Welcome to the first edition of our newsletter: Adventure Bicycle Touring. The newsletter will inform you about the developments on the website but also advices you about tours available and great bike rides you can do yourself and find yourself on spectacular trails and explore unknown sights.
In this edition I will tell you a bit about my last short trip to Thailand,. Laos and Cambodia and focus on a little known gem called Stone House. Further we'll talk about how to start your bike adventure and what the 5 first primary questions are you have to answer before leaving home.
So what are we offering?
- How to start your bicycle adventure?
- Cycling for 4 weeks in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia
- Stone House, near Savannakhet, Laos
- Organized bike tours in Thailand.
Peter van der Lans
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How to start your bicycle adventure?
Every once in a while I get the question... where do I start if I want to go on a bicycle adventure? Well, it all starts at home. It doesn't matter if you interested in a long bike tour or a 3 week bicycle holiday.
So you start with imagining where you want to go to. Once you have your destination, you can start thinking about the type of bicycle you need. Should you consider cycling in France on nice asphalt road, than there's no need for for example fat tire bike or a downhill bike. Cycling in Siberia or the Sahara requires a complete different type of bike. So the choice of the bike changes where you decide you want to go to.
Three additional questions come:
- How to finance my adventure?
- Am I going alone or with someone?
- How to deal with my family?
Financing your journey is easier when you want a short 3 weeks holiday, especially if you have a job. In that case you might consider an organized bicycle tour. Shorter time typically means more money to burn.
Long time cyclists have to find other ways. Some save money for years to go for that one long 1 or 2 years journey. Others, like I used to do, rent their house and use the rental money to pay the journey. And again others build an online business (I do) to sustain my bicycle journeys.
Going alone or with your friend/girlfriend/buddy? I've cycled with people I met on the road, with my than girlfriend and my experience is that you come very close to each other by being 24 hours a day with each other. That doesn't always work out fine. So the question is, how well do you know your friend/buddy? And remember, you can always go further on your own. In Asia there are also plenty of others on the road although you may not always seem to find them (China has been a country where there's many cyclists but you don't see many).
And what to do with those who stay behind? The best way to get them on your side is to explain as much as you can, make them part of your journey. With mobile phones and email it's easy these days. But I remember my mom was not too happy when I started my first bike journey in Asia (and I was 35!!, parents will always be parents!). One thing I can assure you, coming back from a bicycle adventure you will have changed. You will never be the same!
I have written a set of pages you can use to determine how you are going to set up your journey.
Cycling for 4 weeks in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia
My own experiences on the bicycle will help you finding your own way through countries and areas you may never have thought about. This time, I'd like to tell you a little about my last trip through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
As I live in Malaysia, it's quite easy and cheap to travel to Bangkok. This time I choose not to cycle that distance (although I did that before, see http://www.bicycle-adventures.com/cycling-in-thailand.html.
Going to Thailand overland is easy, no visa needed IF you do not want to spend more than 15 days. I didn't want to spend 15 days, so the stamp in my passport was enough. After repairs on my bicycle which I couldn't do in Penang, I left with another train to Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat). Again, I have cycled in and out of Bangkok several times and didn't want to do that again.
Instead I wanted something else. Here's what I did:
- Phanom Rung
- Surin (the elephant city)
- Champsak (Wat Phu)
- Don Det (4000 islands)
- Cambodia with Stung treng, Kratie, Kampong Cham and Phnom Penh
Visa for Laos and Cambodia are nowadays easy available at the border, the Lao visa US $45 or B1600, Cambodian visa US $25.
In the following newsletters I will tell you about some outstanding things I saw on the road. One of them was Stone House near Savannakhet, see below.
Stone House, near Savannakhet, Laos
Stone House is a Khmer ruin located about 50km south of Savannakhet right at the Mekong. It is believed to have been 1 of the 121 rest houses build by Jayavarman VII (1181-1218) along the roads which once connected
all corners of the Khmer empire. Therefore it shares similar characteristics with for example Wat Phu and Phimai in Thailand.
The building is constructed
right at the Mekong riverbank. Most of the building is in deplorable state but the original Hindu temple is still in use as a Buddhist shrine. And even more, every April with fll moon there is a festival held.
Next edition: more about Phanom Rung and Muang Tam.
Organized bike tours in Thailand.
What if you don't want to cycle on your own, or with a friend but feel more comfortable in an organized tour group? What if you have limited time? An organized bicycle tour can be your solution!
This time, because I already focus a bit on Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, I'll show you a little about organized bicycle tours in Thailand.
Tours can be short and compact or longer and extensive. I think North Thailand is an excellent part of the country to explore on the bike. This 2 weeks tour shows you exactly why north Thailand is so fascinating.
Another excellent option is to explore the far south of Thailand with it's pristine beaches where for example Pak Meng is going to visited (see photo).
The beaches of Thailand are not the only attractions. One of the greatest and most beautiful attractions are the karst limestone mountains and you'll see the best of the best including the so called James Bond island and Khao Sok National Park. I recommend this 10 days tour in every aspect!
There are many more tours, have a look here to get inspired: