2 very impressive 16" touring foldies!
The lovely bike lanes south out of Hua Hin. Pic KC
Leaving White Wood House was hard as we all truly enjoyed this quaint, characterful and lovely place. As good guests, we cleaned it up properly before locking up and riding out in search for breakfast. I left a little before the others as I wanted to see the Nong Kae Train Station first which was just 3 mins ride away. I've always been fascinated with train stations especially older ones and Nong Kae did not disappoint. Standing here, the time could very well be 1960s.
We hit the jackpot for breakfast when we came across an eatery that served a typical Thai breakfast - rice with a variety of rich curries and other yummies. Just put whatever you fancy on your plate and off you go. As easy as that and the owner was so pleased to feed 8 hungry cyclists. Such a satisfying breakfast costs us just about 40B each or US$1.20 only.
Cycling out of Hua Hin with a full tank, we were happy as Larry. The weather was cloudy and today's ride was to Sam Roi Yot Beach, an easy 48km away. We had planned to check out some promising resorts there like the Blue Resort and Green Beach Resort, and if they had specials, we would just stay there and enjoy the beach.
Thailand is certainly aiming to become more bike friendly and we were pleasantly surprised when we hit beautiful dedicated bike lanes as we left Hua Hin. This went on for a considerable distance and we want to register our big "Kup khoon kup" to the Thai government. We saw that it was put to good use with several cyclists using it including the odd motorcycle ridden by an elderly lady. To be fair, she was very considerate and that is how it should be. Being here was much safer than the roads with fast moving cars and huge trucks. Don't blame her one bit!
Taking a short cut along some country roads, we enjoyed the tranquility of riding under shaded trees and skirted around the Pranburi Forest Park. We spotted too a few roadies doing their training rides here, enjoying themselves. One of them, a retired teacher Khun Yeh, was so happy to meet us and we stopped for a short chat that could not end. Truly we cyclists are a kindred spirit no matter where we come from! Such a bubbly and lovely lady she was and all these bike lanes were probably lobbied for very hard by the seniors in the cycling community here in Hua Hin area.
Khun Yeh! Pic KC
As we veered inland, the slight rolling hills appeared and it was fun to be chugging up those and then speeding down. The ride so far has been flat as a pancake so we really welcome them. Crossing a long bridge, we stopped to admire the scenery and KC, feeling full of love, insisted that we took a group pic to commemorate this beautiful moment.
Route 4008 soon led us to the delightful coastline once again and we could not believe our eyes when we saw more bike paths. This time they were marked red and we can only imagine how well used they must be during the high season. But for now, we had them all to ourselves!
The sun was really doing its job by now and we were all feeling rather scorched and in need of a cold drink. We cycled for miles and there was absolutely nothing in sight! When it came to situations like these, the best thing to do is to say a little prayer although I feel really bad about bothering our Father for such small things.
This cafe is probably the most warm and quaint stopover we have made. Filled with lovely decorations all in the blue theme, with teddy bears and soft toys, flowery cushions, white wrought iron chairs, cosy sofa and even an embroidered suspended chair on the verendah. The owner could very well be inspired by some Enid Blyton storybook and we were so grateful and happy to be here. We felt no shame in making ourselves feel right at home! This is a must visit cafe if you are ever in the vicinity.
With the noon sun searing above, we did not want to leave this cool butterfly sanctuary, preferring to be cocooned here permanently. But move on, we must and I reluctantly got everyone to saddle up and make tracks. It was the hardest thing to do but Team LTF is such a wonderful bunch and no one complained.
The ride in the heat was not easy but the sea breezes and shady roads helped somewhat. We cycled pass some Karst hills and stopped at a Thai temple where there was a pond filled with terrapins. Kids were enjoying themselves and it is always nice to see kids at play.
As we were riding along the road, YC alerted us to a famous bakery and we thought that was a splendid idea for lunch. It turned out that the La A Natu was more than that! It is an upmarket beach resort and done so in the most unique style with hints of Bali. Thatched roof, bamboo bridges, dining hut and white sand beach.
It also had the most amazing antique vehicles, especially a classic Daihatsu Midget pick up in bright yellow and a white Vespa scooter complete with sidecar. Our lunch there was not cheap as expected of a classy resort like this but we enjoyed it thoroughly.
George and Wendy, great friends indeed! Pics KC
With all the extended breaks and dilly dallying, it was a miracle that we actually finally arrived at Sam Roi Yod beach in the blazing sun. I looked at one hotel and gave it a miss as it was really run down. Green Beach Resort is located at the end of the beach strip and looked very promising. A quick enquiry there proved fruitful as the rooms were new, they had a pool and was very well managed. However, it lacked character, at least to us as it looked like just another resort. The rates too were pretty steep at 1400B.
SRY Beach - KC
Claudine, still bubbling with energy, felt that we rode too little and wanted to press on to the next beach and we all agreed as it was only 3pm. Kurburi was another 30km away and we had plenty of time. A quick call to Little Home Resort there confirmed our villas at 800B and it was a done deal.
Meanwhile, we wanted to just get some respite from the heat and once again, VT and I scouted for a nice place to chill. The Lord's hand led us to another beautiful place - The Cosy Cafe run by a NZ bloke married to a Thai wife. His chef (wife) was out and said he could only make very limited drinks but we asked if he could do a fresh lime drink for us. That, he could as he does it regularly for his family! We just planted ourselves in the shady grounds of his cafe drinking lots and some even went for a siesta.
The last 30km to Little Home proved to be the hardest despite the day cooling down a little. Turning inland again, there were some hills to climb but the tough part was the headwinds. When we had the winds behind us for a short stretch, we were flying but most times, we were struggling. At this stage, the group was pretty spread out and I dropped back to encourage those at the rear. Poor Sue was feeling the weight of her bike and struggled somewhat. But she always maintained a cheerful disposition and that truly is admirable.
A quick stop at a local drink stall was much appreciated as it was really hard work riding into the strong wind. The winds were so strong that everything on our table started flying and our bikes were blown off from their stand.
The inland road finally intersected the coast once more and behold before our eyes was the Little Home Guest House, a simple local set up. The staff were ready for us and showed us to our quaint wooden villas. It was unfortunate that the cafe/restaurant was closed so we had to make do with luke warm water which we carried. Feeling a bit disappointed, at least we had beach front views at a budget price! A quick shower and laundry, we wasted no time to get ready for dinner.
Just 100m left of Little Home were a couple of seafood restaurants and we chose the best looking one. Turned out to be an excellent choice as it served one of the best dinners we had for this trip. What was nice too was that we were just on the beach with the music of the Carpenters serenading us. With 2 classic bicycles as decorations, we were destined to be here!
VT our Director of Food did excellently well and ordered the best dishes ever. The prawns stir fried in tamarind was exquisite and I enjoyed that very much. We had papaya salad, green curry chicken, fish cakes, mixed veggies etc and it was a meal to remember.
It has been a most relaxing ride coasting down to Little Home, enjoying a beautiful ride and amazing cafes/restaurants with a great bunch of people. We had planned for 45km and ended up nearly 80km and leaving things flexible and open adds to the joy of touring.
I retired with gladness and gratitude at having the health to be able to enjoy this very special day indeed! If only each day was like today...