Tuesday, 15 October 2013

One more road trip was in order and another scooter rented for the journey north to Khao Lak for the day, the area was one of the worst hit in the 2004 Tsunami and claimed over 4000 lives, with an unofficial estimate at nearly 10000.  As always, a great ride and the town area itself was ok, it still retains a small town feel and there are a few cafes on top of the hill which provide great views over the beautiful ocean there.  But a short ride from the centre shows the scars of the tragedy that occurred on Boxing Day 2004.

  We saw a beachside hotel in ruins, left abandoned after the catastrophe, much of the nearby beachfront land is still unused, fear of ghosts maybe?! The Thai's have strong beliefs in the spirit world.  There is also a memorial still being set up nearly 2 km from the ocean where a police boat ended up from the force of the tsunami, although it has been repositioned for aesthetics, the boat still sits there as a reminder of the destructive force that nature possesses and unleashes at will.

On a lighter note, whilst exploring different tracks we came across an interesting sign that beckoned us to ring a bell and a boat would come pick us up from a sandbar island across an inlet, where there was a bar/cafĂ©.  Very cool little place to hang out for a while.  We ended up on another beach elsewhere for delicious, fresh squid lunch and a cold beer or 2 before making the trip home.  Some beautiful riding and a nice little piece of Thailand, well worth a visit, but we were back in Phang Nga by early afternoon and were greeted by a downpour. 

As I’ve said, I really loved Phang Nga town and it is seriously a place you could just drift on into and lose track of time, we were supposed to do some kayaking through The Elephant Cave, but nobody was around, it looks like great fun if you’re in town.  Don’t be scared to get on a bike and go look around, you will be amazed at what you find, not only in Phang Nga, but everywhere.  Remember, it is hard to include everything that we did and this story happened more than 6 months ago.

It was time to leave this sleepy little town though and make our way home, on the bus back to Surat Thani and then overnight train to Bangkok where we arrived at around 7am.  A taxi to Ekamai or Mo Chit will see you get on a mini bus back to Pattaya, I don’t recall which one we went to, but the same company operates from both, Pattayavan.  More of the same in Pattaya, like I said, there are many things that happened or that we did, but I want to keep the story rolling and get us to the present day.

The police boat left high and dry after the devastating tsunami

Another scooter, this one lived to tell the tale

The destroyed and abandoned hotel

Cool little island bar with boat pick up...  just ring the bell

Beachside restaurant

Surat Thani Train Station

Snacks and whiskey..

Overnight train survival kit...   polony sandwiches and beer!