Nov 29 – Dec 10 Ratchaburi to Khanom

Nov 29

After riding yesterday in the heat and getting a nice sun burn I decided to set an alarm for 7am to get an early start. When my alarm went off I took a few minutes to admire the sun above the ocean right next to where I had slept. Then I started getting ready and left at 7:45.

The morning was nice and cloudy so I didn’t have to worry about sunscreen and the first 15 miles were on a flat, easy trail next to a road

It started sprinkling around 10am but it was really light so I was thankful to have it so the day wouldn’t be so hot.

I decided to do a short day so I wouldn’t burn my legs out after not riding for so long.

30 miles later I got to my end destination – Hua Hin. Hua Hin is a pretty big city so I had a lot I could do.

Once I got all my stuff settled and secured I went out on the town. I walked and swam at the beach for a while, then by 2pm it wasn’t cloudy anymore. It was full sun so I left the beach since I didn’t have sunscreen and I hugged the shaded side of the street. I found a row of food stands and got some delicious Roasted Duck Soup for ฿40.

After my meal I went back to camp and chilled out on the beach for a while until 6 when it got dark I went out and explored the city a bit more before turning in.

Nov 30

I was super excited in the morning when I found a beachside campground at a National park only 40 miles from me. So I packed up and set out.

It was another cool cloudy morning and I was riding with a very strong wind to my back pushing me extra fast down the road. The route was really pretty. I was riding a road with shrimp farms on either side and just beyond those were these huge rock features that stuck straight out of the ground covered in vine and even further back were mountains covered in jungle vegetation. And every once in a while I’d see a temple or a golden Buddha.

When I got to the National Park I was disappointed to hear that I didn’t have enough cash. So I asked the attendee where I could find an ATM and she pointed back in the direction I had come from and said “10 kilometers”. If you recall, I had a very strong tail wind the whole way there so there was no way I was going back 10 km facing that wind. I would be exhausted when I got there. So I decided to keep going and if I found an ATM close by I could return.

One of the bigger rock features behind me

I made it to a city called Koh Buri which was the first place I could find an ATM twenty miles or so further than the National Park. I bought some dinner from the store and went to a beach spot where I crashed for the night.

Fishing boats

Dec 1

I had to make up for my failed National Park attempt so I made sure I had enough cash then I left for Hat Wanakorn National Park.

My first stop was at a roadside stand where I stopped for a late breakfast. It was a super small place on the side of the road run by one older woman. Every item on the menu was in Thai so I held out ฿40 which she took and motioned for me to take a seat.

Ten minutes later she came out with a bowl of seafood soup, in which I recognized two items. Shrimp and liver. I was kind of nervous but I ended up liking it a lot and it fueled me for the rest of my day.

I was trying my best to stay on side roads coming into the National Park but they all ended up being too overgrown or blocked off so I had to head up to the main road to get into the park.

This time I had enough cash so I had successfully made up for my previous attempt. I set up my hammock between the two trees closest to the ocean and spent the rest of the night talking to fellow campers on the beach.

Dec 2

Next stop: Ban Krut. I took the side roads out of the National Park and started riding through the palm tree forests on concrete roads

So far I’ve had at least 100 dogs chase me down the road but this was the only one that scared me. I was biking down the road and all of the sudden 6 dogs got up and started all chasing me down right at my feet and wouldn’t drop off me no matter how far or fast I went. It left me a little shaken up but I came out of it smiling.

When I was riding into Ban Krut I saw two motor bikers with monkeys and one truck with monkeys all on one road.

I arrived in the town with no plans on where I was going to stay. It was a small town with one main road and a lot of hotels on the picture perfect beach. I ended up finding a Resort and Spa with free breakfast on a deal for $12 a night so I booked it for two nights.

Me and my bike hanging out in our king sized bedroom

Dec 3

I got to sleep in since I didn’t have to get up to beat the heat and then I basically just spent the whole day walking up and down the beach and swimming.

Dec 4

I decided to go about halfway to Chumphon, where the ferry to Koh Samui leaves from, then take the ferry when I arrived on the 5th.

It was a VERY hot day and after having those cloudy rainy days earlier in the week I wasn’t ready for all the heat. I designated my long sleeve button up to be my daily riding shirt since it was breathable and covered my skin.

I didn’t want to stop because I was scared I’d get tired if I took a break so I rode for 3 hours straight before my first break. As I was refilling my water bottles I noticed I was at 45 miles already and the halfway point to the ferry was 50 miles. So I weighed my options.

1. Stop in 5 miles ❌

2. Go 20 more miles and take a short day to the ferry ❌

3. Do a century ride in the hot sun and get to the ferry port a day early ✅

In hindsight it probably wasn’t the smart idea and I almost didn’t make it. But it felt really good rolling up to the ferry port and buying my ticket for the next morning with 100 miles under my belt.

I asked the ticket booth manager if there was camping nearby. She told me no, but that there was a hotel a mile down the road. So I checked in there and once I put my bike in my room I walked to the edge of the pool and fell in as dramatically as I could. The cold water felt so good on my hot, skin and road grit after that day. Then I turned the AC on super cold and just laid on my bed and went to sleep nice and early.

Dec 5 – 4:00AM

I woke up ready to ride to the ferry port at 5 to catch the ferry. I took it slow getting ready and at 5:00 I was out the door. I rode to the end of the driveway and was faced by a big iron gate that was not there when I arrived.

My ferry ticket was not cheap and non refundable and the hotel manager was fast asleep. So I ran behind the desk and grabbed every key I could find but none of them opened the padlock that kept the gate door shut. So I had to think of alternative options. I grabbed a stool from the kitchen and looked over the wall where I decided I could probably toss my bags and lower my bike over. I shined my light and it was about a foot of water on the other side of the wall.

It was 5:30 now and at this point I was defeated and super tired from the early wake up. I decided I’d probably just have to miss my ferry and buy a new ticket for the afternoon one. I gave the gate one last push out of frustration and it opened effortlessly. Turns out the padlock was just for show and didn’t actually do anything. I felt like I was in a movie it was so stupid.

I made it to the ferry port at 6 and disassembled my bike for the high speed ferry to Koh Samui.

The sunrise was a nice source of entertainment as I waited for the ferry to arrive.

I was the last to board the boat so I could make sure my bike was loaded properly. They stacked everyone’s luggage in a pile in the front of the boat so I just wanted to make sure I didn’t have a brick crushing my rotors or something.

I got to my seat which was the last open one on the boat squeezed between two people right in the front. When I got on the handed out barf bags to all the passengers. I was confused why they were doing this because I had never heard of sea sickness on a ferry. Then we left the dock and I realized why. They sent this little metal speed boat to full throttle on choppy waters and had everyone bouncing around. I would guess 1/3 of people threw up. I came close but got better last minute.

I sent a message to the Jadin family who are friends of friends and they live on the island. I asked them if they had any recommendations of places to stay and they invited me to stay in their guest room for the first two nights of my stay.

The Jadin’s moved to Koh Samui in October from Wisconsin with their two toddlers and they’re planning on living on the island until May of 2023.

They were really cool people, over the next two days they gave me a great tour of the island. They took me to the local food joints, took me kayaking in the area of the ocean in their front yard and invited me to see the sunset at a beach bar with their friends.

Dec 7

The goal of the day was to get to the immigration office to extend my visa a month. My hostel wouldn’t let me check in until 2PM so I just wandered around the island until 2 and decided to do the immigration stuff tomorrow instead.

I checked into my room at 2 and dropped all my stuff and went for a walk in the neighborhood. I bought a patch of the Thai flag then I went back and sewed on the rest of my patches. Now I have one for each flag on my rear panniers.

I went to a place close by for dinner then I went to bed at 8 because I had to wake up at 2am for an interview to be on a podcast. The interview went well, I had a few technical difficulties but I got a recording spot for January 12.

Dec 8

I woke up and went to the ATM to get the money I needed for my visa extension. The first two attempts didn’t go through so I left and came back five minutes later for a third attempt that resulted in my card getting put on hold. So I used my parents card to take the money out since I didn’t have any. Then I rented a motor bike from the hostel and went to the other side of the island where the immigration office is.

Half an hour later I arrived and they told me I couldn’t get the extension until the 14th. So I rode the scooter back around the island and ended up riding around the entire island.

I went back to the hostel to let my phone charge because I forgot to the night before then I went for another ride in the late afternoon.

On my way back I went to get dinner at a little spot on the beach. While I was eating I noticed the place next door looked really cool. So I went over after my meal and it was a Reggea bar with multiple levels like a tree house that also connected to the huge rocks on the beach. So I stayed there for an hour and watched the sunset and got a drink before heading back.

Dec 9

I did not want to take my bike apart and get on of of those little boats again so I made sure to get on the car ferry from Koh Samui to Don Sak. I missed the ferry by literally one minute and had to wait an hour for the next one. Another comedy movie feeling moment on the way to a ferry.

The one minute photo that made me miss my ferry

On the way to the ferry I stopped at a bike shop to use a real pump because mine wasn’t working for some reason and I met an Australian guy who told me that he helped invent tubeless tires in the ‘90’s when he worked on a Go-Kart team.

Goodbye Koh Samui

My overall plan is to ride from Don Sak to Krabi but I decided to take a detour to go to a super cool campground.

I got off the ferry and rode 25 miles to a town 5 miles from the campground since it’s closed on Thursday’s.

Dec 10

Today was supposed to be an easy day.

I woke up and thought “Hey, I have 5 miles today. Why don’t I stay in bed until 10:00 since the heat won’t matter anyway” Bad idea.

The day started out nice. I did a video call with my parents and I was super excited to go to the campground.

If you look up directions to this campground on Google Maps it takes you to a dead end road about a third of a mile from the camp. So I made it to the dead end road and found a super cool swimming hole with a bunch of locals. So I asked one man where I could find the campground and he sent me across a bridge and up a mountain. There was not one rideable part of this mountain. It was insanely steep and the road was just loose rocks. 45 minutes later I’ve pushed my bike up a mountain, I’m bleeding from mosquito bites and it looks like I just swam I’m so sweaty. But it was worth it because the campground looked really cool.

The man sent me up the wrong mountain. There was nothing up there. I asked another guy who told me that it was up another mountain that was even steeper but there was another campground nearby that was easy to get to. So I had to give up on that and I went to the other campground he told me about.

Here’s another thing that made it feel like a movie scene. The moment I got to the top and realized there was nothing happened to be the moment it started raining.

I went back to the swimming hole and jumped into the water with all my clothes on since they were already soaked.

It was horrible in the moment. But that was a few hours ago and it’s already something I can laugh at. A cool story.

Sweat drips
A bit more sweat

Now I’m at the campground the guy sent me to and when I arrived and asked how much camping was they spent 15 minutes trying to figure out camping accommodations for me because no one had every come with their own tent. It turned out to be a resort kind of thing with yurt style tents. So they gave me a ฿200 baht discount and let me take a yurt so they wouldn’t have to find me a tent spot.

My tent tonight
A net ~15 feet above the ground to look over the ocean.

One thought on “Nov 29 – Dec 10 Ratchaburi to Khanom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: