We got up the next day and we're off in a VIP minibus to Cha-am, about 4 hours down the road from Bangkok on the Northwestern Gulf coast. I'm finally going to the beach woo hoo! The bus was nice, we think it was VIP because it was only a small minibus with air con, there wasn't a minibar or anything! It was full by the time we got on so we had to sit in the front next to the driver, it was o.k but I had the full blast of the A/C all the way, this was nice for the first hour as it was boiling outside but by the end of the journey I was freezing! We arrived in Cha-am and decided to make our way down to the beachfront as we'd read there were cheap hotels on Front Beach Road, so off we set, rucksacks on backs, down the longest road you've ever seen! About half way down a European looking man walking to his truck asked us if we were lost, we told him we were trying to get to the beach and he said the road was at least 2km long so he'd give us a lift if we wanted, perfect! He took us to a nice little hotel right across the road from the beach which was 300 Baht per night. We spent the first night finding our bearings, after dipping my toes in the sea of course(!) and enjoying the food that was on offer. I had fried rice with prawns and I don't know whether it was because it was the first seafood I'd had since we left the U.K or just because of how fresh it was but it was gorgeous!
We walked along the beach and had a banana pancake, our new favourite food, and then it was time for bed. I was feeling pretty homesick today, I just miss everyone loads but I know it will pass. It's ridiculous, I'm here in Thailand, the most beautiful place in the world and I'm missing cold, wet England, I need my head read!! Anyway, Simon put Buzzcocks on the computer so we watched that and I feel much better now, nothing like a bit of British comedy to sort your head out! (Also spoke to my Mum and Dad on skype and it really helped, don't feel as homesick now I know what the weather's like ha ha!)
With a bit of gentle persuasion(!) from Simon we hired a scooter from the hotel for 300B and we went south down the coast to a place called Hua-Hin. I was a bit nervous going on a scooter for the first time but it was actually really good! We went to a couple of different beaches, the first one wasn't too good but the last one we stumbled upon was reall nice, a little cove sheltered by a massive rock with shallow water and white sand, oh and they had a stall selling banana shakes so we stayed there for a while ha ha! On the way back we got stopped by the traffic police because Simon hadn't got a helmet on (I had!) and he didn't have his drivers licence on him either. The policeman was gonna fine us 1000B for no licence and 500B for no helmet but we explained that we didn't know and no-one had told us about the rules so he only fined us 500B, half our days budget! Oh well, at least we know for next time.
Woke up this morning and the sky was looking grim. We went and sat on the beach but I think we were the only one's there! The sky continued to get darker and we gradually got colder but we stuck it out for as long as we could before we had to go and get a coffee. As we left the beach it started to rain and didn't stop until much later that night. I thought the monsoon season was meant to be over! It was actually quite refreshing after the heat of the past few days and we enjoyed sitting reading and watching it pelt down.
Got up early this morning as we were hiring the 'hog' again to go to Kaeng Krachan National Park which is about 25 miles away, this time we made sure we had our driving licences and helmets! The sky was still cloudy but was brightening up and it was nice 'cause it wasn't boiling hot on the way. Inevitably we got a little lost on the way but we managed to find it, couldn't miss it really as it claims to be Thailands largest National Park! When we got there it didn't really look fully open and the information desk wasn't much use as everything was in Thai! It was 200B entrance fee and the nearest waterfall was a mere 25km away! I wasn't geared up for a massive trek so we got back on the hog and went to get breakfast/lunch, much more my kind of thing!We decided to ride around and see what else was nearby but all around the outskirts of the park were 'checkpoints' where you had to show your ticket. We'd had a good ride out and seen some beautiful scenery so we decided to just head back and begin planning our next leg of the trip.Once back in Cha-am we rode down to the port where all the fishing boats were stocking up with ice ready for the nightly fish. There were loads of small restaurants around with small water pools full of fresh fish and it looked amazing, I wished I was hungry!
Lazy days on the beach, we've decided to skip the Gulf side of Thailand for the time being and not go to the commercialised islands of Ko Samui and Ko Pha-Ngan and head for Koh Payam instead, it's a small island with 500 inhabitants on the western side of Thailand and it'll involve a bit of travelling tomorrow but it'll be worth it! Went for dinner at our usual place for the last time, the chicken fried rice is bob on! Said bye to the really nice one armed hotel night receptionist and went and packed our bags.