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Monday, 12 November 2012

2ND SOLO OVERLAND TRIP - KO LANTA, THAILAND (25 - 28 OCT 2012, 1600KM RETURN)



I AM GETTING ITCHYYYYYY!!! Gosh, my last overland ride was only about 1 month back, but here I am, planning for a new ride. Where to this time? I only have 3 days off. Okey, firstly, I want to go to the Thai island this time. Lets check the map. Hmmm, I’ve been to Phuket, Phi Phi, Samui, and Koh Lipe, so how about Koh Lanta this time? Perrrrfecttt!!! Some research was made, and on 25th Oct 2.30pm, I made my way up north using the North South Highway. Traffic was heavy due to people going back to their home town to celebrate Eid Adha. It was raining all the way, and after the 4th accident that I passed, I don’t bother to count anymore. I arrived Changlun after 2.30hrs riding and get my white card done. After that I took the Changlun – Kuala Perlis highway bcos I want to try a new route this time. The rain had stopped and it was a breeze to ride on the deserted highway. My destination for tonite is my friend’s house, at Kampung Bohor Janggus, Kangar. Its not a problem for me to find the meeting place she mentioned. Lailey - my university friend - my revision partner - my library companion - and my exam rival, whom I haven’t met for 10 years came to fetch me. That night was spent chatting, laughing and recalling our bitter sweet moments back at the uni.

26th October 2012
After having ketupat palas eaten with delicious beef curry (a popular Eid dish for the Perlis ppl), I bided goodbye to Lailey and her kids and started my ride to the border. Lailey had drew me a short cut map, but I don’t know which junction I missed, that I didn’t manage to find the short cut, so I used the normal way instead. The road was clear fr vehicle as to day is Eid Adha. Only mosques were occupied with ppl. As I stopped to ask some locals to make sure that I’m on the correct route, they were looking at me curiously. I am very sure that in their mind, they must be thinking – Why is this lady going into Thailand on such a holy day….ohhh yes, holy day = holiday to me….LOL. It took me about 1hr to find my way from Lailey’s hse, then riding on the narrow and winding Kaki Bukit road (haven’t done this since my last Indo China Ride, and I can feel the adrenaline rush as I braved the sharp corners), and finally I arrived at the border. Ohh, before that, I should be fueling up at Caltex petrol station, the last one before I exited Malaysia, but unfortunately it was closed, due to Eid Adha, I supposed. I should hv thought about that earlier and refuel last night instead. Okey, a lesson to remember. No choice then, I hv to fuel up in Thailand instead. 



The border crossing here was really very easy. So unlike Bukit Kayu Hitam – Dannok, there were much less ppl crossing over here in Wang Kelian – Khuan Don border. Perhaps it was bcos of Eid, I don’t know…but this is good for me. I took less than 15mins to clear both borders and yuuhuuu….I’m riding on Thailand road again. The road was winding a bit and deserted. Same as in Kangar, only mosques were filled with ppl. Watching them at the mosques, I cant help asking myself, “What are you doing here, Anita? Arent u supposed to be at home, celebrating Eid?” HAHAHA, as fast as lightning, an answer popped out in my mind….”I am here bcos I am LIVIN MY DREAM” :)

I passed few check points at route 4164 with no guards guarding it. There was a nice roller coaster road that I passed (unfortunately I forgot to take pics as I was thrilled to ride on it). Suddenly, I noticed my handle guard is loosening. Ouch, this disturbed my focus, and once I saw a bike accessory shop, I stopped to have it fixed. However, the shop owner cant help me as her workers were not around. A nice local guy who can speak a fluent Malay asked me whats the problem and he helped me to fix the loosened part. Thank god I hv my tools with me. 


I continued with my ride on route 416 bypassing Satun and straight on to Tha Phaeng, Kamphaeng, Thung Wa and some other smaller towns. There were some constructions here and there which meant that I hv to slow down. I chose a kampong road after Trang as in the map it looks nearer, but the truth was, the road was single lane and winding. This means that I took much longer time to reach Ban Hua Hin. This was okey as I am not rushing for anything, and I do want to explore the roads in Thailand. Even when backpacking, I always hv this kind of attitude that is to use A route when going, and use B route when returning, so that I can enjoy different views and make comparison which one is better. I made 3 wrong judgments and took a wrong junction, but it was only about 500m before instinct told me to turn back. While passing small towns, I saw many Muslim girls wearing beautiful Eid costumes with beautiful blink blink head scarves. They looked really pretty. The view all the way was similar to Malaysia, but with much less traffic. It was indeed a breeze and a very enjoyable ride. I was very glad that I had added extra foot rest on DREAM, so that I don’t hv to flex my knee at all times and at every possible moment, I can simply stretched out and rest my tired legs on it. This really helps to reduce my knee pain. 
DREAM can accommodate up to 4 ppl...check the foot rest :)

It was only after I reached Wang Wiset that I saw a Ko Lanta sign board. Finally, I reached Ban Hua Hin, the ferry pier to Ko Lanta and paid B40 for two ferry rides to cross Ko Lanta Noi and Ko Lanta Yai. There were some Muslims selling nice smelling BBQ fishes at the pier, and I was starving then, but since the ferry already arrived, I don’t hv the chance to taste it. The first ferry ride took about 20mins or so. Once arrived at Ko Lanta Yai, I had to ride another 6km to reach the pier for ferry going to Ko Lanta Noi. The 2nd ferry took only about 10mins and then, I was already riding to my accommodation at the famous Khlong Dao beach which I had booked earlier. Overall, it took me about 7hrs fr Kangar to reach here (inclusive of border crossing and two ferry rides). 
On the ferry



After checking in, I rode to find a place to eat. Ko Lanta is occupied 90% by Muslims, so since today is Eid, most restaurants are close. I found a stall by the road side to hv my lunch (at 3pm). My meal was a kueyteow soup with chicken balls and a watermelon shake (for B60). I hv no idea if the lady was a good cook or simply bcos I was starving, but the taste was mmm…yummy. 
DREAM in front of my room

This one is only RM35


The GH surroundings




Then I rode back to my GH to rest, and later enjoyed a superb sunset view – the most beautiful that I hv ever seen in my whole life. I also had a nice conversation with a Spanish lady and her friend (both were from Barcelona, and we had a nice chat about BCN attractions since I’ve been there before). We exchanged infos on countries we had been to, and she told me very interesting and an eye opener info about Argentina that made me decided to visit this country for my 2013 year end backpacking trip, insyaallah. After enjoying sunset, I took a walk on the beach, viewing the more expensive resorts.

Waiting for sunset

Spectacular sunset seen fr my GH, pic credit to Eba Rubio
That night, I rode to Sala Dan, the major town for Ko Lanta and checked on some shops looking for fridge magnets. Since now is low season, there were more shops than tourist. Then, I look around for a place to eat, and when a motorcycle-taxi lady driver greeted me, I asked her where can I find a good Muslim eating place? She pointed to a direction and I headed there. The shop owner and her husband were very friendly. After ordering my meal –  Seafood Tom Yam Kung with white rice and pineapple shake, the husband chatted with me. He can speak an understandable English, and so did his wife. When my meal arrived…walaweiii….this was the best tom yam I hv ever tasted in my whole life!!! Even the tom yam in Mae Sot and Samut Prakan cant beat this lady’s tom yam. It was a coconut milk style tom yam, spicy and sooo very tasty that I finished the soup till the very last drip. I told the lady that she will be rich if she opens a restaurant in Malaysia


The cook, Eyat, and her hb

Now, full like a fat lazy cow, I rode back to my GH. Suddenly, the wind was blowing so strong and it rained very heavily. When I arrived at my GH, I was soaked wet all over (bcos I left my rain coat in my room). I was so in a hurry to enter my room that I wrongly parked my bike in front of someone’s else room and wanted to enter the room which wasn’t mine. The receptionist came running with an umbrella telling me that it was not my room. LOL…it was hilarious…

27 October 2012
After done with my morning prayer, I headed to the beach. It was deserted as it was still very early. I jogged for about 4kms and did some stretching and strengthening exercises – preparing myself for my nx mountain challenge. Then I had my breakfast at the terrace of my room – potato bread and Nescafe, which I brought from home, while checking my mails and FB.



After that, I rode DREAM along the coastal road and dropped by at the different beaches to view its beauty. 
Long Beach
 



Phra-Ae Beach
 




Then, I rode to Ko Lanta National Park, which was the southern most part of the island. The road gets curvy and narrow. At some parts, the road was 20 degrees steep. However, it was an enjoyable ride with a beautiful day and awesome view of green jungles, hills and the blue ocean. I don’t hv much time to explore the National Park as I must check out this afternoon to a new accommodation, so after drinking in the beauty for a while, I raced back about 23kms to my GH, stopping a while at a stall which I saw selling sticky rice – a must taste when in Thailand.








ADA AKU KESAH? LOL!!!




Then, I rode to another accommodation which I have also booked in advance, which was situated at the very end of Khlong Dao beach. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a very fluent English speaking receptionist and a nice orange juice as a welcome drink. The receptionist showed me my room, but I was not quite happy with its location, so I asked for another room with better view. Hey, I’m on holiday, okey…Since the new room I requested was not ready yet, I explored the resort’s beautiful surrounding and the pool. This place was heaven and I am so pleased that my internet skill enables me to get a good place without having to pay much. Once I get my room, I had my lunch at the balcony while enjoying the beautiful view of the pool and the ocean. Niceee….
RM50 jer beb, beach front, and inclusive of welcome drink, breakfast, free wifi & nice fasilities







At 4pm, I rode DREAM to the east side of the island, stopping at the Mangrove Research and Study Centre and some view points along the way. I also visited Lanta Old Town. I really liked the gasoline lamps on the lamp posts by the road side at the Old Town. Then I rode to Sangga-Ou village – the Muslim fisherman’s village on this island and then I turned back to my hotel for sunset view. Today’s sunset was not as spectacular as yesterday due to lots of clouds. After that, since the pool was unoccupied, I took a dip and swam few laps for my stamina. I also did some aqua rehab exercises to strengthen my quadriceps and hamstring muscles. It was fun as I ‘owned’ the pool all to myself. I had my dinner at the same place as yesterday night. This time, I had white rice with seafood dish (I don’t know the name of the meal), and again, it was really tasty. Still feeling hungry, perhaps after my workout in the pool, I ordered another half plate of white rice and half portion of green curry. Ohhh myyy….the green curry tasted soooooo damnnnnn gooodddd that I almost ate the bowl….LOL…Eyat, the cook was really a GREATTT cook. After that, I did a lil shopping and head back to my hotel. That night was spent watching movie in my room.


















28 October 2012
I must check out early as today, I had to do a long ride back to Ipoh. While waiting for my complimentary breakfast to be served, I took some shots around the area. 









After breakfast, I made my way to the ferry pier and later had to wait quite long for the 2nd ferry to cross to the mainland. I hv checked the map, so today, I want to try the highway. It was about 28kms fr Ban Hua Hin to reach the intersection of highway 4 and route 4046 (the one I used when coming in). I chose highway 4 instead. There were some constructions going on but since it was a 2 lane highway, it was not so bad. Then, the road was clear all the way until Trang. I was glad as this had saved me some time. Nearing Trang, I rode for about 20km on route 419, bypassing Trang, before I entered route 416, then 406 until the supposedly intersection to Khuan Don. I didn’t see any signboard, so I rode on even though my sharp instinct told me that this was not the correct way. The sun also proved that I am going north instead of south, but when I asked a local, he said that Khong Dan is further up. I rode on with a heavy heart, bcos I am pretty sure that I hv missed the intersection. I pulled over again to ask some other locals. Communication was really bad, but thru them, I understand that I had missed the junction by 20km. I knew it!!! I always hv the instinct if I hv chosen the wrong way. So, I had to turn back. By right, I should hv reached the border in less than 5hrs (by using the highway), compared to 6hrs (by using the kampong road), but the mistake ate another 30minutes of my time.

There were a huge market at the border, something that I hv thought of taking a look, but bcos of the mistake, I decided to ride on. Both borders were busier today compared to the time when I’m coming in, nevertheless, I am done in both borders in less than 30mins. 


Wang Kelian border

After fueling up at Caltex, I rode on. Traffic was heavier today starting from Kangar, and upon reaching Changlun, it was so bad all the way. This is the ‘disaster’ when I chose to ride home when everyone else also return back to their homes after a festive season. I hv thought of having my late lunch at Gurun R n R but the traffic was really bad that I cancelled my intention. My biggest concern was from Sungai Dua – Georgetown – Juru as this were the places which always hv heavy traffic, even on normal days. In the end, I made a stop at Gunong Semanggol R n R, after riding continuously for 10hrs without taking a rest at all. It was like an endurance ride. I was so damn tired, hungry and shaking that it took all the energy that I hv left in me to double stand my bike. I knew this is a bad idea and a bad way of riding long distance. I should hv rest and not pushing myself to the limit.

The R n R was so happened under renovation that all the other ppl, including me was left with the one and only option for meal – KFC, and I had to cue for another half n hour before I can finally sit down and eat. After that, I performed my prayer at Petronas. Total resting time was 1:30hrs before I continued with my ride, riding slowly as the 2 lanes highway had became 3 lanes due to the cars conquering the motorbike lane. At times, I rode in the middle, and at other times, I used the motorbike lane. I finally reached home after 13hrs on the road. Thank god that it wasn’t raining, else I hv no idea what time I shall be home. Total distance covered for this 2nd solo overland trip was approximately 1600km. Thank you Allah for letting me arrived home safely.

Do you know that due to my hectic schedule, I only managed to type this story while in the bus heading to LCCT, and in the flight heading to my next point of ride? I don’t know what has got into me….but in my mind now is just ride…ride…and more ride….Bye for now…It wont be long for my latest ride updates J





6 comments:

  1. Update more... Im gonna missed it!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Waitttt....tunggu aku balik dulu...tgh ride ni x de masa nak update...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Woww!!! nice trip. If you can’t decide for your next trip…Phuket is the best choice for you!!
    I love here Surin Beach Phuket This hotel is very nice clean and the people are friendly. VERY nice hotel with helpful staff.
    And I really love white sand, crystal clear waters at Surin Beach too.
    Thank again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sbipk, thanks for reading my blog and leave a comment. I hv been to Phuket before. Yes, I agree that its beautiful...however Phuket is too touristy. Too many people. I prefer a quieter place. Thanks for the suggestion anywway ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. salam, follow Blog ini,
    baru je tgk aunty anita dekat tv3 :).
    YOU ARE GREAT AUNTY.
    ALWAYS SUPPORT YOU. :)❤
    HAV A SAVE JOURNEY FOR THE NEXT TRIP .

    ReplyDelete

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