Posted in Thailand

Treasures and little devils

Chedi des Wat Kaew bei Chaiya

Today I have a real hotel room again. Not on the beach, but still with a view, spacious and clean, the small fridge is filled with water bottles and for tomorrow morning I have breakfast in view. A good feeling after a stage of 71 kilometers through uneven terrain along the coast.
I rinse off my sweaty sports clothes, shower and then run a few errands, looking for something edible for tonight. I saw two advertising posters of a pizza baker earlier – that would be a change.

Chumphon is another provincial capital in the south of Thailand, has banks, a train station, a lot of traffic in the streets and a lot of bigger shops, as I saw when I was looking for the Nanaburi Hotel earlier. There is a shopping mall nearby and I urgently need some postcards and a new tube or can of skin cream.
Ever since I was recommended and sold a can of aloe vera cream by a pharmacist in Port Dickson because my skin had blistered on my calves that Sunday, I’ve been using it every day after showering, to give the skin a little relaxation after each sun-intensive day. Accordingly, the can is now almost empty.
I quickly find what I am looking for with the creme, and I ask around for postcards without much success – I may be lucky tomorrow at the tourist information office.

Since Surat Thani I have been traveling north along the coast, Bangkok is still about 10 days away. The street I use does not always run directly on the beach, but mostly at a short distance from it, sometimes it also hooks, bypasses a hill or connects settlements that are not lined up like a string of pearls. Here too, away from the heavily used north-south connection 4112 (later 4134) and the parallel railway line, are small villages, run smaller and wider rivers, at the mouth of which there is sometimes a small fishing port, loamy water to the sea, which here ‘ Gulf of Thailand ‘ means. At Pak Nam Suan there are some larger trawlers on the quay wall below the bridge that spans the river there.

Am Tha Chana-Fluss bei Laem Pho

Sometimes the road is straight, e.g. for about three kilometers, the narrow beach in sight, in the distance small, darkly forested islands in the slightly crumbled water. Palm trees provide ample shade on the green strip between the sea and the road, sometimes individual cattle graze between the palm trees, accompanied by small, usually white, herons.
Then the road winds through the green landscape past countless pools of water, breeding pools for King Prawns , about 1 to 1.5 meters deep, where motor-driven paddles constantly hit the surface to oxygenate the water so that the crabs thrive better. In order to keep water birds away, these breeding basins are spanned in a star shape with wires or strings in mostly red color. Crab production in a really big style.

The supply situation has worsened somewhat for me in this region, because where is no through traffic, there are generally fewer people, the range of freshly prepared food is also significantly lower. I don’t find anything between Chaiya and Lamae even in the early afternoon because there is simply no settlement along the street. Palm trees, crab breeding facilities, isolated plots of land, yes, but no outpatient cook who would have built up somewhere with her utensils, no mini-restaurant, at most once a shop where I could have bought cookies, nothing else.

In this actually somewhat remote area there are also a relatively large number of Buddhist monasteries and temple complexes. And in quite different condition, some of them look very new, some are being built.

Wat Ma Pring in the vicinity of Surat Thani

When I leave Surat Thani on Sunday, I stop, for example, immediately after a few kilometers on a small cross-road at a wat, the chedi of which I had see glow over the palm tree tops the evening before. A morning market is just being abrogated there when I arrive. There’s hectic activity around the facility while I try to take a few photos of the white dome. So far I had only seen a few such chedis of similar construction, and they had always been colored gold. This one is now white. No one is to be seen from the monks, but villagers and some wild dogs, one of whom seems to be threatened or disturbed by my presence, at least he yaps all the time when I am there. The older gentlemen in the shadow of the neighboring small houses are not initially disturbed in their conversation, but then they try to scare the animal away.

Ah, the dogs; from now on I have an eye and two ears on them. In the morning I drive a short distance on highway 420 and soon turn off again to drive in an arc through an area where pretty villas with palm plantations come off. There have been a lot of stray dogs so far, either they didn’t let me bother them on the bike or they scared away because they didn’t know what to do with the almost silently moving something. For the first time, however, I meet dogs that apparently also have a guard function and are not strays. In any case, I am barked from one or two properties and also attacked by a beast. And this behavior towards me will continue to increase over the next few days. Sometimes it is simply difficult to just stop somewhere and ‘come down’ briefly in the shade, because sometimes it is that as soon as I stop, it starts yapping somewhere nearby. On Monday I really want to just put the bike against the next palm tree.
Since the yapping goof-off sometimes leaves behind me at the property boundaries, then run next to me and do a murder spectacle, without snapping or biting seriously, I take it more calmly now. Usually they fix my panniers and not even my legs.
This morning a whole group came running after me from a lot of land …


But there are also wonderful experiences. To get a nice meal for example, on a street corner right next to a school, where several generations take care of the guest, who has appeared out of nowhere with a helmet and sunglasses and is now asking for pasta. Grandma makes sure that my little bowl of broth, which is sometimes served with the actual meal, does not become empty, while the little one plays with some figures in the shadow of the simple tin roof.

At a larger temple complex on the edge of Chaiya , where the remains of one of the oldest temples in Thailand are located, a friendly, mischievous, older monk tries on my bike and whose extensions are interested in explaining something to me about the buildings of the facility. But I can’t quite make out of his hard-to-understand English. He soon goes on with his laptop bag in hand and I leave the spacious temple area again and roll back to Chaiya . On the way towards the beach, where I want to spend the night in a (for me) first beach resort on Sunday, I suddenly see a black BMW R25 standing on the veranda of a café. The old single-cylinder motorcycle is really spruced up. Unfortunately, I do not find out in the café whether it should catch people by bike as an eye-catcher or whether it is still ready to drive. Before I do the last 10 -12 kilometers on Sunday, I want to eat something, and the coffee just tastes good there.

Beach here does not necessarily mean beautiful paradise, even if countless coconut palms suggest such a picture. The beach is hopelessly littered in places. The sea sweeps back everything on land that has gotten into waterways, marine life, garbage ships or whatever for many years. Only a few resorts that want to offer their guests something apparently remove the garbage on their own shoreline.

The accommodations are still simple, sometimes at a little upper level, but at slowly increasing prices. The overall price level is lower than in Malaysia. So far I have not spent more than about 23 euros here, and that was more or less in the big city (Krabi) for a very well furnished room in a fairly new, small hotel. Yesterday on the beach it was also about 22 euros for a not very fresh hut with terrace and rather shabby bathroom, otherwise it was rather 13 to 15 euros for a simple but clean room. I was also the only guest there at Pak Nam Tako . In the two previous quarters at Lamae on the beach and in the area east of Chaiya , there were maybe one to three other local guests. The more busy operation probably takes place here in a different season.

At an open air museum “Coffeehouse”

Now here in Chumphon the hotel I chose, located in a side street, is regularly booked. There are a few other hotels and also European tourists in the city. I hear German-language sentences in a small group of somewhat tanned beards and while I am walking through the city another globetrotter arrives with his bike at one of the hotels on the main street.

Posted in Thailand

From Krabi to the gulf coast

The last two days I drove across the narrow country, from Krabi up to the east coast of Thailand. From the big city, I first went back to National Route 4. Krabi is located just a few kilometers away from this long-distance connection, which ultimately leads up to Bangkok. Just a short distance on this broad road to the junction towards Wat Tham Sua, a Buddhist temple, the founder of which is said to have lived here in a cave with a tiger – Tiger Cave Temple. It is the largest temple complex I have seen, so far.
Then I come through one of the most scenic areas in the country, with little traffic on the narrow side street, which, however, already leads to a heavily used country road after about 15 kilometers. The bizarre karst mountains stretch like a ribbon to the north and the road initially follows them, winds along them.


Here I meet a Frenchman who can be recognized from afar with his fluttering safety vest. An elderly gentleman, retired as he says for a year, who uses his time to cycle across Asia. He comes to Thailand from Bangladesh via Myanmar, is not here for the first time and wants to take a closer look at some things now that he has time. He probably doesn’t have a lot of opportunity to communicate in his native language in this region of the world, so we talk for about a quarter of an hour before everyone goes on his way again.
I also learn from him that there was a bomb explosion somewhere in south-east Thailand a few days earlier, which may also explain the increased presence of armed police that I had seen twice during roadside checks further south-west.

The landscape becomes mountainous for a few kilometers, whereby four climbs demand a lot of power, as they are quite steep with a gradient of up to 10%. After 35 km I take a lunch break in the slightly larger town of Kao Phanom in a restaurant that is run by three women. They prepare noodles with seafood and vegetables fresh in the wok. I drink iced coffee. A combination that I can get used to.
The fact that there is only rice as the basis for a dish in such a simple restaurant has become rare. Most of the time, the cooks have several types of pasta in their display case, where I, as a customer, can see directly what is on offer. Thin glass noodles, or broadly rolled glass noodles, or soaked, yellowish soup noodles e.g.. Rice is always available, but not without alternatives

After about 50 kilometers, the landscape becomes flatter again, the karst mountains have now disappeared from view. Rubber trees and oil palms interact in larger plantations in a still undulating landscape. Over the course of the afternoon, the sky will cloud over without starting to rain. Until I arrive in Phrasaeng in the late afternoon, the sky is almost completely blue again. A nice day.
I can only find the motel available in town with the help of local residents, as there are no Latin-language references. The rooms there are very simple, but the Pontip Motel is far enough away from the street and tired as I am, I sleep quite well there.

For breakfast the next morning I look for a small restaurant in Phrasaeng, where there is no business yet, but the two women working there are already far away with their preparation. It doesn’t take long for me to have a portion of pasta with vegetables and seafood on the table. They cann’t offer any coffee, but I can find it later on the way.


Route 4133, which leads further to the north, becomes wavy right from the start, just like the terrain itself. Gone are the karst mountains, it is a green, undulating landscape, through which the road now runs almost straight to the north, and it takes the waves, as they come. For me this means an uphill and downhill in a recurring sequence that brings me overacidified thigh muscles relatively quickly. The sun is laughing from the top of my neck at 32° in the shade and still high humidity. Being sweaty has become a permanent condition. It had cooled down a bit last night, but with the condensing humidity, none of my clothes hanging out from under the canopy of the motel room got dry.

So I often take short breaks and drink a lot, but in the end I still progress at an average speed of 17 – 18 km/h, because where it goes slowly uphill, it goes downhill much faster afterwards. I only ‘move’ between 20 and 65 meters above sea level. In the meantime I see Buddhist monasteries or temple complexes on the street more and more often, mostly bordered with a wall.
I take a longer break after around 40 kilometers, ask for ice-cold coffee right away, because I always got it where it was cooked, but people just grin at me.
The small restaurant at a village crossroad is run by a friendly couple and overall they are quite surprised by my visit. But are happy about the apparently rare event, let me choose what I would like to have cooked and the wok gets work quickly. Another guest, who speaks some English, is listening to me about my trip and takes a short trip to get me a small can of an ice-cold mixed coffee drink. 15 baht – he says and also gives me a bag with a sandwich and two bananas. That would be free of charge for me and maybe I could use it as provisions.
Later, when I say goodbye, the cook wants to be photographed with me and gives her smartphone to her daughter – so people are always nice.

In the late afternoon on the outskirts of Surat Thani I find a wonderfully quiet, small resort with row bungalows and an attached restaurant, so that I don’t have to go into the city, tired as I am during the day, after 88 kilometers.

Posted in Thailand




After a long day’s drive from Si-Kao, I reached Krabi late in the afternoon yesterday. It is one of the two larger provincial towns here in the south of Thailand. The day before yesterday I had a long way around Trang.
Here in Krabi there is a large selection of smaller hotels and hostels, the city is swimming a bit on the swelling tourism wave. In the wider area there are very beautiful beaches, hot springs and archaeologically interesting sites. However, everything is not within realistic reach of my bike, because after eight days in the saddle since Georgetown, I want to take a break again.
I find a clean room with a small balcony in a side street and rinse my laundry in the evening so that it has a chance to dry on the balcony. But that will last until the next afternoon.

It was raining twice yesterday and I was able to find a shelter in time only once, the second time, just on a climb in a section of forest without anything, the shower really caught me. Shortly thereafter, I was able to dry myself in a small restaurant and use the rain break for a coffee and late lunch.

Today is a chain care day. After more than 1500 kilometers, this important component in my bicycle drive deserves a thorough cleaning and readjustment. That sounds a bit high, but the chain had to be a little tense. I have done this about every 500 km, because there is no compensating spring element on my hub gear. The chain lengthens with daily use and then sags more and more. Actually not that bad, but in the chainglider that surrounds my chain, this effect is negatively noticeable through more grinding.
And despite the very tight chain guard, of course enough dirt still penetrates to the chain links in every rain.
With the coarse microfiber cloth that I found earlier in a shop for household goods, the chain is like new. Fresh oil on it, cleaned the bike a bit, and so I can continue my journey tomorrow.


My glasses also need care. With the constant air humidity and my sweat on the plastic glasses, I haven’t gotten them really clean for a long time. Especially my sports glasses, which I wear when cycling all the time, except when it is raining, and on the inside of which my face sweats during the day and on the outside of which a fine film of moisture forms due to the wind, I wanted to have it professionally cleaned by an optician.
Unfortunately, however, I don’t find an optician with an ultrasonic cleaning device, although there is no shortage of eyewear stores. But I am sold a chemical cleaning agent and it works (at least at first glance).

Krabi is also the first place in Thailand where I can find postcards and I can replenish my stamp stock here at a post office without having to wait long. I had already bought some in La-Ngu and, like in Malaysia, I have to get a waiting number, but people do not queue up with forms, do not have to have their ID card read out and leave fingerprints on the forms that have already been signed, before each process is completed and the next person waiting is called. So I get 20 pretty stamps after five minutes.


Posted in Thailand

In the rural south of Thailand

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I quickly became friends with Thailand. After two days in the province of Satun, I continue to drive northwest in the Trang region. There was a police station at the provincial border and the young uniformed men stopped me there briefly. Not to control my passport, but for some small talk and to replenish my water supply. I thought that was really nice.
A short time later I met another bike traveler on the sunny afternoon, without any Ortlieb bags, instead he had bags made of khaki-colored canvas on the bike, also an interesting variant. He only greeted briefly as he drove by.

The landscape here is a little more impressive than it was in the coastal regions of Malaysia. Often forested karst rocks can be seen somewhere in the distance, sometimes not that far from the road, which often rise steeply out of the plain. Then again the landscape is just hilly. Secondary routes somehow meander through, the level of the road almost always remains flat.
Main roads go straight through the area and often take the waves with them more directly. Especially today I had to deal with quite a few short climbs between Thung Yao and Trang. But I wanted to avoid detours, because it was clear that the day would be quite long, with a distance of almost 90 kilometers. The last two days before, however, I was able to drive through many villages along side routes, which is of course much nicer, but also means more distance.

From the border town of Wang Prachan, the narrow road leads a few kilometers further down to a plain where rice is obviously also grown, and there are smaller rubber tree plantations. Rubber trees can be seen everywhere and again and again, sometimes also on larger areas. Oil palms, however, are rare.
After less than 20 kilometers, the road at Khuan Don joins a larger north-south connecting road. Shortly before that there was a police checkpoint. The road between Khuan Don and Chalung is then expanded into four lanes and many larger shops are waiting for customers here. Because of Sunday, however, many of them are closed. At a large Tesco Lotus supermarket I can see from afar at the large and quite full parking lot that it’s open, and there I also find several ATMs. Finally, I still need Thai money for the next few days and so I draw what the machine offers me in maximum amount. At a mobile phone dealer, I have a SIM card set up for mobile Internet access and the first 500 Baht are quickly gone.

In the evening, I give the next 500 for accommodation, a small so-called resort in La Ngu, which consists of several small bungalows in a row and individual huts. The afternoon shower, which I am waiting for under a small pavilion on a school site, is over in time to arrive there reasonably dry. It doesn’t quite work, because the streets are wet after the rain and I still get a lot drizzle from the road surface.
I get a big room, I still wash out the sweaty clothes from the day, but they don’t get dry overnight, just as little as the bike.

I’m driving through a landscape that is strongly characterized by forested karst rocks now. Nevertheless, the road winds almost flat through the region, is just a little bit wavy from time to time. But there are only a few noteworthy increases. Only at a point just before the provincial border the road goes up a hill, which lets me come out of the saddle and drive for a few minutes while rocking. I am finally putting into practice what I have repeatedly practiced in spinning training. The climb is easier to manage in that way than if I keep sitting in the saddle.

There aren’t the same number of simple restaurants here in Thailand, where you can get something to eat almost anywhere in Malaysia. The offer is often not pre-cooked and made available in the form of a small buffet, but freshly prepared, in one or more woks.
A portion of rice with fried egg and wok vegetables, or soup noodles with vegetables and seafood, with iced coffee, then costs about 50 – 80 Baht.

It’s not funny when the rain, like today, is starting to get stronger while I’m still looking for accommodation. I had seen a notice board just before Si Kao, but then nothing else. The place itself is a bit off the main street, the Bohin Farmstay is also off the place and without the help of a friendly local I would never have found it. But now I’m sitting here on a river arm far away from the village and because of the rain I can’t get away to eat something.
But all the fruit I have, the pineapple from the day before yesterday, dried fruit and biscuit leftovers also fill you up. The beer is missing, but maybe I can have one again tomorrow.

Posted in Allgemein

In the Perak province

I have breakfast at the Orient Star Resort, where I was staying for the last two days, even Lumut has nothing to offer though besides the small ferry port, from where connections to the island Pangkor start and terminate. But the break was necessary and I also had to wash and dry some clothes. Here the laundry was getting dry on the clothesline and I was sitting on the balcony writing some sentences, while the muezzin of the nearby mosque not only was singing his call for the prayer with his beautiful voice out into the world several times a day, but also was singing all the surahs, his pieces of wisdom and admonition on the loudspeaker of the mosques.

Most things are already stowed into my bags before I have breakfast, but despite this I do not start before 10 o’clock onto this relatively short stage of today. At meanwhile chilly 24°C, I pull an additionally thin vest over my shirt. Meanwhile I really got adopted to the climate here, so while cycling I quickly sense the airstream as relatively cool.

The sky is densly clouded, but it doesn’t start to rain. After about 3 kilometers I see a group of local cyclists with mountain- and crossbikes that seems to meet each other at a filling station, while I’m passing. They quickly reach me a short while later, three guys and a man in my age, who is discussing a bit with me while the group is passing slowly. They go out for a drive, nothing special, it’s the weekend. Later on I meet a bigger group that is moving in the other direction, when I’m climbing the ascend of the bridge that crosses the river Sungai Lumut.

On the way to Taiping I’m following an alternative route of the NR 5 that guides over several bridges, passing the city Sitiawan and goes further on into the north direction. In the region of Damat Laut, some kilometers behind the longest bridge of today (with a length of about 1.5 km) that also leads directly into a construction area, I have a break under the flat roof of a street restaurant where I eat some noodles with vegetables and a fried egg and get an iced black tea with some milk for the sum of 7 RM. With my air-pump I can give some aid to a motorcyclist who needs some more pressure into the front wheel of his cross motorbike. The restaurant seems to be a meeting point of young people with their motorbikes, at least on this Sunday.

I move on along route 60 that is passing now a more ondulating region, a range that partly is covered with oil-palmtrees.

Also this more rural road seems to be widenend or renewed as every few hundred meters there’s contruction activity beside and on the road and siómetimes huge amounts of sand are place besides the road. At some sites houses near the road have to be re moved, at other places the neigbors may get the road right in front of their doors, where now is a wide enough gap between the surface of the road and their properties.

At the village of Segari I leave the NR60 to have a short detour down to the coast where I want to visit a seaturtle protection station, that is announced by signs already since several kilometers. The 7 km won’t take to much time, as I only have a short distance for today to my next destination Pantai Remis. The small protection station is located directly behind the beach and only a small fence is dividing it from the beach. In several small bassins turles of different size and age, from about 8“ up to 32“ or more, are presented and some information about their lifes can be found on display at this station.


It’s cute to see them, also the bigger animals, but with the view over the beach and over the ocean, I also can imagine that living there must be hard for these seaturtles. So many fishermen in their boats are spread over the horizon. Small boats though, but they all catch their fish with nets.

While I’m cycling back to the main road, it starts again to rain. But this doesn’t matter for the remaining 10 km. Sometimes it seems to me that this road really needs to be renewed, as there’s no longer a shoulder on the side and also the surface itself suffers a lack of material. The bicycle is hopping a bit from whole to whole, because it doesn’t has any cushioning elements as motor bikes have. But in general the roads in this part of the world are in good condition for the cyclist. About 5 km before I reach Pantai Remis the road construction terminates completely.


At the first houses of Pantai Remis I see some small restaurants, where people sit with a tea or coffee and talk to each other, and there are also some small shops where people offer their products and goods under their shelters very close to the road. Fresh fish is sold here directly from the cool boxes, and also fresh mussels.

I buy some bananas at a small shop of an elder woman who speaks English very well. Curious she wants to know where I’m coming from, a question that I’m meanwhile familiar with. I move slowly through this small town. It seems that there is a party on the other side of the road, a lot of people wear traditional clothes and someone is singing into a microfone. I’m wondering about the many old fashioned houses, made of wood, simple business- and living houses of an already gone period. Lately I see a hotel here in Pantai Remis and finally choose one in a small road, about 50 meters away from the through traffic. There I get a splendid room for 60 RM and the bicycle finds a place for the night inside the garage near the laundry machines.