1. 1. 2018 - 6. 2. 2018 1670.5 km

The queue at the border crossing was long, at the immigration office even longer. We were hoping to receive 30-day visas, the visas are usually given for 15 days when land border crossing. We were lucky, we got a visa for 30 days. We were so happy that we got on the bikes and cycled almost straight under the wheels of the truck. In that euphoria we forgot that now we are riding on the left again.

Already after the first few kilometers we noticed that this country is really more developed than the previous two. We had a beautiful asphalt, garbage left, we passed big or small supermarkets, not missing Tesco or our favorite market of 7 eleven from Japan, where we could buy ready meals, which were also heated for free in the microwave. However at the second break we got ordered drink in plastic bags, and most of the food bought in the bistro on the street is packed like this to take away. Oh, so it isn’t so developed here.

The first day in a new country is always difficult for us. We have to get used to food, currency, people, and the drivers. That's why we stayed at the hotel about 60 kilometers far from the borders and absorbed all the impressions. In the morning we went on and found out that drivers here are crazy and there are many aggressive street dogs.

You can read about the Thai cuisine only lavish praise. We had a bit of a problem with it. Vegetarian food was almost everywhere, but the food was so spicy. Everything was spicy including instant soups. We couldn‘t enjoy varied taste,the morning visiting the toilet was always worth it. After a couple of days we got used to that.

 One of our goals was to visit the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand. We wanted to see the elephants and we were looking forward  spending the day with them. The accommodation was close to the rescue centre in a nice bungalow and we could not wait for the morning. In the morning, we watched the elephants listening to their sad history. Besides these, we saw other rescued animals. Some came directly from the wilderness, others were postponed as pets. We have to admit that the animals are fine here. They have large runs, there are many volunteers who take care of them, prepare a variety of delicacies which are packed into banana leaves to make the animals active. The lady's guide warned us against the monkeys who like to steal things and get them back is almost impossible. We laughed and continued the tour. At one of the cages, we admired the beautiful Dusky Langurs. They are such beautiful monkeys that are known for their "white glasses" around their eyes. Paja decided to capture a video of their beauty. But one of the monkeys thought that nothing would be captured. He jumped from one side of the cage to the other where we stood, pushed his thin hand through the mesh and was trying to steal the camera. Paja fought bravely with the monkey and was very lucky to won. After this experience, we decided keep a distance from the cages.

Afternoon time was spent only with elephants. We got one elephant, with whom we went for a walk  and fed her with fruit, and then we washed her back and made a small brush massage. It was a wonderful, unforgettable experience to stand by the side of such a huge, several tons of weighing creature, to be able to touch it and watch every movement next to her.

We had a real shock tonight. It was time for a bath when Paja was running out of the bathroom saying that there was a giant spider on the wall. These words were something for me. I found the courage to look into the bathroom to see the spider in the size of the hand. Oh no! The spider also seemed to be scared and then it hid. Later it appeared again. We started to searching for what kind of spider it could be. Any kind of tarantula? Is it poisonous? Does it jump? We didn‘t want to kill it, it was pretty fast anyway, but we needed to have a shower and there was a toilet too. Eventually we dealed with it.

The following days not much happened. People were frowning here, we saw only palm trees, and there were along the way a lot of wild dogs. We were heading for the salt fields and we hoped that we could see the glittering salt pyramids. Unfortunately, as in Vietnam, we weren‘t lucky, the salt fields were empty.

After a couple of days, we finally found something interesting. First we took a walk along the mangroves and then, after 2 months, we put up our tent about 30m from the sea. That was exactly what we needed.

 My bike started to make strange noise. We thought it would be all caused by a cassette. We were approaching a bigger city with a bikeshop. We went there and bought a new cassette. The seller was very willing, he offered  us to replace that for free. But he soon came to the point that the problem was not the cassette, but the freehub. It was clear to us that it was a big problem, another ride would be dangerous. He didn‘t have a new freehub. There were two variants, either to risk it and ride 180km to another city to the south, or to get on a train and go 100km north. We were unhappy. We found a cycling service in the evening where was a hope of repair. Guys mechanics were really handy . Although we explained to them where the problem was, they were looking for it elsewhere, not just where it was. We went back to the guesthouse. The landlord noticed our bad mood and arranged for us morning meeting with the best serviceman in town. Oh, so there's more service than it is on the map. There was still a hope. The recommended mechanic was really a professional, he was able to fix the bike, but because it was a time-consuming repair, we stayed in the city for two more nights.  

 After three days, we were looking forward cycling again. We continued on the east coast. In one section the road should have gone through the national park, but suddenly the road ended in the middle of the fields. A little boy appeared and began to show us to follow him. Even though he was barefoot, he ran so fast that we barely caught him up. He led us to the beginning of the National Park, where the sandy path was begin. He looked at us for a moment, then he stretched out his hand. We started to look for change, but the boy picked the leaf from the tree, which ment he wanted banknotes. Well, without it, we would find it difficult to find, and so we did not protest very much.

In a Down of Chumphon we decided to go to the West Coast.  There was the end of flats, the road was rolling, and palms were replaced by forests that reminded us of the Japanese landscape. We were happy about the change. Our enthusiasm didn’t take too long. Only accomodation on that road was mould.Ok, there was nothing  that could be done. We were able to stay for one night and we promised ourselves that the next day, in Ranong,  it would be definitely be better. When we arrived in the city of Ranong, the awful smell of mould was everywhere. Looking at the surrounding buildings, everything was clear to us. Each house had moldy plaster. Dammit, it couldn’t be good. We visited about 10 hostels and gueasthouses and one was worse than the other. Eventually we found an affordable hotel where we spent the night.

 We came to the province of Krabi, which is famous for its beautiful beaches and limestone cliffs that attract many climbers. Before we reached the beaches, we made a stop in the Khlong Song Nam Nature Park. There was a blazing hot, and this park offered a walk among the mangrove and the possibility of swimming in the crystal clear fresh water. That was we needed.

We originally thought that the beach in Ao Nang was good enough for us, but the vision of the tropical paradise on the nearby islands where the boats are heading to from this town was more than attractive. We went to the port in the morning and we wanted to voyage to Phi Phi Island, where the famous film Beach with Leonardo DiCapri was made. But we had bad luck because on this island you have to make a reservation in advance. Eventually we went to Hong island.  At the beautiful beach the monitor lizard was just returning from the swimming in the sea back to the jungle.  If we took an earlier boat we would swim with him in the water. The beaches had perfectly clean white sand and we enjoyed the day by diving and observing all kinds of fish below the water surface.

 We returned back to the mainland and it was time to move a bit. We had plenty of time to expire our visas so we went to Mook Island. This time we took our bikes with us, but we were little bit worried, because if the boat overturned, we would lose everything. This spontaneous idea boomeranged us a bit. We hadn’t enough cash and there was no ATM on the island, and nobody accepted cards on the island. Only possibility was to exchange the last dollars, which we had from Cambodia. For 2 nights in the bungalow and kayaking it was still not enough. So we reduced the demand on accommodation and we satisfied with cold water, remotely placed toilet and our beloved tent. Our reward was not just kayak sailing, but eventually the perfect view from the tent of the rising sun.

Sometimes we passed police checks, but they stopped only cars. But once they waved at us to stop. We prepared our passports, but then we realized that their intention was different. They lined up, brought a camera, took a selfie picture with us, thanked us, and let us go. We were used to asian people wanted to take a picture with us, but we didn’t expect that from the police. Thailand is known as a Buddhist country, but Islam is predominant in the south. Islamic movements in the most of southern provinces are seeking independence from Thailand, violence and riots are daily routine, that’s why we wanted to avoid them and cross the border with Malaysia before enter these provinces. We chose the border crossing in the village of Wang Prachan. There it was like the end of the world. There were a little cottage around the dense jungle, and the monkeys were dumping over our heads. It was a nice farewell to this country

What we did like?

Availability of vege food, beautiful sea and beaches, less rubbish than in Vietnam and Cambodia

What we did not like?

We have experience from Bangkok to the south. The people were frowning, there were aggresive dogs everywhere, the country was a bit dull for us. Except for the sea and a few natural attractions, we didn’t find anything special. In fact, we expected little bit more from Thailand.

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