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Touring Thailand

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by kimcycle, 6 Jan 2017.

  1. kimcycle

    kimcycle New Member

    My friend and I are planning a trip to Thailand at the end of this year hoping to cycle from Bangkok to the south islands. Any advice would be great as it is our first time doing a long tour.

    Also, as it is only the two of us, we hoped to try and find others who want to do the same and was wondering what the best/safe way is to find fellow travellers before we leave.
    Thanks :smile:
  2. Cycleops

    Cycleops Veteran

    Accra, Ghana
    Never cycled there only visited on several occasions. I'd try to get some advise before starting, which is why youre posting here I guess. Its not the safest country in the world but you should be OK. I'd stick to mainish roads and don't cycle after dark. If you can go as a group that may be preferable.

    The Thais are very friendly and welcoming to foreigners. They even have 'tourist police'. I dont know if youve been before but take time to learn the local customs. Its not acceptable to touch someone's head or have you feet pointing at another person if sitting down and talking to them. The King is highly revered and as he's on the currency, its an offence to stop a dropped note with your foot!

    Have fun, I'm sure you'll love it, the food, especially the street food is fantastic. Seek out a 'suki yaki' restaurant if you can.
  3. Dave 123

    Dave 123 Guru

  4. Hill Wimp

    Hill Wimp Fair weathered,fair minded but easily persuaded. Staff Member

  5. hopless500

    hopless500 Trundling along

    We had the 1st and last nights hotel booked. We planned to get to certain places between 55 and 75 miles a day and once where intended, stopped for a beer and googled accommodation to get a few choices or popped in and checked out places if they were on the same street.
    Rural roads were fine. Main roads busy but they do try not to hit you.
    Cycling through Bangkok in rush hour is just plain awesome!
    In the more rural bits watch out for dogs. A squirt from a water bottle or a dog stick to wave around is good.
    Basically accommodation and food are easy.
    One thing I learned is that a handful of ice in a scarf or buff around your neck is a godsend on a long hot ride :okay:
  6. Grant Fondo

    Grant Fondo Parks, Hotels and Palaces, Europe Endless.

    You will love it particularly when out of Bangkok. OnLy hired MTBs on Koh Samui but great place to cycle interior is epic lovely beaches, heard Chaweng is mega busy now, no airport and dirt tracks when I first went... Awesome. V hot Xmas to Easter but humidity much worse in north Thailand + mozzies the size of blackbirds .
    Koh Phagnan worth a ride around as well but watch out cycling after a mushroom shake
  7. Cycleops

    Cycleops Veteran

    Accra, Ghana
    Still no word back from kimcycle, hasn't been on since posting.

    Was reading a report from the BBC she might like to peruse:

    Life and death on Thailand's lethal roads - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38660283

    Apparently Thailand's roads are second most dangerous in the world after Libya.
  8. Alan O

    Alan O Über Member

    I've spent a lot of time in Thailand over the past 30 years, as my wife is from there, and the driving can be maniacal! As a cyclist, you never have any right of way at all, regardless of what priorities, lanes, lights, signs etc actually say. Speeding and drink driving are endemic, and many drivers treat the rules of the road as optional.

    Though I dearly love the country and its people, and I really don't want to be a sourpuss, it most definitely isn't the place I'd recommend for a first long tour.

  9. J1888

    J1888 Über Member

    Only been to Thailand once, but not sure I'd have the balls to cycle there, given how crazily they drive
  10. hopless500

    hopless500 Trundling along

    I've had absolutely no problems at all in cycling over one and a half thousand miles through (mainly) Thailand (along with Cambodia and Vietnam). In fact, Bangkok is one of my favourites for cycling. It's completely bonkers and huge fun.
  11. Alan O

    Alan O Über Member

    You are far braver than me! What really puts me off is the sheer number of crashes, crushed motorbikes, and dead bodies I've seen on the roads in Bangkok and Thailand over the past 30 years.

    My wife and I travel by car from Bangkok to the Northeast several times a year, and I don't think we've ever done the journey without seeing the fresh aftermath of at least one serious crash - in the worst one, the bodies were lined up on the verge.

    And in my wife's family in Thailand, the number of injurious road accidents they've been involved in number in the dozens, while nobody in my family in the UK has ever experienced anything worse than the fender-bender variety.
    Last edited: 3 Feb 2017
  12. Cycleops

    Cycleops Veteran

    Accra, Ghana
    Just convert to a Buddhism before you go, if you do get killed don't worry, you'll come back again.
  13. rualexander

    rualexander Veteran

    But you still travel by car several times a year, so not putting you off that much then.
    How many dead cyclists have you seen at the side of the road?
    I've cycle toured in Thailand for ten weeks, but it was 25 years ago. Didn't feel particularly dangerous back then but we did avoid the busiest main roads.
  14. Alan O

    Alan O Über Member

    Well, as for the journey, we don't have much option really - trains are very inconvenient for getting around in any comfort, and we need mobility when we get there. And we're able to choose times of day (and times of year) when the traffic is relatively light. And in our 4x4 I reckon we're a lot safer than on a bicycle - besides, we protect it with all the right Buddhas, amulets and lotus flowers :okay:

    As for how many cyclists I see, I pretty much never see any cyclists at all outside quieter residential areas and country areas where bikes are common transport.

    Traffic is much heavier now than 25 years ago, but your point about avoiding the busiest main roads is a good one. I think it's relatively safe to cycle around up-country areas, resorts, islands, but I'd never do any long-distance rides on main routes - like Bangkok to the South, as the OP suggests.