Monday, 15 November 2010

Week 2 - Ranong to PrachuapKiriKhan. 150kms cycled.

Highlights: PrachuapKiriKhan beach, mini fish in batter, home made ice-cream

Low blows: Chumpon bus station in middle of nowhere.

Music of the week: Quantic – Use what you got.

Pimp my ride Thai style!

Ranong to Kraburi.

Rained for most of way. Forested hills shrouded in mist, rubber plantations, not too much traffic although occasional trucks loaded with fish from Ranong whizzing by with flatulent big bore exhausts and Al Pacino mud flaps – long 70’s hair, toothpick/cigarette and ray ban aviators – so macho!! Had long lunch break at small town along the way, then watched weird mudskippers waggling their heads and flapping about with their little arms. Rolled into Kraburi 3pm. Tiny town and not a lot here. Only place to stay was resort 2kms out of town that I’d already gone past so back up the road. Got a cosy seashell adorned A frame round the back away from the road for 300b (cold water). Ang the owner likes to talk so after showering we had a good natter. Went into town and ended up at ‘the pier’ a small area opposite Myanmar 100m across the river. Small boats to and fro-ing with people, school kids and supplies from there to here. Had some food in the pier front restaurant, a run down place and expensive, but I suppose it has ‘the spot’ in the town. Sat there for a bit. Nesting in the roof loads of swifts?, I later found out are the birds whose nests are used for birds nest soup. Quite cool temp here and comfortable. Wails and bass coming from the Karaoke across the road, but not too loud, started raining. Chumphon (then bus to PrachuapKiriKhan)

Still raining in the morning. Went to get breakfast in market and arrived at 8am (king time) and everyone, including me, stopped for national anthem- nice to see these out of the way places still very patriotic. Dismounted from bike, carmoo sai kai, for breakfast, then on the road. Constant rain, road gentle up and down, 8 kms out of town Myanmar border just 20m over the river a big sign announcing the Isthmus of Arg? or summat like that anyway. Further on, a really pretty waterfall right next to roadside so stopped and gawked for a while. A few police checkpoints but as usual bike goes through with a wave and a smile. Truck drivers showing little consideration and me covered in filthy spray. Road also has a lot of sand/dirt on it so bike looks sand blasted and my legs a light covering of cement like material - Lovely! Had snack stop then motored on as wanted to catch the 12:46 train to Prachuap. Saw 2 cyclists coming the other way, one at front with head down, but one at the back happy and smiley. Rain looking like it wants to stop but never actually doing so. Got to Chumphon train station – train doesn’t take cargo and is full anyway! Great. Hosed myself down in the bathroom, then discovered the bus station was 12kms back the way Id come. Arse. Pissed off that town planners could be such idiots. Went and had some food first and felt less sorry for myself, then tried to get on bus heading to BKK, but they wanted full fare so I set off to the remote bus station, getting a bag of pineapple along the way and slagging off whoever decided to put the bus station all the way in middle of nowhere. Chumphon is the crappest town in Thailand! Got to main highway and its still another 3kms down the road, so really in middle of nowhere – decided that it must be co-owned by Ryanair who have been known to adopt the name of a popular destination for an airport miles from the actual place. Got to bus station and luckily a bus was leaving immediately, so bunged the stuff on and got in. Nice bus too! 200baht for me and bike 190kms up the road. Got out at Prachuap – no rain for last 150kms too and all looks dry, and headed to Suksant hotel where Id already booked ahead. 390baht fan, cold water. Washed off bike, had a shower, then to night market for mixed veg and seafood followed by homemade ice-cream – aroy aroy!! Feeling very contented then had a walk along seafront. A few new gh’s and restos have sprung up along there. Discovered hotel has slow wireless internet so chatted with a few people and got nibbled at by annoying mozzies –how do they find their way up to the 4th floor??


Stayed here for the rest of the week. Weather sunny and overcast on a few days. Munched on fresh pineapple from the market, dined on super fresh seafood in the nightmarkets, and stuffed myself with homemade icecream. Moved to a lovely new gh on seafront called Nings Place shared bathroom (not busy though as only 2 rooms here) and have balcony 50m from sea and whole place is lovely and very colourfully decorated with Buddhist style art. 250baht a night too! One day pottering around I followed the road into nearby village and found a small stall selling small pieces of fish in batter – 2baht each and delicious (had 10).
Sunday was a lovely sunny day, had a spin on bike. Went to see the Langur monkeys which are at the foot of a big hill/mtn. One decided to hop onto my shoulder and sat there for a while, worried it might bite me but these monkeys seem very calm. After that I went up to top of the mtn over looking the bay, Easy to start as had steps but these only went half way up and ropes were needed later on up steep sections of sharp limestone rock. Great view from the top and much needed breeze. Clambered back down and went for food, then a swim and deckchair action. Went to mini battered fish woman again – yum.

View from my balcony.

Langur monkeys waiting for visitors to feed them. Corn on the cob is a favourite.


My new friend.


The way up the hill.

Ants building a leaf house on the way up the hill.

View from the top

View from the bottom: Ao Manau beach with hill in background.

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