Thailand

Driving to Krabi

It has been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and this long holiday weekend provided the opportunity for me to put the plans into action. Driving from Penang to Krabi/Ao Nang takes about 8 hours. We took 11.5 hours due to rain and heavy border traffic. That also we started from Penang at about 5am and arrived at the border at about 7am. We first have to go get the Car Insurance, and for that, we queue almost 45minutes, then when we arrived at the Malaysian Immigration, there was already a long queue. Clearing the Malaysian Immigration was easy, we just have to drive through, draw down the windows, give the passport to the immigration officer and he starts to process our documents. After almost an hour of queuing, our documents were processed within minutes. Next is Thailand Immigration. We first park at a large carpark next to Thailand Immigration. All of us got down to process our passports. Once done, I have to get import documents for the car done with the Thai Customs. The customs are located on the right with drive through booths. No money is needed, just need to hand over the copy of the car registration card and officer starts to process the import. The office refuse to process the import without first seeing our passport being processed. So, for anyone else who wants to drive into Thailand, remember to first queue to get your passport chop and then only proceed to queue for the custom import documents. Again, after almost an hour of queuing, the documents were processed within minutes. I went back to collect the car and family and drove through the customs where they gave me the import document. This document needs to be presented back to the customs upon exit, else, you will have trouble bringing in the car in the next visit. By the time we clear the border, it was already 10.30am.

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The weather was good till after Phattalung where it started to rain. The Phattalung to Trang stretch is also the hilly and single lane stretch. From the border to Phattalung, the entire road way was double lane and was very pleasant to drive. Also, there was not that many cars. It was Sunday and it was not busy. There were a few Malaysian cars that zip through us, treating the road like the Malaysian Highway. Though the Thai road with double lane feels like a highway, it does not have the safety features of one and going in a high speed is risking it. We had some problems with our Garmin in Trang. I miss a turn and the map was not complete as there were roads that the GPS did not display. Trang to Ao Nang road is more Kampung with single lane going through rubber estate on the left and right. We arrive at Ao Nang at 4.30pm.

The drive back was faster as there were no rain, but we spent some time in Hatyai having lunch and the border held us up for another 2-3hrs, we took a good 12hrs on the road before arriving home. Driving to Thailand just need to remember to bring a few things. 1-Car Registration Card (Photocopy is sufficient), 2-Insurance (Purchase at the border), 3-GPS (Garmin MFM maps are quite complete, except for Trang)

Hatyai 2010 like the Mango Sticky Rice

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This 2010 Hatyai family trip started out with loads of bumps and ended like the Mango Sticky Rice.  Sweet Sour Mango and tasty sticky rice, leaving us contended for the rest of the year.  About a month back the family decided to go Hatyai for the Raya holiday.  Its been a year since and we had a great time in the previous trip.  But the hotels in Hatyai was fully booked during the Raya holidays and so we decided to spend the Malaysia Day holiday in Hatyai instead.

I bought the Alza so that we can drive there as there were 6 of us, it was an overnight decision as we really needed a MPV once a while and Alza just fit the bill.  So, we were all excited to drive the new car in and have a great time in Hatyai.  The mood started out great till we got onto the car and lock the doors.  The GPS failed.  The Garmin keep crashing and 30 minutes later we departed with a broken GPS.  Fatty tried to get it to work on the entire hour up to Changloon and to our disappointment,  the GPS was as good as a paper weight.

We decided to take the van instead.  The funny thing is once we got onto the van and was well on our way to Hatyai, the GPS starts to work.  Devine intervention? I don’t know.  The problems did not stop there.  Once we got there, the New Season Hotel that we were excited to try turn out to be a huge disappointment.  For THB1000 a night, the hotel put us up on Level 3, next to their air conditioning unit.  They hum the entire night leaving us hadly any sleep.  We check out the next day and went to Mayflower Hotel for THB920 and it was a much better hotel.  At the New Season, we went for the massage at level 2, Fatty had the foot massage, I had the Shoulder and Back Massage and my wife and her sister went for the oil massage.  Fatty and Sister In Law had a good time, I had a sore shoulder, my wife had a back pain from the massage.

Well, it was not all bad, for all the bad things, there is an equal good thing to balance things up.  Fatty bought a cheap Zebra kettle, bought a whole new set of clothes for the family and had Swenson ice cream every day (Yes, it was that cheap) and loads of Mango Sticky Rice.  So, till the next Hatyai trip, its time to trouble shoot the GPS device, wonder what happen..

Taling Chan Floating Market

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The Taling Chan Floating Market is located at the Taling Chan District Office.  A relatively small floating market serve fresh foods and open only 3 days a week (8.30am-4pm Weekend).  The market was not that accessible so we took a cab from our hotel at Sukhumvit.  The cab drop us off at the District Office, which is just next to the floating market.  Comming to the floating platform, there were stalls on the left and right side of the road selling a range of items from food to handicrafts.

There were two side to the floating platform, left and right and both have boats on the side selling food of various kinds.  While we were getting to the platform connected by a narrow bridge, we saw some visitors feeding a swamp of fish.  The fish looked huge and they were battling over the bread thrown onto the river.  I notice a lady was selling bread for THB 10 and so I bought one pack and gave to May Lin.  She happily feed the fishes and at occasion, the fishes splash and everyone around turn and have a look.

Finish feeding the fishes, we proceed to the platforms to see what is on sale.  First thing i notice was the tiny little stools and tables on the middle of the platforms.  Almost all the tables were filled, this shows how popular this place is.  There was a range of foods from fry, soup, rice to bake and BBQ.  We just had our breakfast so none looked appetizing.  There was a boat selling BBQ fish, the fish was about 1ft long, a huge fish that was first rub with salt and then BBQ over low charcoal heat.  Many patrons bought the fish and I could see them enjoying it.  I on the other hand just feed some huge looking fishes, and can’t stomach the thought of just feeding the fish and then slaughtering them for a meal.

The Taling Chan floating market was relatively small and there was only a handfull of boats with some of them selling the same items.  After covering the entire platform, we proceeded to have some refreshing coconut water before catching a cab to Chatuchak Market.

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