World By Wheel Shares Valuable Insight from Rolling Through Thailand
Then, just as we begin to think that the struggle will never end, the top of the hill comes into view signalling the end of our pain. The landscape begins to open up in front of us, presenting a panoramic view of lush fields as far as the eye can see. Finally demounting from our bikes, we stop and rehydrate, both savouring the last drops of water in our bottles before admiring the fantastic horizon laid out before us. The satisfaction is unbelievable. Any doubts we had have disappeared, the result was definitely worth the struggle and we both relish the reward. Now the fun part begins…”
When we rode through northern Thailand it was fortunately the ideal season. The nights never came too cool, there were few tourists around and we had few rainy days. We were there in October, before the high season of Christmas holidays, meaning that we never had to worry about finding accommodation last minute and giving us the space we needed when in spiritual settings.
The weather between October and February is fairly dry, along with another dry spell between March and May. At the end of May the wet season starts to have an impact on the northern region giving it its lush looks. With another large showering of the country between July and September.
We took the train from Ayutthaya up to Chiang Mai, using the city as a base from which to explore from. Chiang Mai itself is a charming ancient city, with its centre encompassed by a city wall, accessed through four gates. The city is incredibly diverse, from impressive temples to new concept malls, there is something for any traveller. For any coffee addicts, this is the place to be, with strong scents of coffee beans waft between streets, alluring you along a trail of incredible cafes.
Travelling around Thailand by bicycle is one of the best ways to understand this incredibly diverse country. Taking the time to appreciate every face that you pass, and eating in places that you wouldn’t normally think to stop at offers experiences that many others would miss, all whilst being able to truly absorb the complex canvas of colour that Thailand’s landscape offers.
This region of Thailand is nestled between Myanmar and Laos, while the close presence of China can also be felt. The influence of these neighbouring countries has an impact on the northern part of the country, and there are noticeable changes to faces, foods and language. The cooler temperatures of the north meant we really appreciated the hot soups and spicy sausages that are typical of the region.
What have we learned from this?
The hilly terrain of Thailand is unforgiving and you should ensure that you are well prepared.
It may sound obvious, but always carry plenty of water, and ensure your bikes have enough gears. A lack of foresight on our part meant that we struggled with these two factors, and at times were cursing our lack of preparation. We recommend bringing a bike from back home that you are comfortable on and fully understand its capabilities.
The mountains of Northern Thailand were a dramatic start to our bike touring passion. Our only regret from this experience is that we didn’t see more. It would be fantastic to visit other regions of this magnificent country, and we look forward to making a return visit. For more information on the routes we took check out our page on Thailand.
Our recommended way to remain hydrated and respect the environment is by using a Grayl filtering bottle -worldbywheel.com/equipment
Who are Max and Cynthia? "We are a English/Quebecoise couple who have discovered the adventurous travel style of using a bicycle. We have just completed a tour of South East Asia and have many plans for the future..!
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