Rugby and Big Macs

Chantaburi – Klaeng = 73km

Departed Chantaburi after a great 2 night stay and after a few navigation issues we got ourselves on the right road to make our way to Klaeng. We decided to take an alternate route to the highway to avoid the hectic traffic but had no idea what sort of road this would take us on. 12km into the journey at 9am we couldn’t believe it when we saw a rugby match taking place. Decided to do a UE and check it out, not expecting to stumble across the Thailand National Senior Championships. We became instant celebrities once we told them we were from NZ, and All Blacks country.

Bangkok verse Chonburi.
Yep the rugby field was at the airport with planes behind
Incredibly organised, big speaker and running commentary where they got more excited than Keith Quinn. Heaps of officials, referees and spectators and the standard was surprisingly good. Not a lot of height in the line out though.
One of the big wigs came over and was so welcoming and friendly and everything was then relayed over the speaker for all to hear.

We pulled up a chair and watched 30mins of the game several of them came over for a chat…….and selfies! We found out Thailand have international tests against China/Taipei and India coming up soon so this was also National team selection.

It was time to get pedalling again after that super cool experience.

We then had possibly our best day of riding in Thailand. Road was amazing

Check out this awesome road and cycle lane.

Most of the trip we were going through the most incredible plantations of bananas, durian and other tropical fruit and the odd fish farm as well as rubber plantations. We were riding with the butterflies and Dragonflies. Stalls were everywhere selling their produce.

Chantaburi is the heart of Durian country. A smelly fruit delicacy in Asia
Such quiet roads in the countryside. That is a rubber plantation on the right where rubber trees are tapped every 2 days each time yielding about 50g of latex. Thailand and Indonesia are the largest producers and exporters of natural “latex” rubber
Toilet stop at the police station and even a water refill station.
Drinks stop at some random village.

After 60km we had to get back on the highway and it was full on but out of nowhere look what we find in the town of Klaeng! Timing was perfect as it was scorching and aircon was bliss.

1550km later and he finds his first golden arches and yep it tasted as good as it looked.
Betty and Nancy rocked it today and having a rest with only 6km to go.

Then 73km we rock into our guesthouse called “Kevin Resort”. We had prebooked here for 2 nights as it is the weekend. Being close to Bangkok now everything sells out in the weekends as the Thais escape Bangkok for a getaway.

Awesome digs for NZ$20 and Betty and Nancy tucked up after a great day.

Rest day tomorrow while we plan which town to next and reflect on an awesome day of riding through Thailand.

The lovely sights of Chantaburi

A great day exploring the sights of Chantaburi today.

The old town of Chantaburi
200 houses make up the community on the river.
Lovely old houses
Looking very much like Hoi An with a huge Vietnamese and Chinese influence in the town
Down the river in the old town.
Biggest Catholic Cathedral in Thailand. However there aren’t many in Thailand as most Thais are Buddhist.
Time to dry some food on the roof of the ute.
Streetside stall of dim sims
Lake in the centre of Chantaburi. First time we have see Thais exercising. Come late afternoon it is packed with walkers, joggers and the nearby open concrete area becomes an aerobics studio and basketball court. Great to see!
Then the storm arrived just on lunch time, so noodle soup time for us.
2 nights at the Hop Inn Chantaburi.
After a jolly good quota of noodles and rice this trip it was time for bbq Thai style. 6 small sossies for just over $1.
Along with a tiny loaf of bread, chille sauce and beer. Good bike packing food for tomorrow.

Wheels will be turning again in the morning, hopefully not too much rain as it has rained most of this afternoon. We will be making our way to Klaeng which is somewhere on our maps.me app approx 70++km enroute to Bangkok.

Eat your heart out Willie Nelson

Trat – Chantaburi = 70km

This anthem seems to roll off our tongue every time we hit the road. Thought we would record it to see how bad it actually sounds. No I didn’t fall off the bike at the end of the clip a dog appeared giving me a fright. He must have enjoyed the singsong also.

So was awesome to be back in the saddle on a really pleasant highway that wasn’t too busy until we got close to Chantaburi. Weather was overcast for most of the way until the heavens opened with 15km to go.

Bangkok here we come
Through Klung town on the way. Great roads
7/11 refuel stop
Then the heavens opened. Found some shelter in what looked to be a fruit packing shed
Arrived Chantaburi and the best pork and rice for a late lunch

So a good day and here we are in Chantaburi. Staying 2 nights at the Hop Inn, nice to have aircon again. Off for a stroll around the town now.

Recharged and Refuelled in Trat

We have had absolutely no problems filling in our days here in Trat as we bide time before our May 14th flight from Bangkok to Mandalay.

The pedals will be turning tomorrow as we move forward to Chantaburi.

Old man biking the old town.
We saw this lady daily in a different loud outfit everyday………unlike myself limited for choices. She was normally on a bike that would be the same age as her.
A bike ride exploring around the outskirts of town.

We have the coolest digs in an old teak guesthouse in the old town area of Trat all for NZ$14 per night.

Mosquito net and all
The bathroom
Steep stairway up to our room
Rained one night got up to check the bikes and the lovely owner had put an umbrella over them. So much love for Betty and Nancy

We can’t believe how clean Thailand is after Cambodia, how organised and orderly everything is. Amazing considering we have traveled here over 10 times before but haven’t noticed it until after leaving the dust and rubbish of Cambodia.

The street cleaner in Trat never saw one of those in Cambodia

The food is exceptional here in Trat so we are refuelled ready to pedal again.

Pancakes for breakfast for the boy. Says they’re the best ever
Fish balls as afternoon snack

Waffles being made over a fire pit
Every type of seafood on offer
Sleepy cat in sleepy Trat. We know we are back in Thailand though as been chased by aggressive dogs already.

2km from the Cambodia border

Kabin Buri – Sa Kaeo 47km

Departed the delightful Kabin Buri where we met the loveliest owners and their friends and made our way to Sa Kaeo.

Kabin Buri Baan Sri family guesthouse. They were all into riding so intrigued by the bikes and set up

A quick 47km to Sa Kaeo with plenty to see on the side of the road along the way. Found great digs at River Hotel which was directly opposite a shopping mall so we hung out in the aircon for a bit, had ourselves a KFC 45c ice cream which will be the last for a while. Then purchased new Team Nev Uniforms!

Beer o’clock at the back of the hotel after a great day riding to Sa Keo

Sa Keo – Aranyaprathet = 52km

Up early checked out of the hotel with a few laughs from the staff who loved our new gear as they were wearing similar.

An easy day of riding with sugar cane crops on either side of the road the entire trip.

Team uniforms getting their first outing
Another great ride today – making sure we will be seen on the road!
Sugar cane trucks everywhere
Found ourselves a guest house and washing is done
Lunch after another great day

So we have now ridden 260km across Thailand and sitting 2km from the Cambodian border. It apparently opens at 8am tomorrow so we will be there first thing as want to ride approx 55km to our first stop in Cambodia Sisophan. Also we have been riding in 35deg and the temps rise significantly in the afternoon so fingers crossed for a smooth crossing tomorrow. We will have a few US$1 bribe notes on hand if required.

100km’s of head winds

Highway 33 Village – Nakon Nayok 36km

A cruisy day of riding with a head wind into Nakon Nayok which is a city of 155000 friendly people. On check in at the hotel and seeing our passports we were immediately put onto the phone as the owners son had studied at Canterbury Uni, NZ……what are the odds of that! He (Bang) came and met us and took us for a drive and showed us around Nakon Nayok including his families organic orchard.

Brekkie on the road with an unwanted chickens foot
New Hotel in Nakon Nayok such a bonus having the bikes in the room
Checking out Bang’s family orchard. Andy tasting bananas. Certainly no chiller room here, straight off the tree.
Pineapples
Fruit tree
Bang’s family house on the orchard
Outside kitchen

Nakon Nayok – Kabin Buri = 68km

Up early departing Nakon Nayok to get day 3 of pedalling underway and a bigger day planned. Great road, lots more to see today, less traffic and all in all a great day of riding despite the head wind which we think we are going to have for quite some time. Arrived at this cute we town of Kabin Buri and once again have hit the jackpot with our guesthouse. We have decided to stay 2 nights here to pace the riding, as we know Cambodia will be tough going. We are now also only 100km from the Cambodian border and as this border crossing is renowned as one of the most corrupt and dodgy in SE Asia so we want to be on top of our game and mentally prepare ourselves! We are having such a great time here in Thailand with the food, the people and always a cold Leo close by.

The versatile ute
Saves renting a commercial space
Lunch stop along the way.
About to turn off the HW 33 to Kabin Buri
Main street of Kabin Buri Friday 4pm
Awesome room yet again and Betty and Nancy can even sleep inside
Saturday morning market a hype of activity
Chilling in his cyclo outside the market
Egg delivery. 80b for 2 dozen approx $3.5
Congee soup porridge delivery
Family outing to the market
We had dinner here last night and brekkie this morning. This set up is just outside their house. Mum and the 2 daughters cooking and serving
While Dad inside the house on dishes duty. That is the bed where they all sleep also and looks like a rice bag is the cushion on the seat. Oh the simple life

Ayutthaya and wheels are turning for 2018

We couldn’t have picked a better place to start our cycle adventure and get our Asian mojo ticking again.

We were both a little jaded on arriving so pleased we spent 3 days in Ayutthaya with the most friendly people, wonderful food, in the incredibly laid back old capital city of Ayutthaya, trying to acclimatise to the high 30deg temps.

Breakfast – one of our favourite dishes chicken and rice (like we have never been away)
Exploring Ayutthaya
An alternative bike option and probably the same result with your butt

We stayed at the same guesthouse as 2016 which gave us the perfect opportunity to set up the bikes and get everything sorted for the adventure ahead.

Baan Bussara guesthouse. Must be a sign with all the bikes in the garden
Hmmmm choices…….reward in the hot weather and good to see our old friend Leo again.

So on the road early making our way for the next 7-10 days to the Cambodian border with no idea what to expect along the way.

Departing Ayutthaya rolling out in the good old trusty bike clothes.

However we soon found out we were on several relatively busy highways but great shoulder and courteous drivers.

Rest stop along the way

We thought we were in for a 40km day but pushed on a bit further as couldn’t find any where to crash. At the 56km mark we stumbled upon a dusty lane way with a Thai sign that looked like it maybe accommodation……and bingo it was!Best bonus is eats and drinks close by and this aircon room with extra hard bed and wifi setting us back only 390b (nz$17).

Messy already with all our gear

So resting up before wheels turn again tomorrow. Awesome to be moving forward and having the adventure underway.

The hotel owner for her translator out to tell us that water and beer was around the corner
Dusty lane way to accommodation
Recon mission to the local market for tonight’s dins.
Bikes seen better days
View from hotel room just before the storm hit