Today we cycled to James Bond island. Well, not exactly to the island but to Pha Nga, famed for the James Bond movie which was shot around Phi Phi Island, which is off Pha Nga. James Bond (Sean Connery) himself would have forgotten. But not the locals. Huge billboards dotted the route to lure tourists to visit the James Bond Island.
Leaving the hotel early, James Bond was least on our mind. Food was on the agenda. The route, led by Recumbent Foo passed the periphery of Phuket Airport before meeting the trunk road. After about 10kms heading towards the Sarasin Bridge that connects Phuket to the mainland, we stopped at a Muslim foodstall. The choice - rice but variety of dishes. We settled in to do our carbo-loading. On a wall was a poster. Raihan, Malaysia's nasyid group will be in town. One of Raihan's song, Demi Masa is always on my MP3 - as a gentle reminder of our final destination.
Owner of the foodstall hailed from Pattani and spoke Thai Malay. We managed to ask for direction via the coastal road that would lead us to the Sarasin Bridge. This village route was treelined and offered good shade. Villagers were unhurriedly going about their daily chores, peaceful and minus the pollution. 3 kids were playing by the roadside and gave me some friendly smiles. Young, beautiful and innocent.
Taking this route, we passed through Tsunami country. We came across a Tsunami cemetry. KC, Siew Peng and I rode in a bit to see the grim reminders of the devastation of the Tsunami of Dec 2005. Felt a little bit eerie and quiet. Wreaths hung along 2 wooden walls to the graveyard. There were also numerous Tsunami Evacuation signboards, pointing to directions where villagers can flee to, for safety. We hope this will not be necessary at all in the future.
Recumbent Foo also led us into a 5 star resort and Spa operated by Sheraton, but there was no through road to the beach. So we continued our ride and stopped for photography sessions on the Sarasin Bridge. Two Mat Salleh lady cyclists stopped for a chat and helped took the group photograph. Uncle Boh asked me to ask one of the cyclists where she bought her Phuket cycling club jersey. I was wondering whether Uncle Boh was really interested in the jersey!
ARZ, Suhaimi, Boh, Siew Peng, Wendy, Alauddin, Florence, Recumbent Foo, Fariz
KC (aka Rambo -sitting)
Roads in Thailand have wide lanes for cycling. It is certainly safer to cycle in Thailand than back home. Weather though was equally hot. The group stopped at a hardware shop for Boh to buy a clip for his rack. It became a rest stop. Everyone welcomed the idea of this stop for some rest, shades and drinks.
Today, being a Friday, we passed by a mosque with Muslims going for the Friday prayers. A tinge of guilt for missing today's Friday prayers. On a journey, we accumulate. So we pasang niat for Jamak akhir.
Another stop at a stall selling live crabs and live siput sedut, initially for re-grouping since by now the stronger cyclists were quite up ahead. We saw some coconuts and so, coconut water quenched our thirst. Sadly, the coconut flesh was more suitable for curry. This stop was 15kms before Pha Nga, today's destination.
Alauddin led us into Pha Nga and we headed for a Muslim shop in town. The owner welcomed us with lots of smile. She sure can make a killing with these 10 hungry Tuarers. During lunch, we were cooled by the rain.
I made a note to visit this "Food Safety Street" tonight for dinner.
We checked in to Luk Muang Hotel for Baht 500 twin-sharing.
Distance : 71.5 km
Total Ride Time : 3 hrs 57mins
Av Speed 18.1 km
Max Speed 40.7 km