Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ToST III - Part 5

The slow ride to Sathing Phra..

We've been plagued with faulty air-conditioning units for the last three nights.
As we moved further away from Thale Noi and Ranot, our luck hasn't changed much.
It was 06:00am and we gathered to roll out towards Sathing Phra, some 40-odd km away from Ranot.
On the first tour, we bypassed this town and headed straight for Ranot from Songkhla, making it more than 100km in terms of distance.
Since the pace is much more relaxed this time, we staged more night stops to see whatever we want to see around the Pak Khlong - Hat Yai loop.
Again, Roger was worried about food, but we didn't have any issues with this as there are ample stalls that are opened on our day of departure.
We found a porridge stall by the roadside, just opposite where the guys had their massage the day before.
And the fare was pretty decent.. We took our fill and proceeded towards route 408 towards Sathing Phra.

Leaving our motel in Ranot

At a temple compound Wat Phra Chedi Ngam

The gang at Wat Nang Lao

Roger, handing over our food ration to an elderly at Wat Nang Lao

Chatting with a teacher from Nakhon Si Thammarat
Mid-way into the ride, we took a break at a temple. Its called Wat Phra Chedi Ngam. There was a market at the Wat's compound and Patric bought some mangoes and served it to the rest of us. 
While we were taking a break, a man came up to Roger and spoke to him. He identified himself as a teacher who came from Nakhon Si Thammarat. We told him that we had been to his hometown and he was quite happy about it. I guess he haven't seen many people riding a folding bike along the route.
Further down the road, I found a nice temple compound and gestured to the rest of the gang to get our pictures taken there.
While I was setting up my gear, an elderly woman came up to us.
She was using a cane and wore no shoes. 
I told Pat to remove the food ration and gave it to her as a good gesture. She was hesitant, but a monk from Wat Nang Lao came up and urged her to receive our token. 
It was a random act of kindness and since we don't need to cook, it was also a blessing in disguise for us.

Hunkering down...

Compared to Ranot, Sathing Phra has at least six resorts facing the sea.
We checked out two and it was fully occupied.
Pat used his DTac Tourist Data and Voice plan to ring up Sathing Pura resort and was told that they have rooms available. 

This lifted our morale and we decided to take a short break near the town's Wind Generator.
There were some stalls nearby as we patronised the outlets for a simple meal and a few bottles of Coca-Cola.
Later, we rode out towards the resort and were shown to our 400 baht rooms.
Again, the Air-con issue plagued us. The only room with a working air-conditioner was Rogers.
From the resort, we rode back into town to get some supplies and beers.
We found a decent shop selling Khao Kha Moo (pork shoulder rice) and ate there.

Arrival at Sathing Phra

A panoramic shot of the Sathing Phra beachfront

Green energy: The wind generator

Pat, feeding live updates with his smartphone

Khao Kha Moo

Chilling out near the wind generator
Master Urban Rider Sin nibbling on a raw chilli pepper
Massage, massage, massage.. 

Prior to our ride out to town, the guys made an arrangement with the resort owner to engage two masseuse.
They came after lunch and got to work.
My wife had her session while I sat at the porch of the resort, sipping a cold can of beer.
Some went to sleep while a few got their rub-down.
While I was waiting for my wife's session to end, the resort owner came and struck a conversation with me.
She told me that her daughter was in Kuala Lumpur on a visit and that she had graduated in Computer Science.
"Do you need a fresh graduate to work with your company?," she asked.
The shy daughter shrugged off her mother's idea and I was told that both mother and daughter will be in Hat Yai to observe a Thai All Soul's Day.
Later in the evening, we rode back to the beach area for some food.
Spare the below-average accommodation, the food in Sathing Phra is just so-so.
We ate at a local restaurant with huts and ordered a few dishes. 
After a good chow-down, we rode back to the resort through the offroad path along the beach. This was really exciting as we made full use of our headlights.

Our room in Sathing Pura resort

The guys, negotiating a rub-down deal
The "Blood Moon" on the beach
We made our way to Pat's room to discuss about the ride to Songkhla which is about some 50km away.
Beers were on Roger this time as we made a recap on the day's ride. 
From this point onwards, we didn't worry too much as there are ample accommodation facilities in Songkhla town.
All we need, was a good rest.

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