Virtual Tour 9: Southern Thailand

I’ve been three times to Southern Thailand to cycle. In 2013 to ride in the Samila Century. In 2016 to do the Satun Century and a two-day bikepacking tour. And in 2017 to ride in the Satun Century and some more touring.

For the Samila Century, six of us drove from Kuala Lumpur to Songkhla. The 160km / 100mi ride was around Songkhla Lake, on the eastern side of the isthmus.

In 2016 five of us drove from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar. Padang Besar is on the Malaysian side of the border with Thailand. We rode from Padang Besar to Satun, which is on the western side of the isthmus. The next day we did the century ride, which was a loop north of Satun. On the third day, we rode to Hat Yai, via an extended route which took us around Songkhla Lake. On the last day, we rode south back to Padang Besar.

For the 2017 trip, 22 of us met in Padang Besar. 2 flew from Hong Kong to Penang and drove a hire car to Padang Besar. 3 others drove from Kuala Lumpur. and 17 of us took the train to Padang Besar. We cycled from Padang Besar to Satun along the same route we used the year before. The century ride was a slightly different loop north of Satun. We rode to Hat Yai on day 3 via a shorter route than we had used in 2016. Hat Yai to Padang Besar was a duplicate of the 2016 ride.

This is a heat map of all the riding I have done in southern Thailand. The routes are in blue.

Heat Map courtesy of Strava

The red square in the map below encloses the area covered by the heat map above. The Indonesian island of Sumatra is to the left of the Malaysian peninsula. Vietnam and Cambodia are visible in the upper right.

Map courtesy of Google

2013 photographs

To get to the start of the century ride we took a ferry across the narrow waterway where Songkhla Lake meets the sea.

Thailand is noted for its beaches.

Thailand is also noted for its night markets. This pickup has been turned into a Japanese restaurant. An upper deck serves as the kitchen. Patrons sit in the bed of the truck.

These are sweetmeats made of mung bean paste dipped and decorated to look like mangoes, eggplant, chillies and so on.

Thais eat a lot of insects. I looked but didn’t sample.

We rode by this procession. My guess is it was for a wedding because of the money trees in those gold pots.

The lotus blossom has deep symbolic meaning to the Thais because of the flower’s association with Buddhism.

2016 photographs

Thailand here we come.

The road to Wang Kelian.

The Immigration post at Wang Kelian (it is a very small town).

Riding into Satun at the end of the century ride.

The roads in southern Thailand are excellent.

Finding refreshment is easy. Roadside stalls selling iced drinks are everywhere. This one had free wifi!

We had lunch at a floating restaurant on Songkhla Lake.

We all used Apidura saddle packs. This was taken on Ko Yo Island which is in Songkhla Lake.

There is a temple (wat) on Ko Yo called Wat Phrahon Laem Pho. Notable for its giant reclining Buddha.

This is Hat Yai.

Back to the border with Malaysia.

2017 photographs

The view from the top of the climb toward Wang Kelian.

Food stop under umbrellas at a gas station during the century ride.

It rained for every second of our four days in southern Thailand in 2017.

Lunch at a roadside restaurant on day 3.

Riding into Hat Yai.

Our hotel in Hat Yai.

We had very yummy chicken rice at this stall.

Riding through border control back into Malaysia.

4 response to "Virtual Tour 9: Southern Thailand"

  1. By: gregblood Posted: May 27, 2020

    Oh man, those insects look so delicious. I think I’m going to try to order a bucket of those worm/caterpillar-like things and have them sent to my home. I look forward to the burst of flavor I’ll receive from those bugs’ internal guts & juices when I bite into them. MMMMMMM.

    Everything I said in the previous paragraph is a lie. But I’m still enjoying your virtual tours.

  2. By: The Navigator Posted: May 28, 2020

    Definitely looks like high quality roads and great scenery.

    You might be able to tempt me with the grasshopper looking insects but not the worm ones! I’m pretty willing to try things, but the textures might be a problem. (EDIT: just looked at the link you gave Greg – could definitely do the crickets, maybe the grasshoppers, but definitely not the giant water bugs or scorpions. Worm ones…. maybe… a few beers first might help…).

    I would love to get to Thailand one day, but I’m pretty terrified of getting dengue fever, and it tends to be endemic in many parts – another mozzie virus just might finish me off!

    • By: Alchemyrider Posted: May 28, 2020

      I was just about to send you the link I sent to Greg.

      Can’t help you with the mozzies Em. Dengue is an ongoing problem in these parts.

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