A table summary of 3,700km around Thailand with distances, times and accommodation.
74km/6hrs. Bloody punctures and also rain held me up.
Nice people in GH lent me a pump to pump up my front tire to full capacity. I left feeling the bike was going at optimum speed until after 2km I had a bloody puncture. So much for getting to Songkla early and having a look around in day light. I stopped outside a cafe which had some shade and started repairs. Two old men came in and found it interesting so offered advice and wanted to prod and poke things. I think my body language stopped that. The restaurant owner brought me ice water and a smile which cooled me off. I fixed it and then fixed it again and then when putting pressure in the tire it blew a hole through the patch I had put on. I then used my spare, also patched, inner tube. that took over an hour and left me with no spare inner tube and as it is 27 inch wheel difficulty in finding one. A couple of km up the road I stopped at a workshop to get air put into the tire as a hand pump can not put enough in. I was greeted by the owner, his wife and two girls. They just felt like a nice family. One girl was very excited and practiced her English while the father inflated the tire to maximum and refused payment. Few foreigners pass this way and while I was just getting my tire inflated it was a big thing for them. nice experience for me also.
Knowing I was going to be late in Songkla I cycled the next 50km without stopping except once to see if a bike shop had an inner tube for my bike. It didn’t.
I saw lots of posters of a politician superimposed on photos representing presumably what he was going to do. Cable car seemed a bit over the top as it is extremely flat here.
A wat with a huge statue of an old monk which people pray to. In the west we have old people and the cost of homes while here they are monks.
I tent to forget that while normal for me to suddenly cycle into a restaurant is quite normal but for many people in this area they probably have not met a falang and having one appear on a bike is probably a bit of a shock. I mention this because I saw the shock on the woman’s face when I stopped for lunch. I told her that her pork noodles were very delicious and she grinned. The coffee that followed had three tables spoons of sugar and condensed milk with a hint of burnt coffee.
I had 26 km to go and then followed signs for a ferry that for 3B took me directly to Songkka just in time for the daily downpour. My pannier covers are cleverly designed to collect water from falling rain or from puddles…
Tip: put a spare set of clothes in plastic bags (duty free ones are good), twist them closed, fold them over and tie them.
Songkla has a tourist help centre not far from the museum which gives maps and advice on accommodation. Holland House (350B) seemed the best deal. Three other hotels in same street. Night market has good food and better than most for food. First impressions are a nice town. A string of bars 5 in walk from the hotel with lots of oil workers. Usual Scottish and Texas accents. Some of the bars and restaurants and bars are not dominated by. ‘Hello you handsome’..Beach area looked good when cycled in even in the rain.
Very very flat. 408 then left onto 4013 to Pak Phanang, Hua Sai (77km) and Ranot. Mostly followed the coast closely. A stretch of about 35km without much food or water possibilities. Tippawan GH in Ranot (350B) is az good deal with nice garden and lake for mosquitoes.
I noticed the Wat outside my window was not completed. Perhaps the monks gave the money to the poor instead.
Had to stop at the famous Wat Phra Mahathat on the way out of town which looked better in the day light but not much. The wat is the largest in Southern Thailand. Founded by Queen Hem Chala over a thousand years ago. What does a queen become when reincarnated? A king? Her spirit looks after the town so not sure how she could be reincarnated. The gold spire weighs several 100kg but no one has weighted it.
After spending half the night on the internet trying to understand the various reasons for a slipping chain I decided to take advantage of the dry weather and cleaned the gears and chain with a screw driver and solved the problem. Perhaps I should put it on utube.
With straight flat roads averaged over 20km per hr. with little effort. Forecast is thunderstorms until July but only a little drizzle today until 7pm when it poured. More and more jilbabs and mosques. Strange seeing women due to conditioning, desire to conform or religious belief and covering up in contrast to Thais who are very free. For example a boy in kindergarten may show his sexual orientation and play with the girls. No pressure on him to conform. An Afghan friend of mine went with his wife to study in Japan. She then stopped wearing the jilbab.
Now lot of goats also. From what I understand God asked Abraham to kill his son Issac as a test and t the last moment told him to kill and eat a goat instead and Muslims have eaten goats ever since.
Thought I was cleaver having a guest house next to a nice looking restaurant which of course closed at 6pm so had to walk 2 km in rain to find food in a bar where the girls all wanted to tell me they loved me and stir fried veg cost three times the usual.
Flat 401 road all the way with places for food and water. Racer would be more effective on these roads in central and south Thailand.
Woke late due to phone alarm not working. Wanted to stay the day but the pile driver dissuaded me. I wanted to decide over breakfast which facilitated the decision. A kathoey (lady boy) walked up with the menu with an excessive swing of the hips and said,’ where you froom’. ‘Fried rice with pork’ I replied not in the mood to be chatted up before breakfast. He swung off and sat with the cook for a while and she then wandered off towards the kitchen. She returned after 10 minutes with a piece of meat in each hand asking staff to smell it. I left.
More mosques, jilbabs (head covering) and Malay faces as I go south.
I stopped at a 7/11 to demonstrate how to eat 4 choc bars in 2 min while dripping all over the floor. Then came a Tesco Lotus where I stocked up with porridge. As I walked in covered in mud, dripping with squelching shoes land saw a girl cleaning the floor. I smiled at the situation but she did not see the humour. I had lunch and wondered at the lack anything that was real in the store except the food that was once alive and some of the customers who seemed to be vaguely living.
Thai Hotel, Nakorn Sri Thammart 350B for fan room is good hotel with staff who let one put ones bike in the hotel office. No town looks good in the rain and this one is no exception. I found chicken soup to help my cold and went back through a dripping town.
Country roads most of way (4112 & 417 into Surat Thani). Flat but few slight hills. Good road. Food and drink available. Ban Don hotel 400B is fine and good friendly service. Even got bars on the windows to hang ones washing.
I got the impression that the youth managing the resort was not too sad to see me leave. I gave him a cheery hello and thank you while offering him the key but he just nodded at the counter and turned his back. No matter, I don’t think we were destined to become close friends.
I didn’t get lost for a change but did have a dog attack. Two women were chatting at a road junction and as I passed their dogs rushed me. I managed to out run them when expressing my disapproval to the women. ‘I would appreciate it if you could keep better control of your lively dogs’ or something very similar. I have a respiratory infection so left a trail of phlegm in my wake today.
Paddy has made way for plantations. Rubber but mainly palm. People beeping and waving encouragement and generally very friendly. Lots of places for food and water.
Lonely planet guide made Surat Thani sound very sleazy. They suggested getting here and leaving the same day and if one had to stay not leaving the hotel. It is not so bad. A few nice coffee places, a good night market with better food than in most other places and a Cool club. I imagined girls mobbing you as you left the hotel shouting, ‘Hello, you handsome’. Actually the town is a bit dead after 9pm.
119km/8hrs. Flat but some small ups that made it interesting. Highway a duel carriage way rather than motorway and tree shaded for lot fo the way. Also managed to get on the coast road and then lost it again. More on that later.
Day started well with a visit to the Ao Manao air force beach just south of town (not 6km as LP says). Take a bike as best beach is a few km past the check point. I signed in but then left at the south exit which did not seem to be manned. I doubt they will bother looking for me. Good beach, food, drink and accommodation available. Then found myself on the coast road for the first time and kept on it most of the way. Quiet, often close to beach and tree lined. Bit further is an aquarium which I didn’t visit.
Tip: dont park your bike on a red ant nest.
Saw a wat on a hill so to remind myself what it was like climbing a hill I visited it. A Disney array of turrets and spires with all the glitz but still impressive.
Lot of resorts on the beach road but more the western idea of resort rather than the simple places I have stayed in. These are plush with lots of style. Took a few dead ends but only lost a few km. Was happily on the coast road until Bang Saphan where I stopped for noodles and water. Always better to arrive fed and watered especially if the accommodation has a dog. Makes one more peaceful. I must have taken a wrong turning out of Saphan, on the way to some nice beach accommodation, because I ended up on the main highway again. Not so many resorts now. Nearly stopped at one resort but fumbling in my pocket for a stone, peddling hard and growling at an attacking dog made it impossible. Eventually found one as it was getting dark. Basic room with AC for 400B take it or leave it. I tried to ride down the wrong way on the hard shoulder but trucks coming straight at me and a pack of dogs changed my mind. But the owner had an old frozen packet of fried rice and no beer. It was horrible. The sink has a dranage hole at the side (see photo) so one can wash ones feet at the same time as ones hands.
Tip: don’t wear shoes when washing ones feet.
Not the way I intended to end the day but it was the most interesting days riding for a while.
Needed to write a job application so strayed but internet down most of the day.
Aussie in my GH told me, ‘I am thinking of going to NE Thailand as it is still supposed to be poor and that means easier to get a girl. That’s what I usually do.’
Bought gel cycling gloves. Didn’t want to spend the money but the $1.5 gardening gloves were not giving me padding and my right hand has lost some sensitivity and is weak.