Two cramped van journeys awaited us so we allowed all day, booking an overnight stay on the east side of Phatthalung town. A good decision as it turned out. The journey to Trang bus station was straightforward enough but when we got to Phatthalung bus station we hit a snag.
Bus stations in SE Asia are almost always out of town on a major highway somewhere. Some towns even have more than one making it necessary to take a tuktuk or similar even if only changing buses. This is not a problem as there are always fleets of tuktuks and songthaews touting for your trade (at elevated rates as you generally have little choice). In this case however there were none. Something we've never seen before or since. All the locals on the van hopped onto scooters or got lifts. We were left asking around for options.
Phatthalung is not on the regular tourist routes so not of a lot of english was spoken but this is Thailand and everyone was extremely helpful. Phone calls were made in an attempt to find transport but in the end our only real option was two motorbike taxis. Now we don't have loads of stuff but we don't travel really light either, so each bike ended up with one of us riding pillion wearing a rucksack and a case wedged precariously wherever they could find. No helmets of course!
The journey started off ok on fairly quiet roads but this soon changed as we hit the highway and then dived into the town traffic. It was with a sense of relief, a silent prayer to an unknown entity and a vow never to let that happen again that we arrived at the Mountain View Guesthouse. And what a mountain view!
Although this is mainly a wildlife blog I think a few words about Phatthalung town wouldn't be out of place. Most of our travels have inevitably been on fairly well-worn backpacker routes but this was well off the beaten track. We didn't see another westerner during our stay. Every evening a night market popped up next to the railway station and we would wander down to get something to eat. Fair to say we were something of a novelty with many people wanting to practice their English and ask where we were from. We met some fascinating people and the food was utterly brilliant.
|Hooded (Chestnut-crowned) Pitta Pitta sordida cucullata
|Emma Gray's Forest Lizard Calotes emma
Sadly our Thai visa was due to expire very soon so we had to leave after a couple of nights. I would have loved to stay longer. The train to Hat Yai from here cost less than £1 for both of us and from there it was on to Malaysia
|Asian Common Toad Duttaphrynus melanostictus
|Banded Bullfrog Kaloula pulchra
|Chalky Percher Diplacodes trivialis
|Slender Skimmer Orthetrum sabina
|Malay Cruiser Vindula dejone
|Millipede Orthomorpha sp
|Red-spot Marquis Euthalia monilis
|Yellow-striped Flutterer Rhyothemis phyllis
|Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus
Red Collared Dove
* Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 1
Black-winged Stilt (many distantly on flooded paddies)
Chinese Pond Heron
kingfisher sp. (small bird flew along the river in town)
Coppersmith Barbet (heard only)
Lineated Barbet (heard only)
* Hooded Pitta (1 of the Chestnut-headed race)
Stripe-throated Bulbul (2 near summit, 1 lower down)
Yellow-browed Warbler 1
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler 1
* Abbott's Babbler 4
Asian Glossy Starling
* Orange-headed Thrush 1
Indochinese Blue Flycatcher (2 singing birds high on the trail to the summit cave)
Blue Rock Thrush (1 at summit cave)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow