Saturday, 26 October 2013

Thailand Part I

Since Aug 3rd we are now in Thailand. Much bigger and much better roads than in Cambodia. And much cleaner.In Pong Nam we had our first supermarket. A SevenEleven !
Yes, buying proper food on the road was so difficult the last months, now such a big comfort. We cycled to Chanthaburi, a small city, which is well-known for jewelry and gems. We know nothing about this so we did not buy anything. Our trip lead along the coast, the next city was Klaeng. In Bang Sare we had a homestay. Rene from Belgium and his lovely woman were so friendly and we enjoyed the one we had with them. Next city was Rayon and in Bang Phra we had at Daruma Ecofarm another homestay. Neil Willmann, a US-American, runs this farm and it was so amazing to visit his project. We were a little bit in a hurry, because a friend starts to have a stopover at BKK airport and we wanted to meet each other there.
We cycled to the airport and it was great to meet Michael! Only 45 minutes, because his plane was delayed but much fun.
The next day we arrived in Bangkok. What an amazing city ! A lot of traffic, but car drivers are so careful and not using their horns. We met Stephan from Switzerland again. He is an owner of a software company in his country and a globetrotter. We know him from Angkor Wat and he lives in BKK. Yeah, really small world, and we are happy to keep in touch with him. Some days later Sophie, Astrid´s best friend, arrived from Austria, spending three weeks for holiday.
We all went by bus to Kanchanaburi, where the famous bridge leads over the river Kwai. The movie „The River Kwai Bridge“ is quite far away from the truth, but this bridge was build by prisoners of war by Japan. An exposition with paintings and letters from the POWs there tells the stories of them, suffering from bad nutrition, illnesses, tortures and bad working conditions caused by the Japanes army.
Next step was visiting the Erawan National Park. Not bad, quite beautiful waterfalls, but it was very touristic. Astrid and Sophie stayed one day longer, I was on the way back to BKK.
Some more sight-seeing in Bangkok, i.e. The Palace....... The snakefarm at the Red Cross was a big highlight. King Cobra and krait and pythons... watching a King Cobra being milked, was a great experience.
As most of our friends know is, that we support Humedica, a smaller aid organisation in Germany. Its partner organisation is „Partner´s Relief and Development“, which supports the people from Myanmar. We are fundraising for them and wanted to visit this organisation.

An extra report will follow, but I do not want to deny you some highlights on the way up to Mae Sot.

When coming from the River Kwai, Astrid and Sophie already visited Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand,. I went by bicycle to Mae Sot and the road was quite boring. But this city was on the direct way and I took the chance to make some sight-seeing. There were many interesting temples, but unfortunetly destroyed by former wars. The museum gave an excellent overview about the history, which showed a big wealth.
Another stop for me was in Kamphaeng Phaet. Not as touristic as Ayutthaya but a beautiful historic park. When I cycled through the large area a group of Thai students stopped me. They were learning English, which they need for being a tour guide. And they asked me if I could act as a guinea pig. It was so funny with them ! They were a little bit shy but they made a good job :-)

Some statistics:
BKK-Ayutthaya: 95 km, 10.000 km in total
Ayutthaya- Sing Buri: 73 km
Sing Buri – Nakhon Sawan: 100 km
Nakhon Sawan – Kamphaeng Phet: 126 km (new record)
Kamphaeng Phet – Tak: 70 km
Tak – Mae Sot: 85 km; one of my toughest and most exhausting rides (many steep climbs).

All together, we went by bus back to BKK. One day later, we took the bus to Trat, then heading to Koh Kood for diving.
Well , seven days and only raining..... not very amusing.
Sophie had to fly back to Austria, so we left Koh Kood on Sept 20th.
Back in BKK we discussed the next steps. We already had our visa extended until Oct 31st. Astrid wanted to start to learn diving and we appreciate the Happy Day Guesthouse on Koh Kood very much. Mike the owner of the guesthouse has a diving school, so we decided to do it there. Min, his partner, is an perfect cook, so no reason to hesitate :-).
Astrid was a little bit ill and had to take antibiotics. Better for her to take the bus. I went by bicycle again. Well, mainroad and very boring.

Some more statistics:

BKK - Chonburi: 85 km
Chonburi - Chantaburi:172 km, 8h 50min; new record !! a little bit proud ;-)
Chantaburi – Trat: 70 km
Trat - Pier to Koh Kood: 24 km, then two hours by boat

since Oct 5th now on Koh Kood for diving :-)


Sophie and Astrid in the Palace

wooden palace in Bangkok

one of the bombs which hit the river Kwai bridge, this one did not explode.

the famous River Kwai Bridge

waterfall at the Erawan NP

on the way to waterfalls of the Erawan NP

getting venom from the snakes.

the King Cobra. no pet !

the Krait, venomous, too, but "only" at night . 

temple in Ayutthaya

two friendly women, who gave me roasted bananas and refused my money !

group of students, learning English .

on the way to Mae Sot. steep hills will exhaust me .

very old transport bike .

gems in Chanthaburi

after a very long time, at the sea again !

our host Rene with his lovely wife

Neil, our second host, at his eco-farm . great project !

BKK airport