Bangkok, Thailand to Sisophon, Cambodia

Sophie and I spent a few days in Bangkok taking care of some important errands before boarding the train to the border at Aranyaprathet and fleeing Thailand. Sophie ended up paying for two days of overstay. These overstay fees had been a source of worry for us, but in retrospect the process of paying the fine (3 min) and the amount ($30) was probably overall a smaller burden than the length of the line to pay the fine in the first place (1.5 hours).

We were allowed to just bring the bikes on the train for a small fee, which was great.
We were allowed to just bring the bikes on the train for a small fee, which was great.

Continue reading Bangkok, Thailand to Sisophon, Cambodia

Chumphon to Prachuap Khiri Khan

Quick update today. Sophie and I have made it to Prachuap Khiri Khan, which is a small, sort of touristy city on the Gulf of Thailand coast. We’ve sort of settled into a nice beach camping routine, and we spend most of our nights doing just that. We take a day in a hotel every once in awhile, but it’s really hard to beat the stunning beach spots that we’ve been able to camp at. Ditto to the roads that we’ve been riding along, and the food that we get to eat every day. In the end, there isn’t too much to report from this part of the journey but good things. We’re almost over 700km in, and probably about 2-3 days ride from where we’ll bus into Bangkok. The peninsula leg of the trip is almost done, and we plan on celebrating with a moderately priced dinner when we reach Bangkok. The rolling hills have slowly disappeared, and most of our riding has been done on flat coastal roads, sometimes right along the beach past big resorts and hotels. That is, except for today, when we found ourselves riding on the large shoulder of a main highway. After about 3 hours of breathing vehicle fumes, we’re both feeling a little queasy.

Hard to beat this.
Hard to beat this.

Continue reading Chumphon to Prachuap Khiri Khan

Kapoe to Chumphon

When I last wrote, Sophie and I were headed towards Ranong at the border with Myanmar in order to do a refresh of our visas. Well, in the end at least I got my visa refreshed by taking a boat to Myanmar, entering the country, leaving the country, then boating back and re-entering Thailand. Sophie on the other hand got pushed through bureaucratic hell and told she has two weeks to leave the country or start paying overstay fees. The fees aren’t bad, like $15 per day, but we’re pushing for Bangkok to be safe and considering a bus or train from Bangkok to Poi Pet at the border of Cambodia. Anyways, three days after that immigration “adventure” brings us to today, where we have crossed the 450km mark and the next “big” town, Chumphon, in our journey. Three days out of Ranong, and the riding has been pretty intense. Very pretty, but very intense.

Sunrise. This is the best time of day to ride, for obvious reasons. It's hot and muggy, but not unbearably so.
Sunrise. This is the best time of day to ride, for obvious reasons. It’s hot and muggy, but not unbearably so.

Continue reading Kapoe to Chumphon

Phang Nga to Kapoe

Departure!

Trial run 2-day tour to Tai Mueang Beach.
Trial run 2-day tour to Tai Mueang Beach.

We are off! After an extended stay in Phang Nga, Sophie’s teaching Princeton in Asia teaching post is over, and my obscure sort of career related obligation in Bangkok is taken care of. I am vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis, and we are both sharing in the mix of excitement and nerves that accompany the start of a trip like this. For me, it’s almost pure excitement because for two months I’ve been missing being on the road and the rush of endorphins that each day brings. I’ve missed the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance-esque view of my body and bike as a combined machine needing to be continuously monitored and maintained in order to prevent physical and mental deterioration.

Continue reading Phang Nga to Kapoe

Phang Nga, Thailand

First post of the new adventure! Short post to check in and share some photos from the last few days.

For the last few days I’ve been hanging out in Phang Nga, Thailand waiting for Sophie to finish the term at her Princeton in Asia teaching post. I’m taking the opportunity to finish up some work from home, and adjust to this heat and humidity. I have to visit Bangkok next weekend to get a vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis and present some research at USAID, so our plan is to depart from here around March 9. It’s really hot here, getting into the hot, dry summer season. March is pretty late in the tourism season, but timing never really stopped me before so I’m not worrying about it. We just have to make some adjustments to account for the weather, like biking early and late in the day, with a nice long siesta midday when the temperatures get prohibitively hot. We’ll also be drinking a lot of water. A lot of water.

Everything arrived safely. Shout out to the TSA, who re-taped my box with an appropriate amount of tape after examining it.
Everything arrived safely. A rare shoutout to the TSA, who re-taped my box with an appropriate amount of tape after examining it.

Continue reading Phang Nga, Thailand