|Map of South Thailand|
This is my 4th overland train trip (a long winded way instead of flying by air) to Thailand travelling with my Klang buddies (Chim, Wong, Boon & Tee) from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Bangkok, Thailand. Lam, my travel buddy from Singapore joined our group for this visit as well - so a total of 6 people traveling together ! A big thank you to Lam who had helped our group to pick the right hotels in Pattaya, Chanthaburi & Koh Chang and also act as our "navigator" to various tourist attractions in the visiting cities ! Also thanks to Boon as he speaks some Thai and this helped our group a lot especially when ordering food, haggling with tuk tuk drivers etc
In my previous 3 overland train trips from Malaysia to Thailand / Laos, my Klang buddy group visited a number of cities / towns / tourist sites in Thailand ie Hatyai, Songkhla, Hua Hin, The Bridge of the River Kwai, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, The Golden Triangle bordering near the Thai, Laos & Myanmar & Nongkhai. Other cities / towns I had visited (travelling solo) in the past were Phuket, Krabi & Koh Samui. In Laos, our group visited Vientiane, Van Vieng & Lua Prabang !
In March this year, together with my Klang buddy group, four of our members took a flight from Kuala Lumpur and visited Siam Reap, Angkor Wat & Phenom Penh in Cambodia.
Border crossing & changing of train in Padang Besar, between the Malaysia & Thai border (after the Malaysia/Thai immigration clearance) was pretty smooth & straight forward. The shuttle train ride from Padang Besar to Hatyai took around 45 minutes ! Thailand is one hour behind of Malaysia.
For this 5th visit with my group to southern Thailand, our itinerary covered cities like Hatyai, Bangkok, Koh Chang Island, Chanthaburi & Pattaya. Our group used government buses for our travel from Bangkok (Ekamai Bus Terminal) to Central Pier (Koh Chang) & Koh Chang to Chanthaburi; Pattaya to Bangkok etc - so pretty comfortable rides ! Ferry crossings between Central Pier to Koh Chang island (vice versa) which took 45 minutes were well serviced by a local travel & ticketing agent (spoke good English) stationed at the Central Pier. Even though August is a wet season, the sea in the Gulf of Thailand was calm though occasional drizzle / small rain may cause a slight inconvenience in walking in an open area or on a slippery floor !
August is a wet season (cloudy & occasional drizzling at times) but also a low season for tourists in Thailand. So it was quite easy for my group to book train / bus tickets & hotels in Pattaya, Chanthaburi & Koh Chang island. For this visit, our group stayed a total of 4 nights in Bangkok, 2 nights in Pattaya, 1 each in Koh Chang Island & Chanthaburi & Hatyai; 2 overnight sleeper trains from Hatyai to Bangkok and return. In the Pattaya resort city, a double room in a 3 star hotel near the Pattaya Beach road costs around Rm100 (US$25) per night - a real value for money !
For Makan Makan (Eating), our group enjoyed eating Thai food ie pineapple & seafood fried rice, Tom Yam, stewed pork & offal, Padthai fried noodle, hotel buffet breakfast & dim sum, chicken rice, mango sticky rice, ice dessert, hot coffee etc. Street food was our group's favorites ! My Klang buddies ate twice in our Pattaya hotel's restaurant both for breakfast & the following day lunch ie two yummy Royal dim sum meals - like eating till you drop your wallet - what a way to end their stay in Pattaya, a vibrant & lively beach resort city, 2.15 hours by bus from Bangkok .
So another Cuti Cuti (Vacation), Jalan Jalan (Walkabout) & Makan Makan (Eating) accomplished this year in the Land of Smiles for my Klang buddy group - hope all our members (age around 67 to 74 except Boon & Lam - naturally at this age, none of us would like to travel in a Fast Lane ! My senior buddies prefer the tuk tuk rides, if easy to flag one !) do more exercise, morning walks & stay healthy (make health than wealth !) and look forward to another overseas visit in 2019 ! So let's say "Sawadikap" to Thailand again when we show up in this Land of Smiles in the near future ! Well done, KM group of travel buddies from Klang Valley & Singapore !
Total Expenses Incurred (12 days): 10,715bht = Rm1,317 (US$326)
1) Hostels / Hotel (9 nights) : 3,605bht = Rm443 (US$110)
- iSanook Hostel Bangkok (2 nights) - 260bht x 2 = 520bht per pax (dorm)
- Koh Chang Hut (1 night) - 225bht per pax (double room)
- Kasemsarn Hotel, Chanthaburi (1 night) - 565bht per pax (double room)
- A-One Star Hotel, Pattaya (2 nights) - 627bht x 2 per pax = 1,254bht (2 single beds room)
- Chic Hotel, Bangkok (2 nights) - 387bht x 2 =774bht (2 single bed room)
- The Aree Hatyai Hostel, Hatyai (1 night) = 267bht per pax (dorm)
2) Train tickets (Total): 2,110bht + Rm97= Rm357 (US$88)
- KL Sentral > Padang Besar - Rm42 (Gold seat - senior citizen)
- Padang Besar > Hatyai > Padang Besar (return) - 50bht x 2
- Hatyai > Bangkok > Hatyai (return) - 1,005bht x 2 (upper bed)
- Padang Besar > KL Sentral - Rm55 (Platinum seat - senior citizen)
3) Bus / Van tickets: 623bht = Rm77 (US$19)
- Bangkok > Koh Chang (bus) - 239bht
- Koh Chang > Chanthaburi (bus) - 76bht
- Chanthaburi > Pattaya (van) - 200bht
- Pattaya > Bangkok (bus) - Rm108bht
4) Ferry tickets: 150bht = Rm18 (US$4.60)
Centre Point Pier > Koh Chang Island Pier > Centre Point Pier (return) - 75bht x 2
5) Tuk Tuk (cost sharing of 6): 425bht =Rm53 (US$13) per pax
- Koh Chang - 1,300bht @ 216bht
- Chanthaburi - 420bht @ 70bht
- Pattaya - 500bht @ 83bht
- Hatyai - 340bht @56bht
6) MRT / Sky Train tickets: 330bht = Rm40 (US$10)
7) Orange boat tickets: 38bht = Rm5 (US$1.25)
7) Food (12 days) : 3,434bht = Rm422 (US$105)
Travel Itinerary: Kuala Lumpur > Padang Besar, Malaysia > Hatyai > Bangkok > Koh Chang Island > Chanthaburi > Pattaya > Bangkok > Hatyai > Kuala Lumpur (total mileage for this train & bus trip starting from Kuala Lumpur to various cities in southern Thailand & return - 3,844km)
Kuala Lumpur > Padang Besar - 555km
Padang Besar > Hatyai - 40km
Hatyai > Bangkok - 945km
Bangkok > Koh Chang Island - 349km
Koh Chang > Chanthaburi - 98km
Chanthaburi > Pattaya - 169km
Pattaya > Bangkok - 148km
Exchange rates: 10bht=Rm1.23; US$1=Rm4.04
My travel buddies from Klang - the A team ! (Wong, Chim & Tee), Petaling Jaya (Boon), Singapore (Lam) & Subang Jaya (KM) - Birds of a feather flock together !
|From Left to Right: Lam, Tee, Cheng, Chim & Wong|
1) Bangkok, Thailand
2) Koh Chang Island, Thailand
3) Chanthaburi, Thailand
4) Pattaya, Thailand
5) Hatyai, Thailand