Sunday, February 1, 2015

Thailand 2015

Wishing all my readers a very happy travelling year in 2015 !

" Men at 25 play football. Men at 40 play tennis. Men at 60 play golf. Have you noticed that as you get older your balls get smaller "

" In every free & east travelling, your body may be tired but your dreams are alive " 

" Travelling solo is like an one man army in action. You look after your own food, shelter & logistic. Rain or shine, you move on " 

" My 10 days travelling solo to Thailand (Hatyai, Hua Hin, Bangkok, Sukhothai, Chiangmai, Chiang Rai & Golden Triangle ) from 21 - 30/1/2015 - taking a train & bus ride from Malaysia to Northern Thailand - a land of smiles and saying Sawadika to Thais " 

Travel itinerary: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) > Hatyai > Hua Hin > Bangkok > Sukhothai > Chiang Mai > Chiang Rai > Chiang Mai > Bangkok > Hatyai > Kuala Lumpur 

Total cost incurred (10 days) : 7,934 bht + Rm36 = Rm920 (US$255)

Hostel (6 nights): 1,460 bht
Day tour: 700 bht (Golden Triangle & Chiang Rai)
Food: 1,410 bht + Rm8
Metro/Taxi: 304 bht
Tut tut: 160 bht
Entrance fees: 380 bht
Bicycle hire: 30 bht
Luggage storage: 50bht

Trains(total): 1,594 bht + Rm28

Kuala Lumpur>Hatyai = Rm28
Hatyai>Hua Hin = 749 bht
Bangkok>Hatyai = 845 bht

Long distance bus(total): 1,750bht
Hua Hin>Bangkok = 180 bht

Bangkok>Sukhotai = 342 bht
Sukhotai>Chiangmai = 228 bht
Chiang Mai>Bangkok = 500 bht
Hatyai>Kuala Lumpur = 500 bht

Exchange Rates: US$1=Rm3.60; Rm1=9bht, 100bht=Rm11.10

Map of  Thailand

In my previous visits to Thailand, I did not have the opportunity to visit Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai. So the thought of visiting these two cities was always lingering in my mind for sometime. My last visit to Thailand was in June 2013 (Krabi, Phi Phi island, Koh Samui & Phuket).

In January 2015, I took advantage of the cool weather and decided to go ahead with this overland trip from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to northern Thailand. Unfortunately, my wife was not able to accompany me for this trip. For this free & easy travelling using trains & buses, I started my journey in Kuala Lumpur and along the way, I visited Hat Yai, Hua Hin, Bangkok (1 night), Sukhothai (2 nights) & Chiang Mai (3 nights). For the entire trip, I spent a total of 3 nights in the trains & 1 night in VIP bus ! I was not able to visit the Bridge of the River Kwai as the weekend rail car excursion tickets were all sold out on Saturday when I was in Bangkok. 

In Chiang Mai, I signed up a day tour package for my visits to Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle, Mae Sai & the Yao Hill Tribe. This was more economical in terms of cost & time ! 

Most Malaysians would prefer to fly to Bangkok or Chiang Mai but I chose the long winded way by taking trains & buses so that I could see more of the Thailand's country side and also giving me more opportunities to meet & chat with a mix of local & overseas travellers (including my home country) along the way ! 

The Sukhothai Historical Park, an UNESCO world heritage site impressed me a lot. 

Given Malaysia's close proximity to Thailand and an efficient air & land transport, one could just visit Thailand at any time of the year ! I  believe Thailand is a great tourist destination, famous for her clean & beautiful beaches, temples & palaces, historical sites, friendly people, low cost of accommodation, cheap & tasty Thai food - for sure tourists will put up a broad smile as soon as they land in any of the cities in Thailand - a land of smiles !!! Can't wait to say Sawadika to Thailand again !

Travel Highlights

Chiang Rai 

White Temple, Chiang Rai

Golden Triangle

The Golden Buddha statue overseeing the Mekong River 

Chiang Mai

A Wat  (Buddhist Temple) in Chiang  Mai


Sukhothai Historical Park (UNESCO)
Victory Monument, Bangkok
Hua Hin

Hua Hin Beach

Clock Tower, Hatyai

2015, a year of the Goat, Sheep & Ram is about to begin ! The year of the horse (2014) is about to end soon but are you as an ardent traveller still horsing around the globe ? 

Are you a Billy goat or Nanny goat ?

Hatyai, Thailand (2015)

Total cost incurred : 1,499bht+Rm28

Train: Kuala Lumpur>Hatyai = Rm28 (senior-2nd class soft seat); Hatyai> Hua Hin = 749bht (2nd class sleeper-lower berth)

Bus (Sri Maju) : 500bht (Hatyai>Kuala Lumpur)
Food: 250bht

The overnight  KTM train from Kuala Lumpur arrived at Hat Yai around 10.00 local time. Upon arrival, I bought a sleeper berth train ticket (749 bht) to Hua Hin. 

As I had about 6 hrs in Hat Yai and this gave me ample time to visit a few places which are within walking distance from the train station ie Clock Tower, the hawker market, Robinson departmental store, Davies Tour (Sri Maju bus's office) at Chee Uthit road, Odean departmental store, Lee Garden Plaza hotel etc.

I had my lunch at a chicken rice stall and bought some pastries at a food court in Robinson. I rested for about 2 hrs at the train station before boarding the Hat Yai train departing at 16.30. 

I met a Malaysian family of three in the train and I was invited to join them for a dinner (seafood fried rice) at the train's canteen. After the dinner, I retired to bed at around 22.00. 

KTM train from Kuala Lumpur > Hatyai
Country home
Southern Thailand country side
Rural houses
Row of  rubber trees 
Hatyai Train Station
Clock Tower, Hatyai
Robinson Departmental Store, Hatyai
Central Shopping Center
Hawker Stalls, Hatyai
Bazaar Market
Oriental Bird Nest shop
Odean Shopping Centre
Lee Garden Plaza Hotel

Thai train departing 16.30 from Hat Yai to Hua Hin arriving 07.30

Hua Hin,Thailand (2015)

Total cost incurred (1 day) : 240 bht
Food: 60 bht
Mini van: 180 bht (Hua Hin > Bangkok)

The overnight train from Hat Yai arrived at the Hua Hin train station around 07.30. The Hua Hin train station is a beautiful wooden building and it is located within walking distance from the town center. 

Hua Hin is a popular seaside town about 3 hrs by bus from Bangkok. In my earlier visits to Thailand, I had visited Pattaya, Krabi, Koh Samui & Phuket so for this trip, I made a stopover to fulfil my dream in seeing the Hua Hin beach. 

I spent most of the morning in Hua Hin and after seeing the Hua Hin beach, the Chatchai market, the clock tower and the main street , I decided not to stay overnight and left for Bangkok by taking a mini van (180 bht). The van dropped us off at a BTS station near the Victory Monument and from there, I took a Sky train & a MRT subway to Hua Lamphong train station, Bangkok. 

Hua Hin train station

Hua Hin town centre

Clock Tower, Hua Hin
Hua Hin shopping mall
Chatchai Market
Wet Market - Chatchai
Main walking street
The King & The Clock Tower
Hua Hin temple
A seafood restaurant
Italian Tailor- Hilton Hotel-Hua Hin Thai Massage 
Hua Hin Municipal office
Main Street - Hua Hin
Wet Market - Chatchai

Hua Hin Beach