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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: 12.569, 99.9524On leaving Kanchanaburi I visited the War Cemetery which sadly is a vast affair which stretches out in memorial to the many POW victims who died on the Burma Railway. There are around 7000 victims buried here who are mainly Australian, British and Dutch, two of the graves alone hold the ashes of 300 men who were cremated, and a plaque details 11 Indian men. Next to the cemetery seems to be a Chinese cemetery and there are many more of these on the way out of town however many appear to be more mass graves…
Getting off the main route I headed into the mountains on the opposite side of the river and was rewarded with stunning scenery, interesting monuments which seemed to be in groups, massive staircases up the mountain with my favorite being the one leading to the dragon's mouth and much more. Although the weather wasn't great it's actually just more overcast which is perfect for cycling in and I enjoy the interaction on the road with the many thumbs up from the strangest of characters, and roadside BBQ of whole pig!
I end up basically heading towards Burma, getting lost on route which was fun, at
the end of the day I tried to stay at one of the temples but it all got a bit complicated… because I'm in the middle of no-where the monks were pretty shy although one could speak some English and brought his friend and his wife down for me to go and stay with them instead which was fantastic, my own air-conditioned room instead of camping in with Buddha, but they seemed uncomfortable by me being alone.
Lek could speak some English too and was a lovely woman who after setting me up in her home chucked me on the back of her bike to go and have beer and food with her sisters down at a local shop/food stop which was a fun night. Before leaving, her husband I noticed heading indoors, gun in hand, and seemed to be cleaning it (or filling it maybe), strange how this just seems totally alien to me but everyday here in Thailand and especially in the remote parts. So after meeting four of Lek's sister's, plus lots of kids and locals alike in the evening and more in the morning, I headed off after saying my goodbyes and thanks, people really are
so amazing and kind, friendly and fun.
When I leave I remember that I was lost last night and can't work out where I am, Ban Phu Kae maybe – my phone isn't picking up any signal plus there are no road numbers etc. so I can't tell on the map, and although I think I've a rough idea I actually ended up adding a good 25 km onto my trip today by going back and forth some of the same roads but sussed out my way in the end and ended up heading out to Patchaburi but by the time I got there I had clocked up 100 km. The journey in was beautiful, through the mountains and lush scenery which I enjoyed and was rewarded with a great local room at 250TBH which included wifi in the room, only thing was the monkey's which are running around everywhere, on the roof of cars pulling lights off, the buildings below and are a cheeky bunch so I'm glad there's mesh on the windows which they can't get through, but they climb up the mesh looking in at me on the 3rd floor, 'hello'.
Next stop is Hua Hin but on
route I had trouble with my chain and although changing a broken link with a temporary repair kit, it caused me to stop several times before I sussed out how to fix it. I met a few Italian kids on the road today who are cycling and camping along the way but there in a rush for a visa which means they need to get over to Burma asap and intend on jumping a truck from where I meet them, shame it would have been nice to share the road for a few days.
On arrival at Hua Hin I checked into a cheap dorm at the Euro City Hotel, and was greatly impressed with the staff who are so nice and helpful too, and I've got a few life stories while chilling out with them. I found a bicycle shop and although they have a chain that would do my bike, they are going to order the correct one from Bangkok which means I'll need to stay a couple of days but seems like a lovely place and it's by the sea.
I head down to one of the piers and although there are a couple of bigger boats in, I
thought there would've been more, but apparently it's fairly shallow waters in this area. It's great being back beside the sea again, I love all the fishy smells and it means the night market is full of BBQ lobsters, fish, scallops etc. all my favorites. The night market is an impressive affair which I could wander round for ages, combined with clothes, jewelery, souvenir stalls, and it's got a great vibe going on which is fun to be involved in.
I decided to visit one of the markets a bit out of town which was a retro type place which was very posh in comparison to anything I had seen in a long time. Retro deco, fancy shops and eateries, old cars, tuk tuk's and a Volkswagen VW all painted up made for a nice setting and a very relaxed afternoon. On the way here I passed film crews outside the palace and it seems that the King and Queen of Thailand are coming to Hua Hin today to their seaside palace. The King has been in hospital in Bangkok the past 4 years and Queen Siriket has also been ill the past year but with the prospect of catching a
glimpse of them I decided to wait with the building crowds which turned into a fun day.
Not only was I interviewed by Thai TV which made me feel like a celebrity, but I made friends with a number of the locals sitting around beside me which turned out to be a fun day. I was gifted flags with Blue being for the Queen and Yellow for the King and a candle to light in the approaching evening. Apparently the colors of the flags represent their respective birth days and was told that me being a Tuesday's child, my color was orange… you learn something new every day. There was a carnival like atmosphere as the King and Queen passed with the whole place erupting into singing and waving flags and I'm happy to report that I have seen them, something I never thought I would say as they are now elderly and have been unwell for some time.
Another truly unique experience to add to my adventures, now all I need is my bike back to continue on down the coats route to Surat and some of the islands.
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