Friday, 9 September 2016

FSTR (8 - 16 August 2016), Day 3 : A Tale of 2 Beaches

All Foldies lined up at White Wood House
Chaam Beach
Locals waiting patiently for Team LTF to cross
Riding towards the squid monument
Underpass, Hua Hin
Cupcake at Nong Kae station

On the morning of Day 3, Claudine threw her room door open to see YC and George outside her chalet. They were tinkering away on George's bike. Sometime during the night, the rear tyre had gone flat and thus requires a tube change!

Wanting to step out to load her bike, her foot quickly withdrew before it touches the ground. Where were her yellow spongebob sandals??? KC found them behind a bush and the theory of cats, mice and even ghosts came up! Clearly, this was the Taoist' Hungry Ghost month where the gates of hell is opened for all to create MISCHIEF!!! We found out much later that the disappearing sandals were not the act of any ghosts but our MIS(chievious) CHIEF!

Stepping out of the chalet is like stepping out of Bedrock! The interior furnishings were mainly made out of cement and concrete....concrete bed, concrete shelves, cement floorings....Most of everything were in the original cement colour of grey. Perhaps as the resort progresses, "Mr Bryde" will finish painting the half done blue walls in the shower stall!!!

While the resort has no direct sea view, it's frontage is actually facing the sea. Of course, we need X-Ray visions to see beyond the road and the seafront restaurant! Making up for its lackings, is a nice river that runs behind the resort. There were chairs and benches by the river bank for the guests to use. We took this opportunity to sip coffee while soaking in the entire river scenes.

"Mr Byrde" has a trusting nature. On the verandah of his office, he places a fridge stocked with bottles of mineral water. There is also a thermopot with various sachets of complimentary coffee, tea and chocolate drinks. He even provides mosquito coils and repellants to which KC found most useful when he camped outside last night, running away from his roommate's incessant snoring.

Riding out along the coastal road, we passed a few upper class resort. It was interesting to note that while one architecture is influenced by the Arabian nights, another was inspired by Santorini's white washed landscapes. When we came upon a twin propeller aeroplane used as a mascot of a resort, we could not help but stop for a group photo!

Breakfast soon came in the form of a roadside stall with gravelled floorings. By Day 3, we were resigning ourselves to the Thai flavours of rice in the morning!!! The rice dishes were really good but too heavy for many of us who still falls back to our ancestral coding of noodles in the morning!

After breakfast, we took a peek of Chao Samran beach. The center of attraction was a stage of blue sea and Byrde whales, hence the name of our resort, Byrde Beach Resort!!! Apparently, whale watching is part of the tourism industry here, with regular sightings of pods in the winter months.

Leaving Chao Samran, we headed for Chaam. As this was our second day of riding we noticed Sue was still not used to drafting behind the men. Wendy, Claudine and VT decided to ride together with her on a slower pace. However, they must have been too slow for her because after a sip of water, she decided to lead them instead!!!

Not long later, we came upon a similar Alice in Wonderland themed coffee stop. This one does away with the animals but the Mad Hatter's tea party was evident with the numerous huge teacups by the lawn.

We were really thankful for the relief as the sun was beginning to burn at that hour. While some of us made a beeline for the airconditioned cafe inside, YC was not so fortunate. His tyre was looking rather deflated and thus took the opportunity to change the tube on the verandah. George and KC assisted him while dear Wendy, gave moral support. Looking out for his friends, Alvin served them cold water before their drink orders arrive! It was also at this juncture that Wendy discovered to her horror that sometime during the morning, her handphone screen had cracked!!!!

After our series of unfortunate events, we headed out again. We rode for almost an hour before arriving in Chaam district. YC cleverly led us away from the road leading directly into town. Instead, he turned left and took us through the coastal road.

We passed by some abandoned looking resort, a village road works and soon came to a narrow truss bridge. It spanned a river decked with fishing boats. There were chains and a motor by one end of it, possibly to enable it to swing upwards for boat traffic clearance.

There were no trolls waiting to collect gold from us as we crossed the bridge but rather patient locals on motorcycles. Clearly, it was so narrow it can only allow one way flow of traffic! Right at the other end was a bustling market place to which an opportune time to cool ourselves down with coconut juice and mangoesteens.

YC's obsession to catch Pokemon led us through the fishing industry all the way to the end of the breakwaters. We passed village homes, fish processing centers, fishing vessels....some of which were decked high with cages probably for crabs and lobster fishing.

At the end of the breakwater is a squid monument. Majestic from afar, the foundations were close to collapsing due to erosion!

Practicing the "S" pose in dedication to Sue

The skyline all the way to the right is decked with high rise hotels and resorts, Chaam. One of Thailand's longest and most beautiful gulf coastlines, it is a popular getaway for Thailand's working class. Quiet and laid back, it also caters to that few foreign tourists who don't mind an authentic Thai experience.

As we were all getting hungry, we headed out of the village for commercial Chaam. We consciously turned left, leaving the narrow truss bridge to the locals instead! Passing by more affluent village homes with stoned walls, we spotted a Walls ice-cream truck heading for the beach. Alvin cheekily held on for a free ride while YC decided to join the circus procession too!!! We were immediately drawn into the genuine camaraderie between good friends!

The tourist town itself was quiet during the weekday. While some of us took refuge at the 7-Eleven, Alvin and VT scouted the restaurants for lunch. They found 3 Faces, a pizzeria and coffee bar operated from the corner premise of Ta Lay Hotel. It served delightful pizzas and pastas though the portions were a tad small.

Done with lunch, we headed for Hua Hin, another seaside resort. Once a quiet fishing village, it became the playground of the rich and famous after the Thai Royal family built their summer palaces there.

KC taking over the street peddlar's loot!

Our journey to Hua Hin though, was not a glamorous one! We had to ride through salt plains and mangrove swamps. Coming closer to the city, we were forced to ride on the busy highway which offered zero shades except from an underpass. When we stopped at a 7-Eleven, they were having a power failure and thus the air conditioning were out!!!

We arrived at White Wood House all hot and flushed. A smiling host greeted us. She showed us the 3 bedrooms upstairs, one for the kids with bunk beds, one family room and one honeymoon suite; the open air living area upstairs, furnished with a lazy chair, a bean bag, a large table and benches....

Then, sadly everything began to go South after that! All washing areas be it sink, bathroom or toilets are located downstairs. It was not pleasant to walk all the way down, just to use the toilet or wash one's hand. The pantry, also located downstairs, comes with a fridge, microwave, kettle and 4 chairs only. Some had to stand for their morning coffee!

Once the rooms were assigned, everyone started on their different sets of priorities. While most of everyone will vouch a bath tops their list, others could be seen pottering around their bikes, doing laundry and even setting out to get beer!!! The later half of the afternoon sees George and Wendy retiring into their honeymoon suite, Alvin and KC going for massage and Claudine and VT setting out for the neighborhood bike shop.

Even the Railway Station is a Fairyland!

Dinner was a tough decision. Even though VT had done a food survey after the bike shop and chanced upon Nong Kae train station, it was hard to decide for the group. Fusion food was knocked down, BBQ steamboat buffet only got half the group's approval.....

Finally, we made a fail safe decision. We settled for a restaurant where the locals will eat! The fried rice and fried noodles received overwhelming approval from the LTF team. Served by a close knit family, they brought out more stand fans from their living quarters behind to cool us down.

When we were done, we crossed the street for Wantan noodles offered by a street stall outside a family mart. Even though the palate has changed, the conversation on punctures and how to be politically correct continued!

We finished the night with a night cap at Wilaiwan, a beautiful cafe designed after those stately colonial styled homes. It's distinct architecture of slate roofs, wood clapboard sidings, wooden shutters and a wide verandah downstairs are reminiscence of a bygone era. A time of top hats, coat tails and lace parasols!

That night, while the resident cat took her spot on the bean bag and the cockroaches roam free downstairs, the rest of us went to bed wishing we had brought ear plugs! The local band at the nearby pub was belting out songs which reached us at irritating decibels!!!

Photo credits :
KC Au Yeong 
Ped Al

1 comment:

  1. Mr-Chief misses all the gang after reading your excellent post! I can see ensuite toilets are so impt to some people. LOL.