Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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.

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