2. Bangkok-Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province
Distance: 242 km
It takes about 2 hours to get out of Bangkok traffic, even after the morning rush-hour. But Bangkok's traffic is pretty intense all day long, as previously mentioned. On my way down to the southern provinces it also didn't make things easier that as a motorcyclist, one is banned from using the (elevated) toll roads; they are reserved to cars, trucks and busses. My German friend Stefan alerted me to this fact, thanks Stefan. He had to pay a substantial fine when he was caught using the express roads.
This stop-and-go traffic with red-light phases which last up to four minutes, in 95 degree heat, and in one of the most polluted cities in the world is something to remember fondly.
|Endless construction zones with snarling traffic. |
The new extensions of the Bangkok Skytrain stretch to the outskirts of the city along my route.
First, I had the GPS programmed to avoid toll roads AND highways, which allowed for some interesting rural road cruising, through the shrimp-basin production areas of Samut Songkhram and other areas. But after a while I deleted the avoidance setting "Highway", took the major artery south, the #4 road, which is in essence a 6-8 lane highway all the way to Hua Hin.
|Arriving at the coast, Hua Hin, the summer residence of the Thai monarchy.|
|The splendid Centara Hotel, formerly the Hua Hin Railroad Hotel, of 1926.|
(No, I didn;t stay there.)
|Landscaping art at the Centara Hotel park.|
|Arriving in the evening at Hua Hin.|
|A professional foot and neck massage is in order.|
|And a Singha beer.|
Finally, some last images taken in Bangkok on a stroll through Lumpini Park on my last day before heading south, sleeping cats, and the salon providing the Best Haircut, period.
|Morning gymnastics, Lumpini park.|
|Free open-air gym, Lumpini park|
|Sleeping Monitor Lizard (Varanus), maybe 8 feet long, directly next to the foot path. They appear to be friendly, at least when asleep.|
|Another big one, also maybe 7 feet long, got him/herself a big fish for breakfast out of the park pond. He had to struggle quiet a while to swallow the fish to a third of it length. When I came too close, he took his meal with him into the pond.|
|Sleeping cats on park benches.|
|The fabulous hair salon: |
The girl to the right, short hair, is a true artist. What a delight to watch her cut hair. Amazing.
Tomorrow back on the road down south.