Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tour of Issan

Not much time for doing any actual riding these days, but find myself staying up late planning future bicycle trips. My recent trip to Bangkok has me thinking about a tour in Thailand this winter :-)

My last bike tour in Thailand was back in February, 2009 -  I did a 9 day trip from Nakhon Rachasima (Khorat) to Ubon Ratchathani. Just brought my bike gear with me and rented a MTB from a scooter rental shop in Khorat. Really should have brought my saddle with me in hindsight, as the one on the bike was pretty poor.

I can't say the biking was great, with not a hill to be found and fairly endless miles of similar scenery, but I had a great time, so must've been doing something right.

Stopped for a while to enjoy a local soccer game.

Issan doesn't have a lot of attractions, but the Buddist temple in the town of Phimai is certainly one of them. Only about 60km North-East from Khorat, this temple is very similar to the main temple of Angkor Wat. I was lucky enough to visit on a day when a Thai photography club had brought some models in period costume along with them.

A pleasant ride south from Phimai is this charming little train station. I skipped out on a busy highway section by hopping on a local train for the remaining miles to Buriram.

The great thing about this part of Thailand is that nobody makes their living here from tourist $ - just regular Thais going about their daily business.

Summer camp activities are a little different in Thailand; blindfold the kids and have them walk on a rope bridge over water as you shake the rope with your foot and try to make them fall off. The kids were just screaming with pleasure of course.

Good training mind you for the work that may follow:

This lake in Ubon didn't have much shade for an afternoon ride, but fun in the evening when all the locals show up to sing and drink at the numerous roadside bars.

The hotel where I stayed in Ubon was great and a real bargain at $450Bht per night. To make foreign guests feel welcome they would display the flag for their country at the entrance; thus the Canadian flag they put up when I arrived. Gotta love Thailand.

I really hope I can do some more riding in Thailand this winter.

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