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5 days 4 nights trip to Bangkok & Hua Hin, Thailand for the Raya 2017 holiday

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2017 by vincentloy

I’m back. I have just returned to Malaysia last night from Thailand with my parents. Good time passed very quickly. My 5 days 4 nights vacation to Bangkok and Hua Hin in Thailand ended, and the Raya holiday as well (except for school children that gets to enjoy one-week long break and adults who took annual leave). It was a great experience and fun in this trip, especially in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. It was also very tiring at the same time as we need to walk a lot and the extremely scorching sun made it worst. We followed guided tour (in a tour group) and the tight schedule (like approximately only an hour for every destinations, up to 6 or 7 destinations a day) really made us (especially the elders) very exhausting.

24th June 2017 (Saturday)

We took a 2-hours morning flight to Don Mueung Airport, the old airport in Bangkok. Once there, we wasted a lot of time in the airport to complete the immigration and waiting for the others in our group to get ready. Also wasted a lot of time on the road to the hotel for checking in due to the unusual traffic congestion (well, Bangkok is famous for traffic jams). Hence, we don’t have much time to walk around on our own in the afternoon. We just walked to the streets near the hotel (Eastin Makkasan Hotel, 4-stars). We had a nice dinner in Chocolate Ville (don’t be confused by the name, there isn’t any chocolate here), a huge themed restaurant built to imitate the romantic Western streets and environment with Western-styled traditional buildings, bridges, lake, gazebo, lighthouse, etc. The atmosphere is beautiful with the lighting at night.

At night, we went to the Erawan Shrine, a Hindu shrine of Lord Brahma. The place becomes famous after the bombing incident in 2015 near the shrine that killed 20 people.

25th June 2017 (Sunday)

We went to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) in the morning. It is a Budhhist temple with its spires as distinctive feature (and colorful porcelain of its main spire/tower). It is one of the most famous landmarks in Bangkok and it is situated on the side of Chao Phraya River. The on-going renovation works to the main tower prevented us to take nice clean pictures of the temple.

Next, we went to Maeklong Railways Market. Not long ago, I have seen a video getting viral on social sites showing a market with stalls lining up along a railway and has to retract their stalls when the train passes. That is the place. Now, I’m there to witness it in my own eyes and it was unique and amazing. A lot of tourists crowded the place not to shop at the market but to check out this quick event.

Then, we leave Bangkok and go to Hua Hin. Our first destination there is Santorini Park, a themed attraction with an open mall concept that resembles the famous Santorini Island in Greece with its white buildings and brightly one-coloured windows (mostly blue). There are retail shops, and some activities or rides inside such as Haunted House, Ferris Wheel, Water Slide, Merry-Go-Round, etc.

After that, we went to Swiss Sheep Farm. I noticed that Hua Hin likes to create tourist destinations with foreign places as their themes. The town lacks its own identity in terms of its tourist destinations. This Swiss Sheep Farm is a farm (of course) for us to have the opportunity to feed the sheep (I skipped that) and to take pictures of the many decorations in that place such as a huge old windmill, some 3D painting, several miniatures of popular characters such as Transformers and the Avengers, etc.

In the evening, we head to the Hua Hin Night Market. Stalls selling local delicacies, souvenirs, bags, accessories, clothing, food, and offering Thai massage lined up the street. Then, we depart to Novotel for a two-nights stay in Hua Hin. It is a seaside resort with of course the amazing sea view.

26th June 2017 (Monday)

Hua Hin Royal Palace is the first destination of the day. It is a royal residence that serves as a seaside retreat for the past kings of Thailand. It is quite a modest complex with elevated timber structures. The lushness of its surrounding almost overwhelms the palace. Major parts of the complex is also currently under renovation and we are barred from entering those parts. Hence, we only stayed a short while here.

Then, we went to Hua Hin Railway Station, not to take any train but to view the beautiful train station (iconic for the structures with red and cream colours’ assembly) and an old steam locomotive for a short while.

Our next destination of the day is Pleanwarn Eco Vintage Village. It is Thailand’s first eco vintage village and is built to recapture the old classic charm of Hua Hin. It is an open lawn area with two-storeys buildings of retails and restaurants around. They are constructed of recycled or used items including its wonderful entrance of a void surrounded with huge cladding of reused wood and profiled metal sheets.

We then went to Wat Huay Mongkol. It is a Buddhist temple unique for a large statue of a legendary Thai monk on top of a huge podium.

Then, we went to theHua Hin Safari and Adventure Park. This is a place not recommended for anyone. The staff there are annoying and keep pushing us to purchase their packages (tiger show, cobra show, elephant ride, photos, etc). The prices are extremely high and it is just a small ordinary safari. We went there just to see their elephant show. The show is not bad (elephants performing like painting, playing some sports, etc) but I sympathized the suffering that those elephants have to endure to entertain us.

The last destination of the day before taking a dinner on a seaside restaurant is FN Outlet. It is a modern elevated mall with a forest containing pond, bridges and Dinosaurs sculptures on the ground level.

 

27th June 2017 (Tuesday)

Today, we went back to Bangkok (the original name for the city and still called by the Thais is Krung Thep). We visited the famous Damnersaduak Floating Market. The name is self-explanatory. There is a small river crowded with boats carrying tourists and boats with people selling stuff. We took a boat ride and view the lifestyle of the traditional floating houses on our way to the Floating Market. Once there, we just walked on the side of the market where there is also a huge place crowded with stalls selling the same things again. To buy from there or from any markets in Bangkok, you have to bargain up to 70% of the original price the sellers show to you.

Then, we were back to the city region and proceed to the Art in Paradise (3D Art Museum) in Esplanade Mall. There are a lot of cool arts inside that allow visitors to interact and take pictures with to get the realistic 3D feel. Even the elders in our tour group joined in the fun including my father. That was very unusual.

Next, we went to the Honey World, a place that promotes and sells honey products to the tourists. When you are going for a trip in a guided travel group, visiting these places is a norm. We are fortunate that we only get to visit one in this trip. The honey products on sale are being promoted with all the healthy benefits they offered, but in the end, my family end up buying nothing. We usually don’t get interested.

Our last destination of the day is Asiatique Riverfront. It is a new complex by the side of the Chao Phraya River. It’s a huge open-air mall with retails, restaurants, waterfront walk and rides. It is a very happening and vibrant area. Amazing atmosphere with clean environment. Thailand is exceptional in creating this kind of tourist attractions. It’s a huge success.

28th June 2017 (Wednesday)

There is no programme offered by our tour agency today and so we have free time in the morning before our flight back to Kuala Lumpur in late afternoon. We then go to the Grand Palace. It is considered to be the No.1 attraction in Bangkok and I couldn’t believe our tour agency didn’t cover it in their itinerary. Hence, we have to visit it on our own in the remaining time before flying back. It is a huge complex of palace that serves as the main official residence of the King of Thailand.

 

The former King. King Bhumibol who reigned for about 69 years and is very beloved by all Thais had passed away last year’s October. The country then observes one year of mourning for the late king and he will be cremated in this coming October. Many roads around the palace is blocked and heavy security is observed. Until now, there are still a lot of Thais dressed in full black visiting the palace to mourn for him. Their loyalty and love to the late king is unquestionable. Some areas in the palace are also blocked off from visitors due to the same reason but that doesn’t lower my excitement of seeing the palace. It was breathtaking with its towering structures and intricate details on the columns, walls, railings, ceilings and roofs. This place is certainly a must-see in Bangkok eventhough the entrance ticket is quite costly (500 Baht for a person). You also have to dress very decently to visit the palace (also applies to all temples and other palaces in Thailand).

Then, we walked to the nearby Wat Pho. It is a Budhhist temple known for a huge reclining Buddha’s sculpture and houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand. The temple is quite huge with many areas within. If not for the hot weather, I would have spend a much longer time in both the Grand Palace and in Wat Pho.

And then, our trip ends. We went back to Don Mueung Airport to catch our flight back to Kuala Lumpur. It’s almost midnight by the time we arrived home. I bought a pair of shoes, some shirts and a short and a fridge magnet. We must buy a fridge magnet every time we visit a new place. It has becomes our family tradition. We had tom yam in almost every meals during the tour. I find that the food are very heavy in taste in Thailand (either too sweet, too spicy, or too sour). Generally, the trip is awesome and I had great time during the vacation. I particularly enjoy the days in Bangkok. Hua Hin is rather boring to me eventhough that place is more relaxing and has lesser tourists. On the other hand, I felt that the newer tourist attractions in Bangkok and Hua Hin (maybe applies to whole Thailand too) are too ‘artificial’. Most of them are constructed just to imitate foreign elements. I would rather visit the real places rather than see the imitations.

Bangkok’s city skyline pictures below. The tallest on the first picture below is Baiyoke Tower which is formerly the tallest building in Bangkok. The title is now taken by the new Mahanakhon Tower shown in the second picture.

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this post. Kindly request permission if you desire to use one or more images in this post.)

 

 

 

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Vietnam, or Thailand, or Cambodia….which place to go for trip on upcoming Hari Raya break?

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by vincentloy

This year I have decided to follow my dad for an oversea trip within South East Asia during the upcoming Hari Raya holiday. In some years, my dad would plan to go for second oversea trip, thinking that one oversea trip every year during Chinese New Year break isn’t enough. So, Hari Raya which falls on this August provides another lengthy holiday to my busy dad to plan for a trip. However, this second trip of the year shall be less costly, and so the choices of where to go are limited to only neighbouring countries in South East Asia.

So, my dad suggested to me three countries; Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. Of course the trip would not covers all the three countries; we would only go to one. My main aim of going for trip is to gain experience and understanding of different people, cultures and places observed. I also would not pick unknown places to visit because we won’t see much things from that kind of places. That’s why I don’t like and rejected when my father suggested many small places (provinces) in China to visit last time. Now, no more China in mind as the trip shall be limited within South East Asia for shorter trip as maximum days of break for Hari Raya would be only 5 or 6 days.

Vietnam is now a fast-developing country, but what’s attractive to me from this particular country is the famous Halong Bay, recently recognized as one of the seven wonders of nature. And yes, that is the only place that landed my interest to visit the country. No other reason at the moment. Many people whom had visited the bay praised the absolute beauty and tranquillity of the river and the mountains along the bay. So, I wish to go there and have a breathtaking look over the amazing setting of Halong Bay. But going to the trip only with that place in mind is not sufficient. I am going to check out what other beautiful places we can visit on the trip to Vietnam.

If we are going to Thailand for the trip, then we will go to Bangkok, the capital city this time, alongside with Pattaya. I have been to this country many times before, but had never visited the capital. However, I heard from the others that visiting Bangkok is like going to my home city, Kuala Lumpur, while the latter is even more popular in shopping and the iconic landmark of Petronas Twin Towers. What’s more from this city’s tour that separates it from Kuala Lumpur is the presence of some beautiful temples in Bangkok and Pattaya.

Cambodia is the last option. My dad wished to go there because it is the cheapest among the three suggested countries. However, I have been to Cambodia before, and I don’t feel like going to that place again. For my first time visit to the country two years ago, it’s a very nice and unique experience of looking at the poor lifestyle of the people there and the beauty of Angkor Wat with some other smaller temples around it. There is a possibility of going there again just to take better photographs as my previous visit to Angkor Wat is not so perfect as the structure undergoes some kind of renovation at that time and that ruins the photo-taking. And I don’t think that possibility shall comes that soon.

So after all, I think I should pick Vietnam after some thoughts and considerations. I can see new stuff, and that would also adds up another country to my list of countries I have visited before. Trip to Vietnam would also grants me an opportunity to visit another one of the seven wonders (this time, seven wonders of nature); Halong Bay. Looking only at that image showing the bay in this post itself already caught my interest and attention.

The only day with three natural disasters…

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2009 by vincentloy

Today, date, 30th September 2009, the last day of the month is very special…three natural disasters occured on the same day, in the period of 24 hours around the world.

First of all, the Typhoon Ketsana, originated from the world largest ocean, Pacific Ocean, extended its path to South East Asia from Phillipines. It blows down wooden villages in Cambodia, crushing Vietnam houses under mudslides, submerging much of the capital of Phillipines, while bringing heavy rain to Malaysia. The typhoon come into Laos, the fourth nation to be involved in the typhoon tragedy. Landslides occured, destroying houses, buildings, and flattening crops. The death toll is now over 300 and is rising tremendously.

The next disaster, is the tsunamis, struck Samoa and America Samoa. The earthquake in the Pacific Ocean, between 8.0 to 8.3 Ritcher scale triggered  tsunamis, flooding and flattening villages, killing at least 82 people and leave dozens missing. The height of the tsunamis is around 4 to 6m high, equivalent to a height of a double-storey house. A state of emergency is issued. Japan has issued a tsunami warning too.

The third disaster, struck just now, less than an hour ago (from the time I’m writing this post), is an earthquake that struck south Sumatra Island in the area of Padang, Indonesia. The powerful earthquake measuring 7.9 Ritcher scale send tremors till Peninsular Malaysia (the place I’m living) as the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is just 481km southwest of the epicentre of the earthquake. Some highrise buildings in KL including the world tallest twin buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers are evacuated. Tsunami alert is issued for Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Thailand. The shaking can be felt obviously at Singapore, Malaysia and even as far as at Jakarta.

Southern Sumatara - 30 September 2009

Out of the three disasters, two are related to Pacific Ocean, and two are basically earthquakes, one triggered tsunamis, while another one might trigger as well. Dangerous again for the people there…just stay far from seaside and stay on the ground, don’t go to high if there is earthquake, and go as high as possible when there is flood. Three disasters are all related to water!

Water is dangerous, the Earth is dangerous! I think it’s the first time in history, three large-scale disasters struck the Earth ( all in one area, Asia Pacific) eventhough not much casualties are reported.

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai Trip, Northern Thailand (1/10/2008-5/10/2008)

Posted in Interesting Encounters, Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , on October 6, 2008 by vincentloy

1st DAY (1/10/2008) – woke up in early morning around 4.40am…actually I didn’t sleep at all…too excited about this journey…packed up final things and change shirts…and say bye to my sister’s pet…a very cute dog called as Glamour…   this is the look of the cute little dog…

Went to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT), at the back of KLIA….this terminal looks like cargo terminal…everything built here are at low- cost….first time met with our local tour guide called as Kally…then queue up to approve all these and that…then faster eat breakfast at McDonald…then speed towards the entrance…wah…a lot of people..need to get front place…if not, later cannot find a good place to sit in the plane…what is bad about Air Asia plane is that they have no ticket numbers!!!

    In the plane, wah…so small…everything so small..from the lane to the size of the seats…and we have to pay in cash to buy the food and drinks in there…spend around 2 hours plus in the plane…tired…so sleep a while while on flight…

    Reaching Chiang Mai International Airport..so small also…I wonder how this airport gets the international status..take photos and then met with the Chiang Mai tour guide who is from Forever Travel Company…she is called as Siao Ling…go on Super Highway to reach the Mae Tang Elephant Safari…quite far from center of Chiang Mai…

    Reached there in the jungle and hills, have buffet as lunch…honestly, food served here all not nice….doesn’t even look like a buffet…later, go on elephant ride…really shock….

The elephant me and my dad ride on is so brilliant..it goes on sloppy lanes while others do not go as it is quite dangerous…my dad called it as F1 also because it walked quite fast while we are on top of it…quite scary actually…after a long period on elephant…then we go back by cow ride….so many rides here…cow ride is nice too…me, dad, my second eldest sister and my sister’s friend are on a ride by two white cows…

    Then we go watch elephants taking bath on the river…and they sprayed water to us…haha…then go watch performances by the elephants,…dancing…playing football and basketball, moving trunks..the most exciting part is the elephant called as Suda drawing….wah…thumbs up for this little elephant…actually quite big also… this is what the elephant drawn with it’s signature on it…believe it or not…

Then..our rides haven’t finished…we moved on to bamboo rafting…..taking a deeper look into jungles and hills…as well as the muddy river….i wonder if there is a crocodile in there,.,.scary…haha…

      Then we go to the Orchid Butterfly Farm…I didn’t see any butterflies in here…but a lot of orchids of different species and colours…beautiful…

Then go back hotel called as Chiang Mai Holiday (CH) Hotel..quite near to the city centre and very near to the popular night bazaar…this three star hotel also not bad…room is quite spacious… the hotel main entrance….

Rest a while then go out for dinner at Suriwongse Hotel…buffet again…but this time is better..in a nice hotel, more variety of food, air-conditioned and got people singing while you are eating…how comfortable it is…

Then go walk around night bazaar..quite hot here…a lot of Western people come here for tourism…very good place for tourists indeed…

The night bazaar…here a lot of hawkers like to put up a very high price to cheat the tourists…we aware of this..and we bargain and cut cut cut until…over half price of the original price proposed by the hawkers…how greedy are them…haiz…what to do…they just want to earn more and we want to save more…to buy more…haha

2nd day (2/10/2008) – the originally proposed trip to the Doi SuThep Temple is actually on the first day..but then postponed to second day…this temple is the most famous in Chiang Mai and in whole Northern Thailand…it is on the hill and can be called as Twin Dragons Temple (Suang Long Se Miao, in Pinyin Mandarin).

When we reached there..uui..why so many security guards and policemens there one???very curious..so our tour guide asked them…Oh my God…the Thailand Prime Minister, Somchai Wongsawat will be visiting this temple later…so coincident and surprising….then we go take a look in the temple while waiting for the prime minister of Thailand to come…the temple looks marvelous and splendid…

Walking around this pagoda for three times is believed to bring you luck for a year..so I tried…don’t know whether it is real or not…

Deng…deng….the prime minister is accompanied by so many people and I tried to get near to take better and clearer pictures of him…so many people now..all wanted to take a look at him…such a ‘big’ and important person I have ever seen….when I am about to take photo of him, he looked at us and waved his hand…press the button..hurry….and yes…that’s it….

Then we go take a short sightseeing…from the temple…we can see the whole city of Chiang Mai, the second largest city of Thailand….Chiang Mai has very less tall buildings…only like around four….spectacular view from this temple…

Then we go all the industry and factories…these factories and industry are selling and making leather, gems, jewelleries, paper umbrellas,bird nests, shark fins, etc…..got one section in the paper umbrella industry place…is a place where talented people draw something on a a shirt requested by the people (drawings,names) and charge very cheaply….here it is…I requested one of them to make one for me also…

Then at night, we ate at Kantoke Palace, a cultural restaurant..a very high-class restaurant where we have to take off our shoes, eat gently while watching people performing traditional cultural Thai dances….nice…

 

3rd day (3/10/2008) – today have to wake up very early…because we need to go Chiang Rai…the northern most part of Thailand..border with Myanmar and Laos….We spent four hours in the bus to reach Chiang Rai…in the middle of the ride…we stopped a while for around an hour to visit the Hot Spring…

The water here is like boiling…can boil eggs here…no wonder can smell some egg’s smell around this place…

Reaching Chiang Rai, can’t even see a tall building here….

Went to the Village of Tribes…here we can see a lot of different tribes people with their culture…first of all, the most special one in the Long Neck Village…the women here have to wear that kind of heavy thing around their necks beginning from five years old… these tribes cannot get out of this village..because they do not have identification card of Thailand…if they go out, they will be caught…pity them…

Going through different types of tribes…we saw performances like traditional dances….

Then we go to extra places not offered in the schedule..so we have to pay more…RM150 more..to go to the King’s GrandMa Garden and House, boat ride on Mekong River and short visit to Laos border.

We need to ride on a special vehicle made to travel along sloppy hill to go up to the King’s GrandMa Garden and House…we need to be very silent in the house…and take a look at this traditional styled house..actually the King’s GrandMa passed away already long time ago, so they opened this place for visitors….

From this house , the view of Chiang Rai can be seen clearly from here too….

Then we go visit the garden..so big and beautiful…a lot of different species of flowers can be found here..really nice…

Then, we went down the hill…Next destination, Mae Sai…the borderline between Thailand and Myanmar…here got a lot of shopping streets…. The borderline …can u see the flags…half part of the bridge belongs to Thailand and another half belongs to Myanmar…

The shopping street nearby…looks like Petaling Street…

Next, we moved on to the Golden Triangle…the Mekong River is the one that separates Thailand, Myanmar and Laos…in the middle of it is called as Golden Triangle…quite near from this place is China…

In the boat ride to the Laos border ..now I scared whether got giant sharks or monsters under this historical river or not…haha….we go to Laos without needing the passport…great?…the Laos border…

 

Then we go to take a look at one Myanmar casino building on the Myanmar border…we didn’t go there..just take a look…then go back to Thailand…have dinner besides the Mekong River which is very dark at night….then go out a while to take photos of the monument built to commemorate Thailand’s King rule of Thailand for over 60 years….actually there is one more Statue of Buddha at the side of this…so sparkling at night…

Then go back to Chiang Rai…reached the Inn Come Hotel…quite a nice hotel also…with its services, facilities but not its breakfast.,..nothing to eat one…only few breads…the entrance of the hotel looks good…

4th day (4/10/2008) – We went to the White Temple…this is a very big private temple..wholly owned and developed by a famous artist from Chiang Rai (local artist)…he spent so much on building this temple..and it is getting bigger and bigger through its new construction…the architecture of this temple is very fantastic…sparkling too…..then we go see the art gallery of the artist (I forgot the name) too…

The we go shopping a while besides this temple where got stalls selling items also…the weather is very hot…all sweating…then we returned back to Chiang Mai..four hours bus ride again…haiz…

Then we go to Thai Silk Factory, Thai Honey Industry and Silverware Industry. After that, we proceed back to the previous hotel in Chiang Mai, the CH Hotel again..but this time different room in the same floor…

Go to Central Airport Plaza with my sister and her friend…go there of course go shopping lah…but the items sold here is quite expensive also..but this plaza looks grand too….we go to this plaza and back to hotel with the Taxi (a very cute little vehicle specially in Thailand)…in the vehicle..quite cool…not the driver…the feeling of sitting in here is nice…

Then we go eat steamboat as our dinner at a nearby hotel called as Star Hotel..then we proceed to night bazaar again…this time we (I and my family) brought a lot of things especially T-shirts…very special, nice and cheap..then we saw some talented people selling their drawings drawn based on the photographs given…their drawings looks so real and looks almost exactly like in the photographs…cool…

But the weather is super hot…after some bargaining and purchasing, finally we went back to our hotel….take a rest…

The Le Merdian Hotel (5 star)…why aren’t we stay in here…so nice…the lighting of the building is cool….near the night bazaar too..

This hotel also not bad..right in front of Le Meridien Hotel..taller than Le Meridien…it is called as Royal Lanna Hotel..i think this one is four or five star hotel also…

Another one tall building besides the Le Meridien Hotel too…the DuangTawan Hotel…five star hotel too…none of it I stayed before…haiz..very expensive worr…not affordable..

5th day (5/10/2008) – took breakfast (buffet) at the same hotel ….packed up all the things..have to go back Kuala Lumpur today already…haiz…need to leave already…sayonara…Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai…and Thailand…and to the tour guide…

We went to the Chiang Mai International Airport…queue again…same procedures again….this airport really small…

Then fly back to Kuala Lumpur…by Air Asia again….reached KL at LCC Terminal at around 2 to 3 pm…the LCC Terminal is so poor in looking…should upgrade futher…and now they are upgrading…KLIA is far more better than this LCC Terminal…

In the flight, have to take this photo faster before they start to fly….have to turn off handphone during the flight….in the plane, start to turn sad already…holiday ends..so fast….and schooling days come again…with all my final assignments, projects, blah…blah…blah….later only cares about that….

LCC Terminal got so many people..more than the KLIA..got shopping a while..here items are duty-free…then say bye to the local tour guide and other people who are in the same travel agent with us…yeah…forget to mention the name of the travel agent ….Mar Sin Thai Travel Agent…this agent quite good also…A very exciting and memorable trip to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand!!!

 

End of My Story………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Written by: Loy Tuck Man. (6th October 2008).