Distance - 40km
This day was dedicated to being a 3/4 rest day. We would look around Pratchuap Khiri Khan, then find somewhere to stay - hopefully a beachside bungalow somewhere.
The first thing we noticed riding into the town was a big temple up on a hill, with stairs winding up to the top. Despite having tired legs, I knew I wanted to climb to the top to see the view! The second thing we noticed in the town was monkeys everywhere! They were climbing up stone walls, hanging from the trees, walking down the footpath and sitting on benches. Pratchuap Khiri Kahn was crawling with monkeys.
I had fun watching them play in a fountain - jumping off rocks into the water, wrestling each other, climbing the statue... It was quite strange though when they walked straight past you - coming within centimetres of your legs.
As I walked up the path to the temple one little monkey followed me for a while - eyeing off my water bottle. He ran up the stairs in front of me, along the handrail... I couldn't seem to shake him. I was even more surprised when I realised just how many monkeys lived along this path. There were covered seating areas along the way but not for people to rest, for the monkeys to sleep in the shade. You literally had to walk over them to get through. I kept expecting one to get up and attack my legs, but they just lay there as I stepped over them.
It was quite easy to get to the top. There are apparently 396 steps but they are not steep and I made it to the top within about 15 minutes. And that included stopping frequently to take photos of the magical views all around me.
At the top there were 180 degree views of the bay, and 180 degree views of the town. It was one of the most beautiful things I've experienced on this trip.
It was a bit scary when the monkeys actually started trying to get my water bottle off me. One big one grabbed it and pulled and when I swung me leg at it, it hissed at me. Then a smaller one actually leapt at me and grabbed onto my leg - he was hard to shake off. In the end I let them have the empty bottle so they would stop harrassing me.
After the climb to the top we rode along the beach, enjoying the beautiful coastline. For timing reasons we've made the difficult decision not to go to Vietnam, but instead ride up through Thailand and Laos to China. This means that once we get to Bangkok we probably won't see the coast for months, until we get to Turkey. We wanted to enjoy it while we could! We were going to stay along this section of the coast but most of the places were full, and the ones that had rooms were too expensive. We decided to head back inland to the main road where the cleaner, cheaper hotels are found.
We rode only 40km, but after the week we'd had that was enough. We stopped at a town along the highway, found somewhere to sleep and bought a feast for a small price at the massive night markets.
We were heading to Bangkok within the next day or two, so we tried to find out what was happening with the red shirt protests... We hadn't had much English news since arriving in Thailand so we didn't really have any idea what the situation was like. Again, there was no English news on the television, although we did find a Russian channel in English so we found out about the yeti legends in Siberia. Interesting, but not very useful.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia