I travel into Nakhon Si Thammarat so often it always seems a shame to go that far and do no more than run errands and go shopping. There’s a 100km-or-so route I’ve been meaning to take, which leads more or less west from Nakhon, south for a while, and then northeast back to the city. So if you want to get all scientific about it, I guess it’s more of an isosceles triangle than a loop.
There’s nothing particularly stunning about the trip, but it did seem to have a few points of interest, and it certainly looked like a nice add-on to the two hour round-trip to the city.
But so far, everytime I’ve decided to head around this loop, something has unexpectedly lengthened my stay in Nakhon, and once again I find I’ve run out of time for sightseeing.
A week last Saturday was a case in point. Bert was due at the clinic for a checkup and fluid change. Shouldn’t take long, I surmised. Once that’s done, I’ll go around the loop. Ha! Nice idea, but…
The friendly mechanics at the Ford Dealership decided they’d found an engine oil leak. Color me skeptical. There was certainly no oil on my driveway, and I do check on Bert’s general health from time to time. I find it hard to believe I missed a clearly visible leak. Could some used engine oil have been placed there to make it look like there was a leak? Surely not. Haha! But I was invited to look, and sure enough it did seem like oil coming from the bottom of the timing belt cover.
“Would you like us to fix it?” they asked. Strange question. Would anyone say “No”? But perhaps Ford’s rules require the customer to request and approve the repair before the dealer can make a warranty claim. Anyhoo, long story short, of course I approved it, and that was the rest of the day shot. It’s not a quick job. Thank goodness for WiFi. And, paying it forward, I hope the dealer people will remember I helped them make some extra money from Ford.
But back to the story … today I had a few things that I figured could only be done in Nakhon. So, rather than get side-tracked or delayed, I decided to do the sightseeing first. Just north of the city I headed out onto the bypass, past the airport, and then onto a small road heading west. It goes up into the hills, with very pleasant scenery. The weather helped. Bright and sunny with a few fluffy clouds clinging to the hilltops.
I was heading to a place called Chandi, or Chandee, or even Chan-di, depending on how you want to translate the Thai characters. It’s a little over 50kms from Nakhon. There were a few “lookout” places for photo ops, but mostly the tourist signs were for waterfalls. Hmmm … not too useful at the moment. There has been no significant rain in about five months. Rivers are almost completely dry, so I’m sure waterfalls would be dryfalls.
I’m back to buying four tanker-loads of the stuff every three weeks or so. And that’s just for me. I’m fairly-well house and potty trained so I don’t use that much. A large family must use up a good portion of its monthly budget just on water.
It was more-or-less a non-stop drive to Chandi, and then north a short ways to a highly recommended Wat. All the tourist guides mention the place, and it’s clearly shown on Google Maps. Most places I want to visit are well hidden, but this Wat was easy to find, and so I assumed was something really special. But I half-wished I hadn’t found it. I had to conclude it’s main claim to fame is the much-revered monk who founded the place, rather than the place itself. As Wats go, it’s quite nondescript. See…
So, I headed back into Chandi for a quick look-see. The place was founded by families from China who came to work the rubber plantations. The land is supposed to be excellent for rubber trees, and there’s certainly plenty of them.
But the town? I dunno. I couldn’t see anything unusual about the place. A typical Thai one-street town that ends in a T-junction at the rail line and station. The latter is described as a major terminus on the north-south line, but it’s neither as big, nor as pretty as many others I’ve seen on my travels.
Okay. Not much more to do than head south onto the main east-west highway that links Nakhon with places like Trang, Krabi and Phuket … except I needed to head back in the direction of Nakhon rather than out to the resorts. Along the way, I decided to poke my nose into the small town of Thung Song. Yes. Small it is, and not even worth a photograph, but strangely – given the size of the place – it has a couple of large shopping centers, and in one of those I managed to do everything I’d planned to do in Nakhon. Not having to negotiate the narrow traffic-filled city streets put a smile on my face, as did the several pretty, young smiling store assistants who helped me complete my errands, and happily did so in English.
And at this point, there was just one more thing on my itinerary. A quick visit to a botanical garden just south of Thung Song … which is actually why I’d made the small diversion from the highway. Now, did I say something about “no significant rain in months”? Well, just as I set out to find the gardens, we had rain, and it was significant! I think the weather gods have put a GPS tracking device on me, and from time-to-time say to themselves, “Oh look, he’s getting out of his truck. Let’s drown him.” Perhaps that’s my punishment for not involving myself in Songkran!
So it was a bit of a tough trip home, with more than an hour of heavy rain, and even some localized flooding. But of course, it didn’t rain here in Sichon, so next week it will be water tanker time again, unless the storm is moving northwards.
Now, it probably sounds like that wasn’t a great day, but actually it was. The scenery was very relaxing, and mostly the weather was good. And of course, I didn’t have to go into the center of Nakhon city after all. Bert seemed to enjoy getting out and doing something more interesting than shopping trips, and not once did Ms. Chuckles say “Make a U-turn if possible.” And that definitely qualifies it as aGoodDay.