Jan 9 – Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Beautiful karsts along the ride today. Pretty hilly so not an easy 61km, especially cause I felt sore from yesterday. Constant smell of chicken shit everywhere. I don’t know what it is though. Not garbage, not actually chicken shit, maybe fertilizer? Not pleasant. Been smelling it along the roads for three days straight. Khao Sok National Park is more touristy than I thought it would be. Took a swim at “monkey swimming hole” aptly named cause there are a bunch of monkeys hanging out there.
Jan 10 – Khao Lak, Thailand
Started the day with a big mountain climb. I missed the turn onto route1005 because it is marked as 4005 on google maps, which added maybe an extra 10 to 15 kilometers more to the 62km I was supposed to do. Tomorrow is supposed to be like 50. Not much of the bad smell today, maybe because I mostly found myself traversing through the national park and less habitation overall. But there were still convenient 7/11 stops along the way.
Khao Lak is not as beautiful as the Gulf of Thailand Islands – you don’t get the same sky blue colored water. Hard to imagine the tsunami hit here 11 years ago. Don’t know where you’d go to hide, a good long run to the hills. There’s a touristy strip on the way to the beach, lots of drinks and overpriced food.
Kinda looking forward to Phang Nga tomorrow where I think I might find a cheap night market. Took lots of poor quality pictures of the sunset tonight -which set later at 6:23 as opposed to 6:12 on the Thai gulf islands – combination of days getting longer and being 200 miles further west.
After some internet research it seems the stench that I’ve been smelling either is processed rubber liquid dripping from trucks of from palm oil processing plants. Still smells like chicken shit to me.
Jan 11 – Phang Nga, Thailand
I visited the Tsunami Museum in Khao Lak this morning – mostly videos of the events. The sea came way in today, right up to the steps that lead down to the beach – kinda scared me after seeing the museum. I made my way down the beach some and waded in the water where the rip tide was very strong due to the incline of the beach, my bathing suit filled with sand it and it was hard to get it all out. The beautiful blue color water color is back, yesterday had just been too cloudy.
I took a side trip to the pier that takes you to Ko Similan. Lots of boats in a pretty inlet, reminded me of Maine. Water is a lot warmer though. Nice ride through the mountains to Phang Nga without having to actually go up them. Started later in the day, nice to avoid the worst heat. Smaller night market, but some good eats.
Jan 12 – Ao Nang, Thailand
86 km of mostly back roads with an 18 km stint along busy route 4. I booked on booking.com a “one bedroom aptaetment” that turned out to be a bed in a dorm room. The beach water is dirty here due to the sewage of all the hotels. Lots of boats in morning all beached as the tide had gone way out. Beautiful karsts make it impossible to travel by land to Raleh Beach, where the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio took place
Passed a huge crowd gathered at a cock fight on my way here along the highway. A mute tried to discourage me from going in. More heaven from 7/11s along today’s route.
Jan 13 – Krabi Town, Thailand.
12km into town. Bought a bus ticket to Hat Yai. I Sold bike and bike supplies for about $75. Started to feel nostalgic. Lots of nice boats along Krabi’s inlets taking tourists to the islands. Wish I could stay longer in Thailand and had a little more company. Nice pool at the hotel. So warm.
Jan 14 – Overnight train to Kuala Lumpur, Malayisa from Hat Yai, Thailand
Feels weird being without the bike. I miss it. I said goodbye to it and it made me a bit sad. It was the first and last conversation we really had together. But most of the time the “miss” manifests itself as in “hey, where’s my bike? What did I do with it? O damn, I don’t have it anymore, I guess I’ll have to walk. But it is nice to not have to worry about taking it on busses and trains and paying extra, and locking it up, and worrying about my bag on the back.
Quick bus to Hat Yai. Slept almost the whole way. Found a cheap tuk tuk to the train station. Ate there, only like an hour to the border, quick through immigration but has to wait like an hour for train to roll,around again,ma bunch of cars added.
Jan 15 – Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Arrived before 5 am in Kuala Lumpur and has to wait like 3 hours at the station for money exchange places to open up. Waited longer for slow internet at McDonald’s to book a hotel. Always takes a while to learn how to get around a city. I’m at crappy hotel, but only 6 bucks.
Got a “hop on hop off” pass on a tourist bus. Saw the national museum, glanced at the national palace, got off the bus at a park and got caught in anhour long downpour and lightning storm. Spent the rest of the evening in traffic on the bus. Glanced at some impressive mosques through the rainy bus windows. Finally got to the Petronas Twin Towers. Ate at Johnny Rockets where the waiters danced, and returned to my hotel via the subway.
KL is a modern city and so very diverse. Some women wear headdresses but lots of make up. Some women cover their entire faces. One couple cracked me up – the woman has her hair covered while the man wore a t-shirt saying “parental advisory – explicit content.” Chinese and Indians have also been here for centuries. Malaysia’s independence in 1957 is quite impressive because all those groups had to come together to peacefully overthrow the British colonial government.