And so it starts…we arrived in Bangkok end of January and stayed there for 4-5 days. This gave us the time to gather the last few items that we needed for the trip. Bangkok is a crazy city, you can find everything (except maybe what you actually need!), so we ended up spending way too much time getting lost in humongous malls. We also took the opportunity to go to the dentist to get our teeth looked after (much cheaper than in NZ), and Seba had a last check-up on his back with an osteopath. After that we felt ready to start the trip!
After almost 5 days in this busy city and before starting the cycling, we decided it was beach time and did a little side trip on the island of Koh Chang to the East of Bangkok. We took a bus to get there as we were not so keen on cycling out of Bangkok, but we still had a little taste of what it is like as we had a 10 km ride to the bus terminal.
Koh Chang is a cute, but very touristy. And, as it was not on our planned route, we omitted to check what the profile would be like…BIG mistake!! This was my first major realisation for the trip: riding a fully loaded bike on steep, way to steep hills (some sections >20%) is hard! Seba just kept spinning those legs and made it to the top of the many hills, but I ended up having to push the bike for some parts. We were rewarded by amazing views, though, and lots of fresh and tasty fruits along the way!
The road towards the Cambodian border lead us through more rural areas of Thailand, and we enjoyed getting away from the tourists spots. We had a stop-over in Chanthaburi, a city which is known for its gem trading (we didn’t stay long enough to see any of it…) and, after a short climb we reached Pong Nam Ron, a little village-town close to the Cambodian border. We crossed the border of Prum the following day, and got got our Cambodian visa in no time. I am still convinced that we got ripped off though and paid 35US$ instead of the 20US$ we read about beforehand. We tried to question the price but there was not much arguing about it anyway, and so we just continued cycing…in Cambodia!