Thailand | Satun - Ao Nang - Surat Thani - Bangkok | 10th June '15 to 18th June '15 | 9527km
We knew we’d be affected by the wet sea on at some point on our way through South East Asia. Up until now the heavy stormy downpours had built up in the day and released mid to late afternoon. In the next week or so however it just began to rain all day, often just drizzling, almost like the UK! We spend most of the day soaking wet, either through perspiration, or precipitation.
From Satun, we headed North, trying to find the smaller roads that generally lead to much nicer cycling, but we kept having to come back to the main thoroughfare channelling everything towards the tourist mecca's of Krabi and Phuket. It was flat and straight, with each town looking the same. In the heat, the riding often came down to how long you could put up with the discomfort before giving into the temptation/necessity of an iced tea and shade. Each iced tea takes about 10 seconds to costume and comes with, on average, four pieces of packaging. Couple of slow punctures hindered progress further.
The beaches here are world renowned and the Limestone karsks are cool, but the water in wet season is generally murkier and choppier than you see in the bond films. We knew it would be catered to tourists, but read that, it being the off season, accommodation prices and the number of Chang beer vest tops/elephant pattern trousers were generally lower. The rain really set in and we found a place to spend a few days off and settled in (emptied panniers all over room). Spent three days not doing much, trying to fashion nutritious meals from what was available at 7 Eleven and ? . 3 days and 4 boxes of cornflakes later we set off again, in the rain.
The following afternoon we’d found some small roads and smiley locals and were offered shelter from the current down pour by a lady who practically force fed us mangoes on the command of her elderly betel nut chewing mother. On learning that the forecast wasn’t due to improve, and on the advice of the local train time guru, we made a snap decision to beeline across some mud tracks to the train station in Surat Thani. We took a grim, bitey, shower in the station and tried to wash the worst of the crud off the bikes.
Told we had a strict 3 minutes to get bikes on to cargo carriage 1 and to then leg it to carriage 12 where our 3rd class thrones awaited. Flora sat on a wooden luggage trolley and displaced two large rats. As the time came we headed to where the cargo carriage would apparently be and the platform soon tailed off, leaving an extra metre to hoist the bikes up into the sliding cargo doors, like the sort people run away in on films. We probably should have just paid the 80p for the luggage man to do it for us but it was the principle that people with large cargo that wasn’t a bicycle didn’t have too!
The air in the carriage was conditioned by leaving all the windows open and the florescent strips made sure every insect between there and Bangkok knew where to get dinner. We did have two seats each, which were just small enough to not allow you to lie down. As morning came, commuters joined the train and the sprawling outskirts of Bangkok arrived, people hoping on to sell food in at each station. Feeling rough, with no phone battery or time to have found a place to go the night before, we wobbled through Bangkok's morning Tuk Tuk traffic to the only place we knew of. After a second loud and increasing desperate knock, a smiley, slightly confused face appeared the door to 'Granny bike', a not yet fully open hostel for cyclists in a quite suburb of Bangkok.