Things I learned

General

  • Cycle touring is easier than expected, even when starting as a relative novice (said before any significant hills undertaken). Do it. It’s wonderful.
  • In order of friendlyness: villages, small towns, cities, big towns.
  • There are places that exist that are not on maps, like entire towns absolutely full of people. This can take you and the locals by surprise when you unexpectedly cycle in.
  • 98% of dogs are more afraid of you than you are of them.
  • There are few things that air conditioning cannot make you feel better about.
  • If you cycle at least 50km a day and are too tired to drink beer you will lose fat and gain muscle suprisingly quickly.
  • You can get wifi in really surprising places.
  • There are guesthouses, hotels and homestays in all manner of unlikely tucked away places if you just ask, even sugar plantations.
  • Some of the best accommodation and off the track locations are just not advertised or signed in English. Just learn how to ask in the local language and you’ll get some great spots designed for in-country tourism.
  • Comparing the cost of different accomodations and what you get for the same price defies all sense of reason sometimes.
  • People are really impressed by cycle touring and will want to shake your hand and practice their English. Or they think you are mad and are even more impressed.
  • The GPS on your iphone/similar is totally enough for navigation with a map app (eg: maps.me) and requires no internet. No need for separate, expensive GPS devices.
  • Maps.me app has some very helpful functions like route planning (walking route) and showing where hotels/atms/police stations/hospitals etc… are.

Thailand  

  • The roads are tarmaced and in good condition pretty much all over, even in more countryside areas.
  • It’s hard to get lost if you have GPS.
  • There are bike shops and bike mechanics on the roadside very often.
  • Smiling goes a long way.
  • The words for egg and chicken are very close. As are nut and arm (remember this at Thai massage time).
  • Thai people really are ridiculously helpful and will very often go way out of their way to help you when you patently have absolutely no idea what they are saying.
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