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Published: February 28th 2005
On Wednesday (23rd Feb) we left Sukhothai after a mad rush across town in a 'reverse' tuk-tuk (imagine an oversized open-fronted two-wheeled basket, into which we were both squeezed along with our rucksacks, pushed along by an woefully inadequate motorbike) and just made it onto the 9.45am bus to Bangkok. Determined not to spend another night in the capital, we made it from the northern bus station (Mo Chit) to Hua Lumphong railway station in order to buy 2nd class fan-only tickets and catch the 17.35 train south to Hua Hin, with 12 minutes to spare!
The 4-hour train journey was the best so far. We rode in wooden carriages with open windows and fans through jungle and wetland all at a blistering average 25km/hour. We ate sweet-and-sour chicken and rice on our laps and numerous insects feasted on us.
We arrived very late at Hua Hin but found a bed for the night easily enough.
Hua Hin is a beach resort, favoured by the Thai Royal family and still a popular domestic holiday town. The town was a little busier than usual due to an influx of German/Scandinavian package holidayers (re-located from Phuket and Krabi in the
wake of the Tsunami) but still an amazingly quiet and pleasant seaside town.
On our first morning, we relocated to a wonderful wooden guesthouse on the end of a pier (we bargained hard until we got the best room at the cheapest price) with views in three-directions out onto the gulf. The strangest thing was that with sleeping in a wooden room above the sea Tim awoke every morning thinking he was on a slowboat to nowhere.
The white sand beach here is splendid and there's nothing much to do but relax, walk on the beach and swim in the sea although we also took time to handwash clothes, restock on supplies, fix broken things and plan our forthcoming trip through Malaysia...
Yesterday, we took a Sangthaew to the hill of Khao Takieb at the other end of the 5km beach. Although there are spectacular views and several hilltop temples the real reason we went was to see the many wild monkeys who live on the hill (and scrounge food from the monks, nuns and any tourists they can mug). Tim paid his 20 Baht to buy a bucket of peanuts in order to "feed" the monkeys
- however this turned into 1 glorious second of:
-attempt to reach for handful of peanuts
-attempt to pose for photo
-register that 100 hungry monkeys have appeared from nowhere and are on a mission
-watch (in slow motion) as large screaming monkey leaps through air, lands IN bucket bringing it to the ground
-helplessly watch as peanuts are scattered and devoured
-realise that you have just been mugged by primates much cannier than yourself
Emma was pleased when a tiny 'cute' 'baby' monkey decided to grab her skirt with first one tiny hand, then the next and proceed to chew on the fabric. Fortunately, the "bending-down-to-pick-up-an-imaginary-rock" technique was sufficent to ward off the overfiendly simian.
We walked home from the Khao Takieb along the beach (learning the valuable lesson that just because you can see something does not mean it is not a LONG WAY away) and reflected on our 5 weeks in Thailand. Tomorrow (Tues 1st March) we're on the sleeper train to Butterworth in Malaysia. No more Pad Thai (fried noodles with egg and tofu) from street stalls, Singha/Chang/Leo beer, Mekhong Whisky or Sang Som rum, beach bungalows, seafood barbecues,
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