Yee Peng is famous in Northern Provinces where they release the lanterns to worship the gods. Well, when I was in Hua Hin, we bought two Yee Peng lanterns. The wind was strong and it was quite hard to set the fire. After few attempt, we finally manage to release both lanterns into the sky. They went all the way up and then further and missing from our eye sights…
Category Archives: Travel
Wat Huay Mongkol is situated in Tambon Huay Mongkol, Hua Hin, Prachuab Khiri Khan Province. The temple is located about 15 km from Hua Hin town. All 10 of us (Ta Toy, Yai Noi, Yai Suan, Yai Nuch, P’Ning, P’Nat, Niw, Nik, Pee and me) went in Ta Toy’s truck. Noon didn’t join us as she needs to look after the small kids swimming at the beach.
The weather was very hot and I felt so exhausted. But luckily Ta Toy’s truck aircond was working pretty well. Wat Huay Mongkol is famous for Luang Por Thuad’s statue. Some says that the statue is the biggest statue of Luang Por Thuad in the world.
Luang Phor Thuad was the legendary Southern Thai monk, immensely popular with the Southern Thais and increasingly so elsewhere in the Kingdom for the miracles associated with him. The big statue was commissioned by Queen Sirikit of Thailand at Wat Huay Mongkol.
The huge Luang Phor Thuad statue is seated on a pedestal with four other smaller images in niches where the faithful can paste gold leaf on Luang Phor Thuad. There is a canteen where visitors can have their lunch for free. There is also a big donation box at the entrance for visitors to donate. However, it is up to them whether to donate or not.
After eating, we went over to wash the plates and spoons that we used. There’s a tip for saving. Just go to a temple with canteen. Donate 20 Baht and you can eat the buffet as much as you want. There is one temple in Ayuthaya which has a canteen like this as well. The food in Wat Huay Mongkol wasn’t bad at all.
There are two elephant statues with 3 heads located in front of Luang Por’s statue. Many visitors tried to place coins into the elephant’s mouth. I did after five or six times trying. It was quite difficult. For me, morning is the best time to visit as the weather might be cool and not as hot as in the afternoon. Other than that, there were too many tourists arriving by coaches from other provinces. The place was a little bit crowded the time we went.
Last minute packing. I always do this as it is more fun than packing earlier. Well, I got only 1 luggage. So see you guys from Bangkok. Merry X’mas and Happy New Year in advance.
Sungai Kolok ( สุไหงโก-ลก) used to be famous with tourists from neighbouring country, Malaysia. However since the rise of the seperatist groups in Southern Thailand where there were shootings, bombings etc few years ago, the town slowly turns to be a very quiet town.
Normally on weekends, it might be very difficult to find a hotel room in this border town. However now, it is very easy and you might be given discount for weekends. The border security in Sungai Kolok is not that tight. The Sungai Kolok – Rantau Panjang Bridge connects Thailand and Malaysia.
Vendors from both countries use the bridge a lot. However, the checkpoint in Malaysia is very strict. You need to pass the immigration counter so that your passport or border pass will be stamped. However, after walking across the bridge, you can just walk straight without ignoring the Thai Immigration counter which is situated on the right hand side.
There are plenty of motorcycle taxis around that area. They charge around 20 Baht from the border into the town which is about 1km. Holding 2 nationalities is very comfortable for me to walk in and out between these two countries.
Sungai Kolok is like other Thai border towns. There are Thai, Thai Chinese and Thai Muslim all over. There are also army in almost every parts of the town. For me, without those bombings or shootings, Sungai Kolok is a very perfect town. Not so big or small. Just nice. In Sungai Kolok, the locals speak Yawi, one of the dialect in Malay Language. Thai is being use in the town as well. Some of the Chinese families in the town speak perfect Chinese language.
Kao rop tong chat (เคารพธงชาติ) means something like respecting the national flag. There’s a programme that been organized by the Thai Government which is called ไทยสามัคคี ไทยเข้มแข็ง (United Thais Strong Thailand). The programme is to encourage people to unite and be patriotism. Each province will host their own event of singing the national anthem. Starting with Krabi, they will take turn in Thai alphabetical order to other provinces. This goes on everyday. People will gathered at the organized location before 6:00pm to sing both the national and king anthem together. I wanted to join but too bad that I have work to do in Malaysia. They had it in Udon on the 30th November.
The video I attached is the national anthem singing event held in Yala province.
I will be home in less than 1 month time. Managed to get a cheap return ticket 2 days before with Lufthansa. Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways are expensive. Air Asia charges 734oBaht, Malaysia Airlines 7640Baht both for return and Thai Airways 9500+ Baht for only one way. This german national carrier offers the cheapest among all which I only paid 470Baht for ticket price plus 4550Baht for taxes. Lufthansa doesn’t fly directly to Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is their extra destination. They only operate 2 or 3 flights a week between Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Other than Malaysia, Lufthansa also do fly to Ho Chih Minh City from Bangkok.
I love to buy local things which represent the place whenever I travel. In Laos for example, a Beer Lao T-Shirt is a must. Collect souvenirs will make me remember back the places I had been. Some of my souvenirs were given to me by my friends who travel. I got a p*ssy purse keychain from my sick Japanese colleague. He bought it when we went back to Japan for a holiday. Well, here are some of my collections.
Noon and I went to the Skybridge of Petronas Twin Towers on Noon’s birthday. We woke up as early as 5am to get ourselves ready to queue up for the free ticket. If I am not mistaken, there are only 1000+ tickets to be issued everyday. It is on first come first serve basis. We walked to the LRT (Light Rail Transit) Station and took the LRT to the station of KLCC, where the station is under the tower itself. We then walked towards Suria KLCC shopping mall which is also situated in between the towers. The ticket booth is located at the Concourse Level and is open at 8:30am.
I thought we might be the earliest creatures to be there. There were already quite a number of tourists in line. So we went to queue as early as 6:15am. At about 7:30am, the crowds were getting bigger and the line was getting longer. I didn’t really bother as we were in the front position. The Twin Towers is open from Tuesday to Sunday (9am to 5pm). Once the ticket booth opened slightly 5 minutes after 8:30am, one of the staffs called the first person in the line to collect the ticket. Only 10-15 people are allowed to go up to the bridge at once. Noon and I took the 9am ticket and were told to wait in the waiting area. At the waiting area, there are demonstration on how the towers were built. There are also comparison of towers around the globe and few science games.
The Skybridge is located on the 41st floor. The bridge is actually a 2 storey bridge and on the upper level (42nd flor) of the bridge is only open for the tenants of the towers. We were brought into a room where a staff explained all about the tower to us. After the demonstration, we took our passes and walked through the security checkpoint and then we straight to the lift. After all people in the group were all in the lift, a staff and a policeman came along with us and then explained more about the towers.
Tourists are allow to take photos on the bridge for only 10 minutes. It was amazing there we can see the Kuala Lumpur city view from that high. Everybody seems like enjoying their time on the bridge and the 10 minutes seems to be too short. Go as early as possible because you might not want to wait the whole day just for the ticket and ended up being told by the staff over there that the allotment is full. A visit to the Skybridge should not be missed if you are visiting Kuala Lumpur.
Samila Beach is famous among people in deep south of Thailand, mainly from province of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla itself. Samila Beach is located in Muang District of Songkhla Province. Located in the City Municipality, Samila Beach is renowned for its powdery sandy beach, shady pine groves and the statue of a mermaid which is Songkhla’s most famous landmark.
I visited Samila Beach when Noon and I went back for Songkran by train. Our train arrives about 10am in the morning and our bus will depart from Hatyai at about 6pm in the evening. We then rented a guesthouse in Niphat Uthit 2 Road for 150Baht just to put our luggage and shower. We then planned to go to Samila Beach which is 40km from Hatyai.
We took a minivan from Hatyai to Songkhla for 20Baht per person. The minivan was cramped with people who went to Songkhla as well. It took us less then 1 hour to reach Songkhla and we told the driver to stop us at Samila Beach. The Beach was not too crowded the time we went. There were few tour groups including a school trip from Narathiwat. Noon and I bought some food from one of the stalls and they gave us a mat so that we can eat on the beach.
We then took some photos with the Golden Mermaid Statue. Rain started to pour, we quickly stopped a tuk tuk truck and asked the driver to bring us to the minivan station which is quite near. From there, we took a minivan back to Hatyai. And on the journey back to Hatyai, I just remembered that we did not have a look at the Cat and Rat Statue which is also on the beach.
From Malaysia, travelling by train is more comfortable than express buses. I used to travel by train back to Thailand few times. It took almost 13-14 hours depending on how long the train stops at each station. Normally, the Malaysian train (KTMB) operating from the main hub in Kuala Lumpur Sentral until their last station on the Malaysian side of Padang Besar. For travellers who travel to Hatyai, they might need to wait for the Thai locomotive to bring the coaches and continue until Hatyai. From Hatyai, travellers will need to change train if they continue their journey to Bangkok.
Lower Sleeping Booth
Ticket can be purchased at the Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station. To Hatyai, it costs around 570++Baht for lower sleeping booth which has more space and is more comfortable. The price for the upper booth is just 50 or 60Baht cheaper. The sitting coach ticket is cheaper.
Padang Besar Station(including Malaysian Immigration and Thai Immigration as well)
At the Padang Besar Station, all passengers need to get down with their luggages as KTMB will only let the Thai locomotive which is operate by (SRT) to bring 1 sitting coach and 1 sleeping coach. Malaysian border police will get on the train to make sure that all passengers get down. For those who will continue their journey to Hatyai, they need to go through the Malaysian Immigration checkpoint and then walk to the other side for the Thai Immigration Checkpoint. Both located in the same building. The border towns too share the same name. Padang Besar.
While waiting for the train to come back, I normally go to the toilet to brush my teeth and wash my face. After about 30 minutes, all passengers are allow to get back on the train. This time, Thai railway police will be joining from Padang Besar to Hatyai. There are some touts who will go along and ask travellers with backpack if they need a taxi or van to Krabi or Phuket. Each time I travel by train, I will come across the same Muslim lady which I assume to be a Thai who works for KTMB as a cleaner on the train. She has a side job which is an illegal money changer. She gives better rate than license money changer.
Tuk Tuk in Hatyai
Once the train reaches Hatyai Junction, there are more touts coming over and ask if you need a tuk tuk truck. They are cheap and just bargain with them if they offer you more than 100Baht to your destination as the price should not be more than that. The train station is in the city itself and just few blocks away from Lee Garden which is the city center. I sometimes walk there. I only take the tuk tuk truck if I am going to the bus terminal as it is quite far by foot.