Summer is barely over, but I am already planning 2020 cycling trips. If all goes as planned then Alla and I will be cycling together from Basel, Switzerland to Rotterdam, Netherlands. In between those cities, we will cross parts of France, Germany, and Luxembourg. We will share more about that trip in a series of blog and VLOG posts. I also have solo cycling trips planned for Mexico and Thailand. All the trips are exciting, and I am especially excited about cycling with Alla, but in this post I want to share plans for a tour of the Kanchanaburi area in Thailand. This blog post draws heavily from Spice Roads and use photos from past trips. I will post my first-person experiences and photos after the trip.
If you have not heard of Kanchanaburi, then odds are you have heard of the Bridge Over the River Kwai, Hellfire Pass, or the Death Railway. You might have read the history or seen one of the movies centered on these infamous events from World War II.
As a historian, it is an area that has intrigued me for years. Seeing the Spice Roads tour, I knew I had to go. This will be my sixth tour with Spice Roads. I can always count on them for great quality, excellent prices, wonderful hotels and food, and interesting places to cycle. The road cycle tour will start in Bangkok, where we will meet and drive to Kanchanaburi. On day one we will have time to visit local sites, including the war museum, cemetery and the Bridge Over the River Kwai. After checking into our hotel on the River Khwae Yai, we will do a bike ﬁtting and get the tour started with a 40 KM ride.
Spice Roads always books us into great hotels and I am glad will be staying a second day at the Royal River Kwai Resort. The hotel looks great and I can return to my room after a 120 KM Kanchanaburi Loop ride past farms, local schools, temples, and sugar cane, rice, and tapioca plantations. I hope the Khwae Noi River helps us cool down as we cycle along on our way back home.
Day three sees us cycling along the Khwae River for some 65 KM before climbing 15 KM to the top of the Sri Nakarin Dam. I understand the views are magnificent and promise to post photos on the blog and Instagram when I do the ride. We will be staying at a lakeside resort, Raya Buri, and if past experience is any guide then it will be sweet.
We will reach the famous Erawan National Park on our fourth day. It will be a long day, some 120 KM, but the roads will be smooth and shady, plus we will have a chance to cool off in the waterfall before transferring to the hotel.
After four days of cycling, we will take a rest day at the Mida Resort on day five of the tour. Some riders get in an extra ride on a rest day, but I normally take an extra nap, sample the local food and get a leg massage. Given that day six will be 90 KM of what Phil Liggett might call a “lumpy” course, I will probably follow the same routine.
Today, we ride up to Hellﬁre Pass for a visit. This is where the Allied prisoners were forced to cut a rail pass through a mountain of solid rock. The name “Hellﬁre Pass” originates from the prisoners’ shadows dancing on the rock walls while working at night with lanterns, resembling a scene from hell.
Day seven takes us along the Thai-Burmese border as we cycle into Ratchaburi. The 115 KM ride is mostly flat with some small hills near the end. It will be a bittersweet day as the end of the tour is coming much too soon.
This is our last day. We will cycle 90 KM with most of the last 42 KM to Amphawa being downhill. After a visit to a floating market and lunch we will transfer to Bangkok.
I normally spend one day in Bangkok and then depart for home the next day. It is a day to repack, buy any last minute gifts and visit one of the many interesting sights in the city. I hope you will join me on the trip. The historical and natural sights of Kanchanaburi, the beautiful Sri Nakarin reservoir, and the seven-tiered waterfall of Erawan National Park should make for a magical trip.