Day 8 – Ban Krut to Prachuap Khiri Khan – 70km

Today was set to be a recovery day for me, I only had to ride 70km. Seeing it was such a short distance I didn’t have to check out of my room until 12pm. I made full use of my lovely room and air on

I arrived in Prachuap Khiri Khan around 2:30pm and found the Yuttichai hotel. The reviews put the hotel as affordable, when I checked in I had the option of 2 types of rooms, a shared bathroom for 160baht or a room with its own bathroom for 250baht. I opted for my own bathroom. The room was clean, but the bed was not comfortable.

After a shower I decided to head out and explore what Prachuap Khiri Khan has to offer.

On the way down I stopped for a drink at a restaurant along the beach front, I popped in there again to say hello.

Went to temple with naughty monkeys, great views

Next I headed off to the beach via the Navy Base

On the way back from the beach I met a Spanish / American married couple cycling back from the beach.

They joined me for a fruit shake at the night market (it was still daytime), we chatted about each other’s travels and swopped tips.

I went back to my hotel to drop off my bike

Then I decided to grab full dinner and another fruit shake at the night market

I headed off to bed

Day 4 – Khura Buri to Laem Son National Park – 100km

There was a buffet breakfast waiting for me that morning, so I took full advantage of this and pigged out big time. With a full belly, I set out to my next destination Laen Son National Park, this was another Lonely Planet recommendation and the book specifically suggested the Wasana Resort.

As I drew closer to Laem Son National Park I realized that my solid night of rest had made the world of difference. Despite having stopped a few times for water and energy drinks, I was maintaining a solid 22,5km / hr average speed (this included times for stops) with ease. The turn of for the national park had a small sign for Wasana Resort, indicating that the resort catered for touring cyclists.

I eventually arrived at Wasana Resort about 10km off Highway 4. The resort was owned and run by a Dutch guy and his Thai wife, the rooms were fairly basic, but clean and comfortable. As mentioned the resort was frequently visited by people doing cycle tours. The Dutch owner helped me with information that I could use to decide my next destinations, he was very helpful indeed.

I went down to Hat Bang Ben beach one which was near by to the national park. As I arrived at the entry point for the beach I noticed almost no other people around, not even locals. Once I walked down to the beach I was saw hope beautiful and deserted the beach was. I didn’t see anyone else except for the Czech couple that were staying at the resort.

I continued walking down the beach until I couldnt see them anymore. I found a spot amongst the pine trees lining the desserted beach to put my hammock up, I hung around doing some blogging for about an hour. It was extremely relaxing being on my own, in a forest, with the sound of waves breaking not to far from me.

After a relaxing hammock session I decided to strip down and go for a swim. Nobody else on the beach, so I figured it was appropriate. I floated in the water for longer than I would usually, it was blissful being the only person around and not having to concern my spell about masses of other tourists.

After the beach I returned to my bungalow and spoke to the owner about staying an extra night, he suggested that my self and the Czech couple go on a boat trip to local desserted islands. It was a no brainer, I had not encountered such a beautiful place all holiday, so I decided to stay another night,

That evening I ordered a yellow curry, some Chang beers and sat chatting to the Dutch owner at Wasana Resort, interesting to hear his point of view on what he thought of Thailand having lived there for over 20 years. What an incredible day, early to bed.

Day 3 – Khao Sok to Khura Buri – 80km in 4,5hrs

I woke up at a reasonable time, approximately 7am, considering I went to bed at 12am. I grabbed some Khao Phad (fried rice) and fruits platter at the Misty Mountains resort near to whe I was staying, they had shit rooms, but a great restaurant.

I was dreading the start of the ride as I knew what I was up against, I had a 5-6km very steep uphill to conquer. The mountain ended up being much easier than anticipated, i think it was because I was still fresh and the temperature was at around 30 degrees Celcius.

After beating down the climb down, I continued down the road, where was faced with numerous hills and serious heat that was climbing by the minute. IMO body was tired and sore from the day before, I didn’t seem to be performing at my best, the day was dragging.

I was heading towards Khura Buri town and had been recommeded a resort called Khura Buri Green View Resort, which was approximately 12km before town. When I arrived at the resort I realized that the rooms and bungalows were all way above my normal price range, but I decided it was best to stop and get some good rest so that I would be fresh for the next day.

I paid for the cheapest accommodation available at 1500baht for the bungalow. The bed was comfortable, there was a deck where I could hang my hammock and I took fopull advantage of all facilities. That evening I had a quiet dinner on my own and hit the hay as early as possible.

Day 2 – loop ride from Khao Sok to Chew Liam Lake then to Phanom and back to Khao Sok – 150km in 8,5hrs

I woke up fairly early, packed my trailer, grabbed some breakfast and got on the road. My initial plan was to ride to Chew Liam Lake and stay at the floating house boats. Nothing worked out as planned though. This was a fairly uneventful day, I rode to the dam, but when I got to the dam it was nothing like I expected. I had to catch a boat to where the floating house boats were, the boat would have cost me a fair bit on my own, if I was sharing it would have been fine.

I headed back to Khao Sok National Park, when I arrived I tried to book into Jungke Huts, but alas they were completely full, my new friend Paris was however still staying there, so we made plans to meet for dinner later.

I found a room near to where I had stayed the night before, place was called Baan Rimnam Resort. The guy who signed me in was super chilled, spoke awesome English and we had a phat chat. I love it when Thai people are friendly and don’t just treat you like the Farang we are.

I took a shower, setup my hammock, drank a large Leo and hung around catching up on some email / facebook. After chilling for a while recovering from my 150km loop ride, I headed off to hook up with Paris the Spaniard. We sat chatting for approximately 1,5hrs about life, love, friends, parties, pets and good times. This to me is bliss, being able to share stories of all sors with like indeed people.

After seeing Paris I went for a massage to ease my aching muscles, 8hrs on a bike will do that to you, but luckily afterwards I felt much less tender and my neck wasn’t stiff anymore. Next to where the massage place was, I found a bar called Chill Out bar. They were playing Bob Marley for the first 1 hour that I was there.

I decided to be social and introduce myself to the group of random foreigners next to me. I ended chatting to a Canadian / Aussie couple. The Candian was really funny, she had Dutch roots and we chatted about her Dutch influence in diet / family / culture and more. We ended up chatting about the Dutch people for a while. Eventually I went to sleep around 12am, I knew that it would be difficult to wake up early as a result, but who cares, live in the now until tomorrow!

Return Journey – Day 1 – near Thai Mueng to Khao Sok – 100km in 5,5hrs

The wedding had been close to Khok Kloi in the Phang-nga province at the Aleenta Resort. After a marathon 11 hour drinking session I passed out at the Villa where the wedding was held. I slept in a bunk bed with Frank and Andy, Franks words before bed, you shout up and if you wank, wank quietly, gotto love the Kiwis, straight up!

I woke up at 6:30am (approximate pass out time was 3:30am), then I dragged myself out of bed And got on my bicycle to ride 10km down the road to resort I was staying at. I felt awesomely KAK! Still drunk when I got back to my hotel at about 7:15am, I decided to sleep till 9am and grab breakfast.

Around 10am I was on the road heading towards Khao Sok Notional Park. The way I felt made the ride so much more difficult, the temperature was about 40 degrees Celsius. I sweated out the alcohol fairly quickly and found my rhythm after about 1,5-2hrs. The only way to deal with my stupidty was to embrace the ride and cycle through the discomfort, a lesson that I have only learnt through this cycle trip.

I arrived in Khao Sok area after 5,5 hours of riding. The last stretch was about 8km of climbing uphill in peak temperature and no wind or air movement. I think I set a record for sweating, I consumed about 9 liters of water during my ride.

As I rode into Khao Sok are I noticed it was way more touristic than I expected. I stopped in atnumerous resorts as I cycled down the road into Khao Sok. Eventually I found a resort called Morning Mist that was recommended to me by the Lonely Planet. Personally I feel they need to update the lonely planet with a revised entry to warn against how shit this place’s rooms are. I took a single room for 450baht, it was pretty insecure, bed was hard and generally KAK!

After checking in and taking shower, I decided to go see what what Khao Sok had to offer. I found that it was extremely touristic and generally not what I had expected at all. When I stayed at Manora Garden Resort next to SA Nang National Park I rad a book on the history of the park and how amazing the plant / life was. I didn’t get the sense of this when I was there, the only way I would truly see this side of the park would be to go on a remote multi-day trek that would cost a fair bit of dosh and had to be done with a group of people.

I went for a walk to see what was around, one place that had grabbed me was the Jungle Huts, unfortunately they were fully booked when I was tried, so I just went to grab a beer. While sitting I met Paris from Menorka, epic Spanish dude, we ended up sitting and chatting for ages. Funny how certain types of people are just friendly open and interesting right from the word go, I love meeting new people and this made my day.

After meeting Paris, I headed off back to my room and stopped for a quick dinner along the way. Was good to get a solid dinner and a fairly early evening, SLEEP IS GOOD!

Pierre and Lisa’s Thailand Wedding Weekend

On the Thursday 7 March wage wedding group all joined up for a special group dinner. Afterwards excessive drinking and eating the guys headed out for the bachelor party. I bailed at 3am as I realised I needed to get up at 7am to pack….

7am rolled on and I was not feeling lekker, was still drunk in fact, dragged myself out of bed around 7:30am and started the slow process of packing my trailer for the ride up to where the wedding would held. I aimed to arrive at the wedding venue approximately the same time as the wedding crew. So I left at 9am and managed to maintain a steady 20km / hr average. I had 80km to ride from Karon Beach to Aleenta Resort near Khok Kloi just over the Phuket bridge.

I felt pretty dreadful for the first 40km and 2hrs, but managed to sober up, just sweated put the booze. Not awesome, but I refused to catch a taxi, my mission was to ride my bike everywhere possible. I arrived at Aleenta Resort before the wedding party because the busses had been delayed by 1,5hrs.

I managed to find an open wifi network and decided to chill in the shade waiting for them while I caught up on work emails. Not sure how I do it sometimes, work, play and sport… I are one mad cat! Everyone else was amazed that I had ridden to next location after the night we had. Thank god I didn’t stay till the end of the bachelors, I would have rolled in around 5am or later and a lot more drunk.

Once I had seen everyone from the wedding party, I moved on to my resort that was 10km up the road from where the wedding was taking place. I arrived at Waterjade Resort where I was staying, checked in and unpacked. A few of wedding party peeps were guests at Waterjade, so after everyone had settled into our respective rooms we decided to meet up at the resort’s restaurant for food and drinks.

The group of wedding people I met during the week at Karon beach were awesome, we had spent time together every day and slowly but surely formed connections. I could tell everyone sitting at the table was getting excited about the wedding, the build up was amazing. I munched my food, drank a beer and we chatted for a while. After dinner I decided to to head back to my room and get an early night, by early I mean 8pm.

The wedding day had arrived, it was 9 march around 7am and I was wide awake after 11hrs sleep. Feeling considerably fresher than the previous morning, breakfast was included at Waterjade, so I decided to take full advantage. Seeing the wedding only stated at 5:30pm, I decided to head out for a training ride. I headed off to Khao Lak, I knew that I would not get to see it after the wedding, so it was perfect opportunity. Carpe Diem, seize the moment and so I did.

It was approximately 40km ride to Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park, before I went to the park I road along the Khao Lak beach, very pretty beach. Then I paid entrance of 100baht for the Park and went for a wander. There wasnt much to see, but it was beautiful.

I took a walk down the one trail to what the sign said was “footprint”. The shoreline is made up of granite rock, which is not too common in my experience of Thailand. I found what was called the footprint, it was indeed a footprint in the granite rock. The footprint look like a human footprint in cement, quite intriguing. The sign stated a phrase that I have tattooed on my leg “leave only footprints, take only memories”, this is a philosophy that the national parks are trying to encourage, leave no trace.

After visiting the national park, I decided to head off back to my resort and take a nap befor heading off to the wedding festivities. I showered, packed a bag and prepped for the wedding. The plan was to catch a taxii, but nobody was around and I decided to just ride my bike to the wedding.

I arrived at the wedding venue called Villa Satis around 4pm, this was a separate Villa to the Aleenta Resort, so the wedding was a private affair. What a beautiful villa on the beach, massive pool and a bunch of rooms with a huge downstairs open plan area. The scene was set for an awesome wedding experience.

I showered again and put on the suit that I had tailored in Karon. Everybody started arriving around 5pm and the wedding was to kick off at 5:30pm. The best man and ring bearer waited patiently, then Lisa and her brides maids came out looking beautiful. The wedding was small and intimate. The ceremony kicked off, Pierre said his vows, I read out a song verse by Jack Johnson and Lisa said her vows. Once the ceremony was over the newly weds signed the wedding register and it was official.

Let the festivities begin and we all started drinking religiously. Actually I had started drinking a couple of hours before the wedding. All the guest were happy, not only because of the amazing wedding, but everyone was on holiday. What a great idea to have a small intimate wedding in a beautiful beach paradise. Happy days.

Dinner kicked off, I didn’t realise we kicked off with starters, I actually pigged out on starters so excessively that I didn’t even get to main course. The MC Kim said some introductory words after dinner, then came the speeches. First it was Pierre’s sister, she said some heart warming words and shed some emotional tears. Next up it was Pierre’s dad and then Pierre said some words. Andy, Lisa’s dad, said some words too and lastly there were some thank you’s to people who could attend as well as people who did attend. All in all, lovely moving experience.

The drinking continued well into the night, I did however realise that I needed to head off on my bike at night to my accommodation… Then somebody said that there was a bunk bed available at the villa. Perfect, that meant I didn’t have to worry and so I continued to drink. People started getting into the pool or being thrown into the pool.

Eventually around 3:30am I decided to give it a rest and hit the hay or bunk bed. Woooowhaooo, drunken and disorderly, just the way a wedding should be. I knew I had to wake up fairly early so I could ride back to my resort. I set my alarm for 6:30am… Waking up at 6:30am after drinking for about 11hrs isn’t very much fun, but sometimes you gotto do what you gotto do.

I rode back in the day light at least. When I got to my room it was about 7:20am, so I napped till about 9am. Breakfast was included, so I made full use of the opportunity seeing I had to ride 100km to Khao Sok. After breakfast I checked out of Waterjade and hit the road. So ended one chapter and another began.

5 days on Karon Beach, Phuket

Day 1 – Sunday 3rd March – Pierre’s Birthday Dinner

I arrived in Karon Beach in the afternoon of Sunday 3rd March. My ride into Phuket had been a shock to the system, my peaceful world of riding solo down from Hua Hin had changed to what initially felt like a tourist nightmare with way more people than I could handle.

I arrived at Mellow Space Boutique Rooms around 2pm, it took me a while to find the place, I would be staying there for the next 5 days. I was really impressed with the accommodation, my room was big and the bathroom was great. I had aircon and hot water.

Once I had unpacked and showered I rested my sore and tired body for the afternoon. The plan was that everyone that had arrived in Karon was going to meet for dinner to celebrate Pierre’s birthday. I took a walk down to the beach and walked across the beach on my way to the Pacific Club Hotel where the others were staying.

We went to a fairly upmarket restaurant for some pizza and beers. Pizza is not a dish I would normally have in Thailand, I find it is never as good as Borussos Italian restaurant back home.

I have been alone for 6 days straight, cycling in my own little world, arriving on Phuket island was quite an exciting prospect. Seeing my friends who I had not seen in many years was quite something indeed.

Pierre Vocat was marrying Lisa Kesson in 6 days day. As mentioned, this was his birthday dinner. I walked into the restaurant to find Pierre’s mom and dad who I had not seen since 1996. I am connected to Gail Vocat (mom) on facebook, we speak fairly often over private message or wall posts, more than I speak to Pierre that is.

I am also connected to Pierre’s sister Samantha Vocat, we figured out that the last time we saw each other was at her farewell party in 1996, almost 17 years ago. So much happens in that time. Samantha and I sat next to each other at dinner and caught up on the past 17 years. I told her that we I used to visit her brother, her and her friends would always avoid us like the plague. She told me we were uncool… Anyone friends with her brother was to be avoided, we had a laugh about this. Was great to catch up.

At the same dinner I was introduced to Lisa’s dad Andy and two of his very old friends Ron and Frank. These guys were great fun, great sense of humour and I could see already now that we would hit it off that week.

When I think back about the dinner, the phrase “eat, drink and be merry” comes to mind. The pizzas kept coming, strange flavour after another, I am not a fan of seafood pizza, but this restaurant seemed to that seafood flavours on pizza were awesome. I was starving, so I plugged that pizza in my cake hole irrespective of whether I liked it or not. Along with the pizza I drank Chang after Chang, it was Chang O’clock after all.

Once the dinner was over, the older crew went back to their respective hotels, fair enough considering most people were still jetlagged. The younger crew however decided to hit a bar, I suggested 7eleven and beach boozing, but nobody was keen. They didn’t even get far, there was a very expensive bar next door, so people wandered in there.

Beers were over priced and they only served smalls beers, tequilas were stupidly over priced and they consisted of petrol with vague tequila flavouring. The guys started buying rounds of tequila, so that was great, we drank more and more.

Pierre and I spotted a strange character watching the live cover band, this guy got up and started doing the strangest slow motion jiggy jig I have ever seen. I decided to buy Pierre and another school mate of ours Wayne Sterling a tequila shooter. Like the children we are, I got Pierre to go up to the strange slow motion dancer guy and chat to him while I recorded his jiggy jig. Kak funny.

We went and sat down again, next thing the best man Leon comes up to me and has a stern word with me about buying Pierre 1 tequila shot. He tuned. He some shit about not getting Pierre too drunk because of Lisa his fiance… Wtf, he had bought Pierre a shot earlier and now I am the bad friend getting Pierre drunk. I was not impressed, told him we all on holiday and if Pierre didn’t want the shit he could tell me himself. Come on, I hadn’t seen the guy in years and years, now I am being singled out.

I got up and left the bar, I didn’t want to get into an argument. Uncomfortable way to end the evening.

Day 2 – Monday 4th March – Phi-Phi

The Monday was the first full day with the wedding party. I was told that I would be picked up at 7am by a taxi that would drive us to the pier so that we could do boat trip to Phi Phi islands.

The taxi arrived with some of the older people I had met at the previous night’s. Leon was also in the taxi, I simply ignored him, I wasn’t keen to discuss the night before. The taxi took us across Phuket island to a pier quite far away.

When we got off the taxi Pierre, Lisa and bunch of the others were waiting for us. We boarded what looked like a ferry0p

The evening after the boat trip we were due to meet up at the Pacific Club Hotel where mop

Day 3 – Tuesday 5th March – Paradise Beach

I woke up feeling rough from the litre bottle of Blend that we smashed the night before. Despite feeling tender I woke up at about 7am, my body clock seems programmed to this. My first instinct was to pick up my iPad and Galaxy III phone to do work, I got stuck into work for a good couple of hours.

We were doing a beach day at Paradise beach, which was between Karon and Pa Tong. I had no idea what time we were meeting because nothing had been agreed the night before. While I was working I sent messages to Pierre and his mom (Gail) too, his mom was the person who ended up telling what was happening when most of the time.

I got a Facebook message from Gail saying we were leaving around 11am from near their hotel. It was 10:15am and I hadn’t showered or packed a bag yet. I had to walk 30min to their hotel, so mild panic as I showered, packed and ran out the door. I forgot my sunshades and had to buy some along the way as I ran all the way to the hotel. I even managed to hit 7eleven and grab some staples = ham & cheese sarmie, red bull, water and nuts.

I arrived maybe 4 minutes late, but that was fine because everyone else was late.

Day 4 – Wednesday 6th March – James Bond Islands

To be added soon.

Day 5 – Thursday 7th March – Free day, Pre-Wedding dinner and Bachelors

To be added soon.

Day 6 – near Mueng Phangnga to Karon Beach – 110km in 5hrs

I woke around 6am at the beautiful Manora Garden resort, the owners of the resort made me breakfast. I settled my bill and for two meals, a Chang and my room it was only 600baht. I felt like I got so much more value than just this “stuff”, what lovely people! On my way out they snapped a few pictures of me so they could tell their other guests in future about the crazy cyclist guy who had stayed over.

I headed off on highway 4 past the main town called Mueng Phangnga. I was on mission to get to the end point because my ass was raw and I had been on the road for 6 days and nearly 850km (by the end of day 6). I pushed hard and rode at a solid 22,5 km per hour including stops.

Finally i got to the Phuket bridge, this was a really awesome achievement, but it still meant I had about 60km to travel to Karon beach. Phuket wasn’t much of an island, it was like the mainland it was so big. Phuket felt so much more busy than what I was used to, there was traffic everywhere, scary as hell at times.

I kept seeing signs for Phuket town, Pa Tong, Karon beach, but it didn’t feel like I was getting any closer.

Day 5 – Ao Luek to Manora Garden Near the Sa Nang Manora Forest Park – 55km in 4,5 hrs

Started out at the resort in Ao Luek later than usual. Decided to take the day super chilled, not ride fast and take in the scenery as much as possible. My first stop was to be a small noodle soup stand next to the road. I had not ordered any noodle soup yet this holiday and the last time in Thailand I had fallen in love with the meal. The meal cost me all of 35 baht which is about R10 in my own currency, it was delicious. Such a simple dish, the Thai lady put the ingredients in a kind of metal spoon like a colander and held it in the boiling broth for a few moments

Then I headed down to Than Bok national park to see what it was about, but it wasn’t feasible for me to leave my bike alone and go walking in the park, so I skipped and got back on the road. The road slowly meandered through the lime stone karsts until I saw a mountain range in the distance, I thought to myself “this road will definitely go around the mountains”. I could not have been more wrong.

At first there were only slight inclines, but then the hills started getting steeper. Before I hit full blown mountains, I found a small Buddhist temple built into the lime stone cliffs. I stopped for a rest and to admire the beauty. As I was leaving, a troop of macaque monkeys decided to see me off, I had about 5 males running at me from different sides with their teeth showing, I kakked myself!

After the monkey incident I hit some prett hefty climbs, it took me about an hour to finish climbing, I think I only covered about 10km during this time. Rough ride, sheesh. At the top of the of the climb I found a temple. I stopped for water, red bull and coke. I decided to give an offering and ask Buddha for safe passage on my journey. It was quite an emotional experience, lovely to feel that kind of emotion. I headed down the other side of the mountain, which was way more fun riding downhill with cool wind than that riding up in 40 degree temperature and no wind.

I wanted to visit the Sa Nang Manora Forest Park and saw the sign for the park, so i decided to check out the place. Before i got to the park I saw a sign for Manora Garden Resort, I decided to test it out and booked in. The owners were a Dutch guy and his Thai wife. After I got access to my room, I took a shower and pack a bag for the Forest Park.

I went to the forest park for a relaxing walk. I didn’t see any animals, but it was good to be off my bike while doing an activity. On my way back down the walking trail I went for swim in the river pools. At the end of my walk I grabbed a bite to eat at the food place next to the parking lot and had a Chang Beer.

When i got back to the resort I put up my hammock and did some relaxing reading. At one stage I fell asleep in hammock, tough life. I was the only guest at the resort, so it was a pretty relaxed atmosphere. I was having dinner with the owners, the plan was that we would have Som Tom, which is a green papaya spicy salad.

After we had eaten I sat chatting to the Dutch guy for about an hour and a half. It was super relaxing, he was a very interesting man. We chatted about sport, politics and the meaning of life, fascinating to hear other people’s point of view and their life experiences. After our lengthy discussion I decided to hit the sack fairly early so that I could get a solid 10 hours sleep in.

Day 4 – Chaiya to Ao Luek = 155km in 8hrs 30min

Started out in Chaiya with some cold fried rice as my breakfast fuel around 6:30pm for the morning’s cycling. My initial goal had been to rid down to Nakhon Si Thammarat, but I was having second thoughts due to my saddle sores having blistered and popped.

I decided to reroute towards Khao Sok, I was planning on going there after the wedding weekend, but I thought lets try this out. Enroute to Khao Sok I somehow missed a vital turn off, next thing I saw a sign saying turn off to Krabi. Small crisis, I was now 25km past the Khao Sok turn off, do I turn back or do I reroute again. I decided to reroute.

I took highway 44 across country for the Gulf of Thailand coast to the Andaman coast, more specifically the Phangnga province. I had no idea where exactly I would end up, but I had rough idea of options thanks to having 3G on my phone, the lonely planet book and my Garmin. It was damn hot, slowly the heat rose by about 0,1 degrees every 5min, it topped out at 43 degrees, the only way to deal with this was to ride faster and have the wind / air cool me down.

After a few stops and careful calculations i settled on the town of Ao Luek as the place I would stay that night. As I drew closer to Ao Luek I started seeing incredible lime stone karst rocks towering around me, a thing of beauty I tell you.

I had applied sun block once that day, due to the heat I had been sweating constantly and realised that I had very red arms, not a good thing, so even though it was a bit too late I decided to apply some more sunblock because I could be in the sun for another hour. Always fear the power of the sun is what my scottish wife taught me.

I was really starting to feel tired from the day’s riding and my ass was chaffed raw. I decided that the first semi decent resort that I found I would book into. As I came to what seemed like the town of Ao Luek if found a resort below a massive towering lime stone karst outcrop.

I can’t remember the name of he resort, but I can say I was very pleased with the 450baht room that I booked into. They didn’t have any facilities other than rooms, so I was told I could walk into town for dinner. I actually thought I was in the town, but I was very wrong, later when I walked into town to grab dinner I had to walk a few kilometres.

I found a 7eleven and a food market, bought some beer and food, what more could you need! I decided to hang around for a bit longer and find out what was happening. It was Friday night and I figured there had to be something happening. I was right, there was a local place with Thai music, I grabbed a few too many beers and then decided it was time to walk back to my bungalow.

In my drunken state I managed to walk down the wrong road, I just kept going, my keen spidey sense told me it would eventually work out. After about 45min of walking I eventually got back to my room, I quickly crashed and burned!

Day 3 – Ban Hat Sari to Chaiya = 180km and 10hrs 30min

Woke up at 6am, but wasn’t happy about that, hugged the pillow for another 30min. Finally got the courage up to get out of bed and mount my steed… I road out of Hat Sari beach and decided to try a route other than the GPS, for once the GPS was right and I rode an extra phat section of distance… Then I realised that where I stayed caused me to ride an extra 30km of “unneeded roads”, it wasn’t an issue, I was on holiday and training!

Somewhere along highway 41 I decided I could take this anymore and needed get of the highway. It was fairly intimidating riding down such a busy highway with scooters regularly come up the wrong way at you. Once I got of the highway I realised something wasn’t right with my trailer… Then it hit me, the trailer had a flat, the nearest town was Tha Chana about 10km away and I had no puncture repair kit.

I pulled off the road into the front part of a small shop to repair my trailer wheel puncture. next thing there were a bunch of local people who offered assistance. One guy spoke broken Engrish, which was better than nothing, between my broken Thai and his few words of Engrish, we fixed the issue. I managed to pour sealant into the tube through the valve core. The puncture stopped leaking air and I was able to continue.

After my repair crisis, I had very little time to get to Chaiya where I had planned to stay that night, so I needed to up the pace and time trial to get to end point before dark. I eventually reached Chaiya, but it was particularly tourist friendly in that it had almost no accommodation. I rode around looking, but found nothing, eventually I went to the police station to ask for help and they pointed me in the direction of the hotel. I eventually found the hotel, it was much to look at, but for 250baht a night who can complain.

I checked in, went up to my room and took a shower. The room was clean, the bed comfortable and generally it was a pretty good deal. My trailer tire was still loosing air, so I did a bit of a MacGyver and added some more sealant to the tube. Then I went up to the petrol station to find an air compressor to pump the wheel. Unfortunately I had managed to block the valve core, so I need high pressure to blow it clean.

I got back to the hotel after fixing my wheel, i was feeling pretty chuffed with myself, but now it was getting late and I had still not had dinner. There was a young couple, the guy from Sweden and the woman from France, downstairs at the hotel, so I introduced myself and asked if they wanted to go out for dinner.

We found a local place, grabbed then some food and drinks. While waiting for our dinner we swapped traveller stories, this is the part of travelling I love, hearing other people’s stories. Eventually we left the restaurant, I was however still hungry, so I suggested 7eleven. They were not familiar with the plentiful bounties that 7eleven has to offer in Thailand. Bed time came quickly after food, I was knackered after a tough day of riding.

Day 1 – Hua Hin to near Thap Sakae = 170km and 9hrs

The next morning I woke up at 6am and prepped for my first day of riding. I got on the road around 7:30am, my first stop was to get some bananas for fuel. I wasn’t feeling comfortable yet, I had only been in Thailand for about 14hrs and I as already on the road on my bike. I had no breakfast, just a coffee and now I was riding in a direction that I was unsure of.

It took me few hours to feel comfortable, the GPS took me on a completely random route, but despite that that it felt right. I knew that I had a long day ahead, so I tried to find my rhythm and not ride to fast. I kept the speed down intentionally. My goal for the day was 200km, but I didn’t really know what would happen…

After about 7 hours I started feeling it and I wanted to find the place I had intended to stay… FAIL! Thap Sakae was actually just a rural village without any accommodation for foreigners. I was kinda freaking out as I didn’t know where the fuck I was. So I decided to trust my better judgement and hit road to find a place further down.

I got onto the highway and hit about 30km/hr for a while, that was my way of dealing with the stress. Eventually I decided I couldn’t anymore and should find a place to stay, soE I saw the word resort and went down a random road towards the sea to find a resort. I found a spot called Malai Asia, went inside and sorted a room then and there.

The resort seemed completely deserted, but later I saw some random German dude who said he went to this place yearly.. Strange how people latch onto places and return time and time again. I have gotto say that it was pretty awesome beach, sea looked amazing and the gardens were immaculate

I ordered some dinner and a Chang, I got 2 Changs and 2 dinners, you gotto love the language barrier. Anyways, went back to my room and had ordered a large bottle water. he qgu who dropped it off was gay as could be and into me big time. I kinda humoured him not trying to be rude and stuff, but he came on to me strong and shit. I managed to get ride of him and promptly went to sleep,

Bottle Beach and trip back home

Back in 2009, Barbara and I stayed for six days at Bottle Beach when we were on our honeymoon. It was a highlight on that holiday, so this holiday we decided to return to the private paradise.

We had initially planned on staying at Bottle Beach for 4 nights, but we ended up changing our plans to only 2 nights. We left Blue Ocean Garden resort around 3:30pm on 10 January 2013, caught a taxi to Chalokalum. From Chalokalum we needed to catch a long tail taxi boat to Bottle Beach, but you never quite know what boat is going or when it’s going…

We sat down on the beach and decided to wait for a boat. There was tooth old man who approached us and offered to help find a boat, we were not sure exactly what he was telling us, but we understood we needed to wait for 20-30min. While we waited I went off to the near by 7eleven for some staples – Chang Beer 2 pack, 2 Ham and Cheese Croisants and a Cheese Sausage Sandwich.

The old man ended up being the boat man and he was waiting for supplies, that’s why we had to wait. Funny how things go in Thailand, gotto love it. The boat ride was about 20-30 min across to Bottle Beach, we loved every minute! Snapping pictures the whole way.

When we arrived we realized that not much had changed on bottle beach, a few small enhancements to the resort we stayed at before, the cottages were slightly upgraded and the wall that was in progress was now finished. We were immediately happy to be there, no issues with checkin, our room was basic but lovely! Happy days!

Barbs and I went for dinner at the resort restaurant and ordered a spicy glass noodle salad dish that we had the last time we stayed there. The dish was exactly the same, spicy as hell and as tasty as it was spicy! After a couple of gin and tonics, we decided to hit the sack at about 7:30pm, yes that early. We slept or almost 12 hours! Bliss, only on holiday!

I woke up around 7ish and decided to go for a run by 7:30am for about an hour, then on my return I went for a swim in the bay from side to side. After my morning exercise I was more than ready for a phat breakfast, so Barbs and I hit the restaurant again for a morning meal, YUM YUM!!

After breakfast we decided to go for a kayak as we had not done any kayaking that holiday. The bay was dead calm, it looked like a perfect day. We started out on the kayak, got round the first corner and realized that we would probably not see any beaches along the way, only rocky coastline. There were some interesting little coves to explore with crabs everywhere.

We kept kayaking, I kept suggesting one more corner thinking that maybe we would see an amazing beach, but it never happened. What did happen is the weather started changing, the waves picked up and the current made us flow forward pretty fast… We were floating at one stage, watching the rocks flow past at a pace… Thats when we realized we had to fight our way back to Bottle Beach against the current with increasingly larger waves. It took us 30 min to get where were and 1hr and 30min to get back! We were knackered when we got back.

Shortly after we got back the weather cleared up, the waves dissipated and the bay was calm again. We were done with the sea for a while, so we floated in the pool for about an hour to relax and recover. While at the pool we decided to start drinking, the drinking continued for the rest of the day.

We met an interesting Welsh guy called Daniel at dinner while snacking, drinking and watching the sunset. He was a prison officer back in Wales, we sat chatting about our holidays for ages. Shopping stories and exciting experiences. That night there was going to be fire dancing, music and a little bit of a party. We hung around chatting to various people, snapping pictures of the fire dancing and drinking fairly excessively. What a great way to spend the evening.

Before we went to bed we decided to pack our bags as we knew we would not be feeling great in the morning. We woke up feeling fairly rough, but not too bad, had a serious breakfast and waited for our taxi to Thong Sala. The taxi ride was about 40min, not too bad, easier than catching a boat and then a taxi!

When we arrived in Thong Sala I had a tattoo scheduled. I got a red bar around my right arm, the idea was it symbolized my trips to Thailand and the good memories that went with those trips. Once the tattoo was finished I was very happy! Satisfaction! Yay!

We had some killer lunch at a Vegan Restaurant, really healthy and tasty. Then killed some time around Thong Sala while we waited for the boat to Koh Samui. The Seatran ferry arrived and took us back to Koh Samui, where we were taken to the airport. The airport experience was smooth, we had checked in online already, this meant a quick checkin experience.

We landed in Bangkok at the domestic arrivals, then missioned over to the International side of Bangkok airport. All was running to plan, no hiccups or stress, smooth sailing through security and immigration.

Once we went through to duty free zone, we browsed a little and then went for an hour long massage. Both of us fell asleep during the massage, what a blissful experience. Both of us felt super chilled and relaxed after our amazing 5 week holiday. We boarded our flight home a little before 1am and that was that, holiday over. Good times, one love, peace out!

The Experience After Party

We had such an amazing time this year at the Experience Festival, I think it was a mix of a number of reasons; we had attended two previous festivals; we knew a lot of the travellers; the weather was perfect; our best friends were with us every day; the music was amazing… I could keep going… I am sure you can tell I had fun…

On the 5th January, 2 days after the new years party, there was an after party. The previous 2 years we had missed the party, so this year it was a must. The party started at 8am, but that was a little too early for my our liking. We decided to arrive as close to 10:30am as possible for a live act called Sonic Species. We had missed his set at the Experience on Koh Tao, so this time it was a must to see. He rocked it, we boogied on the floor for a bit, then went to chill some.

Our friends from Kanchanaburi Maja and Ebe arrived around midday. Seeing the party venue was on the beach next to the sea, we chilled on mats and a hammock relaxing, listening to good music and chatting away about the past couple weeks good times.

Around lunch time we decided to go to our Pad Thai lady for some of her food. Good call, we always support her restaurant and are never disappointed by the meal. With some food in our bellies we we back to the party.

Our friends Marc and Juliet arrive mid afternoon, they joined us for the festivities and wonderful music. We always have such a good time with our friends, we share the same tastes in booze, music and good times! The after party was on the beach, so the four of us took a few dips in the sea, sat around chatting, hung around in various hammocks. What more could you want!

Through the day there were various artists who played at new years coming up, one of our favourite was Daniel from Chile, playing live under the name of Ital. He was on at 4pm. The day progressed into night time, we kept grooving and chatting till pretty late, what an awesome close to our new year good times! Peace out!

Arrival on Koh Phangan

On the morning of the 3rd of January our crew was moving to a new location, the 4 of us were all heading to Koh Phangan for about 8 or 9 days. We had to catch a Seatran boat from Koh Tao to Koh Phangan at about 9:30am. The boat trip was pretty chilled, thank goodness the sea wasn’t rough, because in the past I have caught the boat after a large night and the water was choppy, this resulted in pretty severe sea sickness.

We arrived on Koh Phangan at about 10:50am, we got off the boat with Marc and Juliet. Our first call of action was to find a taxi to our respective resorts. We were staying a few kilometers apart, but had to take separate taxis, this didn’t really make a whole lot of sense to us, but oh well that’s Thailand for you. Marc and Juliet went on their way, we planned to hook up with them again at the Experience After party. This meant the next part of our little adventure had started. We were pretty excited, we love magic island called Koh Phangan.

The taxi dropped us off at our resort called the Blue Ocean Gardens. We found the resort online and had booked a room that had a shared wall with two other rooms, this would probably mean we could hear whatever was going on next door. After Bali’s experience of listening to the old French couple shagging away we decided to upgrade to a standalone bungalow. Luckily there was a delux garden bungalow available with aircon, huge bed, fridge and awesome bathroom. It was more expensive but we didn’t care, we wanted to relax in partial luxury!

The restaurant and resort was owned and run by an Italian guy called Andy, when we checked in he took us through the motions, explained everything in such detail and even read out the instructions page! What a lovely guy, lovely resort and restaurant. We knew the next few days would be awesome in a bottle!

We were pretty hungry because it was already almost 2pm, so we had lunch at the restaurant on the resort called La Dolce Vita, we had our staple Phad Thai meal… It was huge and the best Phad Thai of the holiday.

Marc and Jules arrive on Koh Tao

We woke up on the 29th December very excited because our best buddies were arriving on the island in the afternoon. Marc and Juliet had been on honeymoon holiday in Cambodia and Koh Maak (Thailand) before seeing us.

We got breakfast at Blue Diamond every day, so far it had not been particularly good, but we decided to try a different breakfast every day. After breakfast we went for a walk, but seeing the hammock was installed at our bungalow we decided to chill at the Bunglow for the day until our friends arrived.

We met a guy called Phil 2 years previously at the Experience Festival on Koh Tao, he was back again and I decided to meet up with him for lunch before Marc and Jules arrived. We met down in Chalok Baan and I ran there to get some exercise… Kill two birds with one stone 😉 it was good to see Phil again, nice guy, caught up on what was happening…

Barbs was relaxing at the Bungalow when I arrived, shortly thereafter it was time to head down to the pier to meet them. When we arrived at the pier we bumped into Rayo and Natalie who we had met at the Kanchanaburi Xmas party, they were leaving the island and heading back to Germany / Australia respectively. It was nice to say good bye to new friends.

Our old friends finally arrived, it was so good to see them, we got so excited!!!! We helped them carry their bags back to the Blue Diamond resort, they were staying in a Bungalow across from us for the next 5 days while the Experience Festival was happening,

We started drinking beer and moved onto whiskey… My plan was to get drunk, I had not been more than tipsy all holiday! We definitely succeeded in drinking sufficient volumes of booze…. We decided to walk to Sairee Beach for some dinner and cocktails.

Sairee Beach is pretty commercial, there are loads of bars and it really does cater for the tourists excessively. After dinner we walked along the beach to find a cocktail place, they sat down and I decided I wanted to get a massage, so I left them behind and went off for a massage.

I got back to the Bungalow and they had just returned, everybody was tired, so we said our good nights. The next day would be our first day of 4 days party!!! Wooohoooo….

The start of Koh Tao

Our plane landed in Koh Samui around 8:30am, it had been a quick and painless flight from Bangkok. We literally went up for 20-25 min, then stabilized at optimal altitude for 10-15min and then started descending again.

The Koh Samui airport is one of the prettiest airports I have been to. As you get off the plane you board a cute little bus that drives you a few hundred meters to the where you fetch your bags. We stood around waiting for our bags, Barbara’s bag came through, but my bag didn’t.

I was dreading another lost bag drama, but again Thailand to the rescue. We went to the lost baggage department for Bangkok Air, they already had our name ready and note saying that my bag was on the next flight to Koh Samui. Luckily Bangkok Air has a flight almost every hour to Koh Samui from Bangkok during high season, so my bag arrived a little bit later and all was fine.

We bought a bundled ticket that took us via taxi to the Mae something pier, then we jumped onto the Lompraya boat that went to Koh Phangan and afterwards our destination which was Koh Tao. We arrived at the Mae Haad pier on Koh Tao, hopped off the boat and walked to the nearest restaurant to chill and eat something.

While Barbs was eating and relaxing I took a quick jog to figure out where the Blue Diamond resort was. It turned out to be quite close to where Barbara was sitting, thank goodness because our bags weighed a ton. We walked about 10min very slowly to the resort, checked into out “deluxe” bungalow, which had an aircon and fridge.

My first task was to buy tickets for The Experience Festival for Barbs, Marc, Juliet and I. So I decided it would be a good idea to take a run down to where I could buy tickets, sheesh it was hot… I managed to find the spot where I could buy the tickets, bought them and then headed back to the bungalow. We pretty much chilled for the rest of the day.

Our second day on Koh Tao was a little more adventurous. We hired a scooter and went for a drive around the TINY island. First we explored the Mae Haad pier area, looked at the shops and figured out what if much had changed… Nothing had changed from our previous two trips to Koh Tao.

We thought we would try to explore somewhere we had not been to before, a place called Mango Bay that you can only really get to via taxi boat due to it being quite remote. The roads were not well marked and in some cases could not really be called roads… This made for interesting scooter adventures.

We finally found what we thought was Mango Bay, but then we found a sign saying Hing Wong Bay. The road down to the bay was unbelievably steep, so we decided it was wiser to walk down the steep cement hill… We are not taking ANY chances this holiday, one fall and you could ruin the holiday. When we got down to Hing Wong Bay it was disgusting, there was litter everywhere, all the bungalows were run down, it literally looked like a war zone, we quickly evacuated!

We had to walk up the steep hill (it was boiling hot) out of the war zone, got to the scooter and thankfully bumped into some British people who directed us to the real Mango Bay. We hopped onto the little scooter and went on our merry way… Merry until we got to some steep hills, the scooter refused to ride up the hills with two of us, it barely made it with one of us. Barbara had to get off on every major climb, needless to say she wasn’t happy with me 😉

We eventually got to a fork in the road, one way was a view point the other way was Mango Bay. We tried the view point first and snapped some stunning photos. Then we headed down the steep cement and dirt roads to Mango Bay. Eventually I decided to park the bike as it was to risky, then walked the last stretch up and down the hills in boiling heat. It was all worth it when we got out first glimpse of the bay! The only problem was we had to walk down countless stairs… Hahaha… The heat makes you lazy…

We arrived at bottom and decided to have some lunch before attempting anything else. We had a lovely meal and some fruit shakes. Then took a nap while overlooking the beautiful bay in front of us. Once I woke from my cat nap, I decided to take a swim across the bay, the sea was a little rough which meant I had to work hard. I was out swimming for about 30min, then finally got back to the restaurant.

Barbs and I started our long trek out of Mango Bay, first up the stairs, then up and down the rolling hills and finally back on the bike. We decided to head over to Sairee Beach and have another swim. Once we were done with our day’s adventure we headed back to our little Bungalow to chill.

I took a run that afternoon, once it had cooled down, from Mae Haad up to Dusit Buncha where we stayed the previous year, quite a long run, so after that I was finished. Dinner and early bed for both of us.