Day 28: Chanthaburi to Ban Phe: The Real Thailand

Chanthaburi to Ban Phe

Distance: 89.8km

Total: 1588.4km

Thai FOD: when you trip or fall, Thai people will laugh, not at you but as a way to make it fun; they do it to “save face”.

Everyday Randomness: being in the middle of a cycling sportif in Thailand!

It would be fitting that on the last full day in the saddle that it would start off raining. The rain was in fact a relief as there had been a massive thunderstorm that night! Breakfast was immense, the first buffet breakfast we’ve had this trip so I got three eggs into me for protein. The staff, as well as being amused about the general sight of us were very accommodating and gave us four free bottles of water!

Today had the most significant amount of navigation, i.e. more than 3 turns! This is due to the fact that Thailand has a very well developed road network so there are actually multiple ways to get to a place!

This meant that we were on well maintained and authentic side roads which gave us the opportunity to see how the ordinary Thai lives and not those who run guesthouses/restaurants. It turns out that it felt hugely like a Sunday at home; families gathered for food, cars lined the streets outside temples/churches and everyone with a fishing rod had it perched off any kind of bridge going!

The atmosphere was relaxed and homely, and there was a sense of pride evident in how well the football pitches and schools were maintained. The route was effortlessly varied, we cycled through every type of Asian countryside today; paddy fields, rubber trees, mangrove forests, and beaches. There was an actual cycle line just for bikes as well which was a novelty and was marked “scenic route” which was quite fitting! It was the best cycle of actual cycle touring we’ve done.

There was plenty of entertainment along the way as well as we stopped for coffee at the most quaint “bike stop” as they aptly named it. We had a chaba coffee which by taste was probably the equivalent of a flat white…it was excellent and served with a teapot of ice tea. From here we had a great vantage point at which we could watch the local sportif take place, well I hope it wasn’t a race as they were all taking it handy!

We stopped at the only village type place we came across for lunch and wow did we land on our feet. The pink noodle soup with seafood was a tasty bargain at a euro each!

From there we weren’t far from Ban Phe at all. We saw a guy pulling off the superman pose on a motorbike that must have been going at least 60km/hr, I don’t know about man of steel as it seemed pretty reckless but he definitely had nerves of steel anyways!

The last 5/6km in Ban Phe was cycling along the road beside the longest beach I’ve ever seen! It was spectacular! It went all the way into the town so we knew we wouldn’t have to track back far to get back for a dip!

The Relax Inn was ideally located at the edge of the beach and opposite the bus station. It’s a really really nice spot with friendly owners, super clean and all for €14!

Once we sorted our bus for tomorrow we went for a quick coffee which didn’t live up to the previous one but was still good and then walked along the beach at the edge of the water until the swim spot. Again the water was warm, but there was a cool breeze so it did feel a bit more natural. We lay out on the deckchairs then sipping a Chang until the onset of sunset. A brilliant afternoon, after a fittingly beautiful day of cycling!

For dinner, nightmarket wasn’t an option so we went up to a terrace on top of a hotel which served up dainty but flavoursome seafood pasta dishes! We wouldn’t usually opt for pasta (in fact I’m pretty sure ya our first time having it in Asia) but there wasn’t much choice! It was thoroughly enjoyed and we went to 7/11 for a delicious chocolate cake after which really topped it all off!

Back to Bangkok tomorrow hopefully so almost gone full circle!!!