– The adventures of a solo round the world cyclist –

Day 454 (Malaysia Day 21 / Thailand Day 1)

A new day. A new country. A new mind-blowing experience. I hit the road early and had a cruisy ride to Pengkalan Kubor, the last Malaysian town I will see in who knows how long. Crossing over to Thailand was super easy. I proceeded to the ferry port, got my passport stamped by immigration, then waited in line to board the vehicle ferry, which was making its way back from Thailand. The river is only a couple of hundred metres wide at most so I could already spy on Thailand from the Malaysian side. I disembarked the ferry and road the short distance to the Thai Immigration Office. When I got to the front of the line I was sent away to fill in an arrival card. Once my passport was accepted I had a nervous moment when the lady serving me showed my paperwork to a colleague to check something. They asked me where I was staying. On my arrival card I had just written the name of the first town I would reach. I quickly looked up the town in my phone’s Maps.me app and found the name of a hotel. I wrote this onto the arrival card and it was accepted. Once through immigration I was told by to proceed down the road to a customs checkpoint where my gear would be inspected. I started riding and soon realised I was on a road heading in the direction I ultimately want to travel, but away from the customs checkpoint. I just kept riding. If they really wanted to do a customs check they should have made it impossible to sidestep the checkpoint.

The day was overcast so not too hot and I enjoyed being greeted by friendly passers-by. I passed several military checkpoints consisting of rudimentary bunkers housing a few soldiers in a state of reclination. I was able to ride through each one without questions being asked. I assume they are there so that road blocks can be enforced at a moment’s notice. Eventually, I arrived in Narathiwat and quickly discovered that four different ATMS would all charge a 200 baht fee for their use. Sometimes you just got to accept annoying bank fees. With money in hand, food became my next priority. I found a little place selling noodles and I also got an awesome omelette thing from a street stall. My next task was to find a place to sleep. I was determined to find a Buddhist temple and ask if I could stay the night. Maps.me had a temple symbol on the map so I made my way there and lo and behold found myself at a Buddhist temple. I took a deep breath and rolled in, approaching the first monk I saw. I asked if I could set up my tent in the temple grounds. I was led to another monk and following a short discussion I was shown to a cute little shelter in which I was allowed to set up my tent. A building 20m away housed a toilet. I erected my nylon home, had a wash from the bucket in the toilet, rinsed my riding clothes and had some food. Now I am waiting for the sun to go down while observing the activities of the monks.

Day 454 (pic)

Temple home

Accommodation Free-camp (Buddhist temple)
Distance ridden today 77.77km
Average cycling speed 18.5kph
Total distance ridden 11,558km

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