Singin’ in the Rain 🎤🚴🌧️

Is what I did today for our entire ride, but that’s nothing new as I love to sing even though I don’t always know all the words. We woke up to a pretty good downpour, so took our time getting ready to ride out. When it became a drizzle we both said “let’s do this”. We know that this is the forecast for Thailand as it’s the beginning of their rainy season through September now. I can’t believe I actually said or am now typing that it was enjoyable to pedal in the rain today. After the three days of intense heat and hills it was a nice break with the mid 20 degree Celcius temps all day. We are thankful that we learned from our training rides on ALC to just take it slow and stay away from the painted lines and big puddles. There is something different about cycling in the tropical rains, as refreshing and still so beautiful.

One our our teammates Morris, was always singing when we trained and did the ALC with him in 2016. It always brought a smile to our face during a long day in the saddle and helped when climbing some of the local hills in SD. So today I channeled my best Gene Kelly voice and of course sang Singin’in the Rain. Some other favorites of mine are: (but not Tim’s 🤭)

“What the World need now, is love sweet love, It’s the only thing”

GO CUBS GO, GO CUBS GO, Hey Chicago whatya say the Cubs are gonna WIN today!

and anything by ABBA, Beyonce, or Pink

After four days in the saddle, we’ve decided to take a rest day tomorrow and will do our laundry in a proper washing machine and air dry in our room. We hope all our family and friends had a great holiday weekend back home in the states. No pictures today as there wasn’t time to stop and risk getting even more wet.

Start Time & Temp. 8:30am, 24C (75F)
Saddle Time 2:34:11
Distance 54km (33.5 miles)
Elevation 50m (164ft)
End Time & Temp. 11:20am, 22.7C (72.9F)

What Dreams are made of…

…is the day like we had today for most cyclists we know. We had more decent than ascent and the vehicle traffic was minimal. We started later than we had planned due to my alarm not going off (stop laughing Ann Texas), but it was nice to get the extra hour of sleep. The highway out of the town we’d stayed in last night had a nice wide paved shoulder that was almost like having our own lane. The temperature was perfect and cooled down into the 70’s when we began the climbing into the mountains. The ride reminded us both of our first tour two years ago when we left the Redwoods in Northern California and reached the Coast of CA again except it was more tropical and not as cold as Nor Cal is in July. We were both looking forward to the 10-15km of downhill after the 200m of climbing and it was “what dreams are made of” for sure.

As we’ve toured through Thailand these past 5 months, we will pass dozens of Temples on any given day in the saddle, and became quite familiar with several in Chiang Mai we passed on a regular basis while taking our break. Google says: “There are a total of 40,717 Buddhist temples (Thai: Wat) in Thailand as of 31 December 2004, of which 33,902 are in current use.”. They each are distinct and beautiful beyond measure so today I took a couple of pictures I hope you enjoy. Right after these temples we stopped for an early lunch at a quaint little roadside restaurant and ordered a Pad See Ew (similar to Drunken Noodles in the states for those that like Thai food). It was 30 Bhat each (93¢), and one of the best ones we’ve had. Tim was able to practice more of his Thai language skills, and the sweet woman that owned the place was impressed. She also showed us a Mama cat in a tote with two new born kittens.

The skies were as blue as my Irish/German eyes, with white fluffy clouds, and stunning farming and mountain views the rest of the way after lunch. It didn’t take long for the heat to reach near 💯 farenheit again and we missed the tree coverings we had earlier in the morning. We were craving an iced Thai coffee before the last 20km and another hill and finally found a stall on the side of the road for 30 Bhat.

During the last 15km the headwinds started and we were both getting Heat Angry and ready to finish the ride. We were getting ready to stop and check the directions for the room Tim had stared for the night when a pickup truck pulled over and a guy jumped out handing us two cold waters. We said thank you in Thai (it’s 1 of the 3 phrases I do know). After nearly 5 hours in the saddle there is nothing quite like a cold water to quench your thirst. The kindness of strangers is the BEST thing ever in this world. We looked at the map and had just 3km to go to get to our next night of rest.

Our lunch stop

Our Iced Coffee stop

Our bed, bar, and cafe for the night that closed at 6pm, so we went to dinner at 4:30 and felt like snowbirds in Florida. They had Bud’s Ice Cream Cake from San Francisco in a big cooler that brought back memories from home. We split a piece of Chocolate Chip Cookie and it didn’t last long enough to get a picture.

The rooms are named after coffee drinks so they showed us the “Flat White” one and said sure that will do for 500 Bhat a night.


Start Time & Temp. 8:25am, 29C (84.2F)
Saddle Time 4:53:54
Distance 105km (65.4 miles)
Elevation 450m (1476ft)
End Time & Temp. 2:30pm, 38.5C (101.3F)

Roller Coaster Country Roads

We started an hour earlier today to avoid as much of the heat as possible and another threat of rain that luckily held off. The first 35km were amazing on a tree lined not too busy highway that provided great shade. The shoulder was pretty bumpy, but we were able to ride away from it with cars and trucks giving us plenty of room. With our mirrors on our glasses we had enough time to respond from our rear view and only had to ride on the rough pavement a couple of times. We stopped on this highway for a coffee but unsuccessful in finding a breakfast option beside cakes and slices of pie that we didn’t want.

We had an option to stay on the highway or exit through backstreets that may or may not have been paved and we both said YES to the exit to enjoy the countryside. After 15 months of touring now, we know that our Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and Specialized Diverge Bicycles are made for decisions just like this. It was the perfect exit as we pedaled through quaint little farming villages and dirt roads. At one point we had to turn around just to take a picture of the stunning mountains, clouds, pond, and beautiful lotus flowers.

At 43km we turned again and Tim said to me “this is where the rollers and climbing begins” and I said “WHAT?, I thought it was flat to Phuket”. We found a mom & pop store to load up our water bottles and finish the last 40km of this ride. It was beautiful scenery but those rollers were no joke with 6-8% grades, one after the other, after the other finally before reaching the last one that I said, “that’s not a roller, I’m walking”…and Tim agreed. At this point it was reaching 40 degrees Celcius with 70% humidity and we were both fried physically and emotionally with just 10km to go that felt like 💯.

As any cyclist knows, there can be numerous emotions that go into a long and even short ride depending on the weather, road conditions, rest stops, climbing (that I still hate after 2.5 years and Tim loves), and time spent in the saddle. We both need new padded shorts that I just ordered on Voler and had shipped to one of the carrots meeting us in Phuket. When you only have one pair of shorts that you wear 4-5 days a week, they tend to wear out quite quickly lasting us 6-8 months. We started with Voler and love the brand so much that it’s worth it to wait and get a good quality pair. 🙏🏻 for our taints though 🤭thank you. We had plenty of snacks and drank sufficient amounts of water we thought but both said we could definitely use more water and we will going forward. We grabbed a late lunch in the small highway town we settled into for the night and then relaxing in the room now until the sun goes down in an hour before we grab dinner and go to bed early. It’s the life a a cycle tourist that we love and hate at times on this amazing roller coaster ride around the world.

We love the use of these old sewing machines made into dining tables at restaurants and coffee shops all throughout Thailand.

This little guy let me pet him at our first rest stop for iced coffee, but then back away and wasn’t too sure about me. Maybe it was my sweaty scent?

A picturesque photo opportunity that we had to turn around for on the dirt road.

Tim in perfect form for the next rolling hill on the quiet country roads.

Our bungalow with a king bed and plenty of room inside for bike parking…500 Bhat ($15.67 USD).

Our Khao Soi chicken leg for lunch. It was just okay. We became a little too spoiled by our favorite one in Chiang Mai called Khao Soi Nimman that we ate at 3-5 times a week. 40 Bhat (94¢ USD)…so you can’t beat that.

A new electrolyte drink in our room that we needed after the long hot ride and it’s better than Gatorade. It will be easy to find now after we picked up more at the 7-11 nearby and it’s only 10 Bhat (31¢ USD)

Start Time & Temp. 7:20am, 23C (73.4F)
Saddle Time 4:15:35
Distance 83.8km (52 miles)
Elevation 771m (2529ft)
End Time & Temp. 1:05pm, 40.6C (105.1F)

Farang bpai bye bye

It’s interesting now that I know a little Thai to be out in the countryside where we are novelties and people of course talk about us. In some ways it’s good, and some ways it’s annoying, and sometimes in between. Sometimes during our days I wish I hadn’t learned.

For the annoying, when we go to a local restaurant or walk around, you constantly hear people saying “farang” this or “farang” that. It doesn’t happen very often in Chiang Mai, and a few times that it did happen, I then heard another Thai person say in Thai, “some farang from Chiang Mai speak Thai,” and then I wouldn’t hear another “farang” from them. But here, even if I order food or ask directions in Thai (which still is admittedly really basic), farang are still a frequent topic of conversation. I don’t understand enough Thai to get the meaning most of the time, and I assume it’s mostly harmless, but it makes me uncomfortable knowing we’re being talked about right in front of us. Other cycle tourists we’ve met have said the same thing to me about Thailand, so it seems to be a common thing I’ll just have to get used to again.

For the rude, a motorcycle with two women passed us on a quiet country road. They were smiling so I waved back, and one said to the other something that I’m pretty certain was, “ah-ni mai law”, which means, “this one is not handsome.” Well damn, I hope they were just comparing me to Steve because they are right on that one, but it was a bit of a shock to hear.

For the cute, as we rolled out of town this morning, a guy in a park with his kid waved and said, “farang bpai Bye Bye”, a cute Thai-English mashup.

For the funny, I rounded a corner and an old woman gasped and exclaimed, “Ohhhh! Farang man!” I waved, and she said, “Bye bye!” with a curious smile.

For the useful, it is super easy to order food at any restaurant now, though it’s often tricky to convince them to talk in Thai. When they don’t speak English, they see a white face and refuse to say anything in Thai or English. So I need to coax a little so they know I can mostly understand them. Checking in at hotels is the same, and I don’t feel awkward going up to a hotel where the signs are all in Thai. Saving some money too, because these are always cheaper.

Actually finding restaurants is easier too because I can read the signs and menus and decide what we’d like to find before we sit down. There are some places you would never guess are restaurants except for the sign outside that says “noodles” in Thai.

But the best is talking with locals. We ran into a guy at a gas station who also cycles, but only spoke a little English. Between the two of us, we switched back and forth between Thai and English and had a great chat about our tour and his cycling. He then came out and gave us two fresh mangoes, which were perfectly ripe and amazingly tasty.

Overall, it’s taking some getting used to, being in countryside again after a few months in the city. We are looking forward to getting to the coast again, but it’ll be nice to spend time in these super local non-touristy places to get a real feeling for the country.

The Carrots in Phuket 🚴🥕🇹🇭

We jumped back in the touring mode today and left our accommodations in Chiang Mai where we recharged the adventure batteries the last two months. While in CM during that time we met some amazing new friends and fellow cyclists, Dell (an expat from the UK), and Aaron (a soon to be expat from the USA) that joined us for the first 38km of our 108km day to the appropriate named town of HOT. We found a great little bungalow for 350 Bhat (10.97 USD), and took a nice cold shower, washed our stinky cycling clothes, relaxed in the air conditioning, and happy we beat the rainstorm that happened right after we checked in.

It was a nice break in CM, but we were both more than ready to get back in the saddle and make our way down to Phuket for my 50th birthday in 5.5 weeks. The Carrots in Phuket will be my sister and eight of our friends flying in for the celebration. We are both always excited when we get to see friend’s from back HOME, and this will be the first time a FAMILY member has visited us since we left San Diego 15 months ago.

It was a beautiful ride with blue skies and white fluffy clouds, landscaped in rice fields and stunning mountains. The temperature when we started was perfect but soon escalated as it does this time of year in Thailand. We’ve given ourselves 4.5 weeks to get to Phuket which is plenty of time being 1600km (1000 miles) until we reach those nine carrots we can’t wait to hug and see. Because our minds think in ALC (AIDS/LifeCycle) terms at times, that’s just under 2 ALC’s but not near the elevation all those amazing humans will endure in a couple of weeks this year June 3-9. Chiang Mai is up in the Northern part of Thailand so we should be going all/mostly downhill…..right Tim?

I’m going to try and blog more through here especially on our cyclying days and might throw in a couple more if you’re lucky or I’m feeling it. Writing for me always seems like a chore and I want it to be poetic with perfect grammer and punctuation most importantly (Thank YOU I guess to my high school & college English teachers). Since we’ve been gone, I’ve enjoyed more of the photo blogging and hashtagging 😆 on Instagram, so I won’t promise you how long or short and sweet these posts will be. With that being typed, “That’s all for now Folks”

Start Time & Temp. 8:15am 23.1C (73.6F)
Saddle Time 4:39:37
Distance 108km (67miles)
Elevation 402m (1319ft)
End Time & Temp. 2:53pm 39.8C (103.6F)

Less loaded this time without the front bags and “stuff” we could live without until we get to Phuket.

Pork Holy Basil at our lunch stop for 55 Bhat ($1.72 USD)

The Ping River

The butt of this classic Volkswagen Beetle is as young as I am born in 1968.

Our bungalow for the night in HOT 🇹🇭. Little Pink Houses by JCM (I’m an IN boy at ♥️)

A stinky visa run to Laos

Before you jump to conclusions, no it wasn’t Laos that was particularly stinky. In fact, we liked Vientiane and look forward to coming back and cycling through Laos at some point in the future. The riverfront area has a nice vibe with a night market, street food, and a number of sit down grills with local fish, seafood, and Laos style sausage (similar to Northern Thailand’s sai ou-a and with a similar name).

The fresh and fried spring rolls in Laos are really tasty! We ordered 3 servings of these.

I love Beer Lao, one of the best national beers in Southeast Asia so far, but this special brew was my favorite. Unfortunately I drank a little too much Beer Lao and the flight back to Thailand was quite painful.

After being cramped into poorly-air-conditioned transit busses at airports and waiting in line for 2.5 hours at the Thai Consulate in 100+°F heat, in the same shirt for 3 days, it was me that was stinky. And it didn’t go unnoticed lol! A Thai woman on a cramped bus in Thailand had the disfortune of standing next to me as I raised my arm to hold the railing. She wrinkled her nose and said to her grand daughter, เหม็น ผู้ชาย (men pu-chai), which literally means “stinky men”, but Google translate also lists “faint” as an alternate translation. I smiled at her and giggled, because what else can you do in that situation. Luckily she stayed upright and we made it back to Chiang Mai, me staying as far away from the famously odor-sensitive Thais, who often comment about malodorous farang.

At least we weren’t in our cycling clothes! As part of my last lesson with my Thai teacher, I had her teach me important phrases like, “Sorry we are sweaty!” “Do we stink too much?” and “Shall we sit outside?”

But back to the visa run. Overall it was pretty straightforward. We got to the consulate at 8:30 when it opens and were amongst the last people in line; it makes more sense to arrive early or late. Arriving on time gives you the longest line. But we made some friends in line and also realized all the documents we prepared were useless and we had to get new photos and new photocopies anyway. We were worried they wanted proof of sufficient funds, flight plans, or hotel bookings, which other Thai Consulates require, so we had all that prepared. But they needed none of that, and luckily there’s an office to get your photos and copies for a reasonable price next door.

For anyone considering a visa run to Vientiane, here’s exactly what was required as of May 2018:

  • Passport with 6-month validity and at least a few blank pages – you need a full page for the Laos visa, full page for the Thai visa you will get, plus entry/exit stamps from Thailand and Laos. 3 full pages used up for each of us!
  • One photocopy of the photo page of your passport
  • One photocopy of the Laos visa page of your passport (we got the visa on arrival in the airport).
  • One photocopy of the Laos entry stamp in your passport.
  • Visa application, which can be printed online (Google “Thai Vientiane visa form”) or picked up FOR FREE in the office inside the consulate. Ignore the scammers outside trying to sell forms or visa services; the consulate does not allow visa services here! You have to do it yourself. Tip: when one scammer asked if I needed a form, I said “no” in English and he continued to hassle us. Another guy asked, so I responded in Thai, “mee leh-ow มีแล้ว” (already have), and he left us alone. So maybe practice the Thai phrase.
  • Two photos with a white background (one guy got turned away for having a blue background). They are 3.5cm x 4.5cm, smaller than traditional passport photos, so it’s probably easiest to just have them done there. They must be glued on to the application, and they have glue sticks to use for free.
  • 1,000 THB due at collection

Heres a full walk through of the process:

  1. Arrive at the Consulate. Thailand Consular Section, 316 Rue Bourichane: I suggest to arrive either early at 8am or late around 10am. Monday was bad with over 400 people and lots of tour groups; a friend went Wednesday and there were only 200 or so.
  2. Inside the gate, walk past the line to the building on the left.
  3. Get your form, photocopies, and photos done. You can fill out the form while waiting in line.
  4. Get in line (there’s only one line for applications, you don’t need to go up to the counters today). There’s a juice lady and decent bathrooms while you wait.
  5. Make friends with your fellow visa runners!
  6. When you get to the front of the line, they will check over your forms, take your documents, and give you a slip with a number. If you are missing anything, the guy/gal will let you fix it and you can come back to the front of the line. You don’t have to go back in line.
  7. The next day they hand out passports in order of your number starting at 1:30pm. Our number was 380 and they called it around 2:45pm, so they do about 300 per hour. The numbers are shown on an LCD screen above the counter and also announced over a very-quiet speaker in Thai and sometimes English. Good opportunity to practice your Thai numbers.
  8. When they are about 30-50 numbers from yours, start milling around near the counter; a line will form and people will sort themselves by looking at other people’s numbers. Ignore the drunk Russian who missed his number and is trying to push his way through (maybe that just happened to us, dunno).
  9. If you miss your number, you might have to act like a drunk Russian and push your way through. So try not to miss it lol! As long as you pick up your passport that day, you’re okay, but if you miss the pickup day, they void your visa.
  10. Take your passport, pay 1,000 THB, verify your visa stamp (it’s a stamp here, not a sticker like we got in Yangon), and go celebrate with all the new friends you made in line. There’s a good cafe just down the street called Cafe Sinouk with cold beer and excellent baguettes.

So we’re back in Chiang Mai and again official tourists in Thailand until July 21, taking us through Steve’s 50th birthday celebration in Phuket in a month! Time to get on the bikes and start cycling! The rain is already starting for rainy season in Southeast Asia so we’re giving ourselves plenty of time to get there.

Next post will be from the road.

เจอกันเชียงใหม่ (see you, Chiang Mai)

It’s time to get back to cycling, and we both couldn’t be more ready! It’s been a really lovely two month break in Chiang Mai, meeting some great people and eating too much incredible food, plus doing a lot of decompressing. But now we are both itching to get moving again.

First, we are off to Laos for a quick trip to the Thai Embassy to get some more time on our visa. This will give us enough time to cycle to Phuket for Steve’s birthday celebration.

And then next week we hop on the bikes and start cycling south. We are avoiding the touristy spots as much as we can to enjoy the Thai countryside and coast and slower pace of life. Although Chiang Mai is pretty laid back, it’s still a bustling city, and we are longing for some peace and quiet away from traffic and tourists.

Putting the bags and gear back on our bikes… A local bike shop replaced my cable housing and cables, and we’ve got some new shoes and cleats. Otherwise it’s pretty much our same setup except we are mailing a lot of cold-weather clothing and spare parts to Phuket, so this segment of our trip will be really ultra light, no handlebar bag, just the frame bags, bikepacking bag under our seat (see below), and very minimal clothing. Food and hotels are so easy and affordable in Thailand that we won’t need to worry about those, and there’s a bus or train we can hop on if we have mechanical issues that we can’t fix ourselves.

Added a little extra message in Thai on my bike lock… excuse my penmanship! It says “going from Chiang Mai to Phuket”.

We’ve been doing some training rides with some friends we’ve made including to this nice dam lake.

One of our favorite training ride stops for a late breakfast or early lunch.

Two of our cycling buddies, Aaron and Dell, strong cyclists and great company.

A local florist helped me make an amazing arrangement for my excellent Thai teacher, on our last lesson together. Highly recommend TSL in Panthip Plaza if you are interested in learning Thai in Chiang Mai!

Only a few more days to indulge in northern Thai food so we’ve been ordering the sai ou-a and Khao soi whenever we can…

Need to figure out which snacks are good for cycling; these cuttlefish crisps are actually really tasty and weigh nothing.

I gave in and tried a few flavors of the seaweed sheets. The wasabi ones are awesome, like a little bite of sushi. I don’t care too much for the other flavors though.

We probably won’t get much Western food until Phuket so we’ve been enjoying the smorgasbord available in Chiang Mai.

Expect more posts soon as we get off our lazy asses!

Lazy days in Chiang Mai, and getting back on the road!

Where has the last month gone? What have you all been up to while we’ve been being lazy in Chiang Mai?

Since we aren’t moving around every day, our life has been fairly boring, as we settle into a routine. But we have had a few fun and some not so fun moments that I’ll tell you about!

Finding an apartment

It’s a lot cheaper to find a month-to-month apartment in Chiang Mai than to hotel hop, so we did a little searching and found a great place in the Nimman neighborhood. We’ve got a small stovetop to cook our eggs for breakfast, a couch, view of the mountains, and even a clothes washer. It’s cozy but way more comfortable than a hotel. All for the same price as our last hotel, where the room was literally in a (converted) shipping container.


If you haven’t heard of Songkhran, it’s time to put it on your bucket list (pun intended). It’s a nationwide holiday (they also celebrate it in some surrounding countries) that is celebrated by having a huge water fight in every city and every town for 3 full days. One of the biggest is in Chiang Mai. We met up with some new friends and joined in the festivities with some big ass water pistols, and hired a tuk tuk to drive us around the old town moat. Every 30 seconds, a cheerful family poured huge buckets of ice cold moat water into our tuk tuk, drenching us, until we finally cried “Uncle” and set up at a moat-side bar to inflict our own water damage on other vehicles passing by.

Ready for battle…


Water proof camera highly recommended!

Literally dumping buckets of water on strangers!

Catching up with other cycle tourists and friends

As we’ve been touring, we’ve been keeping in touch with several other cyclists we’ve met along the way, either in person, through Instagram, WarmShowers, etc. Once in Chiang Mai, quite a few of these cyclists came through, and we had some great dinners at night markets and restaurants and enjoyed getting to know them better.

Tibor and Laura, waiting in Chiang Mai for their Chinese visa cycling towards Europe.

Our two friends from San Francisco, Tavo and Eric, also visited, and we had a wonderful time showing them the city, hiking, and going to see the famous drag show in town.

Steve went hiking up Doi Suthep with Eric and Tavo and came across this rarely visited temple in the woods.

On a sad note, one of the cyclists we met, Simon, who had just spent the past few months cycling through Vietnam, had a horrible accident just a few days after we met him in Chiang Mai. He is still in the hospital here, and his family has joined him. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts; it was quite a shock for Steve and me, but we are hopeful he will make a speedy recovery.

Getting sick

Getting the crappy news out of the way, I also became somewhat ill (again!). For 10 full days after Songkhran, I was unable to leave the house, having to stick close to my toilet. Frustratingly, I felt perfectly fine otherwise, so I felt like a caged up animal being trapped inside. Finally I went to see a doctor, and a quick course of antibiotics cleared it up immediately. I hope that’s the end of these illnesses; I think Steve is due for one, though I wouldn’t wish that on anyone! Meanwhile I’ve been more careful about bottled water and street food; only go to the busy stalls!

Getting our vaccines

While at the doctor, we checked up on our vaccines and decided to get the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine, which we could not find on short notice in San Diego or Athens when we last tried. It’s not a huge risk here, but better safe than sorry. More important, we decided to get the 3-shot course of rabies vaccines. It turns out, not only are the dogs more likely to chase bicycles here, but Thailand has a high incidence of rabies. One more shot to go, and we’ll be protected against that possibility.

Super dangerous, possibly rabid, dog in Chiang Mai… You can’t be too safe.

Cycling around Chiang Mai

We’ve met up with some local WarmShowers hosts and have joined them on several bike rides. I think Chiang Mai has the best cycling of any area of Asia we’ve been in so far, with endless quiet well-paved country roads, the Ping river with beautiful roads following it, tons of bike shops, hills and mountains if you want them or flat valleys if you don’t, and a strong cycling community of both expats and locals. Coffee stands, restaurants, mom & pop convenience stores, and food stall basically everywhere, so you don’t have to plan food or drink stops. Only problem is, due to Songkhran, my illness, rain, and smog (Chiang Mai gets a few months of smog every year due to burning of surrounding agricultural fields), we didn’t cycle for nearly 4 weeks! Nevertheless, we’re back in the saddle now and getting back in shape.


What can I say? Gin khao soi tuk wan! (we eat khao soi every day). Well, almost. We still aren’t tired of it; it’s that good. We’ve tried a number of places, but our favorite is still Khao Soi Nimman, partly because it’s close, but mostly because it’s really friggin’ good. The Nimman neighborhood is great for food because there’s everything from 35baht made-to-order mini restaurants and noodle shops to high-end Thai places to street food to all sorts of Asian and Western food, all within a few blocks. It really is a foodie paradise here. I think we will have sticker shock when we come back to the US, though; we often spend just $3-5 for the two of us to have a sit down lunch in air conditioning with excellent service.

Khao soi ข้าวซอย one of the best dishes in the world combines a rich spicy curry with tender noodles and crispy noodles on top. Add fresh onion and pickled cabbage, a squeeze of lime, and OMG!

Combining our two favorite northern Thai foods, here is Khao soi with sai ou-a ไส้อั่ว, a northern Thai sausage.

Som tum ส้มตำ spicy green papaya salad, super popular in the north and super delicious. We like it with 4 or 5 chiles, but very few places will make it with more than one or two for foreigners. Some Thais like it with 20! 🔥🚒😲

Geng hinglay แกงฮังเล an amazing rich pork curry inspired by a Myanmar curry.

Lots and lots of pad Thai! It was really good, too!

Anchan noodle uses a natural blue coloring (I think from a flower) to make their noodles. Otherwise it was just a typical Thai chicken noodle soup that looks pretty.

One of our favorite street food vendors at the Bumrung Buri Street market at the south gate of the old city has some excellent sai ou-a for 20 baht that he’ll grill and slice on demand, plus lots of other grilled and fried food.

Point and choose curry street vendor.

Mango sticky rice ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง is so good here. The mangoes are sliced fresh each order and melt in your mouth.

A really delicious pineapple fried rice at a fancy Thai restaurant in Nimman.

Egg and cheese roti โรตี, kind of like a Thai crepe.

Making a banana roti.

Durian is in season and it’s everywhere. The model behind us is a 10x actual size mockup. You can see the real fruit hanging over Steve’s head. It smells absolutely horrible but the locals and Chinese tourists can’t get enough!

The local stubby bananas are super tasty! I buy a bunch like this from a fruit lady on our street corner every week for 15 baht (50c).

For Easter Sunday we had a great Western brunch at a California style restaurant Rustic & Blue. The chicken and waffles are a-ma-zing!

There’s a really good Italian pizza place in town too, called Why Not?

Nope, we haven’t been to McDonald’s, but we walk by it often. Actually they have pad ga prow ผัดกะเพรา (Thai basil stir fry) at McDonald’s here; it’s not just burgers! So maybe we should check it out?

Learning Thai

And I’m happy to say my Thai lessons are going great! I can now read and write the Thai script (slowly), and I can order food, count numbers, and a few other things. Although yesterday, I used the wrong word and got 1 Coke with two glasses instead of 2 Cokes. But everything else came out right. Practice makes perfect.

Finding other cycle tourists

Wouldn’t it be cool if there was an app to see other cycle tourists nearby? Tell me what you think; I have an idea…

Extending our visa and visa runs

The Thailand tourist visa that we got in Myanmar will expire soon, but it’s extendible by 30 days, so we spent half a day at immigration applying for and waiting for that to be processed. Overall it was pretty painless, but a bit pricey. Now we have until the beginning of June.

Planning our next steps

Steve’s big 5-0 birthday is July 2, and a number of friends and Steve’s sister will be flying to Phuket to celebrate with us. We would love to be cycling again when they arrive, so we are starting to plan the 1,600km (1,000 mile) ride from Chiang Mai to Phuket. It’s making us excited to think about cycle touring again, and we are eager to see more of rural Thailand and more of the Gulf coast, which both of us love here.

We are a little concerned that it will be peak rainy season, but I think we’ll be able to find enough dry periods over 28 days to make it all the way. If not, there’s a train and bus that we could hop on to make sure we arrive before our friends! Here’s a preview of our planned route.

A different rural route down to Kamphaeng Phet, avoiding the busy Highway 1. We’ll go see the ruins in KP that we skipped last time.

Getting away from the main Highway 1 corridor, following the mountain foothills towards Kanchanaburi, a town we really enjoyed last time and look forward to seeing again.

Head to the coast, stopping at the Amphowe floating market again, and then retracing our route down the coast, but perhaps stopping at new places or re-visiting our favorites.

All new section of coast for us, looks very rural and undiscovered, then cutting across towards Phang Nga, where we will remember what farangs look like and get ready for Steve’s next decade.