The Expedition Heads South!
8 Feb 2019
Today we did many stopped and only travelled a relatively short distance. The highlight was a fish farm where we were allowed to walk out onto the floating walkways were they fish were being harvested. Another great site was the temple which really impressed had a huge set of stairs that walked you up through the mouth of a dragon which took you into a cave. You then ascended through the cave to a trail that took you to the top of the mountain. Awesome views across the river was enjoyed.
We also visited a Chinese cemetery, so interesting the way they construct their graves site. From here we saw a couple of temple which were constructed on sharp hills, one temple even had a cable car / train for bring people up the side.
Dinner was found in Ratchaburi in an air conditioned room, the owners were lovely putting on old Australian music for us to listen too. Dinner was yummy.
9 Feb 2019
Headin for the coast today where we hope the temperatures are a little cooler than we have had. Our first stop was the amphawa floating markets where we stumbled across the memorial for Rama II. This was a food festival which celebrates the famous poem written by king Rama II and as we had not had breakfast, it was well timed. It was also so interesting to see the cravings of food and how much they looked like flowers.
Tham Khao YOI is another temple with a cave. The also have monkeys! These guys can be aggressive and certainly will steel anything they can get! When you enter the temple a lady with a big stick watches over your shoes. From here we drove further towards the coast finding a temple built as a huge junk. This was Wat Nok Pak Thale.
Here we also found ourselves in the middle of the salt producing area. We were lucky enough to see some workers producing the large mounds of salt.
Our hotel was in Cha-am which is on the beach. This area is full of Europeans and felt very strange to us. There was much European food everywhere. The beach is covered with hundreds and hundreds of umbrellas and chairs. Our room is also over the top of a karaoke bar.
10 Feb 2019
First visit today was the grand summer palace which is undergoing a third attempt at a full restoration. The thais are doing a great job, and there is a lot more to go.
From here we headed into monkey territory agiain. At the Wat Khao Takiap the monkeys were everywhere. After we finished sightseeing we arrived back at the car to find them close by. In the time it took Steve to open the door to get in, one jumped into the car only to be met face to face with Alison. She was scratched and managed to scare it out of the car with a solid palm to its head. After patching up Alison we headed to the beach where we found some fishing boats. Next stop was the Wat HUP Ta Khrot where we found 3 enormous status to photograph. Once again we headed back to the beach to see some more fishing boats including meeting a fisherman with his catch of shrimp. Last temple for the day was Wat Khao Daeng, another temple with monkeys that the local dogs kept in check.
Our hotel for the night was the O-Bay Designer Resort. Each room was uniquely decorated in shaped heable. Dinner was found after walkaing through a local festival.
11 Feb 2019
Today we had a look at the Wat Khlong Wan temple which is under construction / renovation. The next temple of note was the Khao Thing Chai. This temple was very close to the coast and had magnificent views along the coastline. It was quite unique in its decoration and structure. There was also a large Buddha overlooking the sea to see as well here. From here we drove further south down the coast to Bo Tong Lang Beach. This had a little cute restaurant on the beach we could not resist. After a great lunch we visited the local temple before heading south some more. We can across a large group of fisherman nesting for shrimp, it was awesome to watch them at work. The Wat Kaew Prasert Had excellent views of the district and is also under construction. After visiting a few more beaches and fishing villages, it was time to book into “The Beach Resort and Residence” before heading back out again for a meal. Our first restaurant was abandoned due as there were too many mosquitoes. Our second roadside diner was lovely.
12 Feb 2019
Had a lovely breakfast at the resort this morning before we continued a trip south down more of the coastline and the beaches. We did find an interesting seaman shrine with a Thai warship at Chumphon Khetudomsak museum. This over looked another beach. The islands are also becoming more plentiful and the jungle is very thick in places. Finished the day at Pugdee Hotel when we found a great green curry I the restaurant next door. As the sun set we did notice a bird nest block a few doors up the street. This block looks like an apartment block with no windows or doors and is built for the specific purpose of farming bird nests for bird nest soup.
13 Feb 2019
The drive today would take us some wonderful back roads. Our first stop was the Khao Noi Monastery. It was up a steep hill and was very isolated. The monk here showed us some of his art. From here will continued to explore the coast. One strange statue encounter today was outside the Lamae Beach Resort – a very large Kangaroo with joey in pouch. Another incredible experience with driving a quiet track to have a troop of monkeys cross the track on mass. This track finally lead us to Wat Tham Yai. This Wat was beautiful to photograph with the rock cliff face behind it. The next stop for the day was the Surat Thani City Pillar. A grand white temple with beautiful gardens around it. From here we headed to Wat Tham Khuha – another cave temple. We found it amazing the further we went into this cave the more there was to experience. Next was Wat Is Want Wanaram. Hotel for the night was found at the Le Pes Villas, an eco resort. We all decided to head for a walk into town for street food. This was awesome as we got to pass the harbour just on sunset. A beautiful sight!
14 February 2019
Back on the coastal drive route we experienced some more of the beautiful scenery. The ocean and beaches we much cleaner in this area. We stopped at an unnamed temple with its lovely view across the river at Ban Rai Tha. This was a more Chinese temple in its design. Eventually we reach Nakhon Is Thammarat and its Wat Phra Mahathat. This temple was enormous and we all took our tie finding things to see and explore. Neil ended up with a huge bag of Pork – something he would feel a little sick from later! Steve and Alison ate some dumplings and dim sims. Lovely! Our driving from here took us to a beach wreck which the boys enjoyed photographing. The wreck also marked about as far as the Australian Government would recommend travelling down the south end of the east coast, so we started heading west. The hotel chosen for tonight was the Smile Resort – one of if not the best hotel we found on this southwards trip.