Today was an almost perfect cycling day – apart from the 30km on the main highway – so I guess it was more accurately a day of thirds with the first and third being great and ending in a perfect spot.
The 5.15 wake up alarm was a little easier as we adjust our time clocks and away in the morning at first light and soon another lovely dawn as the sun above the horizon, briefly red, before soon rising higher to shine the rest of the day in cloudless sky.
We relished the cool, as after a brief stint on Highway 4 (the main road from Bangkok to the Malaysian border), we wound our way to a beautiful coastline. ‘Second breakfast ‘ stop was after 30km n the pretty town of Prachuap Kiri Khan, set in a lovely bay.
After Prachuap we were soon in the second third of the day. Here is a very thin strip of Thailand, very close to the border with Myanmar, which at times was only about 12km away. There was literally only one north –south road, the infamous Highway 4, and so there was no other choice for the next 28km. At least the shoulder was wide and very well shaded at that time of the morning (still only about 10.30) with little wind. Small blessings as the traffic roared by. We powered on up and down small undulations (a change from pancake flat) and breathed a sigh of relief when we could eventually turn off.
The final third of cycling and almost instantly the road was quiet and beautiful, winding through rural fields.
We passed a little restaurant crammed with Thai families (it is Sunday). The food looked great but we were still full of breakfast so settled for a drink in the shade. The road soon hit the coast again and a little further on we sat under the trees overlooking the sea for a snack of hard boiled eggs, peanuts and bananas (it’s nicer than it sounds, honest). As we sat, a man and his wife came over to chat. He was from Singapore and she was Thai. They lived in Bangkok but she had come to see her family home and he was checking out the coconut farms for his coconut export business. This seemed one of many businesses, as he gave us an array of business cards and showed us photos of the coconut farms!
The road continued through beautiful countryside dotted with coconut palm groves and lush vegetation. By 1 o’clock we had done almost 100km and the day was really heating up again. By good fortune we also reached the most beautiful bay we had seen so far and a lovely low-key, little town. It was a no brainer to stop for the day, and we had after all already put in 5 plus hours on the bikes! We found a great little ‘resort’ hotel with lots of individual cabins set in pretty gardens. They had one left, which turned out to be very comfortable with balconies front and back and very reasonably priced. There was even a washing machine we could use (one of my least favourite jobs being the daily handwashing). Bliss!!
We ventured out about 4, when we find the temperature beginning to ease, and bobbed about for ages in the sea as warm as a bath.
It being International women’s day, David cooked a lovely ‘one pot’ meal whilst I read and listened to Radio 3 via BBC Sounds – and a small blue-tooth speaker we have brought with us (one of the many things in our panniers to make life a little easier). We strolled out after dinner for a beer by the sea. For the first time since we arrived, no wind. Overall a great day.
The only blight being what we read about Covid-19. Italy reported 1200 cases in a day and is about to quarantine 16 million people in the north of the country. The UK is up to 169 cases and planning drastic action if the cases surge (as seems likely). Thailand is currently reporting 50 cases and ironically 2 of those from yesterday were people who had just returned from Italy. I don’t know how much testing there is and so numbers are likely to be more but at the moment, we feel in one of the safer parts of the world in our coastal idyll with little close contact with anyone apart from each other and the occasional shop keeper or restaurant. Who knows what the situation will be in a few weeks.