I pushed myself too hard today. I hardly had a break and I’m paying for it now. My groin is especially suffering. Agony! I crossed the inlet to Songkhla Lake and made my way up the narrow stretch of land between Thale Sap and the coast. Along the way I decided I wanted to ride along the side of the lake so I found a track down to the lakeside and followed a small dirt road, crossing numerous water channels carrying lake water into the surrounding countryside. It was interesting getting a glimpse into the irrigation system that waters this part of Thailand. Especially interesting were the contraptions designed to catch fish: massive bamboo lever systems that can lower a net into the water and lift it out again. An array of beautiful bird life also kept me entertained. I rounded the top of Thale Luang and headed west to Thale Noi. Along the way I crossed an incredibly long road elevated above a swampy wetland area. I was impressed to see that the whole road was lined with information signs, each one bearing the picture and a description of a species of water bird known to inhabit the area. Eventually, I reached Thale Noi town and was surprised to find it busy with tourist buses packed with Chinese tourists. One of the main attractions of the town (which I only discovered on arrival) is a floating market, which had unfortunately already closed for the day.

After filling up on a meal, I went in search of a temple in which I could spend the night. The first one I found was in a very busy area and next to a school, so I decided to investigate another that was hidden away on some back roads. I wandered through the grounds and found some monks to chat to. I received a friendly welcome and instead of simply being given a space for my tent, I was shown to my own room, complete with its own bathroom. The room feels lived-in (Buddhist pictures on the wall, half-burned incense sticks here and there, toiletries around) but temporarily abandoned (the water in bathroom bucket is stale) so I have the impression that I have been given the room of a monk who is away for the moment. A few minutes ago the head monk visited me and gave me a gift: a bag of pistachio nuts, which I am munching on as I write. I hope I get a good rest tonight as I have been in an unsettled mood all day. It might be the weather: the day was overcast and windy (often a head wind) and I got drenched with rain several times.

Day 461 (pic)

Surprise wetland

Accommodation Room in Buddhist Temple
Distance ridden today 117.57km
Average cycling speed 17.3kph
Total distance ridden 11,859km