It’s feeling coastal and tropical now! Swimming & seafood!
The heat was very intense yesterday and today. So hot that the moment we stop pedalling we drip sweat. It’s quite embarrassing really, standing in Amazon Cafe waiting for Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies along with the others who look all cool and smartly dressed while we make puddles on the floor. Nevermind that…
The coast is different from other parts. That’s the thing when you ride your bike across a whole country…you become very aware of subtle regional differences as they slowly transform. Along the coastal roads we now see mangroves and little villages tucked among them. Fishing boats are colourfully dotting rivers and other waterways, wooden homes are built up high on stilts in the water. Fish markets are everywhere, and it’s a seafood lovers dream. Jumbo Prawns (like 8”!), crabs of various colours, squiggly squid, big round glittery fish, long skinny silvery ones, and they are fresh! In the beachside town of Laem Mae Phim Beach where we stayed last night the seafood restaurants are literally side by side, lining the whole street along the beach. There are big tanks of live seafood in front of them. You just wander up and down the street perusing the restaurants, point to any live seafood that catches your eye and it will be cooked fresh for you on the spot.
The greenery at the side of the road looks jungle-like as we hug the coastline. The trees are tall, the twisty vines wrap around and overtake everything, and there are tropical sounds emanating from deep within. We hear new bird sounds down here, audible but not visible.
Most of yesterday’s route was along the “Scenic Route” which is a marked cycling trail that provided a cycling lane for maybe 50km. Financial prosperity seems apparent along the coastline—there were plenty of gorgeous homes to be seen. Refreshingly, they were not overtaking the authentic Thai feel of the villages and towns that we’ve come to love.
Last night we engaged in conversation with a Swedish man who has been living and working in Thailand for 30 years. We asked him one of the burning questions that’s been on our minds. How do locals deal with dogs? Well, he had a solution. A taser! A small portable pocket taser! We want one of those! Apparently they work. (I wish we had one weeks ago) Just the sound alone sends the dogs away. Not sure if it’s a universally accepted solution, but we’re open minded here!
We saw what must have been the biggest banyan tree ever! They are already big and majestic with uniquely ornate twisting roots. But the one at Kung Wiman in Ban Nong Nam Khao Beach was something else. Banyan trees are visually spectacular and are common here. As they grow they shape themselves into inseparable, interwoven trunks and branches, twisting and coiling around each other and things around them.
Today we took a ferry the the island of Ko Samet. It’s an open-air wooden vessel that certainly would not meet any version of Canadian safety standards but it was a great ride. To board we just stepped across the 3ft gap between the dock and the boat hoping we wouldn’t fall in, and the workers managed to slide our bikes onboard and wedged them up against the seats. As we approached the vessel to board, a whole bunch of passengers had these incredulous looks of “holy cow, you guys are coming on the boat with those? Where are you coming from? Where are you going? Omg!” Needless to say there was some lively conversation on the hour long trip over to the island.
What can we say about Ko Samet? There are resorts, plenty of them, but they don’t have that “resorty” feel. They are harmoniously and naturally sharing the environment with Thai citizens living their traditional lives. And there’s the ocean!! Glorious, blue-green warm salt water. A sandy beach that you can walk into barefoot and the water is so warm you can just float around all day long and never want to get out.
We will float on the ocean and relax like lazy bums for three whole days. Life is good.
The beach at our resort on Ko Samet