You know tourists aren’t common…

When a bunch of tattooed teenagers wearing “Iron Maiden” T-shirts accost you in a public toilet…and want to get their photo taken with you. To be clear though, all parties were fully dressed at the time, and no-one was taking part in any toilet business. They all wanted to shake hands too, luckily I had observed them just washing their hands.

I’m in Nakhon Si Thammarat, a nice, non-touristy town in southern Thailand. We’re stopping here for a rest day, partly to see some of the touristy things, but partly just to have some kick-back time. With the “Thai Hotel” providing nice twin rooms with satellite TV with English channels, and extras like a wall-mounted bottle opener in the bathroom, all at a good price, I’m happy to just relax. Especially with a huge Carrefour nearby providing all the essentials.

Getting a ferry from Ko Tao to Surat Thani proved a bit trickier than expected. Rather than a direct boat, we had to get two tickets, the first to Ko Samui (another island), and the next from Ko Samui to Surat Thani. Problem was that the piers on Ko Samui were 20km apart, resulting in an unplanned ride in the middle of the day. The ferry companies did provide vans between the piers, but that didn’t help us much. However things turned out well, as the ferry companies go from Ko Samui to Don Sak, then bus passengers to Surat Thani – but just getting off at Don Sak worked out better for us to come down the east coast.

We had two nights of staying at resorts where we were the only guests – one resort set in the bush, another brand new one by the beach. It’s a bit weird when you’re well outnumbered by staff all watching you eat your meal, ready to run across and top up your glass every time you have a mouthful.

My biking shorts are in tatters after being worn every riding day for over six months, and had to get some emergency repairs. Dave is bringing replacements over, from NZO, but the current ones were in danger of falling off. I didn’t think the locals needed to look at my underpants any more, so I found a nice old man to stitch them up – classic Singer treadle table sewing machine, all original stuff. Cheap too, and now they should be able to make it a few more days until Dave gets here.

From here we’re heading over to the west coast, to head south into Malaysia. That should avoid the current troublespots in southeastern Thailand.