Is the girl looking happy or what
Ban Krut, Bag Grood, Ban Krud whatever the place is called is lovely. The beach in our bay runs for about 18 km and is virtually empty. At one end is a quaint Thai fishing village with small houses, colourful boats, weathered looking men and a pervading smell of fish mixed with wood smoke. Coming further along are a series of small resort style hotels and restaurants. These, however, are not busy and are all low level, sympathetically designed to the landscape affairs. Coming further along still the restaurants quickly dwindle and the coast side road becomes deserted with only coconut trees on one side and the ocean on the other. It is, after about three kilometres that you eventually come to our hotel. A beautifully designed place with small bungalows with open bathrooms and showers set amidst palms and flowering shrubs. Walkways are made of reclaimed driftwood and large natural stones set in sand. A small pool sits beside a spacious high ceilinged dining area which has no fans but always seems cool. We expected it to busy by what we were told when booking but the 30 or so guests that were here on our arrival has, since the weekend has gone, dwindled to 12 people. It is with these masses that we have to share the 12 km of beach. Consequently when Rachel and I walked along the beach for 2.5 km yesterday we came across 3 people! It was quite stressful.
The beach is backed by a coconut trees that form a green canopy under which it is pleasant to lounge. Rocks are dotted here and there amongst the trees and the hotel has strung up hammocks in several places which we have already fallen asleep in whilst being rocked by the warm breeze. The gentle waves lap the shoreline, the sea is deep blue the sky light blue with wispy clouds. No noise, no people, just us.
We have hired a little moped (£12 for 3 days) and are able to scoot about the almost deserted roads. Yesterday we went to Tandsay temple which like most Thai temples was stunning, crafted and magnificent. A huge golden Budha and two giant guardian statues at the entrance of the incredibly ornate structure with golden domes, spires, green tiles and marble dragons. The inside is decorated with large murals of budhists picnicking, laughing, praying etc. Every Indian freize was conversely scenes of death and destruction. Different religion different stories…. The doorways in the temple were surrounded in a patterned thick wooden frames that tapered towards the top giving an impression of them being a leaning mirror. This created a really strange sensation when one stepped through the doorway as one expects to bump in to glass. The temple is atop a wooded hilly outcrop of the mainland and consequently it overlooks magnificent views.
Todays outing has been amazing we set off on what we thought was a 20km journey but this soon became about 45km as the over simplified map showed none of the complexities of the roads. That said it was a great jorney whizzing along the long beach road then through country side of thick trees, palms and interspersed with small holding growing rich green crops in the verdant soil. All being tendered by farmers wearing large straw hats, large boots, smocks and headscarves. So many things like to bite in the countryside it is a necessity to cover up. We drive and find ourselves in a fair sized town called Bang Saphang. This place has wide roads and large variety of shops (non touristy) it feels and looks like a small American town and we both think it would be a great place to live near as it has all of the amenities but is not frantic. Soon after we get to the Marong Caves which are poorly signposted and difficult to find. The entrance to the small road has a large pagoda through which we drive past seemingly sleeping dogs whom we hope to let lie inside we find a large discarded Wat (Temple) which is set in an overgrown compound. We hear a noise behind us and the dogs have followed us. They start barking which attracts others. We are pinned in, its tense, but then Rachel tells them to shut up and they all suddenly turn docile, stop barking and most of them bugger off again and saunter off into the surrounding woods. We find an old monk in a little hut (i think it is a nun, tis point is still under discussion) and make 100 Baht donation to see the caves. He (she) sees us scratching and talks incessantly in Thai whilst proffering an anti mossy mixture which we slather on. That done he points the way to the most extraordinary caves we have ever seen. We are totally alone in 5 or 6 large chambers of amazing rock types. Like the Indian Jones films we descend rough hewn steps down through thick ferns and stingy vines into this subterranean world of stalagtites and mites, strange rippling curtain formations, bulbous brain like rocks, smooth as glass walls and jagged shard covered boulders all festooned with Budhas and holy relics. These chambers rise 20ft to the sometimes dripping ceilings that have clusters of sleeping bats attached to them. They are eerie and we feel we are in a truly holy place. Perhaps because of all the Budhas or the cathedral effect that the caves have. We are not sure but embrace it and the silence in wonder.
Not content with this we head off further into the interior to some nearby hills and after travelling on a dual carriage way, a single carriage way, a small road, dirt road, dirt track then rutted path we bump our way to a lovely waterfall that splashed down some 50ft into a cool green pool before running off over and around large rocks down the hillside making dangerous waterslides and smaller pools as it goes. We had intended to both swim but the water was deeper and faster flowing than Rachel was comfortable with so I stripped off and after falling arse over tit on the slippery rocks managed to get into the pool and swim in the cold clear water – even climbing up behind the waterfall at one stage. We enjoyed a brief picnic of various pastries and coke on one of the larger rocks whilst basking in the sun and then headed home on our trusty moped with full hearts and sore backsides.
Tomorrow we intend to lay on the beach and just enjoy the sun before heading back up to Bangkok and then Singapore for 3 glorious weeks of housesitting. Just before I close must just add that as typing this I feel something drop onto my back from the high ceiling and say to Rachel that some heavy has just landed on me and could she look. She very kindly jumped up, squealed and ran away leaving me to jump up and find a gecko there. Thanks Rachel