20 replies to this topic
Posted 2011-05-04 17:13:11
I'm hoping to move out to Thailand (Pattaya) over the next few months from England. I currently ride a Trek Madone 4.7 (road bike) which is great over here on English roads but i was wondering is it suitable for the roads in Thailand? I've visited Thailand many times but i've never cycled there and i'm not sure if i would need something more substantial for e.g a cyclo cross bike or even a mountain bike. I'm hoping to get involved with a cycling group and ride perhaps 2 or 3 times a week but i'm just not sure whether i should bring my Trek or not. Any advice would be very helpful.
Posted 2011-05-04 21:40:29
Pattaya in my humblest opinion is not the best area to ride (I live in Chiang Mai) but I know the roads are good enough for a road bike. The best option here in Chiang Mai is two bikes, one mtb, one road. Great trailsand great roads.
Posted 2011-05-04 23:46:49
i ride bangkok-to-pattaya 3-4 times a year. it's pleasant enough except when i get into pattaya ;-)
if you're riding *out* of pattaya i'd say a road bike will do well enough. lots of decent routes once you're out of the city. nice rolling terrain to the north & east.
if you're going to ride *in* pattaya, i'd just get the cheapest POS MTB i could find.
and pick up a good, insulated water bottle or two from back home. really worth it.
Posted 2011-05-11 11:16:56
Hi, which route do u take to Pattaya and how long does it take you? I've a condo in Pattaya and go often from BKK by bus but wondered about cycling there one day but was put off by the possibility of heavy traffic on the roads and the length of the journey.
Posted 2011-05-11 11:40:33
You can buy several foreign bikes and accessories, new or second hand, in Thailand. I have a new Trek 720 hybrid and it is fine. Orig cost was about 15000 baht so u don't need to bring yours if it is a lot of trouble. I would go for a hybrid for road travel and mild off-road. It can get hot in Thailand so cycling long distances on the usually quite good roads with a mountain bike can be tiring (and tyring!). Most of the country roads have a white lined track at the side for motor bikes and cycles so are good for long distance cycling. Cycling in Pattaya and BKK is horrendous, though, although the authorities are beginning to waken up to the need for cycle tracks which are marginally better than at present.
Posted 2011-05-11 16:07:47
Hello card, coldfusionpaul and ianf,
Thank you all for the advice its been very useful. I think i'll just leave the road bike in England and buy a hybrid once i'm out in Thailand - seems the best option!
Posted 2011-05-11 16:25:34
I've got a Merida which I use around Pattaya. Good enough for this area and it cost around 15K Bht. I would recommend the bike shop on the Suk out near Naklua area. I used to get my bikes and bits from Thepprasit but find the shop on the Suk has been much cheaper recently.
Posted 2011-05-11 16:38:04
this route was about 175km. how long that will take you depends on you & the wind. took me about 7 hours against the wind, stopping along the way for coffee, water, etc. the wind (if from the S) can be brutal south of nong chak. despite any complaints you might near from me, i still do this ride ;-)
bangkok-->chachoengsao-->phanat nikom-->nong chak-->route 3138 (parts are like cobblestones ;-) -->route 331-->khao mai kaeo-->route 3240-->pong-->pattaya (don't know what you call the area but you come out along the railroad tracks) .
a kml file (google earth) for this route is here: (oops garmin site wasn't cooperating) http://dl.dropbox.co...ity_8538323.kml
besides riding the last bit in pattaya, bangkok-chachoengsao along route 304 isn't the most pleasant--lots of debris, kind of steep, not well maintained (bare rebar poking thru) bridges & a bit of traffic but that's only about 50km of which maybe 20-25km are "bad".
Edited by coldfusionPaul, 2011-05-11 16:43:16.
Posted 2011-05-13 11:21:57
Thanks, I'll look into this.
Posted 2011-05-13 13:13:38
it looks like i'll be doing that route sunday. i'll report back if there any major changes.
Posted 2011-05-16 14:22:06
TheThe bring your Trek Madone with you. I have a 5.5 Madone and find time to ride it every week. I also have a mountain bike so it's nice to switch now and then.
A beach cruiser would be great for Pattaya Beach Road. Never enough bicycles.
Posted 2011-05-16 20:19:27
i can report that the route is more or less the same.
Posted 2011-06-02 19:29:38
I'm going to bring the trek afte all "sendaht", thanks for the reply!
Posted 2011-07-21 14:48:32
many fine rides out of Pattaya. Just be extra careful and patient getting east of Sukhumvit. Once on the road that parallels the railroad tracks, you are home free!
Explore rides north and south, you'll be amazed.
Bring 1-2 front headlamp beams (solid and strobe flasher).
Stay off Sukhumvit, or use sparringly.
Thailand has "counterflow." This is a polite euphemism to denote traffic in your bike lane coming head-on! Use head nods, head checks, etc.
I run one of my white strobe headlights for day and night rides. Have a bell on your handlebars and a jersey pocket full of doggie biscuits (bribes work).
Don't throw the biscuits aggressively towards the dogs. More like and "excuse me pitch." A back hander. The dogs are great.
I never have dogs chase nor bark at me. I rode with an Auzzie mate and he stopped and fought with every single dog enroute to Ban Chang!
Kreng jai (stay within yourself). No outer aggro vibe.
If you head south on the spacious road that parallels the RR tracks, once it dead ends, head east. This is towards Huat Yai. You head towards Highway #331, yet turn south
past Huay Yai towards Bang Chek Ngao. Bang Chek Ngao reminds me of an old wooden Chinese hamlet. Once you enter the moobahn explore about. You'll be surprised.
Can be an odor wafting about this area as there is a rendering plant just west. Stinks like hell sometimes!
At the main highway, head WEST towards Sukhumvit for about 500m. Great chicken places to eat on your immediate left. Kao man gai! Arroi mak mak!
You will now see signs for various Wats. Turn left (south).
You will be greeted by a slight incline and then a ripping downhill, fun stuff! Keep your eyes peeled to the east, there is a huge reservoir there! Fine for fishing and swimming on hot days.
Road access is at the beginning of your steep descent, or at the bottom and loop back. You can pedal across the top of the dam's embankment.
You then come upon the "Wat Complex." Many, many Wats. Head east towards "Wat Mondoup." This bicycle-perfect lane is 3m wide, through a jungle canopy. Explore the twisty lanes.
More reservoirs. Loop all over this area.
You can pop out to Highway #331, head south and then loop west to the Big Buddha, or Wat Ban Xian.
Or head east to the connector road to Hwy #36 and Ban Chang. Split off at the EMS station when entering Ban Chang. Many big trees.
If you are entering Ban Chang and pass all the clubs, split right. Fine, fine Tai eats at "Pom Yai(Big Hair)." Yes, this is the name of the restaurant that everyone in town eats at.
If you wish to fill up your water bottles/CamelBack with ice and fresh water, it is 10b. Ask waitress ahead of time and you can help yourself.
From here, loop back to Pattaya and you've done 88km.
Or, head down Hwy#3 (Sukhumvit...oops, did I advise against Sukh?) to Rayong.
Head towards the beach area, or keep pedaling to Klaeng. From Pattaya to Klaeng is 132km, easy 1 day ride.
Continue on back roads to Chanthaburi and Trat. from Chanthaburi, head north to Soi Dao and loop back to Pattaya on Hwy #3259.
You will be smiling! Great places to eat and stay enroute. Just pack up and depart. You'll figure the rest out enroute.
You'll be amazed at bicycling in Thailand. I certainly was and am impressed.
From Pattaya northwards: am not a big fan of #331, but I use it to my advantage.
Make your way to Pluak Dang, many ways of doing this. Great eats, excellent somtam, cheaper than Pattaya.
You want Highway #3245, one of Thailand's best kept secrets. I've ridden this road at day and night, tree lined, shady and very, very sweet.
I rode #3245 north to #3259 and headed east and north to Sa Kaeo.
If you get tired, just ask about any store keeper for a guesthouse, or small hotel. I paid about 300-400n per night.
Food fantastic. Gourmet coffee available everywhere. Shaved iced treats for hot afternoons.
Have fun exploring!
Posted 2011-07-22 16:13:00
Burgdawg, all those rides sound just my cup of tea. Pity I live in BKK and only have the odd Saturday or Sunday to ride. I will not be doing anything like 80kms until I upgrade, bonus permitting.
Posted 2011-07-22 17:01:53
Thanks for the advice and route, i'm moving to Pattyaya in 3 weeks time so will check out the ride you've given me - it sounds great!
Posted 2011-07-22 17:07:11
Sorry burgdawg for spelling your name wrong in that last post... and thanks again for the information.
Posted 2011-07-24 06:31:55
23 July 2011
....fellow bicycle tourers: Thanks for your positive comments.
Various tidbits on what to expect in this rich and varied bicycle arena, I'll expand the scope of my previous post.
"to ride a bicycle" is "ki jackayon" or ขีจักรยาน Don't worry, you'll get to speed fast with passah Tai. It is easier than you think. Just keep at it. Hire a tutor, put your time in, you'll be amply rewarded. Handy skillset to have, opens many doors in the Kingdom. Just practice--<deleted> boi boi--ฝึกบอยๆ
Master the 44 consonants and 32 vowels (saras). You get them under your belt and begin word building, kamsap: "vocabulary."
Then begin phrase building. Passah Tai is a big game of Legos. Logical, filled with funny slang. You build as you go. Passah Tai is the great seductress. She draws you within her folds of magic. Just like bicycling, you want to know what is around the bend......
About 4 years ago, when I bought my own Honda Wave i 125cc scooter, the first rides I took were exploratory ones east of Pattaya. The boonies, or "sticks." Villages, or "moobahn" หมู่บ้อน My main goal was to deternine the feasibility of bicycle day rides. I crossed Sukhumvit, heading east and within one block is the divided highway that goes north and south. Two lanes each direction, separated by railroad tracks as median. The roads are surprisingly devoid of traffic. Yes, there are EMS (emergency medical services) sprinkled all over the general area. You'll come upon other Tai bicycle riders, especially on the weekends. They truck their rides to the Wat Complex area, park and do a loop. Or series of loops, as in a cloverleaf.
Many gems await the adventurous rider: a wild animal park just east of Wat Mondoup, yet west of Hwy #331. I zipped around a corner and stumbled upon 35 monkeys having a picnic at the roadside! Great photo session. You can expect wild boar at night. Amazing frog and insects sounds during evening rides. I ring my "gra ding" (กระดิง) or bell periodically to announce my presence. Twin forward-facing white light beams. One is on strobe mode and the other to light my path. My lights alert others for safe passage. Having my lights light up the yellow eyes of a pack of boars served notice!
Within 2 hours of exploring, I knew I would be importing my 10 year old Gary Fischer Hoo KooE Koo. This air transpo fee was $200 USD for me to bring over my Fischer. A toss up: do you buy locally or bring over? Prices are basically on par with USA and Euro. No real bargains, parity.
Depends how many bicycles you have in your quiver. We all know you can never have too many rides! Does one take a road bike and convert it into a cyclo-cross, or a mtn bike and make it more road-worthy? You'll do fine on a road bike. More or less you are going to tailor your bike to your style of riding. The active front shock and fixed tail on my Genesis Fischer bike came in handy for the varied terrain. There are excellent hard-packed dirt lanes that parallel the railroad tracks. The railroad terminates east at Rayong. Just explore about.
The pleasant shocker for me is that all the roads have an ample "bicycle lane." Very safe. Much safer than my riding environment in the Southwestern USA. Tais are used to slow-moving traffic: pedestrians, monks, motorbikes, farm vehicles, etc. You receive wide berth by the drivers. No incidences. Tais are a curious lot and YOU will be their entertainment. Smiles everywhere, they are infectious.
Your biggest worry will be dogs sleeping on the pavement late at night! This is where a handlebar-mounted bell, or "gra-ding" comes in handy. I alert the sleeping pooches that I am bearing down on them. Not wise to startle any dog. You do not want them reacting into your path! Ringing your "gra-ding" as a Tai family crammed onto a passing scooter gains broad smiles and waves. One time, a big dog did startle me with its bark! I stopped, made friends with the dog and soon had it on its back while I rubbed its tummy. I know, funny story. The dog's Tai owner came out and we chatted in basic Tai. He shook my hand and thanked me for not throwing stones at his dog and he invited me into his backyard to join in dinner with his family! Great eats. Expect the unexpected. Go easy on the whiskey and cokes. Makes pedaling tough.
Upon reading this post, pull up "Pattaya" on Google Earth (GE) with your computer and begin drooling. A spider web of roads, lanes and etc, crisscross an area I have dubbed 'The Mini Golden triangle.' This would be the area loosely defined by Sri Racha at one point, south to Sattahip, east to Rayong, the SE to NW angle by Hwy #36 back towards Chonburi. Practice zooming in and out on GE for ride prep. Once one zooms in to a certain, then blue rectangles appear on Google Earth. These are actual photographs and you can pull these up to get an idea of the terrain, etc. Let's say one meanders on back roads south from Pattaya: hard to not stumble upon the cool roads that encircle the 'Wat Complex.'
This is just my own internal nickname, not an official classification. Ten kilomters east of Sattahip is called "Gilo Sip," or "Kilometer 10."
This is a major intersection hub. All Tai gas stations (bpam nam man) offer gourmet coffee offerings hot and iced. Clean restrooms at the ready. Most times a Seven (7/11) for snacks enroute. Turn right (south) and you are right at Queen's Sirkrit Hospital. A top shelf hospital. Stop in with your passport and formally Register at this hospital for free. One never knows. By pre-Registering, and having your Rego card on your person, you have a good back up plan should any emergency arise. Always carry a xerox of your passport's face page and visa stamp within an under-seat kit bag. Kit bag also holds puncture kit, basic tools, etc. I have found a CamelBack (filled with ice and diluted electrolyte) to be indispensible and very important. All Tai pharmacies, or "ya"(ยา) carry sachets, or packets of electrolytes. Various flavors, buy an assortment. I just bought boxes of my favourites, slicing my per-sachet price from 6b to 2-3b. About 250b per box. Depends on your bargaining skillset.
On Soi Buakhao in Pattaya, one door south of zany Pook Bar is a tucked-away pharmacy. Very good prices on all meds and electrolytes. I brought over Gatorade powder to make my own concoctions for hydrating myself while on bicycle treks. If you do this, store your Gatorade tin in your 'fridge, else you will have ANTS! I would pack 3 water bottles carrying potable water and my 3-liter CamelBack. There are R/O, Reverse Osmosis water machines all over Thailand: pop in 2-5 baht and fill up your bottle stash. Ice --nam keng--มำแข็ง from any Seven(7/11). If you say "seven-eleven," the Tais won't know what you are talking about. Just state "Seven." Bingo. The bicycle-friendly infrastructure throughout the Kingdom is a pleasant surprise. I was bowled over. Still am.
When I began my rides, I would average 19 kmph for a 130km loop. I was way out of shape. Within months of conditioning, I exceeded 26kmph average for the same distance. Yeah, a bike computer and bicycle log keeps track of your improvements. Acts as a diary/journal of my rides so that I can recall my ride details at a later time. I GPS'd some of my routes and have them downloaded to Google Earth. A GPS is handy if you are already proficient with one. Steep learning curve. I used mine to suss out empty roads. You can do the same via Google Earth. Your unit will eat batteries unless you just turn it on only for waypoint entry.
Many motor bike shops along the way should you need any spanners/wrenches. I carry my Tai driver's license and motorbike's license (two separate cards). Driver's license: bpai kap ki (ใปขับขี่) Queen's Sirkrit offers a "Life Cycle Program" whereby they spend hours giving you a broad range of tests (even on treadmills) to determine a baseline of your health issues. Worth inquring about. This is on my "to-do" list. Less expensive--tuuk (ถูก) at Queen's Sirkrit vs Bumrungrad in BKK.
At Gilo 10 is also the turn south to UTapao airport. Keep heading south(Hwy # 331) and about 5kms more past airport and arrive at "Nong Ram Beach." Primo Tai Talay (beach). Pack your swim trunks for a dip in the ocean. Always have sunblock with you....sunblock: cream gan deedt (ครีมกัมแดด). You can obtain a towel, soap and shower right at the Nong Ram Beach! Is Thailand amazing or what? I also swim at various reservoirs encountered along the way.
You're never far from the many food stalls along any route.
Bus Stations in Pattaya. Tah Roht (ท่ารก) is bus station. There's about eight in Pattaya. Best to familiarize yourself with what stations go where, why? The Tai bus system is incredibly good and inexpensive. The buses are your ticket to ride throughout the Kingdom. You buy your ticket, say for Sa Kaeo. You arrive at the proper bus station and cut an individual deal with the bus driver for him to pack your bicycle. Remove lights, trip computer and panniers. Bring some plastic bags to wrap up your chain and rear derailleur so that you do not mare another's luggage with grease or oil. The bus driver will grin if you help out. Bring your own straps and you'll be treated right.
You arrive at your destination and begin pedaling your route back to Krung Thep or Pattaya. Guess what? You can also pack aboard any bus your motorscooter to a far flung destination in similar fashion. Have a wrench/spanner handy to remove your rear view mirrors. Have a chunk of hose and siphon your gasoline/benzene/petrol/nam man (นำ้มัน) out of your tank, produce your own tie downs and off you go. How incredibly simple, eh? Nice system.
You are cycling back from some far flung destination and realize you have bit off more than you can chew, what u do? Pull into a bus station enroute and bus-it back home. No biggie. The entire Kingdom is in your palm.
At Pattaya Nua (north) and 1 block west of Sukhumvit is Pattaya Nua Bus Station. This is owned by one of the Tai Generals and family and is called Rung Ruang (รุ่งเรือง) It means "prosperity." Nua Station houses Bell Bus that runs to and from Suvarnabhumi airport, plus the many daily bus runs to Ekamai and Morchit Station in Bkk. Head to Sa Kaeo from here as well. Give yourself ample time to stash your bicycle aboard. Yes, you can bus-it from Bkk to Pattaya and take off on the rural roads, nifty trick. I know some mates that cut a deal with a mini-bus to and from Victory Circle, very fast.
If you stand at Sai Sam (3rd Road) and Pattaya Klang(Central), one block north on the west side of 3rd is "Simon Kon Transport."
You'll see the buses lined up along 3rd Road at weird hours. This is the cheapest bus line that services Korat/Nakhon Ratchasima. Hop aboard.
Now place yourself at Pattaya Klang and Sukumvit. Walk or ride north on the west side of Sukhumvit 200-300m. On your immediate left is a gas station with broad parking lot. Walk into this corner. You are now at "407 Improved Bus Transport" or สี่ศูนย์เจ็ด พัฒนา
I wrote out the Tai script because you will be learning passah Tai one way or another. If you transcribe this to a piece of paper and show it to any Tai, they will direct you. Or a motorsai taxi guy will zip you over to your destination. 407 satani (station) services Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Loei, Khon Kaen, etc. Swoop in to check out their schedules. You will make friends along your journey. Always keep this in mind.
Back at Pattaya Klang and Sukhumvit: walk south 300m on the west side of Sukhumvit. This is another bus station that services Korat and other Isaan Provinces. Across Sukhumvit from this location are yet THREE more bus stations! Knock yourself out! The important one to know about is "Nakhon Chai Air" (นครชัยแอรื). This station houses the primo top shelf buses...larger seats, better aircon. Nakhon Cha Air services Ubon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai, etc. Ask any Tai, they know all about "Nakhon Chai Air."
I apologize for the length of this post, I get carried away....
Other useful bicycle terms in Tai:
wheel -- lor -- ล้อ
rubber -- yang -- ยาง
flat tyre/puncture -- yang bpen -- ยางแบน
fix tyre -- baat yang -- ปะยาง
chain --so'r-- โฃ่
tube -- yang nai -- ยางใน (rubber within, get it?)
seat -- an --อาน
adjust -- ti brap -- ที่ปรับ
go and come back -- bpai bpai ma ma -- ไปๆมาๆ
under seat -- dai bok -- ใต้เบาะ
screw -- scru -- สกรู
fix or repair --som -- ฃ่อม
mirror -- grajoke -- กระจก
change gear-- bplian gear -- เปลียนเกียร์
spokes -- si lor -- ฃี่ล้อ
hill -- ngun kao -- เนินเขา
short cut -- tang laht -- ทางลัด
arrive -- mah tung -- มาถึง
depart -- bpai ti ___ --ไปที่ (add destination)
back in a minute -- deow mah nah -- เดี๋ยวมานะ
strobe light(flashing) -- fai gra pip -- ไฟ่กระพริบ
headlight -- fai nah-- ไฟหน้า
tail light -- fai lang -- ไฟหลัง
helmet -- muak kan nok -- หมวกกันนอ็ด
map - paan ti -- แผนที่
important -- sam kan -- สำคัญ
water bottle -- kuad nam -- ขวดนำ้
to get lost(lose one's way) -- long tang -- หลงทาง
to fix bicycle yourself -- som jackayon eng -- ฃ่อมจักรยานเอง
I must go now (excusing yourself from any engagement to make your way) -- bpai gon na krup -- ไปก่อนนะครับ
ticket -- bpai song -- ใปสั่ง (this is when afoul of any law and you must pay fine)
ticket (as in bus ticket) -- dtuaa -- ตั๋ว
junction -- tang yeek -- ทางแยก
perfect -- gamlang dee -- กำลังดี
flashlight -- fai chai -- ไฟฉาย
mini van -- roht du -- รถตู้
Have fun exploring the special area!
Edited by burgdawg, 2011-07-24 06:48:47.
Posted 2011-08-24 13:50:29
Hi burgdawg and others,
just want to say how much I appreciate this post. Have been cycling Thailand since 1995/2538, now moved to Uttaradit, we have the best country for cycling... just out the front door. Coming from Australia, perhaps this doesn't mean much...
I ride full-size folding mountain bike (Dahon, Montague, plus obscure brands), 26 x 1.5" slick tyres, and carry a bag in which to fold the bike, then catch the bus (rain/boredom/time running out). Never have to pay for the bike EXCEPT sometimes 'service charge' catching bus from Pattaya Neua to Ekamai/Moh Chit/Sai Thai 'Mai'.
The ride from Patts to Chantaburi on Sukhumwit is a pearler - 185 km, leave Patts 0600 and I see the gates of Chanta ~ 1700. Beg to differ on one point - last Time I was savaged by a curr was 10km S of Patts, pair of big black labrador X things (not rottweilers - I used to be a vet, can pick those bastards from miles away) and chomped on my left calf.
Anyway, enjoy your treddling - I only go ~ 19km/hr but starting at first light, 160km/day is a regular ride.
Some great cycling possible here: Chantaburi to Trat is very pleasant 65 km, then Trat to Cambo border (Cambos there are very corrupt) 90 km, the last 15 very hilly. on the south side, if you leave Prachuap via the airforce base (crossing the airstrip - no problems) pleasant ride past technology museum to get back onto Petchkasem Hway. Turn off the Hway (another 40km) to Bankrut. BKrut to BangSaphan - you can virtually ride adjacent to the beach for 20 km, little traffic, best-ever cycling in my opinion. BSaphan towards Chumphon is OK off-Hway, a bit boring after BSaphan Noi (60km, hilly, just rubber planations) but come back to the coast at Saphli, net 20 km to Chumphon very pleasant (and quicker then the Hway). The next 'treasure' is the ride from Nakorn Sri Thammarat to Songkla, head west for 40 km (big windfarm industry starting at teh coast) and then 100km riding on the coast to get to the (free) ferry to Songkhla.
Get back on year bike, aarn
Posted 2011-11-05 20:01:40
for those who would like to discover some nice rides, why not join our group of expats. We meet on many days/week. The biggest group is on Saturday. We start at Soi Siam Country club, about 6km from Sukhumvit at the 7/11. For more infos send me a message.
Does anyone has useful gps tracks for rides in Chanthaburi and Soi Dao area? Distance 100-150km per ride. Tx in advance.
Posted 2011-11-22 22:21:34
Bit of a late reply but here goes. I run Jomtien cycling club and we ride together 3 times a week. Sudays is the longer ride out around Silverlake and takes in some pretty searching gradients. we leave at 6.30 am and return at approx 9.30 so as to avoid the heat. Weekday rides are around Pratumnak and also take in some hills. We leave at 7.30 for these shorter rides. We welcome new riders who wish to take part in some serious riding. Many people use road bikes here without problems. I prefer to use a mountain bike with slick tyres.
Anyone interested in joing us on our rides please call or sms me David on 081 686 5575
We also have mountain bikes available for rent for those who prefer.