BAGAIMANA MENDAKI GUNUNG KINABALU DENGAN BAJET BAWAH RM 1000 (All-in).

Ramai  yang ingin mendaki Gunung Kinabalu tetapi tidak tahu cara. Tak kurang juga ada isu dengan penganjur , nak buat trip private tapi cuma ada 3-4 orang dll. Di sini saya ingin kongsikan cara D.I.Y untuk mendaki Gunung Kinabalu secara bajet (Ala-ala backpackers gitu) bawah RM 1000 termasuk flight . Ini berdasarkan pengalaman saya ke sana pada bulan Disember 2015 lepas. Di sini saya ingatkan cara di bawah adalah cara backpackers dan D.I.Y , maka sudah tentu ada beberapa perkara yang tak sebaik jika anda gunakan agensi. Sebutharga di bawah adalah berdasarkan harga terkini yang saya periksa (rate baru 2016) .

Pertama sekali , anda kenalah lakukan tempahan pendakian dengan Sutera Sanctuary Lodge (SSL). SSL adalah syarikat yang diamanahkan oleh kerajaan negeri untuk mengendalikan Kinabalu Park (KP). Jadi kalau anda guna travel agency sekalipun, mereka juga berurusan dengan pihak SSL juga. Adalah sangat tidak disarankan untuk sampai ke Sabah baru nak tempah kerana jumlah pendaki setiap hari sekarang telah terhad kepada 100 sahaja, jadi besar kemungkinan tempahan last minute takkan berhasil. Di sini anda boleh tempah pakej 2 hari 1 malam dengan SSL yang berharga RM509.00 . Saya sarankan anda check dulu harga tiket penerbangan ke Kota Kinabalu. Dapat tarikh dan harga yang cun , hubungi SSL untuk buat tempahan. Kalau ada kekosongan baru proceed tempah slot pendakian dan tiket penerbangan. Saya sarankan anda perlukan tempoh masa 4 hari 3 malam pergi balik supaya tak terlalu terkejar-kejar dan elakkan kemungkinan terlepas flight. Saya akan kongsikan contoh itinerary di bawah :

Day 1 : Departure and Arrival

Flight Air Asia AK 5110 0630AM. Sampai di KK jam 0930AM. Sampai di airport, anda boleh ambil shuttle bus ke Stesen Bas Padang Merdeka dengan harga RM 5. Di sini anda boleh menaiki bas (lebih kepada van loncat sebenarnya) untuk ke Kinabalu Park yang berharga RM 20-25. Perjalanan akan mengambil masa lebih kurang 3 jam +-. Anda boleh makan tengah hari di kedai sekitar Padang Merdeka.  Anggaran masa anda tiba lebih kurang jam 3pm. Di sini anda boleh tempah mana-mana chalet atau lodge bajet berhampiran KP seperti Tahubang Lodge,J Residence,Jungle Jack Backpacker dan Kinabalu Mountain Lodge. Contoh macam di Tahubang Lodge harga rm99 satu bilik. Kalau kongsi 2 atau 3 orang dah tentu lebih murah . Lebih dekat dekat dengan KP lagi bagus supaya pagi esoknya anda boleh jalan kaki sahaja ke sana. Untuk makan malam ada restoran di depan KP. Kalau nak jimat bungkus siap-siap dari KK. Bermalam.

Day 2 : Start Hike

Bangun awal pagi untuk bersiap dan sarapan (boleh bawak roti dari KK). Dalam 7.30AM terus ke KP untuk pendaftaran dan bayaran beberapa jenis fees. Untuk pengetahuan anda, ada beberapa bayaran tambahan yang tak termasuk dalam pakej SSL seperti entrance (RM 7) ,permit mendaki (RM50 rate baru 1 Jan 2016) ,insurans (RM 7) , guide (RM 230/5 = RM46),transport ke Timpohon Gate untuk mula pendakian dan selepas (RM4.50 X 2 = RM9). Anda  boleh simpan bagpack anda yang besar gedabak tu di locker di KP dengan harga RM12 dan hanya bawa beg kecil daypack untuk ke atas. Bawa barang yang perlu sahaja seperti jaket untuk summit attack awal pagi esoknya, lunchpack (dah masuk dalam pakej), berus gigi, air semasa nak laban rata dan snack ringan. Perkara lain seperti tuala,selimut dan makanan semua disediakan di Laban Rata.

Sampai di Laban Rata, anda boleh nikmati buffet dinner sepuas hati anda sebab dah include dalam pakej. Masa ni saya makan kawkaw kononnya carbo loading lah kan padahal sebab dah include dalam pakej. Kambing bakar, daging salai ,ayam semua adalah dan anda boleh hantam sepuasnya. Tapi kalau lemau esoknya nak ke summit jangan salahkan saya haha.  Anda akan tidur di dorm dan boleh mandi air panas di guesthouse.

Day 3 : Summit Attack.

Bangun jam 1.30 pagi. Bersiap dengan pakaian summit attack dan supper (masuk dalam pakej).Boleh tinggal barang di dorm (atas risiko sendiri). Anda wajib makan kalau tak nak semput dan pitam. Serius. Jam 2.30am mula mendaki. Anda akan berjaya merealisasikan impian anda, iaitu menjejak kaki ke puncak Kinabalu dalam masa 3-4 jam.  Dah puas selfie semua, turun semula ke Laban Rata dalam 1 jam lebih dan sarapan (dalam pakej). Anda kena tinggalkan Laban Rata sebelum jam 10.30AM. Kalau sampai awal di LR boleh lah nak mandi dulu. Saya sempat tidursekejap sebelum turun ke KP.

Anda kemungkinan akan tiba di KP pada jam 12-3pm. Kutip sijil dan selfie. Buffet Lunch (dalam pakej) dan bedal lah puas-puas sebagai ganjaran. Habis lunch, anda boleh bergerak ke depan Kinabalu Park untuk tunggu bas/van untuk ke KK. Part ni yang tricky sikit sebab kadang-kadang bas atau van penuh. Kalau anda cukup sempoi, tahan je mana-mana 4WD yang lalu depan KP menuju ke KK dan tumpang belakang 4WD. Dahjimat duit. Itu yang saya dan 2 lagi rakan saya buat. Orang Sabah memang baik-baik dan ramai yang guna 4WD sebab faktor geografi.

Sampai di KK petang atau malam jadi bermalamlah di mana-mana backpackers hostel. Banyak dekat Gaya Street dengan kos RM20 semalam. Agoda,Trivago ada jadi manfaatkan lah. Malam tu nak pergi bedal seafood ke apa terpulang sebab semuanya walking distance dari Gaya Street.

Day 4 : Return with glory

Anda boleh jalan2 sekitar KK bergantung kepada flight anda. Kalau nak save duit, tempah la flight awal. Kalau rasa nak rilek sikit, ambil waktu tengah hari dan petang. Ambil shuttle bus ke aiport dari Padang Merdeka. Bila dah sampai KLIA, maka tamatlah perjalanan anda menjejak puncak tertinggi antara Himalaya dan Papua New Guinea. Di bawah saya sertakan bajet yang anda perlu sediakan

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Puncak 🙂

Contoh :

Pakej 2D1N SSL : RM 509

Tiket Flight Return KL-KK-KL : RM 178 Return (Boleh dapat lagi murah kalau promo)

Shuttle Bus Airport-Padang Merdeka-Airport : RM 10

Transport KK-KP-KK : RM 40

Tahubang Lodge / J Residence: 90-99 /2 = RM 40-45 seorang

Entrance Kinabalu Park : RM 3

Permit mendaki : RM 50

Insurans : RM 7

Mountain Guide : RM 230/5(max) = RM46. Jadi kumpul la kawan dalam 5 orang untuk jimat.

Transport KP-Timpohon Gate-KP : RM 9

Locker bag : RM 12

Certificate : RM10.60

Penginapan di KK : RM 20

JUMLAH : RM 889.60.

*Nak murah lagi, book flight masa promo. Kalau ada kawan yang tinggal di KK atau Ranau, masa ni lah nak gunakan diorang haha.

* ada cara yang murah lagi, tapi itu memerlukan anda untuk masak sendiri di Laban Rata dan juga tidur di khemah. Saya tak sarankanlah melainkan anda memang berpengalaman. Saya pergi nak enjoy je haha.

 

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XPDC Semeru Bromo 2015 : Ranu Kumbolo – Bromo – Bandung

Kami meninggalkan ranu Kumbolo dengan hati yang berat pada pagi itu untuk meneruskan perjalanan pulang ke HomestayRanu Pane. Perjalanan mengambil masa kira-kira 3 jam. Sebaik sampai, kami terus berkemas dan bergerak menuju ke Kawasan tanah tinggi Bromo. Kami sampai agak lewat pada jam 7 petang dan kami menginap di sebuah chalet yang disediakan penganjur.

Pada jam 2 pagi, kami bergerak ke Gunung Penanjakan untuk misi mengejar Sunrise dengan kenderaan pacuan 4 roda. Boleh dikatakan kawasan ini sangat popular dan padat dengan pengunjung walaupun pada hari bekerja. Kopi panas terasa sungguh nikmat dalam keadaan yang sejuk disitu. Dari puncak Penanjakan, jelas kelihatan Gunung Bromo dan Gunung Semeru dari kejauhan.

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Matahari terbit di ufuk timur
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Indah 🙂
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Ramai betul orang.
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Port Rahsia untuk ambil gambar di Penanjakan. Tak ramai yang tahu spot ni 😛

Selesai menikmati sunrise di Penanjakan, kami bergerak dengan 4WD ke Pasir Berbisik dan Bromo. Di situ nanti akan ada option untuk menaiki kuda atau berjalan kaki ke Bromo , dengan jarak sekitar 700 meter.

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Pemandangan dari puncak Bromo. Leisure hike. Naik tangga je

Selesai bergambar, kami pun bergerak ke Bandar Surabaya dan bermalam di sana. Aktiviti malam, lepak makan ABC special Surabaya (esok semua sakit perut haha) dan singgah ke kedai outdoor. Outdoor gear di Indonesia memang lebih murah dengan brand yang trustworthy seperti Eiger dan Consina.

Last day in Surabaya, kami pun berpisah . Ada yang balik Malaysia, Amir Hamzah ke Jogja, manakali aku dan Idzham Ke bandung dengan menaiki keretapi selama 14 jam. Di Bandung, ada kenalan student Malaysia di sana yang menjadi host kami berdua.

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Lepak rumah student
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Toko Buku Palasari, Syurga pencari buku di Kota Bandung
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Toko Eiger terbesar di Indonesia terletak di Bandung

 

Sewaktu di Bandung , sebenarnya kami dah tak larat dah nak jalan2 sangat. Next time, letak gunung sebagai tentatif terakhir sebab impak pendakian mungkin menyebabkan anda tak begitu bertenaga untuk buat aktiviti lain selepas itu. 2 hari 1 malam di Bandung, dan akhirnya kami pulang ke Tanah air tercinta Malaysia.

Di bawah merupakan rangkuman perjalanan kami sepanjang di Indonesia :

Thanks !

XPDC Semeru-Bromo 2015 : Departure & Arrival

11-12 September 2015,Jumaat-Sabtu

Today is the day. 7 bulan punya plan akan jadi kenyataan.Gara-gara flight malam ni, aku skip townhall Division untuk siapkan mana-mana kerja yang tertangguh. Nak cuti seminggu kan. Tepat jam 5, terus punch card untuk balik rumah untuk last preparation. Malam sebelum tu tidur pukul 3 gara-gara packing backpack dan alatan. Sampai je rumah terus bersiap. 2 orang yang aku berjaya hasut untuk ikut sekali trip ni, Amir dan Am, dah pun bersiap. Jam 7 petang kaki melangkah ke luar rumah menuju ke Stesen LRT Taman Melati , untuk ke KLIA2 via ERL Ekspress KL Sentral. Flight malam ni jam 10.25 malam. Sesampai sahaja di KLIA, kami terus check in luggage dan menunggu pesawat untuk berlepas. Kami tak tahu akan ada kejutan malam tu

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My gear. Investment ni 
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Sebelum Berlepas, Muka excited semua 

Jam 00.05 , pesawat AirAsia QZ327 selamat mendarat di Bandar Udara Internasional Juanda. Disebabkan plan adalah untuk tidur di airport, maka kami tidaklah tergesa-gesa untuk ambil luggage dan membuat keputusan untuk musolla. Musolla di airport Surabaya sangat banyak. Setiap 100m pasti berjumpa. Dan berbeza di Malaysia, musolla di sini tiada tirai atau pengasingan antara lelaki dan perempuan. Selepas beberapa ketika, kami pun ke tempat kutipan bagasi. Tunggu punya tunggu, hanya 2 beg yang muncul. Backpack Amir tak kunjung tiba. Hampir sahaja aku bertekak dengan pegawai imigresen yang bersikap acuh tak acuh terhadap masalah kami. Bila ditanya pegawai Air Asia, katanya backpack Amir tertinggal di KLIA2 dan akan dihantar bersama pesawat pagi esok. Ok fine. Kami pun beredar dan bergerak ke musolla lain di airport untuk berehat dan tidur. Bagusnya di airport ni wifi takde password, jadi bolehla update keadaan kami dengan trip member yang lain yang akan bergerak dengan flight awal pagi.

Azan subuh berkumandang jam 4.30 pagi. Maka kami pun menunaikan tuntutan hidup seorang muslim secara berjemaah sebelum sambung balik tidur. Lama lagi nak tunggu pagi. Kami bangun semula jam 7.30 pagi dan mula merayau mencari tempat untuk sarapan. Masa tengah sarapan, panggilan daripada ketua XPDC, Afif, masuk ke dalam telefon ku. Maka kami pun bergegas ke depan entrance airport dan memaklumkan kepada Uncle Karat dan Afif mengenai perihal backpack Amir. Maka sekali lagi kami ke kaunter pertanyaan AirAsia dan jawapan yang kami dapat adalah menghampakan. Tiada bayangan backpack dan pihak AirAsia memaklumkan mungkin bagasi masih lagi di KL. Mati akal Amir dibuatnya. Dah la ini 1st trip gunung dia (sebelum ni dia dah naik Bukit Kutu, dan dia insist yang tu gunung jugak hahaha), barang-barang semua baru beli (Backpack,kasut,gloves,pole etc) .  Mujurlah Uncle Karat ada bawak barang spare(barang dia sebenarnya) maka semua barang spare (kasut,glove,backpack,pole,hiking shoe,baselayer,cap,stokin,) semua dibagi pada Amir. Kalau tak kempunan lah Amir nak naik Semeru :D. Maka kami 12 orang beserta Kak Aishah(isteri Uncle Karat) dan 2 orang guide warga Indonesia pun meneruskan perjalanan ke Taman Negara dengan van yang telah disewa.

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Uncle karat came to the rescue ! 

Perjalanan ke Taman Negara Nasional Bromo Tengger Semeru memakan masa yang agak lama. Kami berhenti untuk makan dan solat di pekan Probolinggo dan membeli simkad hp di situ. Adalah dinasihatkan untuk mengambil simkad telkomsel kerana coverage nya yang lebih luas dan laju. Akhirnya kami tiba di Desa Ranu Pane, basecamp pendakian kira-kira jam 7.30 malam. Suasana memang sudah gelap seperti 10 malam waktu Malaysia, dan suhunya sangatlah sejuk, dalam 10-15 celcius. Sampai ke tulang beb. Baru basecamp ni. Kami check in dan dinner sebelum mendengar taklimat daripada Kak Aisyah dan Guider mengenai pendakian esok hari.

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Dinner time. Carbo loading. 

 

WIEF Young Fellows 2014 – Manila

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Last year, I was chosen to be part of the WIEF Young Fellows 2014. It was held for one week in the capital of Philippines, Manila from 18-24 June 2014. It was a privilege for me to be selected for this programme as I am are amongst hundreds of applicants from all over the world. For those who wonder what is this program all about, here’s some brief description about it :

” The WIEF Young Fellows is one of WIEF’s flagship programmes focusing on youth leadership. It is a one-week intensive leadership programme bringing together young leaders across the globe from all walks of life, covering personal and community leadership, entrepreneurship and business management, environmental sustainability, social enterprise and philanthropy. In short, we are in the business of creating next generation leaders that are poised to become great entrepreneurs, who also have a moral bearing to contribute back to society. “

So there was 24 of us whom are selected to be part of the program. The participants come from all walk of life , such government officers, corporate persons, entrepreneurs, social activists and students. This people came from all over the globe; USA, South Africa, UK, Turkey, Asia, You name it. Despite all the differences, we came and unite as one to achieve the common objectives ,To Learn, To Empower, To Earn, and To Return.

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Throughout the whole week, we did a lot of stuffs, from lectures, sharing session with CEO’s and entrepreneurs, visits and practical application of the knowledge gain to the streets. For those who want to know more about the stuff that we did, you can check out this link : wief-young-fellows-2014-programme-public-distribution .

It was really an eye-opening experiences for me as the people whom are part of this were really talented and definitely have a bright future ahead of them. And more importantly, the bond and networking that was formed during the program would be very invaluable to me and the rest of the fellows. As one of the fellows said, “We came from all parts of the world as strangers, but departed to our respected residences as family! “.

“We set out this programme with a mission to transform ordinary young people into responsible top-class leaders. We taught them integrity, we taught them how to sell in the real marketplace, we taught them respect, humility and we taught them that a dream is the right of every living being, and it is our duty to honour it so that they in turn can make the world a better place. We were humbled by poor children who teaches us how to dream and how to love your fellow human unconditionally. Today, these young people who came to Manila as ordinary men and women, are now leaders who can take on the next decade”. – Fazil Irwan Mohd Som, Head Coordinator WIEF Young Fellows 2014 at the Closing Ceremony of the WIEF Young Fellows 2014 in Manila, Philippines.

We were even featured in the top newspaper in Malaysia, The Star , thanks to MayLee who was one of the fellows for the the program that are currently working with the newspaper.

Change-maker !
Change-maker !

IPT Tour Malaysia-Indonesia 2014

Exactly one year ago during this time, I was directing my first international program , IPT Tour Malaysia – Indonesia 2014. The location was around Jakarta for 4 days and 3 nights. It was the first time that SRC MMU had organized an overseas trip for quite some time. The last was trip to Australia in 2007. To make the it more memorable, i have only one committee to handle this program( which is to do the ticketing), and I handled about 90 % of the total work, from transport, logistics, accommodation, tentative, universities, contacts etc. And to to settle everything while taking final exam makes it more sweeter, as the program runs right after the final exam. Below is the full documentation of the whole program :

There are some interesting and crazy stories that were not documented in the video. Here some of  it :

1) The program itself almost did not took off, as the head of the student affairs limits the number of participants to 20 (we have 37 SRC members) and ask us to fork out RM500 each. Crazy. It is Indonesia for God sake. But perseverance and cold heart (hati kering)make this thing happen.

2) I was not supposed to be the director. It suppose to be someone else and the initial plan was to go to India. But one month and a half before the program, there was no progress so we decided to chop off the initial plan and start a new one. Yes, one month and a half before the program.

3) There were 5 different proposals prepared. India (no progress) , Australia (too expensive), China ( the head of student affairs actually liked it, but then he rejected it because China is a communist country. Say whatttttt -____-“‘ ), Thailand (almost took off, then  there was massive protest and demonstration in Bangkok, so we shifted it to Songkhla. But in the early of January, there was explosion incident in southern Thailand, so we had to scrap it out due to security concerns) .

4) I actually doesnt have the exact tentative for Indonesia part when the Malaysia part started. It was just one day before we depart to Indonesia that I have the exact universities that will be visited by us as the university representative (Gunadarma university) left it very late to confirm to us. To make it more interesting , i only able to reach the university focal person through a friend that visit MMU malacca four years back (I only met him once,thats it) , that have a cousin that is working the university as a lecturer. Talking about networking huh.

5) There were not enough cash before the program. Luckily , one the staff of student affairs division lend us her money so we can actually do the transport bookings. 1.5k. thank you very much kak. I will forever be indebted to u.

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6) The flight to Jakarta was delayed to give chance to one of our delegation member to find her missing bag. She did not find it until we return back from Jakarta to KL. I was told the bag the was found in the immigration scan machine. Big Impact program indeed.

7) We almost lost 2 members of the delegation when we visit Taman Mini Indonesia. Everyone was inside the bus but these 2 persons. We had to tour the whole garden (Its a damn huge place) and yet still unable to find them before they eventually returned to the bus just minutes before we left.

8) We experienced the famous “Machet” (traffic jammed) of Jakarta. It takes us 3 hours to move for 12 km from Universitas Gunadarma to Ancol beach.

9) One of our members lost his passport during the last night of the tour, despite constant reminders from the embassy that passport is the ultimate stuff to be taken care of. Cliche. But Alhamdulillah he found it back at the Ancol beach, after rushing back from Malaysian Hall to the place. Phewwwww

10) I am missing every single one of them, and every single moments that we made together ;’)

Universitas Indonesia !
Universitas Indonesia !

p/s : Just for clarifications, this was a self sponsored trip in which the participants bear their own flights, foods and accommodation.

Banana Pancake Trail : day 9, Im coming Home

15/10/2014

As this was the last day , we just take things easy and chill out at Ao Nang beach. We initially plan to go to Tiger Cave temple but we woke up quite late so we decided to forego that plan. Anyhow, we are lacking in cash anyway. We moved to the airport after lunch as the distance between Ao Nang and the airport is quite far. On our way to airport, there was heavy downpour and we cannot be grateful enough that during our stay for past 2 days, no such thing happen. If not we would not be able to enjoy and travel as much as we want to.

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We arrived in KLIA around 6pm and we had our lunch at Petaling jaya. Then, we straight away head to Melaka to our homes. We reached there around 1am in the morning. With that, we completed the banana pancake trail for 9 days !

Banana Pancake Trail : Krabi

13/10/2014

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 starting point
The starting point

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.

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Lunch in Poda Island
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Poda Island

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.

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Railey Beach
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Snacks sold at Railey beach



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Banana Pancake Trail Day 7 : Reaching Krabi

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.

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The chair turns into bed at night
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The breeze of morning

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.

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The book that accompanies me
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Enjoying the tea in the morning

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 !

Banana Pancake Trail Day 6 : From Bangkok to Krabi

13/10/2014

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.

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Westminster Abbey ? or Buckingham Palace?
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Safely Arrived at istanbul
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Toilets at the caribbean floor

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.

Banana Pancake Trail : Day 3, crossing the overland border

10 October 2014 :

We woke up at around 6.30am  and packed our stuff for the trip to Bangkok. The bus company’s tuk2 that we booked 2 days before came to pick us at hotel at 7.45am and brought us to the company’s office. We embarked on our journey at 8.00am. As i stated before in my previous post, there are couple of reason why I chose this company. Firstly, the feedback from the previous customers of this company was very good. Eventhough it’s a little bit expensive, but there is assurance you will not suffer throughout the journey or encounter any mishaps. I dont want to take risk because once we reach the the border of cambodia and Thailand, anything can happen. Then, the seat is comfortable and they provided us with morning snacks and lunch. I came across reviews about other companies that provided the same service to Bangkok albeit with lower prices, and the feedback was very bad. They had to compress themselves in a bus of 60 people for 4 hours journey to the border and once u pass through the border , u had to scuffle for minivan. Hence, I chose Nattakan bus company which provided the hassle-free service.

Inside the bus
Inside the bus

The bus reached the border at 11.30am. The whole process at the immigration took us about 45 minutes and everything was going smooth as planned. We saw some problems faced by those who used other bus and there shoutings in which we cant understand. The bus conductor patiently waited for us at the other side of the border before guiding us back to the bus and continued our journey to Bangkok. One interesting sight was school children passing through the border everyday,in which they are cambodians who are schooled in Thailand. They literally going abroad everyday !

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crossing the border with the kids !
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Cambodian border
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Thailand ‘s border

We arrived at Bangkok Mo Chit bus station at 4.30pm. Initially we plan to take taxi to the nearest MRT station but the price was expensive so we took Tuk2 instead. From the MRT Mo Chit station, we shoot straight to Hualampong Central Train station to buy our ticket to Surat Thani next Monday. This is where people come to take trains to all other cities in Thailand. When we first arrived there, the person in charged at the information counter recommended us to take package to Krabi as it would be easier. She brought us to the travel agent office to book the packages. However, after much consideration, we concluded that the package price was too pricey (1000 baht , inclusive of 2nd class train ticket and bus from Surat Thani to Krabi). Luckily we did our research prior the journey and we decided to gamble and will just take any bus at the Surat Thani train station and hop into any bus once we reach there later. The fare for 2nd class fan ticket to Surat Thani cost us around 500 baht.

From Mo Chit Bus station to Mrt. Its quite dusty
From Mo Chit Bus station to Mrt. Its quite dusty
The main railway station of Bangkok
The main railway station of Bangkok

We had our dinner at a foodstall besides the Hualamphong Railway Station. I bump into a local who actually can speak Malay and he showed us the halal food stall. It is important for travellers to ask questions to locals because u would not know what kind of assistance u can get unless u open your mouth.  Once we finished our dinner, we departed to On Nut MRT station via the Sukhumvit Interchange MRT Station. From On Nut, we took taxi to our hotel that I already booked. Initially, we came to the wrong hotel and I alreay worried that we might not be able to reach the hotel as the time already 10pm. Luckily we still managed to find the hotel after roaming around the area. The location of the hotel was quite isolated. Maybe that’s the reason why the price is cheap. We only paid RM66 per night(I booked online through Agoda) for a King size bedroom plus breakfast. So we only paid RM22 per person per night !

The receptionist in this hotel were very friendly and their hospitality was great. I overheard them speaking Kelantanese on the phone so I decided to have a conversation with them as I know the basic Kelantenese. From there, I was told that the owner and workers of this hotel were from Pattani and most of them were muslim. So all the foods they served were halal foods. Its really a big relief for me. I dont have to worry much about food in this hotel. Their room was very comfortable and I believed i had struck a bargain by choosing this hotel.

Good enough for 3 person
Good enough for 3 person