星期日, 12月 30, 2007

Tips for the Trip

What: Cycling Tour
When: 20/12/07 – 25/12/07
Where: Alor Star (Kedah, Malaysia) to Pakbara (Satun, Thailand) via Wang Kelian border checkpoint
Who: Miow Chin, Kam Meng, Beh, May Khin & I
Total Distance: 190.5km

Summary:
It was a relaxing and wonderful journey. The itinerary was just nice to a beginner, the distance covered in each day was not too much, and we had a lot of time to rest at nite and to visit the place at each stop. After reaching Pakbara at Satun, we took a ferry to Koh Tarutao, Koh Adang and Koh Lipe, those islands are the places MUST visit when you come to Satun.

Itinerary:
Day -1 (18/12/07)
Dissemble bicycle and pack it into box.

Day 0 (19/12/07)
Departed for Alor Star by train from KL Central train station, 8.45pm. Bought the berth tickets and paid some money for 3 bikes in the box to the train master.

Day 1 (20/12/07) Alor Star – Kangar – Kaki Bukit (75.6km)
Slept and arrived at Alor Star’s train station 8.45am, unpack the bikes and departed to Kangar at 10.30am. Follow Route 7 from Alor Star to Kangar, the road is totally flat for 45km, passed by mosques and paddy fields which are the significant trademarks in Kedah.

From Kangar to Kaki Bukit is another 30km to go, the limestone range was in our sight once near Kangar. We made a right turn to Kg. Guar Jentik which later joins back to Route 7 and head to Kaki Bukit. This route was really recommended to all, the scenery was excellent and the environment was so peaceful.

There was a little hills when come to the last few kilometers to Kaki Bukit. Kaki Bukit is a small town where Gua Kelam is located here. There is a main street of shops with restaurants and mini markets. There is also a bicycle shop next to the main street, you can have simple services from the bike shop.

We stayed a night at Putera Wang Guest House, cost RM60 for a living room with 4 beds.

Day 2 (21/12/07) Kaki Bukit – Wang Kelian – Satun Town (51.8km)
Follow the sign board’s direction to Wang Kelian, passed through a killing uphill for 4-5km, took a break at a view point at top of the hill, then all the way down for another 4-5km, made a left turn and headed to Kg. Wang Kelian. About 3-4km before reaching botder checkpoint, you will see Perlis State Park (Wang Kelian State Park) at your right. We supposed to camp here but we were late at the first day.

Passed by the duty free complex and street market at Wang Kelian, fill in the white card, went through the immigration counter and exit at Wang Prachan. Adjusted my watch to 1 hour back.

There’re another 30+km to go from Wang Prachan to reach at Satun Town. Just follow the sign board with English, we easily directed to Satun town in all flat road again. The road condition in Thailand is much more better than Malaysia’s, we hardly felt uneven of the road and it made our journey smooth and relaxing. We passed by many villages before reaching Route 406 the main road to Satun/Hatyai.

We stayed at Bubble Guest House which only cost us 380baht for 5 people and 5 bikes in the room. The Thai cannot speak well English in this small and silent town, make sure you know some simple Thai language to communicate with them, but they are happy to talk to you with hands description or drawing on the paper :)

Day 3 (22/12/07) Satun Town – Pakbara Pier (63.1km)
Back trace for 13km towards Route 406, then turned left to Route 416 towards Trang/Langu. The road is flat except certain distance is rolling hill.

After arriving at Langu town, continue for about 12km to Pakbara Pier. There are plenty of ferry/speedboat companies at various schedule departed for Koh Tarutao/Lipeh, do not worry you can’t get a ticket. We took the Adang Sea ferry which was slow moving (1 hour from pier to Koh Tarutao, 2 hours from Koh Tarutao to Koh Lipe), they allowed us to load our bikes on board with 50baht each.

Remember to stock up your water/snack/beers at pier if you don’t want to pay more on the islands.

Day 4 (23/12/07) Koh Tarutao / Koh Adang
Park entrance fee is 200baht per adult (foreigner), various type of accommodation are rented at reasonable price. Even restaurant also sells food with reasonable price with good quality of food. Koh Tarutao is the largest island among all in Tarutao National Park, there is a 12km concrete road to link our campsite (Ao Phante Malaka) to Ao Talo Wao (former prisoner vocational training community). Beware, it is a rolling hill with sharp curves.

Among the islands visited in next 2 days, Ao Phante Malaka has the most wonderful bay with white soft sand, and great accommodation and environment.

Day 5 (24/12/07) Koh Adang / Koh Lipe
Everything is similar to Koh Tarutao. Engage a long tail boat for snorkeling here will cost cheaper. The standard short snorkeling trip brings you to Koh Chabang, Koh Rawi, Koh Hin-ngam.

We stayed at Sunlight Bay which is more silent and lively, it is close to the local residences. Pattaya Bay is more happening and favorite place for most tourists. Sunset Bay should be the most beautiful and peaceful bay, but it is too far from the village.

Day 6 (25/12/07) Return
We locked our bikes at Koh Tarutao, on the return trip, when the ferry stopped by at Koh Tarutao to pick up passenger, we quickly went to take our bikes and load to the ferry. It is very inconvenience nor no use to bring the bikes along to Koh Adang/Lipe.

The ferry departed for Pakbara at 10am, by right it should be reached the pier at 1pm, but most likely to be late at least 30mins. If everything follow the plan perfectly, we should be able to reach Padang Besar border at 4pm, then it is just nice to pack our bikes and departed for KL on train at 4.50pm.

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