338km Ao Nang Beach to Satun
What to do when you’re a budget traveller, stuck in an overpriced beach resort? For cyclists, the answer is clear: find the all-you-can-eat buffet and tuck in. Shocked by the price of fried rice in Ao Nang, we followed the crowds to a bar called Bernies and their vegetarian spread. Now if there was ever a lesson for restaurant owners, it’s to beware of cyclists coming to eat at your buffet. They’ll destroy your profit margin in seconds, which is exactly what the lady writing out our bill told us after we worked our way through three plates each of pasta, curry, baked potatoes, garlic bread and salad, not to mention a few trips to the ice cream freezer. “I don’t make much money off people like you,” she said sourly. Well, we were happy at least and waddled back to our hotel, certain we’d stashed away enough extra calories to see us through to the Malaysian border.
We got a late start the next day, stopping at the gigantic supermarkets in Krabi to stock up on all the things we were sure would be more expensive in Malaysia. After so long shopping in markets and tiny corner shops, these hypermarkets always take us aback with their floor that takes ten minutes to walk from end to end. It took a good hour to pick up a few toiletries and it was midday before we set off down the extremely busy road. There was a shoulder and thank goodness for those two feet of pavement all to ourselves but even so the sound of trucks flying by your ears constantly takes its toll. Whiz. Whoosh. Rumble. Throw in a cloud of black smoke from a poorly maintained engine and it’s not exactly cycling paradise. We just wanted to get that road overwith so we pushed on as fast as our legs would spin round, not paying much attention to where we’d find a bed for the night. Soon it was dusk and we were in Siako – one of those rural towns that’s just big enough for a market but not for a hotel. Thankfully in Thailand, the police are truly ‘at your service’ and had no problem allowing us to set up camp on their front lawn. We’d just started to get the tent out when we heard a voice calling to us in English through the darkness. (more…)