Today, the fifth of December is the King of Thailand’s 87th birthday. The Thai national flag and the yellow kings flag festoon the country, on buildings, along roads everywhere you go you see yellow. Yellow tee shirts, tops, dresses and jackets. The Thai people revere their King and look to show it on this day, a public holiday in Thailand. We are heading south from Ayutthaya, looking to bypass Bangkok and head down the coast towards Phuket some 920km away over the next few days.
Traffic is light as we set off, but on passing Bangkok we join a steady stream of slow moving holiday traffic on the Freeway heading west. As we turn south on highway 4 and are parallel to the coast we both suddenly feel we are getting closer to home. We are on the thin spine of Thailand and for some reason that changes how we perceive our location.
We decide that the coast is where we would like to spend the night, we find a nice Hilton hotel on the beach at Hua Hin and get the last room. How lucky are we! We have not been on a beach for over 18 months and the feel of the sand between one’s toes on the first step brings back to both of us why we like the sea and living in Australia. We both felt energised by the experience and rejuvenated compared with how we normally feel at the end of a day’s riding. Into the warm sea we went to swim and body surf.
After a short walk around what is a very touristy town, we are back to the hotel entrance where a big TV screen has been set up and locals and tourists alike watch the Prime Minister light the first candle for the king’s birthday. We have candles too and they are lit, songs are sung and it is great to be part of another experience that we had not planned for or expected.
May the King of Thailand have many more such birthdays. “Long live the King”