Near a small village
called Laem Sing we found a dirt road which ended up at a small cove
with only a few scattered buildings and a row of rooms to stay in.
This was the only beach where we saw monkeys, as it was next to a small national park. The monkeys were always on the lookout for food so it was essential to keep our doors and windows closed. Fortunately, the local dogs kept the monkeys from staying too long on the ground so they didn't become troublesome.
By now, we realised that we were travelling too fast along the coast and would have to stop more often for longer to avoid getting to Pattaya too early. We therefore did a bit more exploring and investigated various dirt roads along the coast.
At one dead end track we found a very small fishing village with its own pier and small resort called "The pier". As usual we were the only visitors for the four days we stayed there. David went out on a boat for six hours squid fishing - but caught nothing - as usual. However he did have some success from the pier. The restuarant cooked the fish for us but it was mostly bones.
The map showed a small national park about 40 miles inland and this seemed a good diversion. After 40 miles of good country roads we arrived at the entrance, paid 8GBP each for entry plus a bit more for our bikes and another 16GBP for a pretty basic overnight cabin. The leaflets seemed to show a large wild part area with wild animals and birds. In reality, we were restricted to one path that followed a stream uphill via various waterfalls. All we saw was one dead snake and a pool crammed with so many fish that you could almost walk across on them. Only when the rainy season arrives will they be free to swim away.
We were also the only visitors while we were there demonstrating that others know something we didn't.
The south coast continued to be empty until Ban Phe where tourists took boats to stay on the tourist national park island of Ko Samet. Here, we broke our "no tourists spot" rule and took a boat to join the mostly foreign tourists on the island.
Samet is only about 10k long and less than 1k wide with a single dirt
road and tourist strip along one side. Prices are double those on the
mainland. We managed to find the only quiet spot and stayed for a week
in a wooden hut on the beach.
One day after coming in from the beach, David went into the rather dimly lit bathroom and Joan heard him yell as he dashed out again. "There is a bloody big snake in there!" he said. Plucking up some courage and a big stick he went back in to evict it, but although he tentatively identified it as a harmless rat snake, it was well over 8ft long, annoyed and aggressive. David took no chances, chickened out and sought help. The Thais wanted to kill it, but an Australian tourist volunteered to catch it saying he was used to dealing with snakes. He went in confidently and came out rather fast followed by an irate snake which eventually dashed for cover among some rocks. The Australian guy said it was the biggest rat-snake he had ever seen.
A very sad occurence was the disappearance of a Thai man of 27 who was last seen drinking a bottle of Whiskey on the rickety pier at 11pm one night. He didn't turn up the next morning. That evening his body was washed up on the shore only yards from where he was last seen.
On the way to Pattaya we found a few nice quiet spots and met many more 'farangs' or foreigners as this was now the Thai holiday area and Pattaya is rapidly being taken over by non Thais particularly Birtish, German and Russian.
Once in Pattaya we contacted Nick Halliwell who was once Marks employer and now lives and runs a computer business in Thailand. At present he is living in his house in Pattaya although his business is in Bangkok as he is having treatment for cancer and can work from home. We were warmly greeted and he organised for us to stay in a nice resort overlooking a large lake only a short distance from his home. His local knowledge was extremely useful to us in planning our exit from Thailand with two bikes in boxes. (which Nick got for us from a bike shop).
We have just arranged for us and our bikes to go to the airport in the resort owners pick-up.
David and Joan Wooldridge