The friendliness of the resort continued unabated into the following morning and we started our last full day in Thailand with a lovely breakfast over looking the fish pond. The owner gave us some useful advice about the surrounding countryside, and then the whole inhabitance of the resort, including the dog came along to wave us off.
One of the useful bits of advice that we had been given was “don’t go off into the countryside, because you’ll get lost”. The countryside in question was made up a mad network of teeny tiny roads, obviously none of which were paved, and even fewer had road signs. Still! Navigating via the sun and following a bearing where possible Sam was confident that a way could be picked through the maze to appear on the more major road on the other side.
For some time we headed into the wilderness, aiming as close to a sort of north easterly direction as was possible. Our first dead end came after about 20 minutes where we ended up in the farm yard that didn’t go anywhere. We had a suspicion that this might not have been exactly correct by the general looks of “where on earth do they think they’re going” we got from the locals we passed.
Eventually the entire workforce of the farm, totalling about 15 people, made it very clear that the only way of getting to where we wanted to go was to go back the way we had come and go round via the highway.
Jess and this point decided enough was enough and used her veto to bring exploration to an end, eventually taking us back to the main road. Sam was heartbroken at having failed this test of exploratory prowess, and so we decided that to cheer him up we would go to what the hotel man had called “Monkey Mountain”.
This turned out to be another Buddhist thing up another mental flight of steps, but these things really don’t get dull so up we went. The monkeys here were less antagonistic, although they did bare their teeth a bit, and we were safely able to get to the top and enjoy to the beautiful view!
There were still some ks to do before arriving in our final Thai destination of Araya Pratchet. The road to begin with was not spectacular, but we eventually got to a cross roads and low and behold the direction we wanted to go was a dirt track!! Sam could hardly contain his excitement at the thought of another chance to explore and possibility of redeeming us for the days earlier failings.
Again we headed deeper off the beaten track, and to Sam’s joy when we asked a local lad which way our destination was he pointed us deeper still! We pressed on and after a few minutes the sound of a moped approached us from behind and the same lad appeared having deliberately court up with us. For a moment Sam’s heart sank, was he going to change his mind and point us back to the main road, if so there is no way Jess could be convinced to continue on our noble path!
It quickly became clear that back wasn’t where he thought we should go, neither was stright on… After much drawing in the sand and rather unusal internation sign language we finally got the message that our best path would in fact be off a side track less than half the width of the already very minor dirt path we were currently on!Jess still took a little bit of convincing, but eventually she gave in. This new, most minor of roads, took us first through a rice paddy, then what looked like through farm and just as it looked like we really were going to die in the middle of nowhere it emerged onto a relitively minor, but beautifully tarmacked road.