"Don't compare your progress with that of others. We all need our own time to travel our own distance..."
Sunrise to Sunset Ride
Day 1 - Thursday, 30 Jan 2014
(KL - Padang Besar - Pak Bara - Koh Lipe)
|(Midnight rendezvous at the R&R)|
It was still early in the morning when we reached Changloon and settled insurance and money exchange. We headed towards Padang Besar and stopped at a roadside warong for a heavy breakfast.
Although it was a public holiday, the Immigration and Custom clearance was fast as there were not many people. By 9:00 am we started riding towards Pak Bara where we would take the ferry to Koh Lipe.
|(Smooth border clearance)|
|(Waiting for the rest to settle custom declarations)|
The trunk road from Padang Besar led us towards Hatyai first before we took the junction to Satun. If we had entered Thailand through Wang Kelian, we would have saved some time as the route led direct to Pak Bara.
|(Riding the trunk road towards Hatyai)|
|(A long way to reach Pak Bara)|
|(Heading towards Satun)|
|(Signage to the right route)|
By the time we reached Pak Bara the gang had split into 3 groups. At the Ferry Terminal we settled the ferry tickets and paid for the hotel booking while waiting for the rest to arrive. The ferry ticket was b800 return per person and the hotel room was b2000 per night. There was no refund for the booking of rooms for the two couples who had canceled the trip so the rest had to bear the cost of the extra rooms.
|(Pak Bara Pier)|
|(Travel and tour operators at Pak Bara)|
We parked our motorbikes at a secured parking area for a fee of b100 per night. We were running a little late to board the 11:30 am ferry but were lucky that the ferry operator waited for us. If we missed it, the next ferry to Koh Lipe was scheduled at 3:00 pm. The journey took almost 2 hours. The water was a little choppy so we slept all the way to avoid being sea-sick.
|(2-hour ferry ride from Pak Bara Pier)|
|(Arriving at Koh Lipe shore line)|
|(On the transit barge waiting for the long-tail boat)|
|(Happy faces, all smiles)|
We checked in the Varin Beach Resort situated on one of the three beaches of Koh Lipe. Koh Lipe has three main beaches - Sunset Beach, Sunrise Beach and Pattaya Beach. Accommodation varies from grass huts to air-conditioned bungalows and can be found scattered on these beaches.
|(A long-tail boat to transport pessengers)|
|(Beautiful corals off the shore)|
|(Crystal clear water, good for snorkelling)|
|(A welcoming drink, waiting to check-in)|
|(Snorkeling and diving instruments for rent)|
|(Our lodging for the night)|
Some of the gang skipped napping and walked around the island. It is possible to walk around the entire island in a little over an hour on a small concrete road. There was no cars on the island but there were a few motorbikes but none was for rent. Long-tail boats will take you from any point on the island to any other point on the island for only b50.
|(Planning to explore the island at night)|
|(Koh Lipe Walking Streets)|
|(The crowd at the Walking Street)|
|(Plenty of boutique shops and eateries)|
As we were staying only a night on the island we missed the opportunity to scuba dive and snorkel around Koh Lipe and its neighboring islands. The calm, clear water makes Koh Lipe ideal for snorkeling and there are large varieties of fishes around the coral just a few meters deep, straight off all of the beaches.
|(Munawar and Rose waiting for their dinner)|
|(The three stooges, still undecided where to eat)|
|(Plenty of finger food to choose from)|
|(Foreign ice-cream vendors)|
|(Plenty of bars and bistros)|
|(Many halal restaurants too)|
|(Variety of local and western dishes)|
|(Live music almost every night)|
As we were not that hungry, we chose to have banana pancakes for dinner instead. After dinner we had an hour of wonderful foot reflexology.
|(Yeay... we are here on Koh Lipe)|
|(A relaxing massage, a good sleep after)|