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  1. #1
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    Default Road Trip - Petchabun

    Firstly I must apologise for the state of my photos - I'm the world's worst photographer and my phone's not much better. I hope they at least portray the flavour of the area .

    I've just returned from a month in Thailand - mostly spent finishing the renovation/alteration of my home near Khao Yai. I had hoped to get a week or so in travelling on my bike but the house took priority so my 'road trip' was cut down to just 24 hours.

    Nevertheless, I discovered a beautiful area - the mountains in Petchabun Province and will certainly return there as I've only seen a fraction of what's on offer.

    I left Khao Yai on the Friday luchtime at 12:00 and headed up through Pak Chong and onwards to a town called Lam Narai where I joined highway 21 northwards. There's nothing much to see before Petchabun city so its just as well that the 21 is a dual carriageway in good condition. You can really eat up the miles on that road and I arrived at my hotel in Petchabun city at 3.15pm having taken 2 x 15 minute breaks for petrol/coffee. 2h 45m was a little faster than the 3.5h I'd been told the trip would take but I had the hammer down - and so did everyone else it seems. I was surprised at the speed of the traffic once I got on to the 21. On most of the highways and motorways I travel on in Thailand, I'd say the faster traffic is travelling around 120kmh regardless of the speed limit. However, most of the time on the 21 I was doing around 140kmh and I was being passed quite often! Still, the traffic was not heavy and the road good so it didn't feel at all unsafe to travel at such speeds. I did once hit an virtually empty stretch so I took the bike up to 195 to see what it would do as I've never had it flat out - quickly back to 140, 195 without a fairing is punishing.

    I checked in to the Kosit Hill Hotel in Petchabun city which although dated, was clean, funtional and everything worked. The price of 850 baht per night must also be taken in to consideration. Anyway, I was happy with it and would certainly stay again. The owner must be an avid collector of memorabilia as every corner, nook and cranny is packed with showcases containing such things as 70's and 80's guitars, amplifiers, TV's, cassette decks etc. etc. I found it a pleasant place to stay for the price.

    Attachment 7631Attachment 7632
    The Kosit Hill Hotel
    (you can just about pick out the bike in the second photo)

    By the time I'd checked in and got settled it was almost 4pm - I decided against a quick blast up into the mountains as I could have ended up returning in the dark - I hate riding/driving in the dark in Thailand, it always seems so much darker, I don't feel safe and avoid it wherever possible. So after a shower and a snooze, I checked out local restaurants on the internet and found one that appealed. Apart from breakfasts (Pork and Rice will never substitute for Bacon and Eggs), I'd been eating near exclusively Thai food for almost a month and I really fancied something English. A place called High Heels & Coffee was descibed as serving great Fish & Chips and having staff that spoke good English. High Heels & Coffee it was then.

    I asked the staff at reception to call me a taxi - it would be 30 minutes so I took the alternative Saam Lor which arrived in 10 minutes. The old guy driving must have been 80 if he was a day and had no teeth at all .

    Attachment 7630
    My 'ride' into town

    The hotel staff told him exactly where the restaurant was and he 'confirmed' he knew it. We set off but after about a mile the Saam Lor ground to a halt, much blowing into the tank took us another 100m but it was plain, we were out of petrol!!! Thailand - you just gotta love it!!

    Another Saam Lor was flagged down and 15 minutes later arrived back with a 'bottle' of petrol . Once underway it was clear that the driver had absolutely no idea where the restaurant was and we finished the journey with me calling out directions using Google Maps. Keen to earn some commision, the driver then offered to find me some 'company' for the evening - I declined (what's happening to me? ). I think it was his lack of teeth and dirty clothing...... sort of made me disbelieve his description of 'pooying suay mak'.

    The Fish & Chips at High Heels and Coffee were indeed very tasty and the Chang went down well too. The staff were very friendly and did speak English well. I chatted with a great bunch of folks from all corners of the globe - most working in the area but declined their offer of going clubbing. I wanted to get up into the mountains the next morning and that would not happen if I had a 'Changover'.

    Up bright and early, breakfast wasn't bad - no bacon and eggs but this is Petchabun, not Bangkok (or even Pak Chong). The reason for this trip was that I'd seen a photo of the area showing a road, rising like a snake up to the top of a mountain. Anyone who rides a bike will know that to a biker, those roads are heaven.

    I'd looked at a map and chose the 2196 (hang a left 8 to 10km North of Petchabun) to Khao Kor. Bang on the money! Stunning scenery, fantastic roads and great coffee! There's not much more I can say about the area - its just stunning and I will be back to sample the delights of Pu Taberk and other places I've been recommended to. The roads were indeed 'biker heaven' - fantastic corners, cranked right over, going on and on - pure heaven. I think I need a new rear tyre .

    Attachment 7633
    Great coffee at 'Chattanooga'.

    Attachment 7634

    Attachment 7635
    Mountain views

    Looking forward to the next trip which will be 4 or 5 days. I'm told December is the best time - mist rolling around the mountains.
    Last edited by Flip; 21st Feb 2019 at 15:25.

  2. #2
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    A few before and after photos of what stopped me from having a longer trip. Its been a long haul, mainly due to problems with the original contractor. There's still a few things to do but I'm more than happy with the outcome.

    On the photos of the front of the house - the old staircase used to go up inside the block in the small gabled section. It terminated with the top step right outside the front door - pretty dangerous and only allowed a small balcony at the top.

    The new layout with the stairs outside allows for a full balcony and a much safer entry/exit. The old stairwell below is now a garage for my bikes.

    Attachment 7636 Attachment 7637

    Attachment 7639 Attachment 7640
    Last edited by Flip; 21st Feb 2019 at 17:41.

  3. #3
    Premium Member caller's Avatar
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    Looks very nice and you have definitely improved it's appearance.

    I was in Khao Yai last weekend, another reunion for my other half, this time for her school in Khon Kaen. No transport as we went up in a hired van, but it was good to be back. It's such a stunningly beautiful area.

    Talking of bike rides, have you been to the 'temple of the White Squirrel' off route 24 heading to Pak Thong Chai, but not far from Highway 2 and not far from you? That's quite a climb up a long winding hill (in places) with far reaching views at the top. I could provide better details at the weekend.
    Last edited by caller; 21st Feb 2019 at 18:07.
    'Tis me

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    Quote Originally Posted by caller View Post
    Looks very nice and you have definitely improved it's appearance.

    I was in Khao Yai last weekend, another reunion for my other half, this time for her school in Khon Kaen. No transport as we went up in a hired van, but it was good to be back. It's such a stunningly beautiful area.

    Talking of bike rides, have you been to the 'temple of the White Squirrel' off route 24 heading to Pak Thong Chai, but not far from Highway 2 and not far from you? That's quite a climb up a long winding hill (in places) with far reaching views at the top. I could provide better details at the weekend.
    Thank you, yes I think it looks much better but the changes have also been functional, the full balcony at the top of the stairs have transformed the place. I rarely used to old balcony but now I think its likley to be where I'll spend much of my time when I'm at home.

    Yes, Khao Yai is particularly beautiful but if you approached it on the 2090 up past Makro, you may have noticed that that area is going down hill - and that's very close to me. I like to think that its due to all the development - the new road etc. but the truth is, it started before work on the new road commenced. Its getting like some areas of Pak Chong.

    People just don't seem to have any pride in their properties and there's rubbish everywhere. The area just looks 'unkempt'. Hopefully things will improve when the new road and associated junctions are finished. Property prices are on the up and (though sadly for the decent locals) that will most likely solve the problem - in general, people who've paid a lot of money for something tend to take more care of it.

    Sadly, except for a brief trip, I haven't been in the park for a long time. I refuse to pay the 400 baht entry fee for foreigners on principal. However, I was told recently that an English guy with a Thai ID card was allowed in for 40 baht. Maybe when I qualify for one of those, I'll start going again although I still think its a very unfair practice - verging on racism.

    No, I've never been to the Temple of the White Squirrel or anywhere around there. There's a lot of places to explore and now the house is almost done, I intend to see as many as possible. I'm always glad of any details or suggestions - thanks .
    Last edited by Flip; 21st Feb 2019 at 18:48.

  5. #5
    Premium Member caller's Avatar
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    No, we didn't get that far up, although the resort we stayed at was off that road, on the right. But at the lights we turned right at, we could see in the distance, some works on the left hand side and wondered if that was the new road? When in Korat I used to drive to Khao Yai from time to time and whilst in parts, it seemed unkempt, that's pretty much how I view Thailand as a whole.

    I'll get back to you with 2/3 suggestions, one as stated, another in Wang Nam Kieow (sp?) and the other between WNK and Pak Thong Chai.
    'Tis me

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    Quote Originally Posted by caller View Post
    I'll get back to you with 2/3 suggestions, one as stated, another in Wang Nam Kieow (sp?) and the other between WNK and Pak Thong Chai.
    I had a ride up to somewhere near Wang Nam Keiow last year. The young lady I was with was trying to find somewhere she knew - a coffee shop that she said was famous and almost at the top of a mountain. We never did find the place and I got totally lost - her navigation skills were lacking and Google maps had thrown a wobbly that day. I can't for the life of me remember what the coffee shop was called.

  7. #7
    Premium Member sisaket's Avatar
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    Thanks very much for you're report, it is a province I should spend more time, Mrs goes to Phetchabun every month to a HBM and Development Center but north towards Loei (also recommended if time permits) shes going today in fact, they have a resort up in the mountains.
    Last time I went to Phetchabun I drove from Khon Kaen City through Nan Nao National Park, there is an outside chance of going around Songkran on the way to from Tak / Khampaeng Pet, if were in Surin / BKK she wont go anywhere during Songkhran (only avoid water shenanigans) rather than sitting inside may as well be on a trip (my view).
    My last two Northern provinces to travel around. Be traveling from Surin not BKK.
    The young lady must have went to the same navigation school as Mrs, were always having debates about google maps, when she puts the speaker on it does my head in "In 50 Mtrs Carry On" so annoying.... "If youuuu dinee turn yon off, yon phones gaarn in yon bin, n yewer hand ll be still hodden on till it" unfortunately she just finds such comments funny. Trip will be down to her and how much time she wants to take off (if any).
    bangkok mags

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    Quote Originally Posted by sisaket View Post
    Thanks very much for you're report, it is a province I should spend more time,
    Yes, me too. I couldn't help but notice that the further North I went the better the general appearance of the locality was. Buildings and land much better cared for than down in Pak Chong as I mentioned earlier.

    Until fairly recently, I thought this messy phenomena applied to the whole of Thailand. I have to admit that up until a couple of years ago my travel within Thailand consisted of mainly resorts, tourist areas and the roads leading to them. One could be forgiven for thinking Thai's don't give a damn about their surroundings as those places tend to have a lot of generally scruffy areas immediately away from the attraction.

    Many people are poor in Thailand and there's nothing wrong with that but it doesn't mean that you have to have crap lying all over your property. I also find it quite strange that those who are obviously more 'well heeled' don't seem to mind being surrounded by other houses that have crap all over the place. I noticed this in particular in Pak Chong - I rented a house whilst mine was being renovated, I needed somewhere to put my furniture and motorbikes as well as somewhere to stay when I'm in country. The area around the rental house was almost a shanty town in places but dotted here and there were some very nice houses - some quite large - something you don't see in the UK for example.
    -
    However, as I've started travelling around into 'normal' areas, I've noticed that many areas are well kept. The scruffy places may possibly be something to do with the transient populations that tend to inhabit touristy areas - its not their home, they may not be there for long so maybe they don't care? As I mentioned earlier, the further North I travelled on route 21, the more well kept the towns I passed through seemed to be - possibly because of a more stable population?

    - - - - - - - u p d a t e d - - - - - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by caller View Post
    No, we didn't get that far up, although the resort we stayed at was off that road, on the right. But at the lights we turned right
    Lights? The only lights I know of are the ones on the 2090 (Thanarat Rd) about 500m from Makro with a 7/11 immediately through them on the right (7 Ban Naa). If you turned right at those lights, you must have been coming from Khao Yai towards Highway 2 and Pak Chong? In which case, when you turned right you would be heading towards Bonanza - you were very close to my house - its down that road.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip View Post
    Lights? The only lights I know of are the ones on the 2090 (Thanarat Rd) about 500m from Makro with a 7/11 immediately through them on the right (7 Ban Naa). If you turned right at those lights, you must have been coming from Khao Yai towards Highway 2 and Pak Chong? In which case, when you turned right you would be heading towards Bonanza - you were very close to my house - its down that road.
    Yes, we were heading north. I switched on google maps to get my bearings. After we turned right it wasn't long before we did a left then meandered a bit, then we were at the resort. We only had one night and after heading to a temple first thing, we went to Bonanza - and that place has a story and a half to tell.

    The temple I mentioned off of route 24 is Wat Pa Phu pha Sung. I'd certainly recommend going there. The temple is in a cavern, but not sure if really accessible for farangs? There's a huge stupa as well right on top of the hill, but no traditional Thai temple buildings as far as I can recollect. Far reaching views and a nice scenic walk to take it all in. And about 18km of steadily rising road to get there from 24. I think it's actually called temple road, as there are many scattered either side on the way up.
    'Tis me

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