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Published 7:16 am, 28 Mar 2015
AROUND CHANTABURI - PHLIO WATERFALL, LAEM SING & CHAO LAO BEACHES
The next day was a huge ride, first south to Nam Tok Phlio (Phlio waterfall) which is a really nice spot with streams and swimming holes that are just loaded with fish, that WILL take a little nibble at you, in amongst beautiful jungle.
There is a moss covered chedi along the way, built in 1876 to honour the place King Rama V would take his main squeeze, and future queen, for courtship. Of course the main attraction is the waterfall which is nice enough, once again huge numbers of fish swimming around in the cool, crystal clear water.
You can buy bags of long beans to feed the fish with along the way which is great fun as they scramble over the top of each other for a snack, not as amusing when your swimming with them and people are throwing all the beans right at you!
From here we headed further south and to the coast, which we then gradually followed north past Laem Sing and up to Chao Lao, making frequent stops for refreshments and to take in the great views. Not the most spectacular beaches by any means, but I loved them and the whole area, barely a tourist in sight and miles of deserted coastline to enjoy. But soon it was time to head back to town.
We covered a lot of miles, lots of funky little fishing villages interspersed with canals and inlets, a few beach front stalls with cold drinks and fresh seafood, there is even a small forest park along the way and the whole area just has an attractive charm to it. For a quiet beach getaway, it hits the spot just nicely.
There are quite a few other attractions around the place but they would have to wait for next trip, after the big day we'd had it was another great night back at Wang Phla with dinner and drinks on the balcony, while we all took turns stirring the fish into a feeding frenzy with the little pellets they sell there.
Next day we took the bikes to the mini bus station and organized for them to follow us to the bike rental shop, once again to save on any taxi fares, and that was no problem. A mini bus back to Pattaya was cheap, can't remember exactly, and took under 3 hours.
A fantastic break away and so close to Pattaya, I can see many future trips here on the bike, the whole coastline from Sattahip, Rayong etc all the way around is really nice and generally very quiet.
Published 6:16 am, 28 Mar 2015
KOH CHANG TO CHANTABURI
It was time to leave Koh Chang though unfortunately, and we hopped the ferry across to the mainland, the price including a mini bus trip to Chantaburi where we would stay a couple of nights.
According to all the info I could find online, the only place to get rental bikes here is through a small laundry shop, so with the help of the girls we organized for 3 bikes to be waiting and our driver took us there... eventually. It is a hard place to find, even though we had the boss talking to our mini bus driver by phone.
"Motorbikes can be rented from a man named Jong, who runs a small laundry shop on Tha Chalaep Soi 8 near Burapha University. It's not easy to find, so Jong encourages travellers to call him at (081) 853 1763, and he will deliver the bike(s) to anywhere in town. The cost is 300 baht per day. If wanting someone else to handle it, River Guest House can make arrangements for you. "
The driver then took the girls to our intended accommodation for the night while we followed on bikes, once again another hard to find place, Wang Phla Resort. A really nice place with excellent over-water bungalows all the way around a huge pond that was just teeming with large fish, though unfortunately you aren't allowed to fish here...
The rooms were really nice and great value at 500bt, with a small balcony you can relax on and feed the fish from. The menu was a little expensive, but we just got food from nearby and all had a couple of beers and relaxed a little before hitting the road and doing some exploring on the bikes.
Wang Phla Resort
It was quite a big afternoon on the scooters, exploring some of the coast and then night markets, before kicking on back at Wang Phla after eventually finding our way back, it proved quite tricky actually and we were getting a little worried!
Snaps from our first afternoon
Mmmmm... delicious! Back home - bait, Thailand - dinner!!
I just want ONE cast!!
Published 2:43 am, 27 Mar 2015
TRIP TO KOH CHANG
I cheated a little on this one as I had 2 mates coming that had never ridden bikes in Thailand and were not comfortable making the trip down there, which is fair enough, so we took the mini bus from Pattaya and ferry across to Koh Chang for 550 bt ($20 AU) a person through 35 Group on 3rd road near Pattaya Tai.
A very painless process that only took a few hours and we had the whole mini bus to ourselves, after leaving the ferry the mini bus then drops you in Haad Sai Khao where we easily grabbed some bikes for 200 bt a day. I would definitely use their services again.
Once on the island the boys were given clear instructions that we WOULD be riding scooters here and it was a good place for them learn.
We stayed at Blue Lagoon in the Khlong Prao Beach area for the first 3 nights, a great place at decent prices, set in beautiful surrounds including wooden walkways over a crystal clear lagoon inlet, bungalows right on the water, with the added bonus of sharing a great beach with the neighbouring Centara Resort. We loved it here and had some great times on the beach at night with huge spreads of food and drink.
Another mate, Danca from my Isaan trips, also turned up later the first evening after making the trip on his Honda Phantom 200 and there were many beers and much food harmed during our stay. We also covered as much of the island as possible on the bikes, exploring everywhere we could.
We decided it was time for a location change though for our last night, or maybe Blue Lagoon were booked out and we had to leave..? Either way we ended up at Mam Kai Bae and lashed out 1500 bt for a great room with sea views and rooftop pool. The beach there was nice also.
Mam Kai Bae Resort, our balcony
View from the rooftop pool
Porn's Bungalows looked great, slightly run down, but amazing location with your balcony sitting right over the ocean and with cheap prices, they were fully booked but I will certainly check them out next trip.
We rode all round the island, hiked to waterfalls, partied and had a great time, Koh Chang has definitely become one of my new favourite spots, though having a great group of mates there made a huge difference.
Koh Chang - a place you could go solo, with mates, take the family or your girlfriend, something for everyone.
Around the island
This is the view from one of our favourite restaurants on the island
An apparently abandoned resort, of which we found a few
Our 'secret' waterfall, pictures do not do it justice. Was just an amazing little afternoon swimming hole with a couple of beers
Published 3:07 am, 1 Mar 2015
SARABURI AND 'HOME' AGAIN
Time to get this little chapter finished, though there isn't much left to tell. From Nakhon Sawan we continued further south to Noi's hometown of Saraburi and spent a couple of days there visiting her family.
There is a great night market in Saraburi on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with some great and really cheap shopping, but not a whole lot else to do in the town itself. We have visited previously and checked out the waterfalls and surrounding areas, but this trip was all about seeing her family and then getting home.
By this time we were getting really slack, no photos and I can't even find the place we stayed at, though Noi tells me it was called Pai Tawan Hotel/Apartments, a really large room actually with a small kitchen and would be great for longer stays. 500 baht a night.
After 2 nights here we made our final run for home and took some obscure route through rural farmland, but it gave us a more direct and shorter path. A shortish day on the bike in comparison to the rest of the journey, but we were more than happy to be home.
It had been an amazing journey, we had traveled far and wide, had great adventures, seen so many incredible places, endured the Myanmar bus journey's and horrendous roads and were fortunate enough to visit some of the most spectacular ancient sites in SE Asia.
We had spent countless hours on the scooter going from town to town, never bored with the surrounding beautiful and varied landscapes, sometimes feeling like a holiday, other times feeling like hard work - but it was all worth it for the incredible places we had been.
The scooter journey alone took us along nearly 5000 km of Thailand roads and sometimes dirt tracks, and I have no idea how far we had been through Myanmar, but we sure covered some ground there also.
I previously stated that I didn't see Myanmar as a 'definite go back to' country, after re-reading my own stories and reliving the memories, I would have to dismiss that comment. I loved it and could easily go back any time.
Thailand as always, was incredible to travel, you couldn't possibly have a bad time anywhere traveling here. Nearly everything is cheap and easy and there is always something interesting to see or do, for the backpacker or the 5 star holiday maker.
Published 4:45 am, 16 Feb 2015
A NEAR DISASTER ON THE ROAD TO NAKHON SAWAN
So today the plan was to head for Ayutthaya but bloody hell did we have an interesting trip… About an hour and a half from Sukhothai and fairly well in the middle of nowhere, the rim I mentioned earlier that was cracked, actually shattered while we were hurling along at 100km/hour. I heard it go and my worst fear of the trip and something that had been playing on my mind a lot, was suddenly VERY real. Instantly the ass end of the bike was almost parallel with me as it slipped, grinded and chewed it’s way back and forth across the bitumen, meanwhile we are still at near full speed.
No way was I going to touch the brakes in this situation, that’s when you really get in the shit, you just have to try and hold it, keep your cool and pray to whoever it is that you believe in.
We were literally sideways and almost fully leant right over, from one side to another, the bike violently lurching around as the rim caught the bitumen, us being dragged along with it careening down the road still going way too fast, the threat of being thrown off increasing with each new wild skid.
I was just hanging on for dear life and using everything I had to keep us upright, bearing in mind that we were doing 100km/hour at the time and I just had to play it until we had lost enough speed.
Although I somehow managed to stay calm, probably too many times sideways and upside down on my bikes and in cars previously, I seriously thought we were gonna die or at the very least, both be suffering some serious broken bones and some nasty injuries. If we had of gone over at any point I have no doubt we would be dealing with one of these outcomes. When I finally pulled the bike to a halt, I just couldn’t believe that we were alive or in one piece, honestly I’m still scratching my head as to how I’m even sitting here typing now. Buddha must be looking out for one of us for sure. 2 Thai guys in one of those cab-less trucks were right behind us and saw the whole thing happen and they pulled up looking like farangs – white as a ghost and eyes as big as dinner plates! They couldn’t believe it either and were telling Noi that as soon it started, they both said to each other ‘these 2 are going to die together’.
They couldn’t help as they had a full load of rice in the back, but actually came back about 30 minutes later and we were still there. They were still shaking their heads in disbelief, but smiling and giving me the thumbs up saying in Thai that I 'number 1 for ride motorbike '!!
By this time Noi had got in touch with the Kampheng Phet police, who sent the local guy out to pick us up in his ute and he arrived at the same time as the rice farmers that had come back to help us out. The ute was easier to put the bike on to so we cruised into town (still no idea what name it was, near Sai Ngam) on the back of the police ute and went to get repairs. 3400 baht later (around $140 au) I had 2 brand new rims and tyres on the bike and we were good to go. In the meantime I had become something of a local legend already and word had spread about the crazy farang who had looked death in the face and said ‘not today’! Everybody wanted to see us, the bike, the rim and hear the story from the guys who had seen it, who had also followed us into town through sheer curiosity! Yep, there will be campfire stories for a couple of weeks I’m sure about that bloody lucky farang who Buddha must be looking out for!
The culprit. Let that be a warning, don't put it off if you see any damage to your rims
Just to kick me in the balls further, about 2 hours up the shitty, rough road, I dented the new rim already and blew a tube, having to get more repairs done and another 150 baht! Just one of those days and we both agreed that we should stop in Nakhon Sawan for the night. Oh and we bought lotto tickets at the gas station! Yep, crazy day if I’ve ever had one, I still can’t believe how close we were to a really serious incident, but glad I have the experience on a bike to have avoided a terrible outcome. That was seriously one of the closest calls I think I've had....
Even this guy got pictures of me on his phone!
Very little to report from Nakhon Sawan, a fairly busy little city and actually great timing for us as it is apparently one of the best places to be in Thailand for Chinese New Year celebrations. The streets were certainly alive with shopping, food, lanterns, entertainment and festivities, a great but busy vibe about the place and the market shopping was super cheap.