Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ToST - Part 3

An early day and it just kept getting better! 

We had a good rest and as the alarm went off, I got up to pack my stuff and made sure that everything was good to go.
This time round, I packed my Ortlieb Hip Pack onto the Frontroller pannier. Now, there's little real estate on this little pannier, but it does swallow the hip pack in whole.
All my essential stuff were packed in the Ortlieb Trunk Bag.
In short, we are 100% Ortlieb in this tour.
Since Thailand is one hour behind Malaysia, we planned to leave early.
Daybreak starts at 06:00am and seeing as it is, our priority was to get food.
We found a decent place for breakfast and also witnessed the giving of alms by the residents of Songkhla to their local monks..
Roger showing the way

True devotion: A monk receives his daily alm and offers his blessings

After a good fill, we rolled out towards the Songkhla ferry terminal
This is roughly about 3km away and when we got there, we found out that the service begins as early as 05:00am.
From this point, we have about 80km to cover.
As we cleared the bay area in Songkhla, we rode towards Sathing Phra. 
This is the first town along the way.

The ferry crossing
Bit-by-bit, we covered about half the journey.
The day, as it seems was rather gloomy. We took advantage of the cool weather to progress as far as we could.
With Sathing Phra in sight, we took a break at a local stall and had some refreshments.
There were a lot of petrol stations with convenience stores along this route. 
Somewhere up the road, we took another break and when I entered the convenience store, there was a promotion at the counter.
A piece of croissant and a pack of milk was sold at 12 baht.
That was cheap! 

The road shoulder was wide enough for small bikes and it was pretty safe to ride 
A view of a prized bull's ass
Excellent progress

From Sathing Phra, we kept a lookout for the junction to Ranot.
Here, there's a crossroad between two towns, Ranot and Nakhon Si Thammarat which is another 100km away.
Slowly, but surely, we passed the junction to Ranot and decided to check out a local motel.
Roger's indication was a signboard with the numbers "24" inscribed on it.
He obtained this information from the internet by reading up journals from "Crazy Guy on a Bike".
We checked out the motel that charges 380 baht for a night.
I wasn't satisfied and insisted that we pushed towards town..

When Samo meets Rambo

Riding along the paddy fields
It was a good day for cycling as the weather was cool

Arrival in Ranot
A full day..

We rode towards the edge of town and chanced upon a makan place on the Thale Noi lake.
This is a place for the locals and we savoured the dishes after working out a good appetite.
There were fried mullet, the really hot Kaeng Som (Yellow Sour Curry) and a fried vege dish.
After covering more than 80km, one cannot complain when good food is served.
The dishes were excellent!
We had a few beers and chilled out at the makan place until it was time to go.
Andrew found a resort on his GPS which turned out to be an abandoned facility.
The guys were about to give up, but I insisted that we look up ahead.
 I found a small resort next to the abandoned place and it turned out to be a real good deal.
A fully air-conditioned chalet with TV, hot shower and a nice Queen-sized bed costs 500 baht. 
Seeing that it was a new place, we seized the opportunity to stay a night there.

At the edge of the Thale Noi lake

Simply awesome: fried mullet, Kaeng Som and stir-fried vegetables
Evening plans..

Since we covered quite a distance, we wanted to reward ourselves to a good dinner.
After settling in at the motel, we rode out towards town and found a small cafe serving coffee.
There, Roger asked about the Mukata (Thai BBQ) restaurant. 
A lady who runs the place recommended a makan place some 3km away.
We later rode out to the place and found it.
But it was still early, so, I asked if the guys had wanted to check out the seaside.
In a distance, I can see the thin shoreline.
So, that said, we rode out and discovered a little sanctum used mainly by the locals in the area.
There was a beach resort that charges 400 baht a night. This became a bonus for Roger who wanted to do a solo trip in the locality..

Our cosy chalet
Good food, great company

We went to the Mukata restaurant that charges 100 baht with the "eat all you can" policy.
The food here was excellent! 
I had my fill of the great food and after dinner, we rode back into town and purchased some beers from the Tesco Lotus chain store.
This time, it was Andrew's turn to sponsor the drinks 
Sunset in Ranot
Cheap and good: the Mukata restaurant
One for the road!
We rode back to the chalet and went to Andrew's room to split the expenses, have a few beers and recall the day that was.
Most of us were happy with the progress and talked about the journey to Patthalung, which will be the last leg of the journey.
After a good discussion and the beers, we called it a night..
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