How to Fly with Your Bike + Chiang rai Biking Trip
My husband and I signed up for a biking trip with Cycling Plus magazine to Chiang rai. It was an all-inclusive super deal that the magazine has cooked up with Bangkok Airways, TourIsm Authority Of Thailand, Dusit Island Resort, and Singha Farm to promote ecotourism and cycling. All we need to do was pack our bikes.
We found a soft case on sale and since the flight was just an hour long we figure nothing horrible will happen to our bikes.The case is padded with inner pockets for the wheels, straps to tie the bike onto the bag.
To pack the bike, you’ll need to take off the front wheel which is surprisingly easy to do. Just pull on the quick release lever, give it a couple turns to unscrew and pull the whole thingie out. Make sure you don’t lose the spring inside. Next, dislodge the front brake cables by pressing the brake pads together and pull the cable out. Lift the bike up and the wheel should dislodge. If you need to make your bike even smaller, you can also take the rear wheel off. Just make sure the chains are on the smallest gear ( highest number on handle ).Airlines here will also want you to deflate the tires.
If the bike still doesn’t fit in the case, try turning the handles round or just unscrew it and pull the handle bars out. Tie it to the bike’s frame so it doesn’t dangle around so much. You can also lower the bike seat, take the pedals off. It will be fun when you arrived to your destination and get to assemble your own bike.
When you get to the airport , check in as usual. Then you go to the oversized baggages to send in your bike case. Very easy!
I think if I go on another trip like this, I’ll probably ask my local bike shop for a cardboard box. They ship brand new bikes in these boxes so they should work find. Plus, they are free and recyclable.
Additional notes, Bangkok Airways is offering free bike loading till the end of March next year. Singha Park, Chiangrai is holding their Farm Fest from Nov 26-30 where there will be live music, food, activities. If you plan to bike in Chiang rai, the Tourism Authority of Thailand have some downloadable maps for 6 routes ranging from beginners to advance. You can find the maps here, scroll down their page for downloadable link.
Okay, onto the trip! We arrived at Chiang rai International Airport with our bikes safe and sound. There were staff members to help speed up the bike assemblings. We rode along route 5023, entered route 1232 till we reach King Mengrai monument where we pay respect to the great king of Lanna. He’s The Man who got the northern part of Thailand together.
Next destination is Wat Pra Kaew, where the Emerald Buddha was found inside a pagoda when it was struck open by lightning. The temples here have a very distinctive style, using wood carvings as decorations. Here mythical reptiles are use to guard doors. Since the Emerald Buddha now resides at the Grand Palace, Wat Pra Kaew worships the Jade Buddha.
We biked back to Dusit Island Resort to freshen up, then did a 15 km ride to Boonrawd Farm also known as Singha Park. This place is huge with over 8,000 rai of land. They are famous for growing quality oolong tea. We were served a proper northen meal, then there were different activities to choose from. I went for Zipline since I was quite busted from the ride. What they did was hook you up on a cable and you glide over their tea plantation. I can do that over and over again, but we have time limitations. Some group members went for biking around the plantation, another group went for X-factor-like ride with the pros.
Next destination we cycled to was Wat Rong Khun ( The White Temple ), built by national artist, Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat. He’s quite a character here in Thailand. I love it when he gets interviewed because he always injects some F-words in his conversation. His mouth is like South Park, but his art is transcendental.
Back to the hotel for a boat ride on the Kok river to Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park where we were treated with Thai classical dances and a buffet dinner. The whole buddha structure below is carved with only one cleaver. Hacked every angle into place. The beam structure that makes up the ceiling is amazing. You would never want your cat to get in there.
A night ride to the city’s clock tower marks the end of Day one. Next day was free ride day. We joined a group that was going to the Phasert hot spring. This was the most difficult ride for me, but one of the staffs stayed with us and coached me on till I got to the hot spring. Thank you very much ! That’ll be guy in black with the red gloves.
We packed our bikes and rest of the trip was by tour bus. We went to Ban Dum musuem, built by the late Dr. Thawin Dutchanee. There were over 40 houses there with black as the main tone and decorated with very elaborate wood carvings.
Our last destination was Ryukun Cafe to catch some dinner before the flight. This is a rather cute coffee place that is done in Japanese theme. You think that you are in Japan. They also have rooms for rent where each room have their own onsen.
That was the end of our trip, hopefully the beginning of biking in other cities. Thanks for reading this really long post!