Sunday 21st December
Ratchaburi to Cha Am Beach
Early start thanks to an awful room, up before the reception staff who were asleep on the reception settees. Stopped for breakfast at the 10 mile mark, rice again, I have come to see this as my staple diet food and often have it in for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Long flat day, we came off the main road which was great as the smaller roads were much more enjoyable and interesting. As we cycled out of Rachaburi we saw lots of really elaborate grave stones, they were all of a similar design and quite big, difficult to describe but impressive please see the photos. In Thailand you’re never too far away from a temple so naturally we saw lots of these on our ride down to the coast many had scaffolding around them where they were being repaired, we didn’t stop to look around any of these as we’re feeling a little templed out but the Thai people definitely know how to build amazing temples.
Gary – The ride was very flat and easy going we followed an irrigation chanel for about 20 miles.
When we checked into the hotel the receptionist was lovely but the hotel was a bit like a prison not very pleasant. There was a trip planned for the evening to see some bats but it was quite expensive and on further investigation we realised it was 20km outside of town so we gave it a miss.
We had dinner at a local market and had an early night in the room.
Tuesday 22nd December
Ratchaburi to Cha Am Beach
The room was awful, light flooded in from the corridor and it was too hot and noisy. We were both up really early and with 75 miles to cycle we decided to make an early start.
We were entertained in the afternoon by the sight of men and women working on the sea salt farms. We have seen sea salt being made before but not on this scale, it was huge covering an area of approx 25 miles. We stopped to take some photos and at one point an elderly worker enthusiastically took our arm and led us into a barn to proudly show us where the salt was stored and how it was being bagged and carried to the truck outside, all by hand. The bags were really heavy it was impressive to watch the team working, especially as the heavy bags were carried by women.
We arrived at Cha Am beach at about 3.00pm and booked into a guest house which had been recommended on Agoda. The reviews had mainly praised the host and having spent a night there we can see why. Dee Dee was very welcoming and entertaining we spent an hour or two with her and some other guests in the evening (English, Thai, Spanish and Chech). She reminded me of a good friend at home called Pam who is also very smiley and welcoming.
Cha Am – beach was ok but the sea was murky, I paddled whilst Gary went for a very a quick swim, We both agreed that this was not the beach for us and agreed to move on to a beach further south the following day.
Gary; we stopped on the way at Chao Samran a small beach resort. The resort hotel we enquired at was quoting £17 a night which is a lot of money here. The whole area was weird, apart from this well one kept resort hotel all the other buildngs had been left in disrepair, some of which were large multi story hotels, the town was as per the bands the specials sang, coming like a ghost town.
Tuesday 22nd December
Cha am beach to Hua Hin
The hotel room turned out to be very noisy and smelly due to the drains yuk.
In the morning I did a little bit of internet searching to find another hotel in the centre of Hua HIn after about 1 hour I’d selected about 4 hotels. None of them were perfect, what I ideally wanted was a lovely bungalow or hut on the beach but these were out of our price range or already booked. Gary kindly and patiently plotted all of the hotels and we cycled to each to check them out. We ended up checking into the last one, which happened to be the most expensive.
Check in was a bit of a nightmare, we asked for a price at the desk and realised it was more expensive than the on line price. We showed the reception staff the computer and initially they told us to book on line but then changed their minds and rang their reservation team to ask if they could offer us the same deal over the desk. To cut a long story short by the time they’d agreed the price the room had gone and we had to book another room fortunately after some negotiation we got it at the same price as the original room. The whole process took almost an hour! In fairness the staff were trying to be helpful but in hindsight it would have been a lot easier to book on line.
The hotel is very grand, it had an amazing pool, a gym and spa and lots of on site restaurants and bars. A glass of beer costs the equivalent of £2.40 which is very expensive for Thailand so we won’t be eating or drinking in the hotel, breakfast was offered at £8 each we could go out and eat an evening meal with drinks for that price.
We spent the afternoon by the pool, it was a little bit cloudy but warm enough to enjoy a swim and a little bit of reading on the sun loungers.
In the evening we went out of the complex and had a simple meal at a local bar, I had a jacket potato I was so excited that I could eat something other than rice but I hadn’t really thought it through as they don’t grow very big potatoes in Thailand so when it arrived I was a little bit disappointed by its size – it was diddy.
We met another ex pat at the bar and talked to him for awhile whilst we waited for our food to arrive. His name was Robert, he has been living in Thailand for 6 years and like all other ex pats we’ve met really loves it. He warned us about swimming in the sea as apparently there are a lot of jelly fish in this area. He did recommend a walk down the beach so we may do this, after all I have to keep the puppy exercised other wise he’ll go stir crazy.
Back in the room we did something we rarely do, we put the TV on and watched a really cheesy family film, it was rubbish but watchable and as we were both tired it passed the evening away nicely. It did bring memories of sitting at home with the kids cuddling up in front of a film with a bowl of sweets to share, they would have loved this one. I do miss those days.
Wednesday 23rd December
Woke up to a very overcast, cloudy day, bloody typical, it seems every time we decide to have a holiday from our holiday the sun also decides to have a holiday. We shouldn’t complain at least it is warm and unlike some of the guests staying in our hotel we will be in Thailand long enough to enjoy the sun which apparently is due to come out and play on Saturday, just in time for our next bike ride.
We decided to make the most of the day and get some chores done. First on our list was a visit to the dentist. The first one we stopped at was fully booked for several days but fortunately the second one could see us straight away. I needed a small hole filling in my front tooth, the dentist was lovely and really quick but unfortunately she informed me I need a further 2 fillings, which I will get done when I go home. Gary on the other hand faired far better and didn’t need any treatment. The cost for the pair of us was only £14 I’m not sure I can even get a check up for that price in the UK.
We had breakfast from a street stall it cost a whopping £2 for both of us which is a quarter of the price the hotel charges for one person.
Our next stop was the shopping centre as we needed to top up the mobile phone and get me a helmet for my bike. We needed a little assistance to top up the phone from a free standing machine in an IT store. It was amazingly quick and easy. Unfortunately we could not find any helmets for adults but had fun playing with the children’s helmets in one of the stores I was tempted by the darth vedar helmet.
I am still looking for a decent bra that fits, so with this in mind I approached a market stall holder in the shopping complex, the sales assistant was really helpful and found a bra in my size fairly quickly, but unfortunately she didn’t have any where for me to try it on, this did not appear to be a problem for her as she insisted I try it on over my clothes in the middle of the store. It would have been embarrassing but I didn’t know anyone other than Gary and he wouldn’t photograph something so silly would he??
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a bike shop and although they didn’t have any road bike helmets we did bump into a fellow cyclist who gave us some information about the roads ahead and made some recommendations of places to visit on our route down to Malaysia.
Back at the hotel I coloured my hair whilst Gary gave the bikes a quick service and went to the gym.
The rest of the day was very chilled and involved eating and drinking and enjoying each others company.
Thursday 24th – Christmas Eve
lazy day by the pool
In the evening we took the bus in to the touristy part of Hua Hin, in our first bar I was serenaded by an Elvis Presley impersonator, we didn’t stay long, wanting to savour all Hua HIn had to offer but we were a little disappointed. Lots of bars and cheap beer but not really our scene. We did however find a lovely Indian restaurant and had a delicious meal, before heading back to our non tourist area. We hit one of the local bars for a nightcap and ended up staying until gone 2.00am, the music was live but pants but we had a good laugh with some of the other customers.
We had hoped to skype Gary’s parents but we were in no fit state when we got back to the room so we will try on New Years day instead.
Friday 25th December
No bike today and a little hung over from a good night out
We had a leisurely morning in bed followed by some pool time, lunch in a local bar (curry and rice for me and Gary had some noodle concoction, so a cheap christmas dinner at £1.80 total). It was interesting watching quiet Thailand on Christmas day, the shops were open (except the english bars and cafes), children still in school uniforms, roads busy with cars and full buses. You could easily have been forgiven for forgetting it was Christmas day.
We did have some lovely messages and talked to Hayley on face time which was great, but reminded us how much we miss her.
We were in bed by 9.30, having only consumed 3 small beers between us, no mince pies or chocolate. It was a different Christmas day but not one I will be rushing to repeat.
Saturday 26th December
Day 266 Hua Hin to Prachuap Khir Khan
Woke early and as we thought we had 70+ miles to do packed up and left.
The staff were really interested in our bikes and our journey so we answered their questions as we packed the bike.
Within the first 10 miles we picked up a fellow cyclist who was riding a single speed bike. He looked about 20 – 30 years old, he rode straight past me and up to Gary to discuss where we were going. He stopped at the 10 mile mark for some breakfast with us and treated us to the meal, which was really sweet of him. He even offered to cycle with us until we got back on a quieter road as we had somehow ended up a main road which was not our intention.
Once on the coastal road we saw a number of motorbikes with side cars complete with a hammock for a baby. The babies looked quite content as they swung back and forth but they’d definitely not be allowed in the UK.
Also along the coast road we could see the sea swelling over the wall it was like watching fireworks exploding, very exciting especially as there wasn’t a storm but the wind was picking up even though the sun was shining.
I almost forgot I was chased by a barking dog, they’re mainly docile in Thailand but we’d had been told about a biker who had been bitten recently so I was a little bit wary, Gary my hero dropped back and growled at the dog and this seemed to frighten him off. On a sadder doggy note we have seen lots of puppies in very small cages by the side of the road, Thai people seem to be turning into a nation of pet lovers so we’re hoping the caged puppies are being sold as pets and not for anything else.
The route was flat and once off the main road was fairly enjoyable, although it was very hot and we had got out of the routine of stopping every hour or 10 miles so cycled longer distances than our bodies were used to. By the 50 mile mark I felt a little queasy and by the time we hit our destination I bonked and needed to sit down in the shade.
We decided to find a hotel close by so that I could cool down and get something to eat. My body is very strange I had no idea that I was flagging other than feeling a little queazy, I felt fine one moment and the next very faint.
We stayed in a hotel on the sea front and following a recommendation from an Australian guy we set out to go and visit a view point but unfortunately it started to rain so we went back to the hotel and watched a cheesy Elvis Presley film. Once it had finished we had plenty of time to visit the local attraction and walk through the local market
The local attraction was a temple with a viewing point up 400 steps, we approached the steps with some trepidation as they were completely covered with monkeys big, small, old and young. They were clearly used to humans but we definitely were not used to that number of monkeys. The smell was awful and they cried like babies, it was most disconcerting, I grabbed a stick just in case they decided to attack Gary again.
There was plenty of food on offer at the market, we had calamari on the way up to the temple and on the way back to the bars Gary had some chicken and some corn on the cob. I didn’t like all the meaty smells so had some rice at a local bar. The market was really popular with both locals and tourists and there was plenty of cheap food to choose from, I wish I could find my ‘no meat’ sign and switched it back on.