About Me

My photo
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I am married to my loving husband for more than 38 years now. I am a mother to 3 beautiful children, until 11 years ago when I lost my youngest son. Since then my life is forever altered but yet unbroken....

My Travel Journal

"There isn't much I haven't shared with you along the road and through it all there'd always be tomorrow's episode" - Elton John

I started traveling around the world since early 80s when I had the opportunity to combine business trips with vacations. Then later when my rezeki is in abundance, there were numerous other trips along the way for vacations, most of the time with hubby and the kids when the timing is right. I have also started to compile the journal and photo-pages covering almost more than 25 years of world wide travel. Some destinations I visited just once, others many times. Many of those places are the obvious famous places people would like to visit but some, the casual traveler doesn't even think to try. I have placed links to my travel at the side bar of my personal page, My Life Reflections, and will be updating them from time to time.

My wish is to continue my travel and complete circumnavigate the globe, insyaAllah…

Monday, 10 March 2014

Ratchaprabha Van-Damn Ride...

"Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful..."

(The Guilin of Thailand)

Day 1 - Friday, 7 March 2014
KL- Surat Thani

This trip was initially planned as our solo ride but when a few friends were also interested to ride along we had brought this trip forward as not to clash with our trip to Singapore, planned for the week after.

(Early morning rendezvous)

On Friday early morning, the gang met at R&R Rawang, performed Subuh prayers and had a hearty breakfast of nasi lemak and toasts. Tayar golek around 7:30 am and our first stop was at Simpang Pulai for refueling. We rode direct to Changloon but one of the bike had to make a short detour to refuel as the fuel gauge was resting permanently on red.

At our favorite coffee shop, we completed the paper works for insurance and exchanged some bahts. For some of us who had bought motor insurance for the whole year need only to fill up the white arrival/departure cards. Border clearance at Bukit Kayu Hitam was smooth and very fast. We had lunch at Kak Jah Restaurant in Danok and performed our jama’ prayers there.

(Nescafe latte and iced cappuccino to quench our thirst)

From Danok we rode north bound on Highway 4 then 401 towards Surat Thani and stopped in Patthalung for refueling and a short coffee break at the Amazon Cafe. It was a very hot humid afternoon and we were sweating buckets.

We arrived in Surat Thani early and decided to have dinner at Aji Restaurant by the river side. Unfortunately the road to the restaurant was closed as there was a Consumer Expo being held along the river bank and vehicles were not allowed to pass through.

(Princess Park Hotel, owned by a Muslim entrepreneur)
(A cozy clean room)

At first we wanted to check-in at a nearby hotel but all rooms were full. We then rode to Princess Park Hotel quite a distance away from town. We had stayed in this hotel before, during our KQ2 trip. The room is spacious and clean and it only cost us B700/night. After a refreshing bath and a short rest, we requested the hotel to call a tuk-tuk to bring us to Aji Restaurant for dinner. We learned from Aji’s son that his father had a stroke and is now bed-ridden.

(A crowd of local and foreign visitors at the Expo)
(Sweet colorful cakes)
(AThai version of lemang bakar)
(Alien creatures, an exotic delicacy)
(Happy hours by the river side)
(Light reflections on the Tapi River)
(Ordering a tall glass of iced-tea on a hot night)
(A group photo at the ASEAN exposition)

After dinner we thronged among the crowd and visited the stalls selling all sorts of merchandises, ranging from cloths, food, pets and varieties of souvenirs. Later, we took a tuk-tuk back to the hotel and had a good laugh when we gave a wrong instruction to the driver and missed the junction to the hotel. We had to walk quite a distance but luckily the driver of the tuk-tuk came back and brought us safely to the hotel doorsteps.

(Yellow rice and sup tulang at Aji's)
(A cramped ride in a tuk-tuk)

Tonight we slept deeply and soundly to rejuvenate our tired bodies after riding for about 980 km direct from KL.


Day 2 - Saturday, 8 March 2014
Surat Thani - Kao Sok National Park - Ratchaprabha Dam - Krabi

We had halal buffet breakfast, toasts and eggs at the hotel cafe for only B80/person.

(Getting ready for the road)
(Watching out for road signage)
(Riding leisurely out of Surat Thani)

It was a perfect day for riding as the weather was cooler in the morning and the sky was clear. We checked-out of the hotel and started riding on Highway 401 towards Khao Sok National Park by-passing the junction to Ratchaprabha Dam.

(A welcoming signage to the National Park)
(One photo shot for the album)
(A long and winding road)
(Heading into the mountainous landscape)
(Off-roading for quite a distance)
(A curvy road ahead)
(By-passing the junction to Ratchaprabha Dam)

When we reached the National Park there were quite a lot of resorts and hotels to choose from. We passed a few nice cozy jungle resorts and tree-top houses, the set-up were exactly like the pictures in the internet. After consulting a local guide, we were told that the Ratchaprabha Dam is quite a distance away but there are nature tours available to bring tourist to the dam either by van or by boat.

(The entrance to the Khao Sok National Park)
(Rain Forest Resort, at home with nature)
(The tree top river huts)
(The KTM taking a rest)
(Reaching the end of the road)
(Consulting a local guide)
(Checking our bearing on the GPS)

As it was still early in the morning, we decided to ride to the dam and explore the area. The route to the dam is scenic with limestone hills as a stunning backdrop to the landscape. Ratchaprabha Dam was constructed in 1982 forming more than 150 islands, many are limestone pillars rising upright against the bright blue sky. At certain area there are abundant of natural caves with stalagmites and stalactites inside. The beautiful and exotic scenery is often likened to the incredible ‘Guilin’ landscapes in southern China.

(A stunning scenery along the route)
(Riding on a good paved road)
(The dam is a short distance from the junction)
(Welcome to the Guilin of Thailand)
(A guard house to enter the dam area)
(Ratchaprabha Golf Course)
(Going for a short detour)
(The Golf Club reception building)
(The reservoir across the green course)

Sightseeing tours can be arranged at the pier for a fee. One can cruise the dam, visit the floating raft houses and enjoy the charming scenery and the crystal clear water of the reservoir. Or one can trek across the mountain ridge, or go swimming or kayaking.

Today there were busload of foreign and local tourists visiting the dam. And all the raft houses were fully booked. We were told that tourists have been avoiding Bangkok because of the unrest and instead crowded other place of attractions such as the national parks, islands and beaches.

(A first glimpse of the dam)
(Waiting for our lunch order)
(Special dishes to fill hungry tummies)

We were not even near the pier or on the long-tail boat but Rozlan got his wallet drenched when his mineral water bottle leaked inside his pouch, wetting everything inside including his cell-phone. So after this little mishap and to grieve with Rozlan, we are going to nick-named this trip as ‘Van-Damn Ride’.

It was already noon, so we had our lunch of crispy fried fresh-water fish and spicy Tom yam at the restaurant somewhere near the pier. After lunch we decided to ride to Krabi on an alternative route of Highway 4035 then Highway 44.

(The EGAT pier for lake tour)
(The long-tail boats waiting for passengers) 
(A tall glass of iced Nescafe on a hot afternoon)
(A photo shot on the reservoir)
(One for the album with the KTM)
(Happy faces of Kita-kita Bikers)
(Ready to ride out to Krabi)
(An over-lander rider after a long rest)
(What a jubilation! A victory sign)

(Crystal clear water)
(Riding the road on the reservoir) 

We reached Krabi town and refueled before we headed towards Ao Nang Beach. We did not make any hotel reservation but tried our luck and look for lodging around J Mansion Hotel. Most hotels were fully booked but we managed to get 4 rooms from 4 different hotels. We were lucky that the hotels were near to each other.

(Taking an alternative road)
(A long straight road, good for speeding)
(Arriving in Krabi late afternoon)
(A simple dinner for tonight)
(Waiting in line for foot and body massage)

We had dinner at a nearby Muslim restaurant and later indulged in a 2-hour of therapeutic relaxing massage to sooth our tired muscles.


Day 3 - Sunday, 9 March 2014
Krabi - Hatyai

The gang checked-out of the hotel early and rode to the Muslim restaurant near the mosque for a nasi kerabu breakfast.

(Ready to ride to Hatyai)
(A refreshing coffee before the journey)
(Nasi kerabu breakfast with pulut pagi)
(Long-tail boats at Ao Nang Beach)
(Riding out of Krabi)
(Riding at a safe distance)
(Riding with care on a curvy slippery road)
(The mountainous highway still under construction)

It was around 10:30 am when we rode leisurely towards Hatyai. Taufik rode on direct to KL as he has to be in office tomorrow to attend to an urgent work-related matter. The rest will be staying a night in Hatyai. After checking-in the Golden Crown Hotel we had a late lunch at Khalid Restaurant next door. After a short rest, the gang took a tuk-tuk to the Central Market and Bazaar to buy some tid-bits to bring home. We came back to the hotel and went for a 2-hour strong aromatherapy massage at a nearby massage parlor.

(Entering Hatyai town during low traffic)
(Colorful buildings of the city)
(The Golden Crown Hotel room)

Tonight we had burger for dinner. The Muslim burger stall was a short walking distance from our hotel. There are varieties of burgers to choose from. Besides the normal beef and chicken burger, they also served burger Rusa, burger Arnab and burger Kambing. The burger, topped with eggs, tomato salad and mayonnaise dressing is something worth a try.

(A stall selling exotic burgers)
(Delicious, mouth watering burgers)

After dinner, we walked to the area around Lee Gardens Plaza and met with some other bikers gang there. We bought some t-shirts for the kids and grand-kids at Pink Lady Plaza and later indulged in teh halia and char-kuey goreng with sweet kaya dipping at Aji stall. Others had a go for pulut durian or pulut mango, a delicacy not to be missed when you are in Hatyai.

(Being entertained while having teh tarik)

We walked back to the hotel for a good night sleep.


Day 4 - Monday, 10 March 2014
Hatyai - KL

We checked-out early and had a good heavy breakfast at Khalid Restaurant before we rode towards the border.

At the border, we need to pay RM2 instead of RM1 to the Thai immigration officer. The border clearance was fast. At Petronas Changloon we refuelled and after a short rest we rode to Juru Autocity. We had ikan bawal goreng for lunch at the famous Kelapa Sawit Restaurant.

(Crispy bawal goreng for lunch)

The heavy lunch and the very hot humid weather made the body lethargic and sleepy. We rode leisurely and stopped at Simpang Pulai R&R for refuelling and a short rest. From here we split ways and rode home.

We reached our apartment around 4:30 pm. After a refreshing shower we drove to IJN to visit Shah, hubby’s elder brother. He will be undergoing an open heart surgery for a coronary by-pass.

Good luck Shah. We’ll pray for your successful operation and a fast recovery.


Date: 7 - 10 March, 2014
Route taken: KL - Surat Thani - Ratchaprabha Dam - Krabi - Hatyai - KL
Total mileage: 2105 km
Bikers gang: Mus/Mun, Munawar/Rose, Zali, Taufik and Rozlan

No comments: