Note: some bike and travel details will be in italics so you can choose to skip them if you want!
Buses to Chantaburi depart from Bangkok Eastern Station on the hour, take approximately 6 hrs and cost about 150 baht (at the time of writing €1=39 baht).
After the ease of the bike rental we had the daunting task of navigating the streets and carparks(!) of Bangkok city. This requires a certain amount of endurance, extreme patience and sheer resilience!
I’m fairly confident that the Bangkok road network was “designed” when cars were a rarity in Thailand. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. The relatively recent increase in wealth in the city has resulted in roads teeming with out-of-place jeeps. Bangkok roads are at a standstill and lack the mobility provided by the mopeds that once zipped and zagged through the streets. The traffic in Saigon (Vietnam) is infamously bad, however, it operated like an enormous orchestra, improvising without needing a conductor. Every journey was different, autopilot was not an option. I cannot say the same for Bangkok. The incomprehensibly long traffic light waits (up to 120 seconds) only further excerbated the problem.
This 14km commute thus took about an hour and a half. Progress was tediously slow; stop start, stop start. The heat was the kind that causes your sandpaper dry tongue to cling to the roof of your mouth. It was not pleasant.
We were very relieved when we pulled up to the bus station and thankfully getting bikes on the bus was no hassle at all (only 4 euro). The bus driver must have been in a rush to get home for dinner because the bus took about an hour less than expected! There happened to be a fruit festival in Chantaburi, which meant we were entertained by jeep loads of Durians (extremely pugent fruits banned in most indoor public places due to their smell). I am beginning to think that when you buy a jeep in Thailand, it comes pre filled with Durians we have seen so many!
This isn’t my photo but it’s the closest resemblance I could find of the hundreds of jeeps we saw!
We stayed in the Hop Inn, €17 for a private double. Very clean and friendly staff. They kept our bikes in a storage room for us. Perfect spot for a transition evening.
We went to a night market for food which was pretty tasty but was completely outdone by the banana pancakes that we devoured on the side of the road while it was raining, much to the amusement of the locals!
The pancakes were made by stretching what I assumed was a ball of flour and water. A generous amount of oil was poured onto the cooking plate and the stretched dough tossed in. A beaten egg and chopped banana were mixed in a cup before being added to rest. The pancake was topped with condensed milk and sugar if you needed the extra sweetness. It was a perfect dessert even if she was surprised that we asked for one each!
Not a bad way to end the day.