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Transit through Thailand


Thanks to Andy for reviewing this translation

December 2013

From Phnom Penh we head along the coast to the Thai border. This time there are two of us, me and Anselm, another German cyclist. It’s a quiet road through dense jungle, road signs warn of elephants, but we haven’t seen one, unfortunately.

Anselm and the elephant (on the sign)
Anselm and the elephant

After my experiences while entering Cambodia I ‘m almost sure that I will have to deal at the border with an officer who wants to earn some extra money, especially since my visa is expired since yesterday and is in my invalid old passport. The new passport has 48 completely blank pages. But the officials at the border are professional: They ask me only for the regular fee of 5 dollars for the overstay and stamp the exit stamp in my new passport.

A wild waterfall
Small settlement near the coast

Back in Thailand

Our route goes over the hilly coastal road to the island of Ko Chang where we take some rest at a nice bungalow at the sea. After two days there it becomes boring and we decide to cycle around the island. But the road on the map has a small gap at the southern end of the island. We can’t believe that in order to get to the other side we have to cycle all the way around the northern end. We ask the locals who confirm that there is no road which goes all around the island. That seems odd to us and of course we want to find a way anyway. Especially since it is only a few kilometres from the point where the road ends and then starts again on the other side.

Auch eine Pause tut mal gut - aber nicht zu lange.  Foto von Anselm
A break is needed sometimes – but not for too long
photo by anselm
beautiful sunsets are guaranteed

Around the island

So we start to cycle a small paved path that winds steeply up the mountain and ends at a destroyed bridge over a river. On the other side the road continues, overgrown but clearly seen. Could this bridge be the reason that the locals say it would not be possible?

Noch ist der Weg asphaltiert, wenn auch sehr schmal
The road is narrow but still paved

We carry our bikes over the almost dry river and cycle on. Lianas hang down on the road, everything is full of leaves and small branches, and one time a larger tree trunk blocks the way. It looks like no one has been here for a long time. After about two kilometres, the paved road suddenly stops, only a small path continues into the jungle. We continue until this way suddenly disappears, too. There is nothing other than thick forest.

Anselm’s GPS indicates that it is less than two kilometres to the point where the road begins again. We park our bicycles and go on foot to explore the surrounding countryside. Somewhere there must be a way, a reason that the road was built up to this point.

Irgendwann hört der Weg auf...
At one point the way stops…
...und wir müssen die Räder schieben
… and we have to push our bikes

After climbing up a steep slope we find something that points to construction work on a road. It is a kind of path, rather steep and rocky but clearly recognizable as a track through the jungle. We continue walking until the forest again covers that track completely. We imagine someone tried to build a road here, but did not finish. We realize at some point there is no way through, definitely not with the bicycles. We would have to carry them all up the rocky track and then through the dense forest. And two kilometres can be quite long in the jungle. This would be a great adventure on foot, armed with a big machete, but not with two loaded touring bikes.

Es geht zu Fuß weiter, doch irgendwann ist kein durchkommen mehr
We continue on foot but at one point there is no way to get trough

A little bit disappointed we return to the bikes and make our way back. After all we find a beautiful remote beach on the way back to the main road and take a rest there.

ttsmall13 ttsmall14

So the next day we take the ferry back to the mainland, without having seen the other side of the island. Then we ride along the coast, with beautiful camp sites along the beach until we arrive for Christmas in Bangkok. After the “Christmas shopping” (A new headlamp and spare parts for the bike) is done, we ride even further to Mae Sot. From there we want to cycle into Myanmar.

Ein Zeltplatz direkt am Strand
A camp spot at the beach
Kinder angeln in der Dämmerung
chilldren fishing at dusk
Abendstimmung an der Küste
Evening ambience at the coast
Bankok - Schlafplatz mit Aussicht
Bangkok – Place to sleep with a view