Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Weekend Spins: Tha Jin Adventure
Nakon Pathom seems like a cycler's dream compared to the hectic streets of Bangkok. As soon as you cross highway 9 (the western ring road), you find yourself on quiet country roads and dirt trails criss-crossed by canals and dotted with fruit orchards, orchid farms and vegetable plots. By the time you reach the Tha Jin River, you'll feel like you're hundreds of miles from the hustle, bustle and commercialism of Bangkok.
If you journey west to Nakon Pathom, you might want to bring a set of binoculars. Storks, herons and other birdlife abound in the rice fields and along the waterways. You'll definitely want to bring a camera to capture the waterway lifestyle and the beautiful temples that stand tall over the flat horizon and guard over the banks of the Tha Jin River. You'll certainly need your wallet to shop at the floating markets and the local weekend bazaars.
Hidden Holiday House, on the banks of the Tha Jin river, is the perfect destination for a weekend ride from Bangkok. Depending on your route and starting point, you can ride anywhere from 50 to 90 kilometers. If you stay at Hidden Holiday House, Chris and Areeya are the friendly and gracious hosts. Chris is an avid biker who specializes in finding out-of-the-way trails. He is able and willing to lead tours of the Nakon Pathom area and can arrange a number adventures for you and your travelling partners.
Our ride to the Tha Jin River started out almost like throwing a dart at a map. We needed a weekend ride to prep for an upcoming cycling tour, so I opened google map looked for an area with no major highways and typed "resorts in Nakon Pathom." Needless-to-say, there weren't many options. Holiday house looked promising, and we were lucky to get rooms on short notice. What we had planned as a training ride ended as an unexpected weekend adventure thanks to Chris and Areeya.
When we arrived at Hidden Holiday House, the only thing on our minds was a shower and some ice cold beer by the river. Chris and Areeya set us up with what we needed and then set out to get us some food from a local restaurant. Chris returned with some food and the news that the old gentleman who used to run the river ferry before the completion of the bridge was available to take us up-river to see the roosting storks and visit a temple market.
I never pass up a chance to get out on the water, so in the late afternoon Mr. Ferryman motored us up stream to see the hundreds and hundreds of roosting storks nearby. We see storks wading in the rice fields of Nonthaburi and Pathumthani nearly every time we ride from home, but seeing hundreds of them roosting on the trees and bamboo along the river was quite a site.