When I saw the weather this morning I did for a moment rethink my decision to go home today. But I’ve lived in the area long enough to know that the clouds hang over the land, and despite the fact the sunrise over the sea was spectacular, I knew it wasn’t going to last. So, I left the hotel, and sure enough, fifteen minutes later it was raining.
I did make one sightseeing stop, although due to the weather I was tempted not to. But I figured that closer to the sea it might not be raining. It wasn’t a bad call as at this point in the day it was a little sunny and a little showery.
The town of Prachuap Khiri Khan is actually the provincial capital, but it’s so small you wouldn’t know it. As the Lonely Planet Guide says “it’s a charming place to get off the farang trail for a while.” Yes, quite.
At one end of the town there is a hill-top wat which I had wanted to visit. But today seemed to be market day, and any road I wanted to go down was closed, so I didn’t make it. Now, when I tell you the only way to reach the wat is via a long steep staircase, you may be thinking the market was just an excuse not to go.
Well, in my defense, I can tell you I did find a set of stone steps at the rear of the hill, and I did start climbing, but part way up they had been washed out by a landslide, and just like yesterday I wasn’t properly dressed for mountaineering. So I turned round. At least the views, from part way up, were pleasant. Those mountains you can see are actually in Burma. The border is only 11 kms away.
After seeing not much in Prachuap, I headed south in search of beaches.
Ms. Chuckles (my GPS software) next took me to the entrance of an Air Force base where I was faced with an armed and uniformed guard! “She’s really done it this time” I thought.
But, he was a friendly person, and assured me I could drive straight through the base and onto the beach road. So Chuckles can live long enough to piss me off another day!
Now, if it wasn’t bizarre enough driving through an Air Force Base, I then found the road went straight across the middle of an active runway! Something new every day. I would have taken a photo but I feared someone might take exception to this and arrest me. But I did get a pic of the exit gate.
So I safely arrived at Ao Manao. A pleasant scenic bay. Actually it’s one of the places the Japanese troops landed on December 8th., 1941. And from there I visited a few more beaches before deciding to head home.
It was a longer trip than I’d expected due to several hours of torrential or heavy rain, which made visibility poor. Now, if you’re thinking the weather in Thailand sounds pretty bad, I should say, this is the rainy season, so I was lucky not to get torrential rain every day. And when it’s dry, it’s really dry!
I must say, for a major highway, the main North-South in serious need of repair in places. There are regular long sections of pot-holed and rutted roads. Having survived many Canadian winters, I can say it really looked like frost damage, but of course wasn’t. I was glad to be in a rental car rather than my own… in fact the trip has pretty-much convinced me that, like the majority of Thais, I need a 4WD pickup truck.
Anyways, I’m glad I made the trip. It was a lot of driving, but that’s something I love doing. I saw new places, most of which were worth seeing. I achieved my objective of becoming a legal resident of Thailand, so yes, all round, a worthwhile venture.
Which has left me wondering… where next?