Discard Chiang Rai, set Hua Hin - Frankie goes to.....the South of Thailand (2018) - CycleBlaze

October 20, 2018

Discard Chiang Rai, set Hua Hin

Is the bottle half full or half empty?  One thing I deliberately worked on since I got retired last December is trying to look at things more from the bright side of life. Easily said, difficult to execute if you have been working in serious crime for 38 years being confronted with the dullness of life day in, day out. I didn´t expect my progress in that regard to be tested before my trip had even started though! It was 6 am in the morning of my scheduled departure day when the airline for this trip, Lufthansa´s daughter Eurowings, sent me a text message saying the flight from Cologne to Bangkok would be delayed by at least 6 hours. At the same time they asked all passengers to still stick to the regular check-in times requiring two trips to the airport.... 

I should have really been spitting the dummy as this postponement would not only irrevocably result in me missing my onward flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai. On top of that the massive delay before I would eventually get up there would make it almost impossible to stick to my route as the ride from Chiang Rai to Penang had been planned rather ambitiously anyway. But most annoyingly: I would have to let down my cycling mates Andrew, who had booked himself on that same Bangkok Airways flight up North, and Bob, who  had cycled up there from his residence in Nonthaburi. At least Canadian Mark, who was about to come and see me as well, had fortunately not left his home in Nan yet. Those missed appointments with my close friends really hurt me but apart from that? Shit does happen and I decided not to let it spoil my eager anticipation of being back on Thailands roads soon. Just on a different and much shorter route.  

So where to start now? Having a bulky bike box as part of your luggage dominates not only the choice of airline but any successive transport as well.  My friends and fellow cyclists Ruth and Ute had used the coach going direct from Bangkok´s Suvarnabhumi airport to Hua Hin on one of their previous trips and while still at Cologne airport I decided to do the same. Accordingly I got myself a room in the Chomsin Hotel and I could have booked the bus online too but was hesitant in doing so as I didn´t know for sure what time exactly my flight would depart from Cologne. 

In the end it all turned into a rather pleasant experience: Eurowings will pay me the maximum compensation by EU flight delay regulations (600 €); the flight itself in their "Best" class (something between Premium Economy and Business) was more than acceptable and once at Suvarnabhumi Airport getting to Hua Hin was a piece of cake: Go down to Level 1, Gate 8 where you will find the desk selling the tickets to either Pattaya or Hua Hin. It cost me 269 Baht for myself, 200 for the bike and  100 Baht for the shuttle from the Hua Hin bus terminal to my hotel. I strongly recommend to do the same as the terminal is a few kilometers north of the town center and soon after leaving the airport they hand out lists with all hotels being served by the shuttle. So here I am, plenty of time in hand to get to Penang before December 6 !

I don´t know how many times I have packed bike and gear for a long haul flight now but what I do know is that I never enjoyed the process. Probably I am over-accurate in protecting the bike but that comes from experience. Once I flew with Austrian Airlines and during the Vienna stopover they left the cardboard box outside in the rain causing its extinction and successive damage to the bike.
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When I looked out of the window before my departure to South East Asia last December I had to look at some serious snow. This time I enjoyed a far more attractive autumn sunset.
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Eurowings treated my bike better than myself. Not one single scratch on the box.
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Plenty of space in the luggage compartment....
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....and inside the bus too
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The Chomsin Hotel. 900 Baht for my room with a seaview balcony.
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It´s nice to have the balcony but I do prefer sitting in front of the reception
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Heart-rending scenes on Hua Hin Beach
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Hua Hin Beach
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Special of the day
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Much better choice at the Bird Chilli restaurant, my regular eating establishment at Hua Hin´s exciting nightmarket for many years now
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And that´s (always) my choice: grilled squid and clams with Chinese kale
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Comment on this entry Comment 1
Andrew FatseasDear Frank, how dare you enjoy yourself without us.
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