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  • Writer's pictureClotaire Mandel

Tips and tricks : Thailand

I've put together my memories in order to create a list of a few places I've been and who could potentially help you. It's about the only thing who matter in life : coffee, food and bike. And good overnight spot as well.

Visa : No visa for less than a 30 days length stay for french passport. It's very common to see people doin' running visa with border countries. It's not as easy as it was before. So you got this visa exemption whatever the way you enter the country, but you can't got it more than twice during a calendar year. For a two months visa, you might head to the Thai embassy, and for a French passport it might costs around 35 euros. Note : You can extend you stay if you entered the country with the 30 days visa exemption. It costs around 50 euros. Currency : Thai baths Time zone : GMT+07h

Map of the places quoted below ! Border crossing : Thailand - Laos : - Chong Mek / Vang Tao

- Mukdahan / Savannakhet

- Nakhon Phanom / Tha Khaek

- Bueng Kan / Paksan

- Nong Khai / Vientiane

- Ban Mo / Vientiane

- Tha Li / Nam Hueng

- Chiang Khong / Huay Xai

Thailand - Cambodia : - Aranyaprathet / Poipet

- Had Lek / Koh Kong

- Chong Jom / O Smach

- Chong Sa Ngam / Anlong Veng

- Ban Pakard / Phsa Prum

- Ban Laem / Daun Lem Thailand - Malaysia : - Ban Ta Ba / Pengkalan Kulor

- Sungai Kolok / Rantau Panjang

- Betong

- Sadao / Changlun

- Pedang Besar

- Wang Prajan

- Langkawi Thailand - Myanmar : - Mae Sai / Tachileik

- Mae Sot / Myawaddy

- Phu Nam Ron / Htee Khee

- Ranong / Kawthaung To sleep :

- Spinning bear hotel, Bangkok.

Lovely dorm in Auckland in between airport and city center. Hold by a couple of thai passionated about bikepacking and bike mechanic. It's a bit out of the crowd and the mess can be reach with public transport. A lovely place with lovely people ! Also, manageable to leave your bike there for a bit if you want to backpack a bit. Local area, and a good food market next door on evening.

- Allsum hostel, Ayutthaya.

Lovely place, clean and cheap. Bike friendly, you can drop your bike in the garden for a bit as well. A bike day or 3h train away from BKK, it's way more relax and somehow more interesting than BKK as well. A good place to spend a few days relaxing.

- Sher cafe and farm, Chiang rai. A bit out of town and close to the white temple. Run by a lovely family who speaks english. Good food, good coffee, good vibes. And you can even pitch your tent on the grass in exchange of a couple of bucks. If I had to go back there I would plan to crash there overnight.

- Khoksametchun Hostel, Hat yai. Lovely hotel in the city center of Hat yai, sounds like a good option before crossing the border. Clean, cosy and cheap. Bike slept inside as well. Staff is lovely and is a small food night market 2 minutes away.

- Khao sam roi yot NP, campsite.

A wonderfull place. Access to water, toilet, shower, restaurant. And mostly, a proper campsite right in the beach or under the palm trees. Wide and empty beach, amazing place. I paid a very little fee to stay overnight. And with this ticket you can even stay almost a week I reckon. The entrace to the NP is quit expensive tho, but you can easily sneak cutting through the forest avoiding the main gate, french way ;)

- Pran Buri forest park, campsite.

Probably the best place to sleep around Hua Hin. Lovely and quiet place along the sea, far from this horrible city. You'll maybe have to pay a small fee, I didn't back in the day. Was there early afternoon tho, nobody came or say anything. You can even have a patch of concrete under a roof with electricity. A must. - Bird nest, Mae Sot. Lovely hostel in this cool town. Owners are super cool and the mom is a legend. Cosy and clean dorm

Well, let say it's pretty easy anyway to find a patch to pitch the tent. Thai people are incredibly lovely, and on top of that they don't care seeing you sleeping next to their houses, and they understand the concept of camping. When cycling the coastal road, it's pretty easy to find out as well. Always a solution, and most of the time you can be close to the sea, if not directly on the beach. Writing this now from Auckland, I can say that sleeping in Thailand was fun and most of the time a beautiful moment.

Coffee shop :

Thailande and coffee, a long story. Let say y'oull find some everywhere and at anytime, but is far from being good all the time. Although, advantage is because of this crowd of coffee shop, you can easily find a proper coffee shop and coffee roaster from north to south of the country if you dig enough. The coffee beans you'll find are mostly from Thailande, and it's a good coffee. Absolutely nothing to compare to what Vietnam, Laos or Myanmar can produce. And coffee is a serious affair there, almost religiously. So dig a bit, and I promess, you'll find a very good cup.

- Roastology, Bangkok.

Good coffee roaster next to Lumpini park. Lovely staff. Good selection of beans and you can order a batch with a precise roast if you too picky ;)

- Prompt cafe micro roasters, Chiang Rai.

For sure one of the best coffee I had in Thailand. Good good long black and V60. Sells a selection of beans carefully selected and roasted in the shop, a bit expensive but good coffee will never be cheap. Small shop, not too much space to relax or work but defy worth a detour, no question.

- Gallery drip coffee, Bangkok.

Best drip coffee I had in thailand. Large selection of beans, included very good Thai beans. A tiny bit more expensive than random roaster but level up... Cool staff, cool place and awesome cup of coffee. All I need !

- Lonely barista, Bangkok. If you have a look at the location you'll might find me crazy to dig as much as this. Well, at some point I was sleeping close by so... Anyway. Lovely place. Good selections of beans, not too expensive. Relaxing place to read and write while sipping a cold brew. - M.A.S Stay-at-cafe, Kanchanaburi.

Found there the best coffee of my whole existence so far. The owner what he's talking about. cosy place with food and good coffee. Beans roasted in the shop, and damn good. Not cheap, but you know what, once you try their Salvador coffee you can't step back. Didn't hesitate to grind me some to smell and try on expresso shot. You'll find some brewing accessories as well.

- Kim coffee home roaster, Chumphon.

Litteraly in the middle of fucking nowhere, can't explain better. If you're passing by and need to re supply on coffee beans, dont look any further. Very small shop who don't look at all like a shop. No sign, no clue. But good local coffee beans.

- Doz coffee lab. Surat Thani. Probable the only place to be in town. Didn't like much this city where people are just landing to cross the sea heading to islands. BUT, cause is always a butt, this place worth a detour. Good coffee and good croissant ! V60 are good, large choice of coffee beans as well. Lay on their confy couch and enjoy aircon. - Panumi Specialty Coffee, Mae Sot. If you in Mae sot, most likely you'll cross the border or freshly come from Myanmar. Wherever you're going, it's always time for a good cup of coffee. And this is what this coffee shop can offer. Owned by a very cool couple, they do very good slow process coffee. I got some beans from them, but they had just a blend from Myanmar in stock at that time, which wasn't good enough. Is an other shop in town as well who apparently do good coffee but the owner is apparently not a friendly as here. And this is also important to enjoiy your cup isnt ?

Bike Shops :

- Bike Cafe' Hat Yai.

Small bike shop in the city center. Have some spare bikepacking piece of kit and it's perfect place for mecanic/component to replace. The owner is very lovely as well.

- Bokbok bike, Bangkok.

Seems to be the place to be in Bangkok. Very well skilled team of mecanics, they are certified by Rohloff as well. they can get any type of gear. Opens until 11pm, perfect for a beer after bike maintenance. Was spending way more time there than in temples...

- Spinning bear bike, Bangkok.

They are with bokbok bike the others mechanics for bike tourer in town. I said something bout them already as they also run a dorm as well as the bike shop. Those two shops could be a reason for coming back cycling there at some point..

- Triple cats, Chiang Mai

A legend in the country. They are closely link to each other with the two others above. The shop as closed when I've been there so unfortunately I can't say much. Except than here as well you can get pretty much every thing you need, and he has a very good reputation.

- Poople bike, Songkhla

Surprise surprise ! When leaving Songkhla on morning I found this shop in the old city. An incredible stock of bike touring equipment. The more I've seen in a shop since..... Lovely owner as well, but I think it's typically Thai after all. Whatever you need, you can probably find out somewhere on the shelves. A precious stop before Malaysia or before Bangkok. - Ari outdoor, Bangkok. De ce que j'ai pu voir, c'est l'outdoor shop le mieux équipé de la ville. Pas mal de choix dans ce petit magasin et ce dans pas mal de domaines... En tout cas, il y aura surement une solution à votre problème chez eux. Et y'a même un 7/11 juste en face. Un peu le paradis quoi. As far as I know, the best outdoor shop in BKK. Small shop but very well furnished. You might find a way o solve your problem there. And is a 7/11 right in front of t

Note : Because of high taxes, gear coming from Europe is way more expensive. So you can get lot a things, but prices as slightly different...

Food :

Hard to recommend something special considering the amount of time I eat per day over there. And also, random noodle shop on the side of the road are as good as any other restaurant. Just go out, and don't stop eating !

- Nava pad thai, Bangkok.

If I'd to pick one up, that would be this one. For few reasons : food is very good and very cheap, aircon and wifi, lovely family run business, next to the central mess of Kaoh San, cheapest beers in the area. But yep, food is very very very good. For such a price it's almost a crime. I tried to pull my fingers out and explore some more restaurants around but no way, always went back there ;)

- Chiang Rai food market. The food market I loved the most in Thailand. Was a blast. Cheap and good. I might cycle back there just for this. Can remember spending my day waiting for 6 o'clock coming to head there. First at the sushi shop bro. (Ok it's not so Thai but who cares ?) And as a conclusion, a bit of culture : Did you know that Bangkok has actually an other name which is the longest city name worldwide ? Krung Thep mahanakhon amon rattanakosin mahintara ayuthaya mahadilok phop noppharat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan amon piman awatan sathit sakkathattiya witsanukam prast. Which means : the city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukam


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