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Previous trips: Thailand 1996

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(Everything you read below and on the other pages is copied directly from our paper diary, including &, @ and +, except the remarks in Italic. This diary was written by Sonya during our travels, not necessarily on the day we travelled, so on some things we still disagree...). At the time of our travels the Thai Bath was worth around US$ 0,04 (or 25B to a US$).

17-08-96 Bangkok:
Arrive airport @ 7.30 AM, left 8.30AM. Cycled 1 full lap ~ 20 km. around outskirts & ended back at the airport 1 hour later. Decided to get a taxi cab cost 500 Bath - a little expensive but after looking @ what we would have to have cycled was well worth it; 1½ hours ride so approx (9.50-11.20). Sat at one of cafes & drank some beer: too much!! It was humid, sticky + very hot. Realized @ airport that our S.E. Asia book was still in London. Shit! Had to buy another cost ~ £ 9,- (350B (where B=Bath=Thai currency)). After a few hours rode about 5 minutes to the New Merry V Guest House cost 140B for a fan cooled room. - Great food & breakfasts downstairs. Stayed Bangkok 4 days departed for Samut Songkhram 21-08-96. To get there: Left Bangkok just after 9.00AM Cross the Phra Pinklao Bridge (across Chao Phrya River) & keep following the highway (on Ratchadamnoen Klang: 7 lanes get in 3rd from right hand side (right smack in middle of traffic in order to get onto bridge)).

map ThailandFollow highway till Nakon Chiasi sign, follow this & continue until the 3 signs Pet Kasen (left), Bang Bua Tuong (right) + Nakon Chiasi (straight). Take Pet Kasen & continue straight along highway until you come to the sign to Samut Sakhon. (Take that one!)
12.00 - still 41 km to go to Samut Songkhram. Plenty of service stations along the way to stop at & get something to eat + buy water. We stopped @ an Esso station c.a. SK Shop + had 2 great chicken + pork curries + 2 cokes for 42B. Went through 4 liters of water (not including water @ breakfast in Bangkok). Arrived in Samut Songkhram @ 2.00PM.
Samut Songhkram - Have to take the left road off the highway to enter - up & around a bridge & you are on the main strip, follow this & turn right @ the Pepsi sign (written in Thai of course) & follow road around until you see a wat (temple) veer left & go over the railway & just over this go right & here is the hotel: Arongkron Hotel. Cost 150B / night for a huge room with a shower + toilet (dirty) but a great bed + fan cooled room. Noisy but after 93 km. ride who cares. Had a shower & went back to the restaurant (the girl in this restaurant spoke a few words of English and showed us the way to the hotel) & had a meal.

22-08-96 Leaving for Petchaburimap Thailand
(left 10.20AM) about 57km. Bloody hot day, had to stop every 40-50 minutes for a water intake & rest. Used the bus stops which have great long benches for lying down on. You need heaps of sun block + always fill water supply when available. Some places a 950 (milliliters) bottle costs 3B, others 7B & others you have to buy imported which will cost anything from 12B to 23 B it varies where you go. We chose a PTT lemon green shop as it was so hot & couldn't wait until a better place to pull over. At least they had some curry puffs for breakfast (5B each). After this we just followed the highway signs to Petchaburi with a couple of cool-off stops in between. Started to see real rural life with paddy fields & so many side stalls selling fruit & drink - still I wouldn't drink anything other than bottled water - the other is really brown. Arrived at the outskirts of town & had a beer @ small restaurant with pagoda-like seats outside. Well Petchaburi is about 2 km. further for town centre + we stay @ Chom Klao -(east side of Chommit (?) Bridge) 100B. Everyone is called by a letter in Thailand "F", "I", or "A" etc.etc. Nicknames. Stayed 2 days in Petburi (=Petchaburi) in the hotel as mentioned before - cost 100B per night - pretty dirty but okay when all you need is a place to rest. Make sure you like rice before you leave because breakfast, lunch + tea rice is all you get in smaller towns....
Well you can get these great cheese crackers with mango (jellied) inside or peanut brittle cookies that are real energy food - but when you are used to toast eggs + coffee well forget it unless you are in a tourist town with the words "guest house" or "bar" easily detectable on the door/sign. Probably could have done with only 1 day in Petchaburi but decided on 2 - 2nd day went to the Klao Wang area - walked around the palace restored by King Maghut & took the cable car back down (15B each) to the same area when we first arrived.

Went to a different restaurant -still cheap but not great food, it was good but our expectations are now very high when it comes to food. Went + played snooker across the road, cost 60B/hour. Decided to go back to our first rest. + have the same meal again, seeing as it was so good the 1st time + yes it wasn't a mistake - we ordered the same, 70B + boy was it filling + tasty + scrummy & all those other words. The lady who runs the rest. speaks English enough to get by. Singha Beer cost 50B for a large bottle. Apart from this rest. we did not much else as the town is quiet compared to Bangkok. After a well earned rest we left for Hua Hin.

24-08-96 Hua Thailand
The ride was not too bad although hot + sun block is an essential (remember your ears!) Roads are still flat but lost the dual carriage way for last 10-15 km (recovered it for a while whilst traveling to Prachuap Khiri Khan). Apparent Cha Am is a beautiful beach area however we wanted to keep going. Hua Hin was the biggest tourist spot we had ever seen. Spend 2 days- wished we hadn't as it is a big money spinner. Cost us ~ 1500B/day - that was drinking + eating as there isn't much else. Maybe buying some clothes which are cheaper than Bangkok but as we get further down this appears to be. The night market at Hua Hin is small but great - bought a crocheted hat 100B + bag 150B (from 180B) for me a necklace 100B (from 180B) & Ali got this great Bicycle T-shirt 120B (no bargaining on that one). We ate 1st night at Kiwi Corner - great curry + sweet + sour - 60B each with rice. Doesn't have much of a Thai food menu - but if you ask the Thai lady (who I think is married or coupled up with an English fellow) she can cook a wicked chicken curry!! 2nd night chose a cafe style fast quick quick food service + cost us more - at least it had the prices on the menu (see later). Seafood was very expensive in Thai terms - this town really cashes in on the tourists. After 2 days and staying @ Khun Daeng House on Naretdamri Rd. (cost 120B/night) for a large double room - share shower + toilet. The Amsterdam place sold great breakfasts better than where we were 45B - ham, eggs, toast, juice & coffee/tea. The owner speaks Dutch if that's any consolation to you (also English). (The pier at the end of Chomsin Rd. very expensive 250-600B for good seafood dishes) Well in Thai terms!

map Thailand

The touristy rest. along where we were staying sold beer for 30B (Singha small) cocktails between 60-90B + straight spirit from 50-70B still a bargain in our terms but get used to fairy lights + lots of snobby upper class tourists on a cheap holiday staying in condominiums + large resort hotels. Anyway we were glad to get out of Hua Hin - posted packages for Tet + Jeroen + Dina + lots of postcards from here. Bought a pair of pants (150B) & a broach hair clips for Mum, Lisa + Pauline (10B each). Rest was on drinking + eating + room (120B/night) & postage 331B. The guest house we stayed in only had 2 rooms + 1 bathroom & was just family run - still very cheap for such a large room & comfy bed. They waited up until we came home & first night we didn't know how to get in - had to roll the other door across!! Dummies!! Anyway we had cottoned on by the second night & after several beers & 2 spirits each 440B later we entered the hotel ready for the ride the next day.

26-08-96 Hua Hin - Prachuap Khiri Khan.
One hell of a trip - very hot + humid. I nearly died - double sun block today, 95 km with leaving + entering both towns - went to the least recommended rest. in Lonely Planet, Inthira Hotel, but was fine 150B - with shower. Asked us 200B & easily went down to 150B - could have got less but who cares. We were bugged + clearly longing for a shower - I think it is not how cheap you get everything. Who really cares about £ 1,00 unless you are a scrooge!! Why not consider the value in your own land & when you look @ these people your heart goes out & you realize how good your life is. Or do you really - they are happy - they smile all the time. Imagine everyone smiling on a London Tube!! One night only + we found the one & only real restaurant. There were no prices on the menu but they were about 60-80B for beef/chicken + pork / don't know about the seafood. 80B for large Singha + it was a calming sight looking over the sea. If you smoke rolling tobacco - let it be known, this is a novelty in Thailand - they don't know this @ all any you can intrigue & make alot of friends by rolling a few for them to smoke - there was a table of 5 oldish men who upon leaving we left 5 rolies with them & they were so excited & I think enjoyed. Tobacco so far has only been found in Bangkok + Hua Hin.

map Thailand27-08-96 To Thap Sakae
It was every element in one day - fucking hot, humid, rain + wind - so hard to move our luggage laden bikes through after 4 stops - alot for the amount of km's. We finally made it to Thap Sakae - one main street along the highway but after stopping @ the towns major tourist stop (buses stop here with coach loads of Thai/Chinese tourist to eat) we found the directions to Talay Inn & what a paradise we landed upon. They don't speak English but it has been to much fun trying to decipher what is going on - would live here for a while - hence a 3-night stop. Bamboo-wood huts on a lake fed by a waterfall. Brilliant market ( so far know it is MON + WED - could be more) but tomorrow going for the pressies for all the Aussie Folk - was amazing as we came in & naturally thought it was on Tuesday as well (28-08-96) but alas only wed. (29-08-96)
So we HAVE to stay another day.

map ThailandAnyway they have made us feel so welcome - its like being part of the family - when there is food out - they share with us & we don't pay - when we order, we pay. Ali is teaching one of the young boys to count & wow what a patient teacher - hope it goes that way with my Dutch - so far - not many lessons, too much happens every day. Road signs (in English too) lead you straight to the Talay Inn from the railway & market (if it is happening) straight to the beach front & then along 50m & to the left 50m - later it will be a tourist resort as there are places being build now. The next day, market was not the same - this one was in town & alas no pressies were bought mainly food - I purchased ingredients to cook a chicken dish with noodles + coconut milk. Went down OK but Daeng wouldn't eat it. Maybe I committed a fo par (according to Son this is a French expression) with mixing the wrong things together. Anyway the ladies enjoyed it & a couple of copies of the recipes were passed around. Later I was shown by Toy (Daeng's wife) how to cook Pad Thai which I have the recipe for.
We basically sat around played AC/DC + Ali played with Pom (draughts) in a marathon championship - Pom was very good & hence Ali had good competition for a change. Toy cooked us a great supper of chillies + chicken + omelette It was a touching goodbye as we seemed to fit in very well + they enjoyed our company for the three days. Tomorrow would be an early start + train ride to Chumpon. It cost 27B (150 km = 7.25AM --> 11.05AM) plus 40B for each bike. When we rocked up @ the train station there was a small commotion regarding the fact they had no carriage for our bikes but eventually they agreed to fit them on. The trip was fairly boring - lots of palm trees + bridges + then more palm trees + bridges. Arriving in Chumpon was a little surprising as it was so touristy - lots of shopping, guest houses. We headed towards the pier where the boats leave for Ko Tao (~ 10km from the train station).
30-08-96 Riding was easy and we stopped on the way to ask the times of leaving. A well spoken Thai informed us that there was a boat @ 1.00PM so we believed we were in plenty of time. However upon arrival 12.05PM we discovered the next boat wasn't until 12.00 (midnight). So, a 12 hour wait (we both couldn't be bothered cycling back into Chumpon).

A meal was in order & a few beers. There was a room with "SNOOKER SIGNS" so we ventured over hoping to get a game. Upon entering I realised it was a "MEN'S CLUB" atmosphere & they were playing a snooker-like game (with only 6 red balls). No scoring is done they just bet on each ball (i.e. whether it will be sunk or not). I didn't like the atmosphere at all & felt pretty uncomfortable. After 10 minutes or so we left realising that there was no snooker to be played. So back to the restaurant to try & wile away the hours. About 6.00PM another couple arrived & joined us (Christian + Genia). They were taking the same trip so we spent the next 6 hours chatting, playing knuckle bones + eating! Finally the moment of boarding arrived. Old boat with sleeping mats + pillows lining each side of both decks. We took off at 12.40AM - slept most of the way & arrived around 6.30AM! To be engulfed by owners of bungalows haggling to get you to stay @ their places. We were all tired & got sucked into coming down to the main town area - All diving scene. We didn't really fit in but after some breakfast & a shower we set off for the hunt for another place to stay the following days. Bike riding was out of the question - roads are mainly dirt + sand tracks which are either rocky, boggy or deteriorating badly. We ventured south + came to the Rocky Resort, decided to stay 120B a night for room & shower. Genia + Christian's room only 60B. After a swim + shake headed back to our bungalows (Bing Bungalow). Showered + headed further north to a restaurant recommended to us by Anette + Lee (run the Bungalow Cafe) called Sainee Cottage. Food was good, reasonable price + you could get a G&T for 40B. It was a relaxing evening followed by a couple of games of Jenga back @ our bungalows. Lots of talking & chatting about one & other. Then finally bed.

Woke @ 9.30 or so, packed, had a couple of coffees & started on the track towards Rocky Resort. It was OK for the first ½ & then roads became bad & pushing the bike was a necessity. It was hot + sweat rolled off continually. Finally made it & unpacked our bags - room (120B with shower + toilet) was full of ants & not very clean @ all. After breakfast I asked the boys running the place for some cleaning fluid + scrubbing brush & scrubbed the bathroom so I didn't mind standing in it. Ali exterminated all the ants & found that putting a line of "rid" along the windows & doors stopped the little buggers from entering. Didn't last long enough though - every morning we had to get out of bed & the ants were marching on in. The first day here we spent on the beach & literally bumming around. 2nd day, bush walk to Riet Bungalows. Major trekking over the hills but trail was easy to follow. Genia fell in love with the coral + now needs another backpack for it all. Ate some food here + swam a bit - too many seagorks for me though! We asked how long it would take to walk back via the rocks - 10 minutes was the answer - 1 hour + 10 minutes later via sea rocks, bush & a very nerve racking time for those of us with short legs we got back to our bungalows. One Singha was in order for all!!! Third day Ali & myself wanted to go into town to get some money + post our letters etc. etc. We ended up only cashing a US$ 100,= as the exchange places charged 7% on credit cards + 50B on each travelers cheque. Total rip off !! Went back to Bing Bungalows as we had forgotten to hand back our key, had a coffee + soda water + walked back to get snorkel gear from the Kao Cottage Resort at top of hill from R.R. Unfortunately they were shut and so was the restaurant where we wanted to sample some food to decide whether we should eat there that night with Genia & Christian. Back @ R.R. Genia & Christian needed to go back to Bing Bungalow as they had left their flashlight in their room there. We arranged to meet at the rest. @ the top of the hill @ 6.00PM. 6.00PM - We got to the Kao Cottage Resort & sat down lovely atmosphere in & among a beautiful garden - menu looked expensive & these huge mosquitoes were devouring us. I kinda knew that the other guys weren't going to meet us there & that they had expressed the wish to eat @ Sairee Cottage again. So we both walked towards the town again when it forked. We took a lane each in case the others were heading back - we didn't meet them so continued to the Sairee Cottage & there they were. Had a meal + quite a few drinks. Last night before leaving so we made it back to the darkness of Rocky Resort (power stopped @ 11.00PM). Exchanged addresses & said goodbyes in case we didn't see them on Ko Pha Ngan - set the alarm for 6.30AM and went to sleep. Next day packed & left straight away. Bought tickets for the boat & went to the Swiss Bakery on main road for breakfast. First place with real coffee, yum yum. Two cups each was enough & we were flying. Had some discrepancies over what time the boat left (as all over Thailand - the golden rule - get there real early - to avoid arriving when you are supposed to be leaving) (9.00AM on the window, 9.30 on the ticket, actual time of leaving 9.50). Getting on the boat was hard - had to cross via another boat. First boat okay, 2nd one about my height again up - ok for me - I'm a woman & the men always take my bike for me. Ali different story though - he's by himself with my muscles on the other end - not so good - he cut his knee via the gearing wheel. OK after great first aid administered by myself though.

Boat trip from Ko Tao --> Ko Pha Ngan was 150B each and took 2¾ hours. Getting bikes off was really difficult via another boat (as per entry) but the second boat was moving up & down & there was only a tyre attached @ the pier to land on. As per usual I got my bike taken for me but Aaldriks bike (the heaviest) was always the hardest to get over the pier & he had to rely on someone helping him. We rode straight past the hotel owners on the pier telling you how wonderful their bungalows were! We wanted to head straight up north for 2 reasons - 1: it was bituminised + 2: it was the furtherest away from Had Rin - 10 km away - and we found the Fanta Bungalows not without having to climb one huge f**cking hill - going down was great. Clean + with bathroom, mosi net + fan 80B/night. You could get one with a bathroom attached to the side for 40B/night. We liked the luxury though. Food was excellent and reasonable in price. Only 3 bungalows were taken when we arrived - decided to spend 4-5 days as it was nice + relaxing + quiet. Lots of people came + went while we were there - Germans, Israelis, Dutch, Australians + Americans. First day was a walk into the local fishing village for some tea after a quick snooze, Aaldrik hogged the hammock!! so I got the bed. Lots of sand flies. 2nd day after a great breakfast we decided to try the hills again & go to Thong Sala - this time without the luggage. We were halfway up the hill when a taxi heading in the opposite direction had Genia + Christian in it. They had decided to follow in our footsteps - they stayed 3 nights @ Fanta Bungalows with us. I didn't notice them as I was trying with every inch of muscle to get myself up the hill. I stopped ¾ of the way up for a breather + saw Ali back down the bottom talking (to G+C). Took ½ hour to get into town - got some postcards + looked around @ all the clothing. Had a couple of banana shakes (15B each) and sent a fax to Mum + Dad 150B. Clothing was all price tagged - quite different from the mainland of Thailand. Headed back to Fanta Bungalows for a meal. Just hung out for the 2nd night, chatting & Genia had become interested in coconuts - soon to take its grips on me too. Met Marcel + Jochen (2 other Germans). Next day went walking over the rocks to the next bay - Coral Beach. Used the snorkels + fins from Fanta Bungalows (free) & did some snorkeling. Was great weather & added to the sun tan. Saw some really colourful + large fish. It was Aaldrik's first time + he got really hooked on it. The water was a bit murky + visibility was only a few feet, so my shark phobia set in & I didn't stay out too long each time. Christian joined us later + he + I set off to try + make it to Bottle Beach - unfortunately it was too much climbing + jungle like trails overgrown to the max. About a third of the way there we decided it was better to go back. Saw some great views from the cliffs + a few photos were spent.

Got back and had a shower + then it was stay up until 12.00 for the celebration of Aaldriks birthday. He turned 30 - wow old man now!! We play scrap - this card game Christian taught us. Both Genia + I made Ali a coconut thingie to hang around his neck + C+A also bought him a jar of tiger balm. Bed was late ~1.30 AM, but still we rose by 9.30 next day. Went walking to Wang Sigh Waterfalls. It was an easy walk.........

and a pleasant sight at the end. Only spent a short while there & then headed back to the resort near the trail entrance. Just starting to develop with nice flowers + eating area - food was about 5B dearer but larger serves than back @ Fanta Bungalows. Saw a guitar + wanted to play is - but alas tuning it up was hard + I broke 2 strings - uh oh !! but they said no problem no problem + didn't accept money for new strings. I should have looked more closely as I discovered the last 3 strings were strung around the wrong way + as soon as I tightened them the rubbing against one & other snapped them. One thing I have discovered is there are alot of guitars around. All cheap + always out of tune. Went back as it looked like rain - we missed it though, thank god - it was pouring over our side of the island as we could see the dark clouds from the top of the cliff. But when we got there it was over. Genia + Christian decided to move on the next day + caught the taxi-boat to Bottle Beach 20B each. A Dutchman staying also went to do some snorkeling. We just spent the day reading + me coconut cutting + sanding. Made this great coconut box - looks fab!! Was going to give it as a present but it looked so good decided to keep it. Set up that night talking with 3 Dutch people + later one of the local taxi-drivers joined us for a while. Was really pleasant - but had to get up the next day for the 2 boat trips + cycle ~ 30kms.

map Thailand08-09-96
Left about @ 10.30AM. Bill was 3500B for 5 nights + days (including food, drinks etc.) - not bad at all!! Got to Thong Sala, posted some more post cards, bought the ferry tickets 65B each to Ko Samui & waited till 12.45 to board for 1.00PM departure. Trip was fast but we could see that there was a lot of rain approaching. We hadn't even got off the boat & down it came. In 5 seconds we were ringing wet. Just rode down to pier + stopped to change + have a coffee until it lightened up a bit. It did + so off we took for a 9 km ride to the next pier for the car ferry to Don Sak. ½ Way there it poured again. This time it wasn't funny, luggage was soaked + so were we + the rain was blinding in the face. We followed all the signs + then after riding on we felt we had gone too far as one we didn't see anymore signs + it was getting further from the coast. Ali asked some people + yes it was about 3km. We had arrived @ 2.00, left the coffee shop @ 2.15 and the boat according to the Lonely Planet was going @ 4.00, so we thought we were in plenty of time. On our way back, following the directions we were given, we knew how we had missed the turn-off. The signs were only in Thai & after following signs in English we had expected there to be one for the turn-off. Got there dripping once again - much to all the locals amazement - bought our ticket 70B each including the bicycles (40B each without). Pulled some semi dry clothes out after tying our bikes to a door & went to go + get changed. Ferry took about 1½ hours. I had a little nap - was very cold + hungry. Followed the road into Don Sak. First asking @ some bungalows near the ferry pier but they wanted 300B/night - too much for us. (reason why we didn't want to stay on Ko Samui - it was tourist city!!) Wished we had stopped to get some tobacco though as 2 days later we ran out + well it is impossible to get anywhere else - maybe Nakhon Si Thammarat. Don Sak was about 8 km from the pier + not too hard a ride except that I was really grumpy & any hill bigger then an ant nest was something to complain about. It was a tiny little village + we managed by asking twice to find the only hotel in the place - really grotty & 120B/night. It is hard to barter when you know there is only one hotel in the town. So we strung all our bike straps across the room, turned the fan up full bore & hung out everything to dry. Sleeping bags, passports, books + nearly every item of clothing. Left the room in search of some food. Ate in a little shop run by this obliging lady who showed us all her wares before we settled for a chicken curry & rice + one large Singha (nueng Bier Singh Yai). It was OK except for the large pieces of liver in it (which I didn't notice when it was in the pot). Still I was hungry enough to almost eat anything. Next on the agenda was toilet paper, bin liners + some munchy snack. The bin liners proved a problem but finally found this shop with very large + strong plastic bags, so I bought 10 @ a very costly price of 4B each. But what the heck, it was essential as I didn't want to go through another washing line session as today. After browsing the village in less than half an hour we decided to go to the place across the road from the hotel where people were hanging out + drinking + eating.

After consuming one beer we were advanced by this strange Thai man who didn't speak hardly any English except for "you my friend". He bought a beer + insisted on us drinking it. So then Aaldrik had to buy one + later me too. During the 2nd + 3rd one we realized this guy was a bit dodgy; tried to get us to buy Krong Thip cigarettes for him + he ordered some peanuts which later we found out we had to pay for. At one stage he took all his money out of his pocket & was trying to give us (well actually Aaldrik) 500B, then 1000B. I hadn't noticed but back at our hotel Ali said taxi's with men were arriving + the girls sitting at the shop where we were, were disappearing upstairs. It suddenly clicked; this guy was a pimp and he was offering 1000B for me, shit! Well luckily Aaldrik thought I was worth more, so he refused the 1000B; and second lucky wave was this guy appeared really really pissed + so he left. The lady owner also appeared very happy as well. Her son had already joined us & he was studying in Bangkok University & could speak English quite enough to get by with simple conversation. His friend joined us + was a football fanatic, who Ali had a good conversation with. Then we had some really great sweet milky real coffee + logan's. The atmosphere had got alot better + it was nearing our time to sleep. The two young boys wanted to go off to a Karaoke Place - they asked us to accompany them but we declined + soon after they left - so did we. Washing was starting to dry + we were dead beat!! Woke early the morning well I wasn't really awake as I was woken up by this terrible urge to scratch myself constantly - from all the mosquito bites - covered myself in rid + just got to sleep to be woken up by really loud Thai music. God knows how but Aaldrik was still sound asleep. I got out the organiser to see it was only 4.30AM. The music went on for 1½ hours + I finally fell asleep just before we had to wake up. So once again I was a little crabby. None the less we had to completely pack and that took ages. Finally left Don Sak, probably about 8.30AM. Riding towards Ban Nai was a gradual climb + we only went about 12km/hour. I was hungry + we stopped there but the food didn't appear too appetising so we decided 2 cokes were the go. Later 5km out of Ban Nai we bought a hand of bananas (baby) cost 10B + she popped about 15 logans in it as well. We stopped at the first road house for a coke + some yummy wafer biscuits - ate some fruit + felt a little better. Felt fantastic after as we realised the rest of the way to Sichon was all downhill, traveled 25 km in an hour. Stopped at the main intersection + asked directions to "bungalows". The Thais know this word very well. They said about 4km from the main town. As we headed down the main street we didn't have a clue where we were going so stopped again + were told go to main intersection & turn right. (actually a T-junction) It appeared we were heading towards the beach so it felt right. Came to another Y-intersection + went to go left but a lady in a shop was shaking her head + pointing in the other direction. We took her advice and landed at Prasansuk Villa. Stopped for a beer or two + some food. Asked about accommodation but after being told the cheapest bungalow (fan-cooled) was 320B per night, 480B with air-con + 800B VIP we decided to go further to Him Ham Bungalows, which we were told were 200B. (the next day we saw other bungalows further on but at this stage we didn't realise there was any more accommodation) It was really expensive for the place we had; pretty dirty but at least somewhere to lay our heads. Went back to the restaurant after a shower. Whilst we were showering (we had no electricity + we were going to say something when we got to the rest.), the young girls were knocking on the door "you you you!". We ignored them & when we walked out they kept saying 200B room O.K.. It clicked that we had to pay before we had the electricity. Mind you, we had already spent 10 minutes back in the restaurant the first time asking whether they wanted us to pay now or tomorrow, then it appeared tomorrow was O.K. So anyway we paid + believe it or not the electricity was put on. After a meal we decided to go into town + venture around. I found this great little market shop. Bought some lightweight clothes pegs (15B) + a beaded bracket (20B). They had great chopping knives, wished I had bought one now. Oh well, might see one in the future! (only 69B each). In fact there was everything there. Next to this was a little eatery where we stopped for a couple of beers & an ice cream to take home with us. Strange Thai custom is to continually fill your glass with beer - even if you have only taken a sip- & they drink it with ice too. I quite like it, but Aaldrik begs to differ. Left to go back to Him Ham to find cockroaches (huge) + frogs in the bathroom + room. As there was no mosi-net I began to wonder if I would sleep at all, but I did. We woke @ 8.00 + were gone by 9.00. We stopped @ the bungalows we first visited for a breakfast of coffee, fried eggs, sausage + hamburger. Good start to the day although we had originally ordered coffee + omelets. O.K., small communication breakdown, but that happens all the time over here!! So off for the 70 km ride. Bless us all it was flat & really easy. We stopped after 55 minutes, record ride, but the weather wasn't too hot + the road flat. 17 km from Tha Sala, a taxi driver from Surat Thani (with his wife) stopped & offered to take us to Nakhon si Thammarat.

map ThailandAt first we refused but he stopped us again + wouldn't take "no" for an answer. We asked if we had to pay + he said "no". So on went the bikes + we traveled in comfort for the next 43 km. Finally stopped a km out of town where he wanted us to buy him a beer. We couldn't resist, so he took us to this little side street shop right next to the army barracks + had a beer (only 25B - you really have to know where to go). He was great, really friendly & was down in Nakhon to see his wife's sister. So after a beer we took off down the main road to find a place to stay. After a few places - one was not great looking and the next too expensive - we found a tourist bureau who advertised "we speak English". A little far from the truth, but anyway we managed to find out where the hotels were. One had no rooms, but the next, Siam Hotel, had really large rooms with a shower floor you didn't mind standing on with bare feet for 130B/night. We decided to stay 2 nights here. First we had a shower + then went back to the tourist bureau - same street we were staying on (the night market area - Chamroen Withi Rd.) We found an English booklet with a map (but hardly any street names) and info about the area. I was feeling a bit faint as it was 3.00PM and hadn't eaten anything since breakfast - had a nice meal at a restaurant up the street along with a coke - never drank so much coke in my life - but when you are riding it gives you instant energy and especially if you haven't eaten much. We walked to the post office (overseas calls) and inquired about posting a large box back by sea - the box was only 22B & for 10 kg it cost 620B so we decided to send back a few presents and some unwanted clothes & our cooking gear (as we wont really be needing it). It ended up being 4,5 kg & cost 430B & will probably take 2 months. Bags are a lot lighter now. Haven't been able to use our Optus calling card anywhere so sent a collect call to Mum + Dad (cost 30B). Quick chat but they (or should I say Mum) seemed a little more relaxed. Dropped the box off + tested to see what we could put in it. Had just bought 3 pieces of batik (60B each). Then off for a meal - found a great little eatery & ordered food + beer (160B). Then went in search of the bar area. Passed a place called the Indie Pub but was so close to where we ate we decided to continue further. Finally reached the area where the bars were + it was as full on prostitution area. Decided the Indie Pub was going to be the place for the night. Had a few games of pool + met a couple of Germans - pretty boring but nice to have an English convo (they would have rather spoken German though - that's OK for Aaldrik). Quite late in the evening I thought I would ask at the bar if anyone knew where to get Drum (rolling tobacco) from. Got talking to the owner, who had just opened up 1 year ago (originally worked in Ko Samui so he spoke good English). So Lek (the owner's name) had developed this place for tourists. There is a sign on the front door which says only UK USA Rock Songs. Well there is more than that - but all western music + he does have great taste in music - Nirvana, Blind Melon, Cranberries + more. He said he would try + get some tobacco tomorrow for us. Anyway we drank too much + foolishly finished off the evening with a tequila - bad move.

We didn't woke the next day till 11.30 & took a while having showers etc. before leaving at 12.30 in search of food. Then went back + got the bikes & ventured out (this town is very big). Went first to the post office to mail the package - lots of paper work - and we'll see if it gets to Australia or not later. Then went to the Tourist Authority to check out about going to the Khao Lang National Park. It appears the map we had was not correct, it was 29 km to the Ka Rom Falls and they did have accommodation but it was a big house for 800B-1000B and maybe you could camp but you had to ask the park official if you could. We left here to sit + plan what way we would go next. Over yet another coke, we decided the park was not really a good idea. 29 km to find out we couldn't camp & then having to return here. Also there was only a slim chance of finding food out there. So tomorrow Hua Sai. We were just across from the Phra Mahathat Temple - with the golden spire - it was not as beautiful as all the books make out & I suddenly realised I wasn't dressed properly so we skipped the viewing + walked up the road to a little market. Every single shop sold the same things. It was amazing how they all survived. Ali bought me a great bracelet made of the Yan Liplao vine - there is a Yan Liplao Centre 11 km from here which we will pass tomorrow on our way to Hua Sai. Maybe some of the Pha Yok fabric will be cheaper here than in Nakhon Si Thammarat (380B for 2 meters). Also got these great spoons & forks made out of coconut for 20B a pair - they are really cute. Picked our bikes up which we locked up to the fence of the shop where we had the cokes originally & rode back into town via the Suzuki motorcycle shop to find some gloves for me 35B. I cut the gel bits out of my gloves + sewed them into the leather for a bit of padding (my gloves had slowly started to disintegrate& there wasn't much joining them together anymore). Ali found a Thailand Times for the 1st time in 4 days (he was getting withdrawal symptoms!). So off to another little eatery for some tea - hard trying to order anything apart from what they have in the cooking pots. Anyway I managed by pointing to a dish some young girls had ordered so we had some vegetables for the first time since Ko Pha Ngan - it was really good. We had to go back to the Indie Pub to see if we could get some tobacco so home to get trousers on - the mosquitoes are bad here!! Lek was here when we arrived & said that his bar staff would be going to get tobacco. He came back with a piece of paper which said SAIL (BLACK) HOLLAND HOUSE. Well we thought OK any tobacco is OK. When it came back it was cherry flavoured pipe tobacco. When Lek saw there was a problem he got it sent back and we got our money back. We felt a little bad but now Ali + his pool partner + they are trashing everyone on the table, so I don't think there is any problem now.It is 11.52 and I am getting tired so after this game I'm gonna have to pull Ali away from the table to go home. Tomorrow will be a big day & we are going to stop at Lek's work (he works for the highways department) and says he has a good map of the Nakhon Si Thammarat district. Could be handy although the L.P. guide has been OK up until now.

map Thailand12-09-96
Next morning left @ 9.00 & what we thought would be a quick stop to the bank for some more money turned into a 40 minute wait while they processed my Visa card transaction. Finally got out with the cash + ventured to the highway department (about 3 km out of town). Anyway we were late + Lek was awaiting our arrival. He had a pile of handouts he wanted to give to us for us to hand out and a whole diary which contained a really good map. I don't think he realized how little spare we had but he was so sweet we took them all and discarded them in our next bungalow after tearing out the map. (all parts of maps you see on this site, are taken from that map). We had coffee + jasmine tea with swiss role with him before saying goodbye + heading to Hua Sai. It was a late start (11.00) + as per usual a hot day. We arrived in town about 4.00 pm to ask @ the first guest house how much? 240B was a little too expensive so we moved on to apparently the only other accommodation which was a resort 4 km out of town. 200B for a bungalow with water, towels + soap. Pretty disgusting shower + toilet (+cockroaches). The ride had been quite easy except it was only 2 lane highway with no shoulder to ride on. Pretty hairy at times when trucks were overtaking. They just don't budge & you have to get onto the gravel side road which was not easy riding. There was one hill which surprisingly enough I sailed over leaving Ali for dead (only because his chain came off). I didn't notice at all & merrily rode on into town. I talked away to him + I thought I could hear him behind me. However, he was still 2 km behind me. When I finally realized he wasn't there I stopped to see if he was in the distance.

After a few minutes I cycled back & there he was, 500 m in the distance. We did some washing, showered + set off into Hua Sai in search of food. We hadn't eaten anything apart from breakfast with Lek + a few cokes during the day with some cashew nuts. We found a little rooftop restaurant near the bridge leading out of town. First we sat down & the young kids were contemplating who would come + serve us. The older brother came up + first thing he said was "speak Thai?". "No", we had to answer & after every book, phrases on paper was taken out we managed to order a wonderful diner of fried chicken with a large plate of vegetables in soy paste plus rice + a couple of Singhas. We were the only ones there for the first ¾ hour + gradually the place became busy with locals eating. That's always a good sign that you have picked the right place to eat. We left about 7.30 for the 4 km ride out of the city and picked up some water supplies for the next day at a local shop. * On way to Hua Sai stopped at marquee + had coke for free - "friends" - transvestites.*

map ThailandNext day were heading for Sathing Phra which one guide book said "alot of places to stay for 100B". Obviously this person had never been to Sathing Phra as it was a tiny little village. We headed out towards the beach thinking that this accommodation would be here but all we found was a great little restaurant on the beach doing a thriving business. No-one could speak English. Ordering a beer was OK as we know how to do that in Thai, but asking where a guest house/hotel was, was another story. We had it written down in Thai from Thap Sakae + showing the piece of paper got us the answer that the only place in town (or near) was the "resort" 4 km out of town. We already had this in the organiser but were using it as a last resort as it was a little expensive. We stopped on the main street to buy some Marlboro (still out of Drum & none to be found anywhere). One of the customers spoke English very well + drew us a map so we could find the resort. (though it was signposted and not that hard anyway) About 1 km off + he caught up on his motorcycle + led us there, mind you it was bloody hard to keep up. The scenery from Hua Sai to Sathing Phra had changed somewhat as everywhere there were shrimp farms along the coast. Got to the resort & had to pay 270B for a room with shower + western toilet. We had to put our own mosi net up & managed somehow with the ocky straps from one end of the room to the other. So it was down to check out beach, which was disappointing. Lots of crabs in the water which bit your toes + pretty dirty on the beach. So a shower + then food. The curry chicken we ordered was terrible - food was pricier than we had encountered. But we were hungry + quite tired so we ate + then went to sleep - quite eventful really. Next morning packed for 9.00 breakfast. Now this was an event, we ordered 2 cooked breakfasts (American style) but I changed my mind + asked for fried rice & chicken. I left for the loo + when I got back I had a cooked breakie. Ali told me they had made a mistake + she had said sorry a million times - but I still got it anyway + they charged us 40B each instead of the 35B on the menu + the 20B the fried rice would have cost me. When I paid I couldn't be bothered saying anything (what is 10B?). Stroke of luck + this guy started talking to me asking where we were going - Songkhla - he told us we.........

map Thailand14-09-96
Strangely enough here the story ends. I don't know what happened, but we did proceed and went cycling towards Songkhla, where we didn't have to cycle across the Tinsulanond Bridge via Ko Yo to get there, but take the ferry for about five minutes to end up in the middle of town. From here onwards, the story of our travels will be told by the author of this website.

In Songkhla we headed for the Amsterdam Guest House in the city centre, close to the markets, where they sell the most amazing fabric. Son bought quite a few pieces here, as well as on the former island of Ko Yo about ten km from Songkhla. The Amsterdam Guest House is clean, very well run by a lady from The Netherlands and pricey. If my memory doesn't let me down, we paid 300B per night, but we did have clean sheets, towels and a great accommodation. Worth it, I suppose. We stayed here for quite a few days, 4 night to be precise, to absorb the atmosphere of this major port and to chill out in the luxury of the Amsterdam GH. On the 18th we decided our goal would be to get to Hat Yai, where we would stay overnight and than take a train towards Southern Thailand. The road to Hat Yai is a four to six-lane highway all the way, and you hardly notice leaving Songkhla and entering Hat Yai, it is almost clustered together. Hat Yai is the southern main industrial city, not very nice, but we found this OK hotel near the night markets, where we spend the night on the fourth floor after carrying our bikes up all the flights of stairs.

map Thailand

The hotel doesn't have any signposts, it isn't listed in the tourist maps, so we do owe somebody a thank you for pointing it out to us. I think it was the British guy who stayed with us in Songkhla??
But anyway, great food on the night market behind the cinema complex (Hat Yai Rama) on corner Phetkasem Road & Montri 2 road. Checked out the time tables at the train station for the next day and visited the book shop opposite. On the 19th we leave, by train, for Tan Yong Mat, the train station near Rangae, the closest to Narathiwat, situated on the coast.

We must have traveled for at least four or five hours by train before being able to get up on our bikes and do about 25 km to get into Narathiwat. The southern part of Thailand is predominantly muslim, so the scenery is changing as well. More mosques, more veils, but still with a boeddhist influence. We decide to stay three days in Narathiwat, a laid back town, where we are the only westerners for the first couple of days. According to the locals, the King is at his palace near Narathiwat and sure, one night, all traffic is stopped for half an hour, a caravan of armored vehicles passes and King Bhumibol is in one of them. The locals are all bowing their heads and very delighted to have seen their king. He is almost like a god here in Thailand.

map Thailand

On the 22nd we leave Thailand, the land of smiles to enter Malaysia. We go south from Narathiwat towards Tak Bai, where we cross the border river by ferry. This unusual trip gives us easier access to Kota Bharu, the major city in the north of Kelantan province. What a change this is !!! Malaysia is so much more modern than Thailand, and even the border crossing makes a huge difference. This is a total different world, dominated by big western corporations. Neon lights everywhere, Kodak, Coca Cola, Fuji... etcetera. We stay in a Chinese run Guest House, where at least we can buy ourselves a beer... It is difficult in this part of Malaysia, since it is very strict muslim country. No alcohol, no short sleeved t-shirts for women (the Chinese population doesn't seem to bother, though), even separate counters at the supermarket for men and women (Son doesn't seem to be bothered by it though and goes to the empty men-counter instead of queuing in the women's one). The Ideal Travelers' Guest House (20 Ringit/night) is packed with foreigners and has a nice beer garden at the back. Not very nice are the rats, cat-size, that jump over your feet underneath the tables. The food market in the city centre is an absolute must. The food is fantastic, cheap and freshly made for you, while you wait and zip a drink at the tables in the middle of the square. No utensils, food to eat with the hands (that is your right only, the left is for other things). But nevertheless I do manage to pick up a nasty bug and with these stomach cramps we have to stay a few days longer in Kota Bharu than planned. On the 25th I feel healthy enough to get going again and our bikes take us to Kuala Besut, the village to take the ferry from to the Perhentian Islands. We park our bikes in the shop of the ticket sales person and leave for some fine days on the island (the small one).

Unfortunately the island is packed, with other travelers that is, and there is hardly a room available. We manage to squeeze ourselves in a hut for two nights and linger on the beach, which is beautiful. The masses on the tiny island, the food & even water prices aren't, so we leave on the 27th to return to Kota Bharu. We have decided that if we want to enjoy our travels to the fullest, we have to go back to Thailand with it's smiling faces. So we do.

On the 28th we travel back north to Narathiwat, spend a night in the same hotel and then head up to Sai Buri, 50 km north along the coast. The "resort" is a small cluster of huts, traveling towards the beach from town, passing industrial areas and the major fishing harbor. The bungalow isn't bad at all and there is a restaurant/karaoke bar on our doorstep. We spend the night there, eating and drinking and the owner is very amused when we order the very spicy food. As she is preparing in the kitchen we are already coughing and sneezing because of the strength of the chilies used. And we are several meters away from the stove... Nevertheless beautiful food to travel on and the next day we fly to Pattani, another short (60 km) trip.

We have noticed that were ever you are cycling, the wind is always coming from the wrong side, i.e. from the front. When we were heading south earlier in our holidays, the wind seemed to be coming from the south-east, now it seems to have changed around and coming from the north-west. It might have something to do with the arriving of the monsoon, which is late this year. Pattani is a nice town with a not too nice beachfront, as far as I can remember. We walk around town a bit and visited the industrial area of the city, shop fronts full of people working on engines, black with oil, grease and dirt. We are, of course, dressed in our off-bike white and clean clothes and therefore the main attraction in town for the day.

And so, October arrives, and we start one of our longest and toughest cycle trips. The wind is still blowing severely from the front, the route isn't particularly nice or challenging, so we peddle and peddle and peddle, for more than 100 km, before we arrive back in Songkhla and the Amsterdam Guest House, where we stay for a few more days. Hey, it's our holidays too, you know! We plan our trip and decide to go to the other side of the peninsula, towards Krabi. This means going around the inland lake, towards Phatthalung and then cross over the mountain range to Trang. Because we then want to go towards Phuket, it leaves us with not enough time to travel all the way by bike, so we decide to train up to Phatthalung and cross over to Trang.

map Thailand04-10-96
We want to cycle into Hat Yai to take the train, but the owners of the Amsterdam Guest House insist we put our bikes on the back of their ute, and of course ourselves as well, so we head towards Hat Yai the Thai way. They drop us off at the train station where we take the train, which takes about two hours and costs 18B each, I don't know if that was including bikes... There is hardly any space left on the train, so we sit in the open doorway on the steps of the train, but there is hardly any danger, the train isn't going that fast anyway. If you were to drop off, you probably catch up running after it. In Phatthalung we stay at the Hoa Fah Hotel in the middle of this not very interesting town, paying 170B for a roomy single. There is supposed to be a lakeside resort not far from town, but we decline. Next day we head towards Trang. It's on the other side of the mountainous area which splits the peninsula in two, so there is some climbing to do. The area is beautiful, the hills very steep, but the road is well paved. Son is having problems with her gearing system, so she can't get up the hills properly, but it could be that she is looking for an excuse to get off her bike, because she can't make it up the hill. Still to decide.
The trip isn't that bad at all, except when it starts raining. The clouds are hanging really low, and we decide to stop at a hut beside the road. We are not the only ones, about six or seven locals also got the same idea. Everybody is really curious about these "farang" on their bikes, so we have plenty to explain.

We even get offered parts of a delicious fruit, but when we get the thing closer to our noses, we recognise the sweet smell of durian... It's so revolting, we decline a second part, even though the owner is insisting we take more, because we devoured the first bit. Which of course wasn't true, we ditched it without anybody noticing. As soon as possible, it's just drizzling now, we leave the durian behind and peddle on towards Trang. Just before town however, the road works start.

map Thailand05-10-96
They are building a new road, and the red earth has opened up before us for quite a few kilometers. It wouldn't have been that bad, hadn't it rained before. It's one big red mud pool, stretching for miles. We end up in town, covered from top to bottom in mud. We clean our bikes, legs and shoes with a hose at the petrol station when close to the city, because we won't be able to get a room at a hotel, the way we look. It's still not dry when we crash at the Wattana Hotel (I think), which has a great restaurant downstairs. The people here are very friendly and the coffee is yummie! Real coffee that is, Trang is renowned for it.

map Thailand08-10-96
It's a lovely little town, very relaxed and we chill out for a while before moving towards Krabi. This is a two days trip, we will try and find a hotel on the way, probably in Khlong Thom, because it has a hospital, it will have a hotel or guest house (This has been true for all except one town we called upon, during our cycling through Thailand. More on this exception later). We leave Trang and set off to Sikao, which is the smaller road to the west, instead of following the busier north route. And of course they are doing road works. Or are they just building an entirely new road? It's a good thing our mountain bike tires are good enough to handle medium sized rocks as pavement, because this goes on for 20 to 30 kilometers. Then we get back on the main road and we end up in Khlong Thom, where we do find a place to crash, not much more, but hey, we are easy to please.

map Thailand

Next day on our bikes to Krabi, where we head straight towards the beach area, which is about 15 k's out of town. What a shock after rural Thailand. Hundreds and hundreds of bungalows, stacked upon each other. We find a boat, which takes us to Railae Bay Bungalow, where we find a place to stay for B150,- per night. We decide to stay for 4 nights. The beach is nice enough and we take it easy. There are several bungalows here as well, and they organise all kinds of things for the guests. There is also a football tournament for the locals and people working here, so the service isn't that good. But hey, they are enjoying themselves. The sport is a sort of cross between football and volleyball and very spectacular. Glad we don't have to participate. We spend one day in town and stay in the Grand Tower Hotel, down by the river. Great hotel, great service, great value for money I think to remember. We cycle for about sixty kilometer to find a waterfall and having fun before going back to Krabi. Looks like rain, which it does, but find a spot to shelter for the downpour on somebody's doorstep. Have a little conversation with hands and feet before moving on.

map Thailand14-10-96
We set off on the 14th to cycle to Wang Wiset, where we hope to find a place to sleep. All the way from Krabi it is hilly, so not that easy. When we finally, after 95 km. end up in Wang Wiset, there is no accommodation. People offer us the back of their ute to go to Trang, and a place for our bicycles in town. It has been a long day, but we decide to proceed cycling and go to Trang, another 50 km. Son is really tired, so I relieve her from most of the luggage, which makes it easier for her to peddle along. We do make it, and about ten kilometers out of Trang, Son get's a second wind and starts flying towards Trang, forgetting that I am carrying all the luggage. Can just keep up with her and arrive in a smoke filled Trang. They've just started The Vegetarian Festival, which means setting off enough fireworks to blow up half the town. We crash at the same hotel we stayed in before and empty several beers before carrying our stuff up the stairs. It's been a long day. We enjoy the long parades of festival go-ers, and shoot several rolls of pictures from people with piercings... this means swords, skewers, basketball loops and even a motorcycle handlebar. Weird stuff going on here...

18-10-96 map Thailand
Although we are not sure we can find a sleeping spot south of Trang, but north of Satun, we go for it again. The locals in Trang say there is no accommodation between Trang and Satun, but we do find a little resorty place near Thong Wa. Nothing to get wild about, but good enough to sleep after a 75 kilometer ride. It's getting wetter, there's rain almost every day now, and it looks like the monsoon is catching up with us. It's late this year, but for us it's time to get going. And it's getting closer to the 1st of November, the day we have to fly out of Singapore to Perth, Australia. On the 19th we arrive in Satun, where we stay at the Udomsuk Hotel. Satun is a nice town, they also participate in the Vegetarian Festival, and it's a giant party in town that night. We walk around and talk to several people while watching the giant bonfires. We leave again on the 20st to cycle to the pier, just south of town.

map Thailand21-10-96
It's pissing down, and the atmosphere isn't getting better. We cross the Thai-Malaysian border by longtail boat and cycle from Kuala Perlis to Alor Satar, where we end up pretty late. We find a hotel with plenty of spittoons, the first time in our lives we are kept awake by gurgling people. The town itself isn't much, although they do have a nice eating area. We see our first giant rats here, none of them in Thailand. There is no need for us to stay any longer than the one night, so off to Penang the next day. A 100 km. ride is easy enough. the roads are immaculate and Penang is gorgeous. We only stay for 2 nights and take the night train to Kuala Lumpur, which is quite a hassle. The bikes are supposed to go on another train, but we can't let them go for insurance reasons. After a lot of hassling, they go on the same train, we're happy. The train is third class, which is twelve times better than 1st class in Thailand. Need a sweater because of the airco. Stay in KL for several days, not able to cycle around, but do a lot of walking. Stay near Little India, which means plenty of good food and accommodations.

On October 30 we catch the train to Johor Bahru, where we stay for the night. We cycle into Singapore to Changi International Airport, where boxes are waiting for our precious bicycles to be shipped to Australia. They carried us around for almost 2000 kilometers (approx. 1250 miles) without a hitch. One flat tyre during three months of cycling. Amazing. Just as our trip. We met so many beautiful people, saw so many beautiful things, cities, landscapes, but most of all, enjoyed the freedom to get up and go, peddle and be closer to everything we visited than we would have ever been. All thanks to our bicycles. And our legs. Son said she wouldn't do it any other way. We won't.

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