Saturday, January 28, 2012

Two days in Bangkok City

In most of my Bangkok trips, I would be searching for my computers, iPad 2 and IPhone accessories. Even going around on the sky train looking at construction for new technical construction knowledge but this trip was totally different for I have to accompany my wife window shopping..... As usual , going to all the stalls in Pratunam !!! and also the Platinum on the opposite site of the road. Other than that we also went over to MBK and returning in night where both of us were too tired to walk and finally calling it a day at 9.00 pm.

The following day, we woke up very early and started window shopping again. Our main destination was to pay respect to the Four Face Buddha at Amarin .After that we took the sky train down to visit Terminal 21 beside Asoke Station and finally to Platinum where my wife will have her final shopping. "Nothing suit my taste for most the clothings are for younger generation" , was her comments . Getting old ..........,,,,,!!,,!,, we acknowledged ..


We have a very irregular meal for we kept on eating the food along the Thanon ( Road) and Soi ( lane) . Finally, we bought a waterproof bag for our neighbor, Mr. Soo who will be cycling from Penang to UK with his closed friend , Tim from France... and other cyclists. They aim to be in UK before the start of the Olympic.
Before the end of the day, like my son, we bought many varieties of food from the Soi and ate them in our rooms .
Time for bed .... 12.15 am to post this blog .

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Our trip back to Bangkok

Today, 26/1/2012 , we checked out from this hotel,Kok Mak resort and were on our way to Bangkok. The speed boat left the Koh Mak's pier sharp at 9.00 am but on the way we have to stop on other island Kok Wai to pick additional passengers. All the transfer were done super fast and we were on our way.

The Kok Mak's pier

Just completed uploading my new blog during our breakfast

Last breakfast with this hotel.

Some of the people we met on this trip .

A Denmark couple with their Mij

Playful Mij posting for my camera shot

Ma poew, french bull dog standing beside
my wife to send her off

Are you going too? Where are your luggages?
Bye ,bye .

On our trip out to Laem Ngob , we met the owner off Koh Mak Resort ,an old gracefully lady of 61 years with her only daughter . She told us that there are almost 300 people residing on this island and she was born here...

There are no bank ,ATM on this island . Surprising they have Internet services.

The speed boat that took us to and fro from Koh Mak and Laem Ngob

Transportation Cost
1. Penang to Hatyai. Rm 35/ way/ person
2. Hatyai to airport : Baht 300 / taxi ( could be cheaper if you know where the taxi stand is
3. Flight, Air Asia , Rm 450 / pax plus tax & flight insurance .
4. Flight , Bangkok Air, Rm 280/ person / trip
5. Taxi from Trat airport to Trat town Baht 500/ per pax/ trip
6. Pickup from Trat town to Laem Ngob pier Rm 100/ pax
7. Speed boat to Koh Mak: Baht 450/pax/ per trip
8. Mini van to Bangkok : Baht 300/ pax / trip
9. Spare some money for rental of motorcycle: Baht 80/ hours or
Baht 350 / day
10. 4 islands snorkeling: Baht 750/ pax including lunch and gear.
( not include diving )
11. Our room: Baht 1750/ room ( air con including breakfast .
Booking through Internet

Speed for traveling
Flight Bkk to Trat : 45 minutes in the air .
Speed boat : approx. 50 minutes .Laem Ngob's pier ( mainland to Koh Mak's pier( Koh Mak island
Minivan to Bangkok : 4 and a half hours
Overall, saving on air tickets could be achieve if booking was done very early .
Very beautiful island and transfer in the island could be a problem ,so rental of motorcycle is compulsory.
Traveling to reach here is takes many hours.
Water clarity. Very good and less sea bug
As compare to other islands that we have visited, every islands
have their unique beauty

The mini van arrived in Bangkok at 3.30 pm. During the way, we passed Chantaburi , kleang etc and upon arrival at Victory monument , I showed my wife on how to take a sky train to our hotel due to the traffic jam, Total Baht 6/ trip for both .
Traveling time traveled from Koh Mak island to Pratunam hotel in BKK was 7 hours .

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Koh Mak and her surrounding islands

Sorry, I have to rewrite this blog for I have accidentally remove the whole blog.

Well, If I could remember what I have written. goes like this...
And additional words that I miss

On 25/1/2012 , we decided to go island hoping. In most of our trip to marine island, we would visit the surrounding marine parks which consists of many smaller islands. In this trip ,we have booked a full day visit to the surrounding park one day earlier.
After taking our breakfast which was included in our hotel stay ,we went over to the reception and waited for the diving company to pick us up. The diving company was very punctual and at 9.00 pm sharp, we were on our way to the diving shop. On arrival , a diver from this company, Koh Mak Divers ,
was immediately sorting out the snorkeling gear that we will be using. My wife was immediately given one to try on and the instructor explained how to choose the right one. I did not need one for I have brought one along from Penang. This mask has been kept hanging in my house for nearly 2 years. The diving instructor has a thorough check of my mask and finally gave me green light. He reminded me to rinse it with fresh water after each use.

Mum in front of the diver shop

Global position of this shop, Koh Mak Divers.

Location of the marine park in relation to Koh Mak

Close view of the islands that we will be snorkeling/ diving.

Divers equipment being sorted out and placed in bag.

When all things were sorted out, new learners have to fill a form
and to certify they were physically fit for the lesson they have requested, we were on our way to another pier.
The instructor asked me why I did not sign up for diving lesson since I love swimming and visiting marine parks. I told him , I have a hole in my ear drum and have recovered since at my younger age and on the preventive side, I have avoided diving. I recalled having to dive down 3m deep to pick up a cooking pot when on one of the company trip to Pulau Perhentian.

A male welder with his friend,a teacher on the transit to Australia .

Our time together on this trip.

One of the boat carrying the divers

Here we met many nationalities .

Below are 3 charts indicating the type of fishes and coral that
we might encounter on this trip

Type of coral.

On one of the island that we snorkeled

Me, in action . . ..old man .

Mum after 2 hours of swimming , looked very tired

Finally, we were on our back .

By 4.00 pm , we were back to our resort. Strange, my wife decided to continue swimming in front of our chalet .Well, looking at her, I think she will miss this island for tomorrow we will be leaving at 9.00am sharp .
In my mind, I knew that she would not return here again for the journey is very tiring. From my home in Penang to here,Koh Mak , nearly 15 hours of travel ( excluding staying a night ( 12 hours) in Trat) .

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A trip to an Island on our 31st wedding anniversary

As always, her off day will come in a short notice. Well , basically you could not plan for any trip in advance. No choice for she might has agreed to this condition . Well at time, she could get a green light earlier! Regardless, we sat down to decide where to go subject to the availability of air ticket and hotels and pricing too.
The final 2 choices : Both destinations were in Thailand. Koh Surin north of Phuket or Koh Chang and Koh Mak in Trat. Burning a few night lamp, we decided to take the second option. An island in Trat province and quite near the Cambodia border. I have been to Koh Chang before but not Koh Mak which is south of Koh Chang while working in Thailand in 1998 . To take this trip was due to encouragement of my Thai friend ,Sukkit, who has been there after my retreat from Bangkok. Secondly during last trip to Bangkok ,2011, I was advice not to go for the monsoon was on but regardless l have collected many information from the airport but then it was not an updated version. Searching through my bookshelf, I found the map of Trat which I bought in 1998 . Well, the best information collected was from the Net .

Finally, on 23/1/2012, we were on our way to this island.
From Penang ,we booked a mini van ,normally a very good coach but surprisingly we were surprised that it was a big cruise bus and real reason for this changed was due to many travellers. Woke up at 4.00 am,and lucky to have a sound mind , for we slept very late ,1.00am, our fateful alarm ,clock and IPhone woke us up exactly 5 minutes apart. My wife make a final check while I was at the computer reading the mails and including downloading the last 2 movies ,into my IPad 2 . Books and magazines were downloaded as early as 2 weeks ago.
Shutting off my computer ,we left at 4.30 pm sharp and arrived at my office. I left my company car in the car park and went out to wait for the van but was surprised that it was tour bus which turned up .
The bus left Penang after picking all her passenger and we Were cruising across The famous Penang Bridge at around 6.00am. Finally reached Hatyai at around 9.30 (local time).we checked in with a local tour agent for the time required to reach the airport and immediately went for our lunch cum breakfast . At 11.30am we were at Hatyai airport checking in. The local flight took off exactly as per shedule and arrived Bangkok around 3.35 pm. While waiting to claim our luggages in the main terminal, my wife sounded that our journey could be very tiring. I told her that it would take us another 6 hours by bus coach to reach Laem Ngob's pier and estimate time of arrival around 12.00 midnight. Observing her being quite tired , I started to get a bit worry and while waiting to claim our baggage, I started to check a local Bangkok air counter . The last flight out to Trat was at 5.00pm. Looking at my watch , we have exactly 50 minutes before the flight took off. I told my wife that it would worth to give a try to check with the Bangkok air counter at Level 4 ,note that we were at level 1. Snatching out luggages , we apologized to certain travellers who have to give way to us in the airport and we managed to reached the island counter within 5 minutes .
Checking with the airline,the plane would wait for us and it was not a problem. My wife sounded that the air ticket could be expensive. I told her I have allocated this cost in case of emergency, that either one of us could not make the long journey ,but to take a flight to shorten this journey. Well idea the prediction was right.

We took our flight down to Trat by Bangkok aIr and landed at Trat airport at 6.15 pm. First impression of the airport, same condition like the TV show,Gilligan island , a very casual airport and the bus that took along the runway to the airport terminal was like those in the Julassic park. By the way, many passengers have a shock realizing that flight PG.307 is a Fokker plane.

The next costly encounter was the taxi fare to Trat, 500 baht per person ( total 1000 baht for both of us). We did not check whether there were any transport around but looking at the whole terminal, only 3 counters were available and none public transport counter was around .

Hotel in Trat was cheap . We stayed in SA Hotel and cost us only 500 baht . Trat is a very small town and within 10 minutes, we have seen what was in the main street. Not much choice of food over here but still we were quite happy for we have always love Thai food. The next morning I was up early to check on the type of transport which could bring us over to Laem Ngop pier and finally settled for a chartered pickup costing us 200 Baht .

Upon reaching the main pier, we checked the time and fare of returning from Koh Mak and also the schedule of the minivan to Bangkok . Booked for departing Koh Mak at 9.00am .arriving mainland pier at 10.00am to continue our journey to Bangkok at 10.30am , estimating time of arrival at 3.00 pm .

Koh Mak Island
The speed boat cost us 450 Baht per person and took off 10 minutes late . Regarding the inspection of the no of passenger were allowed in this boat , none of the authority was around to flag and authorized the trip. In one of our journey to an island ,Koh Tao from Koh Samui, a marine officer was there to counter and ensure the speed boat complied to the ruling and signed on a form before allowing the boat to speed off.

Cont .......later it really a beautiful island as compare to many islands, Koh Tao,Koh Lipe ,Koh Kai and many more we have visited? Before the journey, my sons were informed of the trip and also my Thai adopted sister, Buay Trisanawai who keep updated our health and where about. ......and why this trip.....

Cont ......with a lot pictures and also receiving an international call from Xing Yi about an hour ago to check how is the island as compare to those that we have taken them . So excited indeed he is ..... Ha ha ....
I am posting this blog in the restaurant of Koh Mak Hotel, free Wifi and beautiful music play in the stage.
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