Having left my touring bicycle in Germany, I had been traveling regular backpacker style for the last few months. Other than renting bicycles here and there for little rides, I hadn’t planned on bike touring again until I got back to North America in late October.
Then, I learned that Carissa was planning to start a Southeast Asian bike tour in early December. I was enjoying my time out here anyway, so I changed my flight – and other plans (I had planned on going to Vegas in November). I spent November on beaches in southern Thailand and in the Visayan Islands in the Philippines, mostly on hammocks or underwater, before making a detour to Hong Kong to visit Royal and to get my bag-o’-bike-gear from him.
I met up with Carissa yesterday and got all squared away with gear and whatnot. We met up with Kevin, an American expat who posts on the same message forums as I do. I had never met Kevin before, but he had offered to take me to his local bike shop. The folks at Saeng Thong Bike set me up with a Merida mountain bike, and they were happy to put my rack, saddle, and bottle cages on for me as well. The shop was quite far from the skytrain station and the bike wouldn’t fit in a taxi (we tried!), but another customer at the shop was nice enough to give us a ride in his van.
I’m almost all set, equipment/gear-wise, but I don’t have a handlebar bag (I overloaded my Topeak one and broke the handlebar attachment while touring in western Europe), so I’m debating whether I should grab the only one available at the shop that I know how to get to – it’s the Ortlieb Ultimate. It’s a little big and way expensive at 3750 baht (about US$120) but, on the other hand, it’s a nearly three-month tour.
Our loosely planned itinerary so far is to go through Cambodia, swing north through Vietnam, and then west across the northern mountains of Laos, and then tour through northern Thailand. Carissa will probably take the train back from northern Thailand to Bangkok, since she has to be back a couple days before March 1, her fly-out date. I haven’t decided what to do yet. I may extend the tour down through Thailand and hit up the beaches and islands before heading back, or I may be tired of bike touring and Southeast Asia by that point.
We catch the 5:55am train the day after tomorrow to get to the Cambodia-Thailand border.