Freighter update and plans

When we arrived in Singapore, we began searching for freighters that would take us from Southeast Asia back to Canada or the Northern US. We had heard many good things about The Cruise People in both the UK and Toronto, so we decided to try Fred in Toronto as our agent. We had also heard that the French CGM-CMA freighter line provided great service to passengers (including free wine at dinner – go France!), so we did not want to book directly with NSB, as that would limit our choices. In the end, we found a freighter that aligns well with our time constraints and will take us from Shanghai, China to Seattle USA and depart on or about June 1st. It’s the Hanjin Madrid, another NSB-crewed vessel, so no free wine, but there’s a chance we’ll see some of the crew from previous vessels again. So now we need to figure out how to get ourselves to Shanghai.

Unfortunately, we do not have an unlimited amount of time. Shanghai is a little further north than we had hoped, so it means that we will need to take a train in China. Our current cycling destination is Nanning, China. From Nanning, we can take a 30 hour train ride to Shanghai.

Our plan to get to Nanning is to ride North through Malaysia and Thailand, then west across Laos into China. We might chose to go into Vietnam and then into China – we will see what we are feeling like when we get there.

Through Peninsular Malaysia we plan to ride up the East coast to 36 km south of Kota Bharu. From there, we will ride across Malaysia to Georgetown. We hope to find a place to leave our bikes for a couple of days, while we visit Scott’s university roommate Jon in Kuala Lumpur. Once we return to Georgetown, we will make our way to Langkawi and take the ferry into Thailand.

We have no idea how much riding we will do once we get to Thailand. That will largely depend on how much time we have left and how much we are enjoying the riding.

We will need to skip a visit to Cambodia for this trip. In Singapore we were able to get a 60-day single entry visa for Thailand. We don’t expect to have an excessive amount of time, so we had to sacrifice something. With the single entry visa, it does not make sense to leave Thailand so early and then have to deal with visa extensions, as we expect to want more than 15-days after leaving Bangkok (the closed major city to Siam Reap in Cambodia).

So, roughly:

  1. Malaysia (March 8 – 27) – 3 weeks
  2. Southern Thailand (March 28 – April 18) – 3 weeks
  3. Northern Thailand (April 19 – May 2) – 2 weeks
  4. Laos (May 2 – 9) – 1 week
  5. China – riding to Nanning (May 10 – 24) – 2 weeks
  6. China – Nanning to Shanghai (May 24) – 3-4 days
  7. China – Shanghai preparing for boat departure (May 28) – 3-4 days

Does anyone have friends in Shanghai who would like to meet some slightly crazy round-the-world cyclists?

3 thoughts on “Freighter update and plans”

  1. One week in Laos? Just our two cents (you are probably tired of our two cents by now!) but you might want to consider a bus/train in bits of Thailand (perhaps some parts of the south and around Bangkok) to give at least another week for Laos. The northern half leading up to China is very interesting. Also, the terrain (very hilly) and the bad roads might require a bit more time than you expect, especially if it’s raining…

  2. Hi guys,

    Just back from visiting Malaysia and Singapore myself (left before your ferry arrived though) 🙁

    This week I spent a few late nights catching up with your journal (had to read the December to March stories) and I find it very inspiring. One thing that was quite un-expected to learn from your travels is to discover how many Turkish words (food, celebrations, etc) are similar to Romanian.

    Anyway, I have a friend in Shanghai that would be more than happy to meet you. Let me know if you are interested and I can email you the details in a private message.

    Happy travels!

  3. I just so happen to have a few friends in Shanghai. I am going to try to put you in touch with them. In fact, I might even be in China at that time. I will keep you posted. Anything you need from home?


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