Saturday, January 23, 2016

Thailand 2016

Thai Thai ! Siam Siam !  Same Same !
Go for it when you are in the Land of Smiles
Do not run wild when you are in Patpong

" To realize your dreams, you need to walk the talk. After your dreams have been fulfilled, you can relax and talk your walk "

" Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving " 

" In free & easy travelling, fear & doubt will always be part of your life, but we need to be able to accept it and move forward " 

In Jan 2015, I travelled solo on an overland trip (using trains & buses) from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia right up to Chiang Mai. As I enjoyed taking trains, this had also prompted me to make an overland border crossings from Kuala Lumpur to Nong Khai, northern Thailand and then to Vientiane & Lua Prabang, Laos in Jan 2011.

A few of my buddies (senior citizens) whom I met regularly for social gathering & food in Klang were keen to visit northern Thailand and this idea was discussed 2 years ago ! Finally, two of my senior buddies (Tee & Wong) & a younger Hui were able to make it for this trip. I took on the role as the team leader & worked out a travel plan to suite our age group, planning transport & booking accommodations etc. This was a trip full of fun, excitement, friendship & plenty of opportunities to whet our appetite on local Thai food etc.

From the Hostelworld website, I was able to make on-line hostel bookings and select our hostels mostly close to train stations & within walking distance to our hostels eg in Hua Hin & Bangkok. In Sukhothai, our group stayed in Sila Resort (free pick up from bus terminal) & a backpacker hostel near Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai.

Our group was able to visit the various target places of interest using a combination of public transports ie the Malaysian & Thai train rides (Kuala Lumpur, Hat Yai, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai); buses & mini vans (Hat Yai, Hua Hin, Sukhothai, Golden Triangle); boats (Bangkok), bicycles (Sukhothai), tuk tuks & taxis, to a lesser extent.

As for our daily food, drinks & meals, each of us contributed 3,000 bht (to pay for our 12 day food bills) to a pool managed by one of our buddies (Wong) so this worked out to be around 250bht (Rm30) on an average per day per person (breakfast, lunch & dinner). As the timing of our visit in Thailand coincided with a weekend, we had the pleasure of visiting the night markets in Sukhothai (Saturday) & Chiang Mai (Sunday). Likewise, we also took the opportunity to visit the popular night markets in Hua Hin, & Bangkok (China Town & Silom). We were also able to enjoy eating the popular local food & delicacies eg mango sticky rice, fish maws soup, sea food porridge, stewed pork, beef & pork noodles, pastries, fresh fruit, Thai desserts, Espresso coffee etc. "Yummy" is the word to describe why our group loved the local Thai food so much - so tasty & simple to eat !

My dream of visiting the Bridge over the River Kwai, Kanachaburi was finally fulfilled ! This was the biggest consolation to me for this trip !

What a great start for my world of travelling in this Monkey year of 2016 ! As for my 3 buddies, all of them seemed to thoroughly enjoyed their trip to Thailand, the land of smiles ! Come 8th Feb 2016, we will be ushering the fire Monkey year and if you are a passionate traveller, are you still able to keep up with your own pace, swinging from one country to another and go bananas for the rest of the year in 2016 ?

The world has changed. You & I have to change to move forward

Total costs incurred (12 days) : Rm39 + 11,473bht = Rm1,439 (US$327)

Hotels (8 nights) : 2,625bht

- Chanchala Cafe & Hostel,Hua Hin(1 night) = 450bht pp 
- Sila Resort,Sukhothai (2 nights) @225bht pp = 450bht
- HuaLamphong Hotel, Bangkok (2 nights) @400bhtpp=800bht
- Hua Lamphong, Bangkok (1 night) = 525bht pp
- Aoi Hostel,Chiang Mai(2 nights) @200bht pp = 400bht

Train rides (total) : Rm33 + 2,640bht

Kuala Lumpur > Hat Yai : Rm33 (seniors)
Hat Yai > Hua Hin : 824bht
Bangkok > Kanachaburi > Bangkok : 100bht x 2 
Chiang Mai > Bangkok : 806bht
Bangkok > Hat Yai : 810bht

Bus rides (total) : 1,369bht

Hua Hin > Bangkok : 180bht
Bangkok > Sukhothai : 319bht
Sukhothai > Chiang Mai : 220bht
Hat Yai > Kuala Lumpur : Rm65

Day Tour (Chiang Rai & Golden Triangle) : 700bht
Entrance fees (Sukhothai & Wat Arun) : 150bht
Boat ride: 58bht
Bicycle rental : 30bht
Taxi: 125bht 
Tuk Tuk: 165bht
Sky Train & MRT : 245bht
Food (12 days) : 3,366bht + Rm6
Exchange Rates: Rm1=8.40bht, 100bht=Rm12.20

My 12 days overland trip from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Northern Thailand (Hat Yai, Hua Hin, Bangkok, Kanachaburi, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Sai & Golden Triangle) from 11-22/1/2016

Travel Itinerary: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia > Hat Yai > Hua Hin > Bangkok > Kanachaburi > Bangkok > Sukhothai > Chiang Mai > Chiang Rai > Mae Sai > Golden Triangle (Day Tour) > Chiangmai > Bangkok > Hat Yai > Kuala Lumpur ( a total of 5,200 km )

Travel Highlights :

Hua Hin, a beach resort town in Southern Thailand 

Hua Hin Beach

Bangkok, Capital of Thailand, most visited city in Asia ! 

Wat Arun


Bridge Over The River Kwai


Sukhothai Historical Park - UNESCO

Chiang Mai

Tha Phae Gate

Chiang Rai

Wat Rong Khun  (White Temple)

Mae Sai

Me Sai Boundary Post / Custom House 

Long Neck Karen Hill Tribe

Golden Triangle

Malaysia 2016

Train (Kuala Lumpur Sentral > Hat Yai) : Rm33 (upper bed-seniors), Rm52 (upper bed-adult)

Map of  Malaysia
Map of  Thailand

My 3 buddies from Klang Valley, Malaysia - Wong, Tee & Hui together with KM Cheng embarking on an overland trip from Kuala Lumpur to Thailand from 11-22/1/2016. In Jan 2015, I made a similar trip to Northern Thailand.

The start of our journey from Kuala Lumpur ..... leaving behind our footprints in Northern Thailand & lots of fond memories !

KTM Night Train bounding for Hat Yai
Arrival at Hua Hin Train Station
Group photo with hostel owner at Sila Resort, Sukhothai
Group photo at a local eatery outlet in Chiang Mai
Tee & Hui at front entrance of  Sila Resort, Sukhothai
Tee, Wong & Hui at Sukhothai Bus Station

Malaysian KTM Train Departing KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) > Hat Yai, Southern Thailand (00.30 > 10.20)

KL> Hat Yai - Upper Bed - Rm33 (seniors) , Adult - Rm52

Thai night train departing Hat Yai for Hua Hin / Bangkok

2nd class train departing Hat Yai 18.30 arriving Hua Hin 07.00
Lower bed (869 bht), Upper (779 bht) - rock & roll till the morning !

Slow train from Thonburi, Bangkok to The Bridge over the River Kwai, Kanachaburi (3 1/2 hrs)

Train ticket one way - 100 bht
Slow & steady from Thonburi>River Kwai (3 1/2 hr)

Tourist boat ride from Sathorn Taksin Central Pier to Tha Tien Pier (Wat Arun) & return

One way ticket for tourist boat - 40 bht
Normal ferry - 13 bht for return trip

Bus ride from Mo Chit Bus Terminal, Bangkok to Sukhothai

Bangkok Bus Terminal  (Chatuchak)
Bangkok > Sukhothai - Bus ticket 319 bht

Songthaews (shared pick up taxis) from 7-Eleven, New Sukhothai to Old Sukhothai Historical Park

Shared taxis one way - 30 bht

2 day of cycling activities in Old Sukhothai Historical Park & New Sukhothai town centre 

Bicycle rental in Old Sukhothai - 30 bht per day

Bus ride from New Sukhothai Bus Terminal to Chiang Mai

Sukhothai > Chiang Mai Bus ticket - 220 bht

Red cab taxis from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal to Moon Muang Road, Chiang Mai

Taxis fare - 40 bht per pax 

Day tour from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai & Golden Triangle by a 12 seater mini van with a tour guide & driver (700bht per pax)

Malaysia / Thailand Border - Padang Besar Immigration Check Point

Train ride from Hua Lamphong, Bangkok to Hat Yai via Sungai Kolok

Bangkok>Hat Yai 2nd class, lower bed 841bht, upper 775bht
Train heading south closer to home sweet home ! 

Bus ride from Hat Yai > Tasik Selatan, Kuala Lumpur (09.30 > 20.30 )

Hat Yai > Kuala Lumpur , 18 seater air-con bus - Rm65
KKKL & Sri Maju Bus Offices in Hat Yai, Thailand
Thaialnd / Malaysia Border - Sadao Immigration Check Point
Sadao new immigration counters - quick & efficient services

Tasik Selatan Bus Terminal, Kuala Lumpur & KTM Train Station 

KTM Train Station , Tasik Selatan - Platform 2 

Home Sweet Home - Tasik Selatan KTM train > KL Sentral KTM train (transit) > Subang Jaya (my home place)

Train ticket for seniors - RM2.10