We spent three nights in Hat Bang Ben, and did surprisingly little. At this stage in our trip, we’re starting to feel the need for down-time more frequently. We did explore the area and spend some time talking to our hosts and other travelers. It’s not the same backpacker vibe we felt in Krabi, but it is nice to have a conversation with someone in English – something both of us, but especially Becky, have been missing.
Bo and Wasana have been running the Wasana Resort for more than 15-years, and are well known on the Dutch cycling circuit. We were a bit late to catch any of the Dutch cyclists doing a Phuket-Bangkok or Bangkok-Phuket ride this year though. They have a photo album with remembrances associated with the Tsunami of December 26, 2004 – this coast was hit particularly hard.
In the area close to the beach, almost all the construction is new post-Tsunami. There are lots of trees in the area, and we were told they saved a lot of lives as well as reducing the amount of damage to property. As a result, the government continues planting more trees, to reduce the damage in the event of a future tsunami.
We spend one morning exploring the area by bike. Laem Son National Park has its headquarters here. We paid the 100 Baht entrance fee and briefly checked out the park. There were a few short nature trails, but not much else. There is camping at the park and a long beach; however, there were signs warning that it was unsafe for swimming. We did not find the park headquarters itself to be worth the 10 km detour – many people come out here to take a boat to the nearby islands, which we didn’t do. We did enjoy exploring all the minor roads near the beach – many end in homes or fields, and our strange bikes continued to provide amusement for the locals. We always enjoy the smiling faces and hellos that we receive as we ride by.
Fun fact: we learned that some geckos actually make a sound that sounds like “geck-oh”. We thought we were hearing a bird, but learned at supper one night that it was the large (about 6 inches without the tail) geckos making the sound. The smaller ones make a clicking sound almost like a cricket.