Day 33, KHAO SOK to KHAO LOK

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Meet the king of the monkeys!

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Our day began with a visit to a temple that is populated by long tailed macaques.

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Some of our bikers offered the macaques peanuts and became good friends!

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There were lots of male and female adults and their little ones.

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We had a lovely ride today, continuing through Khao Sok National Park. The park, along with nearby reserves, protects the largest tract of high quality natural forest in south Thailand.  Over 285 sq. miles of habitat contains elephants, tigers, bears, monkeys, and over 188 bird species! There was a lovely ride today up and over a pass.

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Thailand has highway police just like we have the state patrol!

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At our first refueling stop, the Spice Girls posed to fly the flag!

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Our ride took us past palm plantations with limestone hills in the distance.

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Woody took us on “adventure roads”, and our first adventure was to see this water buffalo cooling off in a pond!

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Next adventure was passing over a metal bridge over a creek and wetlands. It was built in the 1960s with scraps from a big dredge project.

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Stupa of the day. This is a new temple.

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We spent time in the old town Takua Pa, which has been a site of tin mining which brought Chinese and Portuguese influences to the area. Here are Portuguese style colonial buildings.

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We stopped at a traditional Thai coffee shop for our break.  We enjoyed iced Thai tea…

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… while our ride leaders enjoyed breakfast! Noodles, spices, greens. Add your own and mix it up!

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This town was severely impacted by the tsunami of 2004. The family photos on the wall at the coffee shop include a young woman who worked at a nearby hotel that was completely destroyed.

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More palm plantations!

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They need to keep their feet a little wet so there is much irrigation here!

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Looking down a rubber plantation line of trees.

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We stopped at a memorial to the tsunami victims.  The dead were cremated and buried in unmarked graves.

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As we rode through a neighborhood, Woody found a family making cigars from palm leaves.

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She splits the young palm leaves into smaller pieces, using her hands and her feet to hold on!

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And here is the shop owner who was happy for our interest!

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In the town of Takua Pa, a clever entrepreneur discovered awhile back that the  swiftlet birds whose nests are used for the delicacy birds nest soup, will move into “bird condos” as residents.

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So now this town, which is attractive to the swiftlets, has a bunch of high rises — for the birds! The prized component is bird saliva which has solidified. Only 40% of the nests are removed at any one time. High nutritional value, and tasty to boot!

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We pedaled on down the road to a bigger memorial to the tsunami victims, complete with a contemplative Buddha.

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Monica walks past the wall of victims’ names.

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Many were German and English tourists, visiting during the December holidays in 2004. As well as many many local residents.

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Our lunch stop offered non-Thai dishes, so Rick ordered a seafood pizza!  Mmmm Mmmm!

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The rest of the cyclists opted for a seven-course traditional Thai meal.

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What is wrong with this picture? Spice Roads drivers and guides had hamburgers, pizza and fries!!!! No Thai for you!

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We began to notice tsunami warning signs. When the tsunami hit in 2004, people had no warning.

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Soon we rolled up to the lovely Apsara Resort and Villa. Could have stayed here a few days!

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The entry to the resort was scenic.

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Complete with elephants, their mascot!

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There were flowers everywhere.

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We were met by smiling staff at the entrance to the hotel.

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This was our personal greeter and guide to our new room! Sweet.

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This is the pool area near the hotel entrance.

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We piled oito golf carts because the place was soooo spread out.  How could we walk 2 blocks after biking 50 miles?!

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We were happy to find our new homes in the Villa section.

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Seems to be another feral situation here! At least we did not see any at Apsara. Their approach must be working!

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We had a villa …. complete with our own pool!

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A nice sitting room…

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His and hers sinks, hooray, and an outdoor shower….

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A lovely bedroom looking over the pool…

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Aaaah! We were swimming in no time.

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Fresh flowers and cute elephants greeted us.

Click above to see tour of estate!!!

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This is the pool near the front of the villas….the common pool!

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With a nice bar.

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Soon there would be cooking classes! Ingredients are ready.

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The restaurant where we enjoyed breakfast is right next to the pool.

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More fresh flowers! Clever weaving idea.

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We enjoyed happy hour on the beach, again! Getting used to this!

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Lovely sunset.

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It was international buffet night at the hotel restaurant, and we enjoyed many different choices of cuisine.

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And now it is time for bed!

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