The last week we spent cycling from Khao Yai National Park across Thailand towards the western forest complex, a giant mountainous area composed of 17 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. On our way we cycled through some of the most rural areas of Thailand. I’m sure no foreigner has passed through some of these villages, especially not on a bicycle. We were the center of attention, but were always greeted with smiles and either an English hello or a friendly welcome. Finding a bite to eat turned out to be very easy, even without Thai skills and it is always very delicious. Finding a place to sleep was slightly more difficult, as hostels or motels were scarce. However, the friendly Thais always had a solution at hand, so we pitched our tent on verandas and slept in mini guesthouses.
In Mae Wong, a small town with large schools, we ate at a lovely restaurant and were then able to sleep in the owner’s guesthouse. Again we were the center of attention and received some unbelieving looks when we ordered dinner twice. The next morning our breakfast order was translated by an English-speaking relative via phone, and we felt brave and ordered the same dish our neighbor was having. It turned out to be 100 year old eggs, completely black with a strong sauce. Yummie.
In the evening we finally reached the next national park and were thrilled when two other cyclists showed up about an hour later. Wim and Ellen, a Belgian couple, had started cycling in Malaysia two months ago and are also making their way to the north of Thailand. We spent the evening chatting away, when suddenly Wim recalled that they had eaten at a restaurant earlier and the owners had shown them a picture of two cyclists. By coincidence, they had stopped at the same place we spent the night. Life’s just full of surprises.