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.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Surat Thani-Nakhon Si Thammarat

Total Distance:147.86km
Total Time:7h47m21s
Average Speed:19.0km/h
Maximum Speed:55.5km/h
Total Distance So Far:9904.71km

Spending the night in Surat Thani was just as i had remembered it... boring. I find the people here not as friendly as elsewhere in Thailand. In there defence, it is a hub to get to the islands, so I'm sure they see a lot of ignorant travellers. I arrived there late and left early, so it isn't like I had to spend a lot of time there anyway. Unlike Chumphon, there are no breakfast places catering to early travellers, so I was back on my 7/11 morning diet.
The ride to Nakhon Si Thammarat, again, takes you down a rather busy highway. This one wasn't so bad though. the first half of the ride is actually really beautiful. This is the road you take if you are going to take the car ferry out to the islands. It is lined with limestone peaks. It is a little hilly, but mostly small rolling hills. I really like this kind of terrain. Shortly after leaving Surat Thani I came across a Thai cycling team out for their morning training session, or rather they came across me. they slowed it down and biked with me for a little bit before taking off, leaving me to eat their dust. Being on a fully loaded bike with touring tires as opposed to racing tires, there was no way I could keep up. They were good fun. It was nice to have people to chat with for a bit. The second half of the ride wasn't quite so nice. The road opens up, the limestone peaks disappear, and the hills turn into a flat highway. The wind picked up quite a bit and, with a lack of trees around, there was no escape from the hot afternoon sun. By the time I arrived in Nakhon Si Thammarat I could feel I had been exposed to too much heat. I actually thought I might throw up.
Nakhon Si Thammarat, according to Lonely Planet, is a little bit of a tourist destination. However, there a lot of things that Lonely Planet say that are completely incorrect. I think this is one of them. It is just a big city, with no real attractions aside form the temple. I have yet to see one other foreigner here. None the less I opted to rest up here for a day. The sun was just a little to much yesterday. After my last bout of sunstroke, I thought it best to spend a day out of the heat. I checked into a nice hotel. Nice for me anyway. Nicer than anywhere I've been staying. They actually have air conditioning hot water, television with three movie channels and, get this, ROOM SERVICE! I took advantage of all these things and spent a quiet evening inside my nice cool room eating curry and watching "No Country For Old Men", but not before taking a nice hot shower. You would think after biking in the heat all day a hot shower would be the last thing you want. You'd be wrong. I just never feel totally clean bathing in cold water. The hot shower was great.
Well I'm almost in Malaysia. I know I keep saying that. Every time I do it becomes more true though. This time I am actually almost in Malaysia. I figure another three days of cycling at most. I might stop off one more time for a day along the way. Biking ever day starts to wear on you. Even if there isn't much to do where you are, sometimes it's best to stop and give yourself a break. Just like I'm doing now.

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