The bike bags are always packed quickly, just before I start. The bike takes a little longer, but I tied it up the day before I left, now only the large taxi has to be on time and then it can actually start. Where? First I fly to Bangkok and then I want to cycle again towards Cambodia and further north-east. I applied for and received visas for the neighboring countries, even for China, which was a very time-consuming process because you have to appear in person at the Visa Center in order to not only submit the application but also your fingerprints. As an individual traveler you also have to declare every overnight stay in advance, and if you want to travel overland, as I plan to do, you also have to explain your plans in some detail – without mentioning the bike, for sure.
So roughly where I ended my trip two years ago, I want to get back on the roard and the flight from Amsterdam is even on time in Bangkok. Early morning, it is hazy and of course very warm, actually a wonderful day, but I have to get used to the high sun and the oppressive heat. It is about 32°C in the shade when Maik, a friend from Berlin, and I start at one of the many exits of the airport terminal. Maik will accompany me for about a quarter of the planned route.
However, we are initially on the wrong level. The built-up street that leads past the exits of the arrival hall leads as an elevated street directly onto the motorway. So we push the bikes back into the building and take the closest elevator to the basement. There we come to the ground level from the terminal and can turn below the highway to the next intersection with a smaller trunk road to the right and towards Chachoengsao. Airports of this dimension are not designed for cyclists.
Oh yes, it’s a hot day. From the airport to Luang Phaeng Road, which then takes us further to the east, the road runs through very spacious commercial areas and large green areas located on the airport site, which will surely also have storage or factory buildings at some point. After that, the traffic becomes denser and more hectic. The street is partially lined with many small shops and workshops, bus depots or other commercial areas. Sometimes a wide moat crosses the course of the road, which is then spanned by a longer but also narrowing bridge; unpleasant traffic points.
From one of these bridges, I see a street restaurant a little off the road, which we then head for in and finally have something to eat and take a break. However, the warmth of the early afternoon builds up under the relatively high canopy. An older Thai woman runs the small food stall and cooks us some vegetables with meat and a fried egg in her wok with the rice, which she already has ready in an insulated pot.
Here I now have the peace of mind to deal with the phone card I bought at the airport. It works right away in my smartphone, so I can keep in touch with home, as well as occasionally uploading texts like this one.
A few kilometers further we pass a bicycle dealer, whose open business can also be seen from the street. Maik still needs a bottle holder on his bike and the friendly man can promptly mount a suitable part on Maik’s bike. Our water requirements are high and having at least one bottle at hand makes drinking a little easier. I’ve always had three holders on my bike.
So we gradually come closer to our goal for today, which I chose not far from the airport for the day of arrival. A small hut village, far from the main street, which has now been transferred to a construction site, on a side arm of the canal running parallel to the street. Unfortunately, it is not quiet there, as a water pump chugs around the clock, but it is clean and inexpensive.
The desire to explore the strange, exotic places of the world has always been great for me and as long as my environment allows me to give in to it from time to time – well, I like to plan and much more that that, I prefer to implement my plans.