28th July - 5th August 2004
From Kanchanaburi we made a route south along the foothills of the mountains of the Myanmar border. The road rolled gently up and down, but the thoughtful Thai roadbuilders made it much easier with helpful signs like this:
One hill was perhaps a couple of hundred meters high and truly steep. We arrived at the top soaked in sweat to find two friendly men lounging by their "Singha drinks" van. They presented us with a bottle of water and two cans of beer, very welcome! The far side was equally steep and since Bankok we both have cycle-computers so we can both give our maximum speeds: Mark 68km/h, Ju 59km/h.
About 200km from Kanchanaburi we were looking for water for our night's camp. We rolled into a place that looked like a cross between a government office and a tourist attraction and found ourselves in the "God House Resort". The people there were extremely friendly, first they gave us ten litres of drinking water, then we were invited to visit their star attraction, the wooden statue of the deity "Kuan Sin" with one thousand arms. After that we were treated to a free meal at the vegetarian restaurant.
We noticed a couple of small fields surrounded by toilet blocks and asked if they were campsites. In response we were invited to sleep in the Wat (Buddhist temple) or camp outside it. We felt it too much of an imposition to sleep inside and instead pitched our tent on the nicest grass for a long time. We drifted off to sleep to the sound of monks chanting and were awoken at 4:30am (only half an hour before our usual time) by the tolling of a bell and more chanting.
The following day we passed the National Park of Kaeng Krachan and spent a few hours by the reservoir. We met a party of ecology students there who were doing a project to assess the impact of the local fishing and farming on the lake, and of the National Park on the local people.
Hua Hin is a beach resort town with big hotels lining the sea front and lots of tourists, both Thai and Western. Mark had had a temperature for a couple of days so we found ourselves a cheap guesthouse and set about some intensive resting. In between we ate plenty of fish and went for walks on the beach which was hopping with crabs.
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