The road heading south out of Pattaya seemed like the best one to take. I knew that it went to Sattahip and then onwards to Koh Chang, but I wouldn’t be going that far tonight … would I ? A bike shot past me, clip-on bars, single racing seat and a menacing megaphone exhaust. Not a clue what bike it was, but it was travelling twice as fast as me and sounded like a dream. There are an awful lot of bikes on the road tonight. Real bikes, not just scooters or tourist rentals. I keep seeing groups of Harley’s and old Japanese Big 4’s, but by the time I get them in my twist ‘n’ go sights, they’ve usually gone. There must be some sort of bike gathering happening at the weekend. In Pattaya I saw a group of German guy’s wearing leather vests and looking every bit like well groomed weekend Hells Angels. Nothing unusual about that in Pattaya, but perhaps these mustachio dudes were actually here for the bikes. I’ll try and find out what’s happening …. and then probably avoid whatever it is that I find.
I turn away from the main road where I’ve surprised myself by actually keeping up with most of the traffic. I head towards Khao Chee Jan and the giant image of Buddha that clings to the face of a mountain. Mountain? Hill? No idea, but it’s 130 metres tall and was put here to commemorate the King’s Golden Jubilee back in 1996. As a golden outline of Buddha attached to a rock face, it’s probably the best example that I’ve seen, but then again, it’s competing in quite a small and specialized category. I wander around for a while as the sun begins to set. If I’d arrived here an hour or so earlier than I could have walked to the top, but I didn’t and I’ll probably get over it.
Instead of heading back towards the main road and Sattahip, I turn right and head uphill. I could say that something of interest was calling me, and in a way it is. Some kids have been larking around and moved all of the sprinklers from the lawns to the side of the road and created a curtain of water right across it. It’s fun, nobody knows me and I really don’t give a shit. I’m old enough to travel alone but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I ever grew-up.
Refreshed, at the top of the hill I find the ’Silverlake Vineyard‘. Yep, I didn’t know that Thailand had a wine industry either. Sadly, the tasting room is closed but the view of the big red sunset from the top of the hill is quite spectacular. I’ll look out for a bottle of Baan Silverlake next time I’m in a restaurant with a wine list ….. So somebody better remind me at a much later date.
Then, I hear the noise again. A deep burble in the distance, getting closer. I twist ’n’ go and just manage to flag him down before he vanishes into the distance. It’s almost dark and he has no headlight. In fact, he has no lights at all. What he does have though is a bike that’s dressed like an old Manx Norton but beneath it’s skirt sit’s a Yamaha SR400 engine …. Could I possible have a go?