On November 4th Fred the bike is embarking on a six month journey across Southeast Asia. Starting in Singapore, Fred plans to make his way up the west coast of Malaysia, across Thailand, Cambodia, up through Vietnam and into Laos. After that... who knows? Fred invites you to follow him through his adventure. Any advice from fellow travelers is always welcome.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Takua Pa- Surat Thani

Total Distance:167.02
Total Time:9h49m15s
Average Speed:17.0km/h
Maximum Speed:55.0km/h
Total Distance So Far:1309.01km

Takua Pa was somewhat of a one horse town. Actually I would have been shocked if they had a horse. However, I did really enjoy it. It is a major hub for bus transfers to other cities, with many people who have breif stopovers in the town. There is a night market there that is probably one of the best, if not the best I have yet to encounter. They have everything and anything you could possibly want there. From food, to shoes to camping equipment. I had a great meal, or should I say meals, from the various vendors there. Although there is only the one hotel, and it was a little pricey it was a nice treat. It was clean and comfortable. Two things which are often sacrificed when looking for the best buget hotel in a city.
Initally I had planned to make my way to Cambodia. After giving it some thought, and realizing that would put me in Bangkok for Christmas I changed my mind. Bangkok seems like a depressing place to spend the holidays. I wpould much rather spend it on one of the East Coast Islands. I decided to start making my way to Ko Samui, via Surat Thani. I awoke the next day and set off early, as it was going to be a big day. I had no idea how big. It was a misty morning. It was a little cool, which was nice for a change. About forty-five minutes into the trip, as I was cycling throught the fog, I could see something approaching me. It was rather large. At first I thought it was a truck, but it wasn't quite that big and was moving far to slow. As it began to emerge from the haze, I finally realized what it was. An elephant. My heart began to pound and I started ripping through my bag, looking for my camera. I was so excited, I hadn't yet seen a wild elephant. Then the fear began to set in. Are elephants dangerous? I don't know. I've only ever seen them in zoos.
Okay, so as it got closer I realized there was indeed a guy walking behind him. It wasn't actually wild. It would have been a much better sory if it had been. It was still pretty cool though.
I continued along my way, heading toward Khao Sok National Park. I had wanted to stop there, but the park fee is expensive. Not really worth it for a one day visit. Looking back I should have taken a couple of days and stoppped. It's my first real regret of the adventure. While I didn't go through the park, I did ride along the outskirts of it. It was amazing. One of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Lush green forest, high mountain peaks, filled with all sorts of wild life. The ride up to the summit was no easy feat. It was actually pretty excruciating. Very possibly the hardest thing I've ever done. Well worth it though. I'd do it again in a heart beat. Words can't even begin to describe how beautiful it was.
The ride through Khao Sok took a good few hours. I thought it would take half as long, so I was quite set back time wise. I decided to take a nice long break afterwards. I was tired and still had a ways to go. I stopped at this little family store in the middle of nowhere. The people didn't speak English, but I could tell by the expressions on their faces that they were good, kind people. I sat for about an hour watching them play with their kids. Laughing and having fun. Running around their store, which also doubled as their home. It was amazing to see that these people who had so little were probably the richest I'd ever seen.
I reached Surat Thani around 7pm. Not to bad, but it was already dark, which made finding a hotel a chore. It was probably my hardest day so far. It was probably the best too.

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