Day 16: Koh Lanta - Hat Pak Meng - Frankie goes to.....the South of Thailand (2018) - CycleBlaze

November 20, 2018

Day 16: Koh Lanta - Hat Pak Meng

When I woke up yesterday morning - my designated departure day -it was one of those perfect beach days. Dark blue sky, the sea as flat as a mirror. The forecast for today was entirely different with the large likelyhood of showers all day long. I have done that particular ride between Koh Lanta and Hat Pak Meng before and knew there was nothing en route that would require a lovely sunny day to do it. Nothing at all. It really just is cycling from A to B. So I decided I would much rather do it on a dull day and extended my stay on Koh Lanta for one more night. Thoroughly enoyed it but today it was time to continue on my way south towards the Malaysian border, knowing the next few stops on Thai soil are extremely compatible with my understanding of enjoying the Land of Smiles.

Getting down from Koh Lanta to Hat Pak Meng, definitely one of my Top 3 destinations in Thailand, was more or less a time trial trying not to get drenched with just the mandatory drink stops you definitely need in these extremely humid conditions. All the same a few  words on the three sections today:

Part 1: Apart from that ferry ride back to the mainland a very odd first 40 km. I always disliked backtracking but this bit back up to Hway 4 is particularly boring indeed.

Part 2: Good shoulder along Hway 4 supported by a tailwind. That´s all you need to know about those next uneventful 25 kilometers.

Part 3: A bit more entertaining 30 kilometers down the #4046 and #4162 but still very much another plantation ride. The highlight for me was my lunch stop in the little country town of Sikao, about 10 km north of Pak Meng Beach. Not only did I find that wonderful little restaurant but one of the customers was Pom, who studied in Perth/WA and Leeds and now - together with her family - runs an organic vegetable and fruit farm nearby. She was not only more than happy to help me with the translation of a couple of expressions I still had on my need-to-know list but at the same time invited me for a tour around her farm tomorrow. Happily accepted!

Now, Hat Pak Meng. Also found on the road signs as Pakmeng Beach. It´s my third visit here and anytime I do come I like it better. In particular now while coming from some of the major tourist hotspots in the country. Pak Meng Beach is one of these very typical Thai beaches. Anything but ideal for swimming due to the extreme shallowness but Thais do come to the beach for one sole reason. Food.  The photos below will hopefully explain what I mean by saying that.

Bad luck at the very end while approaching as I got caught up in a massive downpour less than 5 km away from destination with no chance for shelter. I still decided not to take the first sleeping opportunity but cycled along the dozens of seafood restaurants lined up at the beach road and picked one of the most southern of the surprisingly few accommodations. The Pakmeng Guesthouse is actually a little bungalow resort with only 5 units but I adore the place. Difficult to explain what makes it stick out from other good bungalows but the rooms are immaculately clean and well equipped, the young lady running it speaks very good English due to her previous life at Suvarnabhumi Airport and you just have to cross the quiet road to find yourself on the deserted beach. And last but not least: the seafood options aplenty. The manager recommended to try the Yok Yor Restaurant basically next door and I would happily pass on this recommendation.

But before I walked over to the restaurant I was cleaning my bike and saw a young couple rolling down the road on their travel bikes. Marion and Thomas are on an open end tour with him already having ridden his bike down here all the way through the stan-countries from France. We talked at my bungalow for a while which rounded up this great day. Not because of the cycling itself but for because of the prove how close very much overpriced package destinations and the "real" Thailand are next to each other. And confirming the huge advantage of travelling by bicycle, enabling you to experience both worlds as you wish.

I would have happily stayed four nights at the Pakmeng Guesthouse but on Nov 22 the Thai people celebrate Loi Krathong (the festival of floating lights), together with Songkran (the water festival) in April probably the most popular public holiday. Unfortunately my resort is fully booked and I can only stay two nights. Instead I will proceed an stay one night in the nearby town of Trang where I can easily find some accommodation though agoda.

A last swim before I left Klong Dao Beach just before 11 am. I am really enjoying the later starts now. It feels like you are getting much more out of the day when you start with a swim, a quiet breakfast and only then start turning the pedals. Obviously a reduction of the daily distance automatically comes with it
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I always wondered who enjoyed it more, parents or kids
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Steve Miller/GrampiesProbably the parents since you have the fun of the activity and also watching your child having fun.
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5 years ago
Frank RoettgenTo Steve Miller/GrampiesI guess you are right, Steve. Not being a parent myself I could only judge by the enthusiasm of digging that spade into the innocent sand
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5 years ago
Another thing that keeps amazing me. What you see is millions of little sandballs, pushed out by tiny little sand crabs at low tide, clearing the sand out of their underground refuges.
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Waiting for boarding
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Farewell Koh Lanta! Surprisingly good days despite it being one of the top package destinations in Thailand with corresponding high prices.
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I wanted at least one photo on the ride between Koh Lanta and Hat Pak Meng
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A fishing village just before Hat Pak Meng. Look at the dense mangroves on the left!
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The Pakmeng Guesthouse, which is really a bungalow resort
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Bad weather doesn´t mean bad photos
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Koh Lanta - Pakmeng Beach
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Today's ride: 95 km (59 miles)
Total: 1,276 km (792 miles)

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