Early mark for a big 118 km ride today, lots of rolling hills, overcast and rainy periods towards the end, bringing on a mix of humid and wet conditions for riding. We were right amongst the rubber and palm oil plantations for most of the way today with some snippets of ocean views before reaching our overnight stay in Pathio.
Troy and Giles have been outstanding to ride with and we have now covered approx 1,800 km together since leaving (as a group) from Saigon nearly a month ago. I'm now nudging 4,500 km and Troy and Giles 2,000 km by the time they leave me in Surat Thani in two days time. It will be sad to see them leave, but, I'm sure Matt Brown (Lockforce) will be equally great company and accompanying rider until Singapore.
Great support Troy and Giles!!! My many thanks and appreciation goes to you both and to Lockforce for your outstanding support, contribution, encouragement along the way, yours and Gile's ruthless, toughness, sheer guts and determination on some of the worst cycling routes and conditions (EVER). I'll miss you both as mentioned. Troy I hope you can join me for some of the Aussie section ahead as discussed. You know how to make it all work mate!!!! And may I ask, when you get home please DO NOT send me photographs of your lamb chops, steaks and satay sticks on your home barbie??? Good on ya pal !!!!
Yesterday was a fantastic rest day allowing some time to reflect on the ride to date and what lays ahead in Australia as far as logistics etc. Sponsorship is still short on our target list and we look forward to more sponsors to please come board. You can still make donations at our website www.thelongridehome.com.au
Many thanks, as mentioned to those who have already donated to TLRH.
Yesterday was also a time to see one of Thailand's most famous temples in Ban Krut. Wat Tang Sai temple is located at the north end of Ban Krud (Ban Krut) beach on Thongchai Mountain near Ban Krut in the Prachuap Khiri Khan district. A superbly developed site dedicated to the King and Queen of Thailand, very popular with Thai tourists, but few foreigners other than those staying at nearby Ban Krut ever see this magnificent temple.
You can find Wat Tang Sai temple by looking up for a large sitting golden Buddha which is visible from far away. Buddha’s face is directed straight into the Gulf of Thailand and it greets the sunrise every morning with blissful tranquility and golden shine.
To reach Wat Tang Sai Temple you have to climb or drive a steep road going up the Thongchai Mountain. Amazing statue of golden Buddha is located about 500 meters below Wat Tang Sai, right next to the parking lot, which is big enough to accommodate 10 tourist buses. This parking lot is free but not guarded; all guests are welcome to leave their vehicles.
Since golden Buddha is located below temple, its common to visit it before and after visiting the temple itself. First time to look at Buddha and a shrine to the Prince of Chumphon, founder of the Thai Navy, located near the large Buddha image. And second time to take pictures and maybe say a little prayer before leaving.
Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse, Prince of Chumphon, (19 December 1880 – 19 May 1923) was the 28th child of King Chulalongkorn. His familiar other names, Sadej Tia ("Royal Father") or Doctor Phon or Prince of Chumphon, will command deep respect from Thai people from navy officers to rural villagers.
He spent his early years studying Naval warfare in England. He returned to Siam to serve in the Royal Siamese Navy and contributed significantly to the advancement and modernization of the Navy. In 1922 he saw that Sattahip Bay was a strategic place for the establishment a Naval base and offered Royal land in Sattahip in order to build the present-day naval facilities. In honor of his contributions, the Prince was proclaimed "The Father of Royal Thai Navy".
In addition to his career in the navy, Prince of Chumphon studied medicine. He was particularly interested in the use of herbal medicine in treating his patients. As "Doctor Phon", he provided medical treatment to people of all classes and races.
The Prince was also well recognized in the field of supernatural arts. His reputation on magic was such that he has been regarded as one of the "108 deities in heavens". Many worshippers proclaim themselves to be his "children" or followers and pray to him for fulfillment of their wishes.
Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse also have Muay Thai skill. In Vajiravudh kingship, He trained Muay Thai boxers whether it is Tub Jumkor, Young Hantaley, Too Thaiprasert and Poon Sakda who is Nakhon Ratchasima people.
Behind the Buddha you will find two beautiful sculptures of Thai giant demon guardians, in Thai called “Yak” – characters from the Ramakian (Ramakien) Thai national epic tales. Although in Western world demons are associated with evil things, these giants are a force of good power. Often they are guarding religious sites and temples.
There is a stairway to the gardens surrounding Wat Tang Sai temple on the right hand side to the demon guardians. You cannot help but look at them as you climb up, their looks do inspire admiration and caution.
Also it might be useful to mention, that there are monkeys living in the garden, so I would use some common sense in holding your cameras and other shiny things closer to yourself. Not that I saw them misbehaving, but you never know.
Wat Tang Sai temple complex is called Pramahatart Chedi Pakdepragard. This name was chosen by the King of Thailand, His Majesty King Bhunibol Adulyadej. The construction of the Pagoda started in 1996 to honor 50 years reign of the King. The name of the temple means the cremated bone relic of the Lord Buddha and the life of the King of Thailand who is very much loved and respected by Thai people.
On the roof there are 9 small pagodas, one main pagoda in the middle and 8 small pagodas around, which represent the current King, His Majesty King Rama IX. There are several stairs to climb to second story of the temple where you can go all around the balcony and take beautiful landscape photos.
Words cannot express the beauty that opens up from the top of this temple. Perhaps, from the first look not so special fisherman village – Bankrut – suddenly becomes mesmerizing fairy tale place with green hills, yellow sand and blue sea as far as your eyes can see.
There is no entrance charge to this temple or other attractions. But please be polite and take your shoes of before entering the temple. Also be warned, that photos inside of the temple are not permitted, but take your cameras upstairs to the balcony. You will not regret you came to visit Wat Tang Sai temple and the golden Buddha.
To get to Wat Tang Sai use Highway 4 from the North or South then use route 1029 from the North or route 1050 from the South and head for Ban Krut, you can’t miss the site once you hit Ban Krut.
Truck, Troy and Giles
On the long ride home in Thailand
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