Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Thailand & Laos 2017

" The greatest pleasure in LIFE is doing what others say you cannot do "

" Doing what you like is freedom, liking what you do is happiness "

" LIFE goes on. Whether you choose to move on and take a chance in the unknown. Or stay behind, locked in the past thinking of what could have been. The past is past ! "  

" My 14 days (9-22/2/2017) overland train trip from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Thailand & Laos with 3 of my travel buddies from Klang - another amazing trip to major river cities & towns in South East Asia "

Travel itinerary: Kuala Lumpur > Padang Besar (Malaysia) > Hatyai (Thailand) > Bangkok > Ayutthaya > Nong Khai > Vientiane (Laos) > Vang Vieng > Luang Prabang > Nong Khai (Thailand) > Bangkok > Padang Besar (Malaysia) > Kuala Lumpur Sentral (total mileage 5050km)

Image result for southeast asia map

Total expenses incurred (14days) : 10,340bht + US$20.30 + Rm176.50 = Rm1,594 (US$358)

1) Food (14 days) : Rm13 + 2,851bht

2) Hostels (9 nights): Rm66.50 + US$20.30 + 1,770bht
Chic Hostel, Bangkok (3 nights) - 500bht x 3=1,500bht
Stockhome, Ayutthaya (1 night) - 270bht
Vientiane Star Hostel, Vientiane (2 nights) - Rm28 + Rm38.50 = Rm66.50
Pan Place Guest House, Vang Vieng (1 night) - US$4.50
Kounsavan Guest House, Luang Prabang (2 nights) - US$7.90 x 2 = US$15.80

3) Train Tickets (Thailand & Malaysia) : Rm97 + 3,280bht
KL Sentral > Padang Besar - Rm42
Padang Besar > KL Sentral - Rm55
Padang Besar > Hatyai - 70bht
Hatyai > Bangkok - 855bht
Bangkok > Ayutthaya - 15bht
Ayutthaya > Nong Khai - 722bht
Nong Khai > Bangkok - 748bht
Bangkok > Padang Besar - 870bht

4) Mini Vans (Laos): 305,000kip=1,292bht
Vientiane > Vang Vieng, Laos - 60,000kip
Vang Vieng > Luang Prabang - 80,000kip
Luang Prabang > Vientiane - 165,000kip

5) Tuk Tuk (Thailand & Laos): 437bht + 25,000kip=106bht (cost sharing per pax for 4 people)
2 hr day tour, Vientiane (4 tourist sites) - 100bht
2 hr day tour, Ayutthaya  Historical Park - 100bht
Nong Khai > Vientiane Star Hotel - 75bht
Vientiane Star Hotel > Nong Khai - 25,000kip
North Bus station > Vientiane Star Hotel - 100bht
Nong Khai train station > Thai Immigration - 20bht
Thai Immigration > Nong Khai train station - 20bht
Bangkok downtown - 22bht

MRT / Sky train (Thailand): 226bht
Boat / ferry: 38bht
Bus (border crossing Thai/Laos): 8,000kip=40bht
Departure Tax: 11,000kip=47bht

6) Entrance Fees: 90bht + 60,000kip=254bht
Wat Traimit Wittayaram, Bangkok - 40bht
Ayutthaya Historical Park - 50bht
That Luang Museum, Vientiane - 10,000kip
That Phu Si, Luang Prabang - 20,000kip
Luang Prabang Museum - 30,000kip

Exchange Rates: US$1=Rm4.45; US$1=34.28bht 100bht = Rm12.85; 1bht=236kip (Laos currency);

Have you got something to crow about on this trip ?

Travel Highlights: 

1) KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2) Padang Besar, Malaysia / Thailand Border

3) Hatyai, Thailand

4) Bangkok, Thailand

5) Ayutthaya (UNESCO), Thailand

6) Vientiane, Laos

7) Vang Vieng, Laos

8) Luang Prabang (UNESCO), Laos

The KL Team for this Thailand & Laos trip (aged 65-72). The team members are Tee, K M Cheng (Team Leader), Chim & Wong leaving behind a page of our travelling life in the amazing land of Thailand & Laos ! These oldies behaved like "The Young Ones" humming their "Summer Holidays" in the Land of Smiles ! All of us were in high spirits before boarding the KTM train from KL Sentral bounds for Padang Besar !

KL Sentral Train Station, Malaysia
Ayutthaya Train Station, Thailand
Hua Lamphong Train Station, Bangkok
On board the Hatyai > Bangkok train
Free buffet breakfast at Chic / Centra Hotel, Bangkok
World Peace Gong at Patuxay Park, Vientiane
Nong Khai train station, Thailand
Free breakfast at Vientiane Star Hostel

River cities & its rivers our group visited in this Thailand & Laos trip:

1) Bangkok city & Mae Nam Chao Phraya, Thailand

2) Ayutthaya town & Mae Nam Chao Phraya, Thailand

3) Vientiane town & Mekong River, Laos

4)Vang Vieng town & Nam Song River, Laos

5) Luang Prabang town & Mekong River / Nam Khan River, Laos

My Golden Years - Never mind if you do not have all the 6 pillars in your Golden Years. But if you possess strong mental, physical & spiritual strength, this will help you considerably in achieving your dreams in travelling ! Find ways to strengthen the weaker pillar and learn new skills to add value to your retirement LIFE !

In my Golden Years since 2006, I had "tuk tuk" (meaning by trains) all the way from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok & then up north to Chiangmai & Vientiane / Luang Prabang of Laos (4 visits thus far). If you have not done so, buy now a backpack & a pair of air walk shoes, then start your first "tuk tuk" ride to our closest neighboring country ie Thailand - the Land of Smiles and if you are ambitious, why not continue your ride to Laos, the jewel of Mekong. Best still from Luang Prabang to Hanoi or go down south to say Good Morning, Saigon in Vietnam - if you had already "tuk tuk" to all these three countries, I salute you ! You are now a qualified "tuk tuk" king traveler !!! 

Start your adventure now ! Have fun in "tuk tuking in Thailand & Laos"

Padang Besar, Malaysia 2017

Image result for peninsular malaysia rail map

KL Sentral Malaysia - KTM ETS Gemas train (Gold seat Rm42 for seniors) departing KL Sentral at 09.44 arriving Padang Besar at 15.10 (Malaysian time but 14.10 in Thailand), just in time to catch a shuttle Thai train in Padang Besar departing 14.40 arriving Hatyai at 15.35

All smiles, prior to boarding KTM train from KL Sentral>Padang Besar
Gate B for trains departing north
KTM train departing KL Sentral at 09.44 to Padang Besar
KTM ETS train at KL Sentral - ready for boarding
Gold seat (Rm42 for seniors 60+)
Toilet, neat & clean - enjoy your time here !
Train canteen serving combo meals
Feeling hungry ? Combo set meal - Rm9 (US$2)

Padang Besar > Hatyai - Thai shuttle train departing Padang Besar at 14.40 arriving Hatyai at 15.35 (70bht)

For our return journey, we took a KTM ETS train (Platinum seat Rm55 for seniors) departing Padang Besar at 12.55 arriving KL Sentral at 18.08, our waiting time at the Padang Besar train station took up to 3 hrs for boarding this connecting train to KL Sentral. But well worth the waiting as upon our arrival at KL Sentral, I could easily take a LRT train to Subang Jaya and the rest of my members a KTM train direct to Klang.

Padang Besar Joint Malaysia / Thai Train Station
Padang Besar Thai Immigration Check Point
KTM ETS Train from Padang Besar > KL Sentral (Rm55 Seniors)

Home sweet home - after a 14 day of rock & roll train trip from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar, Hatyai, Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Nong Khai & multiple mini van & tuk tuk rides to & within Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang & return; a total of 5050km - age is no barrier in traveling if you have good company, enjoying Thai / Lao food, comfortable hostel stays & last but not the least, bringing home fond memories .....

Taking a LRT train from KL Sentral to SS15, Subang Jaya station - my final destination ! Looking forward for a good rest this coming weekend !!!

After a 14 day trip and having visited Thailand 9-10 times, I believe I am addicted to travelling to Thailand. Maybe I should start cultivating a drinking habit in Tuk Tuk Cha - I spotted this restaurant in a shopping Mall in Klang Valley, so cheers to all and enjoy a cup of hot tuk tuk cha together with a side dish of banana crepes or mango sticky rice when you are in the Land of Smiles !