Friday, 8 May 2009
Leaving Bangkok wasn't nearly as difficult as I'd anticipated. We just had to pick the correct exit route, and the good roads and well-behaved traffic did the rest. In no time Leana and I were on the highway heading South-West to the "Gulf of Thailand" coastline. The climate is hot and humid every day, with rain showers just about every afternoon. So far we've been fortunate, with the rain often falling around us or arriving once we've already found shelter. Besides the beaches the inland scenery is also very lush with forests, as well as rubber and palm plantations. In certain areas there are impressive "limestone pillar" hills rising out of the surrounding forest. Cruising down the coast we were able to find many beautiful spots, where we stayed in beach-side huts (popular with the local tourists) or in budget hotels (popular with foreign travellers - who are referred to as "Farang's" in Thailand). We became so laid-back that we even stayed over for 3 nights in one place on at least 2 occasions. Then I heard that my friends from Cape Town - Rossouw and Dawn - were holidaying in Phuket for a few days. We got the bikes (and ourselves) into gear, and cycled over 450 k's in 3 days to meet the 2 "Farang's" at their resort in Patong Beach on the Andaman coast in the South-West of the country. The occasion was due to Dawn's 50th birthday, and last night the 4 of us enjoyed a pleasant evening out in the touristy town. From here we intend to move North up the West coast so that we can do the "visa run" across the Myanmar (Burma) border (upon our return we hope to be issued another 30 days' stay in Thailand). In the mean time I'm gaining weight as Leana finds vegetarian food rather scarce (or hard to explain), and as a result I've often had to consume 2 meals at a time! Daily distances cycled since Bangkok were:- Samut Sonkhram 78 km; Puktian Beach 78 km; Hua Hin 49 km; Prachuap Khiri Khan 110 km; Bang Saphan 115 km; Praia Bay 94 km; Chumphon 43 km; Cheya 142 km; Au Luk 170 km; Phuket 140 km; and Patong Beach 21 km. Total distance cycled since leaving Cape Town is 39 685 km.