Cycle Thailand's East Coast
From Bangkok to Cambodia

The ride from Bangkok to Cambodia is a very pleasant and quite easy ride. Arriving into Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport there is a good range of hotels close by and unless you actually want to visit Bangkok city, you can ride due east from Bangkok without really touching the city very much.


Schedule

  1. Day 1 Bangkok to Chonburi
  2. Day 2 Chonburi to Map Yang Phon
  3. Day 3 Map Yang Phon to Kana Oa Beach
  4. Day 4 Kana Oa Beach to Leam Mae Phim
  5. Day 5 Leam Mae Phim to Chanthaburi
  6. Day 6 Chanthaburi to Pong Nam Rong


Our ride descriptions give an account of the ride that we completed. As part of the description we also provide links to google maps and elevation profiles based on mapping data available through the internet. The ride profiles are smoothed to give what in our opinion is a more beneficial view of the profile. We use paper maps, GPS and on line data to plan and conduct our rides. We are happy for you to use our descriptions, but be aware that we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided as situations surrounding any ride change over time.

Bangkok to Cambodia - Day 1 - Bangkok to Chonburi

  • Distance          87km
  • Max Elevation     18m
Bangkok_to_Chonburi_profile

Bangkok to Cambodia - Bangkok to Chonburi Ride Profile

Ride Description

We wanted to ride from Bangkok to Cambodia and felt we had seen most of the sights of Bangkok last year so booked into a small hotel on the east side of the airport called Silver Gold Garden. They offered a free shuttle bus from the airport and we wondered how they would react to the bike boxes. To our surprise it all worked very well. The contact was waiting at Gate 4 as arranged and happily loaded the bikes and all our luggage into the mini bus and carried it off at the hotel.

There was heavy rain all night and it hadn't stopped by 8am. This didn't bode well for our Bangkok to Cambodia ride.  After having  breakfast and packing up, it had abated. The hotel was a good choice as from there we found a smooth quiet road out of the airport area and into the rural outskirts of Bangkok. There was lots of minor flooding on the road and piles of sandbags everywhere. A lot of work was being put into keeping the road open with work gangs clearing the drainage channels and pumping water into ditches.

At Klong Suan we turned off the road to visit the 100 year old riverside market. Unfortunately Monday was not a market day but at least with no crowds we were able to wander through the old wooden Chinese style shop houses and watch some of the local tradespeople at work.

Khlong_Suan_market
Khlong_Suan_market
Khlong_Suan_market

By using the sat nav we managed to avoid the busy roads until our route was bisected by Highway 7. Twelve lanes of fast traffic, a high concrete crash barrier and no bridge. There was no choice but to turn left and ride along the hard shoulder to the first slip road. Now only four lanes wide, the traffic sped downhill to a dual carriageway and an underpass. We needed to turn right but it was impossible to get across to the right lane. Even though there were traffic lights everyone just keeps moving until forced to stop by the oncoming traffic. We tackled each lane in turn, running across pushing the bikes and then cycled  along the hard shoulder in the wrong direction before eventually finding a gap in the crash barrier to cross to the left side.

In Chonburi it was difficult to find a hotel. Down a back street was the 'Paradise Inn'. Not exactly heavenly but a bed for the night. The only place to eat nearby was in a big shopping mall at a chain restaurant. It was good food but one of the 'cook it yourself' places. A big wok of water in the middle of the table and plates of raw food for you to throw in. A very expensive meal for Thailand.

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Bangkok to Cambodia - Day 2 - Chonburi to Map Yang Phon

  • Distance          78km
  • Max Elevation   160m
Chonburi_to_Map_Yang_Phong_profile

Bangkok to Cambodia - Chonburi to Map Yang Phon Ride Profile

Ride Description

For our Bangkok to Cambodia ride today  we had planned to ride to Pattaya, about 50km south on the coast. It seemed impossible to find a route that wasn't along a highway full of heavy lorries.  The grey skies didn't help to cheer us up. At midday a heavy thunderstorm started. We were only about 500m away from a restaurant but had to shelter against a high wall until the rain slowed enough to get to the food.

By now we were so fed up with the traffic we decided to change our Bangkok to Cambodia route and head south east towards Rayong along what appeared on the map to be a quieter road. After missing a turn we found ourselves on an even busier dual carriageway. Although there was a hard shoulder to ride on, the earlier rain had turned the surface of this into a thick layer of sludge, that spattered everything below knee level. Ahead was a long slow uphill and the heat, exhaust fumes and dust hung in the air like a LA smog.

The lorries all dropped into first gear and went into the outside lane to chug to the top, meaning that all the faster vehicles were undertaking in the nearside lane which was quite unnerving. Just before the brow of the hill the gradient was steeper and Karen managed to overtake one of the  lorries and beat him to the top!

Escaping at last from the busy roads we came across a new problem on the rural lanes. In this predominately Chinese descent community, dog is a favourite on the menu and each small holding has a pack of sturdy meaty ones. Probably not used to seeing many cyclists they run out snarling, baying and barking like a pack of fox hounds The best tactic seemed to be to slow down and speak soothingly until they gave up.

We headed for the only town in the vicinity that showed as having accommodation on the Google map but after a  ride along the two main roads we couldn't find it. A local gave some good sign language directions and we went back and found it set back off the road with just a small Thai sign facing in the opposite direction to the one we had approached from. While Karen did the washing, Steve washed the bikes down to remove the grime

In the evening we walked into town to find some food. We passed plenty of the usual local food stalls but continued on hoping for something better. Hearing music we went into a bar and found that not only did it have a good menu in English but also live music all night, first a guitar playing vocalist, then a four piece band, both pretty good and playing a mix of Thai and western covers. Their renditions of "Hotel California" and "Coccaine" made our night.

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Bangkok to Cambodia - Day 3 - Map Yang Phon to Kana Oa Beach

  • Distance          74km
  • Max Elevation     73m
Map_Yang_Phon_to_Kana_Oa_Beach_profile

Bangkok to Cambodia - Map Yang Phon to Kana Oa Beach Ride Profile

Ride Description

Today our Bangkok to Cambodia ride was much more enjoyable with plenty of peaceful rural roads through rubber, coconut and pineapple fields and few dogs. We headed south down the broad river valley, riding on narrow concrete roads towards the coast. Just before Rayong we turned east on the coast road towards Ban Phe.

Our first impression of this part of the coast was disappointing. There are a few exclusive resorts being developed but between them are many old, mouldy, concrete low rise blocks and plenty of abandoned and unfinished hotels. Most of the buildings are low but several enormous new condo blocks dominate the skyline. Between the beach and the road is a strip of mature conifers which give welcome shade and is home to the countless ramshackle food stalls along the road side.

As it is still off-season there were few touristson our Bangkok to Cambodia ride. Most of the hotels by the road fitted the 'old and mouldy' description as above, but towards the end of the beach there was a place called' White @ Sea' which looked modern and clean.  At 1,600 baht a night it was expensive (for us) and better than the rest. But for that price it could have done with a fresh coat of paint.

Mae_Rumpheung

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Bangkok to Cambodia - Day 4 - Kana Oa Beach to Leam Mae Phim

  • Distance          34km
  • Max Elevation    22m
Kana_Oa_Beach_to_Leam_Mae_Phim_profile

Bangkok to Cambodia - Kana Oa Beach to Leam Mae Phim Ride Profile

Ride Description

We continued along the quiet, flat coast road riding  in the shade of the trees  which lined the beach, with views over to the island of Ko Samet. At Ban Phe we went down to the pier with the idea of maybe going on the ferry to Ko Samet but decided against it because everything costs more on the islands.

In town we went to the bank to get some dollars to buy our Bangkok to Cambodia visas and had a coffee. There was a Swedish man with his Thai wife and we asked him about accommodation further along the coast. He told us there were lots of hotels at Leam Mae Phim beach but nothing much beyond that.

So we continued down the coast and were there by lunchtime. We sat in deckchairs on the beach and had a beer before checking out the hotels.

Mae_Phim_Beach_Relaxing

After turning down three that were too expensive/mouldy/shabby we found a lovely newly furbished place run by a friendly Scandinavian, Bendt, with his Thai wife, Phone, called Rim Talay Guesthouse.

Phone_and_Berndt

Leam Mae Phim - Day Off

The only disappointment today was that the sea was too full of jelly fish to be able to swim. The warmer water up to one metre deep was fine but beyond that, where the water was cooler, there were large numbers of about four or five different types so we had to be content with sitting in the shallows and drinking beer on ice.

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Bangkok to Cambodia - Day 5 - Leam Mae Phim to Chanthaburi

  • Distance           96km
  • Max Elevation     55m
Leam_Mae_Phim_to_Chanthaburi_profile

Bangkok to Cambodia - Day 5 - Leam Mae Phim to Chanthaburi Ride Profile

Ride Description

For this level of heat and humidity we think 60kms a day is ideal but, except for a few isolated and expensive resorts, there was no accommodation until Chanthaburi. Our Bangkok to Cambodia map showed a minor, probably unsurfaced road which continued near to the coast. It turned out to be a wide, smoothly surfaced road with a separate bicycle lane although there was hardly any traffic.

It was very hot but the flat road meant we could keep up a reasonable speed. Towards Chanthaburi we climbed gently away from the coast  through forested hills. On the outskirts of the city we stopped to shop at a big 'Tesco Lotus' supermarket, a strange mix of familiar, Tesco brand products and local favourites.

Chanthaburi is famous for its gem-stone trade and the small shops along the street were full of groups of men doing serious business. We booked into the Kasemsarn Hotel, just on the edge of the gem market,  and set off to explore. The streets were decorated with hundreds of Chinese lanterns and lights and a huge dragon above the main street.

Suspended_Dragaon_Chanthaburi

There was a big food market, packed with locals, buying a vast variety of amazingly colourful and unrecognisable delicacies.

Bean_sweets

There seemed to be no bars open in the main town so, in search of a beer, we went down to the Chanthaboon Waterfront. This is a street of historic wooden Chinese style shop houses along the river bank. There was an interesting looking bar with no customers but several staff making food so we sat down and ordered two large beers. As we drank the wonderful smell of the cooking food reminded us that we were famished so we asked if we could see the menu.

Chanthaboon_Waterfront_shop_houses

Instead we were invited to sit with the lady bar owner and her staff and share the vegetarian meal which they had prepared. There were delicious fish dishes, spicy vegetables and an amazing egg custard. She explained that this was the beginning of a 10 day religious festival during which no meat is eaten. All of the food we had seen on the food market was vegetarian also.

After the meal she would only let us pay for the drinks and then took us for a walk around the night market next to the temple. We sampled a few of the traditional treats such as small, fried, sweetened potato balls and yellow bean sweets shaped  like fruits and finished the evening with a cocktail in a riverside bar owned by a friend of hers.

After the meal she would only let us pay for the drinks and then took us for a walk around the night market next to the temple. We sampled a few of the traditional treats such as small, fried, sweetened potato balls and yellow bean sweets shaped  like fruits and finished the evening with a cocktail in a riverside bar owned by a friend of hers.
Potato_sweet_balls
Temple_at_night

Chanthaburi - Day off

Because we had arrived so late, we hadn't had time to explore and take photos so decided to take a day off fromour Bangkok to Cambodia ride. Walking back along the waterfront and into the temple area we realised that a big procession was imminent. The small square was crowded with men and women dressed all in white we imagine to signify their meat-free purity. In the opposite corner were the younger men, dressed in red, who would be carrying the dragon.

The parade set off from the temple with banging drums, clashing cymbals, beating sticks and firecrackers.

Oh_Boy_this_drums_heavy


The dragon rippled and curled at the front.......

That_Dragons_gonna_get_tangled_up

...... followed by the two lions,

Small Dragons

...a group of colourfully dressed teenagers....

Ready for the Off

and then flag bearers and flower girls.

Banners

The police were having a field day with at least six of them at the crossroads, directing the traffic with lots of whistle blowing and hand waving, but each of them doing things slightly differently. One would be waving traffic on while another was signalling it to stop. The traffic meanwhile did exactly as it pleased.

We followed the flow for a while, enjoying the spectacle and the noise, before returning to our sight seeing. A heavy downpour sent us scurrying into one of the waterfront food stalls for lunch. As we emerged from there we were passed by the procession again, by now considerably more subdued and much wetter.

Chanthaburi

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Bangkok to Cambodia - Day 6 - Chanthaburi to Pong Nam Rong

  • Distance          100km
  • Max Elevation    250m
Chanthaburi_to_Pong_Nam_Ron_profile

Bangkok to Cambodia - Chanthaburi to Pong Nam RongRide Profile

Ride Description

The goal today on our Bangkok to Cambodia ride was to get to Pong Nam Rong, about 20km from the Thai/ Cambodia border. The direct route up the main road was only 45km so we decided to ride up to the Khoa Kitchakut national park to see the Nam Tok Krathing waterfall.

Along the way we stopped in amazement, surprised to see a large Buddha next to the road.

Random_Budha

We took a quiet road along the riverside and through coconut and oil palm plantations to Krathing where we had the best coffee yet in Thailand at a little cafe at a car wash. A few kilometres west of here was the entrance to the national park where we had to pay $4 each entry fee. Leaving the bikes at the visitor centre we walked up the slippery road to the bottom of the falls.

The water descends in a series of nine steps but being surrounded by lush jungle it is impossible to see much of it. We started climbing the rough, rocky path up the mountain towards the top. It soon started to rain and then pour and we were quickly so drenched we might as well have climbed the waterfall itself. Giving up on ever getting a good photo of the falls we returned to the bikes and the cafe for lunch. Thinking that the rain was over for the day we set off with dry t-shirts on but within 10 minutes had to shelter again. We were beckoned into the porch of a roadside house by a local couple. While we sheltered there they were busy in the room inside. The man was moving furniture with his wife close behind holding a torch in one hand and a broom in the other. We decided they were after a mouse.

Nam_Tok_Krathing_falls
Nam_Tok_Krathing_falls
Nam_Tok_Krathing_falls

For a second time the rain lessened and we put on the ponchos to continue but a third downpour soon followed. This time we were stuck for about 40 minutes, sheltering under a parasol at a disused roadside stall. A large puddle developed on the road which meant we had to keep jumping out of the spray when fast traffic passed by.

Finally we set off on our Bangkok to Cambodia ride again, by now anxious to cover the 40km remaining to our destination. The last 10km took us up a gentle 250m climb but the heat and high humidity made it seem steeper.  Pong Nam Rong is just a small town at a crossroads and riding through we couldn't find any guesthouses. There was a signpost to a hotel 1km further so we rode there. It was in the middle of nowhere, more like a motel and no other guests but lots of 'staff' and no restaurant or bar. One of them called the owner on her mobile and Steve spoke to him. He said he would get one of the boys to take us into town on his motorbike and for the staff to prepare us a small breakfast in the morning.

So after a quick wash and brush up we both climbed onto the back of the motorbike, with Karen in the middle with her thighs wrapped tightly round the young man's, and Steve hanging on at the back for the ride back into town. He waited while we dined and then took us back to the hotel.

At this point of our Bangkok to Cambodia ride we are within a stones throw of the Cambodian border and a whole new adventure.


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Follow our trip onwards through Cambodia via Ankgor Wat and Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Kampot.

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