Highway Blues

Highway Blues

I spent almost 2 weeks in Bangkok. After that, I had decided to cycle all the east coast of Thailand down to Malaysia. Since I'm not such a beach boy and trying to avoid tourist spots whenever possible, my decision soon fell on Asian Highway 2 (AH2).

The Asian Highway 2 (AH2) is a far-spanning compound in the Asian Highway project. It leads with a length of 13.177 km from Denpasar in Indonesia to Khosravi in ​​Iran.

So I soon got back in the saddle. The ride through Bangkok I felt not quite as bad as other cyclists had told me. But compared to India, almost every traffic is harmless.

My first night was spent in a Buddhist temple. These are ideal for accommodation if you have your own tent with you. I was allowed to pitch my tent under a fan, which was a nice cool. Even at night, temperatures did not fall below 25 ° C.

Actually, long-distance roads are not my thing for cycling. Most of all, I have low-traffic, isolated gravel roads. Here in Thailand, however, I found the highway ideal because it has a wide shoulder.

In addition, the two directions of travel are separated by a large ditch, which makes the whole story even safer. On the narrow country roads is often here in Thailand almost no room for cyclists.

I was annoyed only by the many scooters (scooters) that come here on the track and you have to dodge constantly. A phenomenon which I have already observed throughout Southeast Asia and find extremely dangerous.

Because of the heat, I changed my daily routine a bit. One hour before sunrise, at 5:00, I got up, packed my things, and left at sunrise.

At about 11:00 clock, when it gets really nice and hot, I usually sought a shade under one of the many bus stops, which are on the roadside.

There I usually cooked a hot meal. For vegetarians, I think the food supply here in Asia is quite poor. In the supermarkets, however, you get good food.

Afterwards I lay down for a while and did not cycle until around 2:00 pm. One hour before sunset, at about 17:30 clock, I then looked for a campground. That's how I got on pretty well.

In Bangkok, I was able to replace my Schwalbe Marathon Mondial Evo tire with a wire insert. One morning there was suddenly a blow to the rear wheel.

At first I could not find anything special, but noticed that the bike felt strange when driving. At a closer inspection, I then found the damage: Speichenbruch.

In the Spiti Valley, I have had a spoke break on the side where the chainring is mounted. At that time I had the problem to have no suitable tool with which I could have removed the chainring.

Meanwhile I found a solution with Tom from the Veloladen Leuthold veloladen-leuthold.ch. With the Stein Mini Cassette Lock Tool I could replace the spoke in a short time. Thank you Tom for the great advice!

What I really like about Thailand is the good infrastructure. In the distance of a few kilometers you will find again and again petrol stations with shops, toilets and everything you need what you need.

In the 7eleven shops I could always buy fresh milk, bananas and chocolate. Ideal to put together a real muesli for breakfast. It's been more than 2 years since I last had such a hearty muesli in the morning.

The landscape along the highway can actually be described quite simply. Most of the time you can see palm oil, coconut or rubber tree plantations and in between, there are always a few villages.

On my shoulder I felt like cycling in a few days like a loop of a good blues piece. Everything passes you by and you can let the soul a little bit.

Not always having to pay attention to the traffic or constantly being approached by people I found extremely restful. The Thais are friendly and reserved, which I like very much.

I usually set up my tent in one of the many plantations along the way. These provide good privacy and provide pleasant shade. Something that can be used in this heat.

In the south of Thailand I had to make a decision. From Hat Yai, I had to decide whether to go directly to the west coast to Malaysia or continue cycling along the east coast via the provinces of Pattani and Narathiwat.

It is not recommended to travel to and through the emergency states in the south of Thailand on the border with Malaysia (Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani and parts of Songkhla).

I had asked some local cyclists in Bangkok and they had assured me that I could travel through it as long as I stay on the main road. I also followed this advice.

Striking were the many checkpoints on the track with the armed police and soldiers. From Africa I was already a little used to such pictures. My motto was: as long as they let you through at the checkpoints just keep going.

Only at the very end was I stopped by a police car. The force consisted of 5 men, all armed with machine guns. Her chieftain spoke good English and told me that they would escort me to the next gas station.

Once there, they gave me drinks, took a few photos and thought in the end only I should not drive alone through this area next time. At no point did I feel properly threatened.

In Tak Bai I reached the border crossing Taba. From there we took a short ferry ride across the Golok River to Malaysia. Although I had to search for a while, until the border crossing was found but the process went smoothly.

Cycling in Thailand was very pleasant. Especially because of the good infrastructure. However, in recent years, traffic has increased sharply. The people here are practically only using motorized vehicles.

So many overweight people like here in Thailand I have not seen in a country for a long time. A little more exercise would be good for many here. In addition, I had so many dog ​​attacks here as in no country before.

I had to arm myself with sticks and stones to keep the bastards off. Thailand definitely has a huge dog problem and that's why cycling was not always that easy for me.

What I will remember is the friendliness of the people here in Thailand. Now I'm looking forward to Malaysia. An absolute new territory for me and one of my last stops before I leave the continent.