2009 - Backpacking to Southern Thailand

Backpacking Adventure
10 days to Krabi, Koh Lanta, Ao Nang
23 Aug <> 01 Sep 2009

(L-R) Ching Neng Bin, Bernard Lee, Chew Leng Soon, Arthur Hoi, Vivien, Chan Meng Fai, Peter, Hoi Chee Hoi at Railay Beach

The route: KL > Ipoh > Hadyai > Krabi > Koh Lanta > Ao Nang > Trang > Hadyai > Ipoh

Day 01 (23.08.09) KL > Ipoh > Hadyai, Thailand

Bernard Lee, Chan Meng Fai and Choo Chiew Chin drove from KL to my house in Ipoh arriving at 2pm. We sat down to review and exchange photos taken from our recent Indonesian trip. Afternoon was a ten minutes walked from my house to Bandar Seri Botani Lake & Eco-park. Walking round the lake took us about 30minutes, enjoying fresh air and the magnificent view of "Gunung Rapat". We took the Ekspres Kesatuan (RM45) at Ipoh Medan Gopeng bus station at 12pm for Hadyai.
Sleeping - Overnight bus at RM45 each

My single storey house in Bandar Seri Botani, Ipoh
My small garden
Magnificent view of "Gunung Rapat" and part of Cameron highlands on the far right. Picture taken in-front of my house.
Bandar Seri Botani is the latest property development by the Taiko Group of Companies. Over 1,200 acres of former plantation land, this fully integrated township development offers residents the combined benefits of city and country living at its very best. House buyers can choose from a selection of over 6,000 units of bungalows, semi-detached houses, townhouses and link homes, all bearing the stamp of quality that has become synonymous with Taiko. Completing this amazing array of quality homes are parkland and extensive landscaping. 
The Eco-park and lake are located in the middle of Bandar Seri Botani

Residents come in the evening to feed the fishes in the lake
Day 02 (24.08.09) Hadyai > Krabi

The bus actually left Ipoh at 1.30am and arrived at Changlun a boarder town at 4.30am. Stopped 20minutes for breakfast and arrived in Hadyai at 8am. We took the 10am van (TB240 each) to Krabi arriving at 3pm. Its a 4 hour journey from Hadyai to Krabi. We booked one air-con room for TB400 at Black Tiger Guesthouse along the river for four of us. As usual, we would walk all over the town and also look for food. We had very good dinner at this Kotung Restaurant, 36 Khongkha Road.
Van: Hadyai to Krabi is TB240 each

Sleeping: Black Tiger Guesthouse, Kongka Road at TB400 a/c room for 4pax
Hadyai Railway Station
Building behind this eagle is Thai Tourism office along the Krabi River
Krabi Town - Kongka Road
Krabi River
300 ft high Khao Kanab Nam limestone towers by the river (shape like dog ear)
Very sweet little pineapple at TB10 each
A good place to eat at Kotung Restaurant, 36 Khongkha Road, Krabi
Day 03 (25.08.09) Krabi, Thailand

Early morning walk along the river towards Thara Park at the southern part of Krabi. Had very good fish porridge for breakfast at a stall. Chew and 5 friends flew in by AirAsia from KL and met us at 2pm and I put them in No.7 Guesthouse at TB450 a room. After lunch at Kotung restaurant, we went for the one hour boat ride (TB50 each) along the Krabi River, visiting the cave at Khao Kanab Nam hill, mangrove swamps and a fish farm. We bought a 3kg fish for RM45 for dinner at Kotung restaurant.

Sleeping: Black Tiger Guesthouse at TB400 a/c room for 4pax
Krabi River

The best fish porridge here just opposite our guesthouse
Kaew Korawaram Temple
View of town from Kaew Korawaram Temple
OldWest Bar along Chaofa Road
Northern part of town
Guesthouses along Chaofa Road
Our famous saying: UP TO YOU

Boat ride along Krabi River

A puffer fish before bloated.  Puffer Fish are the second most poisonous vertebrate on earth (the first one is golden dart Frog). The meat of some species is a delicacy in both Japan (as fugu) and Korea (as bok-uh) but the problem is that the skin and certain organs of many puffer fish are very poisonous to humans. 
After being bloated
Day 04 (26.08.09) Krabi > Koh Lanta Islands

10am van to Koh Lanta (TB200 each). It was a 2hr journey with 2 ferry crossing, each at Ban Hua Hin and Ban Lang Sod ferry terminal. Checked in at Clean Beach Resort at TB500 a room along Klong Nin Beach. We had the most expensive lunch at a stall in the village and had to help in the cooking. Afternoon was walking along the beach front with good dinner at the resort.

Van: Krabi to Koh Lanta (TB200 each) 2 hour journey
Sleeping: Clean Beach Resort at TB400 a room 
Fish porridge for breakfast
The ferry at Ban Lang Sod
There are 2 ways to reach the island of Koh Lanta Yai from Krabi: by car or by passenger ferry. If you are driving, head south along Route 4, direction Trang. After Klong Thom there will be a sign on the road indicating to turn right for Lanta (Route 4206). You need to drive another 30km to reach the 1st pier of Hua Hin. 2 ferry crossings will be necessary, the first one to Koh Lanta Noi, then to Koh Lanta Yai. The cost (one-way) is 126 THB for a car with 2 people, 43 THB for a motorbike with 2 people. The minimum time needed for this journey is around 2 hours. Ferries operate until 10pm every night. If you have no vehicle the best way is to take the passenger ferry. Boats leave from Ao Nang, Krabi Town, Koh Jum and Phuket. Prices are from 350 THB for a one-way journey.

Mary & husband Dr.Kee
Saladan town

Most expansive lunch - Mary & Bernard helped to cook

Klong Nin Beach
Destroyed beach hotel & restaurant by tsunami in 2004

Evacuation area at high ground

A night beer at our resort
Day 05 (27.08.09) Koh Lanta

Booked a van for TB1200 to take 10 of us for a 5hour round island tour. Breakfast at View Point Restaurant, drive to Old Town and Lanta Pier, visited Sea Gypsy Village, Elephant Village and had lunch at Saladan town. Dinner at Cook-Kai Restaurant, a 10minutes walk from our resort.

Van: Round Island drive is TB120 each
Sleeping: Clean Beach Resort at TB400 a room
Morning meeting
Walking through the village

View Point Restaurant on the west coast

Good breakfast here
Lanta old town

A Chinese Temple

Sherry (dasher.lanta@gmail.com) from New Zealand have been staying here for the past 5 years
Talking bird

Lanta pier at Old Town

Sea Gypsy Village. The large community of sea-gypsies is settled in the village of Ban Sangkha-Ou on the southern tip of the island.

Saladan town at the northern tip of the island

Very good sea-food lunch at Saladan Seafood Restauran

Sea view at the restaurant

You understand? I NO understand!

The weird looking Cook Kai Restaurant
Day 06 (28.08.09) Lanta Island to Ao Nang Beach

11am van to Ao Nang Beach at TB250 each. A 3hour journey and checked in at Baan Pimphaka Bungalows at TB600 a room for 2pax, TB800 a room for 4pax. Lunch at Orchid Restaurant in town. Dinner at Wang Sai Seafood Restaurant. Beef noodle for supper followed by sexy bar in town.

Van: Lanta to Aonang is TB250 each
Sleeping: Pimphaka Bungalows TB600 for 2, TB800 for 4

Chew has Alice (alicioferkin@hotmail.com) from England as friend
I have Alice and also Maria from Spain (solyson@hotmail.com)

Ao Nang is the main tourist hub in the Krabi area, with a more international flavour than the traditional Krabi town. Situated only 20 km from Krabi. Dive shops and motorcycle rental places announce your arrival to the beach road, where it all happens. Most restaurants, bars and shops operate on this strip and you will find ATMs and tuk tuks every few meters. There are also a few pharmacies here that can dispense the usual remedies as well as some prescription drugs, without the need for a prescription. This is one of the busiest roads in Ao Nang so please take care when crossing over. Be advised that the zebra crossings you see are rarely acknowledged.

Another UP TO YOU
Pineapple fried rice for lunch

Ao Nang Beach

Long tail boats for rent
Nopparat Thara Beach

Wang Sai Seafood Restaurant

Dinner at Wang Sai Restaurant
Mary & Dr.Kee enjoying dinner + whiskey
The best beef balls for supper

Day 07 (29.08.09) Ao Nang Beach

After breakfast, it was goodbye to Mary & Dr.Kee who had to fly back home, whom we had wonderful time together for the last few days. Island hopping by boat (TB200 each) the whole day and came back at 4pm for the Inter-City hash run at 6pm.

Boat fee: to 3 islands and beaches at TB200 each
Sleeping: Pimphaka Bungalows TB600 for 2, TB800 for 4
We stayed here at Pimphaka Bungalow
Breakfast at the bungalow

Its island hopping
Si Islands good for snorkeling
Chicken Island - great snorkeling on beautiful coral

Poda Island good for sunbathing and relaxing

With sand bank, you can walk from one island to another

Tup Island has connected tree islands together
Railay Beach

Railay East Beach - the place to lazy around
Railay is a secluded peninsula just south of Ao Nang. It's part of the mainland, but is inaccessible by road due to towering cliffs. It is reachable with a mere 15 minutes longtail boat ride from Ao Nang. There are 3 sides to the Railay Beach peninsula, all within walking distance, two of which boast spectacular beaches: the west-facing Sunset Beach and Phra Nang Bay.
The adventure-minded can climb a rugged path up the side of this impressive karst cliff to discover a hidden lagoon in its centre. Railay is also Thailand's rock climbing capital. The climbing pioneers started negotiating the limestone cliffs here over ten years ago.

Wow! A cave full of wooden penis statues!
At the far end of Phra Nang beach you will find a small cave with a shrine notable for its statues of penis. The shrine is dedicated to a deity known locally as Sri Kunlathewi who, according to a legend, was an Indian princess wrecked on this coast in the 3rd century BC and has been called upon by fishermen ever since to provide them with a good catch. Statues adorned with garlands and incense offerings in the hope of increased sexual potency, prosperity and good fortune.

City Hash for Krabi Run - Hares are Uncle Teh and Auntie Margaret

The name is "City Hash". It's motto is "Don't call us, we'll call you". Participants to this hash is by invitation only. It's runs are mostly outstation or overseas. They had runs in Penang, Sandakan, Pulau Tioman and now Krabi. I understand their next run is in Sanya, Hainan Island, China.

This are guest runners introducing themselves
It was a 2 hour run through villages, rubber plantation and up the hill

Chew the sweeper and I the photographer

Arthur the Mother Hash! oops!
On! On! with more beer
The best Krabi coconut cola
What a wonderful run

The final showdown with more beer
Well, we are all drunk!
The party goes on and on

The sexy bars are all behind me
Day 08 (30.08.09) Aonang > Krabi > Trang

By songtil (TB60) to Krabi bus station. 2 hour bus journey (TB115) from Krabi to Trang. Had lunch at the Trang bus station. By tuk2 to town and stayed at Koh Teng Hotel. It was walking round the town and had dinner at the night market. 
Morning walk at the Ao Nang Beach

Trang night market
Day 09 (31.08.09) Trang > Hadyai

A 2 hour bus journey (TB100) to Hadyai. Stayed at Tong Nam Hotel in the centre of town at TB400 a room. Nice food in Hadyai. The best shop to buy cashew-nut is at Wong Swad Hatyai (Plaza) Co.Ltd., Montri Road, beside the market on the northern side of town.
Day 10 (01.09.09) Hadyai > Ipoh > KL

10am bus (RM40)to Ipoh arriving at 4pm. Bernard, Chan and Choo drove back to KL after tea at my place.
Opposite New World Hotel, you can get Penang food.
The food stall is at this building

Total expenses for 10 days adventure was RM700-00 per person.


  1. Hi Ching,
    You are truly a talented traveler journalist~

  2. Jennifer Kuan18 October, 2009

    Hi Ching
    Beautiful photos taken! Are you able to send the City Hash photos in Picasa Album that they can download into photos size? Some don't use computers!

    Beside Hainan Island in Aug/Sep, we are going to Bangkok 1st week of June. Hope we meet again.


  3. Teh Chak King18 October, 2009

    Hi Ching,

    You really know how to travel, look fantastic, and places you been is really enjoying, and meeting people,,,

    Keep it up Ching, hope you post more where ever you go..

    Happy traveling.

  4. Really hv fun & enjoyable by having a group of close friends with same travelling interest!!!!

  5. Peter Cheah19 October, 2009

    Hi Ching,

    These photos are amazing. They bring out the adventurism and the exploring efforts of you guys. Congratulations and thank you for sharing them with me though we have not met in person. This is the 2nd. episode I received apart from the one when you were in Indonesia.

    Interestingly, I read some side photos of your personal life and place of residence. I have visited your garden before while on a casual drive with my wife. Apart from that, there is a photo where it was captioned on your professional career in celebrating 35 years with Public Bank. Incidentally, I was in the same sector of employment, mostly serving in Perak branches. Co-incidentally, I did serve 35 years with Maybank. It will be of much interest to meet you in person and say hello.

    Peter Cheah

  6. James Leong20 October, 2009

    Hi! Ching Neng Bin,
    Thanks for the back-packing to Indonesia article which came to my email via Ong Keng Ming in Australia, who is my Classmate back in the fifties. Likewise, Chan Meng Fye is also one of my Archer in Selangor during the eighties/nineties.

    I remember you but that was long long ago in the seventies. I then work in D&C Bank and was close to Ng Ah Seng; Johnson Pang; Joyce Richie and sometime spoke to Molly Tong and Tay Ah Lek who was in Public Finance with Wong Sek Wah.

    I am retired now and my morning walking pal is Tan Kee Seng who was also with Public Finance before he moved to Mui Bank and thereafter Hong Long Bank. Good to keep in touch after our horrible working days. Wong Sek Wah has two crafts shops in Sungei Wang, but his health is not so good, as he has Heart problem. Do keep in touch on our Bonus days ahead.
    James Leong.

  7. Ching,
    Just finished browsing the photos and the writeup of your Southern Thailand trip. Wish I was there too. Simply amazing. The photos says a thousand words and captures the mood. Thanks.
    Choon Y

  8. Dear Mr Ching,
    It's very interesting to see you and groups of friends backpack to so many interesting places. I would like to do the same when I retired.

    Just wonder how you plan the visit of places of interest. Those were places you never visited before. How do you know where to visit, where to put a night, where to have a good feast. Where is the next stop?

    Kow Wan Hun

  9. Anonymous29 June, 2011

    I am deeply impressed by your trip. Stumbled upon it while googling my home village gunung rapat.

    You should post it in tripadvisor for the benefit of other travellers.