Day 177: Krabi to Trang, 132km. Rolling on Highway 4.
Day 178: Trang to Ban Chalung, 149km. Mix of highway and quieter detours where possible.
Day 179: Ban Chalung to Pantai Cenang (Langkawi, Malaysia), 109km. Quiet road to little used border crossing, then busier roads to ferry crossing and across Langkawi.
Days 180 and 181: Rest days on Langkawi.
Day 182: Pantai Cenang to Alor Star, 77km. Flat riding on Highway 7.
Day 183: Alor Star to Georgetown (Penang), 116km. K1 along the coast, then Highway 1 into Butterworth.
Day 184: Rest day in Georgetown.
After a few days laxing it out at Railay it was time to hit the road again and make tracks south. While the riding itself didn’t look particularly inspiring on paper, we had great company in the form of UK to NZ riders Ryan and Rebecca and there were some good sights to see. Besides, after only two more days in Thailand we’d be crossing into Malaysia! Country number six since starting out in Chengdu back in April.
Several times that morning we saw men riding motorbikes while holding a bird cage precariously with one arm. Turns out they were on their way to this congregation, where ‘competing’ birds are hung from a large frame and bets are placed on how many times they would tweet in a given timeframe. Seems to be the thing to do on a Sunday in this part of the world.
Final morning in Thailand as we head towards a border crossing that’s rarely used by tourists. Apart from Krabi, since leaving Chumpon back on the east coast, we haven’t seen a single other white tourist.
Once inside Malaysia the island of Langkawi was calling us and later that same afternoon we got a ferry from Kuala Perlis out to the island, where we planned to hang out for a couple of days at Pantai Cenang.
The day turned into a scorcher and after 117km we arrived in Butterworth and hopped on a ferry out to Gorgetown on Penang Island (background in the photo). Georgetown has a very diverse and rich cultural history and we were keen to spend a day there checking it out. Butterworth, and indeed Georgetown itself were a huge contrast to the towns we’ve been riding through in Southern Thailand: highways, tall apartment blocks, and generally flasher infrastructure makes them appear a lot more western. Georgetown’s white apartments, office blocks and background hills rising above a shimmering sea reminded me of Acapulco.
We stayed in Chinatown, just a short ride from the ferry and loved the immersion among old colonial buildings and shop houses, and the feverish activity of the Chinese and Indian markets. There’s a lot of seriously retro hotels to check out as well as other architectural curiosities. The orange haze, by the way, is caused by Indonesian fires and is an annual problem. It makes for spectacular sunsets, and terrible hayfever.