January base in SE Asia
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Oct 17, 2012 2:45 AM Last Post By: banankontakt
Oct 13, 2012 1:37 PM
January base in SE AsiaI'm visiting SE Asia in January but unfortunately because of other commitments I don't have the time (or baggage space) to do a proper A-to B type tour. I have about 10 days that I can extend my stay and do some riding. I was thinking that maybe the best option would be to choose a nice base and instead of touring, take lots of day rides, or short 2-3 day loops with minimalist kit to explore the area in some detail - both on and off road.
It would need to be within a fairly cheap bus/train/flight distance from Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, not be too cold (I don't want to be lugging around lots of cold weather kit), and be a decent place to stay with lots of good riding within 1-200 km. I was thinking of somewhere like Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, Sapa, Kunming, Chengdu or maybe one of the Indonesian islands.
Any suggestions where to go?
Oct 13, 2012 10:35 PM
1I don't reckon you can go far wrong with Chiang Mai. Lots of good riding in the area. Local transport is good and cheap and it is easy to get there from Bkk (train) or flying from KL. Plenty of hills and good scenery and the weather will be ideal. Also as it is the dry season, virtually no mossies.
I reckon it will be too cold for (you in) Kunming or Chengdu. Another Chinese option would be Guilin where there is plenty to see and you can get cheap flights from KL, but again it can be cold, particularly at night and cheap hotels don't normally have heating. If you can get to Jinghong (southern Yunnan) then that will be warmer and plenty of really good cycling, but logistics and cost of getting there much harder than Chiang Mai.
I don't think there is too much around Luang Prabang apart from local sightseeing - or heading one way or other on H13. You could take boat up Mekong to Pakbeng or Huay Xai and cycle back but both trips more than 2 or 3 days and if unlucky you can get bad weather that time of year.
What about Vietnam. Great weather that time of year and plenty to see. Go to Saigon, then a few days in delta area and then maybe bus to dalat and fewdays touring round there.
Nonetheless, if you haven't been there before, I'd go for Chiang Mai as it ticks so of your many boxes!
Oct 14, 2012 5:27 AM
2you can do a loop tour if you like. cheap flight to phnom penh or siem reap.
(or train from bkk to aranyaprathet)
store your bike box/luggage in a guesthouse and you can loop around tonle
sap lake on the paved highways. or get off the highways and do a northern
loop that would include preah vihear and koh ker.
Oct 14, 2012 7:25 AM
310 days? Lots of possibilities in Thailand to add to the list along with Chiangmai.
Phitsanulok - Sukhothai - Sawankhalok (& Si Satchanalai) - Tak - Kamphaeng Phet - Sukhothai - Phitsanulok (train back to Bangkok)
Nong Khai - east and south along the Mekong to Khong Chiam - Ubon Ratchathani (train back to Bangkok)
Nong Khai - west along the Mekong to Chiang Khan (excellent riding!)
Bangkok - Samut Songkhram & Amphawa - Ratchaburi - Kanchanaburi - Suphan Buri - Ayuthaya (ride or train to Bangkok)
Crazy Guy on a Bike might give you some decent ideas. I find this site is great for loops out of certain towns/cities ... Ride With GPS
Oct 15, 2012 12:36 AM
4I too would recommend Thailand for that time of year. Chiang Mai or a smaller town nearby would be good if you like mountains and culture. Also consider Nan in the north, a quieter yet easy-to-get-to town, also with lots of mountains and culture. If you plan on just doing day rides, Chiang Mai's traffic might be a pain. Also consider other areas of Thailand, as mentioned in #3 above, or ride along the Andaman Sea area in the south, using buses or trains.
The motorcycle site www.gt-rider.com/ can also give you ideas, and has useful detailed maps of scenic riding areas and loops.
Oct 15, 2012 12:55 AM
Oct 15, 2012 7:38 AM
Oct 15, 2012 3:31 PM
7PQ, my problem is that I have to bring a suit, laptop and various other things with me on the trip, and I think I'll be leaving from a different airport than I arrive, so if I go on tour I'll have a lot of stuff to lug around - either that, or mail stuff ahead of me. It has the potential to get very complicated logistically, so I thought having a base would make it easier. But I still might do a short tour too if I can work out the logistics.
But I'm also thinking it might be a nice change to explore a place in a bit more detail. Sometimes I think when I'm touring I'm passing by a lot of intriguing little roads and trails. Maybe most of them are not worth riding, but maybe there are gems to find too.
Oct 15, 2012 4:09 PM
8Nong Khai, Chiangmai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Kanchanaburi, Sukhothai, Trat, Chanthaburi, Chumphon ... all good choices for day trips into the surrounding countryside. Trat, Chanthaburi and Sukhothai aren't on a rail line, but each would be worthwhile regardless.
You could even do trips in and around Bangkok and barely scratch the surface.
Sounds like one of those "agony of choice" situations.
Have a blast. Sorry to hear about the suit. Why not just rent one???
Oct 16, 2012 12:55 AM
Oct 16, 2012 7:46 AM
Oct 17, 2012 2:45 AM
11No off road tyres needed unless you you decide to go into the the jungle tracks. In general Thai roads are very good for cycling and as long as you stick to the main MHS loop, the road should be like in the video. I haven't done the southern part of the loop yet, but after having lived in Thailand for many many years, I doubt the road condition would be any different from what you can see in the video.
Of course there might be road works at some places, but then only for shorter sections.
The trip could be done with a road bike, but then you probably need a compact chain ring because the hills are sometimes really steep and long.
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