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.