All posts by Paul

...has been travelling the world for more than fifty years; having lived and worked in five countries and travelled to many many more.

He likes to write about his travels - present and past - along with his other main interests of Drones, Information Technology and Motorsport, and he adds a few general twitterings along the way.

More info than you could possibly need is available by clicking the ABOUT tab in the top menu line.


The Ranong Loop: Part 2…

…A Trip Cut Short.

Part 1 is here.

Okay. Where was I? Oh yes, I’d just arrived in Ranong town, late afternoon on day one. Although I had a list of things to see around the town, there was really only one thing – as far as I could figure – worth seeing in the town. The Rattanarangsan Palace. It was built in 1890 for King Chulalongkorn. It looks quite nice, and sits in its own little park…

travel, thailand, ranong

But, as so often happens in Thailand, bizarreness set in. At the entrance to the park, there was a very large sign. It listed the closing times of the park and the closing times of the palace. That’s right. They each had their own times, and they seemed to be different for each day of the week. And I do mean closing times, not opening times.

In addition, the sign board was a shiny chrome, with silver letters. You can just see it to the left of the photo above. To read it meant bobbing up and down so as not to be blinded by the reflection of the sun in the chrome. I must have looked like one of those bird toys. Do they still make them?

Anyhoo, the wording was utterly confusing. Something like “The park is closed Mondays from 0:00 to 10:30 and 19:00 to 24:00” and so on for the other days, and “The palace is closed on Mondays from 0:00 to 11:00, 13:00 to 14:30 and 18:30 to 24:00” plus again the other days. This was followed by a list of the twenty or so laws I’d be breaking if I dared to set foot in the park when it was closed. Why couldn’t they just tell me when it was open?

As it happens, it was all academic, because the park was clearly open, and the palace was temporarily permanently closed due to the virus. So, I walked to one end of the palace and took a photo, and likewise at the other end…

travel, thailand, ranong

Just as I jumped back in the car, I saw a sign to “Khao Niwet View Point.” Okay, I’ll try that, I thought. So I followed the signs down the hill, left, along the road, left, up the hill, left, along the road, left and stopped in the exact same place I’d started from. The pathway to the viewpoint was right next to the sign that was telling me to drive down the hill.

So, up a hundred steps, in order to look at the glorious view of … trees …

travel, thailand, ranong

These Rangonians are playing tricks on me, I thought. I’ll have the last laugh by getting the hell out of here asap. So from there I went to my hotel and told the nice lady I was staying only one night, not two. I had the feeling this happened often.

travel, thailand, ranong

The hotel was pleasant, but the promised restaurant was closed. It’s the virus you know. I can’t figure why it’s called The Boat House, as there are no boats nor water anywhere near, but the view from my room was nice enough. See right.

Talking of rooms, and I know I’ve mentioned this in earlier articles, but I have to assume the people employed to fit out hotel rooms don’t have brains. The bathroom wash basin had been fitted roughly level with my knees, and the bottom of the full-length mirror in the bedroom was somewhere near my navel, affording a wonderful view of the ceiling. Sigh.

So, on day two I was on the road, breakfast-less, before 8am. Thank goodness for PTT gas stations and their Amazon coffee shops. Cappuccino and sticky chocolate cake hit the spot. A short ways after Ranong town I arrived at the so-called bald mountain area, also known as Phu Khao Ya…

travel, thailand, ranong

travel, thailand, ranong

As you can probably tell, Minnie went up and took some photos for me. From other photos I’ve seen, this place is usually swarming with tourists, but I was alone. I tried my best to swarm, but found it quite tiring. To be honest, I’m not sure about the attraction of this place. It needs some sheep, or a group of people singing “The hills are alive…” etc. Maybe the cappuccino hadn’t kicked in, but I didn’t hang around.

Just down the road from there is the rather attractive Wat Baan Ngao, with its own private hill at the back…

travel, thailand, ranong

travel, thailand, ranong

travel, thailand, ranong

travel, thailand, ranong

You may notice behind the wat the rather large number of steps leading up the hill. From there you can get a nice aerial view of the wat. I declined. That’s why I bought a drone…

travel, thailand, ranong

One other thing of note was this tiny tunnel…

travel, thailand, ranong

Ever curious I crawled though and found this work in progress…

travel, thailand, ranong

travel, thailand, ranong

’twill be even nicer when they’ve finished. Of course, you may realize from the amount of daylight that the sides were open, and crawling through tunnels was not required. I wandered off to the right, and round the corner, to where I’d left my shoes. That was my senile moment for the day done and dusted.

So, from there, it was time to head home. The only other thing of note, was that someone seemed to have blown a hole in a mountain…

travel, thailand, ranong

It wasn’t the best of trips, but it wasn’t the worst of trips. For sure, Ranong is not a bucket list kind of place.