6 November 2014

  • General data:
    • We started our bike trip at  the P. Guesthouse in Sangkhlaburi and ended the sixth bicycling day at the Pha Tat Valley Hotel in Hin Dat.
    • Technical data of the trip was as follows: Total Distance: 100.36 Km; Moving Average: 19.4 Km/Hr; Overall Average: 14.1 Km/Hr; Maximum Speed: 65.1 Km/Hr; Moving time: 5 Hr 10 Min; Stopped Time: 1 Hr 56 Min; Total Time: 7 Hr 6 Min. Including a not-planned quick ride to the Pom Pi viewpoint.
  • Number of participants: 2 (Pat & Steve) 

We left the town of Sangkhlaburi at sunrise. It had been raining all night. Steve wanted to buy some breakfast at a 7-Eleven, so he biked already ahead. I stopped to shoot some pictures at the Buddhist temple Wat Somdet; the day prior we had no good opportunity as the skies were clouded with rain. Wat Somdet was originally built by the Karen at the entry of Sangkhlaburi town in area before called Wang Ka. On both sides of the road are chedi and large Buddha images, including a reclining Buddha.

I lost Steve out of sight. There was a 7-Eleven at a pump station a bit upwards the road leading to the Three Pagoda Pass, but that morning its location had slipped totally out of my mind. I arrived at the crossing, saw no Steve and presumed, as he had a couple of minutes advance, he had already started the steep climb. I doubled my forces in trying to catch up with him. It was a tough ride. During the climb my phone went off. I stopped to take the call. It was Steve asking where I was. I answered that I was busy climbing right behind him. I climbed back on my bike, a not so an easy exercise on a steep hill, and started off again. After 5 minutes the phone ringed a second time. Steve was asking again where I was and I replied that I was still busy climbing. Sweat was pouring out all over my body as I really had hurried up the mountain to catch up my lag, believing Steve was already at the top. Then he said I am at the 7-Eleven. Suddenly I realized he was still down at Sangkhlaburi. I frantically was thinking why I missed this 7-Eleven, but I really forgot about that place.

I had now time enough as I was a small half an hour in front of Steve, so I stopped at a small Buddhist retreat called Chedi Suwan Kiri alongside the road. I climbed up towards the small golden chedi, from where I had a beautiful view over Sangkhlaburi. After ten minutes I decided to continue to the highest point along the track, upon which I encountered a police road block. Here I waited for Steve to catch up. From here it only climbed very slightly for a while and then the descent started. We dived down through clouds of mist hanging between the mountains until we reached the Ranti River Bridge. Here we found a car in the ditch exactly on the place were Steve made his dive the day prior.

I stopped at the Sukho Cave for a short break and another quick look. A bit later Steve passed by but did not stop. I climbed my bike and continued the pursuit. We made a short stop at Wat Lijia and I told Steve I was going to leave the track to visit Pom Pi viewpoint in the Khao Laem National Park about 1.5 Km off track. Steve would continue and I would join up later.

I turned into the road to the viewpoint and after a steep climb I arrived at the entry. I paid the entry fee and took a bike stroll through the small park. From Pom Pi you have a very nice panoramic view over the Khao Laem Reservoir. After taking some pictures and requesting some information on lodging I returned back to the main road in order to catch up with Steve. I joined up with Steve at the Kroeng Krawia Falls. We took a break at the falls alongside the road.

The next stop was at Wat Ulong, a monastery situated along the Huai Ulong waterway, a small feeder of the Khwae Noi River. From here we biked passing by Wat Tha Khanun - on which premises the defunct Death Railway track once ran - and the Thong Pha Phum road crossing to our arrival point of the day. We turned east at the crossing when it started to rain.

There was some truth in the saying The longest mile is the last mile home. The last 15 kilometers of today's 100 Km long track were indeed a bit tough. The hilly terrain and the long distance made it a heavy bike ride as more rain fell nearing the Pha Tat Valley Hotel. We reached our accommodation at 1330 Hr. We checked in, changed cloths and went for lunch along the main road.

In the afternoon my wife and I took the occasion to visit the Pha Tat Waterfalls, while Steve remained at the hotel. The fall is located in the western zone of the Sri Nakharin Dam National Park about 8 Km from the hotel. The waterfall, one of the most beautiful falls of Kanchanburi Province, is formed by the small streams coming down from the Kala Mountain and join into a main waterway called the Huai Kui Mang. The latter on her turn, joins the Khwae Noi River after passing the Kui Mang Hot Springs. In the late afternoon we went to Thong Pha Phum for the Loi Krathong festivities. We arrived at the start of the Loi Krathong parade and the town center was turned into a huge fancy fair. We took the occasion to float a small banana leaf raft at the Chaloem Phra Kiat 50 Year Exercise Park below the Phuttha Chethiya Khiri Pagoda on the Khwae Noi River, paying our respect to Mae Khongkha, the Goddess of Water. Our small boated floated well and the current of the Khwae Noi slowly took it in its grip, taking away our bad thoughts and actions of the past year. Cleared of our sins we returned back to the hotel with an evening snack for Steve.

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