For the next few weeks Jamie and I will just be regular tourists – no cycling until we reach Thailand. That’s almost three weeks away…a long time with no bikes!
First we’ll see a bit more of New Zealand sans bicycle. We ended our trip on the southern part of the South Island in Dunedin. While in Dunedin we visited the steepest street in the world – the average gradient of the hill is 1 in 3.41, and the steepest section is 1 in 2.86! We hiked to the top but didn’t attempt the hill on bicycles, although Jamie claimed “I could easily ride up this hill on my racing bike.” Sure Jamie, sure. We had a lot of fun watching an old clunker of a van try to make it up the hill. They got a running start, revved their engine, and took off. About halfway up we saw them run out of steam and chug to a stop. They were forced to back up into a driveway to turn around. Everyone watching from the bottom of the hill was laughing hysterically – we all though the van was going to pitch over sideways and come rolling down the hill during this maneuver. As we hiked past the resting van on our way to the top it smelled strongly of burning rubber – some sort of critical inner part had met its demise, I’m sure.
Jamie standing on the steepest part of the hill:
During the next two weeks we’ll make our way back to Auckland via bus, train, and ferry in time for our flight to Singapore on March 8th. Right now we are in Christchurch enjoying all the cultural activities here. Next, we’ve got a four day stop in Wellington where we’ll visit Jamie’s friend Taisuke & work on getting a 60 day Thai visa. We’ve already applied for our Cambodia visas, which you can do online – very convenient! Here are our lovely visa pictures:
We arrive in Singapore early on the morning of March 9th where we will gather our baggage, get through customs, and then make our way to my friend Jennifer’s house. We’ll only get to hang out with Jennifer for one day before she leaves for her vacation in Cabo San Lucas. Bad timing on our part, but she’s been generous enough to let us stay at her place while she’s busy laying in the sun in Mexico. We’re super excited about this because it means we’ll have the perfect place to take a break from traveling, fix our gear, make some improvements to the website, take care of various travel-chores, and explore Singapore. (Thanks again Jennifer!)
After a week in Singapore, on March 17th, we’ll catch a cheap flight to Phuket, Thailand. We purchased our tickets through Jet Star – they were only $32 Singapore dollars each, which is about $18 US. What a bargain! As we finalized the purchase, however, a bunch of extra surcharges and fuel fees were added to the price of the tickets bringing them up to $100 Singapore dollars each. That’s only about $60 US though, so we’re not complaining.
Once in Phuket we’ll begin cycling east and north, eventually entering Cambodia on its western border with Thailand. We don’t have a specific route planned yet; we’ll work on that in Singapore. If anyone has any Thailand cycling experience and has route suggestions, send them our way! After Cambodia, it’s on to Laos and Vietnam!