Cycling Day 58 – Samut Songkhram to Petchaburi
Having taken quite a roundabout route to the hotel last night given the somewhat annoying one way system and river in the way, we were relieved to be informed by the hotel staff that there was actually a ferry which would take us straight back to town. While there were a few scooters driving on, I don’t think a heavily laden touring bicycle was a common sight from the attention we were attracting on the way over. We both had a chuckle at the safety procedures – there was still a scooter with one wheel on the boat and one wheel on land as the boat pushed off from the pier. I think if he had been half a second later he would have ended up in the water.
The ferry dropped us off right into the heart of Samut Songkhram – we had timed the arrival to ensure we saw the 9:45 train arrival. The Maeklong railway market is quite famous in these parts for the fact that it’s a market which is actually built on top of a functioning railway. The train which arrives and leaves eight times a day causes the entire market to be packed up while the old carriage rattles slowly just above whatever produce is left out. We weren’t able to ascertain why they put the market here – presumably it is just a tourist attraction but it’s hard to imagine how anyone came up with such a stupid idea. The video below shows them packing up and the train coming over. Watch for the produce getting bashed around at about 2:40.
While waiting for the train, we sat around in the intense morning heat and humidity – while trying to find a place to park the bikes we got into a small argument with the proprietor of a local gold store who thought we were blocking her clientele. There were quite a few people milling about as you can see form the video above so we bought a drink and sat around to watch the arrival of the train. Having satisfied our curiosity, we headed out of town towards the main highway which we needed to take for a short time before heading south. Unfortunately for us a few km out of town the road was blocked so we had to turn around and come back in before heading back out along the road we entered. We did have one hair raising moment when we tried to take a shortcut down a back lane and about five dogs jumped out of nowhere barking and chasing us. Andy nearly ran over the first one which came out of nowhere and seemed determined to throw itself under the front wheel. This proved somewhat of a headache when the lane turned out to be a dead end – due to Andy not yet having completed his rabies vaccination course we made our way back down the lane armed with sticks ready to fend them off. Luckily, their initial surprise had worn off and they seemed disinterested in us.
From here the ride was pretty straightforward – along the highway, then off into rural farmland. No hills to speak about, just a winding road through some pretty dense tropical vegetation. We came across a town (we’re still not sure what it was called) at about lunchtime and did a few laps looking for a place to eat. We ended up eating at the local market – I had a noodle broth for about 20 baht (40 pence/60 cents) which seemed pretty reasonable. Andy also managed to score some free corn from one guy, although we couldn’t understand why he kept refusing the money. I think he must have thought the bicycles were pretty cool.
The rest of the day was a bit boring to be honest. The road was pretty straight from here through what seemed like a never ending supply of rice paddies and salt lakes. Combined with a bit of a headwind and our reduced fitness after a break, I didn’t really enjoy this section too much. After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived at the hotel and were pleasantly surprised to see how nice it was. We spent a bit of time relaxing before eating there (it wasn’t really in a town so the options were a bit limited). Looking forward to the last ride in Thailand tomorrow all the way into Hua Hin!