December 28, 2016: I am here in Bangkok Airport and still can’t believe I managed to make it here after all the chaos that happened in the last week. I was heading straight for the Spinning Bear Hostel, a place made especially for cyclist and for sheer love of cycling. The moment you enter the hostel you can feel the velo love inside you with touring bikes on all side, pannier bags, tools, fridge that stock soy milk and not beer and conversations which mostly includes bicycle touring and experiences. It was an instant love kind of place and glad I chose it.
The host Im is such a sweetheart and she made sure I feel at home instantly. She knows Bangkok like the back of her hand and made my ride in Bangkok an experience to remember. She made me ride my bike on railway platforms, university roads, cycling trails, Crossover Bridge, farm lands and in places with no roads. All in the middle of the Bangkok city.
The first day was spent collecting the Bike and other gears from Velo Thailand, doing short 20-30 kms ride to make sure I am comfortable with the new bike and with the panniers on and conversing with fellow cyclist and listening their stories. I met Lorenze here who started his trip on bicycle 19 year back and is still cycling all over. He, Mac Kino and many others like him inspired me so much at Spinning Bear Hostel.
December 29, 2016
It was a sleepless night for me but then I was ready to start my tour at 5 in the morning. The moment I got on my bike which was now loaded with panniers bags, tent and my sleeping bag, I realized that riding with panniers and load on bike is a different ball game all together. I was getting scared and skeptical about my own abilities.
But then I calmed down and decided to start slowly, like one baby step at a time. I started my ride to the airport. It was a beautiful ride with nice routes and trails, sun rising from between the sky scrapers and almost no traffic. The most interesting thing here was boarding the flight. I had to board the flight of NokAir, which claims to be a cyclist friendly airline in Thailand. And I bet it was. I just had to ride my bike to the airport, get inside and check in with my unpacked bike. I reached Krabi, got my bike and started riding from the airport itself. And all this for no extra charges!
On reaching Krabi, my plans changed again. Instead of going to Phi Phi Island, I decided to go to Koh Jum island, a bit south of Krabi. I rode for some 40 kms to Laem Kruat Pier and then took long tail boat to the Island. The island was a surprise package for me. It was quite and calm with almost no tourist, just few locals and couple of resorts. Shall definitely go their again someday.
Rest of the day was spent with my new friends there relaxing, sipping beer, enjoying thai food and making conversations. As the sun went down, I set my tent right on the beach and said adieu to my friends for a good night sleep.
I realized that most important thing in life is to take the first step and believe in yourself. Ever step further will make you more confident and brings you closer to your destination.
December 30, 2016 to January 2, 2017
I woke up early being happy and cherishing my first camping experience. The music of the sea and coconut trees felt so soothing that I actually slept like a baby. I was definitely excited to camp more in this trip now. The next four days I spent in Phi Phi Island celebrating New Years. But I never knew that moments spent in Phi Phi would end up being my favorite in Thailand.
I used to get up early every morning and ride all the way up to the Phi Phi View Point. It used to be a steep climb with lots of dirt tracks but the reward of reaching the view point was magical and refreshing. You get to see the breathtaking view of the entire island nestled between the turquoise Sea. Everyone trekking up-to the view point would cheer me up, which would make me happy and more confident.
Besides that, Phi Phi was all about meeting some of the most amazing people, making friends and conversation. Some of these people will definitely be part of my story again in future.
On 2nd January, my plans changed again and instead of going to Krabi and start my ride to Bangkok, I ended up going to Phuket with my new friends. I changed the route a bit and decided to ride up to Bangkok via Phuket – Khao Lak – Ranong – Chumphon and then along the east coast as planned.