We already spent some time in South East Asia but entering Thailand was different. Mat has been travelling in Thailand a couple of years ago, so it was the first country on our way that was not completely new for us. Being in the other South East Asian countries, and especially in Laos and Cambodia we really felt like travelling – cycling on small and unpaved roads, crossing through tiny villages and meeting people in front of their bamboo houses was an adventure in itself. Thailand has a well developed tourist structure which makes life in some way easier but has nothing to do with cycle touring. However, even in the most touristy place a real traveller can find something special and feel welcomed and surprised.

getting_nowhere on the way to Bangkok

Fake soldier - Thailand

Many, many legs

Tuk tuk in Bangkok

Thai woman with tatoo

Cook in Bangkok

Dried shrimps

Thailand is a Buddhist country. On every step we could experience how much the religion is present in the daily life of the Thai people.

Thai decorative roof

Monk on the market - Bangkok

Statue of Buddha - Bangkok

Monk smoking

Monk sculptures

Wherever we went we could see Buddhist temples – Wats. Since camping is not very popular in Thailand and to find a good spot to put up our tent was almost impossible (or forbidden, like on the gas station below) we decided to ask for a place to stay in one of the temples…

No camping sign

…we got a place for our tent plus a fan (without any air circulation, sleeping in the tent during this hot and humid period is a nightmare) and we could also take a shower. The only negative aspect of staying over night in the temples is, that the daily life starts around 6 o’clock in the morning, which does not really fit into our normal sleeping patterns. On the other hand we can start the day early and cycle some kilometres without suffering from the heat that much.

Monk in the temple

We have already heard from other travellers that sleeping in Wats in Thailand is pretty easy, and indeed, it quickly became our preferred way of camping! All we had to do to stay there was to find a monk (preferably an abbot) and ask where we could sleep. In every Wat in Thailand there is a place where one can wash, and we could always plug our electronic devices to charge overnight.

Sleeping at a Buddhist temple

Camping at a Buddhist temple

Us camping at a temple - Thailand

One day, when it was around lunchtime and too hot to cycle, we were looking for a good place to spend some hours in the shadow during the worst heat. We saw a sign for a “rest area” and thought it would be the perfect place where we possibly could find some shade and probably something to eat. It turned out to be a rest area on the territory of Wat Khom Bang. While we were about to get some sleep underneath a big tree, the abbot of the Wat passed by and asked whether he could help us somehow… We ended up with a huge lunch, a refreshing shower and interesting conversations in the temple’s garden, where we could try different fruits. On top of that we got a delicious dinner, a private air-conditioned room for the night, a big breakfast the next morning and 6 kilos of fruits to eat on the way…

Abbot of Wat Khom Bang

Mat climbing for some fruits

Among the treasures of the garden we could find and taste mangosteen…

Mangosteen

…as well as the “king” of all fruits (according to the abbot of Wat Khom Bang), the very specific in smell and taste: durian…

Small Durian

Big Durian

…and the to the lychee family belonging: longan…

Longan

Anna at Wat Khom Bang

With full stomachs we could jump on our bicycles and start cycling towards Koh Chang to meet Anna’s parents hoping that they will recognize us…

Anna having a nap on a bamboo bench

…we changed a bit since we have left home.

Some kilos lost