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Ranong to Phang Nga

I cycled Ranong to Phang Nga in three days. The original plan was to cycle to Phuket, but I changed my mind in Klok Kloi. It had been a  pleasant bicycle ride along the west coast of south Thailand, so why did I change?

The only sight of the Andaman Sea I got in my journey

Khao Lak: the only sight of the Andaman Sea I got
in my journey from Ranong to Khok Kloi

The journey started in Ranong. I left the town after a good solid spicy chicken rice. It was the same as the day before, rolling hills but never steep nor difficult. I had the idea it would be great to see the Andaman Sea. I couldn't be further from the truth.

Originally I had imagined to stay in Kapoe, just 55 km south of Ranong but Kapoe was really nothing much. I could have stayed in the Laem Son National Park, some kilometers from Kapoe but rejected the idea due to time (visa) problems.

The Tsunami Museum ...
The Tsunami Museum Kamphuan...

However, I decided to continue, it was still early and the road should be flat. Target was Khura Buri where I hoped to find some accommodation.

This was the region which was hard hit by the tsunami in 2004, and at some points you could see the signs for tsunami escape routes to higher land. There are Tsunami museums around.

One street town Khura Buri, starting point for diving trips to Surin Island
One street town Khura Buri on the way from Ranong to Phang Nga,
starting point for diving trips to Surin Island

When later at the day I arrived in Khura Bhuri I found quickly a comfortable and cheap resort (I had a nice chalet for B 500). The town was basically a one street town with some hotels and a night market.

When I left the next day I couldn't imagine myself coming back here unless one day I would go diving at Surin Islands.

Again rolling roads in a very green country and I passed Sri Phang Nga National Park. I was now close to Takua Pa. Just before the town highway 4 splits into 4 and 401. The 401 goes eastwards into the hills towards Surat Thani. It wasn't what I wanted.

Takua Pa was another uninspiring town. I had heard good comments about Khao Lak. There were great beaches and it was not as touristy as Phuket.

Just before Khao Lak, this was as close to the beach as I came
Just before Khao Lak, this was as close to the beach as I came

But Khao Lak was disappointing. The town looked like nothing I imagined. There were a few hotels, way too expensive for what they offered except one. And the beach, still 3 km away!

The next day I found out that although I had stayed in Khao Lak, the touristy areas were further south where you could find dive shop for going to Similan Islands. I had stayed in another part of town where it was very quiet, yes, but also very boring, even getting a proper meal was a challenge. No wonder I wasn't impressed.

South of Khao Lak I was back on the green roads
South of Khao Lak on the road from Ranong to Phang Nga

When I passed in the early morning this touristy part of Khao Lak I understood why people like it here. It's another (smaller) Khao San Road (Bangkok).

Hotels in Khao Lak

It's quite amazing that for such a small town there is such a variety of accommodation available. Obviously the best hotels, many with private beach are also some of the most expensive.

Continuing to Phang Nga

Just south of the main road where it swindles along the cliffs I finally saw a glimpse of the Andaman Sea. Here you find all the 5 star resorts. Khok Kloi was the goal. Or should I go to Phang Nga? I passed the junction and decided not to. After all I had never been to Phuket (in all the 20 years!). So I passed and continued to Khok Kloi. Phuket was in reach for the day.

Thai Mueang on the way to Phuket
Thai Mueang on the way to Phuket

But when I finally arrived in Khok Kloi.... my aversion to what I expected about Phuket won, and I decided to cycle to Phang Nga and stay there before going to Ao Luk and Krabi. It had been a pleasant bicycle ride from Ranong to Phang Nga.

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