Bangkok to Ayutthaya – 80km
Brief: A very tough physical ride with a lot of stop-starting and a high pollution level. A GPS is essential. However a nice ending to the day riding between river and railway lines.
80km is the most direct route available. However this is google maps recommended car itinerary and it consists of a lot of navigating out the city and then relentless motorway riding. We dragged the route to follow the canal as close as possible, adding on more kilometres, but with chance of quieter roads and some scenery.
However the result was a disaster. With no GPS or map (yes, we know), and only print screens on the iPod, we were soon questioning our progress and frequently asking directions for.. Ah-you-tea-ha?? Arh-youh-tyre?? To the bemused, confused locals, not understanding a word of our request! Eventually falling into the highway 347.
On this main road, cycling in the heat of the day, brushing shoulders with trucks and picking up a puncture, we were soon feeling like we were fighting a losing battle and we wouldn't make our destination. We persevered under the beating sun, struggling with the heat, as the forecasted downpour didn't keep its word.
Eventually turning off onto a quieter road (3477) that was running between the river and train tracks we enjoyed a better quality of air and view. Finally rolling into Ayutthaya before dark in time to find a hostel.
Don't be put off for decent advise in our corresponding posts...They get better!
Hint: not always wise following highway numbers as they aren't always well signed. Use a GPS!
Anyway the city of Ayutthaya is definitely worth the trip, whether cycling or on the train. It was a perfect place to chill out after our first ride and to soak up some of the Thai culture.