It has been a long day. I will myself up from the bed. I have yoga practices to do and then I have to consider my sprained ankle. And consume some fluids. And if the body aches, only stretching vociferously helps.
I have cycled for 3 days. About 190km across southern Thailand. This is quite a bit of distance for me to cover in consecutive rides. Bangkok to Jomtien (Pattaya). And the lack of a warm up routine is causing significant difficulties. And for some reason in today’s third day of riding I didn’t drink enough water. That is one golden rule – LOTS OF WATER – which I followed without fail so far… not sure what happened today.
Three days earlier, I started early at 7:15AM in Bangkok, but the roads even at that time were so jam packed! It’s like everyone decided to wake up early and move about in their rollies! After cycling this way for 5 kms, Ekamai bus station passed right by me and I took the cue. The mini-bus from Ekamai bus station to Chachoensao came to my rescue. It doesn’t have luggage space but they sold me 3 seats in front and I squished in with my cycle.
I am not sure, but maybe a few kms further from Ekamai bus station, the traffic might ease out. So if you want to cycle out of Bangkok – start really early (maybe 6pm) and be ready to grit it out for the next 5-10 kms. (here’s a route for Bangkok to Chachoengsao from other cycle tourers that I was planning to take when I started off. Though, even next time I would still prefer to take a transport out of Bangkok to be honest.)
The first day of riding for me was from Chachoensao bus station and not Bangkok. Chachoensao to Phan Thong. A beautiful ride on small country roads, past small water ponds, quaint village houses, lots of farms and little snack shops run by the local people in their courtyards. And very few run ins with dogs. It was plotted by the app maps.me, easy for me, I only had to follow that route.
Cycling To Sri Racha
The second ride was Phan Thong to Nong Kham on day 2. When I started out, the app suggested highway routes which I couldn’t bear – noxious fumes and trafficked! This was a route towards Rayong. But I didn’t fly out of India just to roll around on a poisonous highway!
So after a few kms I thought the nearby big lake (Nong Kham) looks interesting. Let’s head there. 😉 And it turned out to be a really beautiful route. One of the best I have seen in Thailand. Empty, smooth and scenic.
However, at the end of it, I found a nice hotel 10 kms north of Sri Racha.
Even though I am heading towards Cambodia, the route now became quite circular one than straight eastwards from Bangkok. All in pursuit of lovely, small country roads and skipping the highway.
If you are on a road trip, then this particular route to Sri Racha is amazing! Check the maps below.
Cycling Sri Racha to Pattaya via small back roads
Day 3, today, was a ride from Si Racha to Pattaya. A lot of people have written about Pattaya being a very tough city to cycle in. So I was surprised to find a super road almost all the way from Sri Racha. For a while I rode the highway. Many speeding cyclists passed me by and there was a good side lane all the way. And there were veering tracks that led into some back roads too, they were empty and interesting so one could always take those if you didn’t want to go by the highway.
The meditation centre I was to stay in was in Jomtien which is a bit further than Pattaya. But it was not at the beach… So I did not need to go down to the beaches. Cycling the last 5 km’s up to the actual beachfront could be tough in Pattaya cause of the traffic. But you could take the Songtheaw there or just walk it. It’s not a big deal. It’s not Bangkok because of the size. In Bangkok, when I cycled in, the last 15-20kms were a total traffic jam. That’s a tough distance to walk or hustle (and no Songtheaws). Compared to that Pattaya should be a breeze.
Meditation Centre in Pattaya
I had booked a room at a meditation centre here at Jomtien near Pattaya. Tomorrow is Mahashivaratri and instead of staying in a condominium with a sea facing room and kitchenette, I decided to stay at a meditation centre to spend the day in meditation and silence. Super excited about this.
As I arrived to the centre around 2 in the afternoon, they had already finished lunch hours. And so I headed out to Pattaya beach to eat something, I could have gone somewhere closer to the centre but Indian veg food beckoned! I also had to recharge my AIS sim card. So Pattaya it was!
There is a fairly easy songtheaw service in the region. White songtheaws on Sukhumvit road. And blue ones in the perpendicular lanes leading to the beach. Get off the white songtheaws wherever you want to turn in towards the beach and wait for the blue ones.
Easy, but the various songtheaws back and forth took their time in the traffic.
I had to return to this meditation centre by 6pm. But I got late. I didn’t push myself though, cause the next two days I would be at the meditation centre and I wanted to focus on maintaining awareness (and not get lost in haste). 2 mins from the gate of this centre, I sprained my ankle on the uneven roads.
Earlier, I had noticed the uneven roads in Pattaya – quite unusual for Thailand I had seen so far. Having been in Thailand for over a month, I had gotten used to much smoother ground work. This might be the reason for my tumble and consequent sprain. Or maybe it was the fact that while I maintained my inner equanimity despite getting late, in the last few minutes to the destination, I got distracted with some Thai Iced Tea and then I made “haste”.
Haste is a waste of time and effort. One need not spend a moment of life in haste, where the mind is preoccupied with something other than the task at hand.
Thankfully the sprain is light. I can cycle after it. 🙂
That was my Bangkok to Pattaya cycling trip.
Bangkok to Pattaya Cycling Route Map
This route is mostly accurate but not entirely because I don’t have a route tracker as yet. I plotted this after the ride was done, so possibly might have mapped a wrong turn here or there.
Earlier on I had expected to stick to the coast for this route. But a little research showed that the road right by the coast is the Sukhumvit Highway and would be kind of busy. I don’t know whether it is so busy because I eventually didn’t ride on it even a bit. And I must say the route I took was a beautiful one. Almost all of it. And the 10-15 kms near Pattaya was also decent and manageable as can be expected.
Pattaya’s Sex Tourism: A Caution
What is not recommended is indulging in the prostitution related Pattaya economy. I was glad I stayed in a meditation centre because I think such an activity and centre breaks that economy stream. I didn’t know the ambiance of Pattaya as an international brothel area. Yes, I tend to be a dunce about these things. The ambiance didn’t appeal to me. And while prostitution and sex services are required in the current society and have value for many desperate people. The fact is that inevitably it becomes a melting point for women trafficking, sexual abuse, forced prostitution and pedophilia. And a place like Pattaya where people from around the world come for sex is bound to be a nexus for nefarious activities especially considering the social situation of women in Thailand. So I don’t want to give any moral advise, but I would caution care and thoughtfulness with your dealings in Pattaya (and other such regions).
Let me know if you have any questions or comments on this route. And if you have cycled in this region, tell me your experience. 🙂
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