After a nice stay in Kanchanaburi, it was time to start the long journey south. I spent the morning packing my bag and then got back on the bike. Today's goal was to ride to the town of Phetachburi. Because I wasn't very comfortable on the bike yet, I figured this would be a manageable distance for my first long day of riding.
Well, the ride was awful. In order to get to Phetchaburi, I had to ride back towards the chaos of Bangkok before dropping south onto the Malay Peninsula. Navigating the major highways was fairly straight forward since the English/Roman character city names were always printed below the Thai. Because of this convenient touch, getting from city to city was fairly easy. However, once you had arrived at your destination city, navigating became extremely difficult. In smaller cities, the street signs are only in Thai, which meant you could never tell what road you were on. I should reiterate that these street signs weren't just in a different language but also in a different alphabet, so there was absolutely no hope of even guessing what the signs said. Long story short after a number of circles through town and an hour or two of walking around aimlessly, I found the river and followed it until I ran into a guesthouse. The place was abysmal, but it had a nice bar overlooking the river so it met my criteria nonetheless.
My bike with all my possessions parked outside the guesthouse in Phetchaburi.
I spent the majority of the evening wandering the town taking pictures of overweight monkeys and relaxing in the bar at the guesthouse. At the bar I met Chris and Deanne, an American couple from Maryland. After a few drinks, we all went out for dinner at the local night market. Dinner was great as always and again unbelievably cheap. Before we left, Chris and I decided we should try some of the local mystery desserts. One bight each was enough to tell us that we had both chosen wrong, although my green blob was definitely better than Chris's pink blob solely based on the lack of noodles in it.
$4 worth of accommodations and our even more memorable mystery desserts
Long ride, short story.
I woke up early and rode 280 miles south to the town of Ranong. I spent the majority of the day dodging large trucks on the freeway and becoming more comfortable with riding a motorcycle overall. The last section of the ride was terrifying as the road narrowed to one lane through the mountains, but I survived nonetheless. After a long day of riding I made it to Ranong, and after an hour or so I eventually found a place to stay. I started to figure out that the key to navigating smaller cities was to do it on foot. This way you could focus more on looking around for a place to stay rather than focusing on not dying on your motorcycle.
Ranong wasn't all that eventful and was really just a rest stop on my way to Khao Sok National Park. I stayed at place called the Asia Hotel, which looked more like a prison than a hotel, but it served its purpose.
I left Ranong and continued south towards Khao Sok. This was the first time on the trip I truly enjoyed the motorcycle. There was no traffic on the road, stunning scenery and a wicked fun winding road that kept you on your toes just enough throughout the ride. After three days of riding, I finally arrived in one of the most stunning places you will ever see, huge valleys full of towering karsts as far as the eye could see. This was going to be home for the next few days as I explored the jungle and gave my rear end a much deserved break from the bike seat. Somehow, I had yet again landed in paradise.
A collection of stories and adventures from the FAMS director and instructors.