Singapore Southern Thailand Singapore

Discussion in 'Central Western Thailand Road Trip Reports' started by Murphy, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Going from Singapore to Hatyai to Trang to Krabi to Phuket to Samui to Nakhon Si Thammarat to Songkhla to KL and back to Singapore.
    Making the trip from 16th to 31st July.
    Will post trip report when back
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  3. Peter Hooper

    Peter Hooper Ol'Timer

    Hi Murphy,
    What sort of bike are you riding, are you going alone, do you have people to see on the way ?
    Thanks again for the advice on Singapore trains,

    "The Journey is the Destination"
  4. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Riding a Vara 1K. Parts of it will be alone due to no shows by some. Might be meeting some at Samui.
  5. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Well its been 2 weeks since I have returned and am finally able to get down to compiling my maiden trip report. Due to rainy weather and leaking Map bag most of the compiled route details were destroyed will try to recall as much as possible
    Route : Singapore, Malaysia, Songkhla, Satun, Trang, Krabi, Phang Na, Phuket, Phang Na, Surat Thani, Krabi, Trang, Songkhla, Malaysia and back to Singapore
    Total Distance covered : 4208 Km
    Total duration : 16th July 2005 to 31st Jule 2005
    Photos at :
    Oh yeah by the way, kindly email me if there are any requests for photographs as I believe that it is not free to download directly from the website at high resolution.
    Day 1 16th July 2005
    Route taken : Malaysia E2, E6 and E1 Thailand Route 4
    Distance covered = 890Km
    Time Taken approx= 10 hours inclusive of fuel stops along the way
    Crossed the Singapore Malaysia Border at the 2nd link at 0000 (Sing time)
    Travelled along the E2 highway until EXIT 214 (abt 280Km) from border.
    Encountered heavy rains throughout most of the way.
    Well so much for a good start to the holiday
    Turned out at Exit 214 and followed E6 highway(abt70Km) all the way to E1 highway.
    Along the E1 encountered fog on the way up to the Menora Tunnel in the hills of Perak
    Was really freezing by then despite the Dainese Goretex Suit.
    The rest of the route was misty thanks to the earlier rains
    As dawn broke, was kamikazed by hordes of insects all the while trying to avoid smashing into birds
    Finally reached the Thai Malaysia border at Bukit Kayu Hitam at abt 0900(Sing time)
    Crossed the Malaysian Side of the border without a hitch and procceeded to purchase Third Party Bike Insurance at the Duty Free Complex on the Left.
    Was deliberating whether to purchase the 1 year or 19 days cover.
    Well common sense got into me and paid RM 50 fro the 19 day one
    Proceeded to Thai Customs crossed it and travelled another 80+Km to Hatyai, Songkhla province along Route 4. Reached Hatyai at about 0900 (Thai Time)
    Met up with 2 friends from Singapore who had ridden up 1 day earlier.
    The original plan was to continue up to Krabi but thanks to the weather encountered along the journey decided to stay over and show the guys around as I have been to Hatyai before.
  6. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Day 2 17th July 2005

    Starting Point : Hatyai
    Destination : Krabi Town
    Route taken : 414, 4, 406, 4137, 416, 404, Trang, 4046, 4 and 411

    Distance covered approx = 330Km
    Time Taken approx = 9 hours
    including visit to Wat Tham Suea as well as lunch in Trang

    Woke up early and checked out at about 830AM(Thai Time)
    Had breakfast at my favourite place in Hatyai and proceeded on my journey to Trang at about 930AM
    Entered Route 414 to the North of Hatyai via Niphat Songkhrao 1 Road
    Following the Signboard Pix At ... edf0.phtml
    Road Guide To Krabi Pix 1,2,3,4,5,6,6b,7 and 8,
    eventually entered Trang at Ratsada Road passing by some petrol kiosks along the way.
    Followed the road signs and turned left towards the Municipal Office in Pix 9a
    Just in front of the Municipal Office was the Clock Tower junction in Pix 9c
    Turned right at this Junction and had lunch at a small shop opposite the office in Pix 9f Visetkun Road.Followed Signboard just in front in Pix 9h out of Trang
    Thought it was a straight road out but it was not spent quite abit of time before eventually finding Signboard in Pix 10 along Route 403 Kantang Road I think
    Passed by road sign in Pix 11 a few kilometers away and knew I was on the right track again.
    Followed the Road Signs Road Guide to Krabi Pix 12 and 13 all the way to Junction to Wat Tham Suea(Tiger Cave Temple)
    Passed by road sign in Pix 14 as well as the districts of Khlong Thom followed by Nuea Khlong along the way. Turned right at Junction to Wat Tham Suea. Travelled about 2-3Km along the road before arriving at the gates at about 3pm.
    Pix of the temple is available in the albums
    Krabi Part 2 ... edf0.phtml
    and Krabi Part 3 ... edf0.phtml.
    Spent about 45 minutes wandering around the temple grounds and mulling over whether to climb the stairs to the top of the cliff.
    Read from Lonely Planet Guidebook that the views on top were spectacular.
    Unable to pack Jacket into the Top Box as it was full after chucking in the map bag and helmet.
    Shit bad mistake as I later realised should have tried harder to squeeze everything in.
    Spent 1 hour climbing up with many rest stops along the way.
    Halfway through the climb, the jacket was starting to feel like a ton of bricks.
    What drove me despite a swollen right ankle was the views along the way as well as my ego coz I had seen some young kids and young at heart coming down.
    Spent about half an hour at the top before making my way to the base of the steps in another half an hour.
    After reaching the bottom saw another flight of stairs nearby leading to a series of caves.
    However by then was too fatigued to attempt and the sky was slowly getting dark too as it was about 530pm. Well another time perhaps.
    Followed the same road out and turned right at the junction towards Krabi.
    Just a few kilometers away was the Junction in Pix 15 of the Route Guide.
    Turned left towards Route 411 Krabi.
    Was greeted by the sight of Krabi River along Uttarakit Road opposite a ESSO Petrol Kiosk.
    Pix at ... id=3549870 Krabi Town (001-008a)
    Proceeded to check out the accomodation available and decided on City Hotel along Maharat Soi 10. Small but pretty decent room at BHT 600 per night.
    Took a quick shower and had dinner at the food market on the opposite side of the road. One of the food stall owners started talking to me in rapidfire Thai He had probably mistaken I was Khun Thai as I am Chinese and quite tanned HA. They were probably more used to Western tourists. Whipped out the trusty phrasebook and replied Pom Mai Kao Jai ( I do not understand) Khun nit noy thai ( I understand a liitle Thai) Khun Singapore(from Singapore) from then on he proceeded to speak to me in broken english. He was trying to figure out why I was alone in Krabi Town and how I got there. Was pretty surprised that I rode a bike up solo from Singapore. Had a nice dinner of rice with chicken drumstick and vegetables for about BHT 50 including a bottle of Pepsi. Thanked him and proceeded to explore the town. Well the town was pretty dead to me except for a small night market along Chaofa Road. Bought a cap there as I had forgotten to pack one from Singapore and proceeded back to the Hotel for the night.
  7. burn jr

    burn jr Member

    murphy nice trip and picture email
    [email][/email] bro

  8. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Hi burnjr thanks for the compliment. Hope I have not bored you to death with the lengthty trip report. Will edit them asap
  9. burn jr

    burn jr Member

    murphy is ok and fine for me aas a biker is nice...unless the person is novelly then defrrent....hope to c u soon.
    can u give me ur contact number in Spore....what i heard spart part is cheaper in spore..

  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    No need to edit mate. Its a good informative report for fellow bikers. That's how it went, what you saw, did & felt about the trip - just what we want. Now some other bikers will know & maybe do the same or a similar trip. Thanks & keep em coming in.

    Keep The Power On
  11. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Day 3 18th July 2005

    Starting Point : Krabi Town
    Destination : Ao Nang(Phranang Bay)
    Route taken : 4200, 4034, 4204, 4203
    Distance covered approx = 20Km
    Time Taken approx = 1 hour
    including visits to Wat Kaew Grovaram and Wat Sai Thai

    Woke up early at 7AM as original plan was to visit Ao Nang, Phang Na and ride into Phuket. However changed my mind later upon discovering the beauty of Ao Nang.
    Walked around Krabi Town to take in the sights in daylight as well as to hunt for breakfast. Pix at ... edf0.phtml
    Krabi Town Pix 9,10,10a 11,12.
    Found a chicken rice stall that was opened along Thanon Preuska Uthit, between Maharat Soi 6 and Soi 10. Took a look inside and saw typical Chinese prayer altars. After the meal, chatted with the owner and found out that he is a Thai Chinese, Teochew Dialect if I remember correctly, and that his family has been there for generations. The chicken rice was quite delicious by the way but unfortunately the all important condiment of chilli with ginger was not up to standard.
    Returned to the Hotel to check out and was delayed for a bit when the reception insisted that a bath towel was missing. Refused to pay for it and offered to let them check my luggage instead. After they did a brief check, was allowed to be on my way. Decided to visit Wat Kaew Grovaram along Issara Road, nothing much to see there.Krabi Town Pix 13,13a,13b. Rode back to Maharat Soi 10 as the map showed a through road to Route 4200 via Hemthanon Road. Reached the Left turn junction to 4034 but decided to top up petrol at the Shell station instead. Made a U-turn further up. Turned right at junction
    Pix at ... id=3566167 Pix 016
    A few KM down the road was Wat Sai Thai along the way passing by some small limestone hills right beside the road
    Pix at ... id=3549870
    Road Guide to Krabi Pix 20,20a,20b
    From then on followed the road signs at ... id=3566167
    Pix 22,23,24,25.
    Reached the beachfront at Ao Nang, got off the bike and took a seat under some trees on the walkway in front of the longtail boats. As I sat there, 1st thought that came to my mind was that it reminded me of the beachfront at Kuta Beach Bali in front of Hard Rock Cafe Resort during my first visit there in 98. Not too much development then compared to the next visits in 99 and 2000. Just the way I liked it [:)]
    Pix at ... edf0.phtml
    Ao Phanang pix 1,2,3,6,and 7. Chatted with a group of tourist police(I think) as well a longtail boatman. They were interested to know where I came from and why the hell I was alone. Normally bikers come in a group and eversince the Tsunami hit on Dec 04 not much bikers have rode through the area. The boatman was also pretty interested in whether I was part of a group. From what I recall the annual 3 Nations Charity Ride was held in Krabi in Sept 04.

    Offered to take me out on a boat trip when a group of western tourists heading for Ao Railay boarded his boat. Gladly took up the offer but insisted on paying him the fare of BHT 50. Waited for me as I parked the bike properly and packed my stuff into the Topbox. Was pretty surprised when I went into the water in my boots and Dainese pants but explained to him that they were waterproof. Well once again the Dainese pants and Oxstar boots proved their worth by keeping my feet dry.
    Pix of the boatride at ... edf0.phtml
    Longtail Boat Trip to Ao Ton Sai, Ao Railay West, Ao Railay East and Back to Ao Phanang pictures.
    Chatted with him throughout the boat ride and learned that fuel costs a little more in the roadside stalls with barrels at Ao Nang itself as compared to the Petrol Kiosks along 4034 and Krabi Town. He had also lost his longtail boat when the tsunami struck and bought the replacement at abt BHT 120K. If there will ever be another tsunami again, he will pack up and leave for Bangkok to work in a friend's furniture shop. Offered to take me to Ao Railay East after dropping off the rest at Ao Railay West. Got a chance at helming the boat as well on the return leg to Ao Phanang. Boy was it hard work indeed compared to the hyrdraulic steering that I had on the Navy Ships. Once again offered to pay him for the return leg but he simply refused it.
    For those who are interested to charter a boat out to Ao Railay without waiting for it to fill up, it costs BHT 600. Fuel costs for the trip is about BHT 150 so please do not try to bargain too much with the boatmen if they ask for a reasonable price.
    By the way his boat number is 66. As for his name I wrote it down somewhere but the paper was destroyed by the heavy rains on the leg to Phuket.

    Took lunch at Lavinia Restautant somewhere in the middle of the row of restaurants directly opposite the beach.
    Pix at ... edf0.phtml
    Ao Phanang 9 and 9a.
    For Set Meal A, you get an appetiser, a pizza or pasta, a desert of cake or scoop of ice cream as well as for a bottle of mineral water. All this for only BHT 179.
    There and then decided to stay over at Ao Nang for at least a day due to the beauty of the place and the warm hospitality that I have received so far. Remembered that a friend had told me that inexpensive lodging was available in the row of houses behind the restaurants and procceded to check them out. Walked behind the restuarant to check out the guesthouse behind it. Met the lady housekeeper and enquired about a room. Well she could not communicate much in English and promptly whipped out a Price Menu for Rooms in English. At BHT 400 per night for a room, it was definitely within my budget. She insisted that I take a look at the room first before deciding and I was presently surprised that it had all the amenities that I could wish for plus a nice view of the rear courtyard. Definitely much better than and at a lower cost than the room that I in Krabi Town the previous night.
    Proceeded back to the restaurant cashier counter to check in for ROOM 4(home for the next 2 days and the following week).
    Parked the bike in the narrow lane between the restaurant and guesthouse and unloaded the side panniers.
    Please take note that payment for room is by CASH ONLY and upon check in.You are also not allowed to bring back BAR GIRLS or BOYS for the night. For those who are really in the need, can always stay at the other guesthouses along the stretch. For meals at the restaurant, payment is available by credit card but only at amounts above BHT 500.

    Took a quick shower and proceeded to explore the shops and Ao Nang Beach on foot. On the way out found that the room door could be opened by turning the knob despite being locked so informed the housekeeper. Tried to explain to her what was happening and it was truly chicken and duck talk despite the phrasebook HA. Had to demonstrate to her and she promised to get it repaired. As I had nothing valuable lying around and because she gave me a motherly feeling decided not to wiat for the repair to be done. The wares in the shops were not much different as compared to other Asian beach towns during my travels with the Navy. Bought 2 kilos of Longan fruit for BHT 40 at the food market along Route 4203 and decided to walk towards the beach in front of Ao Nang Villa. Pix at ... edf0.phtml
    Ao Phanang Pix 15 to 23f
    The beachfront Thai massage is available from BHT 200. Oil massage BHT 300.
    A bottle of Coke costs BHT 20 at THE LAST FISHERMAN BAR. Way cheaper than any other I had before at other beach front pubs I had visited before.
    Had to bribe the monkeys with some longans before they were willing to venture out from the saftey of the trees. However only after much bribing only one male was willing to venture out far enough onto the sand and stay still. Probably the Alpha Male.
    Reached the end of the beach below the cliff and discovered a wooden staircase situated above some boulders.
    Take note however that it is not accessible during high tide as I discovered the following week.
    Promptly decided to go up hoping that it will lead me to some viewpoint at the top of the cliff. After a short climb up caught glimpses of the sea as well as Phranang Bay through the trees.
    Ao Phanang Pix 24-26. A liitle further down was the view of Phlai Phong Beach as well as the cliffs surronding it. Ao Phanang Pix 28-29.
    Pleasantly surprised after going downhill that the staircase led to Phai Phlong Beach where a new resort was being constructed. Ao Phanang Pix 30-33. No description of it in the Guidebook or Map at all. The construction workers were staring at me with much curiosity as if I had nothingelse better to do. Guess not much visitors had come this way before. Truly amazed at how they manage to build the wooden staircase up and around the cliff, small wonder that there are so many of them in construction sites in Singapore and more highly valued than workers from the Indian sub-continent. Found out later that the construction had been going on since before the Tsunami struck. My guess is that the wooden staircase would probably be replaced with something much sturdier and nicer looking or removed altogether once construction is completed. So for all who are interested do try to visit as soon as possible.

    Returned back to Ao Nang and to check out the island day tours available from the dive shops. Along the way met the tourist policemen again and learned from them that Barracuda Tours is one of the oldest tour shops there and quite good as well. It was also ran by locals as compared to the many other operators whom are Westerners.
    Pix at ... edf0.phtml
    Ao Phanang Pix 14.
    It is situated among the row of shops directly opposite the beach.
    Enquired about the day tour to the Ko Phi Phi islands as well as the 4 island tour of Poda, Yawasam, Tub and Chicken. Cost of speedboat day trip to Ko Phi Phi was BHT 1000 (offpeak) inclusive of snorkelling gear, hotel transfer and lunch. Cost of longtail boat trip for 4 islands is BHT 350(offpeak). Chose the package for Ko Phi Phi and was pleasantly surprised when the lady offered to reduce it to BHT 900 as I was staying just further down the street Hence no need for hotel transfer. I was supposed to be at the shop by 0800 hours the next morning.

    Went back to Lavinia Guesthouse and rode westwards along 4203 to Nopparat Thara Beach.
    After riding past the small hill separating Ao Phanang and Nopparat Thara Beach, was greeted by the sight of the beach. It was a far cry from the developments in Ao Nang and the first thought that came to mind was that it had been destroyed by the tsunami and was in the slow process of rebuilding.
    Pix at ... edf0.phtml.
    Noppharat Thara Bay pix 1 to 5. Learnt later from the owner of Lavinia, Stefan Lokenberg that the area was in the process of building when the Tsunami struck. Hence not much was damaged as compared to Khao Lak in Phang Na province. Just that development was delayed.
    Rode towards the end of the beach and reached the junction in Pix 6. Turned left and reached the National Park HQ Visitors centre. Noppharat Thara Bay pix 7 to 11a.
    The inside of the visitors centre showed the pictures of the destruction that the tsunami caused as well as the plans for the development of the area. The beach in front of the visitor centre looks fantastic and some of the nearer isles look accessible by foot during low tide. Just behind the visitors centre was a bay in which the speedboats and longtail boats were moored. Apparently the only way to move in and out of the bay was during high tide through the river mouth.

    Returned to Ao Nang via 4202 but instead of turning back to Noppharat Thara Bay at the previous junction went straight for a few Km before reaching a left bend. On the opposte side of the road was a small lane leading back to Ao Nang. Along this road was some more resorts and guesthouses. Never checked them out though.

    Had a dinner at a Thai restaurant along Ao Phanang, the food was not tasty and was pretty expensive at about BHT500. All I had ordered was stir-fried beef, a dish of chicken as well as vegetables and rice. Can't recall the name of the place.

    Returned to room and found that the door was not repaired yet but decided not to make a fuss about it. Had received SMSes from a buddy in Singapore about the state of emergency declared by the Thai Prime Minister on Southern Thailand and watched a bit of news on the TV and wondered what the fuss was all about. Assured people that Krabi is definitely safe because I do not see much happening in Ao Nang.

    Took a quick shower again and proceeded for an hours worth of Thai Massage at BHT 250 at the shop below the reception of Ao Nang Sea Front Thai Resort. The masseurs here all had valid licenses. After a refreshing massage, proceeded to check out the bars as well as to look for an internet cafe.

    A cluster of bars is located behind the shopfronts between the Wanna's Place and Planet Ao Nang. The entrance to the area is called Ao Nang Centrepoint if I remember correctly.
    Here is where you will find 6-7 small bars with TV as well as a pool table. Most of the bars had girls plying drinks. As I was walking around the area looking for an Internet Shop, some of these girls tried to drag me into their bar as it was low season and business was slow. Found an Internet shop that charges a flat starting fee of BHT 20 with further charges of BHT 1 per minute. As I was too lazy to walk around any further, decided to patronise it. Do take note that despite advertised speeds of 512KBytes/Second, the actual connections were much slower.

    Proceeded to one of the empty bars at the back and ordered a bottle of Chang Beer.One of them offered to play pool with me but I politely declined with Mai Ao Kup Koon (No thanks), Pom Yahk Ja see Football nai TV( I want to see football on TV). The boss promptly switched the channel and spent a bit of time adjusting the reception despite me saying Mai Bpen Rai(never mind). By the way the name of the place was Bar One. By now the girls were pretty intrigued with me as I was speaking partly in broken Thai, I was alone and that I was not trying to pick them up and preferring to watch soccer on TV. They started talking to me in Thai instead of English and I had to explain that i could speak and understand only a little Thai. Questions, in English, followed on which country I came from, how I got here etc. I tried to answer in Thai whenever possible, for practice, such as Pom Mah Jahk Singapore( I'm from Singapore), Pom Mah Doy-ee Rot Motor Sai (I came by motorcycle). The incredulous looks on some of their faces was well worth my effort. Introduced myself by my Chinese last name Chuan and found out their names, Khuan, Keat Gail and Anne. From their dressing deduced that Gail, Anne and Khuan had been working girls for quite some time wherelse Keat was probably new to the work. After awhile they left me alone to watch my soccer but once in awhile fed me with the snacks and fruits they were munching on.
    2 Westerners entered the place during the half time break of the soccer match and were soon fawned upon by Anne and Gail. Learnt from Khuan that they had been visiting for the past 3 weeks and that they were from England. She probably paid more attention to me despite more Westerners (farangs) entering the place beacuse our names sounded similar Khuan and Chuan. All the while Keat was sitting quietly by herself at a corner table.
    Ordered another bottle of beer and offered to buy Khuan and Keat a drink out of courtesy. Was slightly surprised when they only ordered a glass of fruit juice and a can of coke as I was under the impression that they were earning commisions based on their drinks. Played a game of pool with Khuan after the soocer match and asked her where to get Thai food for supper. She tried to explain to me but I could not make out the directions. I asked her how much it costs to bar fine her so that she could show me the way. Picked up the tab and saw that the bill only came up to BHT 480 for 2 bottles of Chang beer, drinks for the 2 girls as well as the bar fine of BHT 200 for Khuan. I must say it was not as expensive as some other places I have been to.

    Had supper at a Thai food shop in front of some bars near to Krabi Heritage Hotel along 4203. She ordered for me, as the Menu was in Thai script, after asking what I would like to have. While waiting for the plate of stir-fried beef with lots of chilli, she was hinting to me that she was willing to spend the night with me. As I am not interested in exploiting the situation politely declined and found out that the girls normally charged at least BHT 1000 per night. The food was at the normal spicy Thai standards but the beef was abit tough. Walked her back to the Bar and proceeded back to Room for the night. Needed to rest early as I wanted to be fresh for the next day's trip to Ko Phi Phi.
  12. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Thanks for the encouragement David
  13. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Day 4 19th July 2005

    Starting Point : Ao Phanang Krabi
    Destination : Ko Phi Phi Lay and Don, Bamboo Island
    Route taken : Andaman Sea No roads [:D]
    Distance : about 120Km (round trip)

    Woke up early at 0730 to look for breakfast. All the restaurants were not yet opened this early. Hence proceeeded to 7-11 for a hotdog and to purchase a big bottle of mineral water. Drinks are provided for the trip but as I am known to be a Chui Tang ( Chinese Hokkien transation Water Tank) the extra water is a must. Emptied the contents into a 3 litre water bag (Overland Travel S$20 much cheaper than those CamelBak ones) only thing is that you had to have a haversack in the first place. My Deuter haversack had a rear compartment specially for this purpose. Total cost abt S$150 slighlty more than a standard Camelbak but the haversack afforded me extra space for putting extras such as a towel.

    While waiting in front of Barracuda for the rest of the tour group to arrive, the strap on one of the sandals was giving way. As it was too early, had no choice but to try to purchase a pair of slippers for replacement at the shop next door. Before the shopkeeper could get a pair of the correct size for me it was time to set off at 0900 to pick up some more passengers at Railay Bay. Kept my fingers crossed that the strap will hold until at least I return later in the evening.
    On the way to Ko Phi Phi lay dark clouds started to appear over Ao Phanang.
    Thanks goodness that we had left already. Was praying real hard that the rain doesn't catch up with us. Well thats the problem of visiting during the monsoon months
    Pix at ... edf0.phtml
    Barracuda Speedboat Trip to Ko Phi Phi Lay and Don Pix : 1 to 7a

    Finally reached Ko Phi Phi Lay after an hours boat ride. Sky was clear over there [:D]
    1st stop of the day ,somewhere at Ko Phi Phi Lay, if i recall correctly, had half an hour of snorkelling there. Unfortunately my camera is not waterproof coz the views under the waves were gorgeous. One thing to take note is that flippers are not provided, only the mask and snorkel. Life-jackets are also provided. Figuring that I was fat enough to have natural bouyancy, decided WRONGLY to go into the water without one. The fishes were literally trying to eat me when I jumped into the water. No wonder some of the passengers were carrying loaves of bread. Water Depth was about 3 to 5 meters where the boat had stopped. As I am pretty much out of shape, was thorughly bushed after about 15 minutes and clambered back onboard to get the life jacket. Well I could float but it took me a lot of energy to swim back to the boat. The beach at the shore looked inviting but there was too little time left.
    Barracuda Speedboat Trip to Ko Phi Phi Lay and Don Pix : 8 to 8c

    Next stop Ko Phi Phi Lay Viking cave about 5 minutes away.
    Sam the tour guide was explaing that there were some old cave drawings inside but we did not have sufficient time to explore it. The cave is used for the collection of swiftlet's nest(made of saliva,), that is what the wooden scaffoldings on the side is for to make the Asian delicacy of Bird's Nest soup. For the uninitiated, the soup is supposedly to be nourishing and good for the complexion.
    Barracuda Speedboat Trip to Ko Phi Phi Lay and Don Pix : 9 to 10f

    A few minutes later arrived at the 2nd snorkelling spot of the day, Loh Samah Bay Ko Phi Phi Lay. Not much corals inside here and those still around were mostly dead but the clarity of the water was fantastic. Had about an hour here so went for a quick swim to the small beach inside the cove to laze around.
    Barracuda Speedboat Trip to Ko Phi Phi Lay and Don Pix : 11a to 12v

    Reached Maya Bay close to 1200. Was extremely hungry by now due to all the earlier swimming. The sand was extremely white and soft, the bay was located inside a cove between 2 cliffs and the waters were pretty calm, clear and shallow. Paradise to a city boy like me. The group gathered on the beach for lunch out of styrofoam boxes. Glad to know that the rubbish were collected to be disposed of properly later when back on the mainland. Picked a nice shady spot underneath a cliff for a short nap.
    Barracuda Speedboat Trip to Ko Phi Phi Lay and Don Pix : 14a to 15x

    At about 1300 proceeded to Ton Sai Bay, Ko Phi Phi Don 10 minutes boat ride away.
    Barracuda Speedboat Trip to Ko Phi Phi Lay and Don Pix : 17a to 17f
    We were given about 45 mins to explore the surronding area and was advised to purchase some souvenoirs to assist the islanders. 1st thing I noticed when I went ashore were the barren coconut trees, totally bereft of even leaves, and the way they were slanted.Pix 18
    Big piles of rubble were still lying around still around even though the tsunami had hit half a year ago.
    Can't help but notice the name of the barge in Pix 18b and wondered if it was owned by a certain politician.
    As I walked up the beach, scenes of the destruction caused by the Tsunami greeted me.
    Pix 19 to 19c
    and ... edf0.phtml
    Barracuda Speedboat Trip to Ko Phi Phi Lay and Don Pix : 19g to 19l
    The hotels in between Ton Sai Bay and Loh Dalam Bay had their ground levels destroyed. Tennis courts had their safety fences missing etc.
    Guessed that the tsunami had hit from the north at Loh Dalam Bay, sweeping everything in its path before going back out to sea by Ton Sai Bay. Confirmed this with Sam later.
    The beach of Loh Dalam Bay (Pix 20 to 20c) looked fantastic, as opposed to the destruction just behind it. A paradise lost indeed. Saw a big tree (Pix 20d) with cloth wrapped around it in memory of the lives lost on that fateful Boxing Day.
    Walked towards the remanants of Ton Sai village (Pix 21 to 21f) which was slowly rebuiding itself. Structures made of wood were totally flattened, those that made it were constructed of concrete I guess. Purchased 6 cloth badges at different stalls at BHT 50 each. Didn't have the heart to bargain as I remembered Sam's advice. A badge each of Singapore(my country), Malaysia and Thailand, both of which I have ridden to already, Cambodia,which I intend to visit early next year as well as hopefully China and Myanmar, if I can somehow find a way to ride across the borders without resorting to bribery. Could not find the badge of Laos though. Intention is to sew the badges on the tank cover as I cross each border, but have not got round to sewing the first 3 yet. Too lazy [:)] Well time was almost up and proceeded back to the boat. Noticed the graffiti on the corrugated sheet (pix 22b) holding the big pile of waste , it read " The Great Wall Of Phi Phi ".

    Made our way to Bamboo Island, 20 minutes away, our last stop of the day.
    Pix 23 to 23m
    We were given half an hour here and I decided to find the bamboo trees that were nowhere in sight instead of snorkelling. Well could not find any in the vicinity, so how the hell the island got its name is a puzzle. The beach was great except for parts of it that had dead coral strewn all over it. I guess this is probably where the tsunami had hit. There are some wooden structures on in the clearing beyond the treeline of the beach (Photos not uploaded).

    Reached Ao Nang at about 1600, not a moment too soon as storm clouds were approaching. The shopkeeper in the morning recognised me and I gave him an apology.
    "Pom See A Jai ( I'm Sorry) for not waiting and informing you, but the boat was leaving." Some people might wonder whats the apology for since I am the customer, but to me its basic courtesy. Never know when I will pass this way again, so its better to leave a good impression. Anyway the pair of slippers cost me BHT 200 if I recall correctly. Went back to the Guesthouse to get the bike as I had earlier promised Sam
    a photo with it. Chatted with him for awhile before the rain hit and agreed to meet up for a drink later.

    Proceeded back to the room for a quick shower followed by an hour of foot massage. The masseur instantly recognised me and asked about where I have been to today. Asked that she be allowed to finish her dinner first before the massage as the other masseurs had gone out for dinner. No problem for me. After her dinner, proceeded to sit on the armchair. Pointed to my swollen right ankle and said JEP BPOO-UT(painful) gave her the tube of Muscle Ache relief Cream(Tiger Balm) to be used on that area. Well I had feet massages before but most of them insisted that I wash my feet in the toilet first. This one was a little different as she brought out a basin of warm water for me and started to wash my feet. She then took out a stick made of some kind of stone and proceeded to press the acupoints on my soles. The other places that I have visited before normally use just their fingers. So this one was different in the sense that the point of contact was cooling to the touch before she applied some pressure sending the sensation right up to my upper torso. She took out a tub of cream to massage the rest of my feet after awhile. Thank goodness as I was barely able to control myself from uttering out in pain. As I was enjoying the nice quiet massage and falling asleep, 3 Chinese ladies entered the shop. One of them was speaking to my masseur in English and from her accent, guessed that they were from Hong Kong and they were speaking loudly among themselves in Cantonese(Chinese Dialect). I guessed that this was typical amongst tourists in a group as they prefer to keep the contents of their conversation from the locals. They never guessed that I could understand every word that they had said. The woman bluntly informed the masseur that only 3 of them was here instead of the 4 that they had earlier made an appointment for and insisted that they were to be served immediately else they will be leaving. As the rest of the masseurs were not back yet, the masseur apologised and asked that I waited awhile for she went to call the rest back. Nodded my head in reply. While she was out looking for the rest, the 3 shrews were carrying out a loud conversation in Cantonese disturbing my sleep. [:(!] Pretended to be asleep and heard that they were late 2 hours late for their appointment because of their shopping and that the 4th one was too tired after that and how cheap things were here as compared to Phuket. Was thinking What the hell shopping in a small beach town instead of relaxing at the beach [V][?][V] Shrew A also explained to the others that in order to enjoy Traditional Thai massage it was better to have a 2 hour session to fully enjoy it and how cheap it was as compared to visiting a spa back home.
    The masseurs returned not a moment too soon as I was sorely tempted in Cantonese to tell them to keep their noise levels down.
    My masseur apologised that she had to serve shrew A instead, the one speaking on behalf of the group, as there were insufficient masseurs trained in Traditional Thai Massage around and asked if I was Ok with another masseur serving me instead. As I did not want to make a scene told her Mai Bpen Rai Pom OK(Never Mind I'm OK) The shrews carried on talking loudly in Cantonese while I was softly explaining to my new masseur that they were probably from Hong Kong and telling her and translating their conversation. She was trying very hard to control her laughter. As she had no idea of where the previous masseur had stopped procceded to massage my left foot all over again and I had to point out to her the swollen area. After about ten mintutes, the noise had died down and I was drifitng off to sleep again. Was woken when I felt some pressure on my right ankle and she explained that it was OK and to just sit back and relax. She used the cream from the tub instead of the Tiger Balm cream and gently massaged it onto the affected area. As I am more used to Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) method of applying considerable force and the use of heat, was surprised that it had a nice cool feeling and pretty effective in soothing the pain. Drifted off to sleep again and was woken up by a light tap on the shoulder. On seeing that I was quite tired, she gave me a short neck and shoulder rub at no extra charge. Asked the original masseur out to collect the fee and she insisted that it will be only BHT 200 instead of the advertised BHT 250. Gave her BHT 300 and told her to give the rest to the second masseur as tips. Before leaving loudly said "Tew Yao Chin Jau Tai Sai Ah, Cho Hin Ba Pai, Mo Lai Mao!"(Cantonese for So what of u had money, no big deal, Make so much noise, No courteousy). Unfortunately could not see their reactions on their faces as they were blocked by curtains. Heard from the masseur the following week that I sould have seen the reaction on shrew A's face [:D]

    As I was happily snapping pictures during the Ko Phi Phi tour, the 512MBytes SD memory card was almost full. Asked about the price for a 128MByte card at the camera shop along the beachfront, and was quoted BHT 1800. Told the salesgirl Mai Ao Korp Koon, Pairng ( No thank you ,expensive) and she explained that this was already low season price during high season the price shoots up to BHT 2400. Well for that kind of price I could have gotten a 512MByte card back home, so decided to look for one in Phuket tommorow instead.

    Proceeded back to the room for a short nap at about 1800. Woke up at about 2000 as I was starting to feel hungry and decided to have dinner at Lavinia instead of walking any further. Tried their set B this time round (BHT 299), wider selection of pizza/pasta, appetisers, and a cup of coffee instead of mineral water. Well waited quite awhile due to the large crowd. Noticed a Farang walking around the kitchen and talking with the staff in Thai and guessed that he was the boss. Had a nice sumptious dinner and proceeded to Barracuda to meet Sam. Proceeded to Bar One for a beer and chatted for a short while before proceeding back to the room. Had to leave early to replan my route due to the leaky Map Bag. [:(!]
    As I sat on the front porch writing down the routes to be taken, saw a small kid running around being minded by the housekeeper. Guessed that he was probably the son of the owner. Seeing that I was constantly being bitten by mosquitoes, she kindly lit up a mosquito coil. Nice of her to do that [:)] After awhile, the both of them were sitting on the opposite bench and I tried to make small talk with the motherly housekeeper. As I could not make out what she was saying the chef kindly translated for us whenever he was free. Seeing that I was rubbing some cream,Tiger Balm Musle ache relief, onto my right ankle. She asked about it and I explained that it was due to too much walking. As I was talking to her, the kid spoke rapidly to me in Fluent Thai. Poor kid was probably confused when I repiled in Thai that I could not understand a word of what he said. I asked fro his name in English but he did not reply. As the restaurant were closing for the night, saw that one of the female waitresses and the chef were milling around the bike parked in front of the rear of the restaurant. Approached them for a chat was asked the usual questions such as how many CC was the bike and which country I was from etc. Turned on the engine and offered them a short spin along the beachfront which they politely declined. The chef was contented with mounting the bike and twisting the throttle abit. Wondering what was the din about at the rear, the Farang boss approached and we introduced ourselves. He name is Stefan and he was a German from Dortmund. He jokingly remarked to another Farang, owner of the guesthouse next door, Encore Cafe and Guesthouse that since he, the other guy, was living and travelling in Thailand all year round that he should get a similar bike instead of travelling around on a Honda Wave. The other guy introduced himeself (sorry I am very poor at remembering names especially people that I interact with only briefly) but I remember that he jokingly told me to call him 007 instead. Chatted with Stefan again and he was also pretty surprised that I was travelling alone as lone riders were rare and normally Farangs. Learnt that about 2-3 weeks ago there was one riding through the beachfront street along a big blue BMW.
    Anyone from this forum perhaps?
    Upon learning that I was from Singapore ushered me into the restaurant to introduce me to his wife. Her name is Chanida and is of Thai-Chinese descent. She spoke pretty fluent English as compared to Stefan's heavily accented speech. Stefan offered me a bottle of beer but I had to decline as I never drink more than a bottle the night before a long ride. Nearly smashed into a tunnel wall in Singapore once after a heavy drinking session. Learnt my lesson there and then. Took up his offer of a bottle of water instead. Chanida informed me that she was planning to give birth to their second child in Singapore, if her gynaecologist in Phuket gave her permission to fly during the pre-natal checkup the following week, and asked about the hospitals. Asked her why she was planning to do that since medical facilities in Thailand were comparable and much cheaper, had read back home about the growing competition between Singapore and Thailand for Medical Tourists. She explained that her intention was to store the umbilical cord for future medical purposes as she was worried that Chanon, the small boy, their first born might develop medical conditions later in life as he was of mixed blood. She explained that she was of mixed parentage herself, her father being 80%Thai Chinese and her mother being 10% Thai. When she left the table for awhile asked Stefan what was the fuss as many Singaporeans had some mixed parentage in their lineage as well and there seems to be nothing wrong with their health.He shrugged and replied " Well you know women?" and that since she was so worried he had to go along with her decisions. Learnt that she had also changed a number of gynaecologists during the preganancy. The conversation quickly changed direction as soon as she returned to the table. Now I know whose the Boss in the family HAHA. She asked about CordLife a company specialising in the storage as it had a branch in Singapore as well as Camden Medical Centre where it was located. Apologised to her that I have never heard of either coz I am single but that I will check when back in Singapore. Was avoiding the urge to smoke all the while as it was not healthy for a heavily pregnant woman to take in 2nd hand smoke, but the moment she excused herself to settle the accounts for the day, he lit up a ciggarette and I promptly followed suit.

    When she returned, we chatted further about the tourists attractions in Singapore. They have been to Singapore a short holiday before but only walked around Orchard Road , Singapore's shopping district, and found it boring as it was similar to Bangkok and much more expensive. Found out about Sim Lim Square,the consumer electronics shopping haven of Singapore and promptly spent the remaining days of their trip purchasing stuff there. One thing I have learnt on my travels was that probably nowhereelse in the world could beat the prices of consumer electronics in Singapore. Joked that well that was the only thing cheaper than Thailand. I was asked why the prices there for computer stuff there were not bargainable and I explained that because of cut-throat competition between the shops there they were operating on razor thin profit margins and depended on high volume instead. She asked futher about the tourist attractions in Singapore such as the Underwater World in Sentosa and the Singapore Zoological Gardens as she wanted to bring little Chanon to visit these places as they have visited Bangkok many times already. Learnt that he liked visiting Chinese Temples,the Taoist variety and not the Buddhist ones as he was fascinated by all the statues as well as dragon carvings.

    Before calling it a night, wrote down the names and addresses of the bigger hospitals that I could recall and gave them my contact details should they decide to visit Singapore.

    Travel Advise :
    1) Those that do come by this way, please do take a day off riding and visit the beautiful twin islands if Ko Phi Phi Lay and Don. Nothing much to worry about and the cost is pretty much affordable during low season. However please take note that for low season it is more advisable to travel here in the starting months of May and June as well as the ending month of October for relatively fair weather. Best is to visit during late October as May, June clashes with the summer holidays of the Northern Hemisphere and it can be overcrowded.
    2)People who snap photos happily like me should bring extra film or memory card because there are only 2 camera shops in Ao Nang and they do jack up the prices.
    3)Roadside food stalls are almost non-existent in Ao Nang, those who like to eat from such stalls need to head into Krabi Town itself.

    End of day 4 .... Stay tuned for the rest of the trip Once again I apologise for the slow updating of the trip report and my long-winded reports
  14. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Day 5 20th July 2005

    Starting Point : Ao Phanang Krabi
    Destination : Phuket
    Route taken : 4203,4202,4034,4033,4,Wat Suwan Khuha,4, 402,4029,4233,4029,402.
    Distance : about 220Km
    Time Taken approx = 7 hours including visits to Wat Suwan Khuha and Nam Tok Raman Forest Park.

    Greeted by the sight of the rains when I woke up. Was hoping real hard that it will stop soon because tropical thunderstorms can last for hours. As I really wanted to visit Phuket again after the Tsunami to see the rebuilding process, decided to set off the moment I was ready at about 0815. As I had made plans to meet 3 other bikers at Surat Thani on the 22nd for the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan on the 23rd, had no choice but to leave in order to spend 2 nights in Phuket. 1 day for the journey there and 1 day for riding around the island. Normally I would have decided against riding in such foul weather because full concentration would be required on the road rather than enjoying the scenery. As no proper food was available yet, decided to leave on an empty stomach hoping to find food along the way.

    As the rains were too heavy, did not manage to take pix of the route out of Ao Nang. Followed the 4203 out of Phranang Bay made a right turn to 4202 at Noppharat Thara Bay, went straight all the way until T-junction with 4034. Turned left towards Ban Nong Thale. Travelled straight until T-Junction with 4033.
    From here onwards followed the road signs Wat Suwan Khuha in Phang Na.
    Pix at ... edf0.phtml
    Road Guide to Phuket pix 1 to 9 as well as pix Road Sign to Wat Suwan Khuha and Raman waterfall on Opposite Side of Route 4 to Phuket.

    On the way to Ao Luek along Route 4, made a bad choice of following too closely behind a overladen lorry for wind protection. As its cargo scraped against some low lying branches of a tree, one of the branches gave way and fell straight onto my chest and fuel tank. Had the wind knocked out of me for a moment but thank goodness it had fallen where it fallen rather than in front of the bike. That would have been disastrous indeed. Slowed down, checked for damages to the bike and found none. Spent the next few minutes clearing the branch and leaves from the bike whilst still riding. Come to thibk of it now it was pretty stupid of me to do that, should have stopped immediately instead. At that point of time I probably was too engrossed in wiping the leaves off and cursing the lorry driver with all manners of expletives.

    Saw a 7-11 along route 4 at the town of Ao Luek and decided to stop there for awhile.
    Did not turn left into 4039 Ao Luek in pix 4 continued straight at the junction. Not far from it was the 7-11. View of the cliffs behind me in pix 5.
    Wiped away the remaining leaves and seeing that there was a roadside food stall beside the 7-11 decided to rest there for awhile. Ordered myself a hot cup of coffee and a bowl of chicken noodles to regain some warmth. A small kettle of hot water was thoughtfully provided as well. Used it to warm my numb hands. Must really get a pair of wet weather gloves for future trips.

    After half an hour's rest, continued on my way to Wat Suwan Khuha. Along the way somewhere in Phang Na province passed by a Buddha Statue in front of a small hill.
    Pix 7 and 7a.
    Probably, another new Buddhist temple being built at that spot.

    Passed by the junction to Phang Na town (Pix 8) and continued straight along rather than turn right into Phang Na town as it was still raining. Slightly further down was a traffic junction (Pix 9) Continued straight rather than turning left to 4144 PhangNa Bay. Having read of its scenic views, had actually planned to visit it but had to skip because of the rain. Will try to explore it as well as Phang Na Town in future !!!

    A few minutes down the road was a signboard for Wat Suwan Khuha on the opposite side. Do take note that there is a road divider along this stretch and no junction for right turn
    to the temple.
    Entrance to Wat Suwan Khuha from Main Road Route 4 (002)
    Had to make a U-turn further down and came across another signboard
    Road Sign to Wat Suwan Khuha and Raman waterfall on Opposite Side of Route 4 to Phuket
    Stopped at a shophouse just in front of the Entrance to the Temple from Route 4
    Entrance to Wat Suwan Khuha from Main Road Route 4 (001)
    and proceeded to purchase a bottle of softdrink for only BHT 12(if i recall correctly). Wanted to ask for the use of the toilet but could not communicate with the lady shopkeeper at all. The phrasebook was in the bike. She brought out her school going daughter who translated for us. Was led through their living quarters just behind their shopfront to the toilet located at the rear. As it is considered rude in Asia to wear footwear into peoples' home, I was trying to remove my boots when she said that it was not necessary.

    Proceeded to turn into the small road from the Entrance, travelled a short distance down the road passing by houses on both sides before reaching the signboard to the temple on the opposite side of the road
    Entrance to Wat Suwan Khuha (000) Signboard at Entrance to Temple Gounds
    There is a school just before the temple.
    Turned right just after this signboard.
    Wat Suwan Khuha (001) to (006)
    Parked in a carpark on the left after a short driveway. Took heed of the signboard in Pix 4 even though I did not see any monkeys around. There are a row of shophouses just beyond the carpark where I bought a cup of HOT coffee and fried banana fritters.
    Walked back to the entrance of the carpark and spotted the Entrance to the Cave temple
    Wat Suwan Khuha (007) and (008)
    There is a small stone Buddha statue,Wat Suwan Khuha (009), just to the right of the entrance. Walked through the arch of the Entrance into the a cavern filled with plenty of Buddhist statues including a large reclining Buddha. Pix Wat Suwan Khuha (010) to (17). Seeing a sign on the table in Pix Wat Suwan Khuha (011) that stated a entrance fee of BHT 20.Proceeded to pay up but was rejected by the lady at the table whom asked me "Kon Thai". Guessing that entrance was free for Thais, I replied "Mai, Pom Bpen Kon Singapore"(No, I am Singaporean) not nice to lie about my nationality in a place of worship. She then accepted the money.
    Explored the cave and came across a sign that read "Advice for Visitors. Buddhism is highly revered in Thailand. Please do not to take photos with images of Buddha or with temples in the background when you are not properly dressed. Tourism Authority of Thailand." Point to take note for travellers who for comfort in the tropical heat, like to walk around in BERMUDAS/SHORTS and SINGLETS!!!
    Reached a flight of stairs up at the other end of the cave with exiting to a clearing in Pix Wat Suwan Khuha (018)
    To the left of it was an entrance to a smaller cave Pix Wat Suwan Khuha (019). On the left of the entrance were some carvings on the wall Pix Wat Suwan Khuha (020) with some descritions at the bottom. Unable to recall what it said by now. The carvings might be the Royal Seals of several Thai Kings stated in the Lonely Planet Guidebook.
    There was a sign on the right that said Light and Dark Caves. Guessed that this second cave was the Light Cave. As I walked into the cave was hit by an overwhelming stench, looked up at the ceiling and lots of bat hanging onto the wall. The photo was blur due to dim lighting so I did not upload it.
    Walked further into it and saw a bronze statue.
    Pix Wat Wat Suwan Khuha (021a).
    The cave was filled with stalactites and stalagmites.
    Pix Wat Wat Suwan Khuha (021b).
    Thinking that the Dark Cave was further inside started to climb up what looked like a staircase that had water running down from the top. Anyway I was in my Goretex Suit and boots, so no harm trying to climb.
    Pix Wat Wat Suwan Khuha (021c).
    Climbed up to the top and found that it was a dead end.
    Pix Wat Wat Suwan Khuha (021d) and (21e).
    Where the water came from I still have no bloody idea, it just seemed to flow out from the walls.
    Was wondering where the hell was the Dark Cave when I heard some sounds at the base of the staircase. Looked back and saw two persons near the bronze statue. Seeing them there realised that this is actually the dark cave but had been fooled by the spotlights in the cave [:I] and the staircase was probably made by the water flowing down over the years rather than man made. Had a good laugh about it and climbed back down.
    Proceeded back out to the first cave and saw that the monkeys were out in full force near the entrance to the cave. The rain had stopped and they had come out of their hiding places. Remembering the earlier warning signs of their aggresiveness, did not purchase the bananas on sale to feed them, but there were plenty of schoolchildren around who were happily feeding them.
    Wat Suwan Khuha (025)

    Went on my way to Nam Tok Raman Forest Park which was a few Km further down the small road. Turned left into another small road upon seeing the Signboard Pix Raman Waterfall (001). Travelled another few Km before reaching the park entrance Pix Pix Raman Waterfall (003). There are some houses along this road as well as blind corners Pix Raman Waterfall (002), do not ride too fast because of pedestrians walking along the road itself not forgetting vehicles and potholes. Just in front of the entrance on the left are some wooden huts where barbecued chicken could be bought. Admission to the park was free as it was not a National Park. Parking was just beyond the entrance on gravel stones. As I was left with only the 16MByte memory card with Phuket still to go did not take much photos. There was a fast flowing stream Pix Raman Waterfall (004) to the left of the carpark that was swollen by the earlier rains. Crossed the stream by a bridge on the left rather than the one in the pix. Made my way to some concrete buildings futher up and saw a signboard with a map of the park. Pix Raman Waterfall (005)
    Seeing from the map that the track was only 2Km long from Stations 1 to 10 decided to explore it. The person who came up with the map probably drew a straight line across another map and took the distance, without taking into account up and down hill slopes
    Went along the path further up from the buildings.
    Pix Raman Waterfall (007) was the steps up at the entrance of the trail.
    Passed by some small waterfalls along the way
    Pix Raman Waterfall (008) to (011)
    Somewhere after Point 5 on the map was stopped by the stream,Pix Raman Waterfall (012) no way to cross it except by the slippery log or small boulder in the pix. No way to guess the depth of the stream as I did not have my rope with me. [:(!] Decided to turn back and continue to Phuket. Swore to complete the track in future on my way out.
    Ran out of memory space and had to delete some of the pix stored in the 512 MByte card.

    Went back out to Route 4 made a U-turn and continued straight along Route 4 for about 20Km before coming to Road Guide to Phuket (010) Route 4 Keep Left to Phuket Route 402

    Travelled about 10Km before reaching Thep Kasattee Bridge Phuket (001). There are some stalls on the opposite road before the bridge.

    Rode along the 402 after the bridge for 35Km before reaching the traffic junction after the heroines monument.
    Phuket (002)to Phuket(005)
    Made a right turn at this junction to head towards Patong. No Pix available of junction.

    Rode about 8km before reaching junction Turning right to 4029 to Patong.
    Rode along the 4029 up and down hill before reaching Patong itself.
    Do take care at the apex of the hill along 4029. There is a small Chinese Temple just before it. No way to see oncoming traffic at the opposite side of the slope. The oncoming vehicles might decide to use your side of the road to overtake slower vehicles.
    Vehicles sounding horns are giving warnings of their approach and NOT to tell you to speed up.
    Made my way to Patong Beachfront along 4233. Found it too crowded to my liking and proceeded to Phuket Town to hunt for accomodation.
    Went back along the 4029 and 402 for entry into Phuket Town.

    Travelled straight along Thep Krasattri Road from the 402. Continued Staight along Phuket Road before reaching the clock tower.
    Phuket (006)
    Tried to use the clock tower as a reference point on the map, but it was not in the map [:(]
    Thankfully spotted the Metropole Hotel along the circluar junction and managed to orientate myself. Had a nice meal of Hokkien noodles in a crowded shophouse on the opposite side of the junction.
    Turned into Tilok Uthit 1 Road and spotted Ocean Shopping Mall. Had been here in 98 with
    the Navy. Its a bit run down now but renovations are being carried out inside. Had wanted to bring along a Shoei FF helmet for respraying at a shop inside. Luckily I did not as the shop that used to be on the 2nd floor was no longer there.
    Rode past Robinson and turned left at Ong Sim Phai Road. Had remembered that there used to be a wet market at the junction of Ong Sim Phai Road and Tilok Uthit 2 Road. The building is still there but seemed to be under renovations. Thankfully the food stalls in front of it were still open.
    As it was close to 5pm, decided to pamper my tired body with a stay at the tallest looking hotel I could see.
    Turned right into Tilok Uthit 2 Road. Rode past the entrance of the Thavorn Grand Plaza Hotel before realising it. Continued straight towards the Royal Phuket City Hotel.
    Turned left towards looby entrance along Phang Nga Road.
    Room for walk-in customers BHT 1800 per night inclusive of Buffet Breakfast at the rooftop restaurant.
    Phuket (007)
    After a nice hot soak in the bathtub, proceeded to Ocean Shopping Mall to shop for SD memory card. Despite many small cell phone shops on the 2nd floor, none of them sold memory cards. Was advised to try Robinsons instead by a cute looking chick at the 1st floor information counter.
    Proceeded to Robinsons and was quoted BHT 990 for a 128Mbyte(unknown brand) card. As I wanted a card with a larger capactiy, was told to try the camera shop along Ong Sim Phai Road instead.
    No luck with a higher capacity card there and the 128MBytre(Kingston Brand)was retailing for BHT 1600. Proceeded back to Robinsons to give the cheaper card a try before deciding. Tested it, found that it was Ok and proceeded to purchase it.

    As I normally find that the best informaton counters to any city are at the whorehouses, proceeded to Grand Plaza Massage along the small road between the Ocean Shopping Mall and Robinsons. Met 3 pimps at the entrance there, have forgotten their names by now. Lets name them A, B and C. Was wondering about the need for 3 of them later and found out that A was a Phuket native for dealing with Thai customers, B was a Thai Chinese from Chiang Mai for Mandarin speaking customers and C was from Ko Phi Phi for dealing with English speaking customers. Clicked almost instantly with C as he is also a roder and owned a custom painted 400cc Yamaha Virago.
    Phuket (011)
    They were slightly surprised that I could converse slightly in Thai and fluently in Mandarin and English.
    Made the usual introductions and was ushered into the lounge area to look at the ladies.
    The place is pretty run down now as compared to the opulence back in 98. According to C, there are only 28 ladies there now as most of them had left for the bars of Bangkok and Pattaya after the Tsunami due to the lack of customers. The ladies on the left cost BHT 2000 and those on the right BHT 3000.
    Being uninterested in commercial sex, ordered a bottle of coke and changed the topic back to the rebuilding progress in Phuket. Showed him the photos of the trip so far and learned that from the pix, things had improved slightly on Ko Phi Phi Don since he left after the Tsunami. Learnt that the boss of the place also owned the Thavorn Grand Plaza Hotel just behind as well as a few other joints in Patong. Offered to take me to supper at Saphan Hin for Thai food after he finished work.
    Excused myself after half an hour as I was getting hungry again. Asked to leave the bike at the carpark there and walked towards the food stalls along Ong Sim Phai road for dinner. Had an unhealthy but thoroughly delicious meal of braised pork leg with rice and a bottle of coke for about BHT 50.
    Phuket (010)
    Walked towards Thavorn Grand Plaza Hotel for an hour of Thai Traditional Massage for BHT 250.
    Bought some durians and fried chicken meat and returned to Grand Plaza Massage to chat with A,B and C. C was not around by then and chatted with B about Chiang Mai as I am planning to ride there in December. Joked that the policeman, who dropped by in a nice looking car while we were chatting, was the boss's bodyguard in response to my query of "Bao Hu Fei?", Mandarin for protection money. B advised me to go for the dinner and show at Phuket Fantasea Kamala Beach the next day as he had been there before abd found that the show was quite spectacular. Tickets should be available at my hotel front desk for about BHT 1500.
    Close to 1030pm C returned and said that he had gone over to Patong to settle some stuff for the boss. Offered him and A the keys to my bike for a spin around the carpark.
    Waited for C to settle the accounts for the day before heading to Saphan Hin for supper at a Thai seafood restaurant.

    As the menu was fully in Thai script, I could not read it and he asked what I would like to have. On learning that I could not take seafood, ordered chicken, beef and vegetables. His brother, a driver at the yacht club, joined us shortly after. Declined offers of beer as I was riding, and explained to him that I nearly crashed before after a drinking session. During the meal learnt that tommorow was the start of a 2 day public holiday for some Buddhist festival and that there might be some festivities at the park in Saphan Hin. Offered to pay for the supper but was rejcted ont the grounds that he was the host. Bill was resonably priced at about BHT 300 for 3 bottles of Chang beer, a bottle of coke for me and the food.

    Returned to the hotel for the night.

    Stay tuned for the rest of the report... Will cut short my ramblings as I seem to be taking too long to file the reports.
  15. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Day 6 21st July 2005

    Starting Point : Phuket Town
    Destination : Phuket Town
    Route taken : Phuket Town, 4020,4029,4233,4024,4021,Phuket Town
    Distance : ??? Trying too hard to find directions to keep track.

    Went for early breakfast at Red Onion on the 19th floor. Lousy buffet spread but views from were great.
    Had a light breakfast. Decided to step out to d outdoor area for a smoke and to take pix.
    Tried hard to push and pull open the door but it just wouldn't budge.
    The receptionist on seeing my antics, calmly walked over and SLID OPEN the door.[:I]
    Muttered an EMBARRASSED thanks and quickly walked out.
    Phuket (13) to Phuket (13e)

    Decided to check out the festivites that C had told me about at Saphan Hin area.
    Turned Right from exit of Hotel carpark to Phang Na Road.
    Turned Right at junction to Surin Road.
    Turned Right at junction to Si Siena Road
    Turned Left at junction to Ong Sim Phai Road
    Reached circular road with Seahores Monument.(Pix not uploaded)
    Funny thing happened here after I took pix of monument, a Thai pick-up pulled up alongside me. Here I am feeling abit lost as usual in a town, the driver started to ask for directions to Robinson Deaprtment Store.
    As I did not know how to say go round the circle in Thai, waved at him to follow me.
    Rode round the circle into Ong Sim Phai Road pointing to him Robinsons as we passed by.
    Turned left at junction to Phuket Road.
    Went straight until reaching the Saphan Hin Mining Monument
    Phuket (15)
    Rode round the monument headed straight for the tree lined road just beyond.
    No road signs here rode past a small compund housing a museum dedicated to some Thai Admiral.
    Phuket (16)
    Continued straight along the road and came across some wooden boats and a Taoist Temple.
    Phuket (17) to (18a)
    Rode to the Saphan Hin Sports Centre and seeing that nothing much interesting was happening there. Rode back to the small museum that I had passed by earlier.
    Phuket (19) to (19d)
    Left and headed back to Phuket Town centre to explore it.
    Got lost alot in the town so no descriptions here.
    Phuket (20)to (28)
    Managed to visit a Buddhist Temple with slight festivities in the process.
    Had a quick lunch along Krabi Road.
    Went straight towards Wichit Songkhram Road followed by Route 4020.
    This section of the 4020 is in bad conditon, full of potholes and construction going on.
    After a few Km, turned left at Junction to Route 4029 towards Patong.
    Visited the Taoist temple near the apex of the hill along the 4029.
    Phuket (29) to (29g)
    Turned left into Phisit Karani Road
    Kept right to Sai Nam Yen Road.
    Turned left at junction to Rat-U-Thit-SongRoi Pi Road.
    Travelled Straight along the road wondering where the hell is the beach ?
    All I could see were buildings and more buildiings.
    Decided that I must somehow turn right as the beach should be Westwards.
    Passed a traffic junction but unfortunatelt could not turn right as it was one way. Bang La Road. The Shark Ckub was on the oppsite side of the road just after this junction.
    Rode on and came to a junction with a right turn.
    Turned right and shortly after passed Christin Massage Parlour on the left.
    Just had to take a look inside to see if business had been affected as much as Grand Plaza Massage in Phuket Town. Not yet opened at about 1400.
    Continued straight along the road towards the beach.
    Turned left at Junction at Thawiwong Road along beachfront.
    While looking for bike parking lot rode past McDonalds
    Found a lot somewhere near Holiday Inn Resort(under renovations still) next to bunch of rental bikes parked along the road.
    Most of the beachfront hotels and shops were already repaired and operational.
    Went to Pharmacy across the road to top up on Tiger Balm Medicated Plasters.
    Returned to the rental bikes and chatted with the guy there tending to them.
    Found out that business has been slow ever since the Tusnami.
    He wanted to know whether I knew a friend of his from Singapore who was also riding a Varadero but with Akrapovic aftermarket end cans.
    I did not know who it was though.
    After awhile decided to continue on my ride towards Karon Beach.
    Took some photos of Patong beach
    Phuket (30) to (31a)
    Do not know why but the beach seemed empty compared to yesterday.
    Regretted extending my stay in Phuket Town immediatley.
    Unfortunately I had to meet 3 guys in Surat Thani the next day so could not extend stay in Phuket.

    Turned left into Prachanukhro Road after Ocean Plaza and then right into Sirirat Road.
    Rode up the hill stopping at a small gravel carpark whith a hut selling drinks that had a view of Patong Bay
    Phuket (32) to (34)

    Went downhill to Patak Road, passing by a small lake and on to Karon Road
    Lots of construction going on at the beachfront along Karon Road
    Phuket (36) to (39)

    The small hill between Karon and Kata had lots of restaurants and budget hotels.
    Unable to stop to take pix due to the heavy traffic here.

    Rode along Katat Road. Heavy construction was going on along this road and there was a portion, near the start, where the 2 lane road was turned into 1 lane birectional metal plate road due to a ole on the ground. Could not see the beach along this road as it was blocked by a row of resorts and contruction so decided to turn right into Pak Bang Road.
    Again there was heavy constuction along the beachfront like Karon. Looked like they are in the process of building dykes/walls along the beachfront.
    Turned back into Kata and entered Khok Tanot Road towards Naihan Beach.

    Rode uphill to Kata viewpoint and tooke some pix.
    Phuket (40) to (43a)

    Rode downhill towards Naihan Beach. Take note that the beach is not along the main road. Turned right along the road, cant find the route no. on the map I had, into a small road that circled some kind of a pond.
    Phuket (44)
    There were alot of stray dogs where I stopped to take a pix so decided not to get off the bike and take a look at the beach.
    There were some bungalows on the way out surronding the pond that belonged to some resort. The place looked upmarket but very deserted, Due to it being the low season or the Tsunami I have no idea.

    Made by way back to the 4024 and to Rawai Beach.
    Turned right following a road sign leading to the Beach. Some stalls on the left just after turning.
    Phuket (45)to (45a)
    There are a few places to stay at this place and not of the budget type.
    Continued along the 4024 towards Chalong Bay.

    As you enter Chalong Bay, Wiset Road, there is a row of stalls under umbrellas selling food on the left. On the right was the beach, definitely not suitable for swimming, that had small wooden boats on the mud.
    Just beyond the stalls were some massage shops and tour operators offering trips out to Phang Na National Marine Park as wekk as the Ko Phi Phi islands.
    Phuket (46)to (47a)

    Passed by the Sea Shell Mesuem (Pix48) rote 4024 and entered the 4021 at the end of 4024. Note that there are 2 route 4021 at the junction from 4024.Folowing the signs, took the left one to Wat Chalong. Had read about it before and since it was only about 1630,decided to pay it a visit.

    Made a right choice indeed coz it was a Buddhist Holiday and some of the halls that are normally closed to the public were opened that day.
    Phuket (49)to (57m)
    The 3 storey buiding in the Pix 57 to 57m was opened for the day and housed many statues and murals on the 1st and 2nd level. Not allowed to take pix here. On the 3rd level there is a glass showcase displaying some holy bone relics. Pix 57d to 57f.

    Was ushered out of the building at about 1700, some of the other halls were still opened for visitors but decided to give them a pass and headed back to hotel via route 4021.

    Wanted to go over to Phuket Fantasea for dinner and show, but fell asleep until about 2030 when the stomach started growling again. Decided to head to Patong for dinner and to check Christin's again. Route followed was the same as earlier in the day.
    Too hungry and lazy to hunt for food, parked opposite McDonald's along Thawiwong Road and had a Big Mac meal. Went over to Christin's and the shutters at the entrance were still down. Got off the bike and chatted with a Tut Tut driver parked nearby. Surprised to hear that the place was closed for the Buddhist holidays, first time I have ever encountered such a situation. Massage parlour closed for the holidays [:0] Talk about employee welfare !!!

    Headed back to hotel for rest and to check the next day's route again.

    Lessons learnt :
    1) Try not to have fixed plans to meet others in the middle of a journey coz u might want to extend stay at point A. If really need to, plan to meet up at point B instead of somewhere in the journey. Had to miss the beaches north of Patong beacuse of this.

    End of Day 6
  16. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Day 7 22nd July 2005

    Starting Point : Phuket Town
    Destination : Ko Samui
    Route taken : Phuket Town, 402,4,401,Surat Thani Roads Thanon Talat Mai and Thanon Kanchawa Withi, 401,4142,4169,4171
    Distance : Approx 350Km

    Not much Route Pix available as I was in a hurry to reach Surat Thani by 1200 to meet 3 riders from Singapore and Memory Card was running out of space again.

    Skipped the buffet breakfast at the Red Onion and checked out by 0800. Hoped to find breakfast along the way.

    From Hotel, turned left along Phang Na Road, as usual rode around in circles trying to find my way out to the 402.
    Rode about 50Km to the Sarasin Bridge in order to return to the mainland. This bridge out was a separate one and built lower than the Thep Kasattri Bridge on the way in. After the bridge, stopped to look at what the stalls, the ones that I rode past on the way to Phuket, were offering. Some were selling dried foodstuff such as cuttlefish and others souvenoirs. Went past a signboard on the way to Route 4.
    Phang Na Province Welcome Sign after Sarasin Bridge from Phuket

    Rode about 10Km to reach junction, to Route 4. Sorry no pix. If I recalled correctly the signboard showed Left to Ranong and Right to Phang Na, Krabi.
    Turned left and headed north as i wanted to visit Khao Lak rather than take the shorter Route 44 to Surat Thani from Krabi.
    Rode about 25Km to Thai Mueang. Nothing much to see on this section.

    About 25Km after Thai Mueang, started to ride uphill. This section was pretty enjoyable as overhanging branches provide welcome shade from the morning sun.
    Rode past the Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park HQ before realising it. Unable to u-turn as I was on a tight scheldule to Surat Thani.

    Went downhill and reached the town of Khao Lak.
    Take note that the section of Route 4 between Thai Myeang and Takua Pua had a lot of potholes as well as construction debris dropped by trucks.
    The resorts looked deserted, some looked like they were in the process of rebuilding but no activity was going on today. Maybe it was due to the Budhhist Public Holiday or they were new projects simply abandoned after the Tsunami.
    Stopped at the side of the road to take some pix.
    Khao Lak Town (001)and (002)

    On the opposite was the Tsunami Volunteer Center in Pix 2. Decided to stop and visit it. The moment I stopped and tried to park on the sand in front of it, the side stand and tyres started sinking. Struggled abit before managing to reach a big piece of rock with my left foot and used it to support the stand.
    New lesson learnt, if attempting to park on soft ground TRY TO HAVE A PIECE OF PLANK WITH YOU for SUPPORT. [:D]
    By now some volunteers from the center had gathered around.
    Made the usual introductions and one of them kindly pointed out that I should have taken turned right from Phuket and then onto Route 44 to Surat Thani. Explained that I knew about it but that I just had to visit Khao Lak as this area was the worst hit by the Tsunami in Thailand. He asked if I had been here before the Tsunami, was abit surprised when I replied that I have not and it was my first time here. He notice the Tsunami Charity Ride,held in late Jan in Malacca, sticker on the right hand guard and queried me about it.
    Was getting very hungry and excused myself to have some food at the wooden hut beside the Center. Had a nice meal of stir-fried noodles and omelette with a bottle of soft drink for about BHT 50.
    Walked over to the Volunteer Center and saw the signs for No Photography allowed inside.
    Saw a souvenior stand and picked a T-shirt for BHT 50. Declined the change from the BHT 500 note. Since I do not have the time to volunteer, could only chip in with some money.

    NOTE !!! Riders in the region kindly visit the CENTER and DO WHAT YOU CAN TO HELP!!! Especially those riding around in PHUKET!!!.

    As it was about 10AM by now, could not chat further and set off as I at least another 200+Km to cover by 1200pm.

    Rode about 35Km along the pot hole filled road before entering Takua Pa. Somewhere in the middle of this section was a Patrol Boat washed inland, should be by the Tsunami, on the opposite side of the road. Could not stop to in time to take pix.

    Stopped for refuelling in Takua Pua at a petrol kiosk opposite a temple.
    Buddhist Temple Entrance in Takua Pa Phang Na Not able to enter in a rush to Surat Thani to meet the guys

    Turned right a short distance from Takua Pa onto Route 401. If i recall correctly the entrance to 401 was a few KM after a bridge across a river at the edge of the town.
    Travelled about 10Km before reaching a junction with right turn to Route 4090 Kapong.
    Conitnued straight and was beginning to go uphill again. This section all the way until Ban Ta Khun was very enjoyable as the trees provided much shade, the views were great as I rode past numerous limestone cliffs up close and it had some twisties as well.
    Do take care while riding though coz some sections of the raod was freshly paved while some were in serious need of repaving. No idea why the authorities do not repave the whole stretch rather than in sections.
    About 30-40km from the previous junction, was a road leading to the Khao Sok National Park on the left.
    Route 401 (1)to (4)
    Could not afford to turn in to take a look as it was almost 1100AM already and I had about 150Km left to Surat Thani. Hope to be able to visit for a few days sometime in the future.

    Rode another 30Km before passing the town of Phanom, continued another 10 Km+ to Ban Ta Khun. From the mapbook the entrance to the Chiao Lan Ratchaprapha Dam was shortly after Ban Ta Khun but somehow I missed it. Had read in the Lonely Planet guidebook that the Karst formations rising from the lake were even more spectacular and 3 times higher than those in the Phang Na region. Damn had to give it a miss as well.

    Rode another 40Km from Ban Ta Khun to reach the Intersection with ROUTE 41. Somewhere along the route 401 from Phanom to this intersection was an overhead road sign that said Bangkok instead of Surat Thani.Had wondered briefly whether I was on the correct route then. Could not stop to take a pix coz of heavy traffic.

    Travelled about 25Km from this intersection to the outskirts of Surat Thani Town, passing by Phun Pin on the way.

    After the canal at Tha Kup Junction, the 401 splits into 2. the left one runs straight through Surat Thani Town, the right one bypasses it. As I had arrange to meet the rest at the Sell Petrol Kiosk before Thaksin Hospital along Thanon Talat Mai, had no choice but to take the left route. Traffic was very heavy and I took nearly half an hour to ride the few Km to the meeting point as I was not able to weave through traffic with the side panniers on.
    Passed by a ornate looking white shrine along the route but could not stop to take pix.

    Finally reached the petrol kiosk 40 minutes late at about 1240pm where 3 friends, D,J and R, were already waiting.

    Topped up the petrol and apologised for being late. As ferry was at 1400H, we agreed that we should head for the ferry terminal (abt 60Km away) and get tickets first before looking for food. As the rest of us were ready to leave, R was still chatting away with a lady. Had to hurry him to leave.

    Immediately after Thaksin Hospital there was a traffic junction, continued straight along Thanon Kanchana Withi for 1-2 Km before crossing a bridge over a canal.

    Rode along the 401 for about 30Km,passing by Kanchanadit, before reaching the left turn to Route 4142. If I recall correctly, the Route No. was not available just the words Don Sak and Ko Samui. Had been advised by a friend that the 4142 was in the midst of road works when he rode up in Mar 2005. True enough, the road was still under repair. Riders are advised to slow down on this stretch as the dust thrown up by the vehicle in front limits visibility to a few metres. The road also narrows down to a single lane at certain stretches so try not to ride close to the edge of the works in the middle.
    About 30Km into 4142, past Don Sak town, was the Sea Tran Ferry Terminal on the left.Turned in and saw the long queue of vehicles waiting to board the ferry. Rode up to the booth just after the entrance where R started to make enquiries about the ferry tickets. Was directed to the main building, next to the pier, where tickets were purchased for BHT 170(bike and rider) each.
    Sea Tran Ferry Terminal at Don Sak (01)
    Thank goodness that motorcycles were given priority to board the ferry first, otherwise we would have had to spent the night in Surat Thani town instead given the long queue of vehicles. Waited for the vehicles returning from Samui to disembark before riding onto the ferry.
    Take care when riding down the ramp onto the ferry as there are thick manila ropes lying across it. Why were they there for I have absolutely no [V] idea.
    As I was securing the bike on the main stand, noticed some triangular wooden blocks on the deck. Looked around and saw ferry workers using them to put under the wheels of vehicles and followed suit. The blocks were used to prevent the vehicles were rolling about. Proceeded up to the main passeneger deck and found an empty space to lie down on the floor as all the seats were already occupied.
    Luckily we made the ferry as storm clouds were already overhead.
    Sea Tran Ferry Terminal at Don Sak (02)and View of Don Sak Surat Thani from Ferry (01)
    It started pouring soon after we left the pier.
    Chatted awhile showing the guys the pix that I had taken so far.
    As we approached the ferry terminal at Nathon Town, Ko Samui about 1.5 hours later, the rain had cleared up.
    Nathon Ferry Terminal (01)to(03)
    Disembarked and finally had our lunch at 4pm at the foodstalls located on the right of the pier.Had beef noodles for BHT 30 each as well as finger food. As we still had to look for accomodation for the night, ate quickly and left.
    Rode straight from the road after the pier before reaching a T-Junction. Left turn was North towards Bang Po beach and right turn South towards Taling Ngam beach. At the T-junction, was the District Office. Turned left/north towards Bang Po as we had planned to look for accomodations at Big Buddha beach where the pier to Phangan was. The road conditions and signs were a far cry from those on the mainland.
    R led the way as he had been to Samui before, after following for awhile I started to get pissed off coz he was swerving all over the road to avoid puddles of water instead of concentrating on leading [V] As he swerved to avoid 1 of the many puddles, I had to brake hard to avoid hitting him and the front mudguard got jammed into the fabricated metal undercowl I had. When that happens there was no way to steer the bike left or right, can only go straight. [:(!] As I had been in similar situations before, stopped the bike gradually, gave the handlebar a hard twist and the mudguard will break free from the undercowl. Was really pissed by now, but somehow managed to control my temper as I caught up with the rest again.
    Rode along the 4169 for about 20Km, past Bang Po Maenam and Bophut beaches before entering the 4171 to Bang Rak and Big Buddha beaches. Rode pass a place called Chalee Bungalows and stopped to enquire about rooms. Was quoted BHT 1000 for the bungalow with the sea view and BHT 800 for the one without. Asked to look at the rooms and found them small but cosy and had only a queen sized bed each. Not much space for 2 guys to sleep comfortably in. The lady at the counter, offered to open up foldable beds for us at no extra cost, to which I declined as the rooms will have no walking space left. Discussed with the guys about whether to stay here or not, and what won us over was the friendly nature of the lady and the fact that she,Sharon, and her family were also from Singapore.
    Bang Rak Beach Chalee Bungalow )
    Me and R shared the beachfront room while D and J shared the other. Realised later that it was a bad idea should have taken separate rooms instead.
    Unpacked and showered and waited for R as usual as he was having an oil massage by the resident masseur. Walked over to the counter to register and chat with Sharon further.
    Found out that she and her husband,Raymond, had been living in Ko Samui for 7 years already and that their 3 primary school kids are living with them. They wanted to have a change of environment from the hectic pace of Singapore. Raymond is also running a primary school with Singaporean school syllabus.
    Learnt from Sharon that the Full Moon Party on Ko Phangan, the main reason for the trip, on the 23rd, the next day, had been brought forward to the 20th due to the Buddhist public holidays. Meaning we had missed it [:(]. Queried her more about it as I had checked the Internet for the date whilst planning for the trip and learned that the party date might be changed by the Phangan operators at the last minute. Was very dissapointed on learning this and broke the bad news to the rest. I knew R was quietly pleased with the news coz he had been trying to dissuade us from going to the Party even before the trip because he was afraid of the drug scene at the party. As he did not make any stupid comments then, I did not let loose the expletives.

    It was close to 630pm by now and I was getting very impatient to go over to Chaweng because I wanted to book a trip to the Ang Thong National Marine Park for the next day as the Party was apparently a no go. R wanted to rent a scooter to ride around the island and managed to persuade the other 2, but I was having none of it and told them that if thats what they wanted to do they can go ahead but I will be riding my OWN BIKE!
    I was thinking what the hell, if you want to keep the bloody bike clean dun FXXKING ride it out of the house but kept my comments to myself.

    Well I won the "discussion", and they rode their own bikes instead. Rode along the 4171 towards Chaweng. Traffic in Chaweng was very heavy and slow moving and parking space for big bikes were almost non existent. Rode to the southern end of Chaweng before U-turning and stopped at a carpark in between two restaurants. The restaurant, cant remember the name, that on the left offered a Seafood Buffet for about BHT 800-900. Well I do not take seafood and ordered a platter of BBQ Ribs BHT 350 instead. Service was bad and the Ribs was not tasty.
    Asked the rest if they were finishing soon and R replied that they will take awhile more.

    Told them that I will take a walk on my own and will be back shortly as I wanted to go and look for a tour shop offering a tour to the Ang Thong Marine Park for the next day.
    Chaweng Shopfronts At night
    As I walked along the road, came across a cart selling Roti Prata (Indian Pancake) with different toppings for BHT 40-60 each. Have eaten it before at Phuket, but have not seen any during this trip so far and ordered a piece with chocalate sauce and banana slice topping for BHT 50.

    Shopped around a few tour shops and found that all of them were offering the same packages.BHT 1200 for a days trip by speedboat to the Marine Park inclusive of snorkelling and canoeing. Walked around abit more before heading back to the restaurant and asked them whether they were in or out. D was game for it but R was mumbling something about up to the majority and that he was running out of cash. I had planned the budget for them before the trip(not including the extravagence of BHT 800-900 on a single meal) and he still did not change enough money , did not bring an ATM card along and do not have the PIN for his credit card. He had expected to pay for our budget accomodation using his credit card and then claim from the rest of us our shares in BHT.
    Budget accomodation offering payment by credit card ?!?!?!?!
    Offered to withdraw money for him and that shut him up.

    Proceeded to book a tour with Samui Silver Tour via one of the many tour shops along Chaweng. Was told to be at the entrance of Chalee Bungalows by 0750 where a mini bus will pick us up. I wanted to walk around and explore Chaweng abit more and have a drink but R was whining that he wanted to return to the room to rest for the day (it was only about 10pm) and that we should return to the rooms as the restaurant there offered drinks.

    When we returned the restaurant was already closed, as I could not sleep read the guidebook again for the attractions on Samui.

    Lessons Learnt :
    1) Always bring your ATM card with you.
    2) Never expect to pay for budget accomodations with credit cards
    3) Plans not matter how well made can Screw Up(missed the Full Moon Party supposedly)
    4) Never budget travel with pampered people.
    5) If you make the unfortunate mistake of point 4, dump him/them ASAP or else your trip can be spoilt (to be explained later).

    END OF DAY 7
  17. keess

    keess Member

    Hi Murphy,

    Enoyed your story so far. i've visited many of these places, and it is nice to get an updated view of what it is like now. Last time I was in Ao Ngang was pre tsunami.

    BTW, why buy new SD cards all the time? in tourist spots, you can usually download them onto a CD, in an internet cafe, and re-use the same card. Lots cheaper!
  18. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Hi keess thanks 4 d compliment. Really loved Krabi as compared to Phuket and Samui.
    I bought only 1 new SD card in Phuket.
    Got some friends from Singapore to bring up a new 512Mbyte to Surat Thani. As for CDs, not reliable coz they easily get scratched or cracked especially while riding.
  19. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Day 8 23rd July 2005

    Starting Point : Bang Rak Beach, Ko Samui
    Destination : Ang Thong National Marine Park, Had Rin Nai/Had Rin Nok Ko Phangan
    Route taken : South China Sea No roads [:D]
    Distance : ???

    Got up at 7AM and missed the sunrise. 2 things I missed most from the days of sailing were the beautiful sunrises and sunsets out in the open sea. Had a nice continental breakfast for BHT 120 while waiting for the rest. The transport came on the schelduled time and we took a short ride to the speedboat jetty.
    Fisherman Village Bo Phut Route 4169 (01)
    While waiting for the speedboat, walked around the area and spotted a Honda NSR 150SP with cool looking Alu rims.
    Fisherman Village Bo Phut Route 4169 (02)
    Also noticed that there was a painted cloth signboard over the pier that the full moon party was on today [?]

    We were off at about 830AM and made our way to the marine park.
    Ang Thong National Marine Park (001) to (005a).
    Reached the first stop of the day, some snorkelling site, after an hours journey thru open waters. The sea was abit rough and hence the snorkelling was poor compared to Ko Phi Phi. The corals were also mostly dead.
    Ang Thong National Marine Park (006).

    After an hour at the site, spent another 45 minutes on a ride to the Marine Park Park HQ
    on Wua Talap Island.
    Ang Thong National Marine Park (007b) to (009c).
    Reached there about 1130AM and proceeded to the section of the beach where the kayaks were. Were given a short demonstration of the proper techniques before going on 45 minute trip around the opposite isle. No photos as my camera is not water proof. Struggled alot as I was a novice and R was grumbling alot behind me.

    Returned to the Park HQ where we had lunch. The fare served was much better than what I had at Maya Bay with proper tables and all but somehow not as enjoyable.
    Ang Thong National Marine Park (009d) to (010e)
    Was told by the guide that we had until 2pm on the island. We could go swimming at the beach or climb up to the viewpoint on the hill nearby.

    Thinking that it was paved route up to the summit, I went ahead with the climb while the other 3 opted to bum around the beach.
    Walked to the path leading up and it looked OK at the entrance.
    Ang Thong National Marine Park (0011) and (012). Decided against returning to the boat to get my haversack which I will come to regret later.

    Was faced with a rope guiding the way up over boulders after a few minutes into the trail. The travel insurance that I had bought probably does not cover this and I was wearing only slippers intsead of shoes but what the heck. Thinking that it was might only be a short section of the trial that is like this, shoved the bottle of water that I was given into my pockets and proceeded to haul myself up using the rope.Ang Thong National Marine Park (013a)

    After 10 minutes of climbing made it to the first viewpoint about 100m up.
    .Ang Thong National Marine Park (013b) to (13d).
    Continued up to the top and after half an hour of further climbing reached a point where it was not safe for me to proeed further, about 30 metres from the top viewpoint.
    Ang Thong National Marine Park (013e) to (13o). The trail from that point onwards had no trees with branches for me to grap on for balancing and the rocks were too slippery for climbing with slippers. Took a 10 minute break before making the descent back to the beach.

    Reached the speedboat at about 2:05 PM where the rest of the people were already waiting. Apologised for being late and clambered onboard. Took a 10 minute boat ride to Mae Koh Island where the Emerald Lake was. Was given 45 minutes to visit the lake on the
    opposite side of the rocks.
    Ang Thong National Marine Park (015a) to (20). The route was easy as it had proper metal railings and staircases.

    Left the island at about 3PM and returned to Ko Samui at about 4:30PM.
    Dropped off at Chalee Bungalows where Raymond greeted us with the news that the Full Moon Party was ON tonight [:D]. R started to make all sorts of excuses for not going [V]. Offered him the room keys and insisted that I was going over no matter what

    Gathered at about 5:45PM at the entrance and walked about 5 minutes to the ferry pier. Decided not to bring along camera, regrettably, as we had been advised against it.
    Had dinner at the foodstalls while waiting for the 630PM ferry,the last ferry of the day. During dinner R was suggetsting that we should try to look for a way to return if we wanted to later. Offered him the room keys again which he declined. Tickets were purchased for BHT 140 each. Ferry was to drop us off at Had Rin Nai Ko Phangan, a short walk away from the FMP held at the Had Rin Nok. The ferry was overcrowded with passehgers and we found a spot on the open passageway beside the wheelhouse. We were handed lifejackets as per the regulations,which i promptly put on as the ferry was listing quite badly to the starboard.The ferry left at close to 7PM

    The ride took about 45 minutes before we arriced at Ko Phangan. Ko Phangan is not as isolated as what I had read in the guidebook as I could clearly see lights around the island during the ride. Was watching in amazement as the deckhand jumped onto a pole at the pier to secure a rope from the ferry. Disembarked and purchased some snacks at the foodstalls just after the pier. Not knowing what was the correct direction to the FMP, just followed the crowds and walked straight along the road.

    Passed by rows of shops before hitting the beach at about 815PM Took a walk around the beach, which was still rather empty. Small buckets with a bottle of liquor and mixer was available for BHT 250-400 each. The different pubs just behind the beach played different music to cater to different tastes. Short tables and straw mats were also placed in front of them for customers. Some of them had dancers with fire sticks. The cheapest being local whisky and most expensive being foreign brandy. Proceeded back to the shophouses to talke a look. Food at restaurants was cheap here compared to Samui. Saw a whole lobster,albeit a small one, going for BHT400. Proceeded back to the beach to pick a spot for the night. Found a spot where there was a dancer with fire sticks and the music played was not too loud. Amazing how he could dance and twirl the sticks around.D bought a bucket of Barcadi and coke for BHT 350. At about 945PM, the day's exertions from canoeing and snorkelling was causing aches at my back. Told the rest that I was going for a back massage and will be back at about 11PM. Found a shop that offered it for BHT 250/hour. Chatted with the massuse and asked her to concentrate on the shoulder and neck areas. As I was drifting off to sleep, was woken up by J whom told me that they had managed to find a speedboat to send us back to Samui for BHT200 each. He asked about when I would finish and that they will be waiting for me. Was very [:(!] at being disturbed during the massage and the fact that they wanted to leave. Told him that I will look for them when I finished and pissed with all sorts of angry thoughts running through my mind did not enjoy the remaining half an hour. When I was sailing with navy, we were given until 2359H for our shoreleave, so I was fxxking pissed off with the fact that somebody was trying to give me the same cut-off time during a holiday.

    Went back to the beach and asked whose idea it was to return to Samui. Somebody, cant remeber who, replied that it was a common decision. My bloody ass, I knew whom the idea came from but was trying hard to control my rage. As I was very pissed, made myself a pain in the ass while negotiating with the various speedboat operators for the reurn trip. Most of them wanted to drop us off at Maenam beach,for BHT 300 each which I refused rudely as if we had difficulty getting transport back to our lodging it was a long walk. Managed to secure one that took us to Bo Phut, Fisherman Man Village, intsead. Sat alone near the bow during the 20 minute boat ride back. As we disembarked at the pier, a familiar face called out to me. It was the guide tour guide during the day trip and he enquired why I was returning so early at about 11pm. Replied with a wry smile that somebody was tired and left it at that. Found a van to take us back to the rooms for BHT 100 each.

    Sat on the porch in front of the room trying to let the anger subside. D and J knew I was bloody pissed and tried to talk to me. One of them suggested that we should go over to Krabi the next day, which I angrily refused. If they wanted to go, they can go ahead themselves. Here we were thousands of Km from home and they wanted to leave without even exploring Samui. Staying at the Big Buddha beach and did not even gong to visit the temple which the beach was named after. What the hell were they thinking. If I could travel alone so far, I can jolly well travel back alone. They gave up after awhile and left me alone after agreeing to stay in Samui for another day.

    End of Day 8.

    lessons learnt :
    1) DO NOT TRAVEL with ppl unless you really knew them well and share common interests.
    2) FMP at Ko Phangan is quite safe despite what others might say. Did not see any drugs openly peddled as compared to Kuta Beach in Bali.
    3) No point going to the FMP early as the it only starts to liven up at close to 10PM unless you want to pick a nice spot for the night.
    4) Check the moonrisetable as the moon does not always rise at sunset.
  20. Murphy

    Murphy Member

    Day 9 24th July 2005

    Starting Point : Ko Samui
    Destination : Ko Samui
    Route taken : 4169,4171,4169,4170,4169
    Distance : ???

    Got up early and had breakfast. During breakfast, had a chat with Sharon about the attractions on the island. Was informed that the waterfalls were most likely dry and that we should try to ride up to the hills if possible.
    Proceeded to the Big Buddha Temple less than 10 Km down the road along 4171.
    Wat Phra Yai Big Buddha Temple (001)to (013)
    The paved road of Route 4171 turned into dirt track after the entrance in Pix 001 with lots of potholes. Had to navigate through it carefully with the tendency of the front mudguard getting stucked into the undercowl. Spent about half an hour there before proceeding on.

    Next stop was Wat Plai Laem less than 2 Km down the road.
    Wat Plai Laem Spent another an hour wandering around the grounds.

    Went along the 4171 back to the 4169 to the viewpoint just south of Chaweng.
    Viewpoint at Chaweng along Route 4169 (001) to (004) Views were not as nice as those in Phuket.

    Next stop the Hin Ta Hin Yai (the grandfather and grandmother rocks)along the 4169. Missed the overhead signboard at the side of the road and stopped at a "car park" just after a bridge. Was charged BHT 20 each to park there.
    Hin Da Hin Yai
    Spent quite abit of time to locate the rocks. Just after the rocks was a stretch of shophouses offering snacks and souveniors. Walked along the stretch and ended up back along the main road and noticed the overhead sign that we had missed earlier.

    Rode along the 4169 before turning left to the 4170 to visit the Samui Aquarium and Tiger "Zoo". Entrance fee to the Tiger "Zoo" was BHT 250. Decided against it and had lunch at a cooked food stall near the junction of the 4169 and 4170. Rice with 3 dishes was BHT 30.

    Next stop Wat Kunaram,along 4169, for the mummified monk.
    Wat Kunaram. Small temple with the main attraction being the mummy. Purchased some fruits there before leaving.

    Khao Yai Hill was the next destination along the 4169. Heeding Sharon's advise decided to use the route that runs past an airforce camp. The others were dirt trails more suitable for 4WDs and scramblers. Turned right just before a bridge and rode uphill. The guard at the guardpost in front of the camp waved us on instead of collecting a fee as warned by Sharon
    Khao Yai Hill. Pretty nice views of the island at the restaurant at the top and met 2 other bikers up there. Was advised against trying the trails that they had taken up as the Varaderos were too heavy and had not enough ground clearance. While leaving, D on his African Twin was understandably game for it. R was dead set against it while J was for it. I decided against it as I had a good look at it before proceeding to the restaurant. No way I am going downhill on a trail with a front mudguard that will surely jam and cause me to lose manoueverability of the front wheel.

    Headed back down the same way that we had went up by and proceeded to the older ferry terminal along the 4174. As there not much shops at the terminal, decided to leave by the newer one at Nathon Town the next day instead.

    Visited the Hin lad waterfall along 4172 next. Bought some crepes and drinks at the entrance before heading to the waterfall. As warned by Sharon, the lower area of the waterfall was almost dry. The area had a lot of litter and was a major disappointment.
    The rest were not willing to hike further up along the boulders and I went along with it.

    Rode to Nathon Town ferry terminal next.
    Enquired about the departure times there and had an early dinner at the open air hawker stalls. As there were some shops around here, decided to depart Samui from here as we could have breakfast while waiting for the ferry.
    Spent slightly less than an hour walking around the shops at Nathon. T-shirts and souveniors here were cheaper than those in Chaweng.

    Proceeded back to the rooms where we took a break before going to Chaweng for the night.
    While waiting for the rest, had a chat with Rayond and Sharon again. Learnt that Raymond had attended the same secondary school and that they had an apartment in the same neighbourhood in Singapore as well. What a small world indeed. No wonder that we had hit it off so readily. Chatted about things Singapore as they had plans to return to Singapore when their kids need to enter secondary school.

    Sharon arranged for a minibus to send us to Chaweng for BHT 100. At Chaweng I decided to split with the rest and meet them at the Pizza Hut later. Earlier in the day in Nathon Town, I had came across a T-shirt with a design that I liked but the shop did not have the right size. Spent an hour without success looking for it before meeting the rest at Pizza Hut. After their meal, proceeded for an hours traditional massage before heading back to the rooms for the night.

    End of Day 9.

    lessons learnt :

    1) Those not on scramblers and wish to ride the hill trails of Samui should try to rent one from the shops in Samui. There are a few around Chaweng. You should have some experience riding trails before attempting them as it is much more difficult going up and downhill than riding on flat ground.

    2) No point visiting the waterfalls in Samui during the dry season. All you will probably see are spiderwebs and litter.

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