We had planned 228 km south to the east coat beach town of Hua Hin despite the poor forecast.
The first 100 km to get past and away from Bangkok took over 2 hours and we stopped for a break from the 32 degree heat and the steady stream of traffic. It does move well and the Thais are very considerate drivers. Several issues come from driving on the left. The slow lane is far left and this is where the merging in and out is, but the fast lane is far right and this is where the frequent U turners are (there is often no actual turn lane). It looks impossible to do a U turn onto a 3 lane road filled with cars, but once there is a space and cars start to turn into your lane the cars stop and it is not unusual for them to politely wait for 20 + cars to also get thru before they pull ahead again.
The place we had booked is south of Hua hin and on the sea, but there is no beach here. The waves are crashing on the sea wall. Works for us as we just want to relax. We managed to rouse ourselves after 7 to walk the km to the main road to find some dinner. We found some ok Thai food at Ian’s place!
The next day we lazed about and then for some reason decided to walk the 3 km down to the Monkey’s island Temple in the hottest part of the day. The long steep stairs up are at least in the shade. Getting back to the main road again we flagged down a “collectivo” or pickup truck with bench seats in the back that cruise up and down the road and take you whatever distance you want to go for 10 Bhat or .30$. We hopped on and road all the way to town and to the main Hua Hin beach for some lunch and some sun. The forecast for tomorrow is grim.
We planned 385 km down the 4 to Ranong and the sky is cloudy, but looks dry.
We set out later than planned at 830 and stopped at the Wat at the edge of town for some photos, at 7-11 for some cold drinks and then for gas and we still made 200 km by 1030.
There is some traffic, but the speed of it is mostly 80-90 and most of the road is 4 lane divided highway. Plus in Thailand the drivers are not constantly trying to kill you!
We had planned to stop when we had 100 km left, but of course by then it was raining moderately hard. This is too bad, since the last part of the road is curvy, 2 lane, and mountainous. We arrived to the hotel just before it started really pouring.
It is a drag as we are in prime beach paradise over the next few days and the forecast is for rain for the next week. We borrowed some umbrellas and braved the storm to get a late lunch and for Dan a shave and a hair cut. Despite the forecast we booked tomorrow at what is supposed to be one of Thailand’s nicest mainland beaches not that far south from here.
We got up and walked to the “palace” and city shrine, which are actually quite small, but there is a great breakfast place across the road called “sunny side up”. It is very overcast and grey, but at least not raining. Good day for the barber!
We had 312 km south to Koh Kwang beach north west of Krabi. We drew a crowd from the bus station as we were leaving.
Just south of town we stopped at this large Wat complex.
The route is mostly on the #4 and it is a 4 lane divided and so we made great time. Surprisingly after 70 km from Ranong we did not see another gas station for 100 km and we were cutting it pretty close when we finally found one and of course they only had 91. There are a few 2 lane sections with construction and we had some light rain for the last hour. This made for a pretty humid afternoon and it was sweaty even thought it was only 28.
It was also raining when we left the 4 to ride on the small roads over the mountain towards the coast and they were a bit “mossy” so we had to take it pretty slowly on the narrow serpentine roads.
The place we booked is in the town, but on the sea shore. We hid out in the air con most of the afternoon to recover from the intense heat and humidity.
Today we rode just 6 km down the road to the beautiful Tubkaek Beach. This is a very shallow bay when the tide is out and you have to walk a very long way out to swim and the water is very warm. We were lucky we left when we did as about 45 min after we got back to the guesthouse it started torrentially raining. There was an amazing thunder and lightening show. The town was pretty quiet because the roads leading north here have been flooded.
We are only going 129 km south to Pak Meng Beach as we still have two days to get to Hat Yai to meet Faizal and Trevor.
The road south is now open since it had been closed for the last 2 days because of the flooding. This guy look like he has a monkey hitch hiker!
We made good time since there is no traffic, but stopping at the long traffic lights was brutal in the humidity. The skies continued to be dark grey all morning, but we had only the odd sprinkle.
We had booked at a place on the beach and though check in was at 3 and we arrived at 11 they let us shower and change so we could enjoy the pool.
The sun set was pretty incredible.
The forecast has improved for today and we opted to take the long way to Hat Yai via Satun.
There was quite a bit of flooding in spots. We were planning to meet Trevor who was riding from Ko Lanta island and Faizal who arrived yesterday from Kuala Lumpur. We have now met Faizal on 4 continents ( at the Porvenier ferry in SA, in Vancouver in NA, in Luxembourg in Europe, and in Hat Yai in Asia). He has been here many times and was able to book us a hotel and treat us to some great food. Interesting that I get the daily Canadian Government travel alert emails (mostly for natural disaster info) and Hat Yai was listed this week as “avoid all travel”. Wonder why?
Trevor also arrived from Ko Lanta about 20 minutes after we did. Today we also met Andy who arrived from the UK to pick up his bike that came by truck from Bangkok today. Lunch was at a local spot with lots of seafood. We had a few too many beers at the Irish pub (every tourist town in the world has one), some food in the night market, and then headed to bed.