We arrived in Hua Hin after an all night journey on bus and train from Krabi on the west coast to Thailand’s east coast, we were tired and still had to find a guesthouse for the two nights we’d be there. We knew which area we wanted to be in so loaded up the bikes and headed straight there. We checked out a few places and eventually found a fantastic room at Victor Guesthouse, in fact it was two rooms with a lounge….perfect and still cheap !
We settled in, sorted washing, email, FB, I keep putting this routine in my blogs but it is surprising just how important these things become to you, nothing better than clean clothes and good Wi Fi !! Next up was breakfast so we headed out to one of the many places that has a deck with a view over the ocean. My mum tells me that when she visited Hua Hin about 20 years ago it was a small quaint fishing village, well thats certainly changed. Don’t panic, it’s still a great place to be just not a small fishing village anymore, all the fisher mans houses that looked over the ocean are now either guest houses or restaurants. As for food it comes any way you like it from French bistro to Italian to English roast, your choice ! Breakfast done and feeling slightly better we set about the tourist thing 😉
We’d already seen the first attraction, the train station, it’s listed in the guide book as a place to see, we obviously arrived at it so we’d seen it.
We did our usual trick and took a taxi for a pre arranged time and cost then let them know where we wanted to go. First up was a temple up on a hill, it comes with great views over Hua Hin and surrounding area. Floating markets which were not quite what we expected, we assumed they’d be proper floating markets, lots of boats all tied together with all manner of produce and a bustling local community. What we actually got was Thailand’s idea of what it thought the tourists wanted, all brand new shops selling tourist tat around a man made lake….bloody awful !! And if that wasn’t bad enough there was another similar “floating market” about 2km away, and yes we had a cursory look at it, the only good thing about it was the food !!
Next up was yet another temple, I swear that by the time I’ve finished travelling I’ll have seen more temples, mosques, churches and other religious buildings than any one man should have to put up with. Don’t people have anything better to do with there money other than put up these expensive constructions, surely they’d be better off keeping the money and not living in poverty !!
Rant over, on to something that really did surprise us….
Yes, I know you’ve never heard of Thai wine either, strange thing is it’s actually bloody good, we went for the gourmet taste selection. They pair your wine with several little delicacies, the whole thing was fantastic, the wine, the food, the staff and the whole ambience if the place. The setting is pretty spectacular to, complete with very long well manicured driveway up to the restaurant, took me back to Stellenbosch in South Africa 😉
Last stop on this whirlwind tour was a surprise to us, our driver stopped at an elephant hospital, now neither of us was keen to stop but the staff convinced us that they do good work and care for the animals, we fell in love with this one and subsequently left a donation 😉
The following day saw us shopping, not something we do very often as cycle touring limits your ability to carry to much kit. The thing is I was looking to replace my broken camera and also to replace some worn underwear and swimming trunks, all very mundane but it filled half the day. After lunch we spent a little time at a very funky retro shopping / amusement centre, we didn’t buy anything here but did enjoy the sheer quirkiness of the place, especially the VW campervan !!
On the way back to the hotel we got caught in a tremendous thunder storm but fortuitously we were right outside a second hand bookstore at the time, I good half hour spent not to mention a few Baht. Then back to the hotel to sort out kit and routes ready for the off in the morning.
Destination Phetchaburi, 75km is all our ride would be and that was the long way round so we could go and see this….
Other than this there wasn’t much else to see although the local council obviously thought there was….
Still at least the road was flat even if the weather was still very humid it felt like it would rain most of the ride but fortunately we’d stopped for lunch before it tipped it down. As so onward to The Sun Hotel in Phetchaburi, we arrived early and were pleasantly surprised by the hotel, the guidebook wasn’t overly kind so we think they’ve upped there game ! We arrived early enough to be able to go and see a few things on our one afternoon here. Naomi studied the guide book and based on closing times of the relevant places came up with a numbered list that we gave to our tuk tuk driver. He ignored the numbers and drove to the places in a logical fashion, unfortunately our Thai and his English we’re as bad as each other and because of this we arrived at two places just as they were closing.
Still we did manage to see two lots of caves, a temple or two and the outside of a very beautiful palace and it’s grounds, not to bad in one afternoon.
It was hot, we were very sweaty and tired and frankly after rushing about all afternoon we’d had enough, time to retire to the air conditioned room for a bit of relaxing before dinner.
From Phetchaburi it’s about 140km into Bangkok on a route that’s not motorways or toll roads, given that we’d be very slow due to having to navigate our way into such a huge city we decided to cheat just a bit. We hitched a lift on a tuk tuk for the first 50 or so km, leaving us with just over 80km, a much more reasonable distance given the complexities of navigation and finding the hotel we’d booked. Usually when I sit down with google maps and sort out the directions for a normal day I have less than one page, for Bangkok I had two full pages and this only gets me to Hua Lamphong train station, from there we still need to find our hotel.
The tuk tuk man did his bit and left us in a safe place to start our journey , exactly where we’d asked him to leave us so my directions could begin immediately. As I said the route was complex, it meant lots of stopping to check road names and to make sure we were heading the right way. We were lucky that the rain held off all day and that despite some of the roads being quite large there was always a safe place to cycle. At about half way we found a local street restaurant and tucked into some noodles and soup, we’ve tried asking for vegetarian but no matter what you ask for it’s always got either fish or meat in it somehow. The food was good though and bloody cheap, we forget how cheap it is in local restaurants because were always in tourist places now. After lunch we were soon back into the rhythm and quickly made good miles although the closer we got to the centre the more directions there were to follow, we had to concentrate quite hard.
I didn’t take to many photos on the way into Bangkok because I had no hand held camera and it would have meant stopping. It wasn’t always easy to stop as you end up in the way, but I did manage to stop a couple of times to take these 😉
Neither of us fancied getting lost in Bangkok, it was tough enough following a route, not sure I’d want to try it without some sort of directions !!
As we rounded some construction works we finally saw Hua Lamphong railway station, we’d made it in one piece, time to find our hotel.
We’d been told that our hotel was opposite the station, hmm, maybe so but the station has three sides and there are buildings everywhere. It took us a while to find it, we’d asked several people and eventually were pointed in the right direction. Our hotel for just two nights would be at the @Hua Lamphomg Hotel, strange name but great place and as we’d be leaving on a train to Nong Khai from the station it was perfect.
Time to go, read what happens in the next blog.