A day like this starts with little surprises. Once I wake up from a morning power cut. The main switch of the bungalow drops noisily due to a lack of mains voltage – no cooling and no running water. Brushing your teeth with drinking water from the kettle from the day before (yesterday I had boiled water for coffee), shaving is currently out of order and I use the toilet flush with care. It would be good to have a spare bucket filled with water here, as they had actually been in the respective bathroom in some hotels in Malaysia, but it doesn’t exist.
Another time it starts to rain after the clock rings. At first gently, but the sound of the drops of water falling on the floor in front of the hut slowly swells, turns into a noise and quickly increases from a patter to a roar on the tin roof.
For the time being, I can’t get out of here, not even to walk (or to run) the approx. 300 meters to the main building of the complex, in which I had stayed here on Bang Boet Beach for one night. But since I want to have breakfast and at some point also to continue to drive (the rain has to stop again), I go after more than an hour of waiting, in which I was able to sort photos and mail, but with an umbrella and a thin jacket. In the meantime, however, the water in the bungalow complex is ankle-high in places on the already higher, tiled paths. It is the first time that my otherwise water-repellent shoes are full. I can let it dry for a while later. This morning I don’t leave until much too late in the morning. But it is also the first day on which the temperature remains fixed at 24° C. Permanent clouds, drizzle, wind – actually not so bad for cycling.
From Chumphon I don’t go too far at first, only to Saphli, which I want to use as a starting point for a short mountain hike in the afternoon, the view from Dinsor Mountain is also great later. It only takes a while to find accommodation, because the first two hotels / motels where I want to ask for a room are closed. But I find a facility just outside the village, in which at least two of the rather large number of huts are already rented. Here I get a wooden Thai-style hut for the night.
The next day I start a little earlier after I have written two cards. Due to the strong wind from the sea, I occasionally have a tail wind on the road in the north. The climb to Dinsor Mountain is a little easier than expected. I buy fresh bananas from a large fruit stall on the street (lots of pineapples and melons). The area remains hilly for about 10 km until it joins Route 3201 towards the beach. Now it goes flat again and from here the hard shoulder is also signed as a bike path in both directions. Really, with round, blue signs and a bicycle symbol on the asphalt. Is that maybe for tourists? – Unfortunately, the strip marked in this way is parked right at the beginning.
On the short sections of road that I drive directly to the east, the wind blows strongly towards me from the sea, but I will soon turn north again and then have the wind gusty and transverse to my direction of travel and at least that doesn’t matter noticeable. Today I have two encounters: behind a long bend, in which the street turns its direction by almost 270 degrees, and where also recently newly paved, there is a restaurant on a narrow river, which runs a bit parallel to the street and that Restaurant leaves little space. It is therefore long and difficult to overlook, but there are four bicycles with panniers on the wooden fence to the street that catch my eye immediately. The associated drivers sit in the shadow of the restaurant and spoon pasta soup, nice people from Holland and Belgium. I order a fresh pineapple and apple juice and sit down with them, we chat for a while in German, which is sometimes good for me. They are cycling from Bangkok to Chumphon (I was there two days ago) and want to go back by train.
This is a pretty clever idea when you look at the main wind direction.
I only take a lunch break a little later and experience that the cook can also miss the right ingredients. The portion of “Stir fried seafood” is not particularly large according to the menu (rare that there is a menu at one of the many small street restaurants), but this small portion is hopelessly seasoned with ginger, chilli and green pepper. Okay, I’m hungry, but it has never tasted as bad as here.
It is actually really wonderful to cycle along the beach like this, deep in Southeast Asia. I am now more than 2000 kilometers from Singapore and have crossed 10 degrees of latitude.
This area is sparsely populated overall, larger towns are mostly further inland along the railway line to Bangkok, but rarely directly on the coast.
During a short break in the shade on the beach, two other cyclists loaded with panniers roll past me on the street in the opposite direction. They don’t notice me, they are obviously happy to be able to get on with the wind very quickly.
It is not only coconut trees that give shade in the narrow strip between the sea and the street, cedars are loosening up the image more and more frequently. In the wind, however, they look rather disheveled with their rather shaggy branches. In some places, their long needles form a carpet along the edge of the street.
Every few kilometers, karst rocks and sometimes smaller mountains with small islands off the coast strip form a natural end to a longer stretch of beach. The tidal range does not seem to be very significant, at low tide the flat beach is 20 – 30 meters wide, and there is practically nothing left of it at high tide. The bays can be 8-10 kilometers long.
The thoroughfare then winds further into the country, adapts to the terrain in many curves and sometimes long detours around such a mountain. A Buddhist temple complex is often located in particularly exposed locations. There is plenty of variety.