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Cycling in Thailand; My 2000km journey Cycling from Malaysia to Myanmar; from Padang Besar to Mae Sai

None of us can travel internationally during these awful times. When COVID hit, I was in Socotra, Yemen running one of my Socotra Tours, we ended up taking the last commercial flight out of Yemen, back to Egypt. From there I quickly changed flights and flew back home to my adopted city of Bangkok, Thailand beating the Thai lockdown by a matter of days. And I’ve been ‘stuck’ in Thailand ever since. Like a lot of the world, I’ve tried to make the most of the time. Working on my blog, on SEO, trying to get fit again, cycling in Thailand, designing my house I plan to build in Chiang Mai. It’s heartbreaking to wake up every day, check the news and see the horrible numbers of sicknesses and deaths. My heart goes out to everyone who is truly suffering (and I don’t mean lack of travel!), and hope everyone reading this gets through this trying time as healthy as possible. Thailand, though, has dealt with the crises really well, surprisingly so in all honesty, but it’s been impressive. Full lock-down was pretty strange, but it worked, and through the lock-down, an alcohol ban, there have been FEWER deaths during the COVID crises than normally thanks to reduced drunk-driving deaths.

Normally I fly every week or 2, whether it’s grassroots building projects for our Mudita Adventures non-profit, or so mad escape to a mountain or ultra-marathon somewhere! But all that’s stopped, and I was slowly going out of my mind. I can’t travel internationally, so what can I do? You can only spend so much time sitting in my condo, staring at my laptop, or playing FIFA on the Playstation. One morning, I was at Bootcamp, and I thought while I can’t travel between countries, I can travel within Thailand. So perhaps I could travel from the Thai side of the Malaysian border in the most Southern province of Thailand, to the Golden Triangle, Thailand’s most northern point, on the border with both Myanmar and Laos. And rather than just travel, maybe I could do it only with manpower. And so the cycle idea was born!

cycling in Thailand
cycling in Thailand

MAKING THE MOST OF BEING STUCK IN THAILAND

I’ve never cycled. Not properly at least. When I was 13, I cycled from my house in Ireland to my school, all of about 1km max. And then over the years on my journey to every country, I’ve had some bicycle days, at the Bagan temples in Myanmar, or Angkor Wat in Cambodia. but they may add up to 10km all day long?! This was a different plan altogether. I quickly jumped on google maps to see just how far cycling the length of Thailand would actually mean, this is what came up:

cycling in Thailand Pedang Besar to Mae Sai
Cycling in Thailand; Pedang Besar to Mae Sai

So, by car, a direct route is about 1850km. Add hotels stops, food breaks etc along the way, and it would be about 2000km. Ok, it doesn’t sound THAT far, or so I thought. All I could think was that I’d always look back at what I did with all that free time during COVID. And if all I had to show for it was working on my laptop, and mastering FIFA, then I’ve wasted it. I wanted to be able to look back at it and think I did something epic. And once I had come up with the plan, I’d be letting myself down not to do it. So I asked my buddies to join. Manuel agreed to do Malaysia to Bangkok (about half), and then Josh agreed to do the second half, from Bangkok to Mae Sai. I’d have 1.5 days off in the middle, back home in Bangkok, to lick my wounds and get ready to go again. Let’s do it!

Training

That was that. I committed to it on the 18th June. Now all I needed was to find a bicycle, get the gear, and do some kind of training. I booked a flight to Hat Yai, Thailand’s most southern Airport, for July 1st. That gave me a 10 day window to get everything in place. First up, sourcing a bike! I considered buying a bike from a department store for cheap, but upon a bit of cursive research I figured that was a bad plan. A cheap bike would hurt my body more. So better to rent something of higher quality. I found Siam Bike Tours online, a company who runs bicycle tours all over Thailand. It’s run by a Swiss guy called Kurt, and he replied to me that he could indeed rent me and my buddy bikes (Manuel paid a COVID-discounted $290 for the 2 weeks), ship them to Bangkok in time for us to start, and even give us a few pointers on what (not?!) to do on a long-distance bike journey. It was a HUGE help. The bikes arrived 3 days before our flight, so we even got 1 training session in on them. 

On the 19th of June, Manuel, Josh and I headed to ‘Sky Lane’, a bicycle track in Thailand. This would be my first time ever on a road-bike (I had only heard the term that day). It’s like a ‘normal’ bike, but has curly handle-bars, and your body position is a lot more forward-leaning, for aerodynamics I’d imagine? We turned up to the track in our standard gym gear, and normal sneakers. It was instantly apparent we were far and away the most clueless people here. Everyone with proper bikes, proper gear, those specialist cycling shoes. Our rental bikes hadn’t arrived yet so we had to rent track bikes for the day, and still we didn’t have the proper shoes, so we did it without the clips. Day 1, 2 laps, about 45km. Ouch.

Cycling the length of thailand
Cycling the length of thailand

My ass was dying! The fitness side wasn’t too bad, we had been training hard during lock-down, but just not on a bike! After the first 5km to 10km, it was pretty much agony. The first lap ended on 23km, and I was delighted to get off and give my ass some respite. Getting on for the second lap was torture. Like all physical challenges though, you find a way to zone out. I had forgotten my earphones though, which didn’t help, and every time I managed to find that flow-state, I quickly came back to the real world with ever minor shift in my saddle! Anyway, day 1 was done. We figured we’d try to do roughly 150km per day, so this was 20-25% of a normal day once we began the real journey. A worrying thought. 

The next day, I couldn’t face sitting down on a saddle again, so we took a day off. The day after? Same again. Too much pain to consider getting back on the saddle. But by the 22nd June, we knew we simply needed more bike experience, so back to Sky Lane we went. This time we did 3 circuits, so about 70km or so, or slightly less than half what we’d aim to do each day on the Cross-Thailand cycle. It was marginally better this time. Slightly faster, slightly less pain, but there’s nowhere I could think about doing more than 1 lap without giving my ass some respite. Still dying. But we got through the cycle because we had to. And with that, we planned a 3rd and final training cycle, this time 100km. 

Manuel, my first half cycle partner, and I waited for our bicycles to arrive from Siam Bike Tours in Phuket, once they arrived, we assembled them (With big help from our cyclist neighbour, Nicky – thank you mate!), and met at 5am the next morning in Bangkok to attempt our first ever cycle on the road, with Thai traffic. How did that go? Kind of ok. The day before, we had been to a cheap sports shop here in Thailand where I spent $250USD getting al my gear together. Cycle shirts, cycle shorts, water bottles etc, all the gear and no idea. 

 

After our bikes arrived, we had one chance to try them out before we flew south to the Malaysian border to get it started. We met at 6am and cycled from my apartment in Bangkok, to Skylane, where we’d do our first ever 100km cycle. I had never ridden a bike in a city before, and this was the first morning I had worn those specialised ‘clip’ bicycle sneaker things that snap into your peddles (that took some getting used to, and over the next 2 weeks, I’d have quite a few crashes, forgetting I was ‘snapped-in’ and then when normally if you wobble on a bike, you put your feet down to stablise yourself, but when you go to put your foot down, it’s locked into the pedal, and you simply fall over! Quite embarrassing truth be told).

So, first time in cycle shoes, first week on a roadbike, first ever 100km, first time cycling in a city – but we did it. The next day, we took an afternoon flight from Bangkok to Hat Yai, with our bikes now de-assembled and back in their boxes. Shit was getting real.

Planning

If you guys have been following my journey to every country in the world over the years, or my North Pole Marathon adventure, or my Marathon Des Sables Sahara ultra-marathon, you’ll know I’m not a big planner. Even the first time we ran our charity events with Mudita Adventures, and built new classrooms, playgrounds etc, it was kind of by accident! So yes, this was no different. We clearly were under-trained, with less than 2 weeks experience on bicycles, but what about the route we would plan to take?

I wanted to cycle from Malaysia to Myanmar. That meant starting on the Malaysian border, and finishing on the Burmese border (both on the Thai sides of the border as due to COVID, the borders are closed). Ok, so I checked out the most southern airport in Thailand. Hat Yai. Simple. So I booked a flight there on the June 30th, with a view to start at sunrise the next morning. So I had that planned, along with the finishing spot, the ‘Golden Triangle’, where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar intersect – the most northern part of Thailand. I whacked both those in my google maps, set the method of transport from car to walking, it was about 1950km. I figured I could do about 150km (93 miles) per day cycling, average about 25kmph (15mph) – that would be 6 hours on the saddle each day, plus food and hydration stops, toilet stops, getting lost etc should make about 8 or 9 hours per day. 

I also figured I don’t want to cycle in the dark. Thailand has the highest road death stats IN THE WORLD! So I want to minimise the risk. That means I have to start after sunrise, and finish before dusk. There is no day-light savings in Thailand year-round, but with its location, sunrise is roughly 6am with sunset at 6pm. So I figured starting at 6am each day, and aim to finish around 3pm. Then check-in to a hotel, wash my gear, walk somewhere local for dinner. Chill for an hour, and aim to sleep around 9pm. With that logic, 2000km divided by 150km = 13.3333 days. Round it up to 14 days/2 weeks. With a day or 2 break in Bangkok at the mid-point = 16 days. And so the planning was almost complete!

The Route

My buddies and I sat at my laptop in my apartment in Bangkok, and broke the schedule up very roughly into 120-175km days, depending on where a big town could be found each afternoon, allowing us a decent-ish hotel, a grocery store, and somewhere local we can eat dinner. And that was it, that process took maybe 2 hours total. We didn’t book anything other than our starting hotel in Hat Yai. Then each night we’d evaluate how we feel, and book the following night’s accommodation. 

You can check the rough google map here too.

And I put the rough route in Strava too, you can check it out here

Cycling in Thailand
Cycling in Thailand

NOTE: By the stage that we put this stuff into Strava, I had already emotionally committed to starting in the south of Thailand and heading North. Why? In my opinion, the north is more beautiful. Mountains, cooler weather, friendlier people. And my heart lives in Chiang Mai, so I wanted to celebrate there after! So I was pretty shocked when I put this into the map thing that by going this way I’d be doing nearly 7000m (22,000feet!) of elevation. WHAT. THE. F*CK. We considered changing last minute, but we had organised villas and celebrations in Chiang Mai so it was too late. For refernece, that’s almost the height of bloody Mount Everest! Eeeeek.

The actual route we took came out like this:

DAY 0 (June 30th, 2020): Fly with our bicycles from Bangkok to Hat Yai. 

DAY 1: Take a taxi at 4am from Hat Yai to the Malaysian border point. Then cycle from Padang Besar to Phatthalung (140km/2000km)

DAY 2: Phattalung to Burilampai (272km/2000km)

DAY 3: Burilampai to (North of) Surat Thani (420/2000km)

DAY 4: (North of) Surat Thani to North Chumpon (589km/2000km)

DAY 5: Chumpon to Prachuap Khiri Khan (710km/2000km)

DAY 6: Prachuap Khiri Khan to Petchaburi (861km/2000km)

DAY 7: Petchaburi to Bangkok 1000km/2000km. HALF WAY POINT!

DAY 8 & 9: I stayed at my condo in Bangkok. I had to catch up on work, and the rest was welcome.

DAY 10: Back on the road. I swapped Manuel for Josh, and on we went.  Bangkok to Singburi (1150km/2000km)

DAY 11: Singburi to the middle of nowhere. There were no towns without taking a big detour, so we found a golf club in a random space and stayed there. (1315km/2000km)

DAY 12: the middle of nowhere to Si Phirom (1465/2000km)

DAY 13: Si Phirom to Phrae (1615/2000km)

DAY 14: Phrae to Phayoe (1790/2000km)

DAY 15: Phayoe to….The Most Northern Point in Thailand. 2000km/2000km DONE!

 

How Much Did It Cost to Cycle the Length of Thailand?

Pretty cheap!

GEAR: I owned nothing. I had to buy everything apart from underwear! All that stuff cost about $300. The bike rental, as mentioned above, we got from Siam Bike Tours who shipped the bikes to us in Bangkok. You can buy a cheap road bike for about $400, during COVID we got a special rate, but figure another $300 or so for rental for 2 weeks or so. So that’s about $600, if you’re starting from scratch.

TRANSPORT: Day to day, free of course! But I fly from Bangkok to Hat Yai to start ($28), and Chiang Mai to Bangkok to come back ($25), and the bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai ($5). A taxi to from Hat Yai to the border ay 4am ($15 each), and from the Northern Border back to Chiang Rai ($15). So total $88 for that.

FOOD: We ate 4 times a day as we burned so many calories. 5am pre-breakfast was nuts, dried fruits etc from 7/11 the night before. This was about $7 each morning. Then brekkie at 7/11 was another $7 or so. Lunch was always at a local place, where we’d have 2 fried rices for example, that was about $4 each time. Dinner was something similar, so another $5 let’s say. That totals about $25 per day. 13 days on the road = $325 

ACCOMMODATION: 12 nights on the road (no accmmodation needed in Bangkok, I bought my condo here a few years ago with the first ever $100k I earned blogging). Each night we set a max budget of 800THB per night, but we average more like 550THB per night, or $17. So 12 X 17 = $204

TOTAL BUDGET TO CYCLE THE LENGTH OF THAILAND: $1217USD/937GBP/38,000THB. 

CYCLE THAILAND
CYCLE THAILAND

The Experience Itself

I was really scared. I knew I was underprepared, undertrained, and injury-prone. I’m also 36, so recovery takes a lot longer than it used to. So I was worried about failure. That’s the ego talking, and that mentality often scares us away from committing to big challenges, so we have to swallow it, and do it anyway. Which is why it’s almost easier to do this stuff without tooooo much preparation and thinking time! 

So Manuel and I packed up our bikes in the box. It was the first time I had ever done that, pretty easy actually. And we flew to Hat Yai, checked-into our hotel and organised a transfer to the Malaysian border at 4am for the following morning. We got back to the room, after dinner about 5pm, and planned for an early night so we’d be fresh for the start of the cycle, but I barely slept. Tossing and turning with anxiety, fears and nerves. We did, however, come up with a daily plan that we refined throughout the journey. This is how each day looked:

5AM – 6AM: Wake up, prepare gear, eat nuts and energy bars

6AM – 8AM: Try to get at least 50km cycled

8AM to 8.20AM: Breakfast at a service station or 7/11

8.20AM to 10.30AM/11AM: Try to get another 50-80km done

11AMish to Midday ‘ish’: Early lunch

12.30PM to 3PM ‘ish’: Finish whatever is left until we reach the town that we decided to stop at (decided the night before).

3PM to 4.30PM: Personal time! That means a well-earned shower, wash our gear in the shower, applying creams, band-aids, aloe-vera, electrolytes etc. Answer work emails.

4.30PM to 6PM: Meet up with my cycle buddy, walk to a local restaurant, then stop at a grocery store or 7/11 on the wat back to the hotel for evening snacks and snacks to eat when we wake tomorrow

6PM – 8PM: Chill and recharge in the room. Work on my phone. Speak to my mrs and my mum. Quick bit of Netflix. Prep stuff for tomorrow, charge stuff. Sleep before 9pm.

Aaaaand repeat. For 13 days!

This ‘plan’ took a few days of refining before we concluded that this would be the best way to go. So if you’re going to be doing a long-distance cycle, and your as clueless as we are, I’d really recommend something similar. Day by day then, this was my experience.

DAY 1: Padang Besar to Phatthalung (130km/2000km). We jumped in a van and drove to the Malaysian border, about an hour or so from Hat Yai. It was still dark when we arrived in Padang Besar, just a few street dogs dotted around. The van driver didn’t understand why we were going to the border, as it was closed, and I guess he expected us to be disappointed when we arrived! Alas, we unloaded our bikes, took a snap at the starting point, clicked on our special cycle shoes and off we would go. 

We had booked a hotel tonight in Phattalung, so we knew we had about 130km to do today, the longest ride either of us had even done. It was a beautiful ride. Because the border was closed, there was next to no traffic on the road. We managed about 25km (roughly an hour) before our bums were so sore, we needed a quick break. Generally, we cycled together, a few meters apart but we didn’t chat, just focused, both of us with headphones in. A quick water break, another 25km. Our first brekkie on the road at a 7/11 that we found on google maps. Another 50km, punctuated by a break, until lunch. Fried rice with egg on the side of the road. We pulled into Phattalung around 3.30pm. Tired, drenched in salt and sweat. Checked-in to our hotel, and give ourselves an hour or so each in the room to reflect on the day and sort out the geat. Each evening, as soon as we reach the hotel room, we washed our stuff in the shower. We both had 2 sets of shorts and 2 cycling shirts, so we’d wash the stuff every night, it took about 15 minutes, followed by at least 15minutes in the hottest setting the shower could give us. Then I would lay out all my geat for tomorrow morning, refull the water bottles, adminster the electrolytes, set-up the plugs and chargers. Everything in order. It’s funny, I’m quite a disorganised person in general, but when doing this kind of stuff, controlling what you can control is so important. 

I’d lay in bed for another half hour, either check up on the footy, or call my finance, or my mum to fill them in on the day. My knees were aching, my ass felt like it was red raw. But anyone who has done any hard physical exercise for multiple hours will tell you, it’s a beautiful feeling, lying down, resting, feeling like you’ve achieved something pretty cool. I came to love this hour, including the shower-clothes-washing each late afternoon.

I met Manual 90 mins later, we walked into town rather than cycle as we couldn’t bare to touch our asses back on the saddle, had some food, a nice chat, and back in the room by 6.30pm where we both went to our separate rooms to recover. Work and netflix on the phone, with my legs throbbing. Alarm set for 5.15am. What a day.

DAY 2: Phattalung to Burilampai (272km/2000km)

I had a couple of energy bars, a couple of bananas and some coconut water at 5.30am. I burned 2600 calories yesterday, not including the normal 2,000+ I burn just by living. So pushing 5,000 calories burned. Wow. I knew I needed to eat a lot to keep fueled.

My confidence took a serious knock when I got back on my bike around 6am. My ass was KILLING. Right where the seat meets your undercarriage. It’s like one big bruise, and then sitting on the saddle was putting 80kgs weight on that bruise. Manuel was the same. It wasn’t an injury, I just was so inexperienced on a bike that my body had never felt this before so we had to suck it up and get going. 

We did 132km today, again the longest day I’ve ever done on a bike in my life. Also, we had our first rain but considering it’s rainy season, and it was only 20 minutes or so, we managed to duck into 711 to escape and didn’t get too wet. Worrying though, my ‘cleets’ on my cycle shoes look like they are about to break after just a couple of days, and I don’t have a spare pair! If they break, I’ll be pedalling with only forward force, that would be a nightmare. 

DAY 3: Burilampai to (North of) Surat Thani (420/2000km)

3 full days on the bike done now, feeling a bit exhausted! Knees hurting, neck is killing, gear is filthy but spirits are high. We are in a little resort 20km north of Surat Thani. Tomorrow we’re trying to head to Chumpon and beyond, but we’re struggling to find accommodation at the right amount of kms, so that’s what we’ll spend our evening working on 😬

Tomorrow will mark the halfway point of the halfway point! I’m taking a couple of rest days at 1000km, home in Bangkok (pizza!), so tomorrow around lunch we’ll be 500km+ through the first 1000km. Step by step. Breaking it down into chunks, it’s just about manageable

DAY 4: (North of) Surat Thani to North Chumpon (589km/2000km)

Half way (and a bit) to Bangkok! Saw our first sign for Bangkok today, that was a morale boost.

We had planned to do about 135/140kms today but we couldn’t find a lunch stop so we didn’t stop for lunch until almost 120km, which meant we decided to push today to 160km+. Knees are hurting in my old age now! Also, doing this kind of thing with a friend is worth a thousand ‘let’s meet up for drinks’ type events, so thanks for joining me Manu (and sorry about the pic! 😂😂😂)

These physical challenges give you a lot of time to think, it’s both brutal and a blessing at the same time. So many hours to reflect on your mistakes, your goals, your plans. It’s why I think everyone should push themselves at least once a year. These kind of challenges are as much a journey of self-reflection as they are a physical journey, and you hope you come out better, and more self-aware, at the end.

Me? Right now I’m all too self-aware at how much my ass and knees hurt! 😂😂 Seriously though, in a crazy time like COVID, it’s a blessing to be able to take a second and appreciate what each aspect of your life means to you. So I’m grateful for that opportunity, even if it requires both mental and physical torture to draw it out.

DAY 5: Chumpon to Prachuap Khiri Khan (710km/2000km)

We are motoring now. Big thanks to the more experienced cyclists thanks us (not hard, I know!) for telling us the ass will get used to it after 3/4 days, and the body will get used to it after 4/5 days. Both were true. Although I could never have imagined that would be the case, here we are! Now I believe you guys 😂🙏🏼

We did over 800m of ascent today, but managed around a 30kmph average which was pretty fast tbh, over about 150km or so. We are now in Prachuap Khiri Khan, yet another place I’ve never heard of, in a nice little hotel with a pool! We are averaging with brekkie, lunch, dinner and accommodation for less than 1000THB per day (about $30) which is great. I’m actually saving money on this trip! 2 days until Bangkok.

DAY 6: Prachuap Khiri Khan to Petchaburi (861km/2000km)

After yesterday’s gem of a day, today was more of a struggle. Temperature maxed out at 43 degrees, wow! Anyway, we did about 160km today (100miles), averaging over 30kmph for the first time, all of that means… tomorrow we’ll be in Bangkok! Officially my half-way point ❤️🇹🇭

We also stopped by ‘Tha Yang Pad Thai’, arguably Thailand best pad Thai, according the the tourist board! It’s in Petchaburi if you ever go. Over an hour wait but it was the best pad Thai I’ve ever eaten, Manuel too 🤤 And now, for $20, we are in our hotel, about to jump in the pool. A great end to a tough day

DAY 7: Petchaburi to Bangkok 1000km/2000km. HALFWAY POINT!

I’m back home in Bangkok! I have 2 rest days until I start the 2nd half, from Bangkok to the Golden Triangle Myanmar border, north of Chiang Rai, on Friday morning. I want to say a huge, massive thanks to Manuel. Thanks so much mate for doing this with me, it was a privilege to suffer with you! Manuel has never done any long distance endurance stuff, he’s also not a cyclist, so to agree to this with just a week to train, prepare and get the gear took a lot of courage, and we did it! Enjoy the pizza tonight bro ❤️

For the next half I’ll have my buddy Josh, who cofounded our non-profit @muditaadventures with me. Today was a weird one. 140km to go, but Manu’s bike didn’t wanna play ball – he finally made it home on his 5th inner tube/tyre of the day. Ouch! But we did it 💪🏻 Now I have to go and make it up to my beautiful girl Jaa for being away (again!) so I’ll catch you guys again for day 8 on Friday. Thanks for the support so far, 1000km to go

DAY 8 & 9: I stayed at my condo in Bangkok. I had to catch up on work, and the rest was welcome.

DAY 10: Back on the road. I swapped Manuel for Josh, and on we went.  Bangkok to Singburi (1150km/2000km)

First time in my life I’ve ever changed a road bike flat tyre! I certainly didn’t break any speed records doing it, and at one point Josh had YouTube up with “how to change a flat tyre” running 😬😂 So I had 2 days rest in Bangkok, spending time with the mrs, trying to make some money, eating pizza and chocolate, trying to put back on the 2kgs I lost in the last week cycling from the Malaysian border to Bangkok. 🤓

I’m not gonna lie, getting back on the bike, staying motivated not to quit, re-starting again was super hard. I really wasn’t keen. But here we are, 1 day down. In yet another Thai town I’ve never heard of! Just shy of 160km today (100miles), so it’s a good start, and a great first day for Josh, joining me for this leg. Let’s do this thing 

DAY 11: Singburi to the middle of nowhere. There were no towns without taking a big detour, so we found a golf club in a random space and stayed there. (1315km/2000km)

A hot one today! Fast start, then kind of hit the wall, took a more direct route and ended up a dirt track, which for a thin-tyred road bike was a nightmare 😬 About 100miles/160km again, but we really are in the middle of nowhere so no idea what we’ll be doing for supplies or food, and the thought of getting back on the bike to sort it out is grim, but probably necessary.

Another night tomorrow night in the middle of nowhere and then we’ll have broken the back of this second leg, so it’s going well. Just gotta take it km by km. Its not as hard as I thought it would be, I truly believe we all need to recalibrate what we are capable of. It’s just the courage to commit that’s tricky. Catch ya tomorrow!

DAY 12: the middle of nowhere to Si Phirom (1465/2000km)

Quite the day. Had some issues with the front tyres, but I have no idea what I’m doing, so I tried to pump it up but ended up letting all the air out. Re-pumped, and then rode 100km to a bike shop to check our bikes. I was struggling to keep my speed above 30kmh, so I dig deep and just managed it, thinking it must be the cumulative effect of 10 days on the bike. 🤯

Get to the bike shop, and he tells me my tyre was 25PSI (a term I had never even heard of), when it should be about 100PSI. So that’s why it felt I was cycling in treacle! Last 45km was much easier!🤓

Also, found a little mom&pop shop for lunch where streamed the UFC in the middle of nowhere, then spent the last 1.5 hours trying to catch josh up after the fight. I love a good target! Now we are staying in some random half-closed golf course with nothing around, the staff are going to make us some fried rice for dinner and bring it to our room kindly, but nothing for brekkie tomorrow which isn’t great 😕 We are now half way through the second leg, and 3/4 of the way through the whole journey! 4 days to go

DAY 13: Si Phirom to Phrae (1615/2000km)

Awful start to the day! Early departure at 5.15am, cycle outside and clip my feet in, discover I have a flat tyre, forgot to clip put and immediately crash into the dirt. Then I fix my flat tyre beside a lake at 5.30am, covered in mosquito bites, and have to cycle for the next 75k with awful Tyre pressure again! (Fixed that at a bike shop later).

I cycled on, Josh then got a flat tyre! So that held us up another 45 mins or so, and then the northern thai hills hit us! I actually really enjoyed the hills but for sure it was tougher, and my average speed dropped from the normal 31k or so to 27k. So all in all it took us nearly 9 hours today! We’re now in a gorgeous hotel, in the cute town of Phrae. Clothes washed and off for a coffee before more hills tomorrow!

DAY 14: Phrae to Phayoe (1790/2000km)

Blitzed it today. Loads of hills, but perfect weather, beautiful northern Thailand, mountains, fresh air, no flat tyres, no sore bum, really felt like I’ve broken this journey now, and got to grips with the bike etc We stopped at a beautiful treehouse farmstay for tonight though, even though it was tempting to throw on another 100km and keep going when the going is good. Stick to the plan, and see it through 🇹🇭🇹🇭

I love Northern Thailand so much, can’t wait to move here and explore all these gorgeous towns. Bangkok is a great big city, but you can’t avoid those big city vibes, even in Thailand. So to escape to the north and remember how friendly people are, how good the weather is, the beauty of the landscape reminds me why I fell in love with this country once again, very grateful for this journey to re-teach me that. Ok, 7/11 visit and then early dinner once more!

DAY 15: Phayoe to….The Most Northern Point in Thailand. 2000km/2000km DONE!

We finished a day early! After a light day yesterday, conditions and morale were great today, so we pushed it all the way to the Golden Triangle, Mai Sai and the most ‘Northern Point in Thailand’.

And so that’s it! 13 days and job done ❤️

From Padang Basar, and the Malaysian border in the South of Thailand all the way to the top. What a ride, and what an experience! 🚴🏻🚴🏻🚴🏻🚴🏻

Wanna day a huge thank to Kurt at Siam Bike Tours Cycling Thailand for trusting me with his bicycle and helping my friends with their rentals. A big thanks to Nicky Pallas for his expert advice, thank you to you guys online for the support and the biggest thanks of all my bruddas Manuel Becvar and Josh for being stupid enough to join me on this adventure! Now to Chiang Mai to celebrate 🍻🍻

Some pretty cool stats:
🚴🏻Just shy of 2000km
🤮About 7500m in ascent, not far off the height of Everest
😴 14 nights in 14 different hotels
🤑 Trip of a lifetime totalled up to about $1250 (bargain!)
❤️ Bromance bonding with the guys X 2 (thanks boys)
🤕 3 minor crashes and a not-so-minor one today
🙄 Broken sunglasses, headphones, sunburn, cuts and bruises
🇹🇭 Saw a lot of my adopted country, and fell in love with the Kingdom once again

Cycling in thailand
The most northern part of Thailand!

Thoughts on Cycling in Thailand

Wow. It was one hell of an experience. And to be honest, it was actually slightly easier than I thought it would be! It was a beautiful experience to share with 2 close friend, stuff like this always is better when you do it with people. Having travelled so much of the world solo, I can safely say, doing it with friends is better. The real thing I got from it was a sense of achievement of course, but also an appreciation of simple things. Rest, water, loved ones. When people undertake genuine adventures, whether in the mountains, or ultra-races, they are transformative experiences. You have so much time to contemplate things. You disconnect from the net for so much longer than usual. And you get a chance to really delve deep into what’s important. That’s why I encourage, it even implore, people to push themselves. Go further, deeper, harder. You come out the other side better for it. And COVID allowed me the time to do this.

We waste so much time in life. Procrastinating. “One day”. But it never comes. We think too much, doubt ourselves, lie to ourselves that it’s not the right time right now, but soon. When all we need to really do is take action. The world is turning its back on tough love, when that’s what we all need now and again. So take action folks, and aim big. Push yourself. Next up for me? I’m going to try to run from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, 188km (120 miles or so) next month. Time for some last minute training and planning!

cycle thailand
Cycling in Thailand

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7 thoughts on “Cycling in Thailand; My 2000km journey Cycling from Malaysia to Myanmar

  1. That’s a solid adventure right there! Very interested to hear more about your next journey to run from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. Especially how you even came up with that idea in the first place!

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