Out first overnight excursion with the Trang Cycling Club – 3 T branch – was to Koh Libong, an island just southwest of Trang Province. Only 50 kilometers from Trang, it is not a well-known tourist destination since there are only two guesthouses on the island and very few “farangs” venture this far off the roads.
There aren’t any scheduled buses to the pier and any van would have to be hired special for the trip. You can “book” a trip there, but you’d have to know how in advance.
The cycling club knew of a small bungalow camp where they booked the whole place for the 3T cycling party. We loaded 2 long-tail boats with our loaded bikes and made the short 30-minute passage at about 9 knots. Cost was 420 Baht or $12 per boat
Accommodations were sweet and simple with open air private shower/toliet off the back of each of the six bungalows. A number of the solo cyclists tent camped or slept in the “sala” (an open air version of a raised platform with a roof – a common feature of just about any rural home).
Even with a scheduled meeting time of 7 AM we didn’t arrive at the island camp until 2 PM, stopping a number of times on the 50 KM ride, longest for a feast of a breakfast in Kantang 20 km south of Trang. No less than 10 dishes and 3 or more plates of each. Plus you could order what you preferred such as our favorite pork balls and noodle soup.
An omelette is just scrambled eggs in Thailand and considered a side dish, so Dim Sums are the standard fare and most of those nuggets, though we have no idea what they’re made of, taste delicious.
Stanna hung out trying to figure how one takes a selfie in a hammock (captured with a GoPro) for her brother to envy, while the macho group cycled around the island. The first goal was to scale the tallest Karst on the island which offered a hollow central rising cave with a few fixed ropes to help those climbing with sandals or cycling cleats.
Nothing much in the bouldering or climbing scale but good to have an assistive aid to joke around on.
Even though it appeared lightly traveled the locals had installed ladders and viewing decks for those who do venture up to the higher vistas.
The iPhone GPS doesn’t give an accurate elevation but by the time we got up the second section we were as high as any of the offshore karsts.
As you can see Thai guys don’t generally take off their helmets when they walk around for a break or in this case climb a mountain. Makes sense in this case, especially with bike shoes.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent exploring the island’s dirt roads and opposite shoreline. At the speeds we went down those gnarly trails was more than enough exercise to top off a 100- km day and build up an appetite for the seafood smorgasbord.
What started out as four dishes multiplied as they carried more and more trays from the camp galley. We didn’t remember to take a photo until half the people were full and left the table for the booze and beer at the sala. There were four kinds of identifiable fish, including mackerel steaks, sea bass, dried splayed fish, and another that’ll go un-named. BBQ’d fresh inked squid (like no calamari I’ve tasted), sea snails and, count them, over 100 palm-sized crab. Mixed vegetables and 10 kilos of rice along with three or more special sauces.
You’ll note that part of the party package was the requisite t-shirt commemorating the event. Thai people have a special shirt for everything they attend and this was no exception. Breakfast the next morning was leftovers, crab, fish, sea bass and fresh rice.
Surely there are photos of some of us doing yoga on the beach at sunrise, because Facebook has the moment documented, we can assure you. Interesting to note the 1.5-meter tide leaves the low tide water line in front the camp about a half a kilometer out. If you had a dinghy you’d have to wait six hours or carry it a very long way.
Stanna and I cycled the 50 km home alone because many got rides in pickups and the hard core cycled the long way thru Pak Meng which I’d just done the weekend before.