3. Hua Hin to Surat Thani
I like to ride in a country where the traffic police salutes you when you pass by on a big BMW motorcycle!
The ride goes along Highway #4, and later #41, south. It is actually a pleasant way of riding since the divided highway is lined with eucalyptus and pine trees which provide some shade. The median is also often planted with trees. The only drawback is that my tires are not the right choice for these good roads. The bike feels wobbly, steering and handling is less than precise. This doesn't mean at all that I wish I would be on dirt roads or gravel!
The ride is uneventful until I get into a traffic jam with literally hundreds of stopped big trucks, pulled to the side, the drivers eating on tarps next to their vehicles. I can easily bypass them until I get to the police checkpoint. The officer who speaks some English explains that the highway is closed because of the protest of the rubber farmers. And then I start noticing the riot gear and shields laid out nicely on the closed road.
I have to get off the highway and a nice, yet time consuming ride through great scenery begins, with date and rubber plantations, nice little houses in a serene setting. At each little crossroad you see a few police in riot gear, and sometimes also military.
The detour took me about one hour. It was worth it. Some 30 miles south from where I left I can enter the highway again.