Thursday 4th January
Miles: 126 Climbing: 1814ft
So I decided last night that if there was anything to worry about then I would be feeling unwell. I felt exactly as I thought I should do considering the what I’d put my body through the last few weeks. I had almost reached the end point and was feeling pretty invincible so I decided I would continue with the ride.
I was about 120 miles away from Bangkok, too far for one day so I decided to try and find an end point roughly 60 miles closer. The roads approaching Bangkok looked big, therefore busy, so I also researched the best way to get into the city by bike. A lot of people with experience of the city, including cyclists, had previously advised against cycling into Bangkok. I had been advised to cycle to the airport and then take a train. I read horrible stories of cyclists being hit on the roads here, including 2 well known cycle tourers who where hit and killed quite recently. I thought about this carefully and despite the apparent risks I really wanted to complete the trip all the way into Bangkok on my bike.
That was still a day away though and after what I had read I wasn’t sure I would even make it halfway today. It looked like the best way to get to Bangkok would be to head south and skirt clockwise around the edge of the suburbs and make the final approach from the East. I found a few options for places to stay but really didn’t know how far I would make it today so I just decided to see how far I could get.
The roads were fairly big, I felt like I was riding on the hard shoulder of the motorway for most of the time. It was a bit worrying that some drivers used the hard shoulder, in the wrong direction, if that was an easier way for them to make their exit. These drivers were usually quite careful and would stop when they spotted me and wait for me to cycle around them.
I enjoyed a lot more cafe stops and probably ate as much today as I did for the whole week prior. I had almost reached the 60 mile mark for the day so needed to look for somewhere to stay. When I connected to wifi to have a look I received a message from Shara, who I had met on Don Det. Her, Marlene and Stella had just arrived in Bankok and had found a hostel with a 4 bed room left and wanted to know if I would be there to take the extra bed. It was getting late and I was still 60 miles from Bangkok, theres no way I could make it. I though about it for a while and sent a message back telling them to book the room and send me the location, I would be there at some point tonight.
A little while later I spotted a fully loaded touring bike by the side of the road. I slowed and scanned the area for it’s owner before spotting someone sitting in the shade of a tree far up the embankment. I stopped and introduced myself to Mehdi, from Iran. He had just started his trip from Bangkok that morning and was eager to get advice from me.
At yet another cafe stop I drank my iced drink so quickly I had barely had time to sit down. I still had a cup full of ice and so I took it outside with me and attempted to decant it into my water bottles. The server at the cafe spotted me and came running out and stopped me, I felt like I was being told off as she snatched both water bottles and my ice out of my hands before going back inside. She returned with both of my bottles full of crushed ice. I was so grateful that I was more than happy to pose for the selfie that she asked for.
I finally reached the airport and the road surface became much worse, there was mile after mile of roadworks where they had just removed the road surface. I was reaching the city limits right in the middle of evening rush hour and it was so busy that I was having to weave in and out of several lanes of traffic. Once it got dark I knew I would have to stop to put my lights on and I also needed wifi again, I was almost in the centre of the city and needed to pay closer attention to my navigation.
I found a very English looking pub and stopped for a burger and free wifi while I watched the traffic start to calm down a tiny bit outside. I sent a message to the others, telling them not to wait for me, only to discover that they were out shopping. Once I had memorised my route through the city and got my lights set up I was back on the road to complete my longest day in the saddle so far.
It felt exhilarating to finally be here, to have made my way by bike to Bangkok from Hanoi. It also felt very emotional but I needed to pay close attention to the roads, they were busy but generally people here were good drivers so I wasn’t too nervous. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I arrived at the hostel and the end of the road.
It felt a little underwhelming, I had just completed this huge challenge and part of me felt like there needed to be a finish line, people cheering, champagne corks popping. Instead I was instructed to lock my bike up outside in a dark alley in downtown Bangkok and then headed up to my room. But I had done this trip for myself, by myself for a reason. I had wanted to show myself how strong I was. I had done that now.