*Warning: excessively long post, only immediate family need feel obliged to read*
For anyone who knows us or has been following our blog, you would not be wrong to assume that we were not at all prepared for what lay ahead. For example, instead of purchasing appropriate road bikes, we opted for the cheapest bikes we could lay our hands on, which happened to be mountain bikes – not at all fit for our purposes (in fact they tethered us to the road!).
DAY 1: ‘NOT THE BEST START!’
Chiang Mai to Lampang – 106km/66 miles (Route 11)
We’d aimed to start at 5.30am, so rising at 7.30 we were slightly behind schedule. We were slightly put out further when first mounting our bicycles and discovering our little rucksacks were far too heavy for the front baskets that we’d bought to save weight on our backs, and we couldn’t turn the bike handles to steer. Nevermind… they’re only little…. on our backs they go! Rather than panicking at these small hindrances, we went for a calming latte in Starbucks to send us on our way! Of course this was an error, and the enormity of actually doing the bike ride, rather than just talking about it, soon sank in. Continue reading
Whilst in Krabi town, we met loads of people who were just passing through for one night. The backpackers we spoke to seemed to see it as an opportunity to touch base with home, catch up on some sleep, and avoid spending too much money. It is a midway point between the Andaman Coast and the Gulf of Thailand, as well as being perfectly placed for those doing visa runs to Malaysia or flying to Bangkok. It has large ports and an airport, naturally making it a transport hub. Lonely Planet pretty much reiterated this, calling it ‘a necessary transit link’ – such an injustice!
We’re too scared of the motorbikes, the weather was overcast and we blew the budget back in Koh Phi Phi, so we rented bicycles. It was a chance to have some guilt-free fun and get some exercise after the buckets of noodles we’ve been scoffing.
Obviously it was mayhem. Terrified of the roads and constant beeping, irrelevant road markings and traffic lights, along with the scooters that came head on at us down the wrong side of the road, we boarded the pavement pretty sharpish. Spending a good 20 minutes walking alongside our bikes, weaving between market stalls, cats and hurried Thai people who found us very amusing, we eventually confronted our fears and took to the road.