Sukothai, the first independent Thai Kingdom, is famous for it’s 13th century temples and monuments. Sukothai’s 200 plus historical sites are spread over huge parks and the easiest way to travel between locations is by pushbike.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia

One of the many impressive Buddhas in the historical park

We were keen to hire a couple of bikes and had been advised by our guesthouse that we would also be able to hire a bike with a baby seat. It sounded ideal.  We headed to the bike hire shop and I naively pictured a bike with a solid secure baby seat fixed to the back of the bike, similar to the ones that you would find in the UK. Big mistake. The baby seat was in fact a small flat pad attached to the front of the bike with a seat back approximately 2 inches high and no way of securing ‘the boy’’ to the seat.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia

The humble sarong is versatile, from beach to bike

I don’t think that any mum of a 15 month old baby would feel comfortable balancing their baby on a small seat and expect them to sit still and hold on whilst moving at pace. But good news, the shop had a solution to our problem in the form of a sarong. You know, those long pieces of brightly coloured fabric that double up as road safety devices?  I decided to make the seat ‘safe’ by attaching the sarong to the seat, wrapping it securely around his middle a few times and tying it tightly behind his back. He was indeed now firmly attached to the bike, but I’m not sure it would pass any Western safety standards. As ‘the boy’ was sitting between my arms we decided to give it a go and the result, he loved it.

We cycled around the old Buddhist temples, stopped by the side of the road to view the cows and rode around the parks many lakes and ponds.

‘The boy’ was intrigued by the 15 metres high Buddha of Wat Sri Chum and after his close encounter with elephants at the sanctuary, loved touching the trunks of the many stone elephants that were carved into the ornate temple walls.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia

Looking up at the 15 metre high Buddha

Although we were nervous at the start of the day, we needn’t have been and ‘the boy’ was having the time of his life. He loved sitting on his makeshift baby seat, ringing the bike bell and waving at passers by. In fact I think it could be his favourite mode of transport to date.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia

Look mummy I'm holding on just fine

Top tip of the day:
When backpacking in Asia with your baby you need to bear in mind that Asia doesn’t really adhere to health and safety standards as we used to in the West. Only do what you feel comfortable with but try and keep an open mind. I wasn’t overly keen on the basic bike seat, but once I’d given it a go and was happy that he couldn’t fall off we all had a great day.