Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 6 - South Thailand Tour 2016 - Trang - Wang Wiset

After rolling through a market place we decided to patronise this place for our breakfast, it was located at this location GPS: 7.55777, 99.60744. Basically we had porridge and dim sum again.
Our usual stop at 7-11 store to replenish our water supply and some snacks.
The journey continued with some climbs, the weather in the morning was bearable but as expected it would get hotter in the afternoon.
Passing by small towns and villages has been our common sights everyday.
Wang Wiset was our final destination of the day, we were on Route 4 of the Thailand road network and we had a plan to stop by a cave which is one of the known unseen places in Thailand.
After pedalling for more than 37km we reached the cave known as Le Khaokob Cave
This is one of the must visit places in South Thailand for eco tourism sited at GPS : 7.79346, 99.57222. One of our friends Kit volunteered to guard the bicycles as he has been and tried this cave before.
One has to take a boat to go through the cave and it costs 300baht per person. A captain rowing in front of the boat while an assistant at the rear to guide us through the flow.
We were asked to lay down flat on the boat, the head room is minimal. As the boat moved in, we could see the moving ceiling like the scenes of Star War battleship moving surfaces. 
As the boat moved in the cave the lighting suddenly got dim, we were able to take some shots at the beginning but not during the last part when we were moving out of the cave. The encounter was so close that the ceiling hit my tummy once, my toes had to be positioned horizontally and literally tucked in my tummy as small as possible while our eyes witnessing the moving darkness and closeness of the surfaces upon us.
A clip of the early part of the boat ride.
 
After 10 minutes on the boat we were directed to disembark and take a walking tour in the cave.
The cave is well maintained, clean, bright with proper access and path. The return ride was the most scariest, the encounter of the ceiling getting so close to the face was the most memorable. 
A cold local ice cream was the best at a time when the weather is crazily hot.
Butts shifting is common in a long and continuous journey like this. I normally would place my butts on different spots of the saddle in fact I had bruises at the beginning and after a period it got used to it.
It was time for a lunch and plenty iced cold drinks, we were the only customers at the shop and the lady boss was friendly and served us a special papaya salad Som Thum with salted egg & century egg. A location after 49km from Trang.

There were two friends found lagging behind and so I waited for them at this bus shed. They were actually resting down the road, obviously it must the hot weather.
We were desperate after failing several times to look for a place to stay in this small town, thank goodness at the end we found a nice motel. Immediately we checked in and enjoyed the air conditioning. I like Tonyo Greenview Resort.
The owner, Mr. Kitiipong Klinchan is a helpful and kind person, his son in law offered and took Joe out to pack some food back. We had a good dinner at the resort and got to know the owner more.
All dirty clothing washed and hung. Tomorrow we shall move on again.
The route and elevation we took for the day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Day 5 South Thailand Tour 2016 Phatthalung - Trang

Good morning Phatthalung, checking out from Grand PL Hotel and we were ready to hit the road again.
All 7 were fresh and cheerful, two of us would be returning home Hui Min & Wai Kiat will be heading to Hatyai by train while the remaining 5 will be continuing the journey to Trang.
Hui Min feeling cheerful as we went round the town to look for a good breakfast.
Roger bought a can of lubricant and at the same time our breakfast was just opposite the road GPS : 7.55771, 99.60626.
Kuay Teow soup with shredded chicken meat and roast pork was heaven, I love the way the Thai prepare their plain soup noodle and I never failed to savour them whenever I have the opportunity.
The shop that served our wonderful breakfast belong to a Hakka family. The father & son took the liberty to take picture with us and our bicycles.
Our first pit stop at a nice cafe, Phudinsow Cafe after 16km of riding at the main road of Phetkasem (GPS :7.574704, 99.944088) and I had a nice black coffee served together with Thai tea. The weather remained pleasant for cycling but we expected it wouldn't last too long as it draw towards noon.
Generally Thai roads are mostly found to be bicycle friendly and with many limestone hills along this route. It was gradually ascending after the Phudinsow pit stop, the worst has yet to come.
About 27 kilometres we reached Sumano Cave Temple, a place many come for meditation with many Buddha statues in the cave. We took a rest here.
The end of the toughest climb of the day at the border between Phatthalung and Trang, my body was totally weak and were sweating profusely, the heat was extremely hot with minimal shade at the road side. We rested for a long time here before we resumed the journey. This was about 37km from our starting point. There is a shrine at an elevated ground opposite side of the road and vehicles were honking upon passing by the shrine. Later we found out that it was a sign of seeking blessing from the shrine.
Here we just passed by a series of elephants that look real at Trang Andaman Gateway, unfortunately we did not stop by. There are a number of shops that should be interesting to visit, maybe the next time.
Though we have cycled pass the highest point but there were still some mini ups and downs. The heat was at the extreme condition ..... we needed more water & rest.
A concrete bench that was so comfortable, it might be a counter for selling some food stuff. It was clear and became our resting bench. Nothing like laying down after a good intake of water and hidden away from the scorching sun.
I was glad to see the "Welcome" sign as we approached Trang town.
Finally we have reached Trang and were tracking to reach a hotel and to my surprise I saw a Malaysian Proton car showroom but it was empty.
The first hotel we tried was fully booked hence we have to go for option 2. By then we were hungry and went hunting for food, the place to stay can come later.
Rad Na similar to War Tan Hor (Cantonese fried noodle) has been one of my favourite choices whenever I am in a Thai food outlet. This time all of us were so hungry and all ordered the same dish. It was not the best I have eaten but it tasted so good especially when we are very hungry.
This roundabout in Trang is distinctive with white dolphins and horses, just wondering what is the story behind this nice feature.
Our accommodation in Trang was S2S Queen Hotel located at Wisetkul Road, GPS : 7.55854, 99.60856.
And dinner was at Laytrang 2 Restaurant, Sai Ngam Road which is popular for their dim sum, GPS : 7.55777, 099. 60744
This was our most toughest day the entire tour covering a distance of 60km with severe climbs specifically at the border between the states of Phatthalung & Trang.
A clip of the toughest day

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Day 4 South Thailand Tour 2016 Thale Noi - Phatthalung

Two years ago I came to this beautiful waterbird sanctuary it is located at the east coast of South Thailand easily accessible from Hatyai or Trang. Our bicycles were parked at the entrance of the sanctuary next to the rangers' office. The posting of my first visit to this waterbird sanctuary can be seen here.
It is essential to visit this place early in the morning especially if you want to see the rising sun at the lake. We booked for a 6.00am boat and our adventure begins the minute we step onto the boat.
As the sun slowly rose we captured shots of the sun and its surroundings hoping to get some good pictures.
Herds of swimming buffalos seen at the lake lazying around among themselves.
Flora and fauna of Thale Noi.
Row of stilts near the jetty.
That's it, we were done with the boat ride after nearly two hours and for those who have not experience it before I would recommend you to do it, make an effort to visit Thale Noi I bet you will love it.
The Chinese fishing nets are commonly seen in this region.
These Chinese fishing nets out at the water are truly an amazing sight, it looks like a painting over the horizon. This was seen on our way to Phatthalung after several kilometres of cycling from Thale Noi.
Another pit stop for a drink and to cool down our bodies, this road sign is right in front of the shop.
Another stop at Lam Pam, a beach at the largest fresh water lake in Thailand known as Songkhla Lake.
After about 30km of cycling we finally arrived at Phatthalung and checked into Grand PL Hotel, Prachabumrung Alley (GPS: 7.61704, 100.08193), a decent hotel with reasonable pricing.
We saw this restaurant that looks like a moogata barbeque outlet but actually it is not. The portion was small and we were hungry and decided not to order anymore but to venture to other eateries in the town.
We found ourselves at this huge hawker paradise at the street near the train station. We tried several of the local street food before we called it a night.