7th January 2011 - Nakon Pathom to Sa Kao

Our bikes were ready for us as we got off the train just as it was getting light.

Nakhom Pathom is another one of those places that is difficult to get out of. A major problem is that until we get to a major intersection all the signs are in Thai script and even then, they don't always look the same as on our map.

The compass is a guide and is a great help, but invariably directs us the wrong way up a one way street. We are always meeting traffic coming the other way on the wrong side of the road, but it is more comforting if we are going the right way.

While on signs, the English spelling of any town is very variable. Sometimes the map says one thing and the only way we know the sign is ok is that it sounds something like the words on the map.

With the weather now much better and much less humidity the cycling became more pleasurable. The road to Sulpan Buri was very flat with wet fields to the horizon. This was of course a rice growing area. Ducks, Storks, Kingfishers and all sorts of waterbirds as well as large Monitor lizards were everywhere.

Ang Thong, Saraburi and Pak Chong were all on major roads but as the weather was more comfortable, the cycling was easy.

By now, we have decided to take it very easy and stop often. The plan is to cycle across towards the Cambodian border, but stay inside Thailand going south to the coast where we go around back up towards Bangkok.

Christmas eve and Christmas day were spent in a small resort just north of a national park called Khao Yai where we avoided taking part in musical chairs and karaoke, by chatting to some Canadians all evening. But, the buffet was very good.

The National park charged us 8gbp each to enter (10 x local rate) plus 50p each bike. We needed our bottom gears for the first time as there were some serious ups for the first 10 miles but it gently came down the rest of the way.

Apart from a lot of people, there wasn't much life to see, but we did see a Muntjac deer ( ! ), Gibbons, Monkeys and a wild Elephant. As soon as we saw the elephant about 50yds up the road we stopped as they can be dangerous. Only when a motorist came along could we pass it by keeping the car between us with the help of the driver.

Joans hair was getting unruly and in need of a trim. She entered a small village hair salon and tried to tell the non english speaking young Thai woman how she wanted it cut. A hopeless effort as the young Thai woman was very nervous to cut a "wealthy" westerners hair as she had never done it before. The Thai woman's hair is long and straight. Joans is short and curly. Eventually, with Joan holding her hand and calming and reassuring her, she made a creditable job - even if a bit too short for Joan. Cost about 2gbp.

From Nakhon Nayok to Sa Kao was all main road, but easy going with the wind behind us most days.
After Sa Kao we turned south to find a small resort (Sii Sun garden resort) owned and managed by an Englishman , Steve. The bungalows were set in a garden with a large pond and a river alongside. Steve made us so welcome that we stayed three days over the new year. It also had an indoor pool in which we found a six foot snake which had to be evicted before swimming. David thinks it was harmless but didn't take any chances.

Fishing in the river was brisk, but the fish were only a few inches long. However we were expected to eat our catch which was fried whole and served up as starters heads and all.

Steve let us use his motorbike for a day in order to explore further afield. We explored and David got fined 100 baht (2gbp) for not wearing a helmet, but NOBODY wears a helmet. David didn't argue and paid up graciously. (That was cheap as the standard fine in Bangkok is 500 baht - Mark )

Regards,

David and Joan Wooldridge