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Bicycle Riding On The Chanthaburi Coast


Atmos

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Coastal Chanthaburi is maybe the most bicycle-friendly part of the country?

On the mainland roughly between Koh Samet (40km north) and Koh Chang (60km south) the coast road has been developed with red-coloured cycle lanes each side.

Sure they still get used at times by slower motorbikes, but the coloured lanes, the signposting - and how about that 'bicycle parking' - is a big step up from anywhere else I've been riding. Cycle-friendly.

There's plenty of cyclists here, lots of active 'mature' Thais out on bikes, a mix of road/race bikes and big frame mtbs with road tyres, groups from C'buri Burapha university, mix of male/female, also a uni mtb group we've seen heading into the hills.

Good shops in C'buri incl a Probike store, another for road/tri bikes, and more . . . spoilt for choice, and some quality bikes, Colnago, Bianchi and so on.

Great place to take a break - on the coast halfway between Koh Samet and Koh Chang, around the coastal towns of Laem Sing, Chao Lao;

We've been at the bus station in Chanthaburi city (30km to Chao Lao) and seen people coming/going with their bikes on the bus, nice weekend away for low-key touring, a backpack and some good acomm at Chao Lao for 500b a night, less if you just want a fan room and no aircon.

For more low-key riding, several of the beach resorts rent bicycles by the day/hour, the best I've seen is from the store in CL with the ATM machines and gas station, about 3mths ago they bought about 8 new mtbs for hire.

Apart from the cycle-lane roads there are so many other routes with little traffic and good scenery, all that's missing are hills if that's what you want, it's basically flat and changing gears doesn't happen too often, best hill is a small, steep one at the south end of CL beach.

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Things to see along the way

Laem Sing - small coastal fishing village. There is accommodation here, some seaside restaurants, and an ATM machine.

A few local attractions

Laem Sing beach - many km of white sand beach, isn't the best for swimming May-October (esp the northern end) as too close to the rivermouth and tends to be brown from silt carried down the river

Kuk Khi Kai - built by the French Army in 1893 when this was French occupied territory and used to imprison Thai rebels; known as 'chicken dung cell' as chickens were kept on the grated roof above the prisoners

Tuek Daeng - 'the red building' was once French military barracks, later used as a library/museum now locked up and unused

Laem Sing (Great King Taksin or Taksin Maharat) Bridge - opened May 2008, before then it was either ferry across or a 60km drive; good views on a clear day inland towards the hills of Namtok Phlio National Park in the distance

Chaopho Laemsing Shrine - Chinese shrine about 400m west of the northern end of the bridge

Edited by Atmos
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over the bridge and continuing north along the coast, options to turn left to Ao Yang and/or Ao Krathing two secluded bays with safe swimming beaches.

There is cheap accomm a Ao Krathing, 400b per night. Or possibly it is Ao Yang I confuse the two.

Other than that, the next 10km or so is a simple road, all flat, along the coast, 20-50m from the sand.

Easy to spot the two temples on top of the few hills in the area, both about 1km inland; one is a 240-step climb and unfortunately what would once have been a fantastic view is now mainly obscured by trees.

The second is still under construction, the golden Buddha is visible from a long way off, and a road leads almost to the top of the hill, good views of the coast and surrounding countryside.

Back on the main road and you're at Pak Nam Khaem Nu and the site of the second recently-built bridge, which will take you over the hill to the south end of Chao Lao beach.

At the south side of the bridge is a new rest area (pics in post 1) and site of the 'bicycle parking area' - nice spot at the rivermouth to take a break in some shade.

Another option is to head inland from here to Tha Mai - 12km, and another 12 from there to Chanthaburi city

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Over the bridge heading north, at the end of the bridge you'll see a beached boat that has been converted to a cafe, and a road that heads off to the right, following the river to Khlong Khut and Burapha Chanthaburi University campus (about 10km).

Better to follow the marked cycle lanes, turn left towards the rivermouth and over the hill, a tight right-hand corner and the steepest hill on the coast road, for me using my lowest gear. The out-of-focus snake lives on that hill, a hasty pic as I decided to give it right-of-way, bit of a fright that was, and look out for it every time we ride through.

About 50m before reaching the flat road there's a track down to the left, gives access to a reef and reasonable beginner snorkeling area when conditions are good.

Chao Lao beach is 5.5km long; pics here of high and low tide, on a big high tide the water almost reaches the treeline, while low tide can involve a long walk out to the water.

Best areas for swimming are about halfway where there are several beach restaurants.

Plenty of accommodation here if you choose to stay, seen fan rooms advertised from 300 baht, before moving to this area we had 4 beach holidays, 500b per night for a chalet-style unit with aircon, tv, some increase to 600 for Friday/Saturday nights. This area is very popular with Thais, especially weekends and school holidays, all the better accomm can be booked out.

No bars or nightlife, have found that some of the restaurants do not serve alcohol either. Highlights food-wise have to be the fresh fish on offer, bought direct from the fishermen at the pier towards the south end, road to the pier is a simple left turn off the cycleway.

Halfway along the main road there's a big general store next to the gas station, two ATMs, chalet accomm for 500/night, they also rent out cycles and motorscooters.

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^ thanks

maybe as a mod you could fix the thread title and add the missing 'b' - Chantauri? how did I miss that?

We were there today, not always sunny of course, blustery and choppy seas.

Ideal for burying a friend's daughter at low tide, but she managed to dig her way out.

And a map - not very detailed but an indication of where we are in relation to Koh Samet and Koh Chang

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Continuing on through Chao Lao township - there's about 2km of cycle lane separated from the road by a median strip, on the sea-side of the road - you'll reach the dugong roundabout, this is Ban Mu Dud in memory of the dugongs that were once common in the estuary but now all but extinct.

Continue straight ahead to Laem Sadet, about 2km, where the road ends, you're now on a point of land with estuary to the right/east, and Laem Sadet beach to your left/west side

A few things to see here

The aquarium, part of a marine research centre; not big, has 36 tanks about 1m across, 15 bigger at maybe 1.5m, plus a 12m walk-through tank housing the bigger fish, sharks and manta rays. We were there today, unsure if it's always at that time but 2pm there was a diver in there hand-feeding the sharks and rays. We were there today, they've added a new section, 16 display cases of tropical shells.

Well-kept and maintained, hugely popular with school groups, and . . . there is no admission charge. Free. There is a donation box if you feel the urge to donate.

Laem Sadet beach - popular with surfcasters/beach fishermen, but swimming is ok in calm weather only; it is a 'shelf' beach, very steep, deep very quickly and often unsuitable for swimming - especially at this time of year. Several 'no swimming' signs - if you do want a swim head at least 1km south where it's safer.

Nice spot in the evening under the trees - of course there are food carts, the night of the sunset pic we watched two pods of dolphins a few hundred m offshore.

The building that looks like a hotel isn't - it's a Buddhist training centre. I'm told there is good snorkelling out off that point - one for November when the water's better.

Khung Kraben Bay Royal Development Study Center is based across the road from the rear of the aquarium. It monitors the extent and degree of mangrove destruction over recent decades to make room for large-scale shrimp farming, develops restoration strategies, and launches rehabilitation programs. Gradually, mangrove forests in the eastern coast are being restored, with the royal center taking the lead. A feature is the 1.6-kilometer-long mangrove forest study walkway- maybe one day they'll have dugongs in the area too. Once again - entry is free.

More info

Edited by Atmos
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My intention was to stop after the first post, just to show off the fancy red cycles lanes.

But can't stop now.

As for traffic - agree; the busiest road is the section from Thai Mai through to Chao Lao and Khung Wiman - 17km and while I've never seen an accident, they do go fast, traffic increases from 10am on weekends as people travel from Chanthaburi city, best avoided for cyclists.

Before moving here we'd had 4 holidays at Laem Sing or Chao Lao, I'd rate the road through CL itself as maybe most dangerous - it is supposed to be 30 km/h but 80+ is common, with all the resorts in the area, so many families, it's a place that would benefit from some speed humps - crossing the road can be hazardous. For cyclists though there's some protection with the cycleway behind its own median strip for about 1km.

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The pic attached 'chao lao air' showed the main CL beach from south-north with Laem Sadet at the top, and beyond that across the estuary, the south end of Khung Wiman.

Khung Wiman (various spellings, Koong Viman, Kung Wiman)

Heading out of Chao Lao, at the dugong roundabout follow the red cycle road inland - can't go directly north on the coast here due to the estuary; there is a minor road also, but the main one is an easier ride, about 4km and you'll come to an intersection (signs pictured) that gives the option of going north to Khung Wiman and beyond, or inland to Thai Mai 12km and on to Chanthaburi city a further 10km.

Continue along the road 5km toward Khung Wiman and there's another roundabout - dolphins/loma this time.

There's a big drivers' rest area under construction here, maybe completed Jan/Feb 2012.

Turn left and head for the coast, all flat except for the final hill a few hundred m before the shoreline.

At the base of this hill there is also a road off to the right/north where the cycleway continues. More on that later.

Khung Wiman (north side)

The road on the waterfront is no exit in each direction; the the right first.

Small beach about 200m, ok for beginners snorkeling off those rocks, not deep and have taken friends children there for their first try at snorkeling, on a clam clear day lots of small bright fish in 1 - 1.5m water. Equally - in wet season the water is a less-attractive shade of brown, silt washed down the rivers discolouring the water.

There's a couple of seaside restuarants - food cooked on the inland side of the road and brought to you in the little bamboo huts, some modern, and not-so-modern resort-style accommodation.

At the end of the road is a boat ramp, and Al Medina Beach House, a Moroccan-styled guesthouse that's quite a surprise to see in this area.

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Khung Wiman (south side)

Firstly a correction - I wrote in #11 that both directions are no exit; can't correct that post, but for the south end there is a 5km loop road that follows the coast then back along the estuary.

And a small map with this post, numbers 1-5 refer to:

1 Bridge over the hills to south end Chao Lao; best swimming usually about 1/2 way between points 1 and 2

2 Laem Sadet and Khung Kraben

3 Khung Wiman north

4 Khung WIman south

5 Na Sa & Khlong Ta Pon (get there later)

The main beach at Khung Wiman is approx 1km long, have found the area about mid-way best for swimming, too many rocks at the south end. Like much of this coastline it is relatively flat - takes a long walk out to reach deep water, and I'd rate it as safe in most conditions.

Some waterfront restaurants here, continue along the flat and up the hill. The hill - both sides - was once sealed but now a mess, rutted and potholes, on a road cycle best to walk, ok on an mtb.

On the sea-side of the road you'll see a Buddha facing out to sea; turn left opposite this statue and it's a one-way road (going the wrong way but don't worry) which takes you to a good lookout point and another statue, views on a clear day.

Continuing along you'll get a view south and of the estuary, and facing south you can see the hill on the other side that shelters Laem Sadet. It's a 14km ride here around the estuary, all flat apart from a couple of hills, but in straight line only 2km from LS - as the crow flies. The road loops back through clusters of boat fishermen's houses and exits back on the road into KW, 5km in all.

No beaches along this part, rocks, and popular with fishermen, looks ideal for snorkeling but have not yet tried this area. There's a rest area under development near the red trees.so presume the road is due to be resealed too.

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Hey, that does look like a great area for cycling. And not a long ride to hop the ferry over to Koh Chang either!

Koh Samet north, and Koh Chang south - my rough map attached with approx distances (from MapMagic)

Once thought we could see Samet on the horizon, but on it's too far, what can be seen from Chao Lao on a clear day are three islands about halfway to Samet, - Man Nai, Man Klang and Man Nok.

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Heading north from Khung Wiman the red cycling road continues, but 'not much to see here'

Rubber tree plantations, fish farms, after about 6km there is Na Sa, a fishing village, the beach here is more like mudflats, not a white sand beach, and unsuitable for swimming. Think the next good beaches would be south of Ban Phe another 30+ km away.

I continued on, saw a sign for a museum 6km on a road heading inland so went for a look, more signs at 4km 2km, 600m. Lovely new signs.

A pity the museum is not open yet. Just an empty shell of a building, unsure what it will eventually contain, and it is at a very scenic spot, on land surrounded on three sides by a large man-made lake.

Not wanting to cover the same roads twice I continued inland and about another 5km was on Sukhumvit highway #3. And there are signs there for the museum too.

#3 is Ok for cyclists but you do need to be careful at the major intersections, a lot of traffic and in places the road widens to 6 lanes heading south.

And back home.

***********

some notes for people doing this trip in a car/motorbike - I've only noticed gasoline stations at Laem Sing and Chao Lao. Other than that there's a few places with either a hand-pump drum of gas, or else selling in bottles.

Laem Sing and Chao Lao have the only ATMs.

**********

The last section of red cycleway at over the hills at south Chao Lao was completed on Tuesday; biked through on Tuesday and there was only about 200m not finished and they were waiting on another truck of red asphalt. I will hve ben the first cyclist to 'rest ride' the new part, just need the roadmarkings and it's complete.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

referring back to post #4

Over the bridge heading north, at the end of the bridge you'll see a beached boat that has been converted to a cafe, and a road that heads off to the right, following the river to Khlong Khut and Burapha Chanthaburi University campus (about 10km).

On Saturday decided to explore the 'road to the right'. My 10km guess is about right, and it comes out on the road between Khlong Khud/Khut to Chao Lao, if you're heading towards the beach turn left at the road after KK about 100m before the Wat KK temple, signs there are Thai-only.

Road varies in condition, some potholes and one stretch of about 100m that could do with re-sealing, otherwise fine for cycling, varies from two lanes wide down to one and half, little traffic the day we rode it, three motorbikes and two pickups.

A few small hills but generally flat with hills on one side and mangroves and fish farms on the other.

About 500m from the bridge heading inland we stopped to climb a small hill - would be perfect spot for a house - views of the bridge, south in the distance could see the big golden Buddha statue (see post#3), and inland in the distance could see the chedi of Wat Ploy Waen - my favourite landmark for when I'm lost, my 'marker' about 2km from home. I get lost often.

One more option for rides for us, from home about 12km to KK, 10 to the bridge, along the coast via Chao Lao and back home through KK about 45km all-up.

KK is rapidly developing, as Burapha Uni expands there is more and more student accomm being built off-campus, and the shopping centre has grown so much in the last year or so, with more shop-houses due to be complete soon, all painted in bright toy-town colours!. Great place for a Uni, semi-rural and under 10min drive to the beach.

Edited by Atmos
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A Gloomy Day on the Coast

not always sunshine, had two days of rain and headed out today towards the coast as inland was looking very gloomy, saw on tv there has been some flooding in C'buri city, people net fishing in the streets around the lake. No rain and the odd patch of bluish sky for most of the trip.

First stop 5km from home at Wang Kha Nong Dam, first time I've seen it with all the gates open, very dirty brown water with so much silt off the hills, it flows to the coast and exits 9km away at the Pak Nam Khaem Nu.

The next river crossing at Khlong Khut looked the same as always, fed by small tributaries it is always clean looking

On to the coast and the beach at Chao Lao was blustery and not ideal for swimming, from there continued south and out onto the fishing pier; all the boats were either beached or moored, no fishing today, instead the locals taking time to mend nets. Had been dry till then, but got hit by a 5min downpour as we headed away, wet roads but dried out quickly; the road over the hill needs caution, the new asphalt on the last downhill hairpin bend deserves respect!

Then over the hill to Pak Nam Khaem Nu, the two boats that have sat by the boat restaurant for a long time are finally getting some attention, several workers and progress at last. No idea if they're to be used locally for tourism, or elsewhere.

Headed back towards home from there and took a diversion after about 3km, a loop road I'd seen on the map, added about 1km; had seen on another website about a Chinese graveyard in the area, and there it was, it's "Chou si tong" near Ban Tha Tai (Ban Dai).

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not always sunshine, had two days of rain and headed out today towards the coast as inland was looking very gloomy, saw on tv there has been some flooding in C'buri city, people net fishing in the streets around the lake.

Anybody have pics of Chan flooded? I have never been there in the rainy season and it is hard for me to picture the roads under water.

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  • 4 months later...

Atmos, Craig3365 was so kind to point out your post to me. We are riding 2 recumbent trikes, main benefit, no matter how slow you go uphill, you remain seated, paddling in 1st gear until you reach the top, never dismounting from the bike. Disadventage= body weight doesn't help climbing, everything comes out of the leg muscles.

Question= any praticular resort suggestion as a base camp?

Don't like small. dark bungalows.

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Atmos, Craig3365 was so kind to point out your post to me. We are riding 2 recumbent trikes, main benefit, no matter how slow you go uphill, you remain seated, paddling in 1st gear until you reach the top, never dismounting from the bike. Disadventage= body weight doesn't help climbing, everything comes out of the leg muscles.

Question= any praticular resort suggestion as a base camp?

Don't like small. dark bungalows.

Dont know what kind of resort you are looking for, beach resort, golf resort, spa, weekend retreat?

The following links will point you in the right direction,

http://www.laemsing.com/laemsing_chanthaburi_accommodation.html

http://thailand.sawadee.com/chantaburi/attractions.htm

To the north of Chan is an area called Soi Dao, waterfalls, mountains etc, dont know what kind of ridind you have planned.

This area is littered with many resorts of the "beaten/tourist track", I drive by them and if you didnt know they were they you wouldnt know they exist.

This is one of the most beautiful parts of Thailand, but as yet its full potential hasnt yet been exploited, it remains off the farang radar, known only to the few, and the Thais who are well aware of the area and its potential.

Visit now before it goes the way of other areas.

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  • 1 year later...

Atmos, Craig3365 was so kind to point out your post to me. We are riding 2 recumbent trikes, main benefit, no matter how slow you go uphill, you remain seated, paddling in 1st gear until you reach the top, never dismounting from the bike. Disadventage= body weight doesn't help climbing, everything comes out of the leg muscles.Question= any praticular resort suggestion as a base camp?Don't like small. dark bungalows.

Dont know what kind of resort you are looking for, beach resort, golf resort, spa, weekend retreat?The following links will point you in the right direction,http://www.laemsing.com/laemsing_chanthaburi_accommodation.htmlhttp://thailand.sawadee.com/chantaburi/attractions.htmTo the north of Chan is an area called Soi Dao, waterfalls, mountains etc, dont know what kind of ridind you have planned.This area is littered with many resorts of the "beaten/tourist track", I drive by them and if you didnt know they were they you wouldnt know they exist.This is one of the most beautiful parts of Thailand, but as yet its full potential hasnt yet been exploited, it remains off the farang radar, known only to the few, and the Thais who are well aware of the area and its potential.Visit now before it goes the way of other areas.

Agreed, it is a very nice area, and there's even a nice golf course up there.

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Atmos, Craig3365 was so kind to point out your post to me. We are riding 2 recumbent trikes, main benefit, no matter how slow you go uphill, you remain seated, paddling in 1st gear until you reach the top, never dismounting from the bike. Disadventage= body weight doesn't help climbing, everything comes out of the leg muscles.Question= any praticular resort suggestion as a base camp?Don't like small. dark bungalows.

Dont know what kind of resort you are looking for, beach resort, golf resort, spa, weekend retreat?The following links will point you in the right direction,http://www.laemsing.com/laemsing_chanthaburi_accommodation.htmlhttp://thailand.sawadee.com/chantaburi/attractions.htmTo the north of Chan is an area called Soi Dao, waterfalls, mountains etc, dont know what kind of ridind you have planned.This area is littered with many resorts of the "beaten/tourist track", I drive by them and if you didnt know they were they you wouldnt know they exist.This is one of the most beautiful parts of Thailand, but as yet its full potential hasnt yet been exploited, it remains off the farang radar, known only to the few, and the Thais who are well aware of the area and its potential.Visit now before it goes the way of other areas.
Agreed, it is a very nice area, and there's even a nice golf course up there.
Played it many a time Mr T.
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