Day 3 – Prachuap Khiri Khan to Ban Krut

4th December 2012:

It was almost a shame to leave the beautiful view and sunrise of Prachuap Khiri Khan behind, although it should be said that none of us would really miss the hotel. The Hadthong, it has to be said, has ‘had’ it’s day, and it was a long time ago. But what a beautiful sunrise to wake up to, so how can I possibly moan!

Another beautiful sunrise over the Gulf of Thailand - wish I could wake up to this every day.

Another beautiful sunrise over the Gulf of Thailand – wish I could wake up to this every day.

Today’s ride was a fairly short one, of around 46 miles, but was the most interesting so far. We started with a stunning ride around the most beautiful headland, and along a deserted and stunning beach. It made you want to just stop there for the day, and lie on the beach doing nothing whatsoever. Maybe that will be for another time!

Shortly after the headland we crossed through an Air Force base, and literally rode across the runway before coming to a rocky outcrop which contained a large number of dusky langur monkeys. I’d never heard of these things before, but Suwat obviously had, and he stopped the van and produced a large bag of monkey nuts. This had the desired effect of bringing about 50 of them out of the trees (they’ve obviously done this thing before, they weren’t shy), and literally fed out of our hands.

Here are some piccies of them:

The langurs (also called leaf monkeys) appear from the trees, a little nonchalant at first....

The langurs (also called leaf monkeys) appear from the trees, a little nonchalant at first….

.....but soon were literally eating out of the palms of our hands.

…..but soon were literally eating out of the palms of our hands.

Cute little things, aren't they?

Cute little things, aren’t they?

The babies are a quite amazing orange colour.

The babies are a quite amazing orange colour.

Following on from this nice distraction, we headed down the edge of a busy main road (the only real one we have come across so far) for a not very interesting 25km or so before finally heading off the highway towards our rest stop for the rest of the day and the evening, Ban Krut. Ban Krut sits amidst a 12km bay and is in the most idyllic location. Getting some speed up finally on our way down towards the coast was great, as the pace has been pretty pedestrian so far, averaging a moving pace of around 15mph.

Cycling through a fairly typical Thai town...

Cycling through a fairly typical Thai town…

.....and onto a more typical quiet road heading now back down towards the coast. The roads were almost always as smooth as this one is.

…..and onto a more typical quiet road heading now back down towards the coast. The roads were almost always as smooth as this one is.

At the coast itself we stopped at a temple, which was located up a short but steep hill on an outcrop of rock by the beach. The hill was only 150m long or so, but the gradient touched 16% (averaging 8%), which in this heat is a tough ask for certain. The temple is amazing, and sits above a large golden Buddha.

The huge Buddha sat below the Wat Tang Sai Temple

The huge Buddha sat below the Wat Tang Sai Temple

Just walking up these steps was a tough ask in this heat - what the heck were we doing cycling!

Just walking up these steps was a tough ask in this heat – what the heck were we doing cycling!

And at the front of the temple itself.

And at the front of the temple itself.

Wat Tang Sai temple was built only around 10 years ago to commemorate the King’s 50th year on the throne. Both on the inside and out the decorations are beautiful, and the stunning views up and down the coast which greet you once you have walked up another hill and then a lot of steps are absolutely stunning:

The view north from the temple......

The view north from the temple……

....and the southbound view. Our resort was slap bang in the middle of this long bay :)

….and the southbound view. Our resort was slap bang in the middle of this long bay 🙂

As we gazed at the beautiful view of these beaches below us, Esso told us that this is where we would be spending the next day and a half. “How awful!” I exclaimed to him, and I am not totally sure as yet that he actually got the irony in my voice.

If you look at www.kawapanga.com/wat-tang-Sai/ you can find out much more about the palace…..

Leaving the temple and back on the bikes it was a short hop to a tiny rural shack for lunch of Pad Thai. I realised then that the ‘Thai’ food in England doesn’t bear much similarity at all to the real Thai food. It is just amazing.

Our resort, the Keeree Warree Resort and Spa, was only a further 2km. Set by the beach, and with individual beach villas for rooms, the place is in an incredible spot, and just what the doctor ordered after three days in the saddle. I was in the sea within about 15 minutes of arriving. It seems somewhat churlish to say that the sea was not refreshing at all, but it wasn’t as it was just too warm!! The ‘problem’ was soon solved by walking around 15 metres back to the hotel’s salt water swimming pool, which was much cooler. Perfect!

The Keeree Waree Resort and Spa, Ban Krut, from the beach....

The Keeree Waree Resort and Spa, Ban Krut, from the beach….

.....and looking up the coast from the same spot - the temple we just came from is in the distance on the hill.

…..and looking up the coast from the same spot – the temple we just came from is in the distance on the hill.

My bedroom for the next day and half was an individual bungalow - bliss :)

My bedroom for the next day and half was an individual bungalow – bliss 🙂

And so that was that – we were here for a day and a half as the next day was a rest day. Spiceroads were spoiling us! The rest day was strategically planned however, as for the three following days we’d be doing 130km or more each day, with hills to boot. I reasoned that there couldn’t be much of a better place anywhere to just chill out, and so that is precisely what I resolved to do. I love Thailand!

The days stats were as follows:

http://app.strava.com/activities/30868649

Day 2 – Hua Hin to Prachuap Khiri Khan

Monday 3rd December

Day two began way way too early for me, as I woke up at 4am, almost unthinkable for me. I just couldn’t get back to sleep, and so was out for a walk by about 5.30 longing for breakfast to come around. Thankfully by 6.30 it did, and thankfully too the idyllic locaction of the Putahracsa Hotel in Hua Hin was rather a splendid place to be anyway, so ‘musn’t grumble’ as they say.

Following breakfast, all packed up and ready to go for day two, we were met by Esso and Suwat at reception in the hotel at 8, and thankfully they had a replacement bike for me. The one I had yesterday, with a 50cm frame, just wasn’t going to cut it, and this was much better, at 54cm. I thanked them gratefully for sorting this out for me without fuss, and so credit goes to the Spiceroads team for doing this, and everything all week in fact, so seamlessly and easily.

We set off through the busy streets of Hua Hin, and after a stop to try to purchase some new pedals for Dirk at what proved to be the the most ignorant shop owner’s premises I have ever come across (we hence did not buy any pedals), we were on our way. The weather was again cloudless and very hot.

Here are some photos from the day’s ride:

Taking a break by the Gulf of Thailand

Taking a break by the Gulf of Thailand

Cycling down towards the sea, the Gulf was always as

Cycling down towards the sea, the Gulf was always as calm as this.

Thai fishing boats from a bridge over the river.

Thai fishing boats from a bridge over the river.

I didn't stop to either feed it or find out what sort of monkey it might be......

I didn’t stop to either feed it or find out what sort of monkey it might be……

Lunchtime came along and all of a sudden we found ourselves literally right on the beach for a fantastic lunch at such a glorious location. I just didn’t want to leave, ever:

Our table for lunch, not a bad spot I'd say

Our table for lunch, not a bad spot I’d say

And the food was fantastic too - this was flaked deep fried fish - delicious.

And the food was fantastic too – this was flaked deep fried fish – delicious.

In the afternoon on our way down towards Prachuap Khiri Khan the ride was great, and varied, if still pretty flat. We did get caught up in a strange bunch of cows at one time too:

Just as the scenery starts getting a bit more varied......

Just as the scenery starts getting a bit more varied……

......some very very odd cows came and stared us out!

……some very very odd cows came and stared us out!

Eventually we came close to our destination, and then were halted once more by animals! This time it was monkeys, not sure which type, but the main road was literally covered with them, and we had to wait until they headed back to their roost:

Entering Prachuap Khiri Khan - this time monkeys stop play!!

Entering Prachuap Khiri Khan – this time monkeys stop play!!

Upon getting into town finally we came upon the somewhat dilapidated hotel called the Hadthong. It was probably great in 1956 or so, but am not sure much had been done to it since that time. Still the views from my balcony were absolutely to die for:

The Hadthong Hotel, balcony view over the Gulf of Thailand.

The Hadthong Hotel, balcony view over the Gulf of Thailand.

Not entirely sure what to make of some of the contents of the mini bar though - clearly the last two items weren't meant for Westerners, whatever they were!

Not entirely sure what to make of some of the contents of the mini bar though – clearly the last two items weren’t meant for Westerners, whatever they were!

So there we were, our first full day’s cycling had been so eventful. We were out for seven and a half hours, although we only cycled for about four and a half, and covered 71 miles. We’d got to see so many things, and so much beauty – the Gulf of Thailand is just incredible.

Here are the day’s stats from my Garmin:

http://app.strava.com/activities/30724809

In the evening after another delicious meal at a beachside cafe we got to do another walk around the local market. This time we were the only westerners around, and so it was even more interesting to see the sights and sounds of the real Thailand. Tomorrow would be a straight shot down the coast again to a place called Ban Krut, where we would spend a day and a half as the fourth day is officially designated a rest day. Hope it’s a great place to chill out………