Saturday, 7 September 2013


New Year’s Eve is celebrated in Udon Thani with a huge dinner out, then back to the rooftop of Wit’s house for more whiskey and to shoot fireworks.  I love the Korean BBQ places, you can choose from a massive selection of meat, noodles, vegetables and other assorted items which you cook yourself at the table, grilling the meat on top and creating a soup around the base.  The usual cost starts at about $4 a person and is all you can eat, with many places including desserts, fruit, satay’s and even free soft drinks. 

It is a fun, cheap, healthy, tasty and social way to eat out and at that price how could you resist.  I go all the time, but after this long in the country eating from markets and food carts, plus Mon & I cooking at home, even $4 for a meal out seems kind of expensive now!  It is amazing how you start to look at your budget once you travel for so long and what becomes a priority, though the boozing and adventure budget still remain top of the list!
The time has come though to head South again to Pattaya, the whole family will drive us back again and after another mammoth drive we only stop for a few hours sleep before continuing onwards to Rayong for a couple of days.  Rayong is a sleepy little coastal town with nice beaches and as typically is the case in seaside towns, an abundance of freshly caught seafood waiting to be cooked for you at ridiculously low prices.  

We make a day of it by the beach after Mon and I check into our hotel and I lose count of how many times everybody eats.  We stay at The Most Hotel, a fantastic newly built place for the bargain price of $16 and go organize a rental scooter.  You usually pay about $6-7 for a 24 hour period or around $60-100 a month.

Mon’s family decide to head off that night and it is a very sad farewell, even if we have only spent a couple of weeks together, they have been so good to me and made sure I will never forget my time in Udon, though I hope to return someday. 

 As usual we explore the whole area and the town itself, I tend to look for the smallest, most crowded and hectic little laneways to wander down as they seem to be the best spots to get a real feel for a place and meet locals.  The dirtier, more bustling and busy, the better. 

The next day we take our scooter eastward along the coast to Ban Phe and it is an awesome ride with ocean views nearly the whole way and a distinct lack of tourists and infrastructure along most of it.  It is probably the nicest stretch of beach I have seen in Thailand so far as it is still natural without all the rubbish, touts and tourists. 
 As we near Ban Phe we start to see a few little stalls and seafood restaurants but it is still beautiful and we stop for some lunch overlooking the water.  A few more hours cruising around the town, seafood markets and surrounding area checking it all out and we are off back to Rayong for the night, we have checked out the piers and will return tomorrow to sail out to Koh Samet.

 I really loved this area and the days riding, I suspect I will return. We spend our last night here out at a place less than 5 minutes walk away from the hotel,  awesome food, a few jugs of frozen cocktails and great service.  If you're a sports fan, they also had a large projector screen outside playing live football (soccer).  There are plenty of dining, drinking, massage and laundry options nearby as we are on the main nightlife strip, Rajbamrung Road.  A cool little town and well worth a visit.
BBQ buffet

some random fishing park near Udon,   caught nothing!

Rayong shorefront
getting supplies on the bike
sitting on the beach with a few drinks and dinner

some sights around Rayong and Ban Phe

there is a small park area close by, but they charge 2-300 baht just to go up there, I decided against it and followed this road not far away to Rayong Resort.  From what I can gather, the views are fairly similar and taking this option will save you a few dollars, plus it was a nice ride.  Look for this sign...
Pier at Ban Phe,  I think...