Monday, October 19, 2009

Thailand Mountain Bike Routes - Bangkok to Three pagodas Pass

Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and onto Three Pagodas Pass

This is a five day route through Kanchanaburi, the most beautiful province in Central Thailand, famous for the Bridge over the River Kwai and the cliff clinging Death Railway among other beautiful natural attractions.

There are two ways of getting to Kanchanaburi province from Bangkok, the first being the easiest and that is by train from Thonburi train station just across the river from Khaosan Road. The second being a 130km hell ride following the major highway out of Bangkok towards Kanchanaburi. A 130km or 80 miles ride in most countries is a piece of cake but in Thailand with the heat and careless drivers who often use the hard shoulder to undertake it can be a bit much for one day.

Directions to Thonburi Train Station

Coming from Khaosan Road cross over the Chao Phraya River on the Pinklao Bridge then turn left at the first major intersection on to Arun Amarin Road then cross over the river again on the Arun Amarin Bridge. Take your first turn off left (still actually on the bridge) then follow the road left u-turning under the bridge and the train station is on the right.

Putting your Bikes on the Train

The train fare from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi is 100 Baht and another 100 Baht for your bike. Your bike can be put in the guard carriage but if there is no guard carriage your bike gets a seat of its own! On one occasion we had to put our bikes through an open window with the help of the guards because there was no guard carriage and the bikes were too long to get through the doors.

Kanchanaburi Town

There are plenty of Hotels and Guest Houses not to mention Short -Time motels in Kanchanaburi so you will always find somewhere to stay even on a bank holiday but the best accommodation is down by the river. There are a number of tourist attractions in the town such as the Prisoner of War Cemetery, the Jeath Museum, the Tiger Temple and of course the Bridge over the River Kwai so if you do travel there by train there are plenty of places to visit to fill up your day. Kanchanaburi also has its fair share of good restaurants and bars, one of our favorites is the No Name Bar on River Kwai Road that has great western food and is a good place to catch the sport on T.V.

Kanchanaburi to Sai Yok

Day two starts with a beautiful sweeping road out of Kanchanaburi heading towards Sai Yok. The road itself is very enjoyable and there are a number of places to stop and eat along the way. As you get out into the country scenic rocky hills (or mountains as the locals like to call them) rise up on either side of the road but as the 60km road to Sai Yok remains relatively flat compared to the scenery around, it is a very fun and enjoyable ride. The accommodation at Sai Yok is cheap and Sai Yok Noi waterfall is a great place to have fun and cool off, but if you’re not having fun by now this is where the railway stops so you can always head back on the train.

Sai Yok to Thong Pha Phum District

The third leg of the journey starts to get a bit more challenging and is a nice acclimatizer for what’s to come there are a few steep ascents to climb out nothing too punishing. And the breathtaking scenery takes your mind off the effort you’re putting in and makes the ride all the more enjoyable. It is a 100km journey to Thong Pha Phum from Sai Yok but there is plenty to see and do along the way and visiting Hellfire Pass, Sai Yok Yai Waterfall and the natural hot springs at Hin Dat break up this long day very nicely. Once you reach Thong Pha Phum you can find cheap accommodation very easily.

Thong Pha Phum is a very pleasant town but being the busy city slickers that we are we’ve never stayed too long before moving onto the fourth leg of the journey. But there are plenty of mountains around for the more adventurous mountain biker to get his teeth into some serious mountain biking with plenty of walked in jungle trails to find a good line on.

Thong Pha Phum to Sangkhla Buri

The fourth day is a killer and definitely separates the mice from the men. Make sure you start off with plenty of water and fill up everywhere as the hills hit you immediately leaving Thong Pha Phum town and continue ruthlessly until you arrive at Sangkhlaburi. Zig zagging won’t help you on these ascents but the breathtaking scenery takes your mind off the tough climbs endured along the way and as you arrive at Sangkhlaburi pride kicks in as you are filled with the amazing feeling of overcoming what was the toughest part of this route.

Sangkhla Buri to Three Pagodas Pass

After what you’ve just endured it is an easy and enjoyable ride to the finish line at 3 Pagodas pass. Just 20km away from Sangkhla Buri 3 Pagodas pass is named after three miniature Pagodas, it marks the rugged Thai-Burmese border and has a thriving border market. Visitors are allowed to enter the neighboring Burmese Settlement but this crossing will not renew your Thai visa. After spending as much time as needed it’s best to head back to Sangkhla Buri to freshen up and get yourself some nice Thai food.


In the hottest part of the year this route can be torture especially in April and May. It is a tough ride for intermediate riders but can be easily tolerated by most in the cooler months of November to January.

Mountain Bike Tours Thailand is a free information website, with all the information you need about Mountain Biking in Thailand.

By Mark Alexander

Mark Smith is the Senior SEO and area manager of IT and Web Design Thailand. Bangkok SEO services, search engine optimization and web design training consultants.

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