There is nothing like a long road trip to make me feel like I am truly exploring an area of the world. This is not always possible as one is traveling the world, but now that we are semi-permanent residents of Thailand, and have a car, we are embracing this way to travel the country. The first road trip we took was a shorter one to Krabi, about a three-hour drive from Phuket. Then we graduated up to a much longer one over two days to a whole other country, Malaysia!
It has been a long time since our visa run to Penang, Malaysia. In fact, last year we did very little traveling, we have been settling into our home here in Phuket and Chad has been working hard at bringing amazing craft beer to Phuket. Not surprisingly, beer is popular here in Thailand and American craft beer is on the verge of exploding so Chad has been quite busy. Chad is responsible for the craft beer distribution in the southern part of Thailand, which includes Hua Hin. So the day after Christmas last year (it sure feels weird saying that already) we took the opportunity to make one of his sales calls a family road trip. Woo Hoo!
We left Phuket a bit later than we had originally wanted to, but still early enough in the morning to skirt the usual traffic on the road here. The hour it took to get off Phuket island seemed to pass without much thought and once off the island, the greenery and limestone cliff mountains reminded me that we truly live in Thailand. It can be easy to forget when you spend most of your time in Phuket. Phuket is awesome but very different from the rest of the country, it is more transient and tourism-based which has diluted the culture a bit.
The roads were smooth and new for the most part. Which made the 10-hour drive comfortable and fun. We stopped along the way a few times for bathroom breaks and snacks at rest stops that have it all. The rest stops are actually gas stations that are surrounded by a coffee shop, restaurant, clothing or souvenir store of some kind, and a 7-11. They also have many photo opportunities which are a great way to get your pre-schooler to run around and stretch their legs. I was able to make a whole slide show for you of pictures we have of Z at the rest stops.
We arrived at Sea Harmony Eco House in Hua Hin around 9pm. We were so happy to see our friends Node and Indy again. ANd their pups Pela, Kascha, and Chaba as well. It was like visiting family. They were our only friends when we lived in Hua Hin and are truly our adopted family. We love them.
We were exhausted. It always surprises me how tired I get sitting on my rear end all day. We turned in early after having a lovely dinner at the Eco House of Massaman curry and chicken satay.
All three of us were so excited for breakfast at Sea Harmony, we jumped up and got ready as quickly as we could. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen Chad hop out of bed so quickly in our 9 years of marriage. You would understand our hurrying if you could taste the Issan Breaky that Node and Indy make in their cafe. And their coffee… oh man, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
After eating breakfast, we went to the mall… I know, yuck! There was a reason for it, though. Chad had a meeting about beer there and Z and I needed to run around a little after our long drive the previous. So she and I headed to the Kidzoonia playground on the top floor while Chad went about his meeting.
After Chad’s meeting was done, he came and suggested that we go bowling. Z had been asking about going bowling for months, but we hadn’t had a chance until right then. We took our opportunity and it was SOOOO fun! I didn’t realize that bowling could be so entertaining until I watched Z’s little face as her bowling ball slowly (very very slowly) rolled down and hit the pins. It was a full-service bowling alley too, they served us our shoes all cleaned and prepped with new socks on a tray at our lane. They also had a full menu, which we were still too stuffed to utilize, and anytime there was an issue with the ball return thingy (that’s the proper term right?!) they were there before we could even notice it. It was a great time! I tried to get some pictures, but they were all blurry because of the strange lighting.
After I won at bowling (hee hee) we were on our way to the outskirts of Hua Hin to a place called the Palm Bistro. We were planning on having lunch there before Chad taught the people working there how to clean their draft beer keezer that was serving the amazing American craft beer Chad distributes.
The owners of Palm Bistro, Steve and Jenny, were at the restaurant when we arrived and invited us to sit with them and their twins that were just Z’s age, what luck! We spent the whole day eating and chatting (and drinking beer of course) while the kids played. It was my first time having a British Sunday Roast and Yorkshire pudding and I am now hooked. I am actually glad that we don’t live in Hua Hin, I have a feeling that I would be needing to buy larger clothing. Did you know that Yorkshire pudding is not actually pudding but an amazing savory soft fried bread? You must try it if you haven’t already!
We decided to stop by the Cicada Night Market on our way back to the guesthouse and while walking into the market, Z fell off a small rock wall and scratched her side pretty badly. I freaked out and was worried that she broke her rib, as she silently screamed her pain. Chad luckily was calm and collected (so lucky that we balance each other out so well) and within 20 minutes or so she was off and running around, looking for grilled pork and sticky rice to eat. No broken ribs or permanent damage. Whew… another mommy worry avoided. haha
Monday morning we were up early again for another delicious breakfast at Sea Harmony and then were on the road again.
The 10-hour long car ride home was punctuated by a gorgeous sunset which I tried to get a proper picture of but it does not do it justice. We made it back to Phuket safe and sound and ready to plan our next trip, Bangkok!
What do you like to do while on a road trip? Drive straight through or leisurely stop at all the sites along the way? Have you ever had Yorskshire pudding? Leave a comment and lets chat!