Thailand : Saphli, Chumphon, Khlong Cha-un and Khok Kloi
- 13 April 2013
It was our fourth straight cycling day leaving Ban Krut and we were due for a rest, so we decided to go a little further than normal to get to Saphli just over 100km away, it looked like a nice little coastal town on the map. We spent the two days relaxing and scooting around the place, it had a backpacker feel with lots of beach bars and restaurants, not as pristine as Ban Krut but it had it’s charm.
Next stop was Chumphon just 20km up the road, we’d planned to get there in the early afternoon and catch the train to Surat Thani 200km south because we were running out of time to get to Phuket by the 12th, but when we got to Chumphon we found out the afternoon train didn’t take bikes and we’d have to catch the 6:30am train the next morning. Tina was excited because we’d checked out Chumphon a couple of nights earlier on the scooter and found a good roti stand that she was more than happy to visit again.
Chumphon is a small city that feels like there’s a festival always going on because the main street is lined with heaps of stalls selling food and knick knacks. It was nice walking around in the early evening (once it cooled down) sampling the different things that were on offer.
The train to Surat Thani arrived on time which was surprising based on our experience so far, and we were on the bikes by 10am which gave us plenty of daylight to knock out a good chunk of the 230km left to Phuket. It was different than starting at our usual 6am, having the heat on us the whole time definitely made it tougher, even still we did 80km ending up exactly in the middle of nowhere. Khlong Cha-un isn’t really a town but more just a few shops and a motel on the main road, the motel wasn’t even on the map, we found it by asking some locals who informed us it was the only accommodation in the area. We thought it was strange when we checked in that we didn’t have to show our passports and we didn’t even get a key to the room, but when we saw that the blanket on the bed was just a big bath towel and the condoms on the shelf, we realised it was more of a ‘pay by the hour’ motel lol. The room was pretty disgusting but we had no other options, we slept in our cycling clothes so we could get out of there as soon as possible, the upside though is that it cost only 14 bucks J
The ride to Khok Kloi was another big one at 103km but it wasn’t as hard as we’d expected, our fitness must be improving. The first resort we looked at was way out of our price range, with the cheapest room going for just over AU$500 for one night! To make matters worse it started pouring down with rain just as we were about to leave to look for other options, we waited about 30 mins hoping it would pass but it didn’t, so we bit the bullet and rode out into the storm. We found another resort up the road where the price wasn’t too ridiculous at AU$113/night, still much more than we’d planned to spend but we didn’t feel like riding anymore along the road that looked more like a river.
Next stop Phuket baby! Sonkran (Thai New Year) here we come!!