Siem Reap – Bangkok
The last section of riding on the trip took me from Siem Reap in Cambodia across the border to Bangkok, Thailand. It was a really emotional few days, but we’ll get to that later..
Firstly, sorry for the delay in this post. It’s been a busy couple of months returning to normal society! I’m currently back in Wellington, NZ. But that’ll be another post! :-)
It was another flat, hot section, and I was looking forward to the end of the trip. I had lots of thinking and planning to do to get ready for the ship from Australia to NZ.
The riding went pretty well. I stopped in the city of Sisophon my first night out of Siem Reap, it was a big dusty junction town, but I found some good food, a reasonable guesthouse and somewhere with cheap beer so I was happy.
The next morning was exciting. It was my last day in Cambodia and my final land border crossing of the trip. I started early, and rode quickly. The road was very straight and kinda boring (sorry there’s not many photos from this section). Eventually I got to Poipet, the border town that’s pretty much money exchangers and casinos! I struggled to spend the rest of my Cambodian money, and finally headed across the border. It was a much busier border crossing than my other SE Asian ones- lots more people and very much more regimented.
It was a shock to be in Thailand- it’s pretty much a developed country with convenience stores everywhere and big wide highways with clean shoulders. The downside of people being able to travel further on the good roads is that there didn’t appear to be as many guesthouses around, at least not on the section that I rode.
I stayed in a really nice resort/hotel thing near Sa Kaeo. My first three meals in Thailand were eaten there and it was all Pad Thai- lunch, dinner and breakfast! Sooo tasty! :-)
On the road I saw several cowboy themed restaurants, not sure what the attraction is to the Thai people, but they seem to like it!
This day turned out to be rather emotional. It was a pretty long day, on a road that ran pretty much in a straight line west. Eventually I made it to the town of Chachoengsao and after a LOT of searching, managed to find a decent place to stay. It was really nice, with wifi and airconditioning. A far cry from most of the guesthouses I stayed in in Cambodia and Laos.
One of the blogs I followed religiously before starting my trip was Two on Four Wheels, a blog by Mary Thompson and Peter Root who had ridden from the UK all the way to SE Asia. When we worked out that our paths would cross we tried to catch up. We were in Phnom Penh at the same time (but couldn’t catch up because I was already meeting another friend), then couldn’t arrange a meetup in Siem Reap when we were there at the same time. But it was ok, because we were going to see each other in Bangkok- they were a few days ahead of me.. So it was a terribly sad shock to read when I got internet again in Chachoengsao, that I discovered that Pete and Mary had been killed on the road I’d just ridden that day, a few days before I got there. It seems that a guy driving a pick-up truck dropped something as he was driving, reached down to pick it up and swerved and hit and killed both of them. It’s the sort of accident that could’ve happened to anyone, anywhere. There’s a news article about it here.
So there was a lot on my mind for my last day of riding into Bangkok. I’d heard of a lot of other cyclists avoiding riding into Bangkok, so I was a little apprehensive. In the end, I found it fine riding into town- I’m not sure if it was because my GPS meant I didn’t have to think about navigation, or that I like riding in a bit of traffic.
I stayed in a hostel in Silom, near the hospital that I was getting my medical for the container ship done. It was also where Anne and Cormac (a couple that I’d met in Guilin, China on their first week of riding from Hong Kong to Singapore) were staying. It was great meeting them again and swapping stories of our trips.
After a few days there, I moved over to another hostel on the other side of town- near Khao San Road. This is the crazy backpackery part of town. The hostel I stayed in (NapPark Hostel) was really nice, and a couple of streets back from the main Khao San Road. The main reason I moved over to this part of town was to get my bike boxed up at Velo Thailand.
The hostel was great, and I had a blast finishing off my trip hanging out with rowdy young backpackers! :-)
So after a couple of weeks in Bangkok, I flew out to Melbourne! It was the end of the riding on my trip, with the total distance being 13,700km. I spent a couple of weeks in Melbourne, waiting for my container ship to NZ. But that can wait for another post!!