Friday July 25th 2014

Untitled
Map of cycle route from Krabi to Pran Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan

It was the day that I flew to Krabi with my bike, with the intention of cycling back up to Prachuap Khiri Khan, with an intended 700km cycle. Personally, I thought I had organised myself very well, but only time would tell. I flew out of Don Muang Airport at five to ten and landed at eleven o’ clock to be welcomed by a rugged mountainous landscape in the distance. July was part of the rainy season here, so Krabi did not really look too inviting. Tuffs of low cloud were being disarranged by the breeze, obscuring the larger expanse that just seemed to hang there momentarily as if waiting to disintegrate in the next torrential downpour.

I arrived with bike-in-box at the Chandee Guest House, to be greeted by heavy rain; very heavy rain, reminding me that this was monsoon season. I erected the bicycle on the corridor outside my room. Unfortunately, the rain had caused problems with the electricity grid, (electric city), so I ended up having to erect it in total near darkness. The back wheel surprisingly was easy to get on, but for some unknown reason the front one was problematic.

DSCF4689
The beach at Krabi

My first cycle was along the coastal road. Out to sea were scatterings of islands that could be seen through the murky weather conditions and low cloud. The beach was deserted, not really the weather for going out with your bucket and spade.

DSCF4697
A karst tower, a limestone stack

I locked my bike up and then decided to walk along the beach from one end to the other, wondering if this was a good idea or not? The temperature was ideal, but the rain tended to spoil the occasion.

At one end of the beach there was a huge stack, a huge column of limestone, known as karst towers. If these stacks could have had personalities, I’m sure they could have told a story or two. This one stood out from the crowd as if it had been rejected by the others. Forest scrub competed for the crevices in the limestone, space was limited and so was my time.

DSCF4694
The fantastic geology of the place

The bike had performed well when I had been cycling it, especially in the rain. I decided to return to organize ever thing for the beginning of tomorrow’s mega cycle.

DSCF4702
Coastline of Krabi

Outside, the rain hounded down upon us. I had visions of flooding later, with even the possibility of landslides on my cycle tomorrow. Annie, (my girlfriend) had notified me of this prior to setting off.

Later, once the weather had calmed down I went for my evening meal. I followed three bathers up the road. They looked as if they’d been swimming. They all walked barefooted up the road. Then one of them suddenly exclaimed ‘What’s that?’

I stopped to have a look, there crossing the pavement was a 20cm black scorpion, with its pincers at the ready and its tail all poised. We all gathered around it to watch it walk towards the road. This was in the middle of Krabi, I wondered what other surprises would be install for me?

black-scorpion-thailand-krabi-foto
Thailand’s black scorpion (credit picture from http://www.otpuskthai.ru)

I was in bed for eight o’clock hoping to get a good night’s sleep.

Saturday July 26,  2014

I woke up at around six o’clock. My first task of my cycle was to locate the roads that would lead me onto Phetkasem Road. Phetkasem Road was a long road that stretches from Bangkok right down to the Sadao Feontier Checkpoint, on the Thailand Malaysian boarder in the Thai province of Songkhla.

I found the road, thanks to more luck than management and soon I was heading north. A signs notified me that Phuket was some 168 km away, but I had no intentions of cycling anywhere near there; certainly not today.

I was heading out towards the City of Phangnga, but knew very little about the place. The scenery that I was passing looked as if there were giants in my midst with the strange looking limestone stacks and cliff faces that made up the mountain ranges here.

Further on, I came across what looked like a crossing for scorpions, there were loads of them ‘a bed of scorpions,’ many of them had become crushed features on the road. The lucky ones did acrobatics when the cars raced over them, doing what looked like cart-wheels.

DSCF4703
A fellow Thai cyclist outside a bicycle shop on my journey

Cycling in the rainy season, I knew would be fun and sooner or later I knew I would run into a deluge of rain, as the dark turbulent clouds looked menacingly down on me.

Within minutes of venturing into the plush thick forest the rain started and with vengeance and it didn’t half coming down. The mountainous forest road transformed itself into a newly designated fast flowing stream taking everything with it that it could muster: brown top soil, leaves and twigs. There were evidences of were there had been landslides and where the road had collapsed, but nothing major.

The noise of the forest had been now been surpassed by the pounding of the rain. The clouds shrouded the strange looking scenery, obscuring my view, giving it a spooky, eerie feel to the ambiance of the place.

My cycling was becoming rather problematic and arduous. Cycling up the never ending mountain roads is this pitiless appalling weather. It felt like I was now carrying everything except the kitchen sink. In at least two very steep areas, I decided in pushing my bike, wondering how many other crazy cyclists had attempted this. I was eager to reach the summit, but it was nowhere in sight. All I could see was the forest mist that besieged me.

On eventually reaching the top, I came to the conclusion that the next part should be fun. Anybody wanting to descend at speed must have been raving bonkers, especially considering the wet road and the multitude of tight bends. I certainly wasn’t going to go for it, regardless of how inviting it looked.

Once at the bottom, I started seeing signs for the 4090 road. This would be the road that I would be cycling on tomorrow, as I headed deeper into Phangnga. Now my guesthouse should be just around the corner.

I was cycling into what I presumed was Phangnga City, but I didn’t see much of it. I found a hotel first and decided that the hotel sounded a little better than the guesthouse. So, for 400 baht (£8) that’s where I stayed for the night.

Sunday July 27, 2014

I was warned that the road would be mountainous, which was the last thing I wanted to hear before setting off. I was also under the belief that I had a least a 130km cycle from where I was to my next destination, which was the Kuraburi Greenview Resort.

The early morning conditions were perfect for cycling in: cloudy sky, but no rain. I left the hotel complex at quarter to seven. Once I got into the country I was surrounded in parts, by lush green vegetation. Only the occasional butterflies sped past me on their silly course of inconsequential, being carried along by the breeze. I saw no scorpions today, nor did I witness any snakes slithering around either.

DSCF4721
A forest scene from my cycle

Four motorcyclists past me all dressed in their leathers. One after another they gave me the thumbs up as they motored past, which I thought was very amiable of them. I thought I was going like the clappers doing around 32km/h on a slightly ascending road relying on my stamina than anything else.

Surprisingly, I caught up with the motorcyclists at the top of the hill. They had parked at the side of the road and were intent in taking pictures of me as if I was the big attraction.

Then the road descended just as I had wanted. Like yesterday the road had its fair share of tight bends.

I reached the bottom quicker than I imagined, pedalling downhill in the safe places. Eventually slowing, I managed to keep my pace going at 34 km/h for some distance on the flat, which I thought was good for a mountain bike.

I had cycled over 5km before the four-motorcyclist managed to catch up with me. Again, they gave me the thumbs up as they raced past me.

Later, I came to junction, with a sign pointing Phuket in one direction and Ranong in the opposite. Ranong was the direction that I wanted, but I could not find the 401 road anywhere on my map, it simply didn’t existent and it didn’t. I was later to find out that the highways had left the old road numbers on display. I was around 30km away from my Kuraburi Resort.

DSCF4716
One of the many scenes of the Kuraburi Resort

The road trekked up again, being over shadowed by a ravishing, rugged looking mountain range that disappeared into the depths of the low hanging cloud. Appropriately my iPod played the tune Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto De Aranjuez (Theme from 2nd Movement), which just seemed to be appropriate for the impassable escarpments and the impenetrable virgin forest. A fantastic sight for anyone who appreciates fantastic scenery.

Further on after partially leaving the idyllic setting I came across four cyclists having a break from their weekly cycle jaunt. I was to learn that I was 20km away.

DSCF4704
Four cyclists that I met on my cycle
DSCF4705
Three of the cyclists and me.

The road kept on climbing as the breeze caught the whiff of tropical vegetation in the air. I’d been cycling for some time now since speaking to the cyclist, the scenery and the difficult terrain at times had held me in a trance as I concentrated hard in getting my legs to power my bike. Then a sign came into view notifying me that the Kuraburi Greenview Resort was only 5km away.

Eventually a sign displayed the entrance to be only 500 metres away, then 200. I don’t think I’d ever known 200 metres to pass so slowly. I felt languished and hungry as my body felt like it was on the verge of collapse. Then to my legs displeasure the road had an incline of about 50 metres. Oh, how cruelly could hotel designers be.

After shower and resting I hung my washed clothes out to dry on the balcony, as I attempt to down grade the place for the day. I then went to the restaurant to satisfy my appetite. I sat at a table that over looked the lake that was to the rear. At the far side, there was what looked to be a small play area with miniature houses. Some of these looked as if the forest had besieged them or at least was about to.

DSCF4710
Guess which room is mine?
DSCF4714
A possibly play area or chalets.

The forest looked radiant with its multitude of leaf formations, with a thousand and one shades of green as the trees treacherously climbed the mountain range. On evidence, some of the trees had the ability stretch their trunks higher than some of the other trees as if they were standing on their tip-toes, if only to gain those few extra metres of advantage. The tall trees displayed their white trunks, but after all the effort they’d put in to it they only had a diminutive canopy to show for it. You had to ask yourself if the effort was actually worth it?

DSCF4718
The lake at Kuraburi Resort

After having a late lunch, I decided to go for a wander around. This was an intriguing setting.

DSCF4709
A wooden bridge with a cobble road. The forest was slowly and stealthily taking over it.

To explore as I wanted to I had to cross a rather slippery cobbled stone bridge. Once at the foot of the forest, hidden away further up the slop were more chalets. I continued to wander in, braving the unknown to marvel at what nature had provided. No hand of God it seemed had checked up on the plants and they it seemed had all gone wild and indigenous. It certainly was a noisy place with the insects up to their normal noisy tricks, their racket was deafening.

DSCF4708
Grass roofed chalets.

Near to one of the chalets I spied a large big black spider with yellow stripes on it. It looked like a large bee, but had a lag span as big as my hand. I caught a glimpse of a monkey scampering across one of the chalet roofs; what bit of mischief it was up to I didn’t really know? I saw a lizard, nothing of any out of the ordinary and butterflies, but I didn’t see any snakes, but that didn’t mean that they hadn’t see me.

DSCF4724
Incy Wincy spider

I returned to my room, my balcony happened to overlook the lake which offered me a bit of inspiration to writing up my adventurous day. As I sat there, the heavens opened up yet again, but only for about a minute before it descended into nothing more than a trickle. Today, I had cycled 101km and had averaged a speed of 22.5km/h over difficult and tiring terrain.

Monday July 28th 2014 

Today started off by being cloudy. I was expecting heavy rain with storms as I headed out towards Ranong. I calculated that I’d probably reach my destination by half past two. I knew I had at least 130km to cycle.

After the first 50km it poured down with rain, which continued for the rest of the day. Yes, the monsoon rains caught up with me and I got drenched, cycling with soggy feet which squelched around and leaving my feet looking all white and wrinkly in not much fun.

As I cycled on I caught up with one of the sad realities of neglected pets care. Seeing virtually newly born animals abandoned in a place like this is no joke. Here I witnessed a poor stray dog possibly of only a few weeks old left to fend for itself. The poor thing looked drenched and helpless as if it was requiring love and attention. For me and the stray dog the rain intensified, coming down with a vengeance again, but it didn’t last too long.

This part of Thailand is known for having a high population of Muslims. In fact, the whole of the south right down to Malaysian border as a high concentration of them. At eight o’clock they were all attending morning pray. I was aware that today was Eid-al-Fitr better known as the end of Ramadan. Annie, my girlfriend, now worked for a Muslim organisation, so she’d been given the day off.

The Muslims were extremely genial, they smiled at me as I cycled past them. In some case, they said hello to me in English. Some waved as a sign of encouragement.

The scenery had changed somewhat since the previous days. The mountains weren’t as dramatic becoming more elongated, stretching for mile rather than being rugged with escarpments. One of the attractions was the Ngao Waterfall, which could be see some distance. Water cascaded down from the top. There were signs of other smaller waterfalls too along the way.

6592799-Ngao Water fall from
Ngao Water Wall National Park (credit picture from http://www.liveinthailandnow.com)

Like yesterday, the clouds dusted the tree tops on the mountains like a fright of ghosts, the spirits of the forest; making their presence known as they drifted in the breeze from canopy-to-canopy.

The rain poured down heavily in many parts drenching me as they exploded on my body as the rain drops hit me a thousand to a dozen, it was that intense. At times, the rain poured off me like a stream. The padded area of my cycle shorts was saturated and after standing on my peddles to get more leverage when I sat down again it was like sitting on a soaking wet sponge. I could hear and feel the rain water squelching out. I can tell you it was a strange sensation and it made sitting on the saddle quite slippery as my bum kept sliding on it.

I saw my first live snake on my ‘Tour d Thailand’, but it was dead with its head all smashed in. The rest of it’s body looked quite healthy. At first, I thought it was still alive. I dismounted and tapped it with my foot, it was then I saw the condition of its head.

The haunting view from the saddle was predominated by the rain mist and low cloud, visibility was rather poor. Although there were many motorists foolishly driving around with no lights on and at speed.

Personally, I must have looked like a Christmas tree, with all my lights flashing. I had two to my rear including one on my helmet and two at the front. I just wanted to be seen and respected as a road user, as one could not be too complacent, when out cycling. I wasn’t prepared to take any chances no matter at what cost. I was aware of the staggering amount of deaths on Thai roads and I didn’t want to be another statistic.

Eventually in a soaked, drenched state I reached Ranong, after counting the kilometres down. On entering the town, I saw at the other side of the road a wrought iron structure of a mini Eiffel Tower, or maybe it was Blackpool one.

I eventually found some accommodation for the night. The bed had seen better days, the spring sensation had gone. The shower was temperamental too, but I eventually managed to get it working, so that was OK. For 400 baht, I got four walls and a roof over my head. At least it kept me dry, but I don’t think you could actually call it a guesthouse, more like a lodge or even better a slot for the night.

Tuesday 29th July 2014

Today, meant another gruelling 110km of cycling from Ranong to Chumphon and then once there I would have to find my bearing to where the Suda guesthouse was. This at least had been pre-booked so at least they knew I was coming.

The roads now looked to be levelling off, as it seemed to meander around a bend, but I was well aware that I shouldn’t get ones hopes up too soon.

DSCF4725
A lovely meandering road snaking its way through this tranquil setting

It was quite early on into the morning when I cycled passed the only other serious cyclist that I was going to encounter during the whole day, he looked western in appearance, but he was going in the opposite direction. We acknowledged each other and then we went our different way.

The villages that I cycled through offered me cordial welcoming smiles, sometimes like on previous days they gave me gesture of a wave, as if to say ‘hello’. It seemed that I was slowly leaving behind the lovely colourful Muslim sector of the south and was slowly heading into what I suppose you could consider in being the Burmese enclave. My deduction were drawn by the clothes that they were wearing. The males wore longies, a kind of a male version of a sarong – traditional male dress in Myanmar you could say.

Annie had warned me to be very careful on this part of my journey as the road ran very close to the Myanmar border, but I couldn’t fathom out what her concerns were. I always found the Burmese to be very pleasant and easy to get on with people. I cycled through an army check point. I presumed they were after illegal traffickers. They waved me through and offered me a friendly gesture of ‘hello.’

The surrounding environs were no longer as dramatic. Nearly halfway through the journey I began to hear my chain squeaking over my iPod music. I wasn’t sure how long it had been making that noise, but it was starting to concern me. I knew all too well what had caused it and that was probably down to the fact that the rain had probably washed all the lubricant off of it. I was aware that this would only get worse as time went on. So, at the first opportunity I called into a garage and bought myself some oil.

DSCF4727
A lovely manicured road, just a pity all the roads in Bangkok aren’t like this.

I gradually reached the peak of the mountain and then it was all the way down to the bottom with not as many twists and bends in the road. Once at the bottom I came across the Pun Ya Ban Waterfall, which was part of the Lamnamkra Buri National Park. It was a beautiful sight and nice just to see something different.

DSCF4729
Directions to the waterfall.
DSCF4728
The Pun Ya Ban Waterfall

Eventually, I reached Chumphon, after the miles of cycling surrounded by mostly greenery and around six hours on a saddle, surprisingly I wasn’t saddle saw considering the deluge of rain that I had experienced. I also witnessed rubber plantations along the way and one or two dead snakes squashed in all proportions.

DSCF4730
The sign for Lamnakraburi National Park. I was just leaving Ranong.

Once in Chumphon, my next task was to find my guesthouse, or at least somewhere to stay for the night, although I had contacted the Suda Guesthouse. I had a belief that finding it would prove difficult, nothing was ever straight forward. The City of Chumphon was like an English town, both in size and structure, it also had suburbs. So, after cycling down the 327 road I came across a hotel complex, but they were full. It seemed like every place in the area was full due to there being a royal commercial being filmed over the next few days, so I ended up cycling further into the town hoping that unlike yesterday I wouldn’t have a puncture.

Eventually somebody gave me directions for the guesthouse in question. I was told it was behind the Bangkok Bank building, well it was, but not literally behind it.

When I arrived at the guesthouse it was closed, not open until after two thirty, which meant I had an hour to kill, so I decided to make the most of it and do some detective work in seeing what else was available.

DSCF4807.JPG
Celebrating Yorkshire Day 1st of August 2014. Me acting as Ambassador with the official car.

The landlady eventually arrived, she seemed to have a very bubbly personality. She dealt with the loan of the motorbike first before turning her attention to me. She acknowledged my phone call but announced that my room was not quite ready yet. I said I could wait. Then moments later, she offered me a double room. It was extra large by what I had accustomed to. She offered it to me for 400 baht (£8). I knew I was looking a gift horse in the mouth, then she requested 300 baht (£6) for the deposit for the keys. Which she promised I would get back the following day.

I negotiated with her that I wanted my bike in my room, at first, she wasn’t too keen on the idea, suggesting that she had a hut under lock and key, where she kept all her bikes. Regardless of this I still insisted that I’d like the bike with me. Then at least if anything happened to go wrong I couldn’t blame anybody. Eventually she gave up her offer and allowed me to take it up to my room.

DSCF4810
A Dusky Leaf Monkey near Prachuap Khiri Khan.

After settling in I decided that I would go out for a meal. I asked the land lady if she could advise me of any good places to go. She stated that there was only one good restaurant and that happened to be a Muslim run one. She then commented that there really wasn’t much in the town. Personally, I thought she was being awkward possibly even acting strange about it all.

Once outside, I recalled going to the Falang Guesthouse and them having a restaurant, so I headed back there for a late lunch.

Once back at the guesthouse there was no sign of the landlady, she’d evidently gone into hiding. I set down to study my map to figure out my route for tomorrow.

The only downside to the room was its size in that there was insufficient lighting to flood the room adequately and the guesthouse now wanted another 200 baht (£4) if I wanted to use the air conditioning, sod that I thought, this landlady was out to squeeze as much money out of me as she could conceivably do.

DSCF4819
A female Dusky Leaf Monkey protecting her baby – absolutely beautiful

I was growing rather suspicious of her. It wasn’t helped when after returning from my meal she barged into my bathroom, which I was convinced I’d locked. I could not for the life in fathom out what was wrong with her. She stood there in front of me looking me up and down, luckily I had a towel wrapped around my waist, but I still considered her behaviour as being rude. She half-heartedly apologized for the intrusion before giving me another good look over before she went. I went to lock the door only to find that the lock was in the locking position and the latch along with the screws were on the floor. As I tried to piece it all back together the holes where the screws should have been, looked to have been drilled out. This was a strange place I thought.

Surprisingly with all that had happened I slept well. That was after checking and ensuring that my door locked and that hadn’t been tampered with. I also had a good look around my room just to see if it had been bugged.

On this day, I discovered that I had cycled around 130km averaging around 23km/h.

Wednesday 30 July 2014

I woke up to find it light outside. The time was around half past six. I was eager to and continue with my journey, especially considering the landlady’s attitude.

I handed over the keys to the landlady, expecting that she’d give me back my deposit of 300 baht (£6). She told me that my money was on the counter waiting for me. But when I went to pick it up there was only 100 baht (£2) there. I suggested that she had promised me 300 baht, but it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get it.

Her beefy looking son was sitting with her, I decided that it simply wasn’t worth digging my heels in, certainly not for what it was worth. So, I thought the best thing to do was to leave on mutual terms.

DSCF4820
Mangrove forest near Prachuap Khiri Khan

I was under the impression that cycling out of the City of Champhon would be challenging and it was.

Phetkasem Road was quite busy around the Champhon area right up until I reached the airport turn off, then it became its normal relatively quiet self again. Sometimes, it was quiet and other times it was busy.

The scenery again had changed, to the far west you could see the mountain range in the distance; probably the Myanmar boarder. The hills where I was cycling just rolled sleepily along, lazily positioned with nothing better to do with themselves.

Today, ended up being one of the brightest day’s yet, and with that also the hottest so far. I lost count of the stops I made. I tried to get an even balance between my drink stops and to salt my tongue. My mind was wondering if I would find any accommodation. That was always a contentious issue. I knew that I possibly could cycle the 180km to the City of Prachuap Khiri Khan, where I knew there was a monkey temple, but as the morning cycle became more punishing I decided against it. The difficulty now wasn’t caused by the gradient of the landscape but more of the sizzling heat; reminding me of the cruel realities of cycling here in the tropics. 

DSCF4834.JPG
Me at the Khao Dang View Point near Prachuap Khiri Khan

Further on, I came across trees lining my route, with grass like verges, they were probably what the locals called weeds as they sprawled onto the road, almost lolling there looking arrogant as they stretched out. At this point in time a four-foot snake shot out in front of me, probably a cat or a rat snake. It slithered out at speed like a side winder and then stopped in front of me. I instantly braked, stunned by its sudden appearance. For a split second, we made eye contact. I was calm about it all, but I think the snake itself was startled, it immediately slithered at speed back into the undergrowth from where it had come from, never to be seen again. Seeing a live snake had made my day.

Later, I cycled past fixed market stalls, made of wood that ran along the fringe of the road. The ran for at least a kilometre if not longer. Many stalls were duplicated time and time again. I wanted one that sold drinks as I was parched.

An attractive young girl served me, I requested that I wanted a drink. She instantly suggested beer. I said, ‘No, no, not now.’ Alcohol would have just gone straight to my head, especially in this heat. What was she thinking of? Did she think that all us westerners were hooked on beer?

A man, probably the girl’s father came over to talk to me. He was curious to find out where I was going and where I had come from, asking questions incessantly as he spoke. I soon become surrounded by a flurry of smiles as a crowd gathered around me. The lady from the next stall gave me a bunch of bananas after I’d already been offered two. The gestures were all generous, I knew to refuse them would be an insult to their generosity. I struggled to find room in my rucksack, knowing that in time they’d only get squashed to pulp and that I’d end up throwing them away.

After all the excitement, I carried on.  I wasn’t too sure where the guesthouses were and when I asked, I was informed that they were all up in Prachuap Khiri Khan. I continued cycling. The heat of the day only seemed to intensify my insistence in looking for accommodation. I started picking up signs for a resorts but they were miles away.

I discovered a home-stay, I didn’t know what I was about to confront, but I decided I simply had to go for it. The resort was called Click Resort. I followed the signs instinctively like a donkey following a carrot, the only difference was that I was convinced that for me there would be a result at the end of it.

I eventually found the home-stay, there were no windows, hopefully it would come with air-conditioning. The room was basic as I had expected. Coming with: a television, bed, towel, hot shower and it also had sufficient lighting; for 350 baht (£7) I considered it a bargain, to say that I only wanted it as a place to sleep in for the night.

DSCF4732
The ‘Click Resort.’

First things first, I washed my clothes and hung them out to dry. Then at around quarter to six, I had my lunch. I asked a woman at a printing place where I could possibly get something to eat. She advised me to go to Tesco saying that they would have everything there and it was one 500 metres up the road.

DSCF4731
A home-stay structure and comes with car port.

So, to Tesco I went, I was a little apprehensive about cycling up there having to leave my bicycle outside, but it was worth the risk. Once back I discovered that an army of ants had taken a liking to my rucksack, more likely they’d been attracted by the aroma of my sweat and my pulped bananas, certainly not a concoction to get my saliva glads going. So, in typical Michael style, using my anti mosquito spray, I sprayed the area in the hope that they wouldn’t come back until the same time tomorrow; it seemed to do the trick.

Towards the back end of the day, I decided to give my bike a good wash down, knowing that this might be the last opportunity to do so before arriving back in Bangkok. Dirt, grit and grime, I knew would only wear down the moving parts. As far as I was concerned this bike had cost me too much money to be simply neglected.

Thursday July 31st 2014

Today was my cycle to the City of Prachuap Khiri Khan, some 80km away. I reckoned that if the cloud cover kept on building then it should be a good day for cycling, but I was also prepared for it break, at around lunchtime as it normally did.

I started well to say that this was my sixth consecutive day cycling and so far, I reckoned I’d averaged near on 120km per day. A school bus kept stopping to pick school children up. I managing keep up with it, even managing to overtaking it at a speed of around 32 km/h.  It wasn’t until around ten minutes into my cycling that I realized that I had lost my cycle glasses. In my predicament, I decide that it was completely pointless cycling back just to discover that somebody else had picked them up. As soon as I found a 7-eleven store, I went in and bought myself a pair of normal sunglasses for going on with. They stated they had UV protection, whether the statement was true or not, was debatable.

DSCF4749
A scene around Prachuap Khiri Khan. Possibly old salt beds. 

Soon after purchasing my new sunglasses a man at the side of the road offered me a packet of what looked like popcorn. I must confess that I had never been offered so much generosity. I simply could not accept it, plus I was in cycling mode and to stop would have spoilt the rhythm of things.

Like always once away from the towns and cities the countryside was stunningly beautiful. I know I keep saying this but it is and was. What made it even better for me was that the level of the road was getting flatter as the hills and mountains were now far behind me.

Looking out for cyclists was a better day, in fact I saw a group of three heading south, their bikes were all laden down with panniers. I wondered where they were going, I never got the chance to ask them. Maybe they were doing my cycle but in reverse?

I believed that I’d be at my final destination before two o’clock, but as one o’clock ticked by the clouds displaced themselves allowing the sun to pierce down upon me offering me no shelter and no sign of mercy. Even the air I was breathing was warmer than usual, which just added to my problems.

DSCF4748.JPG
Another scene around Prachuap Khiri Khan

Eventually, I arrived at Kui Buri, I phoned my landlady up expressing to her my intentions, believe that a shower, bed and rest where only going to be about an hour away. After a long conversation, she told me that I had to get to Pram Buri and not Kui Buri. My hopes of rest were now all in tatters along with my motivation. My turn off was a further 40km up the road and then I’d have another 20km of cycling east. This all boiled down to the fact that Annie had mistakenly given me the wrong information.

After carefully weighing up my situation, I decided to continue cycling towards Pram Buri. I was now 30km past where I could have stayed for the night and I didn’t really see the point of back tracking just to cycle back out here again tomorrow.

With still almost 50km to go until my final destination, I could not afford any hick-ups. I considered myself as being so close to completing this mammoth of a cycling holiday. I had waited five years to do a cycle like this, and now I had it within my grasp.  After a long rest, I continued, with what now felt like a heavy rucksack on my back. It took me a further two hours to reach Pram Buri, once I saw the large Tesco sign at the side of the road I made another phone call to the landlady. After another debate with her I turned right and commenced on my final 20km to ultimate destination. I knew I’d be in no mood to celebrate, I wasn’t that type of person, nor would I be glorifying that fact of what I’d achieved in six days.

DSCF4750
Me on the road attempting to get a different perspective on the area.

I cycled down this road, not quite known where I was going or where I was going to end up. The road had literally nothing to show for itself except emptiness and a baron landscape. Kilometre after kilometre was all the same. Nothing seemed to be growing. It was as if the gold rush had finished. There was certainly nothing to get the blood racing, there wasn’t even any tumble weed to get my imagination gurgling away. The only bit of satisfaction was, that the road was flat and there was a result at the end of it.

The road led me to the coastal road and further down I saw the sign. The sign pointed down a dirt track. The landlady was waiting there for me. She must have noticed me cycling past, as it was only after I saw the sign that I realized that I’d cycled passed it.

DSCF4771
Waiting for the tide to come in

After a brief rest, I went for lunch, at the late time of three o’ clock. I went to the Chomtalay Restaurant and had a king fish steamed and a refreshing bottle of Heineken. Over dinner I got talking to a friendly Australian and his Malaysian wife, we talked about many things especially cricket. He informed me that England were doing well against India. To which I replied with humour in my voice “Oh! are they losing again.”

DSCF4762
‘She’s got a lovely bunch of coconuts.’
DSCF4767
Thirst and tired, this was the first thing I was able to get my hands on. Freshly picked and satisfying

After dinner, I walked down the beach, took photos of the scattering of islands. With having cloud cover, I had an inclination of what to expect on the beach and I was right. In parts the beach had a fair covering of jellyfish. This notion had come from the time Annie and I had taken my sister to the coast, sometime last year and she’d been stung nastily. These creatures had obviously sought warmer waters and had been caught out by the tide.

DSCF4790
A smack of jellyfish
DSCF4741
A boat in the sea near Prachuap Khiri Khan

I reckoned that today I’d probably cycled in excess of 180km. The realization that I’d completed my cycle still had not sunk in, and the fact that I’d achieved it a day ahead of schedule. I had mat some wonderfully fascinating people. The people that to me rightfully and respectively represent Thailand and made it this culturally rich country. Cycling was certainly an enriching experience. Later I would consider where to go next year, but now I need rest.

DSCF4805
Me being relaxed trying to convert beer into orange juice. By the look of things I’m having some success – Cheers and thank you for reading.