Monday, 30 September 2013


The floating markets were highly unimpressive and a mere tourist trap, maybe visit if you have never seen this type of thing, but I won’t be going back!  We also took the scooter to all the surrounding beaches, which were ok, nothing special I didn’t think, but we went all the way south to Prachuap Khiri Khan and the Pranburi National Forest. 

This was also a great little ride, as they all tend to be, and the area was distinctly lacking in tourists.  There is a beach there and also a cool little wooden walkway through the mangrove system which winds through and past the river that eventually feeds into the ocean.  A very diverse little National Park and another of those places off the radar, but worth a look if like me, you have the time. 

Once again travelling with Mon came in handy, as I got off very lightly on the scooter repairs I think and the whole ordeal only cost me 2700bt. Not ideal, but certainly could have been a hell of a lot worse, expense wise, if I had been travelling solo. Considering the damage I did to the car and scooter, a $90 repair job is awesome!  

The Scooter is repaired and returned and we pack all our gear and head to the train station for the journey south to Surat Thani, only we arrive to bad news at the station that there are no tickets left and we have no choice but to book 2 seats for tomorrow and check back into the hotel!  Oops!

With a sense of déjà vu we are back at the station the next day and make it on board the train around 5pm I think, the journey takes nearly 8 hours and the scenery is nice while the sun is till up.  As usual we chill out with a couple of cold beers and whiskey (we are now travelling with a small esky) and a vast array of snacks, I wouldn’t dare expect Mon to travel that long without eating every hour!  

By the time we arrive in Surat Thani it is after 1am and for the first time since I left Australia, I feel a little uneasy outside the station.  There are almost no transport options and I refuse to pay the exorbitant amount the only guy there is asking, we strike up a conversation with some locals and jump in with them.  We are the only people here and they were very helpful, our place was way out of town and they had no problem dropping us there.

Checking in is a bit of a hassle but we eventually get a room and crash for a couple of hours before heading back into town to get the bus from Surat Thani to Phang Nga Town.  The bus ride is as scenic as it is frightening, the roads and drivers throughout a lot of Asia are shocking, the road rules we know do not apply here, but it seems to work.

  From memory it takes around 3 hours, with the obligatory lunch stop in between, god can’t they go 3 hours without eating?!  The scenery in and around Phang Nga is possibly my favourite, thick jungle, with these massive limestone mountains and cliffs just jutting up everywhere, seemingly surrounding you.  It is seriously breathtaking.
Hua Hin Floating markets....    forgettable
Walkway through the mangrove forest

The lookout tower

 Not exactly travelling light...
Our train trip supplies

 Waiting at Surat Thani bus terminal

with obviously too much time to kill...

Sunday, 29 September 2013

After leaving there and heading to check out Dao Cave, we’re still surrounded by jungle and this wild elephant comes strolling out onto the road! So obviously I go ‘holy shit, it’s an elephant… ’ and pull the bike up for some pictures. Well this elephant didn’t take too kindly to that and in the very short time it took me to pull up and look back, he was blaring his trumpet and started charging us, and he was fairly moving!! 

I near on shit my pants trying to get the fuck out of there on the scooter, with this wild elephant about 5 meters from trampling us!! Highlight of the trip I reckon, but there was another elephant encounter to come.

About 10 minutes up the road we came across a bigger one, that was looking pissed off already and I couldn’t get too close or go past him as he was being fairly aggressive. Us and another lady on a scooter waited until this truck came past and we tried to do a sneak mission as it went by, but the elephant was onto us and made a charge to cut us off.

 I don’t think I’ve ever done a u turn on a scooter so quickly. We both had to quickly get out of there and wait again, they’re a pretty scary beast when they’re charging you full tilt and you’re sitting on a scooter.

We got past him eventually by just running the gauntlet behind another truck, this big angry bastard still tried to chase us though and it certainly added some fun to the day. We made it to Dao Cave untrampled, and I reckon it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area and you’re into that sort of thing.  

We made a stop at a local country market on the side of the road on the way home, where this falang was once again a novelty, for 20 bags of food to go with a couple of beers on the balcony back at the hotel.  As soon as they realize you can speak some Thai though, the locals all warm up to you quickly and want to chat.

We also stopped at the Hua Hin Fishing Lodge briefly to scope it out for the next day, it is a little way out of town and on our way home. It looked like a nice little spot so the next morning I packed the rods and tackle bag and we headed off for a few relaxing hours.  It certainly was relaxing as there were only a handful of fish landed on my behalf, all catfish, which I now consider to be pests and aim my sights higher on some more exotic species such as the Pacu, Arapaima and Giant Siamese Carp to name a few. 

It wasn’t to be today and they still remain elusive, but a great day out and I did see a fairly beefy Siamese Carp pulled in by a fellow angler. A little pricey compared to some other parks, but knowing some Thai helped and I sweet talked a decent rate as I didn’t spend a whole day there.
Angry elephant number 1

Angry elephant number 2



 After wrangling a cheaper deal with an already grumpy lady and saving a whole 50bt on the scooter rental, I had to call her 20 minutes later and tell her that I had just smashed her bike into the back of a small sedan. Couldn’t fucken believe it! Mon and I were fine, a couple of small grazes for me (hehe new scars) but the front of the scooter was pretty destroyed and so was the back of this idiots’ car.

 He started ranting about giving him money (HUUUUGE surprise there) for the massive autograph I left in his rear bumper until Mon gave him a mouthful about something and he promptly got in his car and took off!! Whew, wallet crisis number 1 averted, time to go check the cost of scooter repair.

Our stay in Hua Hin is unintentionally extended as we wait for scooter parts, but it gives me more time to check the place out properly.  I’m glad I did as I wasn’t overly impressed with the place at first but after getting stuck here and investigating further, my opinion has changed.  This seems to be a common trend throughout the trip, don’t be so quick to judge a place, the longer you stay and more you explore, learn and see, you might be surprised at what you find. 

A lot of places I have been, if I only gave them a couple of days I might have walked away with negative impression, but stick with it and you will find the hidden gems and get to really know the place.  The scooter is still drivable as the damage was only to the plastics, so we continue thrashing it whilst waiting for spare parts.

I took the beast west towards the Myanmar border, to Kaeng Krachan National Park and Pala-U waterfall, a fairly long, yet very scenic ride and an awesome day out.  The falls were great, as was the hike into them and something I’d do again, especially with higher water levels. 

Once again the carp were thick and I just wanted to belt a small popper out over em. Twisties we threw in were being annihilated by packs of these fish, it would have been great to see em all fighting over a surface lure. I never get tired of these excursions, riding out into the countryside, before hiking through jungle, exploring and checking out the waterfalls, usually having a swim also. 

I love being immersed in nature like this and the beauty of these places never disappoints.  It was a great ride through jungle clad mountains and farmland followed by a hike through more pristine jungle trails, and we hardly saw any other people the whole day.  Pala-U was an awesome day out and should not be missed if you are in Hua Hin or surrounding areas. 

This place had great food and a stunning view,  little café we found on the mountain on the ride to Kaeng Krachan

This set of falls is actually pretty high, you can see from the other pics

Probably not the smartest place to sit....


Back in Kanchanaburi we went out for Korean BBQ buffet’s, visited the night markets, explored the town, toured the history and war museums and made some new friends.  Phil, the owner from ‘Cracker’s’ bar is a decent bloke and loves a good yarn and a beer or 3, they also do an awesome burger with the best home-made wedges I think I’ve ever had.  

Some more cruising the surrounding areas on the scooter found all sorts of interesting places, it really is a great province and probably my favourite part of Thailand.  I just love having so many options on the bike and so many different places for great riding.  The town itself is also a very unique and contrasting place. 

There is the tourist section of town, which has just enough nightlife for those that require it, restaurants, the night markets and most of the guesthouses. Not far away is the older part of town with traditional markets and great local food.  It is honestly such a unique little place that is hard explain why, but grab a scooter, and spend a couple of days riding and you will understand.  You can cross the river and feel like you are in another world, there is so much to explore, go and see for yourself.

Some more interesting temples, a couple of museums and a giant monkey pod tree (another classic case of sheer bewilderment from Mon, at why a falang would drive all that way in searing heat to look at a tree) finished off Kanchanaburi.  Nearly…..

 One of those mini buses had an accident of some sort with the train we were to board for Hua Hin and we left the station nearly 4 hours late.  It was another highly enjoyable trip with a bottle of whiskey, bag of ice and bottle of coke, train travel has to be my favourite way to get around for those longer journey’s you can’t do on a bike. 

I much prefer to take the train over flying as you get to see so much more of the country and mix with the locals.  A stopover at Nakhom Pathom for a switch of trains leaves us about half an hour to kill and we get some snaps of a different interesting temple thing?  We get into Hua Hin about 11pm and take the first room we can find, train fare 183 baht ($6) all up for me and once again free for Mon.

After breakfast it was time to change rooms and punish another scooter, little did I know…..

River Kwae Bridge

Giant Monkey Pod Tree

Awesome pink scooter
Interesting temple

Falang and monk wait for train...   
 the Kindle is one of the greatest things you can travel with

Nakhon Pathom and other interesting temple,  this one is actually a lot bigger than it looks and was unlike any of the usual temples you see around Thailand, I can only assume it wasn't Buddhist