From sea to sea

April 18th, 2009 by scott and becky

123 km, 7h 50 min, max temp 45

First off, YAY we did it! What a monstrous day. We crossed from the West coast of Thailand to the East coast today, on a road that was anything but flat. Fortunately, the first big hill was the only really killer one – 3 km of very steep uphill – mostly at 10% or greater. On the way up we paused whenever we could find shade. There were many steep inclines after that, and many long shallow descents.

We have read and heard many times of kind-hearted Thai people in pickup trucks stopping to offer cyclists a ride as they struggled up big hills. Well, we can definitely say it doesn’t happen all the time! We were passed by many pick-ups throughout the day, as we struggled up the hills, but did any of them stop to offer us a ride? No! (Not that we would have accepted a ride anyway, or so we say now…) All we can think is we either look just too weird on our recumbents, or we appear so capable and strong that we obviously don’t need a ride. Scott is sure it is the latter {grin}.

After making our way through the hills, rather than stopping at Lang Suan, we decided to head for the beach (Pak Nam Lang Suan) and find a place at one of the many beach resorts. Unfortunately, this turned out to be more difficult than we thought – we didn’t think about the fact that it is the last Saturday of the Songkram holiday week. There was a festival on and the first three places we checked were sold out. Adding to our difficulties, many of the places here did not have any English on their signs. On the west coast we relied on the English “hotel” or “guesthouse”. Some did have “24” for 24-hour reception, but certainly not all. We’ll have to start practicing our Thai a little more and learn the words in Thai.

Fortunately, the GPS came to the rescue again. Many resorts are listed on the GPS map, so as the sun was setting, we were visiting them one-by-one trying to find one that wasn’t full. Finally, just as twilight was ending, we found a small hotel across the street from the beach – up a big hill (OK, not really that big, but after 122 km it felt huge). We have a nice big air conditioned room – with a balcony and huge bathroom, for 500 Baht and the folks at the hotel offered to drive us someplace to get food (or at least we think that is what they said). Given that the only vehicle in sight was a motor scooter, we opted for walking to a nearby restaurant.

Twice now in Thailand, Becky has been disturbed by people playing with toy handguns. In both instances, the toy guns looked real and were cap guns or guns that made a popping sound when fired. The first incident occurred when a 6-year old boy put the gun to the head of a teenage girl and shot it. The second incident was with a girl (possibly the mother) of an infant was playing with the child and shot the toy gun at the child. Growing up, Becky was taught that guns are not toys, and you never point a gun at anything you don’t intent to kill (even a toy gun). So, it is very disturbing for her to see people playing with toy guns like they were toys! (For some reason water guns are an exception to the rule – although they usually came in brightly coloured models that looked nothing like real guns.)

Road notes: For anyone thinking of cycling this route, no need to worry about food or water. There were plenty of food stalls and small stores to get supplies. There is also at least one resort at the mid-way point in Phato. Also, we saw signs for a few resorts on highway 4, north of the Hat Bang Ben turnoff. We didn’t check if they were open though, and we’d recommend the 10km detour down to the beach and Wasana resort.

Elevation Profile
Download GPS Track in GPX format

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