Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 157: Chiang Mai, Thailand!

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on Mar - 16 - 2011

The bicycle is in my opinion the perfect mode of transportation. As long as you are actually cycling, that is. Travelling by bus, train or flight with a bicycle quickly becomes a pain in the ass.

My host Mrinal had arranged a taxi to Calcutta airport. After some initial doubt the driver agreed to put the bicycle in the trunk, the front wheel hanging out. On the way to the airport I counted two times when another car or scooter bumped into the wheel! I’m usual not sensitive about the bike at all, but that made me nervous. In front of the airport I saw Lyndon from Australia who I first met five days ago in Orissa. We were both booked on the same plane to Bangkok. Even India can seem small apparently.

Taking off the pedals, turning the handle bars and deflating the tires is usually enough to get the bike checked in. This time however, the Air Asia staff indicated that I would need some kind additional protection. Luckily someone showed up with two pieces of cardboard and some wire. Sure enough that did the trick. Next stop Bangkok!

In Thailand you get a one month visa for free at the airport. Fast and easy. If you need longer time (which I think I might) you can make a so called visa run to one of the neighbor countries later. You take a bus to the border, cross a line, walk back into Thailand and voilà, you are welcome to stay two weeks longer. Bureaucracy at work.

Once reunited with the bicycle, in surprisingly good shape after the flight, I was heading for the bus station. My idea was to find a night bus to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. From there I will start cycling south covering almost the entire length of Thailand. I wanted to take a night bus because I plan to cycle more or less the same way back to Bangkok as the bus would be driving – but what would the point be if I had already seen the entire route?

To my surprise there was a bus headed for Chiang Mai within half an hour of my arrival. Bus travelling seems efficient and easy in Thailand. Anyway, I hope this will be the only time I will have to use one. After all I prefer cycling.

When I asked the bus driver if I could bring the bicycle he just smiled and said “of course”. That is the first time I have got that reaction trying to get a bicycle on a bus. What is not to love about this country?

Categories: Thailand
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One Response so far.

  1. Morten says: