11 October 2014

  • Kayak trip on the Lopburi River in Central Thailand from Sing Buri until Lop Buri as part of the Lopburi River Kayak Route.
  • Technical data of the trip was as follows:
    • We started this track at the Ton Pho water regulator in Bang Phutsa (Sing Buri) and ended at Wat Khok Mo in Pho Kao Ton (Lopburi).
    • Total Distance: 30.12 Km; Moving Average: 4.8 Km/Hr; Overall Average: 3.5 Km/Hr; Maximum Speed: 6.2 Km/Hr; Moving time: 6 Hr 12 Min; Stopped Time: 2 Hr 27 Min; Total Time: 8 Hr 39 Min. 
    • The weather was first rainy then cloudy.
  • Number of participants: 2 (Sean & Pat)
Woke up at 0500 Hr. Today we descent the Lopburi River for the 5th time, commemorating our friend and kayak pal Harald, who lost his life in an unfortunate accident three weeks after our maiden trip in October 2010. 

Sean arrived with Mr. Pok - our regular transporter - exactly at 0630 Hr to pick up Pat and his kayak. A couple of minutes later we were on the road to Bang Phutsa in Sing Buri Province. The weather conditions did not look very bright and after a few kilometers Mr. Pok had to lower the tarp to protect us from the incoming rain passing cars showered upon us. Luckily when approaching Sing Buri the horizon cleared up and the raining ceased.  

At 0730 hr we arrived at the Ton Pho water regulator in Bang Phutsa (Sing Buri) and started preparing the kayaks. Pat scouted for a good launching spot. He went down a tiny path to the river, but as it had rained, he found himself quicker near the river than he initially thought.

At 0800 Hr we had our first view of the water regulator at water level. After initiating our GPS we were ready to go. The morning was young and full of possibilities. We took easily a first fishing net obstacle just north of Wat Sattha Pirom as we could slip underneath. We saw also a new feature on the river. On many places locals had installed floating poles from one bank of the river to the other. Was it a trial to keep the growing water hyacinth positioned in one place? We do not know. Bubbles started to cover the river as the clouds dropped a cool mosquito pee. Another fishing net obstacle came in sight in front of the Asian Highway Bridge. We simply steered to the right bank and could circumvent the net without leaving are kayaks. We had a rather good score at this time, as in former years we had to take 7 or 8 obstacles on this stretch.

When reaching the bridges near Wat Phra Prang Muni, the rain faded. Shortly after 0900 Hr we found ourselves blocked by a large patch of water hyacinth near Wat Khok Kaeo. The green stretch was too long to work through and we decided to exit. Pat had MacGuivered two sets of kayak wheels after a bit of experimentation. This would be the first trial of our newly made kayak wheels. The wheels made a thundering noise, scaring away all the dogs in the neighborhood; which let Sean baptize them the "Wheels of Thunder". And we have to say, they thundered a lot of times along this stretch.

After 900 meters of wheeling and half an hour later we could re-enter the river east of the bridge along Rd #3033 on the right bank of the river. We had to lower our kayaks with a rope from the road side as the river bank here was very steep, but everything went well.

At 1015 Hr we arrived at Wat Pho Sri, a location where we would exit for a break. The water level was low and in front of the temple stairs there were a lot of tree branches in the water. Sean tried to reach the stairs but he had to abort his exit as he got stuck with his kayak in the scrubs. We steered our kayaks in he shadow of an overhanging tree in the vicinity and took there a break. We were definitely on schedule.

After 10 minutes we continued our paddling. Near Wat Ket we encountered a water hyacinth obstruction, which we paddled through. Near Tha Wung we met another hyacinth patch. We got out, but after having taken a look on the obstacle from above the bank we decided to paddle it. The water was pitch black as there was obviously no fresh water coming in from the Chao Phraya River at the Ton Pho water regulator. The water was stagnant and of course unfortunately no current.

At Wat Vihan Khao we pierced again through a large pack of water weed. So far we were lucky to take the obstacles quite easily but near Wat Pak Khlong, where the Bang Kham River flows into the Lopburi River, our luck took a turn. We made an exit at the festive Wat Pak Khlong, wheeled the kayaks over the small bridge and continued for about 900 m along the road until we had circumvent the pack of water hyacinth and could re-enter the river. As we passed a small local shop we stopped for a refreshment.

We hardly paddled out or close to 1400 hr we met again a weed obstacle. We wheeled the kayaks for about 1.6 Km to Wat Sanam Chai and re-entered the water 40 minutes later. South of Wat Thong Thang we hit another weed obstacle. We had to handle the steep bank to exit, but with some help of the local people we succeed in bringing our kayaks on the road opposite the Sabai Hotel to initiate a new wheeling party over 300 m.

From our new entry-point the waterway was free of obstacles. We passed Wat Sing Thong, Wat Thong Thaeng and Wat Pho Rahat without problems. At Wat Amphawan we were cheered on as we tumbled in a boat race game. Flags were covering the river and the whole area had a festive look. At 1600 Hr we reached the confluence near Wat Mani Chonlakhan and as thus the City of Lopburi.

We took a 90 degrees turn down south towards the Pho Khao Ton water regulator passing by King Narai's Palace and half an hour later we arrived at destination. The Chao Awat of Wat Khok Mo was already waiting for us on the premises, although we never communicated our arrival at the temple that day; some monks seems to be clear-sighted. He indicated us a place to stall our kayaks. A few minutes after our transport to Lopburi arrived on the temple premises. We took farewell from Luang Pho Phichet and drove off to our accommodation in Lopburi. The first track had bitten the dust.

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