Fred and I decided to head south from Krabi. We jumped on our bikes with our packed bags and hit the road. Fortunately we didn’t physically hit the road, though this was lucky as the traffic leaving Krabi was utterly insane. There were vehicles everywhere, massive and small, overladen, raging at high speed and even some with elephants on the back. Yet we managed to navigate our way out of town and onto the motorway, a proper road trip had begun.
When we got far enough south – after a few hours on the bikes – we branched off from the big roads and hit the coast. This took us past mangroves and on to a tiny little road that led to an empty beach. It was absolutely stunning. We carried on through a forested area and came out at a stretch of sand at the other end. It was kilometres long, golden sand stretching out as far a you can imagine, with huge karst cliffs rising out all along the horizon. Freddie and I were literally the only people we could see, in all directions. Unsurprisingly we hung out there for a while. But sadly eventually we had to hit the road again, which took us to Pak Meng.
Pak Meng is a coastal town with a huge stretch of beach in front, again with karst cliffs and islands as far as you can see. It seemed to be the kind of place the locals go for their own holidays.
We pulled up outside a little restaurant and ordered some food to have on a little table on the beach. It was picturesque to say the least. But then the drama began.
We jumped back on our mopeds to go in search of accommodation, only to find mine was being a little temperamental. It refused to start. Basically it was fucked. ‘Oh dear’ we thought, but luckily the owner of the restaurant had noticed and wandered over. He called to the only other westerner we were to see in our few days here, Richard, who came to discuss our options. They informed us there was a mechanic up the road. But Freddie would have to use a special ‘motorbike’ trick to get me there. He had to drive his motorbike behind mine, pushing me along with his foot on the exhaust while I tried to balance on my totally dead moped. Luckily, somehow, it worked. But not after a few wobbly moments. The mechanic got out a bit of metal and bashed the bike in various places, and miraculously got it working! Though it would now be the case we’d have to kick start the bike every time we used it for the rest of the trip. Nightmare.
We jumped on our bikes, booked a boat trip for the following day, and searched for accomodation.
Everywhere was fully booked except a proper rough place at the far end of the beach. It was utterly weird. In my room there were pink frilly sheets on the bed, that looked like it had been there two years. There was a ‘Hello Kitty’ towel to use as a blanket – it had a hole in the kitty’s nose. And in the bathrooms there was a mesh cover over a window, that had an entire ecosystem trapped inside it. So while standing having a pleasant wee you were forced to look at a maelstrom of snails, roots and various insects, all struggling in a tiny space they could not escape from. Traumatic.
Unsurprisingly we spent as little time in there as possible, which meant having beers at a table on the beach and watching the sunset. In a further search for food we passed a restaurant with an entire extended family of Thais all singing karaoke. There must have been 50 of them at least. Being the only foreigners they’d seen that day, and being the friendly folk they are, they shouted and insisted we come in and sing them a song. They did not know what they were in for.
For some inexplicable reason ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ was the song of choice, and we totally butchered it. Originally having started with applause, the crowd soon turned to a stunned silence. Then to looks of horror. They didn’t know what to do. They couldn’t look away, and we couldn’t stop. We were committed. All that remained was for us to wade on through the thick uncomfortable air with our terrible voices, until the song finally came to a merciful end. We lowered our eyes and quietly apologised as we left the inhabitants of the restaurant in emotional tatters.