to China quickly. Not our favourite mode of transport but rather comfortable!

Shortly before the border I bought one last bag of Vietnamese coffee and then we entered China. And whatever you heard about Chinese border crossings – we experienced one of our most friendly ones. More on that next time!

Laos: Into the mountains or The ever growing comfort zone

June 2016

Cycling into the mountains seemed like the only reasonable thing to do after months in the plains. Since about two months ago it was freaking hot. Not to forget the humidity which made every attempt to sleep in our tent feel like a sauna. To battle the temperatures we took refuge under a waterfall by the side of the road…

…which made the following climbing a lot easier. After Thakek the road 12 winds its way up through rich green valleys.

The climb itself wasn’t too exhausting but the heat took its toll. After looking around for a bit in Nakai we found a simple bamboo bungalow and decided to stay for two nights. The fresh mountain air and the cooler nights appealed a lot to us.

I was still torn between enjoying my beautiful surroundings and being overwhelmed by it all. But over the coming days I also noticed something else.

Since starting cycle touring in Bali about 10 month ago I had come a long way in terms of feeling comfortable even without understanding what was happening around me. Whether it being languages, other customs or sign languages I couldn’t interpret at first. It didn’t bother me much. I didn’t feel the need to understand everything around me. I really trusted that I would understand the things I needed to.

This ability is crucial to survive and enjoy long term travel I think. But maybe also for life. When I think back to life in Germany I remember conversations with people who mention being next to a group of people talking to each other in a language which was not German or English. (And probably neither French, Italian, …). And often people would report feeling uneasy or even scared about that. I never really shared that feeling. But being out of my comfort zone a lot in the past two years I really noticed it growing. I feel comfortable in more situations and places than ever: tiny villages where every one knows that we are not local, situations where I need to make a fool out of myself to get across whatever I want to say, with people I don’t share a language / experiences / cultural background with. And so on and so on…

Getting through all of that works best with a lot of smiles, staying calm and not taking yourself too seriously. You are gonna make mistakes, you are gonna make a fool out of yourself more times than you can count. But with listening closely, with opening yourself up to other ways of communicating and doing things, there lie new worlds waiting to be experienced.

From Nakai we cycled north until Phonsavan. The road had just been tarred and was stunningly beautiful to ride on.

A big part of the area had been flooded in order to build a dam which created some interesting scenery.

While it was usually just very hot and humid we also noticed signs that rainy season was getting closer. Big clouds started appearing on the sky and threatened rain in the distance.

Every once in a while we saw signs like these:

Looking back on these pictures I still think that this was one of the most beautiful areas we have ever ridden through. Not much traffic, nice roads, craggy mountains on the side and lots of green scenery to soothe our souls.

In the villages we saw lots of women with hand made skirts which are made on these:

Before Lak Sao the rain caught up with us. It wasn’t too big a change from the ever present humidity though. We were wet all the time anyways.

We loved these little shelters for a break from the sun. People usually have them in farming areas for exactly that purpose I guess.

In Lak Sao we were close to a Vietnamese border and thus had our first Vietnamese coffee – yum!

More rain… And it did actually get a little bit colder this time. So we decided to wait it out.

All that climbing takes its toll…

Lots of wool for weaving…

Some repairs on the road:

We were almost in Phonsavan and ready for a bit of a break.

We found some coffee on the market…

… and cycled to the Plain of Jars.

There are some theories on what the huge jars were used for but their purpose is still not totally clear.

We really enjoyed the area though. After cycling through mountain valleys all the time it was nice to be in wide open fields like these.

Before getting ready for the last push to Vietnam, we visited a small museum on the ever present threat of UXOs (Unexploded Ordinance) in Laos. It is mindboggling to me how a comparatively short war can still influence people’s lives after all that time. People still loose limbs or die from UXOs until today and will continue to do so for a long time. And of course it’s mostly people who don’t have a choice. Farmers who need to farm the land in order to survive and cannot wait for years and years to have it cleared.

Here is some information boards from the museum:

Lot of the clearing of UXOs is done with international aid. And I do think the international community should feel responsible for removing some of the damage inflicted on Laos and its people.

We loved our guesthouse in Phonsavan. But unfortunately we had to leave for Visa reasons.

And so we followed this very green road towards Nam Can in Vietnam.

More on that chapter next time!

Along the Mekong: Laos – Lots of beauty and some travel fatigue

June 2016

After a very nice and polite 20 minute long discussion at the border to Laos whether we should pay the Special Service Fee they agreed to wave it just this one time. Funny experience in a way though. Everyone was nice enough and so we talked about the big elephant in the room without ever naming it.

Generally we really try to avoid paying bribes. Even if it might not be a lot of money for me, in local currency it often is. And in my opinion it rather adds to the local wealth gap and benefits only some people that already have power and quite a bit of money.

So we usually just take our time, stay patient and try to do some research before. Often it is only a case of knowing what currency to bring to pay for the Visa On Arrival, otherwise you might get ripped off. Or in this case, we had to stay patient and talk for about 20 minutes. When I told them that we might have to camp at the border as it was already getting dark, they didn’t think it was the best of ideas and let us go.

We made it just in time to catch a boat to Don Dhet, one of the 4000 Islands (Si Phan Don) in the Mekong River. Planning to stay for a few days we ended up staying for almost a week. It was rather touristy but with rainy season upon us still quiet enough.

Tiny little trails invited to explore along the island and with no cars or roads around it was just beautiful!

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the rain storms which happened almost every day…

Most of the time we just hung around, not doing much. How can you not with that view from your bungalow?

The beauty of our surroundings weren’t the only reason for us to slow down though. Lately I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. Physically I was fine, I could cope with cycling a lot and also mostly with the ongoing heat. But mentally it was just all a bit too much. I am writing this almost seven month later and that’s good in a way. Now it is easy to look back and identify the emotions from back then.

We had been cycling for about a year and traveling for about two. In the past 12 months we hadn’t stopped for more than 2 weeks at a time. And I just couldn’t seem to catch up with the continuous stream of new impressions, new people, new food, new languages. It wasn’t constant, I still had my happy moments, I still enjoyed cycling per se and the downhills especially but I grew annoyed way quicker at tiny disturbances than before. I wasn’t really keen on learning new languages anymore and planning our future cycling route gave me a major headache. It became more and more clear that I needed a break. Not just a few days but a longer one.

So Torsten and I talked and talked and decided to take it slow. As it happened we were planning on taking a break anyway due to my little sister getting married in Germany in September. We were planning on cycling until China, leaving the bicycles with a trustworthy person and continue going home with busses and trains. So for the next 2 months we still had some cycling to do. I wasn’t entirely convinced that I could make it but I didn’t really want to miss the mountains of Laos either. So for now we kept going.

And oh boy, we had one of the most beautiful days of our cycling journey ahead of us! From Don Dhet we cycled northbound over some of the islands, taking four ferries in one day!

Don Dhet has been a beautiful if rather touristy escape, but the following islands were just stunning to cycle.

We even stumbled upon a local festival with home made fireworks. Some of them went up in the sky as they were supposed to, others not so much. Which made for some rather hasty escapes by the people around.

We loved the small roads and were happy that it didn’t rain like back then.

Leaving the 4000 islands after Don Khong we kept cycling northbound. We would still follow the Mekong up until Thakek where we wanted to pedal up into the mountains towards Vietnam.

With a peak at some mountains ahead we continued on our flat roads. For now. Cycling into Pakse I got serious pangs of homesickness thinking of my sister and her now husband who would be married today. You see, in the religious parts of Germany people often get married twice. One is the state ceremony and the other the church wedding. Where I come from, the second one is usually bigger and more important. That would also be the one we were going to attend in September but I still missed being there for the state ceremony today.

Cycling on these roads was some consolidation though. The light, the colors and good asphalt made for a few easy but beautiful days which was fine by me. The big mountains would come soon enough.

We loved those little shelters for some escape from the sun and heat:

About 40k before Savannakhet we met Edi, the first cyclist who was going in the same direction as us! We enjoyed cycling into town together and getting to know him over dinner and beers later. Sadly I completely forgot to take a picture.

In Savannakhet we also said Goodbye to the Mekong. Since Phnom Penh we had followed that mighty river and now it was time to take a turn towards the mountains. More on that next time!

Now for a few rest days and sampling lots of local coffee!

Along the Mekong: Cambodia

June 2016

After our monstruos day of mud and two rest and exploring days we went off to cycle further along the Mekong. We pointed the bicycles north, eventually going to Laos. And oh boy – it was absolutely stunning! The Mekong Valley burst with green colors which were all the more intense after cycling through Cambodia’s dry and barren plains before.

There was really nothing more I could wish for. Some easy relaxing cycling on small but good roads. Lots of tiny villages with friendly people on the way.

About 25k north of Kampong Cham we took a ferry across the Mekong.

A bit after I noticed a bulge on my back tire. That’s not looking good!

And a short while later there was a “pfffff” sound and all the air was gone. Fortunately we still carried an old spare tire so with the help of at least half the village we were able to change it.

I fell in love with Cambodian houses. Not two of them look the same but each sports a lot of individual features and colors.

After fixing another flat we stopped for sugar cane juice and the obligatory group shot.

Shortly before arriving in Kratie, Torsten noticed his handlebar moving. Wait… That shouldn’t be happening, right? After examining it closer we found this:

Nooo!!! Mud-infested roads, tires exploding, handlebars breaking… What’s up lately? Well, what else to do than look for a solution. We spent the afternoon riding around town and asking in several bicycle shops if they had any handlebars. Not even dropbars, any handlebars. But there were none. The bicycle shops only sell entire bicycles but have no spare parts whatsoever. So Torsten talked to some bicycle shops in Pnomh Penh where we had just come from a few days ago. The offered to get handlebars from Thailand as they didn’t have the right one in stock, too.

Long story and lots of facebook chats short, it was all rather complicated and we weren’t sure if they could get the right part with the right measurements. So Torsten decided that his broken handlebar was still rideable as only the lower part of the dropbar had broken off. He mounted the brake to the frame and off we went!

Spoiler Alert: This makeshift solution held up fine until Hanoi, Vietnam!

After all that excitement it was nice to join the locals for some relaxation and a beautiful sunset at the riverside.

On the next morning we found our favorite breakfast food in Cambodia. Took us a while but it’s delicious!

And suddenly we spent our last full day riding in Cambodia. A few more beautiful houses and small roads…

… and after a visit to the morning market in Stung Treng we were off to Laos! This last stretch along the Mekong has really been stunningly beautiful and I loved cycling through all the small villages greeting many many children. Let’s see what awaits us further north!

The Angkorian Experience: Nokor Bachay Temple

May 2016


Before coming to Cambodia we had decided not to visit Angkor Wat. Firstly it wasn’t really on our route, secondly it is rather expensive and thirdly, we are more interested in the things you discover by the road instead of the big tourist attractions. So the Nokor Bachay Pagoda close to Kampong Cham sparked our interest.


There is a relatively new Pagoda built in the remains of an Angkorian temple.



I always love the mixture of old and new…



… and we found lots of interesting little details, too.










I’m sure Nokor Bachay doesn’t have the magnificence of Angkor Wat itself. But on the other hand you can just wander around the temples almost by yourself. It was very quiet and the cloudy day added to the “Lost and Forgotten”-atmosphere of the temples. We loved spending some time there and exploring the grounds without crowds of tourists around us.

One of these days: Rainy season in Cambodia

May 2016


Can you see the clouds in the picture above? Well, they could have been tell tale sign enough but at that moment we were just busy admiring the temple. We were on our way along the Mekong from Pnomh Penh north bound towards Laos.


And suddenly it started. Raining, no pouring. Within seconds, sheets of water started hurling down on us and we were lucky in finding shelter in a cafe / garage kind of business. About half an hour later it was all over and we started cycling again. And this is how we discovered the difference between Cambodian dirt roads in rainy season and dry season. It all started innocently enough with just a few puddles of water here and there…


…until they got a little bigger…


Oh well, isn’t cycle touring and dirt just like French fries and ketchup anyway?


We weren’t the only ones facing the mud by the way.


The chains and cassettes were not happy.


It could have been really beautiful you know. Lots of these stunning houses on stilts, each individual and different from one another. But this day just turned out to be one of the most challenging on our entire tour.


The mud just got worse and worse. A few times it was so slippery that we had to push. But even pushing it was hard to keep the bicycles from falling down. Oh and fall down we did. Torsten once and me 3 (!) times! Until this day we had never fallen off the bicycles for the entire year of touring. Today was different. First the slippery mud got to Torsten, then I cycled over a curb in the dark and found myself lying on the ground. A while later I stopped to wait for Torsten and a dog came running and barking towards me. And I fell. While standing. Not a particularly proud moment. The third fall I cannot even remember anymore.

What I can remember is excessive pushing and cleaning. You see, the slippery mud wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was the sticky mud that stuck to our tyres, brakes, and everything else like glue. For a big part of the day we cycled or pushed the bicycles for a few meters and stopped because the wheels wouldn’t turn anymore. At first we used whatever stick we could find to brush off the big chunks of mud from brakes and tyres but in the end we went in there with our bare hands. Lost a bit of skin in the process but couldn’t have cared less.


The pushing against resistance reminded me a lot of the day in Australia where we ended up pushing our bicycles through soft sand. Only this time no one came to save us. Well not with a 4 wheel drive anyway. The locals were still fantastic. Many of them gave us sticks, water or even knives to clean off the mud, others helped to push and a few people told us about smaller trails avoiding at least a part of the muddy road. So in the end we made it because we always somehow do. We decided not to camp somewhere along the road but to cycle until Kampong Cham. We needed a shower, a place to rest properly and somewhere to clean the bicycles.

So we kept cycling. I don’t know how exactly because at that point I was beyond tired. But after almost a year of touring I do believe in the following mantra: “It’ll pass.” Because however much a situation sucks, however tired I am, it will pass. Tomorrow is another day and I won’t feel like this forever. So we rode until Kampong Cham, calmy stopped to fix two flats two km before the guest house and finally arrived. The friendly owners allowed us graciously to store our very dirty bicycles inside and we found some food and went to bed. Tomorrow will be another day.


Funnily we woke up to this. Funny because it seems like such a stark contrast to all the mud and dirt from yesterday. p1190109

We had decided that we would need a day for resting and cleaning and after breakfast we did just that.   p1190114 p1190117 p1190118

In the afternoon we rode the unloaded bicycles over Kampong Cham’s famous bamboo bridge which is newly built every year. Amazing how strong bamboo is! Can you spot the car in the picture?

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Some leisurely halfhearted cycling around the island led us to this temple…


… and another one of the beautiful houses on stilts.


But to be honest all I wanted to do was nothing. No new impressions, no new challenges, no more mud. Not today anyway.

See you tomorrow!

Into Pnomh Penh – Getting a taste of Cambodia’s challenges

May 2016


Leaving Battambang after a week we were both happy to be on the road again.  The two days cycling towards Pnomh Penh led us past a lot of agriculture and this interesting earthen structure. We couldn’t quite figure out what it was for though. p1190010


p1190019We cycled past temples… p1190025

lots of houses on stilts…


and found the river which led us into Pnomh Penh. Unfortunately there was some major road construction happening. So the going was rather tough and we were a bit slower than expected. When it was already getting dark two people on a motorcycle rode past us and kept looking back at us. Eventually they stopped and talked to us. And this is how we met Ary and Aude, two French staying in Cambodia to live and work. They invited us to stay with them but as we already had organized a warmshowers host to stay with we decided to meet up for dinner the next day. What a warm welcome!

p1190030_v1 Over the river we had another surprise waiting for us. Our hosts Raphael and Claudia were living right beside the Mekong in a beautiful house with a garden.  p1190040  p1190048 p1190049 p1190053

We spent our days in Pnomh Penh relaxing, cycling around the city and also gave the bicycles a good clean. Cambodia’s secondary roads left a little dust where there should be no dust:


We also payed a visit to Tuol Sleng Prison where the Khmer Rouge incarcerated and tortured people they didn’t agree with. Not an easy place to be at until today. I was especially interested in the portrayed stories of people who had been forced to resettle somewhere else / to marry someone they didn’t want to marry / to work for something they didn’t believe in. All of this happened not too long ago and all these stories are still a part of today’s society.

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On two days we ended up staying with Ary and Aude in the city as the ferry over the river only runs until 10pm. They cooked a fantastic dinner for us and introduced us to the French way of slowly eating for about 3 hours. We also tagged along for some drinks in the evening and found ourselves in a district that could as well be in Italy or Spain. With lots of small bars and restaurants it looked distinctly European.


Pnomh Penh was an interesting place to be. It was a cocktail of extremes with simple Cambodian eateries on the one side and fancy French bakeries with fancy prices on the other side. Shiny malls and Tuol Sleng Prison. Lots of old scooters and a few expensive 4 wheel drives. And everything in between.

It is very easy for foreigners to get a Cambodian business visa for a year to stay. Volontourism is ever rising and the industry of charity is booming still. There is an ongoing discussion about the effects of Western charity and for anyone considering going to volunteer or work in Cambodia I recommend reading this article on volontourism and Cambodian orphanages :



With a lot of new impressions and things to think about we left Pnomh Penh after a few days for the countryside. We planned on following the mighty Mekong for a while to see where it would lead us… More on that next time!


Racing to Cambodia – on passion, hospitality and being sick

May 2016


Man it was hard to leave Bangkok. We loved the family atmosphere at Toom’s place and will be forever grateful to him and all the people staying there for our time together. But our visa time was rapidly coming to an end and so we had four days to make it to Cambodia.

On spontaneous hospitality and a lot of passion


As it was still unbearably hot and no clouds in sight we decided to look for accommodation in Chachoengsao. We asked and asked but it was all too pricey for us. It already got dark when a passing road cyclist took pity on us and ended up leading us to a friend’s place. There we would be sure to find a place to rest and spend the night. And oh my how we did!


Mit Saladin and his family created a very special place indeed. The Saladin Cafe is a former workshop / now cafe / restaurant / bar / future hostel. They are in the progress of building some rooms where travelers can stay and we got to test one of them. It is in the cellar with very low ceilings and will thus be one of our most memorable sleeping spaces.


Love the atmosphere! There was also a toilet and a bath tub but fortunately not ready to use yet…


… which is why we got to use the family bath room! And this is hands down the most beautiful nature bathroom I have ever seen!


Of course it helps when there is no winter :). In the morning we enjoyed some freshly made noodle soup and got together for a photo shoot with Mit Saladin and his family. What a fantastic start after our break in Bangkok!


Going to Cambodia

Afterwards we left the populated areas and enjoyed the hell out of the small roads leading us to Cambodia.


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And just before we entered a natural reserve we rolled over another big mile stone: The first 10.000 km! Not that numbers are that important but it amazes me that you can get that far on a bicycle. Not an engine powered car / motorcycle / plane, no, just a simple bicycle. Here’s to the next 10.000 km – I wonder where they will lead us…?

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For the time being we were still in Thailand, cycling through a natural reserve. We had been warned before that it would be dangerous cycling through as there are elephants living here. And said elephants are known to chase cars and motorcyclists. Oh well. The only evidence of those beautiful animals we saw were those heaps of shit. Which seemed most interesting to a bunch of butterflies. What can I say, tastes vary a lot!


It was still unbearably hot during our last days in Thailand. But the appearing clouds promised a soon to come rainy season and with that some relief from the heat.



We cycled past many of these spirit houses that Thai people often have in front / near their houses.


On the very last day of our Visas we finally entered Cambodia. Shamefully I have to admit that I was a bit confused about which side to cycle on. After leaving the crowded border most people seemed to drive on the right side which did confuse me a bit. Eventually Torsten asked me why I was cycling on the other side of the road. Ooops! After almost two years of driving and cycling on the left side it had become so normal that I totally forgot to check about Cambodia’s road laws. Oh well!


For the rest of the day we turned away from the main road and cycled on dusty dry roads towards Battambang. Temperatures were at an all new high today and as I had an appointment for my last rabies vaccination at 5pm, it turned out to be a bit of a race against time and against the wish to just lie down in the shade and consume a bottle of sugar cane juice per hour.


But we made it, I got my vaccination, we found a hostel and I got really sick the very next day.


Which made us stay in Battambang for a week. With lots of tea and coffee, baguettes from one of the bakeries and ample down time it wasn’t too bad for me, but Torsten was getting restless. But sometimes there is just not much you can do except to wait it out. After about a week I finally got better and we set out towards Pnomh Penh. More on that next time!


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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