We leave our heavenly beach at Khao Lak by 9am, before it gets too hot and sticky, and make our way for Trang from which, we have been told, we can get to more deserted beaches and lovely coast, bypassing Phuket and Krabi. The journey takes us through stunning scenery, we take little detours to see more of those karst formations the Thai coast is so famous for.
We get to Pak Meng beach and feel like it would be a lovely place to spend the night. It is very low key, lots of tiny restaurants along what looks like a shaded, abandonned, promenade. It is only after we find a place, the Yatale, check in, shower, change and go for a walk, do we find out that this promenade is in fact a tsunami protection wall. It feels eerie. We are the only ones out walking. The council went to the trouble of installing funny arm chair looking benches and sculptures every hundred metres, but for who?…
We decide to have dinner at our hotel restaurant, our last Thai meal, with a view of the most amazing sunset. The perfect setting for a drink. The choice is not great for a single malt enthusiast, but, with such a setting, it will be perfect with a little ice. Not sure where they thought I was putting the ice!!…
The next morning, after a last short stroll to admire the stunning rock formations in the sea in the gentle morning light one last time, we leave our hotel, on Pak Meng Beach – thank you Thailand for a wonderful stay – head south towards the Malaysian border. We always love the light in the morning and that feeling of discovering a new place. No, we haven’t tired of this. In fact, it surprises us that, after five and a half months on the road, we still get this feeling of excitement, that sensation of feeling alive as we set off on Streak and Storm.
After some beautiful lighting moments along the way, and stopping to see the rubber trees and palm oil trees, it is not long before the rain clouds drop their load – maybe it’s just a passing shower? We can’t be bothered to stop and put our waterproof trousers on. We’ll soon dry out. We’ll soon be out of it. Confidence is … (not so) high but neither wants to admit it!!… Not this time!!! Today turns out to be our 5th day of rain – not bad but it doesn’t make it any nicer. We end up riding at 50kms an hour for a while the rain is so heavy. And it is not long before our boots are sloshing with water.
As usual, we choose a tiny border crossing, in the middle of the Thale Ban National Park (!?), which means taking smaller roads. The route is not obvious, and after a few left, right, left, oops, turn back, left, straight through, we get to the border. The sun is shining for us which is lovely. The border crossing is so fast, under an hour for both countries, which is a record. While we wait for the Malaysian customs officer to complete our carnets for us, we chat and wave to so many people passing through. There is a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. It is interesting to see what people are buying in Thailand to take to Malaysia: food, toys and cleaning brushes. There is a scooter taxi service that takes people back and forth across the border. They have simplified the process between the 2 nations which is refreshing to see: no customs check for those nationals.
The heavens were very kind to us again holding out until we had finished going through some twisties before opening up again. Out of the mountain range and we head for Alor Setar. The road takes us past the largest fields of rice we’ve seen. It feels great to be able to see in the distance again (we have always enjoyed open expanses) and not be surrounded by steep, albeit stunning, jungle clad sheer rocks. The lighting is glorious, a massive storm forming just ahead of us.
We haven’t booked anywhere and everywhere we try is fully booked. We eventually find a large, impersonal hotel but it’s clean and not ridiculously expensive so it’s perfect for tonight. After a hot, warming shower, wet clothes hanging all around the room, dinner is down the street at a small streetside restaurant.
Tomorrow, George Town, Penang!!
No room for ice ! You are looking so beautifully tanned! Pity about your swimming pool boots ,but you do get treated to some glorious weather and beautiful scenery .
That tiny glass with the scotch and the huge glass of ice did make me laugh!! Tan down to the chin only!!! xx
The Tsumani sign was a great photo, reminds us of what a terrible event it was.
Seeing how resilient people are and how nature stood up to that tsunami is awe-inspiring.
Your sunset photo is magical especially when enjoyed with a scotch! That wall didn’t look high enough to stop high tide never mind a tsunami… hope it never has to be put to the test. Agree the open landscapes make one feel more expansive and free. Love that you still feel excited when you set off each time, it’s a travellers delight. xx
I should have taken a photo of the wall from the beach – it is 3-4 metres high. It is impressive. But it was the upper level part, the “promenade”, that fascinated us. Yes, let’s hope it is not used… Xx
Makes me want to go back to Thailand! It’s been 26 years.
See you soon! C x
As retirees, we will return to Thailand more often – very cheap and excellent health and dental care!! At least,myou have a little more time :-). See you soooon! Xx
wow! so close to Manly now, a lovely home waiting for you to relax in, to take time out, take stock and to have more Whiskies : ) xxx
The (!?) after The Thale Ban National Park surprised me until I read the name out loud and realised it sounded like Taliban when pronounced as in French …
Such beautiful scenery; I can understand your wanting to go back. xx
(Hadn’t realised driving is on the left in Thailand)
We’ve switched driving sides a few times on this trip!! And I don’t mean when we’ve driven like locals in Iran and India… oh well, as they say, when in Rome… 🙂