It’s just so easy here - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

January 15, 2024 to January 21, 2024

It’s just so easy here

Prachuap Khiri Khan

Dear little friends,

On the weather apps on our phones we have several places saved. Portland, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, other places where we know people, and at the end of the list: Prachuap Khiri Khan. This whole trip, we’ve been checking the weather in Prachuap Khiri Khan and reporting it to each other.

Prachuap Khiri Khan is a melodic mouthful but I’m going to just call it PKK from here on. We were here in 2014, and again last year in early January. Bruce honeymooned here with wifey #1 back in 1974 and was here again in 1979. So he’s up to five times in PKK. 

This is to say, the entire trip so far we’ve been keeping PKK in our minds as a dreamy place we’d like to stay in for a few days and rest up and relax and eat. And that’s what we’ve been doing. We met a nice couple here last year and we wanted to meet up with them again and we have, and since Barbara is very social and seems to know everybody in town we’ve gotten to know some of their friends as well.

Barbara and Richard on a borrowed scooter. Watch out, world!
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Richard and Arie, a couple of Dutchmen solving the world’s problems. My granddaughter Arie really wanted to meet this Arie, and they would have loved each other.
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There is something very easygoing and relaxing about PKK, the pace is slow and measured, there is an astounding beautiful view that is shared with the entire community with a sea wall and promenade, not cordoned off into individual private beach frontage properties like in Hua Hin. There are both Thai and western tourists here, but also a sizable population of folks like our friends that live here either year-round or for the winter months and have for many years in a row. It’s a real community.

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Fresh squid fried with garlic.
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The waterfront of Prachuap Khiri Khan.
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Chinese temple right on the waterfront.
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The first day we were here we parked our bikes and haven’t unparked them except to do a 20-mile round trip visa run to an immigration office near the border with Myanmar, which Bruce has already described. Mostly we just walk around in the morning and evening, the daytimes have been pretty hot except maybe the first few days when there was an east wind churning up the ocean and blowing right onshore, cooling things to a reasonable temperature. That’s over now. It’s just hot.

We eat our muesli in the morning, go have coffee and ‘khanom’ (sweet pastries/biscuits) in the front lobby, go out for more/better coffee with ourselves or others, walk back to our hotel, swim and cool off again. In the evenings we go out to look for a restaurant. Some are open, some are not, we haven’t had any bad food at all yet. The places along the beach are mostly seafood joints, inland a street or two there is more traditional Thai fare. Like any Thai town that gets western tourists there are western restaurants that we avoid. We’ll get pizza when we get back home.

The biggest papaya we have ever bought. It lasted us for two breakfasts.
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While we first tried to get a room at the homestay we were in the last two times we were here, they were full for the week so we went next door and got the cheapest room in the house which is still a bargain. Spotlessly clean, lovely hardworking staff, a beautiful small blue pool, coffee and such in the morning. The Sun Beach Hotel has been part of the reason we just seem to stay on here in Prachuap. Tonight will be our sixth night here, we are definitely leaving in the morning (we say that every day).

A great hotel in Prachuap.
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Our hotel in Prachuap, the Sun Beach Hotel.
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The view from our hotel.
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There are many many places we stayed during this trip where not a word of English was spoken, there were definitely no foreigners around, and we love that. But it’s been two months and it feels good to talk and joke around with folks who understand what we’re talking about. The people who end up in PKK from elsewhere are generally older than the backpacker crowds on the islands or Phuket, but there are definitely some younger folks here, some families with kids. And there are also people in their late 70s and 80s who are semi-permanent, mostly Europeans but from all over as well. It can sometimes feel like a Florida retirement village.

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A few murals for Scott Anderson.
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Scott AndersonHey, thanks! Try to find one with a few more birds in it next time though. OK?
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1 month ago
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We have met western/Thai couples who have been together a long time, have opened businesses together, raised kids together, who are happy and content together. There is very little of the older western sugar daddy/young Thai girl thing that is common in other places. I’m not saying it’s not here at all, but way less prevalent, and there isn’t much of a bar girl scene at all, if any.

Prachuap has done a good job at preserving its neighborhoods, at least so far. There aren’t huge high rises at the edge of town despite the gorgeous scenic curving beaches. Locals still fish and keep shop and run two markets a day, the morning market and the evening market. The nearby military base, which starts just a few hundred yards from where I sit typing this, contributes to the local economy, you see a lot of young guys with flattop haircuts and military garb in the coffee shops. The economy gets some cash from the winter crop of winter tourists but the locals are not burned out on misbehaving foreigners, they are congenial and polite.

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Prachuap's central market.
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Gregory GarceauAre those eggs on the right side of the aisle? Pink eggs?
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1 month ago
Andrea BrownTo Gregory GarceauYes. Weird, right?
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Andrea BrownI thought I might have been so naive that I didn't know about some kind of fruit or confectionary that LOOKED like pink eggs. So I Googled "pink eggs" and before I knew it, Thailand came up. Pink eggs are a real thing, and there is a fascinating story behind them. Maybe you've covered that before. If so, I missed it.
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1 month ago
Andrea BrownTo Gregory GarceauActually, I haven’t! Please share!
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1 month ago
Gregory Garceauhttps://sl.bing.net/hgfJIInNGnc
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1 month ago
The evening market in Prachuap which is open every night.
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Bruce’s favorite: “Tray Food”!
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As we walked down the esplanade this morning, Bruce said, “It’s just so easy here.”

He’s right. That’s why we will have spent 6 nights here by the time our stay in PKK is over. We’ve seen the sights around here (and there are many and delightful) on past trips, we aren’t bopping around to see them again, we are resting, and we need that. When this trip is over and I’m summing it all up I already know what the overall summation will be and it makes me sad. This part of the world is getting too hot. I’m getting older and simply don’t tolerate the heat as well as maybe I did in the past. It’s unknown if we will continue to tour here in the future because of this. 

But for now, I’m here and enjoying the parts of the day outside that I can, and napping and swimming when I can’t. We always knew that the last part of our trip was going to be dessert, that we aren’t cyclists, but people who travel by bicycle. We met a young German bicycle tourist last week who was bombing down toward Singapore, 

“I like to get the mileage”, he said to us, and I thought, “Not me, buddy.” There are moments of the day where something interesting happens that would not happen if we were on bicycles. We pick something up off the street, glean seeds from a beautiful flowering plant, we see something in a window, we laugh with others, there is room to stop and think when the wheels stop spinning. 

I’m liking this. 

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Rachael AndersonWhat a great sounding place! How nice to already have friends there. I’m sorry about your issues with heat. I wouldn’t have lasted for more than a week or two! Take care.
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesDodie here-I feel your pain, my sister. As I have been reading your daily accounts I have been saying to Steve "Well, we can scratch off Southeast Asia. It would be way too hot for me." A shame really, because the places look interesting and the food, oh the food!
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1 month ago
Mike PalmquistWhat a beautiful, beautiful place to rest in. I feel your emotions about the places that will, inevitably, be too hot to visit -- in a way that feels active and "boots on the ground". Savor the moment.
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1 month ago
Andrea BrownTo Steve Miller/GrampiesDodie, it’s a real shame, this heat. Although at present we are enjoying the leftovers of a windy rain event that happened three days ago and it’s definitely cooler at present and we’re loving it even though the beaches are all churned up and unswimmable.

I think when you factor in the 15 hours of jet lag and the heat, it’s not an easy place to visit. If temps were normal it would be great, especially because it’s beautiful, affordable, great roads, great people, and of course, phenomenal food.

I don’t know the answer for us in the future. Chiang Mai and the northern parts of Thailand are having a lovely, reasonably cool winter this year, with daytime temps that would be comparable to Portland and Vancouver Island summertime weather. The problem for me is that it’s very mountainous up there and I hate climbing as much as I hate heat.

I do want to say that you couldn’t have been THAT much cooler in the Yucatan, and you and Steve travel much further every day than we do, and THEN, at the end of your ride you go out and visit sights and go the market, walk around the town you’re in. All kudos and admiration for that. I’m usually good for a shower and some laundry after we are done riding but that’s it. Don’t underestimate your abilities!
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3 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekI understand what you're saying about the heat and traveling to that part of the world. And it's a bit sad to think you might be winding this chapter up.
But the optimist in my says that time might alter your perspective. And, even if SE Asia might be phased out of your future travel plans (ok, I admit to some skepticism!😀), the world is full of places to see.
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3 weeks ago