Early in the morning we land in Krabi. Our bicycles are already waiting for us. Air Asia convinced us very much, very uncomplicated handling of the bikes. We build them together and cycle to Koh Lanta, where Andi’s godmother is waiting for us. In the Funky Fish Bungalow we are warmly welcomed by Eri. The next day we visit the dental hygienist. We enjoy the fine and varied Thai food here. Already at night Judith feels feverish. She has probably caught a cold flu on the plane. After three days, Judith is fortunately well again, but she still needs a few days until she is fit enough for cycling again. Finally after 8 days we are back on the road again.
By boat it goes to Krabi and from there in the direction of Ao Nang. The way there is very nice with these exciting rocks. Ao Nang, on the other hand, is extremely touristy, so we go straight on. Fortunately, the track is very shady and has little traffic. When it dawns, we ask at a shop, if we are allowed to camp here. To our pleasure they allow us. As it gets very hot around noon, we set the alarm clock at 5:15 am, pack up our extremely wet tent, have breakfast and cycle already with the first daylight. It is very green again. Our way leads through palm oil, rubber tree and banana plantations. The highlight of this route is a gravel road through the jungle. We’ll make a long lunch break in the shade. Shortly before Kao Sok we are allowed to camp at a football pitch. The dimming of the headlight system is left to us. The next morning, as we feel our bags in the dark, we frighten back. Our arms and legs are burning and we quickly realize that we slept on an anthill. 😳 We quickly pack our things and free our ants 🐜 🐜🐜🐜 infested bags. After a whole hour, we managed to get rid of those nasty little animals. In Kao Sok we recover in a coffee from this morning exertion! Even after a shower, we always have the feeling of being attacked by biting ants. At 15:00 o’clock we continue on a small pass and look forward to the airy descent. How beautiful passes are! 😀 Before it darkens, we find a place to sleep under the palm trees.
The alarm rings again early in the morning and once again we pack the tent totally wet from the high humidity at night. The landscape does not change so fast here. There are many monocultures. The first time we see a Cashnewnuts tree.
In the evening we can camp at a school. What a luxury it is to camp with light and electricity. Well rested, it will go to Ranong the next day.
In the heat of the day we arrive exhausted in Ranong. Since we like this town, we are looking for a cheap accommodation and stroll in the evening through the evening market.
We cycle along the border to Myamar. Another night we stay at a school. We are very grateful that the Thais are so uncomplicated! 🙏 This evening, we are presented by two families with bananas. We can not refuse this gift and will not have to buy bananas in the next few days😀. When Andi wants to lock his bike, he notices that the rear wheel is touching the frame. As we observe the tire closer, we notice that a spoke is broken. We remember that the backpack ribbon came into the wheel. This must have been the cause. Luckily we have light and the spoke is replaced quickly.
On the way towards Chumpon we meet the German cyclist Stefan. We try to help him fix the tent poles of his MSR tent. We wanted to buy a MSR tent in Bangkok, because the zippers of our tent are broken. Mhm, we think this over again 🤔 A little further than Chumpon we find a very nice place to sleep right on the sea. We enjoy our breakfast with a beautiful sunrise. The road here is very busy and we meet Thai cyclist on race bikes from time to time. At lunchtime, we stop by a coffee and ask for a fresh coconut. Unfortunately, they do not have one, but they organize some and give it to us for free!😀🙏
The landscape here is very much influenced by the palm oil plantations. Luckily we come back to the sea in the evening and behind a school directly on the beach, we camp once more at a beautiful place👍😀 The breakfast tastes great with such a beautiful sunrise. We pedal the last few kilometers to Bang Saphan Noi, where we want to take the train. Once there, we learn that we can take the night train and the bikes we can easily take for 100 baht (3-Fr) with us. Thus, we explore the town and meet many Swiss and Germans, who spend the winter here. We quickly realize that this place has some nice coffees and good restaurants to offer. In the night train, it is cooled down a lot. Luckily we have a warm sleeping bag. When we arrive in Bangkok in the morning, it rains. Since it is Friday and we can get our Chinavisa only on Monday, we are looking for a cheap accommodation. Which is not so easy!
We use the time in Bangkok to do some shopping and repair our tent. The two zippers at the entrances replaces Judith patiently by hand.
On Monday we go to the China Application Center. After a long queue our visa application and hotel bookings are not enough. They still wanted to see our plane tickets, although we try to explain to them that we are cycling. We also have to write a confirmation, that we finance the trip ourselves. We quickly realized that the cross at “unemployed” they do not like. They also want to see a bank statement. Without further ado they send us away and we have a lot to do! This means, we book a flight in a travel agency, we recreate the visa application with the cross at “employed” and put us on Tuesday again in the queue, this time with an express request. We are more successful, but we still need to explain, why our Thailand visa expires. We leave the visa center with good cheer and hope for a successful issuance in two days. On Wednesday we are asked to send an email with a statement to the Visa Application Center, explaining why we traveled to Turkey and Iran. On Friday, 4 days later, we are unfortunately informed that the China Visa, despite Express request now takes 1 month. We can not wait that long! So we try to extend our Thailand-Visa, we cycle to the other end of the city (25km). However, the immigration office closes at 15:00 as expected at 16:30 …. not our lucky day! 😢
After an intensive planning weekend, we try to proceed with one of our plans and apply for an exchange pass at the Swiss embassy. Unfortunately, this does not work, because the Swiss law does not allow to travel with two passports. The problem is, that the place of exchange must be in Switzerland, not at the traveler abroad. This in turn makes a second passport for cycling unusable, because you have to have both passports when crossing the border, as the exit stamp in one pass and the visa for the next country in the other pass. Brilliantly, this would be so you could send the unused passport on a journey after traveling through the border, to obtain a visa in your home country, as this is often much easier, you get longer visas and avoid tedious waiting times at consulates. By the way, this is possible for the Germans and Austrians!!
Since this plan did not work out, we organize the night train to Nong Khai, to cycle from there to Vientiane in Laos. So we hit two birds with one stone, because we do not have to extend the Thaivisa and we apply here again for the Chinese visa. According to our research, this should be easier there.