31 August 2014

  • Technical data:
    • We launched our kayaks from the Doem Bang Villa Resort in Doem Bang and ended the day at Wat Khlong Khom near the Sam Chuk Water Regulator.
    • The weather was partly sunny and cloudy. Maximum temperature was around 28 C (Humidex: 30 C) with a WNW wind of 5 Km/Hr. Humidity was 66 % (Source: VTBS).
    • Technical data of the trip was as follows: Total Distance: 17.84 Km; Moving Average: 6.1 Km/Hr; Overall Average: 6 Km/Hr; Maximum Speed: 12.2 Km/Hr; Moving time: 2 Hr 56 Min; Stopped Time: 3 Min; Total Time: 2 Hr 59 Min.
  • Number of participants: 2 (Sean & Pat)

Pat woke up at 0545 Hr after a good night rest in the large canopy bed of the old Thai teak house. Breakfast was at 0700 Hr so he had plenty of time to get dressed and packed. At 0700 Hr het met Sean at the terrace along the river, however Sean had not had such a good night, he had returned to his room after dinner only to find his AC did not work, a disaster. After trying to sort out the problem himself he gave up and decided to get help from the staff only to find there was no one to be found. The result was an uncomfortable night’s sleep and the need for an extra cup of coffee at breakfast! We sat and had our breakfast beside the river watching it slowly bend around the corner as the sun made its appearance over the tree line on the opposite bank, then fuelled up for the day we went to our rooms, packed and met at the riverside to prepare our kayaks.

We had been informed by the owner that we were the first ever visitors to visit his resort by river, and as we launched our kayaks, he was there on hand to take some pictures, as were most of the hotel guests who lined the breakfast terrace to do the same and probably immediately post on Facebook. We felt a bit like some sort of celebrities and hung around for a while and took some pictures ourselves, but eventually, after about 15 minutes, we has to leave and at 0815 Hr we set off for the first bend in the river a short distance away.

It had rained until 0600 Hr, and as we paddled we breathed fresh clean air as our oars cut through the still water; it was still overcast and the weather was nice and cool. No sooner had we rounded the first bend when we came across another resort, the Tha Chin River Home, where we were again waved to and greeted by the guests having breakfast. After that we rounded another bend and slipped into our paddling routine for what was a short 20km leg; this leg we would find to be a bit more developed than the previous day with houses lining the banks all the way, also in many places we would come across patches of lotus lilies being cultivated on the water, which made for some beautiful scenery.

After about 5 Km of paddling we passed our first bridge where we were confronted by some light rain, which would affect us on and off for the next hour or so. Shortly, on the east side a long ridge came into sight, one of many we would see on the section which would give an added dimension to the view; when they were not blocked by the green curtain of vegetation along the banks. After the first hour we took a break just passed Wat Tha Chang, where we were watched intently by a monkey sitting on the riverside sala as we drifted by. We then continued paddling and passed under the bridge at Wat Khao Phra again with a few hills visible nearby. Thereafter there was a section that was a bit less developed where we passed by the green vegetation in silence as the light rain fell down. Relative silence that is, as in one place we did come across a section where someone had decided to have a loud party on a Sunday morning, but thankfully that was soon behind us.

At 1015 Hr we took another break on a quiet section of the river then pushed on. We passed under the bridge at Wat Tha Nang Roeng and shortly came across a guesthouse with kayaks where we were enthusiastically greeted by the staff and guests. Thereafter we came across another bridge in the Nang Buat district where there were promising signs of clearing of water hyacinth. We were now well over half way through the leg and were mentally preparing for the end and an early lunch, when after rounding a sharp corner we were confronted with the sight of a 200m deep raft of hyacinth blocking the river in front of the bridge at Wat Wang Samphao Lom, to no avail we searched for a way through, but it was impenetrable.  We paddled our kayaks to a nearby soi and soon had them carried up to the main road where we then began the testing 200m portage up to the bridge. We used our battle tested method of carrying our kayaks one at a time for 50m in a ‘leapfrog’ fashion rather than trying to carry 2 heavily laden kayaks at a time, something we had adopted from our Lop Buri trip the year before. After a short while we had the kayaks at the bridge but then had the fun of a ‘bonus’ portage to carry them across the bridge to the Wat where the only launching site was visible. We eventually got them there then had a short break to recover before re-launching and pressing on.

The obstruction however had now cost us some time and our leisurely trip now required a bit of a push to make up for the lost time. In addition, dark and menacing clouds were starting to build in the distance which promised more than the gentle rain we had experience in the morning! We pressed ahead on a long straight 2km section then hit a long 90 degree bend which saw us on the final straight heading towards the Watergate at Sam Chuk. We would not be able to get out the regulator so took a right turn into Klong Klom, designed to bypass it. On the long sweeping bends of the klong we came across big gardens of floating vegetables being grown and shortly, our destination, Wat Klong Khlom, came into sight. We arrived just before 1300 Hr having beaten the rain; we then de-rigged and loaded our kayaks after which we went to the 100 year old market at Sam Chuk, where we each devoured 2 plates of Mu Daeng for lunch before driving back to Ayutthaya. 3 legs of the Tha Chin River journey were now complete; we were well on our way.

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