Soon after reaching the coast (in Krabi), we had to go to a hospital. While playing on the beach, Mat kicked a piece of old, dry bamboo and a piece of it got stuck in his ankle. The splinter was removed by a skilled surgeon and after some days of resting, we could continue pedalling.
We had no plans for this part of Thailand, and we just drifted around, visiting local temples, caves and small fishing villages.
Some part of the local population consists of the descendants of Chinese migrants. They have populated the entire Malay Peninsula, and in some places managed to maintain their culture. The family bonds are very strong among the Chinese Thais, they usually run family businesses and sometimes can be a bit, well, money oriented. Never during our trip we had to pay an additional fee for using electrical sockets to charge our mobile devices – maybe once, in a remote part of the Nepali Himalayas. We were simply stunned when we discovered, that there were no plugs in the hotel room where we just crashed!
This part of Thailand is inhabited by a large Muslim community. Great mix: Chinese, Muslims and Thais, don’t you think? Very interesting to see different architecture, dresses and faces every day!
The coast of either beautiful, sandy beaches (and then it lures tourists), or dense, mangrove forests.
Unfortunately more and more original jungle is being cut to plant rubber trees or oil palms.
Cycling through rubber plantations always brings a bit of cooler air. And swarms of mosquitoes.
We do not like the fact, that people abuse animals, but seeing a local man riding an elephant on the side of the road was a unique experience. Big, hungry elephant and his tiny master.
We cycled down the coast, enjoying nature…
… and sunsets.
The sea means a lot for the local population. We knew, that the best way to experience the unity of ocean and man was to visit one more island before crossing the border with Malaysia. We decided to take a ferry to Koh Lanta.
We were not very lucky at that time. The monsoon has started, and cycling was often interrupted by sudden storms. The advantage of visiting a touristy place out of the season is a radical drop in the prices, though. We found a small bungalow near the beach, to rest for a day or two.
Instead of a relaxed stay on Koh Lanta, we ended up spending over a week there. Not that we liked the stormy weather that much. The reason was Anna having dengue fever!
She hadn’t been well when we checked in, and the next morning we knew that it was going to be serious. Anna had pain all over her body and very high fever. We read a lot about dengue and we knew, that there is no cure for it, just paracetamol and lots of sleep.
We decided not to move anywhere, and just spent our days in our bamboo bungalow, listening to the rain banging on the roof above our heads, while Anna’s antibodies were fighting the virus.
It took more than a week for her to start feeling a bit better, and even though we were both aware, that some people need many weeks to fully recover, we decided to move on.
First day after we knew that the last phase was over, she could only cycle 15 kilometres. Luckily we still had some time left on our visas and the border to Malaysia was not that far away.
We crossed an invisible line of 25000 kilometres cycled during this journey just one day away from the border. Just a number, but feels so good to see it on our odometer.
Our last night in Thailand we could enjoy the hospitality of a local Buddhist temple.
Malaysia, here we come! Alive and kicking!