DISCOVER THAILAND ON WHEELS THE EXPLORER WAY!
My journey begin from Borneo flying over South China Sea to city where the twin tower located.
Thailand have always been top selection among tourist for vacation/travel not only for its cheap and vary selection shopping spree BUT also it's nature. Common destination from fashion city Bangkok to clear water beach, Krabi is nothing unusual among the travellers. They heard, saw and experienced more than enough of this "üsual" destination which had been written and explored by everyone who love Thailand.
I am truly honoured and pleased to be invited and fully sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to be with the Pajero Owners Club to explore Thailand on wheels. Exploring and hunting the other side of Thailand, breaking the usual norm. Most of all, exploring Thailand in an extraordinary (explorer/adventurer) way that I never did before.
The journey begin as early as 0600 where we departed from Kuala Lumpur and e.t.a shall reached Nakorn Si Thammarat estimated 2000 local time. The distance was 740km and estimated roughly about 11 hours inclusive of pit stop and lunch stop along the way. Definitely, convoy had to get their machine (the car) well service and equipped for such long drive.
My first participation makes me thrilled! There's so much expectation and excitement which are indescribable. The first surprise I got along the journey, is my first ever sunrise! Keeping eye on Mr Sun on his appearance and my sight never left the window shades. I don't even dare to sleep because I am afraid I might miss out every moment of saying hello to Mr Sun! That's how charming and attractive he is.
Just before you cross the border of our homeland and neighbour hood immigration, make sure you have all necessary documents ready and also insurance bought. You can stop by at Naluri Aman Cafe near Changlun to have all the necessary documents paid and verify. Your current insurance policy may not covered you while you were out of the states. You will have to purchase a local Thailand insurance which only cost RM49. Present your vehicle green card and also your passport to the counter and they will have everything settled for you with a few clicks. Just make sure you sign on the Thai Immigration Bureau card, one arrival and one departure. PLEASE make sure you do not lost the departure as it is a MUST to present it to their immigration officer when you return to Malaysia. You may be in trouble if you lost it as that's the only legal document to show you had enter their land legally and not by any other illegal accessible ways to their country. Got all documents checked. The real journey is ABOUT to begin!
Oh ya, money money money. Important item in checklist you shall not forget to bring with you. There's a money changer in the cafe for your convenience. Do have your Thai Baht change before entering Thailand. You may overcome lower exchange rate upon entering Thailand as Malaysian Ringgit is depreciating dramatically.
There's two immigration point to enter Thailand. We reached the Immigration Complex Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah at about 1300 Malaysia time to enter Thailand. Due to congested jammed on the other side and heavy rain pour during our exit from Thaialnd, we took an alternate option to a further immigration check point which has less traffic, Padang Besar Immigration , Perlis.
Car owner should have their own passport chop first then present their vehicle green card at respective counter. Please be reminded that you shall always have your passport ready with your arrival card slotted in it to speed up the process. The queue is no joke even there's more than 20 counters
operating to fulfill high demand. After immigration clearance, crossing both checkpoint,
now you are officially in the Thailand territory.
For us? We still have a long way to go. It took us another 6 hours from the border to our destination, Nakhon Si Thammarat (southern Thailand). To be frank, I had been sleeping the whole journey (most of the time), since I have nothing much to do in the confined space. Did I not mentioned that you gained an extra hour upon arriving Thailand border? So please adjust your time to their local time in case you have not do so.
Another important note, please have your mobile data and roaming switch off if you do not wish to incur high mobile bill at the end of the day. The data charges can be killing when you are out of the country. You always have an option to purchase their local prepaid sim card which are much convenient and the salesperson were more than happy to help. If you run out of credit, their 7-11 store are more than convenient for you to grab your top-up reload card. You will be amaze how convenient these stores are.
I know I had been talking to much, I mean writing too much. Let me bring you with me back in time where had I been. Are you ready to board my time machine? Please buckle and we are set to go.
Yin Dee Dton Rap. WELCOME TO THAILAND!
4th June 2015 : Kuala Lumpur to Nakhon Si Thammarat (740 km)
Accommodation : Twin Lotus Hotel (8.399319 , 99.977217)
Dinner : Chao Rue Restaurant
- history about this province - one of the most ancient cities of Thailand and is one of the oldest town in southern Thailand.
5th June 2015 : Nakhon Si Thammarat to Hua Hin (619km)
Accommodation : Hua Hin Grand Plaza Hotel (12.563284 , 99.959785)
Dinner : Night Market
- one of the eight districts of Prachuap Khiri Khan province
- beach resort town
- never missed their night market
Gathered for route information before depart to Hua Hin. It is a need to know where are we heading and getting to know first hand information when driving around on unknown country. The convoy leader (the lead vehicle), Mr Steven Ng is providing every bits of details that could be helpful to the drivers.
We were ready to roll!!~ A phrase that he loves to say before every journey starts, "rolling, rolling". I was designated to be in the sweeper car. You must be wondering what does the sweeper do in a convoy or road trip. Sweeper is the last vehicle that make sure that all vehicles are all in line before every journey starts and no one left behind. Besides that, they usually doubles up as the mechanical support too.
Attractions : Wat (temple) Phra Mahathat Woramaha Vihan & Elephant Temple
- most important temple in the city
- The chedi (pagoda) were earlier on built in Srivijaya style and later on Sri Lankan style when it was renovated back in 2009
You can't and possibly mentioning that you had left a foot mark till you visit their local landmark. We managed to drop by at Wat Phra Mahathat Woramaha Vihan. It is the most important Buddhist temple for the city. The chedi that you see upon entering is 78m tall and surrounded by 173 smaller chedi.
Important Note : *It is alright to wear shoes while walking around the temple but please take of your shoes once enter the chapel where the principal Buddha images are kept. Some may need you to cover with scarf if women pants are too short which it is inappropriate.
People who loves or been travelling to Thailand knows that coconut is something that you shouldn't have missed. Of course there's much more than that but COCONUT, C-O-C-O-N-U-T I mean which is so irresistible that you can't even say NO! They say you must have their coconut jelly which is available along the highway, everywhere in Thailand. True that and they are awesome. The jelly is just right to cool down the heat. The coconut water is too sweet. I feel like I drank a bottle of sugar water.
Our next stop will be the Elephant Temple. We all know that elephant is the mascot and symbolic animal that Thais citizen pray along with god. There's a small elephant temple along the road which we stop by to do our prayer. The locals will normally press their honk 3 times when ever they passed by as a sign of respect. It is not only prayers, to most of them who believe, they will wish upon the god. Who ever have their wished granted shall return the temple an elephant statue in what ever sizes they are convenient to get as a sign of gratitude. That's how all the elephant statue with different sizes situated along the road comes about.
Hua Hin is beginning to gain its popularity across the years. Locals and tourist started to notice this small district mainly as a beach resort getaway. People preferred to get close to mother nature and stay away from all the skyscrapers and over shine lighting which they had been dealing in their day-to-day life.
Driving through the capital of Thailand, Bangkok. Never underestimate their traffic. The jammed were at least 5 km long like a python. Ain't even crawling slow. A total stop which you can even enjoy a plate of Rib Eye Steak.
6th June 2015 : Hua Hin - Trat (505km)
Accommodation : Iyara Residence (12.251880 , 102.506859)
Lunch : Tamnanpar Restaurant (12.700931 , 101.397382)
- famous for gemstone mining and trading
- played an important role in the development of the country's stability and economy
- pier access to most island surrounding
Lunch at Tamnanpar Restaurant were fully sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Besides thankful, still there's more thankful. I will post about Thailand local dish on a separate post. I am pretty much concentrating on what I am typing right now. Saliva dripping on the keyboard shall be leave till the next when I am well prepared with a bowl to contain it.
An interesting place that located within the flora and fauna give everyone a comfort environment while dining.
When we were about to roll, one of the convoy could not have the engine start. What a nightmare. As a team we would not leave her without proper sorted. BUT the other problem arise even we have our very own mechanic around. A Volkswagen series were all built with computerised program. Car could not be start, gear could not be shift. Every parts were locked. Can't even tow when we intended to do so.
Forget about the car story because it's gona get long if I continue. Cut long story short, we get everything proper sorted, everyone got in the car and when are competing with time. It's running real late. Arrived at Iyara Residence at roughly 2100 local time.
Day 4 & 5
7th & 8th June 2015 : Trat - Laem Sok Pier - Koh Kut (Koh Kood)
Accommodation : Koh Kut Ao Phrao Beach Resort
Attractions : Beach
- consisting of a group of island
- with the lowest population of only 2000 citizens
- no night life
- calm water and sea, water warm all year long
The journey estimated took about an hour half. Please do have your medicine consume before hand if you have motion sickness. BUT personally think that because it is a speed boat some say express boat (make no difference to me), you won't feel motion unless it stops in the middle of the sea and the waves started to hit the boat.
Sea and blue sky never failed to amaze me. I fall in love with Ko Kut upon stepping out from the boat. This is my dream vacation, my long desired getaway. I have no regrets. At least at that moment that's how I truly feel. Peace, calm and zen moment. What else more could I ask for? Max satisfaction BUT no words can do it justice. I can't find a proper word to tell you how stunning it is. An art that comes alive.
You can hear bird chirping, wind breeze blow and cricket starts cricking when night falls. Just wonders of nature which give a peace of mind.
After lunch, the resort had the "tuk tuk" (local taxi) ready and bring us to the waterfall. The journey is ohseemmmm. Going down the slope and steep uphill is way adventurous than anything I had did before.
That is why this sign comes about. The government is very strict in enforcing this rules against driver at Koh Kut because the path they drive ain't normal road and putting every single life sitting in the car into danger.
9th June 2015 : Koh Kut - Laem Sok Pier - Trat - Pattaya (230km + 60km)
Accommodation : Pattaya Mercure Ocean Resort
- a tourist attraction city
- from golfers showing off their expensive clubs, women to show off their sexy abs and not forgetting family bonding session at theme parks & zoos
Attractions : Suphattra Land Garden Fruit Orchard (12.807093 , 101.230932)
- A place where you eat all you can fruits they plant in the orchard (subject to availability)
See the happy faces? They enjoyed their fruit.......
from king of the fruit, durian, to.......
.....queen. As long as you can eat, your request is their command. They are more than happy to assist with a smile.
This is one of the best hotel in town and stay tuned for the Hotel review which I am going to post about.
Attractions : The Sanctuary of Truth (Pattaya)
- large wooden structure constructed in 1981
- took 45 years to build
- solely man made
- fully crafted sculpture
- none funded construction from any organisation or government body
Simply amazed. It ain't about a normal temple of religion. As I guided by the tour guide from a hall to another, I purely think it teaches me morale value, life and most of all humanity which we still have hope in. I wasn't a holy Buddhism but I had an unspeakable touched at heart upon entering the temple. Just unexplainable.
10th June 2015 : Pattaya - Prachuap Khiri Khan (420km)
Accommodation : Prachuap Grand Hotel (11.886580, 99796749)
- narrowest part of Thailand
- a favourite pick holiday destination of the local Thais than the foreigners
- quiet, laid-back place to be far from lights and sounds
Attraction : Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (13.519810 , 99.958723)
- 100 km southwest Bangkok
- be early to grab the best
- experienced buying right from the boat without moving a single step
11th June 2015 : Prachuap Khiri Khan - Hatyai (656km)
Accommodation : New Season Hotel (7.098485 , 100.469316)
- southern Thailand closest to Malaysian border
- largest city of Songkhla province
- shopping destination for both Thais and foreigners
- home to the third largest reclining statue on the planet
Attractions : Khao Chong Krajok (11.815779 , 99.798621)
- beware of ill-behaved monkeys (not all, some can come flirty)
- 395 steps
- stunning panoramic and seascape view
Ain't believing what I am saying? Here I got valid proof!
Last stop at Hatyai gave me the pleasure to seek for a good massage center to ease my feet pain. Believe it or not, I did not went for any massage till the very last day of my trip. I guess I am just too lazy because the bed is always calling after meal. I am a lazy bug when I am on vacay. Just because I can! At least I am not too late. Still able to serve myself a treatment of being a princess. Get pampered with no worries. Most of all, end up indulging in their most popular beef noodles in town before I hit the bed!
It was truly an adventurous trip. The whole trip was an eye opening experiences. Thailand had always been the No.1 tourist spot for foreigners, specially Malaysian due to the geographical location. Thailand ain't just all about Tom Yam, coconut and durian (which are closely related). Thailand is also a country with rich culture, strong religion and full of respect.
I admit I'm a person full of emotional. Bidding goodbye with the team is indeed the hardest task to accomplish. However, the time we had spend along the journey will always keep us together. I learnt and gained so much. Nothing beats the experienced. People used to say picture says thousand words. To me, memory build the puzzle pieces. The pieces then build the pictures.
Speaking of pictures, you may click into the link below for more pictures.
Speaking of pictures, you may click into the link below for more pictures.
End of the story? I know it had been a SUPER lengthy post but that's not just about it. I still have more to share. I will be writing a review of the hotels that I had stayed. Just stay tuned and watch out for this space. I bet you don't wana miss out the great deals because it may come in handy when you are looking into travel around Thailand!