My next trip to Khao Lak was in mid October. The monsoon had ended, a Iittle earlier than usual. My intention was to explore a bit north of Khao Lak, for a couple of days and then continue on to complete the Ao Nang then Phuket round trip.
I stayed in Srichada Hotel; just 500 baht ($US 16.00) a night, still at low season rates. This is the view from my fourth floor room.
In the morning I went down to the Khao Lak beach. The sea was calm with gentle waves breaking quite a few seconds apart.
After that I started to make my way to Takua Pa, about 30 km. to the north. It was once an important administrative and transport centre, but is now just a sleepy little town. I only got as far as White Sand Beach, exploring area between the main road and the sea. One of the joys of a small motorcycle is being able to get down tracks that cars and bigger motorcycles would find off limits.
The road to Memory Bar soon turned into a dirt track.
It went past a rubbish dump, next to tin shacks housing Burmese construction workers.
Then past a fancy resort in the making.
At the end of the road on the beach I found Memory Bar, a sort of a hippie camp mostly constructed from bamboo.
But it would be a week or so before it opened. They had rental surf boards which looked like they would be useful during the monsoon. It is located at a river mouth, and looked as it it could produce some decent waves, better than at Khao Lak Bay or anywhere in Phuket. With the poor surf this year they probably decided to shut down for a few weeks.
(Sorry, I didnít straighten the photo before I uploaded it.)
A group of girls were enjoying a day off at the beach. They posed for me. Behind them is the mouth of the river, with a luxury resort on the other side.
I made my way back to the main road, then ducked down this byway through rubber plantations, to White Sand Beach.
And passed this wonderfully clear freshwater pond just a couple of hundred metres inland from the sea.
I reached White Sand Beach, which was a lovely spot. If the sea was after eroding the coast down near Khao Lak, here it was building it up.
This is what it looks like on Google Earth.
I found my way to the point and stopped for lunch. At 200 baht it was more than three times what similar fare would cost in a regular place. However the seafood fried rice had more than the usual token bit of squid and a couple of prawns. It tasted great, and the location was priceless.
I walked out to the point, and reckoned it too could be a good spot for surf.
The people in white are participants in the Vegetarian Festival. There are Chinese temples at Khao Lak and Takua Pa. They wear white for the duration (nine days), refrain from alcohol, drugs and sex, and eat only bland (unspiced) vegan food. It is nothing about healthy peace, love dove vegan diet. It is all about doing penance to appease the gods, in the hope that they will grant good health. On the final evening, once the gods have been sent on their way, it is all freshly slaughtered flesh and debauchery.
Vegetation has started to colonise the new land the sea has deposited
And people have left their contribution to the enviroment.
I started off to explore further, but I ran into heavy rain, which lasted a couple of hours. With only a lightweight rain jacket, I was soon soaked. As it was getting late, I made my way back to a hot shower at the Srichada.
Google map directions reckoned on about 12 minutes travel time for 13 km along the main highway, but I had spent the best part of an enjoyable day exploring the coastal byways.
The next morning I got a call from a young woman in Phuket, who I have helped out a bit (too much). It was some months since I had heard from her, but now the outfit she was working for was having problems, and she hadn't been paid. She didn't have enough money to make her rent.
I canceled the Ao Nang leg and went back to Phuket to help her out... again, to discover her bludging brother (and his mate) had turned up, which would not have helped her situation. She and her brother are both sorted with jobs again now, so hopefully it should be a while before I hear from her again. No news is good news.