Welcome to the land of smiles!
It is gone!
On 14 December, it left Bangkok: after nearly three weeks of break, one is glad to get back on the road. It sailed south on large roads during the first two days, it is not always very funny... but the beach awaits us in not a long time.
We pass in a village where, for some unknown reason, the channels have overwhelmed: it is more than 30 degrees in the shade, you pedal for about a kilometre the feet in water (you saw in the) 10 seconds ?) Too well! That day, it also takes a tray full of world: with all our bags and our bikes, it was pretty epic!
In short, you can reach the edge of the sea in the afternoon. No beach for the moment, but a pretty fishing pontoon that offers us a perfect NAP in the shade, watching the gulls and other marine birds play with the wind.
On the main roads, the Thai do not know output loops: to turn or make half turn, they make the "u-turn". It is to go on the road the rightmost (are reminded that we drive on the left), stop, and then restart and pass cars on their right to them, it means the queue that will soon. By car or scooter, it is already sporty, then us with our small bikes...
At the end of day we visit Wat Hong Thong temple on stilts posed on the edge of the sea. Night falls. We know that we can ask to sleep in the temple, but here it is a tourist place; We believe average... Aided by a young Thai man who speaks English, Thomas will see the grand Chief of the temple (the ceremonial to speak to the head is pretty awesome): you will sleep here tonight. Asked the tent in the prayer hall, nuns come offer us a pasta dish and various sweets. We discuss a little with one or two who have bases of English. In fact, this Buddhist temple welcomes essentially "trainees" women: one of them tells us that she loves to come here relax at least once in the year, 15 days: to each his vacation!
At 8 p.m., they say "good night". We took the opportunity to go for a few night shots, all alone in this beautiful place. At 4 o'clock in the morning, wake up the continuous murmur of Buddhist nuns who pray. It goes back to sleep until 7: 00 while the nuns begin already actively their day. We are invited to take a maxi breakfast with them before we left. We eat simply on a mat on the floor in trays meals: rice, meat and vegetables.
Then in Chon Buri, we finally found a beautiful beach of white sand, coconut trees throughout, and lounges on the beach to ask in the shade of umbrellas and bathing. With such decor, it said that it was worth much to struggle a bit!
The evening in a fishing village, we leave our magic weapon: a word in Thai written by our Bangkok host on which explains that one seeks a corner to put the tent. Stitches in time we landed in the garden of a Guest House. It is all comfort! Thanks to these hosts improvised for their generous hospitality, it was top!
It arrives Tuesday in Pattaya, very big resort in mode "la Grande Motte" (with prostitutes in bars...). The only thing it will be liked here, it is the visit of the "sanctuary of truth": Buddhist shrine all in wood, with decorations of styles Burmese, Cambodian, Indian, thai, placed on the beach.
The evening is a Guest House with small bungalows on the edge of a river. Too class! It is not the tent, we pay a real bed this time! (that's what is great in Thailand: we can have a good room for €12!)
On Wednesday, we finally found a real country road, in the middle of nowhere - to do several kilometres between the villages. It is surrounded by forests, plantations of pineapple, banana, caoutchoutiers. OK it was a bit wind from the front, but we are so happy find of small roads with very little traffic. It is exactly in its moments that it blesses Google Maps and our "OruxMaps" app, we dare so much more easily get lost out of the beaten paths, it's great!
This is what the evening when the light drops and it comes to find our spot dodo. There are plenty of Thai that make the road bike. That is how we meet Santipap, which eventually bring back us home because he found that the corner is not sure to lay the tent. We are greeted as of Kings! A good Thai restaurant and a beer by sea can do some knowledge of him and his wife.
However here in Thailand, the work begins soon! Often between 6 h and 7 h. We therefore leave the House at the same time as them, at 6 o'clock: this is our first Sunrise on the bike saddle. A few kilometres further on, in Rayong, lies a small "restaurant" to eat a piece. Took the habit of Thai breakfasts based soups or rice fried, not to worry. But then, you fall... on soups of offal! Ghanekar, it's a little hard to wake up!
The Scenic Road
After Rayong begins a small road that we will follow up to Koh Chang beachfront. It is superb, with beautiful sand beaches, coconut trees, tamarisk, bamboo shacks... It crosses several francophones who come to spend their retirement in this idyllic setting! (It could give desires to some, no?) Y'a of the days like this where you can't chain 5 kms: we stop constantly for photos.
In the evening, found a small corner of grass within the walls of a temple. They keep all the farmyard here: family of pigs, dogs, cats, chickens, and lots of cocks, which us wake up several times at night! Not but normally the cocks are not supposed to sing in the morning?
Friday 19 and Saturday 20 December, continues the "scenic route", which now winds between caoutchoutiers fields, farmed fish, mangrove and sea. At sunset, it bathes in the sea: it is hot! Around a cold beer, is said that was a little ashamed sometimes of being there while most of you are trying to work, and that was hyper easy conditions in Thailand! But hey, it is also our honeymoon trip and the months that come in Asia will be surely not always as easy!
Saturday night, we approach Koh Chang; chance we would ask the tent in the garden of a Thai family whose father/grandfather made cycling as we! His wife prepares us a delicious meal based on seafood... it is hyper good, one regales oneself! The neighbor/cousin is a guest house and there is a karaoke tonight. Let's take a look, just to see. Except that nobody had us warned... it's actually a hostess bar! Fun but a little annoying (they sing so badly!), it has swallowed a glass and it has not dragged, but it did we laugh!
On Sunday, there us are more than 25 km before arriving at the boat: easy. Right out of the boat, the road begins to climb high. That goes dry but it went quickly. It seems that there are two passes to cross. Is what was the first? We attack the 2nd climb after lunch, it is 2: 00 pm, the sun beats strong. One has the impression that they just asked the road on the decor, without thinking to the slope - who must often approaching 20%. The trucks have a lot of evil to climb... and we also! I push my bike more that I pedal. But we come to the end! The descent is equally impressive. We advance a few kilometers and... This is the road that starts to climb as dry! Forces decreases, I plague many... Okay, in fact it was this, the 2nd pass! The first steep was only a warm-up. We finish the side walk, Thomas pushing me the bike and me walk, so I am exhausted!
It reaches a little overcome forces spotted village, but the chance is still with us: it is easy to find a great Guest House. Only 2 bungalows, a little on the heights of Lonely BeachThis place is held by Nikki, a very nice English. We spent 5 nights in his Secret Garden and 4 days to relax and enjoy this island paradise. Koh Chang is quite preserved from mass tourism (except to the first beach) White Sand Beach), the beaches are beautiful, the sea is turquoise blue... A real vacation!
During these days, there are...
– Découvert les fonds marins, ses coraux et ses poissons multicolores, avec une journée de snorkelling ;
-Discovered heights too, by a trek in the jungle with a guide: wild orchids (but only one in flower), parasites, bamboo trees... But not a lot of creatures (believed to see monkeys, but they are rather on the outskirts of the villages where they find it easier to eat...). Lunch break with bathing in a waterfall.
-One rented a scooter to navigate the roads of the island and it is bathed on beaches where it was only us.
-I made a relaxing massage one hour with the sound of the sea in your ears.
-We ate for 5 euros each a huge barbecue buffet.
- And it has been pals also! Nikki, our host; James and Andrea, Austrian and English, our neighbours in bungalows, that will meet in Phnom Penh for the new year; Florian and Aurélie, two french with whom we spent the day of Snorkelling, and also new year's Eve; and two Norwegians, other neighbours of bungalows (and incidentally a beautiful Gecko which was our roommate for 2 nights)
Even if it means being at the other end of the world, what better way to spend Christmas in these conditions? New year's Eve menu, should be something that changes our daily to mark the coup: we devoured two delicious Burger! Then head towards the beach, where sitting on mats on the sand, drinking cocktails, we met full of other french and had the spectacle of jugglers with fire and a few minis Fireworks.
Bye, Bye, Thailand!...
But all good things come to an end. We took the road on 26 December. Seen how to increased arrival, I said not "questions to redo the sides!". But the taxis wanted us to pay the equivalent of 2 nights hotel accommodation for the 25 km to the port. Then for the first time, it has tested the stop-pick up with the bikes! And hop, in 10 minutes each, we spent the sides! The rest was done by pedaling.
Une fois revenu sur la terre ferme, la route ondule gentiment. Nous nous rapprochons doucement des collines des Cardamones. En fin d’après-midi, chute dans le peloton : Thomas s’arrête pour prendre une photo, je suis derrière, nos roues se touchent, et en quelques secondes, j’atterris dans le bas-côté en herbe (j’entends déjà nos deux mamans frémir derrière leur ordinateur ! 🙂 ) Plus de peur que de mal : deux bleus seulement ! Le soir, nous trouvons place dans un hangar d’un club de foot, avec électricité, douche (enfin, tuyau d’eau) bouilloire,… le luxe ! Le gardien du lieu nous tient compagnie une partie de la soirée, la discussion est assez limitée car il ne parle pas du tout anglais, mais nous passons un bon moment.
After a good night, we are moving Saturday to the Cambodian border. We are almost all day in a small stretch of land between sea and mountain/jungle. The road is beautiful, well paved, and little bandwidth. It is hot and humid, but what a view! Approximately 7-8 kms before the border, we are discovering for the first time the tropical rain: wet it damn!
Any dripping (from rain, no sweats, ca change!), we arrive at the border outpost to our Cambodian visas. Tariffs were increased in October, on a little irritated the Customs to ask him on the higher price (1500 baths each) than we were expecting. And it is having with the taking of temperature that they do pay 20 baths, and could have been avoided. But overall, it was pretty well spent.
We are in Cambodia! It is a little sad to leave this country where we spent so good moments, and where life was so easy. That is what awaits us in Cambodia?...
What we liked in Thailand
– des gens A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E-S, souriants. Une gentillesse et une hospitalité qui égalent, voire dépassent je crois, celle reçue en Turquie.
– des prix similaires partout ; et des gens qui n’essaient pas de nous faire payer plus cher parce qu’on est Farangs; a real sense of security.
– Pouvoir s’arrêter au bord de la route, manger des ananas, des pastèques, des bananes, cueillies fraichement dans le champ du coin. Et la street-food en général : les petits scooter-restos de brochettes, de poulet, de jus ; les restos sur le trottoir où pour 35 baths (moins d’1E), on mange un bon riz frit au porc, un soupe Thaï…
– Boire un coca bien frais, ou un café glacé (trop bon) après quelques heures à suer sous le soleil. On a eu une consommation assez conséquente de Coca en Thaïlande !
– Beaucoup de couleurs, la découverte de faune et de flore “exotiques”.
– Des chiens errants vraiment cool : ils sont peu nombreux ceux qui aboient ou nous courent après ! Trop chaud, la flemme.
– De belles routes bien goudronnées, un relief relativement plat (sauf à Koh Chang !).
-Be able to take showers every day! After the layers of sunscreen, insect repellent and sweats, what happiness do not lie dirty! Whether in temples or in gardens where it has stayed, people we have always proposed to take a shower.
Note: We would like to say our big big thought to the Cyclomigrateurswho have seen their journey by bicycle suspended after having wanted to make good with a camel. Irene, leave you well, and return quickly to the saddle!