89 km, 5h 10 min, 42 deg C
We started the day expecting a long, hot, and relatively flat day. Well, two out of three ain’t bad! The flatness of this area was just a little overstated. We never really left rolling hills, and a few of the hills were a little bigger than rollers – although nothing comparable to the Malaysia crossing, there were a couple of 1-2 km climbs – which aren’t so bad when you are expecting them, but can be little overwhelming when you are expecting flat. We also didn’t get the benefit of water being dumped on us – several pickup trucks filled with Songkram celebrants (and water) passed us, but no-one doused us. Given the heat, it would have been very welcome!
As we were starting our morning yoga routine, we heard an unexpected knock on our door. A lady from the hotel was delivering us breakfast. We had not expected breakfast – especially when we only paid 500 Baht for a shiny new air conditioned room. We definitely made the right decision staying at the “Khuriburi-on-see Resort”.
Just as we hopped on the bikes, a row of monks (one older and several very young novices) walked by collecting alms for the day. This is a regular morning routine, that we hope to see more frequently as we leave the more Muslim part of Thailand and enter the more Buddhist part. Scott grabbed an orange from our bag and walked across the street to give it to the monks. It was clear to the monk that Scott had no idea what he was doing, but the orange was gracefully accepted and the monks continued along their way. Unfortunately, Becky didn’t find her camera in time to snap a picture!
About 10 km outside of Kapoe, with the temperature soaring at 42 degrees, we approached a long steep hill. Scott stopped twice and Becky stopped three times during the climb. It wasn’t more than 2 km long, but it was hot and we were tired and not expecting to climb. At one point Becky was starting to feel cramps, fortunately that was just as we reached the top and the corresponding downhill certainly helped to cool us off a bit. We were very happy to see a river side café when we approached Kapoe, and quickly pulled over for a cold drink and some lunch.
After lunch we planned to find Internet and siesta for an hour or two before heading down to Hat Bang Ben (Bang Ben Beach). We soon found ourselves leaving town, so turned around to ask the folks at the police checkpoint about Internet. They quickly asked the people in the building behind them, which turned out to be a children’s library, and we were able to connect our laptop and use one of their computers for free. We sat and caught up on the Internet for an hour while the kids played computer games next to us.
The ride from the outskirts of Kapoe to Hat Bang Ben was pretty flat. We were on Highway 4 for 6 km, and then took the 10 km side road down to the beach area. There are two resorts down here: Andaman Peace Resort and Wasana Resort.
After 10 kms, an additional 2 kilometers along a side road brought us to the Andaman Peace Resort. They have fan bungalows starting at 600 Baht and they are right on the beach. We were seeking AC, so we headed back to the turnoff and the Wasana Resort.
A Dutch/Thai couple (Bo and Wasana) run the Wasana resort and if you call, they will send a pickup truck to pick you up at highway 4, and save you the 10 km ride – although it was actually a very flat and pleasant ride. They have fan bungalows for 450 Baht and air conditioned bungalows for 600 Baht. They are about 300 m from the Lam Soen National Park and there is a free beach about 1-2 km down the road. They were full during Songkram (Friday 10 April – Tuesday April 14), so we were lucky we arrived on Wednesday and not Tuesday! As an added bonus, Wasana and Bo are both excellent cooks, so the food at the Resort is awesome.