26 May to 01 Jun 2002
|Steven Hor the driver and Ching Neng Bin the navigator.|
Rock Hill Adventure Club, Melaka, organized the expedition. The cost is RM580 per person. RM150 below 12 years and is free for 8 years below. 2 persons to a room. Additional payment of RM60 per vehicle for temporary Thai road tax & insurance. Each participant had 6 T-shirt, 6-hotel breakfast and 6 hotel dinners. Lunch on our own.
A total of 43 (4 wheel drive) cars were registered for this expedition. Some from Johor Bharu, Negeri Sembilan, KL and 10 cars from Perak. A total of 145 participants (12 children and 133 adults). 3 Thai tourist police and one CID without uniform, escorted us in their police car from day 1 at the Thai immigration check-point till the last day of our stay in Thailand. Check-in at Florida Hotel, Hadyai. Dinner at Lee Garden Hotel.
|The 4x4 gang from Pantai Remis.|
|The convoy of 4x4 cars.|
|Steven Hor and Ching the cowboys from Sitiawan.|
|Karon Viewpoint (which used to be Kata viewpoint) is one of the most frequented viewpoints in Phuket. From here, it is possible to take in views of Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon beaches.|
|Located between Nai Harn and Kata Noi beaches.|
|Wat Chalong - The Grand Pagoda dominating the temple contains a splinter of Lord Buddha's bone and is officially named Phramahathatchedi-Jomthaibarameepragat.|
|The pagoda is decorated with wall paintings depicting the Buddha's life story and also features various Buddha images.|
|Jungle and mountains in its backdrop, a stunning sea view at its front, Kok Chang has seven elephants waiting to take you for a trek.|
|I was the winner of the game.|
|We are on the way out of Phuket Island to visit James Bond Island.|
|We took this boat to James Bond Island.|
|The shopping crowd on "James Bond" island.|
|Ko Tapu or James Bond Island is a limestone rock about 20 metres (66 ft) tall with the diameter increasing from about 4 metres (13 ft) near the water level to about 8 metres (26 ft) at the top.|
|It lies about 40 metres (130 ft) to the west from the northern part of Khao Phing Kan.|
|Bottle Temple (Wat Kuat) – GPS N 06° 49.068' E 100° 39.329'|
8.30 am Flag off by VIP
12 noon Lunch at Tapar R&R
2.00 pm Rest at Semanggol R&R
4.00 pm BP Petrol Station, Bkt Kayu Hitam for refill and standby to cross border
6.00 pm Check-in at Florida Hotel, Hadyai. Dinner was at Lee Garden Hotel.
Day 2 (May 27) Hadyai - Phuket
6.00 am Wake up call
7.00 am Breakfast at Hotel & checkout
9.00 am Convoy to Phuket (486 km)
11.00am Arrived at Trang for lunch (148 km)
6.00 pm Check-in at Montana Grand Hotel, Phuket for dinner.
The evening was spent walking along the Patong Beach.
Originally a fishing village, currently Patong is Phuket's most developed beach offering virtually every kind of entertainment imaginable. Exuberant nightlife and leisure, sporting, shopping, and recreational options flourish along its 3 km of beach. The beer bars cater to every interest and nationality with charming hostesses to entertain, and all play video movies and music so loud that when several are clustered together it can be deafening. There are also massage parlors, travel agencies, car and motorcycle rental agencies, coffee shops, discos, nightclubs, and cocktail bars.
Haphazard modern development doesn't take anything away from Patong's delightful natural setting. The beach is lovely and excellent for water sports including sail boarding, parasailing and snorkeling (best at the south end) as well as for relaxation, sunbathing and strolling. Fine accommodation abounds in all categories, from the most exclusive and luxurious hotels to bungalows and guesthouses offering simple facilities.
Eating out in Patong can be a truly international experience. Scandinavian, Italian, German, Swiss, Mexican and French restaurants compete with the usual array of fast food joints. Thai cuisine concentrates on seafood cooked Thai-style, which means very spicy with lots of garlic, lemon grass, chilies, shrimp paste and herbs.
Shopping opportunities appear to be endless. Fine modern jewelry can be found at shops in Patong offering rubies, sapphires, and pearls. Other shops sell silk, bronze ware, porcelain, and ceramics.
Patong has a full range of outdoor activities such as yachting, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, windsurfing and water skiing, horseback and elephant riding, mountain biking, sea canoeing.
Day 3 (May 28) Round Island Tour
6.00 am Wake up call
7.00 am Breakfast at Hotel
9.00 am Convoy round island tour
7.00 pm Back to hotel for dinner
It was a fantastic drive round the island.
Phuket's glory is its majestic coastline. Thailand's southern isle of paradise, Phuket Island is bounteously provided with a wide array of attractive beaches and idyllic islands surrounded by the warm turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. Beaches range from gentle crescents of sand with calm waters to rocky headlands pounded by raging surf. The island's western shore is dotted with dozens of spectacular beaches, bays, capes, cliffs and coral reefs.
Experience a stunning underwater world with well-preserved hard corals in both shallow and deeper water at the Racha Islands. Besides sea, sand and sun you can also watch spectacular sunsets at Phrom Thep Cape, or take a break from beaches and enjoy a fascinating evening with a full choice of nightlife entertainment at Patong.
Explore the Jewels of the Andaman Sea
The Andaman Sea sits off the west coast of Thailand, blessing six southern provinces with its natural beauty and resources, beginning at Ranong province bordering with Burma and continuing down to the southern border with Malaysia in Satun province.
The sea is divided into two distinct zones, with the northern Andaman stretching across the coastlines of Ranong, Phangnga and Phuket, and the southern Andaman running from Krabi, Trang and Satun.
More than half of all the islands found in Thailand are found in the Andaman Sea, which stretches along the Kingdom's coast for approximately 739 kilometers.
In past times, the Andaman Sea was a haven for traders from India, China, and Europe. Modern day visitors to the region are sure to find a tourist's paradise and the sight of sailing yachts and diving boats have largely replaced the trading vessels of yesteryear.
The Andaman sea region became a hot spot on the travel and tourism scene some two decades ago with the tourism boom in Phuket, dubbed as the "Pearl of Andaman."
With its long-stretch coastlines, spectacular beaches, limestone cliffs, and scenic natural environment, Phuket, Thailand's largest island, has become well known to travelers from around the world. Dramatic developments in the tourism industry in Phuket have turned it into a world-class resort island accommodating thousands of holidaymakers.
The range of activities available in Phuket is impressive, especially for lovers of water sports. Sailing, yachting, cruising, jet skiing, windsurfing, diving, sea canoeing, kayaking are all available allowing participants to bask in the scenic beauty of the crystal clear waters of the Andaman.
Phuket also serves as a jumping-off point for trips to the attractions of neighboring provinces, including Trang, Phangnga and Krabi, which have been gradually emerging as popular destinations for travelers visiting Thailand's in recent years.
The Surin and Similan islands in Phangnga are now internationally recognized as one of the world's best diving sites blessed with an abundance of rare and colorful marine wildlife. Day trips for Phuket can be made to Phangnga Bay to explore many limestone islands and caves.
Just south of Phuket lie the famous Phi Phi islands situated in Krabi province, site of the motion pictures "The Beach" and "The Man with the Golden Gun". Phi Phi offers an unlimited number of recreational activities, in addition to it's towering limestone cliffs, which make the islands world-famous for rock-climbing. Krabi is also known as the great place for kayaking and canoeing, allowing participants to explore exotic caves and mangrove swamps.
Just south from Krabi, another outstanding destination for travelers can be found which is gaining in notoriety, Trang province. Efforts by the provincial authorities and the Tourism Authority of Thailand have raised the profile of Trang putting it squarely onto the map for international tourists.
Ko Kradan has gained attention as the world's first and most reputable site for underwater wedding ceremonies, becoming known as Valentines Island. Hin Dang and Hin Muang are two of the best diving sites in Trang.
Even further south, on the Malaysian border, are the islands of Tarutao National Park in Satun province. Ko Tarutao figures prominently in Thai history as a penal colony for political dissidents in 1939. During World War II, warders and prisoners were essentially stranded together on the island and the story has been retold frequently in Thai films, novels as well as a documentary series on television.
Ko Tarutao is also a setting-off point to explore other islands in the group including Ko Adang, Ko Rawi, Ko Lipe and Ko Bulon.
From Ranong to Satun in the west south of Thailand, Andarman Sea is awaiting all visitors to come and explore the jewels of Andaman.
Best time to visit: Best time to travel to north Andaman is from December to May. Particularly in March and April when the water will be exceptionally clear. During this time, a host of marine life is in the area including migrant birds that inhabit the area.
**June to November is considered the low season for travelers to the Andaman Sea as rainy season in the area.
Phrom Thep Cape: Phrom Thep is sometimes translated as 'God's Cape'. A promontory stretching into the sea and shaping the farthest south end of Phuket, Phrom Thep is famous as a place to enjoy spectacular sunsets. Just 2 kms from Rawai Beach, the cape has tall cliffs from which one can see Ko Gaew in the distance and the fascinating coastline of Nai Han Beach on the right. The cape can be reached by road from Nai Han, and you can walk out to where the breakers crash against the rocks below. A shrine surrounded by wooden elephants is located near the peak of the cape.
Monuments to the two heroines who saved the island from a Burmese invasion, and to the Australian who introduced the first tin dredge to Phuket Island, are some of the historical sights on the island. The Phra Tong Temple and the remarkable legend attached to it, and the Thalang Museum's 9th century Vishnu image discovered nearly a century ago, attest to the religious significance and historical importance of the island.
Wat Chalong The biggest and most elegantly ornamented of Phuket's 29 Buddhist monasteries. Chalong Temple situated approximately 8 kms southeast of Phuket town, with its typical architecture found throughout Thailand, is not known for its artistic merit. But the temple still remains the biggest and the most beautifully ornamented of Phuket's 29 Buddhist monasteries.
The Chalong Temple is associated with three revered monks of Luang Pro Chaem, renowned herbal doctors and setters of bones, who helped the people of Phuket put down the Ahngyee -- Chinese Coolie, Rebellion in 1876 during the reign of Rama V. Statues of Luang Por Chuang and Luang Por Gluam, other monks who were abbots of the temple during later times, and who are the objects of respect and recipients of offerings by Phuket people generally, are enshrined at the Temple.
Actually entering into the temple you are not charged any admission fees but a small donation of 10 baht to contribute to maintenance or restoration costs is appreciated. Remember - remove your shoes before entering any temple building. Do not treat the Buddha images disrespectfully, however, you may photograph monks (importantly, women should remember not to touch them), temples or images and all Buddhist ceremonies. For the most memorable visit try to time your trip for the weekly holy day when the monks chant Buddhist scriptures in the mornings. The holy days are based on a lunar calendar, so check with the locals to plan your excursion.
Heroines Monument: Built to salute two heroines, Kunying Jan and her sister Mook, who saved Phuket from the attack of Burmese invaders. The Heroines Monument was erected in the middle of the city opposite Thalang National Museum on Highway 402. After the Burmese sacked Ayutthaya, then the capital of Siam, in 1767, King Taksin drove out the Burmese and re-unified the country. The Burmese were bad losers, and outfitted a fleet to attack the southern provinces and carry off the populations to slavery in Burma. The Monument honors Kunying Jan and her sister Mook who were credited with the organizing the successful defense of Phuket Island against the Burmese invaders. This became Phuket's most unforgettable historic event. To acknowledge their bravery and leadership, King Rama I conferred on Kunying Jan the honorific apellation Thao Thep Kasatri - a title of nobility usually reserved for royalty, and her sister became Thao Sri Suntorn.
Pra Tong Temple: A curse is laid on anyone who tries to unearth the golden statue of the Buddha. Located north of Thalang and about 20 km from Phuket Town, Wat Pra Tong is the oldest temple on the island and was created when Thalang was still Phuket's capital.
The shrine encloses a golden statue of Buddha that is said to have emerged from beneath the ground long ago. The extraordinary legend is of a young boy who tied up his buffalo to what he thought was a post. Unfortunately, after doing so, he fell down in agony and died. His father dreamed that the reason his son had died was because he had committed the sin of tying a filthy buffalo to a sacred object: that what the boy thought was a post was in reality the golden peak of the Buddha's conical cap. He told his neighbors about the dream and they went out to excavate the post and discovered it was the decorative topknot of a buried golden Buddha. They were able to unearth no more than the upper part of the image, over which they constructed the present chapel. Burmese invaders attempted to remove the image in 1785 but failed when vicious hornets swarmed and stung them.
After this the villagers decided to protect their miraculous statue by covering the part that stuck up from the ground with a plaster cast of Buddha's head and shoulder's, which is the way it is today.
Sapan Hin (Sixty Years Pillar Monument): Located on Phuket Rd. facing the sea near Phuket Town, Sapan Hin was originally a land reclamation project that provided new land now used for parks and public facilities. In the circle the Tin Mining Monument, shaped like a large drill bit, is dedicated to the memory of Captain Edward Thomas Miles, an Australian who brought the first tin dredge to Phuket in 1909. Built in 1969 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of tin dredging in Phuket, the monument is also known as the Sixty Years Pillar Monument.
Thalang National Museum: Located in Thalang just east of the Two Heroines monument on Highway 402 (the same road leading to the Bang Phae Waterfall and the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center), Thalang National Museum consists of permanent exhibitions of life in old Phuket - ancient artifacts and remains discovered on the coast and a diorama of the famous battle of Thalang involving the Two Heroines against Burmese invaders. Ancient weapons and other antiquities portray Phuket's colorful past as an often-invaded suzerainty of the Kingdom of Siam and an anchorage for adventurers and merchant ships. In addition to the displays of the way of life, culture and history of Phuket, there are exhibits on Sea Gypsy culture. There is also a priceless 9th century Vishnu image recovered near Takua Pa. Usually open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.
Day 4 (May 29) Phuket - Hadyai
7.00 am Wake up call
8.00 am Breakfast at Hotel & check-out
9.00 am Convoy round island tour and to James Bond Island
(Ferry fee not included)
12 noon Lunch at James Bond Island
1.30 pm Convoy back to Hadyai
7.00 pm Check in at VL Hotel, Hadyai for dinner.
Day 5 (May30) Hadyai
6.30 am Wake up call
7.00 am Breakfast at Hotel & check-out
8.00 am Tour to Songkhla, Botted Temple, Samila Beach & Garden Mermaid
12 noon Lunch at Songkhla
6.00 pm Check-in BP Grand Hotel, Hadyai & dinner
Day 6 (May31) Hadyai
6.30 am Wake up call
7.00 am Breakfast at Hotel
8.00 am Tour to Pattani, Mosque Centre with 2000 year history
12 noon Lunch at Pattani
3.00 pm Back to Hotel & free time for shopping
6.30 pm Dinner at Hotel. Thailand’s VIP to present memorable certificate to all participants
Day 7 (June 1) Hadyai - Malaysia
7.30 am Wake up call
8.00 am Breakfast at Hotel & free time for shopping
12 noon Check-out time
2.00 pm Regoup at Hotel and convoy back to Malaysia