Monday, 24 March 2014

Hua Hin to Prachuap Khiri Khan

Mon 03/02/14, 125km

Back on highway 4 to start the day but I soon got to turn off onto a side road, the 1019 towards Pranburi Forest Park which meant the rest of the morning was spent going through scenic and relatively untouristed areas. Well, compared to Hua Hin anyway. A lot of pineapples being grown here, with limestone karsts looming in the background.

As I approached the Khao Sam Roi Got national park the karsts became a ridge of hills with the road at the foot of them. Once through the area of the park it was a landscape of shrimp farms. It was around here I encountered another cycle tourist heading north.

My route dropped me back on highway 4 briefly and no sooner was I on it than a group of occidental cyclists on road bikes went by. We exchanged pleasantries and they waved me down a few minutes later when they were stopped for a break with their support truck. Spice Trails Tours, doing a run from Bangkok to Phuket. They filled my water bottle, have me fruit and a coke and I was on my way. Similar thing happened to me in 2010 with another Spice Trails group.

Back off the highway then and towards my destination. Incidentally other tour groups exist including Grass Hopper Tours, who I encountered on the way into town. And a German company who I didn't get the name of who passed me a few minutes after that (caught up with them later, all bar one were very surly and were hard pressed to even acknowledge my presence). Blimey, no cyclists for ages and then a day of them!

On finding a hotel I went to the beach to chill for a bit, although you have to go through an air force base to access it. Which was different.

Just leaving the national park area
On the edge of town
Spice Trails group whizzing past me as stop to take a photo and look at my guide book
Now the Grasshopper group.
View from the hotel window

Phetchaburi to Hua Hin

Sun 02/03/14, 72km

With only a few kilometres to do today I took my time setting off. Looking at the maps I decided to swing out towards the coast in highway 3177 rather than go the shorter route via highway 4. The road, designated a scenic route (I think that must mean linear rubbish dump) followed the shore but I didn't get to see the sea.

The last 20 kilometres dropped me back on highway 4 as it made its way into Hua Hin. After finding a hotel I took a stroll around, struck me as very very touristy in a Grand Canaria kind of way. Good enough for a stop off though.


Sunday, 23 March 2014


Sat 01/03/14, 12km

Over to the local hospital after breakfast and no problem getting rabies injection number four, which is good.

I'm finding that post shot I'm feeling rough so I'd planned on an easy day of sight seeing so I slowly made my way round Phra Nakhon Khiri national park which is on a hill top in the centre of town. Good views, naughty monkeys (apparently they 'ave your fruit our of yer bag soon as look at her), templey bits. Then over to Wat Kamphaeng Laeng which has some 13th century CE Khmer ruins which if I understand it right marked the furthest extent of their empire.

Furthest extent of the Khmer empire?

Kanchanaburi to Phetchaburi

Friday 18/02/14, 137km

Mostly quiet roads until Ratchaburi this morning. The first section in particular was very scenic, following an irrigation river with steep hills to one side and rice paddies galore. Wat Tham Suea (a Buddhist monastery) loomed over the fields in the distance looking very much like Mont St Michel in Normandy.

Unfortunately after Ratchaburi it was highway 4 and as you might guess from it's low number that's a wee bit busy. I'd been feeling a bit off colour all day, a combination of poor sleep, a hangover and general fatigue and a three lane highway didn't help matters. Still, made it in one piece, ate and slept, ready for sight seeing and hospital visits on the morrow.

A Chinese cemetery
OK a little like Mont St Michel
I'm not entirely sure I trust spiritual leaders who look like Dr Who villains

Singburi to Kanchanaburi

Thurs 27/02/14, 163km

Today was going to be a long day so the alarm went off at 6, breakfast was at 6.30 and I was cycling by 7! Then I stopped and frigged about in a 7-11 for ages... Why?!

So, properly on the road for 7.30, not so early. It was a good days cycling though mostly on quiet roads following irrigation channels which made them flat, low traffic and away from development and dogs. Route wise it was paper maps supplemented by Google, down towards and round the town of Suphanburi then on highway 321 for the rest of the day.

When I reached Kanchanaburi I headed for the same guesthouse I stayed in last time I was here in 2010, the Pong Peng. It hasn't changed much, the room was like a coffin with air con that didn't work.

By the way, totally recommend visiting Kanchanaburi it's the site of the second world war "Death railway" of Bridge Over the River Kwai infamy. There's a lot of very sobering stuff to see and it's a good jumping off point for the region as well. Having said that as I'd spent a few days here before and my visa was ticking down this was just an overnighter for me.


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Nakhon Sawan to Singburi

Weds 26/02/14, 116km

Plan for the day was to head towards Kanchanaburi, some 250km away, and see how far I got. This is part of me swinging around Bangkok rather than going through it.

Unfortunately this meant starting out on Highway 1, which is about as much fun as it sounds. Three lanes plus shoulder either way, heavy traffic, headwind and even bloody dogs having a quick go at me! After 20km I stopped for a coke and a look at the map and decided to alter course.

After another 20km on highway 1 the road split and traffic was a lot quieter. Then once I reached the town of Chai Nat it was on to the 310, another nice quiet road shadowing the Ping once again. All in all, not a bad days cycling, started off as hard work but ended up being quite good fun. And I finally got to see the Ping (the name promises more than the river delivers).

An early night beckoned, marred only by the sodding band on a stage literally below my window playing Thai covers until 11pm. The temptation to drop a bucket of water over them... 

Kamphaeng Chet to Nkahon Sawan

Tues 25/02/14, 134km

Lovely days cycling on a road that shadowed the river Ping (really). Unfortunately whilst it followed it I never actually got to see it! Still, very bucolic with verdant rice paddies and woods. Hot but shaded with a brief picnic lunch half way of sandwiches made from bread and cheese slices courtesy of 7-11.

Reclining Buddha