We begin our day as early as 7.30 am as we are going to start our day trip package that we already booked yesterday. We took the 4 Island package which cost us around 400baht. There is temptation to take the other lucrative package such as 7 island and Phi Phi Island package but our financial condition at that time does not permit us to do so. Anyway its our 8th day of travelling so money was a scarcity. Haha. We need to be thrifty with our spending. If not we might not make it to Malaysia ! We were picked up by the travel package driver in front of our hotel and he brought us to the meeting point at the beach. We were using the long boat as our mode of transportation.
The trip starts at 8.30am. The first stop was Chicken Island. Here, we were dropped for 30 minutes to enjoy the scenery. There is a part of the beach that is only visible during the low tide. So we took the chance to go there and took a couple of photos. The water was very clear and the fishes were not scared with human. Whenever u drop your feet into the water the fish will come. After that we proceed to the snorkeling spot. All the equipments were provided and we spend about 45 minutes there. The water was crystal clear and I really enjoyed it. Then, we moved to Poda Island and had our lunch there. The lunch was included together with the package.
Our last stop was at Railey beach. There is a famous temple here (I forgot what’s the name) and beautiful cave here. We end our journey at around 3pm. We spend the night contemplating whether we should go to the Tiger Cave temple and Emerald pool the very next day. Due to budget and time constraints, we had to forego this and save it for another trip.
The journey from Bangkok to Surat Thani took about 12 hours. During the night, me and my friends play some poker games to kill the time. Apparently there’s a lot of backpackers too in our coach. Some of them are from Europe and some of them are from South America. As a traveller, I always believe that books is our best friend. So I did bring a couple of books to accompany me , especially during long-distance travel. For this trip, i brought over with me a book entitled “The Voluntourist”. Ken Budd’s The Voluntourist is a remarkable memoir about losing your father, accepting your fate, and finding your destiny by volunteering around the world for numerous worthy causes: Hurricane Katrina disaster relief in New Orleans, helping special needs children in China, studying climate change in Ecuador, lending a hand—and a heart—at a Palestinian refugee camp in the Middle East. I find it the books very interesting as it shows the reader the other way of travelling, which i believe is something I would do in the future.
The sun rise about 5.30am. By that time, most of the passengers had already woke up. I took the chance to stand in the space between the couch to feel the morning breeze. The feeling was just soothing and relaxing. When the wind blows your hair, it blows together all the problems that have been lingering in your head. We had our cup of tea at the train cafeteria, just to get the feel of morning in a train. It was just perfect.
We safely arrived at Surat Thani around 7.30am. As stated before, we did not pre-book any transport from here to Krabi because of the exorbitant price quoted by the travel agent in Bangkok. So we simply walk out from the train station and seek for any modes of transportation randomly. We managed to hop in into a double decker bus eventhough there is no seat available. Some of the passenger, including 3 of us had to sit on the floor for about 30 minutes before they drop us at one point to board a van. From that van , we were dropped off at another jetty, but its not the place that we thought. That jetty is meant for those who want to go to Koh Samui Island. We were kind of screwed up.
I asked my friends to asked around about our whereabouts. I confronted the person that brings us there. However he looks as clueless as we are. Then I saw a woman that was wearing the same stickers that we had from the conductor in the bus. She said that there will be van transporting us from that jetty to Krabi. We patiently wait for about 40 minutes and then a van come up . So we hop into the van without any hesitation, eventhough there is chance that this is another scam. At this time of troubles, I can only pray that this choice will lead us to the place that we want to go.
3 hours after that, we finally reached Krabi. It was a relief for 3 of us. The van dropped us at one meeting point for their company vehicle. The place was isolated and we had no choice but to use their van to send us to Ao Nang I guess that is their way to made money. Once we reach Ao Nang, we checked in at the hotel and had our lunch. Halal food is everywhere in Krabi. However, their price is quite expensive, as usual for a tourist spot.W spent the evening looking around for the most affordable island package offered for tomorrow activities. We also look around for the most frasible way to get back to Malaysia. The initial plan was to use van to Hatyai. However , due to unforeseen circumstances (we almost finish our thai Baht cash) , we had to book flights to KLIA as we still can pay it through online transaction, which requires no thai Baht cash. Lesson learnt. Do activate your account for use in overseas. I knew it about those kind of things, but I keep delaying things until i forgot about it. I only realised that I have not activate my account when we were already in Cambodia. Luckily my sister helps me to buy the ticket. If not, we might be stranded in Thailand !
This is the last day in Bangkok. So me and my friend decided to take it easy and just relax in the morning. We checkout from the hotel around 12.30pm. What I can say is the staff in JS Tower was really helpful. They even helps us making calls to the hotel that I reserved in Krabi without charging us a single cent. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone staying in Bangkok on budget, especially for muslim traveller, as they provided halal food. Eventhough its quite far from the BTS, the hospitality is top notch. To kill the time before we embark on the train to Surat Thani at 7.30pm, we book a taxi to Terminal 21 shopping mall. As we are in group, the fares when when divided with 3 persons is actually cheaper than using BTS. However if U are travelling solo, it is better to use BTS.
We had our lunch at Terminal 21. Eventhough it is in shopping mall , the prices was very reasonable, just like the prices of food in normal shop in Malaysia. But the best thing about Terminal 21 is not that. It is a shopping complex that have different city theme for each floor, consists of LG Floor – Caribbean, G Floor – Rome, M Floor – Paris, 1st Floor – Tokyo, 2nd Floor – London, 3rd Floor – Istanbul, 4th Floor – San Francisco (City), 5th Floor – San Francisco (Pier), and 6th Floor – Hollywood. So, each floors has different design and shops, based on their theme. Even the toilet design for each floor is different ! They also have the London double decker Bus replica and San Francisco bridge.
We left Terminal 21 for Bangkok Central Train Station at 5pm by BTS. For dinner, we just packed the food from the KFC besides the train station. We booked a 2nd Class Fan sleeper seat which cost around 500baht. We departed to Surat Thani at 7.30pm.
For today, we decided to roam around area in central Bangkok. The first place that we went was Siam Center by BTS. Basically its a huge shopping complex with everything in it. We had our lunch there and then we walk our way to BTS again and stop at the very next station which is National Stadium. Actually, there’s a lot of interesting places around Siam Center and National Stadium and all are within walking distance. You can figure it out through the maps that is put at the train station.
We made our way to Jim Thompson House museum from the BTS train station by walking. The Jim Thompson House is the home of James H.W. Thompson, a self-made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the world renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. Thompson’s achievements during his 25 year stay in the Kingdom of Thailand have won him much fame as the “Legendary American of Thailand”. He is actually a former US Army officer who had his working stints in Thailand and then fall in love with the culture. So once he retire from the service, he decide to come back to Thailand. The entrance fee for this is 50baht for student price and 100baht for normal visitors. We were provided with a tour guide who is proficient in English to explain us about every details about the place. The architecture of the buildings is pretty much the same like Malay house in Malaysia, which reminds me of my own house in village before it was renovated.
After that, we walked about 500 metres and reached the Bangkok Art & Gallery Center. There was no entrance fee to enter this place. This gallery is huge and the way they decorate it is very stylish. This is the rendezvous of art industry in Thailand, be it painter, film-maker, comic artist etc. It has 7 floors and we actually went to every floor! haha. The coffee house here is pretty cool.
After we done exploring the art world at the gallery, we moved to our next stop which is the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market. This market is must-visit place for everyone who put their foot in this city. We reach there by BTS, which stops at Mo Chit station. From there we walked about 100 metres before we reach the market. U can find almost everything here. If U can haggle, please do so. But what I can see is the hawker here does not tolerate much, as the initial price quoted is already low. The size of the market is super duper freaking huge. For muslims, do not worry much about the food as there were a lot of muslims hawker here. I bought a couple of shirts and fridge magnet here. I even tried the fried grasshoppers for the first time ! A few interesting facts I encounter is at everyday at 6pm , the national song will be aired and everyone is obliged to stand still as a sign of respect, regardless of whatever you are doing at that time. A great way to foster patriotism indeed.
11 OCTOBER 2014 : We had our breakfast at the hotel around 9.30am as it was included as part of the package( a very good bargain isnt?). After that , we started our journey for the day by taking taxi from the hotel to the Grand Palace. It cost us around 70baht divided by 3. Thats the perks of travelling with group as you can spread the cost among your group members. But if you are solo traveller, it is advisable to use the MRT. After roaming around that area, we decided to take a boat package to tour around Menam Chao Phraya river. The initial price was 1000 baht for 3 person, but we managed to haggle and reduced it to 800 baht. We did not enter the Grand Palace as the entrance fee was too expensive (20USD), hence we decided to spend the day with the boat. We boarded the boat and we cruised the Menam Chao Phraya river with 2 other traveller from Vietnam. Actually they are not Viatnamese but they are expatriates from USA and France whom are having teaching stint in Hanoi. They are very friendly and I actually amazed by their willingness to fly across the world to teach people from 3rd world country. Among the activities that we did during the trip was feeding the fish ( I tell u, the fishes were damn huge), floating market and end the trip at the Temple of the Dawn, Wat Arun. The prices of the fish at the floating market was super cheap and we had our lunch there. I guess it is because the fish was too much and easy to get, hence the price. It was 3 times cheaper than the price of fish in Malaysia. The taste of the fish was fabulous and it was very fresh. At Wat Arun, we chilled out for 3 hours enjoying the view of Bangkok from the the top of the temple.
After that, we proceed to the The Reclining Buddha complex by taxi. The entrance fee is 100Baht. The complex was very huge, consists of several temple and thousands of sitting buddha monuments. I even stay in their prayer hall and listen to monk’s recitation for about 15 minutes. The architectures were marvellous and wonderful. They use tiles and marbles as their main substance to built the place. There was heavy downpour while we are in. Luckily at that time we already finished touring the whole complex and we did bring disposable rainjacket with us.
Then, we went to the famous Khao San Road , which is known as the place for backpackers around the world to stay in Bangkok. The street was indeed lively, just like Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur, except that it is more happening. We had our dinner there by buying fried mee at the stall. If you are a backpacker that like to have collector’s item, this is the place. I bought some flag patches to be patch at my backpack, resembling the country that i have been before. In Khao San road, they even have services for faking passport and license ! Make sure you haggle everytime you want to buy something here. After that, we took Tuk2 to Ratchanewi train station. On our way there, the driver even offered us to watch shows (U know what I mean). We decline the offer. I believe it was a test of faith. Hahaha. Bangkok is no place for the weak-hearted.