To cycle from Cha-am to Amphawa was something I had wanted to do for ages. Now 50, I considered that time was slowly catching up with me. I had been given three days off work for excellent performance, so I decided to go for it.
It was Tuesday 29th October 2019, and after considering all the problems, I packed my rucksack, which accidentally weighed 9kg and set off cycling towards Cha-am in the province of Phetchaburi, some 170km from Bang Yai in Nonthaburi from where I lived.
I set off at 4:30pm, making steady progress. I had decided that it was far better going at this time than setting off in the morning and having the put up with the sizzling temperatures and the traffic. At least with cycling in the evening and into the night, would be much cooler.
Around eight years ago I cycled this route in the evening, and it took me 4 hours, 59 minutes and 30 seconds to cycle this route (that was cycling time, and that was 163km).
As it was, I arrived there at around 10:45. With a cycle time of 6 hours and 5 minutes. Not bad to say I got caught up in traffic.
The whole point of this blog was to write about my cycle experience from Cha-am to Amphawa, cycling on the scenic route, something that I’d never done before.
So, after resting and finding the beginning of this cycle route from the Cha-am side, I decided that on Friday around 6am, I would set off on the agonising journey back.
I found the SCB Bank and the Narathip Road, and then I was off. Just before the main Phetkasem Road, I turned right and cycled onto the Si Sakun Thai Road. It was there where I hit the 2021 Road, better known as the scenic route.
There were scatterings of kilometre stones along this route. I reckon the road was around 80km long, not too bad except for the headwind coming off the sea.
I believed it would be a pretty dull cycle, being a single carriageway, and not all that much traffic to contend with, and I wasn’t too sure if there were any attractions.
It is rather strange at times what you find on a rural road in the middle of nowhere. There, miles away from anywhere was a single stall, selling just a handful of products. I think it was of a social media exercise for her than anything else.
Later, I came across a group of older cyclists. They obviously used the cycle route a lot, and no doubt was more familiar with it. This just reinstated that this route was popular with cyclists.
To say that many people that I had spoken to had described this also as being the coastal route, up to press I hadn’t seen any sign of the sea. Then I came across this small harbour.
There were also Buddhist temples too along this route. This one was obviously Chinese. It looked very magnificent.
I knew as I cycled nearer to Samut Songkhran I would soon hit the salt beds and sure enough I did.
Eventually, I hit the only 7-ELEVEN store on this route. Managing my liquid refreshments had gone better than planned. That was thanks mainly to the cooler than average temperatures, dense cloud with a little drizzle, and the fact that I was cycling slow.
In the 7-ELEVEN store, I came across a cyclist. We got talking outside as we rested. He was an interesting individual. As I discovered later, his name was Herr Pao, and he worked on a Coffee farm at the Urasia Resort. We seemed to have a lot to talk about, cycling been the main interest.
As I said earlier, it’s amazing what you discover while you are cycling. Later, I came across this decretive temple complex called Wat Nok Pak Tale, which from my research dated back at least to 1904 and Rama V reign. I reckon Columbus, Cook and Drake would have been delighted with this.
My cycle continued, and it was too long before a female cyclist passed me. Her bike was crammed with panniers to the front, rear and on the handlebars. She also carried more water bottle than I ever imagined was possible. We got talking, she was Brazillian, from one of the islands. Her partner was with her. They had cycled through Turkey and Azerbaijan to name but a few countries and were heading off towards Malaysia. I wished them well and continued.
I came across another Chinese temple, I was well aware that many Chinese lived around here.
I was slowly getting towards my destination. A kilometre stone signified 17km to go.
Every now and then I could see glimpses of the sea, around 200km away. Ban Laem, had been one of the trickiest places to navigate my route through. With more luck than management, I managed to find my way through. The River Phetchaburi passed through this area.
Later, I hit Bang Tabun. Again, this caused me a few problems, due to lack of English signs. What I considered to be quite an impressive bridge that crossed the Bang Tabun River.
Soon, I bumped into two other cyclists. They were pondering over their map. In wasn’t too long before we engaged in conversation. They were Spanish, but lived and worked in London. They were heading out towards Malaysia also.
Further on, towards the end of my blog cycle, I passed a studio which made me think of Spike Milligan’s ‘The Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong Poem, from my childhood.
Before long I reached the Rama II Road, at Amphawa, with the scenic route complete. It had been a quiet and an exciting cycle, and I had met some interesting individuals. At least I had kept away from the busy Phetkasem Road, and much of the Rama II Road.