Jim'll Fix It

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Thailand  , Chumphon,
Saturday, April 2, 2011

We were very tempted to spend another day lazing around in this totally chilled out little seaside resort, but eventually decided to save it for further on, when we might actually have some sunshine. The 15mile ride to Chumphon town went smoothly, and drinking iced lattes by the picturesque train station we felt good to be back in the saddle. We had a moment's hesitation when a bus load of backpackers turned up on their way to Ko Tao. We dithered about it, but again grey skies and the possibility of getting stuck there sent us onwards to Surat Thani on the bikes. A kilometer back into the ride we waved to another cyclist pedalling towards us. He turned out to be an American guy called Jim (from Las Vegas of all places), who REALLY threw a spanner in the works by explaining that he had just spent the last two days cycling to Surat Thani and that when he got there the road was completely impassable. Chest deep water had stranded motorists who were sleeping in their vehicles. He’d found no accommodation and had to do a 130 mile day. He’s also heard that the flooding is going to get worse as they need to open a dam before it bursts.

What to do? Jim had decided to try and get a bus to Phuket down the west coast via Ranong and cycled off promising to email us with any info he discovered. We quickly decided to try and get the boat to Ko Tao and hope we could cycle down the east coast after getting a boat to the coast. At the train station a helpful tout shoved us into a rickshaw with the bikes and told the driver to drive like crazy as we only had half an hour before the boat left. We thought we were in with a chance until the engine started making some terrible noises and eventually conked out. 

Bikes out of the defunct rickshaw we pedalled back into town and made for a the Fame bar to eat mozzarella and tomato baguettes and rethink our strategy. The night boat to Ko Tao seemed like a good option until we read into the east coast and found that it had suffered severe flood damage. Eventually we decided to head for Phuket the East coast route (considerably longer) and hope that the ferry from Phuket down to Langkawi Island in Malaysia is running. If not, we have an epic cycle to get to the Thai border before our visa runs out.

Decision made, we headed to a hotel where we bumped into Jim again. We therefore spent the unexpected afternoon off swapping touring stories with him, and getting some recommendations for our Canada/America route. In the early evening Mikey and I decided to check out the night market, where the Lonely Planet recommended delicious street snacks. The green curry looked great, but turned out to be full of large lumps of black offal – Have tried it before and have no desire to eat it again, so we stocked up on junk food from the 7-11 and headed back to the room.

Stayed up until 1am (normally 10pm is a late night for us) as we were investigating/booking fights to Borneo. Giles, Charlotte, Mikey and I are now booked to fly to Kota Kinabalu on the 20th  - Can’t wait!!!!!
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