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Hey fellow expats and wannabes!

 

I went to Thailand 15 years ago to go rock climbing in Krabi, being newly divorced and on a professional hiatus I ended up staying for over a year. I loved it and wanted to live there but couldn't figure out how to make a living and was not ready to retire financially. 

 

Now I am ready to retire but want to fill my days with mountain biking, rock climbing too if possible. I like road biking but thai drivers freak me out. In all fairness it is just as easy to get killed road biking here in Colorado. 

 

Open to any advice about whether or not now is still a good time to relocate given the economic climate, pollution, costs of living etc. 

 

Thanks to all, 

 

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Only you can answer that IMO, but Thailand pre corona was nothing like 15 years ago, so don't expect it to be the same place you loved.

Anyway, it's probably not a good idea to go till corona is over for good ( assuming the Mk 2 version hasn't already started ).

It sounds to me that they don't have a plan, and are just making it up as they go ( as always in LOS ).

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Of course, it is your decision, but the question of Thailand or not largely depends on the question - as compared to what? 

 

If you are retired, you could probably have fun taking your hobbies to many different places here and have challenges that go beyond the physical... since you seem to like challenges, learn the language and culture, find the joy of getting off road in out of the way places, visit hilltribes in the mountains... have a unique retirement...

 

As compared to... [what else do you have?] 

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To the OP:  As others have said, I would wait a bit more.   Southwest Monsoon season is just starting and your stated activities are no fun or not even possible during this time of year.  By November, when Northeast Monsoon is starting, hopefully COVID will have settled/many more people will have been vaccinated and the weather will be much better for exploring MTB and Rock Climbing locations here.

 

However, as a once serious mountain biker, I can tell you that for the most part it is a bit cr ap here.  I have not ridden in Chiang Mai yet, but I have seen lots of videos and every time change my mind on making a MTB specific trip up to there.  Think rutted out, overgrown, muddy nastiness.  Nice looking, steep terrain, but trails here would have to be maintained 20x more than where you're from in CO to be at all good...  and we know how maintenance is here in Thailand.  I'm sure some vehicle-accessed DH riding would be fun a couple times, but nothing like the epic trail systems of Colorado.

 

Please, any riders from CM area correct me if I'm wrong.  I have a Thai girlfriend of 7 years now, I'm quite used to being wrong. 😉

 

I was a hardcore backcountry skier as well at home in the USA.  Obviously none of that here.   However, I have taken up other activities to 'scratch the outdoor itch', and honestly have been having more fun than before as all these activities can be done year round.

Given the relative 'extreme' sports you enjoy at home, I'd highly recommend looking into kiteboarding; specifically learning to use a hydrofoil board which excels in the often light to moderate winds we have here.  That activity alone has changed my life here.  It takes years to master any form of kiteboarding.  Sailing is also excellent year round and Scuba Diving rounds out my ocean-based activities.

 

I brought a nice gravel grinder road bike over from the US, and have done about 3000km on it so far.  Road riding here is exactly as you say....  basically just as dangerous as home.  I actually feel safer here as most people drive with the expectation that some slow-moving vehicle will constantly be taking up the shoulder.  At home in the US no one even notices cyclists and traffic speeds are often higher on average than here in Thailand.

 

To be fair, I was more or less forced to move here for work, but 8 years on now, I'd do it all over again despite the many downsides.  🙂

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If you're looking for maintained trails in a western sense you'll be disappointed. I like hiking very much but the only maintained path known to me is Phu Kradeung NP and during weekends and public holidays overrun with people. To find trails for biking you would have to search the internet (in Thai) for locals doing this kind of activity. Some GPS apps (I use Komoot) also have some hints, mostly from foreigners. 

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Keep your house in Colorado so that you always have a place in farangland to go back to.  I enjoy both mtn and road biking and do both in Thailand as well as the US.  I don't rock climb anymore but was never a big "rock jock" anyway.  I did more glacier type mountaineering of which there is none in Thailand.  I do enjoy hiking in the mountains of the western US which I still do as I split my time betwen the two countries.  There's good mtn and road biking all over Thailand with lots of different terrain.  There's a section on cycling in thaivisa.com you might want to check that out.  

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Might be something of use to the OP in this thread?

 

If the OP has been vaccinated and qualifies for a long stay visa, I would argue that this is a great to relocate and to re-familiarize with Thailand 15 years on, given the lack of tourists/people.

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Posted (edited)

Local riding in Jomtien/Rayong is really no fun other than just to have a look around and explore.  I do have a mountain bike here and have explored everywhere.  After a few times riding whatever trails you can find, if they stay free of undergrowth long enough, I guarantee any serious rider will be bored.   Khao Mai Kaeo is okay, but super sandy and extremely rutted out from motocycles riding the trails.  Not ripping, nice singletrack as we know from the USA.

That trail on Pratumnak would be grown over in a couple weeks.  I saw rich Thai guys riding ridiculous 500k baht DH bikes on it once.  Cool....   but hardly worth the time/effort for a 20 second rip downhill.

There are some nice trails in Rayong, but they are short and the same thing happens...  they are nice for a week or month maybe after whatever mountain bike club held a race on them, then they grow in again.

I used to ride with a Thai-only group out of a shop in Rayong about 8 years ago.  The guys were super nice and fun to hang out with, but they were more interested in sitting around after the ride drinking beer, which I also love...  but the 'riding' beforehand was pretty lame, and mostly ALL on the road or gravel double-track.

 

Dare we forget that it's FLIPPING HOT here!   I am a fit, thin person and I sweat my brains out just standing there most of the time.  Road riding is much more enjoyable IMHO because you always have 15-20+ kph of wind on you.  No so much when grinding up a stupidly steep, poorly designed trail in the jungle.

Seen a few snakes, ran over a monitor lizard who unfortunately lost his tail.  All part of the 'adventure' and yet another reason I would NOT recommend any serious MTBer to come to Thailand and expect to ride out their retirement in mountain biking nirvana.

Edited by n8sail
sp.
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I don't know where the OP is going to stay in Thailand but in Bangkok or outskirts (generally everywhere in central Thailand) I recommend to ride along the paths of the Klongs and Canals. Very quiet and scenic, mostly no cars only a few motorcycles. Unfortunately I could not figure out an GPS app that uses them so it's a fiddly planning beforehand or just ride them randomly and trying to find a way back to your starting point.

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I would totally go for it! I would wait, though, until you’re vaccinated. Yeah, Thailand has changed a lot over the past 15 years, but the Thais are still the same, the food is still the same, the rock climbing is still there and if you’ve loved it 15 years ago, chances are you’ll still love it today! Plus, you live only once and it’s worth a try, if you don’t like it you can always go back home! 🙂

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much thanks for all the input! 

 

I really appreciate it. I will check out all the tips given. 

 

Cheers!

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