I m coming by train with bicycle onboard from Sg Kolok to Bangkok. However I was inforrmed that the train now terminates at Nakhon Pathom as flood has made it impossible to get to Bangkok Huwalampong Station.
Kindly would like some advice as to whcih road I should take to get me across to Chachaeongsao to proceed cycling into the Cambodian border at Poipet.I presume it may take me 2 days to cycle across from NP to Chachaeongsao. Im currently in Malaysia and train tickets has been bought 3 weeks ago.
State Railway of Thailand is providing a bus service between Nakhon Pathom station & Hualomphong station for train passengers. north of Bangkok is already flooded, flooding in west Bangkok (i.e. between Nakhon Pathom & central Bangkok) is getting worse, & to the south you have the sea...so i'd go with that bus service, in case the only non-flooded routes left through west Bangkok by the time you arrive (you didn't say when) are the elevated expressways/toll roads that i don't think you can cycle on.
for ground level roads (non-elevated expressway/toll roads) from central Bangkok east to Chachoengsao ...right now i'm not sure about the Ramkhamhaeng-Suwinthawong route because Minburi/Saen Saep just received the order to evacuate today. part of the Lat Krabang route east of Suvarnabhumi might be affected too (not so sure about my source for this, it's a few days old). Bangna-Trat route (south of Suvarnabhumi) to Bang Pakong (where you then turn north to Chachoengsao city) may still be OK. in fact parts of western Chachoengsao province (& also neighbouring Nakhon Nayok & Prachinburi provinces) have been flooded for a much longer time than Bangkok, just that the media focus is on Bangkok.
anyway the situation changes by the day & even if you can work out a route between Nakhon Pathom & Chachoengsao today, there is no guarantee it will not be affected by floods by the time you reach.
Thank you wanderingcat, this is a lot of info.
1. There will be 4 of us, would the bus take 4 bicycle as well?
2. If the bicycles were not allowed on the bus, would option taking a long loop south using larger roads such as road 4, into road 37 to Bang Pakon possible? Is road 37 an elevated hiway as well?
Yes I understand that situation changes everyday, and my ticket is on the 27 November 2011.
thank you in advance
1. This depends entirely on the bus. I've been on some with very small storage spaces on the underside of the bus that can hold lots of bikes, but only if the bus isn't busy. I've had to take my front tire off (and seat sometimes), and laid my bike on top of other peoples' bags. It's worked fine and there has never been an extra charge.
Some have little to no storage beneath at all.
Some have the small seating area on the lower level, and lots of seats on the upper level. These buses can take lots of bikes without having to dismantle them.
So, best to take a look at the bus options at the station before you decide to buy a ticket.
2. You shouldn't have trouble getting your bike onto a bus. But if you are not permitted to take your bikes for whatever reason, you will be in a decent area for riding into Bangkok without having to ride along the main highways. The way things are now I have no idea what to expect with regards to road closures and traffic volumes, but there are many, many road options without having to rely on main highways. A GPS would work very well in a situation like this.
One thing ... I think that the route you propose takes you into the northern areas of Bangkok and Thonburi. You might want to consider having an alternate route or two just in case things don't work out due to flooding or post-flood damage.
FYI, #35 is an awful highway to ride along. The shoulder is decently wide but traffic is often terrible. If the train is running from Mae Khlong Station in Samut Songkhram, you could take the train to Thonburi. And you are permitted to take your bike onto this train (though I fear the tracks will be underwater in some areas and that it may not be running). This would mean disembarking at Ratchaburi and then riding to Samut Songkhram. Easy.
For relatively up-to-date road conditions, check out some of the webjournals on Crazy Guy on a Bike.
don't know what kind of bus SRT is using for this temporary Nakhon Pathom -BKK service. my impression is that this bus service is limited (maybe only 2 buses per day) - you'll have to call SRT for details.
Rama 2 Rd - the remaining road link from the south into BKK - is expected to flood within days. right now, buses still travel on flooded roads provided that the water level is 50cm or less, so putting your bikes (or anything else) in the cargo hold at the bottom of the bus might not be a good idea.
would option taking a long loop south using larger roads such as road 4, into road 37 to Bang Pakon possible?
part of this route is expected to be affected.
Rte 4 (Phetkasem Rd) is ground level, 4 lanes in each direction, usually heavy traffic. some of the soi (lanes) off this road are already starting to flood. to the immediate south is Nong Khaem, & the eastern part of it runs through Phasi Charoen - both these districts received the order to evacuate today. the flood 'front' is around Bang Bon now - where Rte 37 begins.
Samut Sakhon province expects to get flooded. don't know how soon that will happen & how it might affect the Mae Klong-Mahachai-Wongwianyai rail line.
who knows, if Samut Sakhon gets hit, it might mean lower water levels for areas north of it, maybe allowing you to consider alternative routes there...or even allowing trains to resume travel between Nakhon Pathom & BKK...?
there are many, many road options without having to rely on main highways
normally there are, but maybe not within a relatively flat & low-lying river delta during a major flood...
BKK highway status map dated 08 Nov 2011: http://maintenance.doh.go.th/bypass4.jpg
red = closed, yellow = under repairs from flood damage, green = road to avoid, green dots = heavy traffic, blue = motorway/expressway.
it's drawn with drivers in mind though, cyclists do have more flexibility depending on the situation.
& of course the situation will be different by late Nov.
Thanks for the information. How are you getting on anyway.
The map has made the current situation clearer. but then again it will change by end of this month. Anyway, I m still have some hope here, hope time will opened up new options. Hate to abandon this trip to Siem Reap.
Meanwhile,, I hope we can get more information few days prior to me setting off on the train from sungai Kolok on 27 Nov. Please share with me.
Thank you all, you have given me some confidence to pursue this trip.
Getting on fine, thanks. Winter is approaching in Canada. It's my favourite time of the year.
Hope your trip works out for you and your friends. For what it's worth, I found that the areas I cycled in last year, where there had been flooding several months earlier, were not particularly good. There was a lot of sand on some of the roads that was never cleared, many areas of damaged asphalt, and areas where the asphalt was washed away entirely. Hills were a real problem, and then once at the top the ride down was often done with the brakes on because of potholes. Lots of crap on the road to puncture tires. Not much joy in those particular areas, especially around Chiang Khan and Dan Sai.
My old neighbours have told me that the water in my old house in Prachinburi has been about thigh-deep for over 2 months. Nakhon Nayok is worse, as is (or was) Wattana Nakhon, near Aranyaphrathet.
I really hope that this is not the case for you. Might be good to have a Plan B and Plan C just in case.
Good luck, and happy riding.