Thailand West Coast, Satun to Ranong

Entering the country at Satun, we rode up the Thailand west coast to Ranong, paying visits to Ko Kradan, Krabi and Ko Phi Phi along the way before riding close to the Myanmar border in preparation to cross over the Thai peninsula to the east side.



Our ride descriptions give an account of the ride that we completed. As part of the description we also provide links to google maps and elevation profiles based on mapping data available through the internet. The ride profiles are smoothed to give what in our opinion is a more beneficial view of the profile. We use paper maps, GPS and on line data to plan and conduct our rides. We are happy for you to use our descriptions, but be aware that we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided as situations surrounding any ride change over time.

Thailand West Coast - Day 1 - Satun to Pak Bara

  • Distance           68km
  • Max Elevation    45m

Thailand West Coast - Satun to Pak Bara Ride Profile

Ride Description

As the time in Thailand is one hour ahead of Malaysia it was light by 6am and we should have been up and away in the cool of the morning. But we couldn't be a***d to get up that early and then by the time we'd had breakfast, searched for the post office and cash machine and topped-up the phone it was gone 9am. Just to prove the BBC weather forecast wrong, the sky was blue and the sun hot. 

At the start of our Thailand West Coast ride the road was flat, passing through palm oil, banana and rubber plantations interspersed with a few paddy fields. Initially it was a wide dual carriageway with a hard shoulder. Once we turned off towards Trang it was more variable, with some sections widened and re-surfaced and others still narrow and rough. However, the overwhelming impression during this our first full day of our Thailand West Coast ride was one of greater prosperity in the local population than we had experienced in Malaysia's countryside. 

The roads seemed to be in better condition. The houses seemed to be that bit better kept and people seemed more intent in their daily business. Of course such things are all relevant and by no means could this level of prosperity be compared to Europe or the USA. There are lots of road side vendors. For example this one selling petrol in plastic bottles.

Petrol SellerPetrol Seller

As the Thailand West Coast route took us into La Ngu we stopped for a Chinese noodle lunch and we were very aware that most of the signs were totally indecipherable. Usually we have managed to find one person that can speak some level of English. We asked ourselves how difficult will it be in rural China where the signs are unintelligible and nobody speaks even one word of English. We shall see! 

It was only 10km or so to Pak Bara, our Thailand West Coast destination for that day. It is a small fishing village and staging post for access to the Mu Ko Tarutao National Park comprising the Islands of Ko Taruato, Ko Adang, and the more famous Ko Lipe. Much as we were tempted by Ko Lipe, this was not in our sights. We planned to go to the Island of Ko Kradan further up the coast and possibly a couple of others. This was our first sighting of the so called "long tail" boats.

Longtail BoatsLongtail Boats

It is currently the off season so Pak Bara is very quiet. In fact I think we are the only travellers here today. We walked around the sleepy place trying to find improved sun hats for the bikes and looking at the boats on the river. 

We stayed at the Best House Resort, comprising a few small chalets around a fish pond for 45 baht (about GBP10) per night. According to Travelfish and Lonely Planet this seemed to be the best of the bunch in the village.

Monitor LizardMonitor Lizard

As the sun was setting we sat at one of the only open bars opposite the jetty. The local children were out enjoying playing football and cycling round the car park. Instead of the old jalopy type bikes common in Malaysia, these children had sparkling new mountain. 

It was a struggle to find anywhere open to eat but a walk up the road took us to a local eatery and a bit of basic Thai and sign language got us a dish of fried rice and chicken followed by roti bread with condensed milk and sugar for the princely sum of two pounds.

Motor Bike and SidecarMotor Bike and Sidecar

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Thailand West Coast - Day 2 - Pak Bara To Trang

  • Distance           118km
  • Max Elevation    65m

Thailand West Coast - Pak Bara To Trang Ride Profile

Ride Description

We both slept badly and were glad to get up at 6am. After a quick fruit and water breakfast we set off at 7am on our Thailand West Coast route. It was cool and pleasant and the traffic was light. We headed north through flat rubber and palm plantations. At Thung Wa we had a meal at a stall in the market. The ladies went all silly and giggly when faced with us non-Thai speakers. 

As the Thailand West Coast road continued north it started to climb into an area of karst hills and rainforest. There were more tall trees at the roadside providing shelter from the sun. There were several small roadside Buddhist shrines with novel decoration.

Bhuddist ShrineBhuddist Shrine

After climbing over a low col we rode along a river valley with towering limestone cliffs. 

Closer to Trang the terrain was flat and the Thailand West Coast road became a dual carriageway with heavier traffic. Just 11km from the town Karen rode over a shard of glass from a road accident which went through her back tyre and inner tube. The tyre split so we had to replace both when we arrived.

Zebra ShrineZebra Shrine

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Thailand West Coast - Day 3 - Trang to Ko Kradan

  • Distance           50km
  • Max Elevation    35m

Thailand West Coast - Trang to Ko Kradan Ride Profile

Ride Description

Today on our Thailand West Coast ride we decided to visit one of the 'mythical Trang islands'. Lonely Planet describes the island of Ko Kradan as a beauty queen, part of the Hat Chao Mai National Park. Because it has no permanent population and it is low season there are no regular boat services. We called Wally, the American owner of one of the resorts. He advised us we could get a boat from Kuantunguhu Pier. 

We set off with a vague idea of where we were going. The problem is the maps and the roadside signs do not always agree and sometimes the signs are in Thai. After an hour we stopped at a small roadside stall for a drink and do-nuts. The man who served us was busy mending his motorbike, which was in pieces in the middle of the floor. Several of his friends were sat around smoking and giving advice. As we left he was just touching up the paintwork with an aerosol spray. We could only imagine what effect the scene would have on a western 'Health and Safety' official. 

Our Thailand West Coast route continued following the signs to Pak Meng beach. There was a small turning signed 'Hat Koh Muk' and at the end of this road was a small harbour with a very small sign saying Kuantunghu Pier. On the way down we passed the local primary school. It was break time and they were all out in the playground. One of the groups of boys had a small bonfire and were poking it with sticks - can't imagine that in a British playground. 

At the harbour was a booking office but it was closed. Several locals were hanging around and Steve, in his best Thai, asked if there was a boat going to Koh Kradan.

Kuangtunghu PierKuangtunghu Pier

Luckily the man who he had picked out to ask spoke some English. He was just about to go over to the island in a small Long tail but warned us he had a lot of gear to load in the boat first. If we shared the boat with him it would cost 600 baht, to hire a boat just for us was 1200 baht. There was no choice, we crammed ourselves into the boat together with a large (new) septic tank, a huge tree in a pot, several other shrubs, various boxes and bags and two other passengers. 

Kuangtunghu PierKuangtunghu Pier

As the boat drifted away from the pier, it tilted alarmingly and Karen was convinced that it was about to turn turtle and tip us all into the water. 

Once the engine was running it seemed much more stable and the sea was very calm so the one hour journey to the island was uneventful. The boat ran onto the smooth pale coral sand and the water was beautifully clear. There were no other tourists around, the other few resorts on the island shut down in the rainy season. Plastic rubbish - bottles bags and polystyrene as well as a few more lethal things like light bulbs and fluorescent light tubes were spread all along the high tide mark.

Beach at Ko KradanBeach at Ko Kradan

Wally, the owner of the 'Paradise Lost' resort had said he would meet us with his tractor but he was not there. Following the directions of the boatman we rode up a dirt track from the beach to the cluster of stilt bungalows set around a lawn and surrounded by the tall jungle trees. Another family had just arrived also. Rob, Fiona and their young daughter, Simone, from Perth were backpacking around Thailand for two weeks. 

After lunch we walked along the beach to the next bay to snorkel on the reef. It had been described as 'the best in Thailand'. There were plenty of fish around but the variety was limited. The corals were pale and didn't appear to be growing. At dusk we all walked over to Sunset Beach to see the sun go down.

Sunset Beach Ko KradanSunset Beach Ko Kradan

Impressive though the sunset was, again there was an appalling amount of debris and rubbish strewn around the rocks.

Rubbish on Beach at Ko KradanRubbish on Beach at Ko Kradan

Paradise Lost certainly seemed to be an appropriate name. The food at the resort was very good, a mix of traditional Thai and western dishes, all cooked by Wally's partner Nuk.

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Thailand West Coast - Day 4 - Ko Kradan to Hat Pak Meng

  • Distance           17km
  • Max Elevation    30m

Thailand West Coast - Ko Kradan to Hat Pak Meng Ride Profile

Ride Description

In the morning we had to leave, the accommodation cost more than expected, the boat fares were costly and Steve had not really taken enough money with us. Rob and Fiona were also going back to the mainland so we were able to share the cost of the boat. This one was larger and faster than yesterdays and also cheaper.

Rob Fiona and SimoneRob Fiona and Simone

From the jetty our Thailand West Coast route took us north stopping at the nearest ATM as our cash was practically zero. The cash machine was just outside a very upmarket resort with two security guards and a high watchtower. Some very important people must holiday here. 

Our loose plan was to head to Hat Pak Meng jetty where we could get a boat to Koh Lantra and from there to Ko Phi Phi. This would save a 100km ride by road. The Langkawi and Kradan experiences had somewhat put us off going to the islands. Everything (quite rightly) costs at least 30% more and the impact of tourism changes the nature of the island and the reason that people went there in the first place. 

There was hardly any traffic on the Thailand West Coast road as we headed through the Hat Chao Mai National Park. The long beaches here are shaded by tall casuarina trees and were totally deserted. As we came round the curve of the bay we could see the huge karst rocky outcrops to the north of Pak Meng. This area of the coast was affected by the 2004 tsunami and a few derelict houses and uprooted trees still remain.

Pak MengPak Meng

Hat Pak Meng is very much a Thai tourist area with a lot of bungalow type resorts hidden in the trees and a strip of very good restaurants. There are tables with comfy cushions and umbrellas on the grass beside the beach and we enjoyed a great lunch and a beer.

Cafe on the Sea Front at Pak MengCafe on the Sea Front at Pak Meng

It was so nice here that it seemed pointless going further today. We booked into the 'Fisherman's Hut' resort which has about seven traditional style huts, all fitted out very luxuriously with huge comfy beds, crisp white sheets and lovely bathrooms. Outside was a small, shady deck with a comfy chair, a hammock and a fan - bliss. One night was never going to be long enough to appreciate this place so we booked in for two.

Fisherman´s Cottages Pak MengFisherman´s Cottages Pak Meng

To make Steve feel better about the shortage of ready cash on Ko Kradan, Karen had to own up to having left the passports at Paradise Lost. We both seem to be suffering from getting too laid back here in Thailand. Or is it just our age? A quick phone call by Joy, the bilingual, friendly receptionist and the lost passports were located and arrangements made to bring them over to the mainland the following morning. Joy even took Steve down to the jetty on her motorbike to collect them in the morning. 


The cost of a boat to Ko Lantra was 2,000 baht so we decided to give it a miss and cycle to Krabi and get a boat from there to Ko Phi Phi. 

In the evening we watched the sunset and dined at a local seafood restaurant. The waitress spoke good English. On the next table was a group of four male, Thai teachers who were in the area on some sort of conference. As they spoke only a little English and we spoke zero Thai, the waitress acted as our interpreter. They were drinking local whisky and water and so were already very talkative. We had a good laugh with them and they bought us a beer before we left.

Sunset at Pak MengSunset at Pak Meng

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Thailand West Coast - Day 5 - Hat Pak Meng to Krabi

  • Distance           101km
  • Max Elevation    45m

Thailand West Coast - Hat Pak Meng to Krabi Ride Profile

Ride Description

With another long day ahead a 7am start was needed for the next leg of our Thailand West Coast ride. We only had coconut biscuits and some sort of dried, semi crystallised vegetable fro breakfast. Outside the door of our cabin was this tree frog.

Tree FrogTree Frog

The Thailand West Coast route was flat but not particularly scenic once the road left the coastline. It was one of the hottest days so far and we had to stop frequently for food and drink breaks. There are not so many good roadside cafes in Thailand and tea and coffee are not so commonly available. We stopped at this place by the side of the busy road which seemed to have about 30 years of road grime over everything, but the food was tasty and the smiles were warm.

Greasy Spoon CafeGreasy Spoon Cafe

The Thailand West Coast road was busy with shiny SUV's, all loaded to capacity and beyond. Their contents were varied - mattresses, leather, furniture, cans of oil, groups of people, young families, even a water buffalo with a terrified look on its face. We were also passed by two separate groups of motorcyclists, one with a completely ineffective, but noisy police escort waving their arms a lot, but the traffic seemed to pay no attention. 

After a gruelling six hours we rolled into Krabi, hot, sweaty and road worn, stopping in the first bar that we found that sold beer. Good old LP came up trumps again and we checked into the Chan Cha Lay Guest house. The room was tastefully decorated in a blue and white maritime theme, with an external shower open to the stars. 

For dinner we walked to the night market by the river and had a lovely Thai feast.

Making PancakesMaking Pancakes

Later we walked up the hill to another night market with fair rides, side stalls, food stalls and other stalls selling the most fantastic locally made furniture.

Night Market Krabi

One group of young lads were doing break dancing for a few baht.

Break Dancing - Krabi Night MarketBreak Dancing - Krabi Night Market

Stalls offered all sorts of skewered food. Another stall sold all manner of cooked grubs and insects by the bag load. We didn't partake.

Grubs and Bugs Krabi Night MarketGrubs and Bugs Krabi Night Market

The next day we spent our time trying to decide whether to visit Railay and the island of Ko Phi Phi (pronounced Pee Pee). In the end we talked ourselves into forking out for a trip to both, leaving the bikes at the Guest house while we were away.

Day Off - Railey

Railay is a small peninsular on the Thailand West Coast just west of Krabi. Although it is part of the mainland it is only accessible by sea. As soon as we had booked the tickets for our four day boat trip the weather decided that it really was the monsoon season. Overnight it rained heavily and a strong north westerly wind buffeted the guest house. Steve's health also took a turn for the worst, developing a high temperature and a penchant for sitting on the toilet, so he was in no mood for a rough boat ride. 

Our long tail boat crew hardly looked old enough to be out of school let alone take seven limeys across the rough sea to Railay Bay. These boats ride over the waves rather than cutting through them and crash down hard into the troughs. It was an exhilarating, saturating forty minute ride. Arriving at low tide, necessitated a long wade through the shallow water to the shore with our luggage. Our first impressions were of a beautiful sheltered bay protected by towering karst cliffs and jungle clad slopes.

Railey WestRailey West

After checking into our accommodation and washing off the salt, we went to find lunch. Thinking that food would help, Steve ordered fried rice, took one mouthful and could eat no more. When he got up to go back to the hotel, he became very faint and nurse Karen ordered him to sit down. Good job, otherwise he would have fallen down. He spent the rest of the day in bed watching films on satellite TV. 

Next morning feeling much better he managed the full breakfast. The coffee was served with a novel milk jug.

Novel Milk JugNovel Milk Jug

We explored Railay and walked past the Rayavadee resort where rooms range from 600 to 1000 pounds per night and all access is protected by guards at the beach entrances and by monkeys along the perimeter fence.

Monkeys at RaileyMonkeys at Railey

With its huge Karst cliffs Railay is a climbers paradise. In the center of the peninsular is the old camp site from the days when climbers would come and pitch their tents to go climbing.

Ensuite ToiletsEnsuite Toilets

Whilst sitting on the beach of Tham Phra Nang bay, another rain storm came in. Running for cover we sought shelter under the cliffs by the famous Princess Cave.

Tham Phra Nang Bay RaileyTham Phra Nang Bay Railey

Local folklore believes that an Indian Princess was shipwrecked off the beach and her spirit lives in the cave. Local fishermen bring offerings of phallus' to get her blessing for a good catch.

Tham Phra NangTham Phra Nang

At the same time a film crew were sheltering, but continued their shoot under cover of the cliffs. They were making a Singha beer advert, using some American students as models. The director wanted the perfect shot of a beautiful,young woman opening a can of Singha. This took many takes, each one resulting in another opened but full can. The spectators, us included both helped to finish them off. Steve managed to get a snap also.

Photo Shoot Singha BeerPhoto Shoot Singha Beer

That evening we chatted to an Australian and his Italian partner who lived and worked in Islamabad for the UN. As we finished our meal, who should walk in but Rob, Fiona and Simone that we had met on Ko Kradan.

Day Off - Ko Phi Phi

Next morning there were a lot of people to catch the boat to Ko Phi Phi. We all loaded onto long tails to connect with the high speed ferry in deeper water. The boat was late and we bobbed around for about 15 minutes before it arrived. It was then a bit of a scramble with everyone's luggage being thrown hand to hand onto the deck. One bag made a leap for freedom and got a drenching in the sea.

Ko Phi Phi DonKo Phi Phi Don

It was a windy crossing, but better than on a long tail. As we rounded the headland, coming into Ton Sai Bay we were struck by the enormous number of long tail and large speed boats. It was like arriving at a busy airport. Porters held hotel signs, meeting passengers. Touts sold accommodation, tours and water taxi rides. Gift shops selling all the essentials of "the beach holiday" lined the narrow, badly kept streets.

Ko Phi Phi HarbourKo Phi Phi Harbour

Our porter loaded the bags onto his trolley and we followed him through the maze of manic streets to find the Tropical Garden Bungalows. The place was a ramshackle affair of multi tiered rooms and log cabins spreading up the hillside, culminating in a murky and uninviting swimming pool at the top. The walls of the apartments were so thin that we could hear every word spoken in the next door room.

Ko Phi Phi LeyKo Phi Phi Ley

We had taken an early dislike to the town. The block paved pedestrian streets had recently been dug up to replace services. The trenches had been refilled with sand but the loose paving blocks were piled at the sides together with rubbish and building materials. Dirty water flowed over in some parts and the frequent heavy rain turned the whole thing into a quagmire with huge puddles. As the only route through the town it was heaving with tourists, locals, bicycles and porters with trolleys. It felt like a medieval back street.

Pot Holed Streets in Ko Phi Phi

The town was full of young backpackers drinking out of plastic toy buckets with straws. "buckets" (usually a can of coke and bottle of local rum) for just 100baht. Beach parties were in full swing into the earlier hours and everywhere there was the sound of loud music and drunken people. Just like the worst of Ibiza. Horrible. Despite the music booming from the bar nearby, we did mange to sleep reasonably well. Even though we were not enamoured with the place we resolved to stay and give it a chance. 

The following day the town seemed much quieter as though most of the party set had moved on. We got up early and climbed the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the two bays. It looked beautiful in the early morning sunshine. A picture of the same view, showing the devastation just after the 2004 Tsunami, was quite sobering. Over the hill the path continued down a steep, slippery and muddy path to reach Rantee bay. It was difficult to decide which was the greater hazard, tripping over the tree roots and rocks, slipping on the wet clay slope, being savaged by the innocent looking but thorny foliage or bitten to death by the clouds of mosquitoes.

Ko Phi Phi DonKo Phi Phi Don

The assault course was worth it. At the bottom there was a beach of lovely white sand with a small bar, where we rented snorkelling gear. The snorkelling was almost as dangerous as the walk to get there. Speed boats and long tails all carrying crowds of snorkelers zoomed in and out of the bay. While there was some reef just offshore, there was no attempt to protect it or the safety of swimmers and snorkelers in the area. 

Rather than climb back up the steep hill we got a water taxi back. There were four people on the beach who had booked a taxi for 2pm and agreed a charge of 600baht. By the time it came there were nine passengers, The ticket lady was adamant that everyone must pay 150 baht each, making the total cost of the boat 1,350 baht. After a lot of haggling she reluctantly dropped to 100 baht each.

The second night we went out on the town, eating, drinking and trying to emulate the youngsters. Despite trying really hard and watching the Tour de France on the TV we were still ready for bed by 11pm. Unfortunately the music volume was worse. Steve wore his super earplugs and slept. Karen did a lot of sudoku. The music may have been 'trance' but it didn't have this effect on her.

My Sexy LoverMy Sexy Lover

Heavy rain was falling at dawn and continued for most of the day. The ferry back to Krabi was delayed by 30 mins and the passengers were expected to wait in the rain on the jetty. The ferry terminal on the mainland is about 5km away from Krabi town and we had got a 'joint' ticket, meaning that it should include transport back to town. But there was no bus and everyone we asked just tried to sell us a taxi ride at 150 baht. Eventually we found a van at only 50 baht but the locals only paid 30.

Krabi Traffic LightsKrabi Traffic Lights

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Thailand West Coast - Day 6 - Krabi to Phang Nga

  • Distance           89km
  • Max Elevation    95m

Thailand West Coast - Krabi to Phang Nga Ride Profile

Ride Description

Even as we woke this morning it was still raining and it seemed as though the rainy season was well established. The online weather forecast indicated pretty much the same weather for the next 7 days and feeling a bit down, we wondered what we would do if it kept on like this. 

After a delicious bacon and egg breakfast, we listened to the woes of three young male students trying to sort out their bus trip to Surat Thani, which should have been at the hotel to pick them up at 7-30am. It was now nearly nine and it still hadn't arrived. We felt aggrieved that we had paid over the odds for our boat tickets, but these poor lads had each paid out 450 baht (about us$15) to a bogus agent on the street. They would have to pay up again. 

The rain stopped and we were on the Thailand West Coast road before 9-00am, but expecting at least one drenching during the day. As it was we had no rain until after reaching our destination. Once out of the Krabi suburbs the Thailand West Coast route was on highway 4 heading north. While the road was fairly busy, the scenery was stunning as it wound through impressive karst formations, like giants teeth protruding from the jungle. Before long we stopped for a drink at the 'Cabbages and Condoms' restaurant which guarantees "our food will not make you pregnant".

Cabbages and CondomsCabbages and Condoms

We bought a couple of their novel drink coasters.

Cabbages and CondomsCabbages and Condoms

Approaching Ao Luk the valley narrowed and the Thailand West Coast road squeezed its way through high karst cliffs in both sides. Turning west off highway 4 we stopped for lunch before heading out of the town north along the old main road towards Thap Put. 

Along the Thailand West Coast route there were several signs to different caves, but rarely was the distance indicated so we had ignored them. Eventually there was one that was only 2km off the road. We rode down the concrete road waving and saying hello to all the locals along the way. The cave was at the base of a huge rocky cliff, by the side of a small pond crowded with lilies.

LiliesLilies

There was also a shrine there where the local Buddhists made offerings to some spirit or other. As always you can't get away from people and a young man had followed us down on his motorbike accompanied by a little boy on a small pedal cycle. They were just curious about us,something that happens frequently.

Cave ShrineCave Shrine

One thing we have seen lots of in this area of Thailand particularly is ice cream sellers slowly cycling along the road and stopping at peoples houses. We had to partake of a couple of cornets for just 20 Baht. 

Thailand, unlike all the other countries we have travelled through so far has very little road kill on its roads. The drivers here will go to great lengths to avoid even small birds. The only casualties are small snakes sunning themselves on the hard shoulder. Today Karen spotted the biggest dead snake, about 7ft long, curled up in the middle of the road. Its girth was equal to a grown man's arm. Steve was concentrating on a procession of people in a couple of truck, playing instruments and banging drums, so missed it. 

Phang Nga spreads along a narrow valley flanked by towering karst formations and although the town itself is nothing special it surroundings are spectacular. While looking the the Phang Nga Inn suggested by Lonely Planet we were shouted to from another accommodation and the guy came out to solicit our business. We got a decent room for 400 baht (less than US$15). 

On a street running parallel to the main road was a food market with all manner of fish, meat and fruit and vegetables that we don't see in the west. We resolved to call in before we left the next day.

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Thailand West Coast - Day 7 - Phang Nga to Takua Pa

  • Distance           68km
  • Max Elevation    160m

Thailand West Coast - Phang Nga to Takua Pa Ride Profile

Ride Description

At last the rain clouds cleared and the sun shone all day. After six days off and a long day yesterday it was difficult to get out of bed this morning. Just for a change, breakfast was chicken rice. This was followed by another walk around the fascinating market. We purchased bananas for the journey and marvelled at the huge array of beautiful, unrecognisable fish on display. 

We knew little about our Thailand West Coast route today, but the hotel owner had assured us that it was not very hilly. It was nice to be in a more rural area with very quiet roads and apart from one reasonable climb the terrain was as our friend had said it would be. It was hot though and we had to stop frequently for water. The Thailand West Coast road followed a pretty valley, the lower slopes being largely rubber and palm plantation, giving way to original jungle above. 

Just after the Thailand West Coast watershed we stopped at a cafe for refreshment before the cooling breeze of our descent. The Thailand West Coast ride was uneventful and before 1-00pm we were sitting in the central food hall in Takua Pa, eating a delicious pad Thai. It was then time for a look for a hotel. This was easier said than done. We had not seen any accommodation as we rode into town, so carried on until we found a typical Thai tourist office. Its a good place to go to cool down in the air conditioned office and to buy touristy gifts, but as for help with accommodation they are useless. 

We continued out of town, heading south along the Thailand West Coast road in the opposite direction that we needed to be going and after another twenty minutes we found a nice motel with newly built and furnished bungalows. 

Being Sunday, most of the restaurants were shut in the evening. We walked along the road in the dark towards the only lights. It was a very local eatery, with a guess and point menu. We got two dishes, a lovely spicy seafood and a 'pig' (the only english word the waitress knew) one. It was a bit questionable what part of a pig it was- a very chewy part.

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Thailand West Coast - Day 8 - Takua Pa to Khuraburi

  • Distance           56km
  • Max Elevation    110m

Thailand West Coast - Takua Pa to Khuraburi Ride Profile

Ride Description

Our accommodation proved comfortable. The only slight disturbance was the children in the apartment next door who awoke at about 6-30 and didn't spare their vocal exercises. Both of us have a mild viral infection and feeling a bit rough so it was almost nine before we got on the road. 

As we cycled up the lane towards the Thailand West Coast road we both felt sorry for a canine bitch that was clearly on heat and had most of the dogs in the neighbourhood sniffing around and generally making her life hell. Riding back into Tuaka Pa we found a hotel, just 500m from the tourist office where we had been the day before. The sign on the dual carriageway was only visible coming from the south. 

For breakfast there was a real coffee house where we had one of our best breakfasts yet. Fresh fruit and yoghurt, waffles and honey and real arabic coffee. Yummy! 

Once we had turned off the main Tuaka Pa to Surat Thani on the Thailand West Coast road, heading north, things were a lot quieter. We were starting to head into reputedly one the the most remote areas of Thailand close to the Myanmar border. We were travelling between the jungle covered mountains of the Khao Sok National Park, home to the few surviving wild elephants, tigers and rhino in Thailand, on the right and the distant Andaman coast line on the left. The scenery varied between jungle and plantation as it rolled gently with only a few modest climbs along the Thailand West Coast road. 

This temple was one of the more unusual ones, not particularly grand but had these totem poles in front more typical of Burmese style temples and...

TempleTemple

this odd looking edifice, (not quite sure what it is for).

Temple EdificeTemple Edifice

The total distance from Tuaka Pa to Ranong is 175 km, but the only obvious place to stay in between is Khuraburi at only 57km, meaning that the following day would be a long day indeed, but heck we've done 100+km days before. 

There were several resorts approaching Khuraburi, but we rode past them all in favour of more central accommodation. One of them had the rather grand name of "Khuraburi - on - See, which we thought was another typical Thai spelling mistake until we realised that it was a German run resort.

Khuraburi On SeeKhuraburi On See

By now we were both feeling a little hypo. We found a great little road side stall selling wonderful chicken rice. Revived we pressed on into the town and as fate would have it we found the Tarinin River Side Huts for just 500baht per night. The huts stand on stilts by the side of the river and were clean and had aircon, so we settled in for an early finish.

KhuraburiKhuraburi

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Thailand West Coast - Day 9 - Khuraburi to Ranong

  • Distance           115km
  • Max Elevation    78m

Thailand West Coast - Khuraburi to Ranong Ride Profile

Ride Description

The morning was cool and we got an early start on the Thailand West Coast ride opting to have breakfast on the road. The way was much hillier than it had been of late. After an hour we came across a typical roadside cafe with a couple of pans of steaming food. These places are always a bit of a lottery. i.e. you never know quite what you are going to get. This one was at the lower end of the scale. As the lady took the lids off Steve's heart sank. The first was some dried fish in a curry type source with green leaves, but it was mostly bones. The other a thin broth with celery like chunks in it and some pork bones but no meat. It was the least appetising meal we had eaten, but needs must. We had to stop later to fill the gaps with some bananas. 

A little further along the Thailand West Coast was a signpost to a Tsunami Museum. It was just a small room in the village community centre. This part of Thailand West Coast was one of the worst affected by the Tsunami, being close to and in direct line from Banda Ache where the epicentre was. There were many deaths in the small fishing villages along the coast as well those fisherman out fishing at the time. There were harrowing video testimonies from some of the villagers. 

The Thailand West Coast road rolled up and down between the high mountains on the right and the sea on the left, although we were not close enough to see it. It was hot but there was thankfully quite a bit of shade provided by the trees at the roadside. The Thailand West Coast road continued through lots of small villages where the hard shoulder was covered with grasses and reeds drying in the sunshine for thatching, baskets and broom making. 

Lunch in Kapoe was a better experience than breakfast. They even had an English menu, made very simple because the only served four dishes, but the crispy pork was wonderful. The road was a lot flatter after lunch but the sun was intense. Just as Steve was praying for an ice cream seller, one appeared from a side road and we stopped for refreshment. 

As we continued along the Thailand West Coast road and got closer to Ranong the mountains became a rocky escarpment with two impressive waterfalls tumbling down the side of the rock face. 

Ranong was manic. Riding through the centre of the town all of the school children were being dropped off and people were piling into the local buses. Finding our accommodation, the Sutra Bungalows was straightforward and after such a long day we couldn't wait to wash off the grime of the road. 

The town is the place where ex-pats go to cross the border into Myanmar and come back again to renew their visas. There are quite a few western style bars and restaurants and the place has a slightly ex-pat vibe. 

Our ride up the Thailand West Coast was complete and tomorrow we would cross the Peninsular over to the east side.

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