A Travellerspoint blog

The Road Trip - Part 1

Hua Hin to Kura Buri

sunny 40 °C

Hello Everyone,

We hope the weather is improving back in the UK, we have been thinking of you all – we can’t quite believe the temperatures everywhere! First of all, a big thank you to Lee, our first guest blogger for such a great write up which summed up our journey together really well. Apologies for the delay on our own blog entries – we have had limited WiFi since leaving Hua Hin, as we are on a Road Trip! Yes, Ross and I felt we needed to get off the beaten track a little more and really wanted the freedom to stop off wherever/whenever we wanted.

So, we have hired a Yute! A Silver Toyota Hi-Lux Vigo 2.5L Diesel - it’s brilliant.

On Valentines Day (day 101 of our journey since leaving the UK) we began our journey South. Our first stop was at a huge roadside mango hut where we stood and enjoyed the sweetest mango’s ever. We were already off the beaten track where the Thai people are even friendlier and so proud of seeing visitors enjoying their wares. We bought two more for the journey onwards and were kindly given another for free, we are learning all the time that the poorer the people, the more giving they are…and they do it with genuine smile that Ross and I are continually humbled by.

We decided to check out Praphat Beach as our second stop. The evidence of the destruction caused by the Tsunami is palpable and incredibly sad. An entire (once touristy) village, was derelict. Any building that was just about standing was completely water damaged, but mostly the land was left to ruin and there were just a few rotten longtail boats and a rusty lifeguard look-out platform. Though we have visited many beach areas affected by the Tsunami, this one was worse - neglected in the redevelopment, appeared destitute and dare we say it without sounding dramatic, but we could kind of feel the death. There is a Tsunami Museum in ‘town’ (we didn’t visit this) and a brand new research facility for coastal development. The place was eerie…certainly no place to stay. Even the sand was grey – the first time we have seen this in SE Asia. It was evident that there were once shops, guesthouses, restaurants and bars that were empty and again, water damaged. What happened to the owners and workers of these places? How/where are they now?

After another 140km we decided to stop overnight in a small fishing village. We drove through a boatyard area which was full of huge tables with thousands of tiny fish – looked like sardines, were drying out – I can only assume this was to make Nahm Pla (Thai Fish sauce). We were not sure of the name of the village on the map but the nearest town was Bang Saphan. We found a beachside guesthouse where we were literally the only guests, to stay for the night. We found a superb boutique hotel right on the beach to have dinner and enjoyed the best green curries either of us have had, and lazed in hammocks on the empty beach – a perfect day all in all.

The next day Ross drove no less than 350km further South. We stopped at a small village just outside of Ranong by a stall selling Vietnamese steamed dumplings – so that was our lunch for 40p! Again, the young girl who served us was incredibly proud and smiley and her buns were delicious!

We climbed high up into the jungle, and took in some stunning scenery on the sweeping bends, to arrive to jungle territory near Kura Buri. We found a fantastic guesthouse, surrounded by lush greenery, lizards, geckos, hornets, frogs and bats, all surrounding a tranquil lake, where we enjoyed a bit of canoeing. Our traditional clay house – a round hut made from clay with a thatched roof and an outdoor shower, with a hammock overlooking the natural stream. The surroundings were stunning, very natural and therapeutic.

We visited a National Park (which we timed perfectly between tour groups and had the whole place to ourselves), swam with fish in a natural spring pool from the beautiful waterfall above, en route to Mai Khao where we were back in December.

We are just halfway through the road trip and Ross will update you in a few days when we can get some WiFi again. Suffice to say this is one of the best decisions we have made since our travels began and is already a huge highlight of our trip so far. We both thought that backpacking, using local trains and buses would give us everything we needed, but it just doesn’t get you off the beaten track in the way a road trip does. We have found places and had experiences that we would never have done so otherwise, and though it seems a little extravagant on our budget, it is absolutely worth it. We have hardly seen any Westerners let alone tourists, and the freedom to stop & learn whenever we feel like it is invaluable.

Two things though….. we didn’t think through our love of music for the car, with just two CD’s, we have listened to MGMT & James Blake far too many times….and we have got a new addiction to Fisherman’s Friends….any longer and we might start on the Werthers Originals.

We are updating the travel map as we go.

Keep warm,

Love Charlie & Ross

Posted by charlieandross 17:11 Archived in Thailand

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We really enjoyed this very vivid description of your road trip and we know from our own experiences, to get away from the 'touristy' areas, you need wheels. Looking forward to the next instalment.
Stay safe.
Love, Mum and Dad B xx

by vancoevorden13

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