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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Road to Hatyai...failed!

The incident on last weekend was so enraged and frustrated. When I got home, I googled about it and found this.


When preparing an itinerary for this mainly a food hunting trip and a short getaway on weekend, I googled a lot - about where to stay, places to go, what to eat. In the process, I came across other people’s blog, sharing their experience to Hatyai overland but too bad, didn’t find any to pre-warn about this issue.

So this what happened –

Me and my other 3 friends from Philippines planned for a weekend trip to Hatyai. We took a bus from KL and bought a return tickets for the next day. We even paid for a hotel room online.

Our bus reached at the Sadao Boundary post to enter Thailand on Saturday 930am. It started to get fishy when there’s a man in casual attire pulled one of my friend and asked her for RM100 to skip the queue. She felt strange but chose to ignore and just got back to the queue again. After checking their passport by the officer at the counter, my friends were directed to the office at the back. I had my passport stamped with no problem as I’m Malaysian. When I went to meet them at the back office, I saw the same man talking shouting to them, asked to pay RM100 or showed 10,000 THB, or else they had to return to Malaysia. Things got so confusing at first because I never heard about this fee and the officer didn’t try to explain nicely, instead they were extremely rude.

We’re going to stay just for a day and do you think each of us must spend 10,000 THB there?
We showed the return bus tickets but they don’t care.
All my friends have a working visa in Malaysia, but they don’t care too.

To cut a story short, my friends were denied to enter Thailand and banned to come back in a day. Just note that we didn’t fight and tried to negotiate properly but still NONE of them cared to even bother.

Apparently, this rules exist decades ago, but the implementation varies. No wonder many people not aware of it and my Thai friends didn’t know about it either. I read in few forums, blogs and news, some of the tourists were asked to pay up to RM300, some of them were asked to show 20,000 THB and some of them were not asked for anything. It’s obviously a scam and what disturbed the most was the treatment and harassment we got from the officers.

I respect any rules at any country, but I hope all the immigration officers also be more respectful and more humanely.

And here some stories I found on internet:

I’m just sharing this to let others know, even for Malaysian, that you may need to prepare 10,000 THB to enter Thailand by land as they have a right to ask it from you, at anytime.

Good luck!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Things I did in Langkawi

Once upon a time, I lived in Langkawi for about 3 months. Can’t remember the exact time but as I still remember, I didn’t explore much.
The only attraction place I went was Pantai Cenang.

Now after 7 years, I came back to this isle of legend. And this time, I took along my mom and a niece.

The holiday started a day after our national general election.  So the happy feelings from the GE’s result added more for this trip.

1st day
  • We took a flight from KLIA and reached Langkawi airport at almost 6pm. Rent an AXIA – cheap, its only RM50 a day, and drove straight to check-in at T Star Cottage ( I always like to stay near to a beach and this place, although it’s small, it’s still comfy and has a peaceful ambience. Totally worth every penny. But be careful of monkeys!
  • Dinner at Selera Lubuk Buaya, Jalan Pantai Tengah. A tasty Thai food.

2nd day 
  • Lunch Ikan Bakar at restaurant near to airport
  • Cable Car

  • 3D Art Paradise 

  • Pantai Pasir Tengkorak

  • Telaga Harbor

  • Dataran Helang

  • Dinner at Chef Zack restaurant

3rd day
  • Island Hopping trip. We went to Pulau Dayang Bunting, Pulau Beras Basah and Eagle Feeding point at Pulau Singa Besar

  • Lunch at Pantai Cenang. Very delicious and affordable seafood.

  • Mahsuri Village. It’s nothing much, there’s her tomb, houses and a small museum. Purposely brought mom to visit and at least something interesting that we got to see a traditional music performance.
  • Shopping chocolates at Kompleks HIG. Many varieties and they say the price is mostly cheaper there.
  • Laksa Kaw Ikan Sekoq tepi airport. A few food truck to choose, mostly selling laksa, char kuey teow and rojak. Too many people so it’s quite slow to get your food. And for me, the laksa I tried not really delicious tho.
  • Went to Teluk Baru, just to watch the bay again.

4th Day
  • Breakfast at Roti Canai Blackpepper, Jalan Kedawang. Ingatkan apa la roti canai blackpepper, rupanya kuah tu kuah blackpepper. Sedap jugak. Nasi lemak pon sedap
  • Flight back to KLIA at 10am

Actually, there are many other places you can go in Langkawi. As I was with my mom, it’s quite limited to do activities, only suitable for sight-seeing places. However I was glad that mom managed to reach Pulau Dayang Bunting, which she had to do a trekking about 15-20 mins. I felt guilty tho to see her struggle. Uhh~ but thank God nothing bad happened.

The next time to go Langkawi, maybe I’ll put these in the list:
  • Snorkeling and diving in Payar Island
  • Seven Wells waterfall
  • Paragliding
  • Tanjung Rhu beach
  • Mangrove Tour
  • Jetski island hopping
  • Skytrex

Btw, thanks Langkawi for the good memories :)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mabuhay Boracay!

Currency rate on 19 Jan 2018:

1 MYR = 12.8259 PHP
100 PHP = 7.8 MYR
*I’m too bad at keeping record and not a photograph enthusiast, so the price I shared below are more or less accurate. 

Boracay – Sape yang pernah pegi sana mostly cakap benda yang sama. Beautiful long white sand, clear turquoise water, happening but not too wild night life, friendly people and also crowded! Yeah crowded! It becomes a very touristy place, so please expect many many photoboomers.

Boleh swim sampai kat bot sana.

But, it’s not too bad. Bole lagi la mandi manda dengan tenang, takde la sampai kaki kepala kena tendang. Cuma bila nak jalan along the shop street tu la rimas sket. Dan apa yang paling rimas sbenanya, kat sana ramai sangat salesperson (macam ulat-ulat) yang approach masa kita tengah jalan. Dengan yang jual topi, waterproof bag, spek mata, macam-macam. Asek panggil “Mem, Mem” sampai nak cakap “No” pon da malas. Padahal banyak je kedai-kedai kat situ jual barang yang sama. So I think they should have restricted a walking vendors. Let us walk in peace, please!

Lit tak lit?

The food – I stayed in Station 2, which is in the middle. Many restaurants surround the place, so it’s very easy to find food. Yang susahnya nak carik halal food la. I’m not a type of person who brings can food or maggi or bread or periuk nasi.
Kalau tak jumpa makanan halal pon, makan je la buah-buah. Takpon telan jela fruit milkshake tu 2-3 botol. Hehe. Ala kat situ pon ada banyak mini market, beli jela biskut ke roti. Tak susah pon nak jumpa biskut dari Thailand yang ada cop halal.

Tapi kalau restaurant yang betul-betul halal, ada la kot jumpa 2-3 ketul. Mostly Arabian restaurant. Yang harga kebab pon 350 (dekat 30 hengget!). Aku try jugak la kat The Kingdom restaurant dan order carbonara pasta harga 400. Tapi yang sampai adalah pasta letak cheese semata. Rasa macam keropok cheezels yang dicairkan pastu letak dalam spaghetti. Masin gila tak sedap!

A view from the top of ASTORIA restaurant.

Alternatively, you can go to a restaurant which doesn’t sell pork. Ada restaurant sushi, ada vegan, ada café yang jual sandwich and muffin, contohnya: Real Coffee & Tea Café, which is also famous for their calamansi muffin. It’s a must try!

Kedai yang jual seafood sahaja pon banyak. Kalau nak pilih sendiri apa nak makan, bole pegi ke D’Talipapa. Kat situ ada market yang bole pilih udang, ketam, scallop, ada banyak jenis seafood lagi. Lepas da pilih, bawak ke kedai yang paling hujung untuk suruh dorang masak. Tapi agak mahal laa. Ketam 2 ekor kecik pon da 450. Pastu upah masak pon dah 350. Total makan lunch untuk 3 orang dalam 1200 Piso. Tapi nasib baik la sedap espeseli sotong goreng tepung dan sayur sawi goreng oyster. Ohh nyum!

Kalau nak senang, korang amek la pakej muslim yang da termasuk makan-minum semua.

Dan kat sana pon femes dengan fruities and milkshake. Ada banyak kedai yang jual, tapi jangan lupa try kat the Jonah’s Fruitshake. Harga tak mahal sangat. I tried the Banana Choco Peanut, it’s 130. Soo sedap bak hang!

Menikmati fruitshake sambil melihat sunset.

Ah lagi satu, go try Halo-Halo, the famous local dessert. Ianya sangat nyumm!

Enjoying my Halo-halo 😋

The snorkeling trip – Tak payah susah-susah nak carik, along the street ada ramai yang akan approach suruh amek pakej dorang. Mostly sume harga sama. Cuma beza nak buat aktiviti apa. Plan awal nak gi Ariel’s Point, tapi kawan yang lain tanak sebab mahal katanya. 2500 memang mahal la jugak. I just let my Pinoy friends to decide and finally, they chose to go for Island Hopping. Tak kesah la asalkan ada water activity. Tapi bab ni yang agak sakit hati sket nak cerita.

Punya la ramai penduduk alam yang tunggu giliran nak gi boat trip.

Katanya pakej 800 termasuk lunch, akan pegi dalam 5-6 point. Ok la berbaloi rasanya.

First point, bot berenti kat tengah laut untuk snorkeling. Sebelum dia kasi turun, dia suruh bayar 20 Piso for ‘Environmental Fee’. Apa ke jadah plak ni. Tanak banyak bising, bayar jela kan. Snorkeling point plak dah la coral tak cantik, ikan pon sikit je.

Lepas abes snorkeling, pegi plak Puka Beach. Kat sini untuk melepak je. Along the beach ada banyak stall jual barang dan kedai minum-minum. Lepak-lepak minum mango shake pastu posing-posing amek gamba dalam 1 jam, pegi pulak lunch kat island lain. Ape nama island tu tak ingat la plak. Lepas makan dalam 1 jam, bot bawak pegi Crystal Cove. Nak masuk sini pon rupanya kena bayar lagi entrance 250. Kenapa tak masukkan semua skali dalam pakej?! Hampeh btol. Dah la aku tak bawak cukup cash, mintak utang dulu tak dapat, so takde chan la nak masuk dalam. Kesahnya, aku hanya bermandi manda di beach tepi cave yang cetek dan banyak batu itu. Benci!

Lepas Crystal Cove sepatutnya pegi Magic Island kat depan tu je. Tapi boatman kata yang lain tanak pegi. Agaknya sebab kena bayar lagi untuk entrance ataupon dorang yang lain tu tak minat nak lompat-lompat. Duhh bengang gila. Takde chan aku nak buat cliff jumping! Crocodile island pon tak bole pegi jugak sebab katanya angin kuat, hujan rintik-rintik air bergelora mak kasi seposen, buat la muka seposen. So kesimpulannya cuma pegi 3 point. Pehh sangat tak best. Dah la snorkeling pegi 1 point je dan paling tak puas ati sebab banyak hidden charges tu la. Patutnya dorang brief awal-awal.

Tu haa Magic Island.

Ada banyak kali jugak isu pasal caj-caj extra yang tetiba ni. Meh sini aku citer.

Memula, masa kat jeti. Kalau kat Malaysia, kita cuma beli tiket bot dan kalau nak snorkeling kat marine park baru kena bayar marine tiket tu. That’s it.
Tapi kat Boracay, beli tiket bot lain then plus the Environmental Fee – 75 pastu kena tambah lagi terminal fee – 100. Pegi balik okeh! Hapekejadahinisemuakan??!

Dan last yang paling bengang adalah masa kat airport time nak balik. Aku konon gembira la ada balance 500, ingatkan bole la nanti beli lasagna dalam flight sebab kompom lapar punya. Masa tengah beratur dalam line yang panjang gila tapi 1 counter je bukak, tambah dengan rasa cuak sebab flight aku nak take off dalam 15 minit je lagi tapi line still panjang nak mam, aku ternampak sign “Terminal Fee – 700 PHP”. Hah apekejadahnya lagi itu?? Btw, aku balik sorang sebab 2 kawan Pinoy pegi Manila tapi sorang kawan still teman aku sampai airport. Wuhuhu nasib baik dia ada bagi pinjam 200. Time tu rasa nak menjerit kepada dunia “APA LAGI TERMINAL FEE BUKAN DA MASUK AIRPORT TAX DALAM FLIGHT TIKET KE???”. Tapi aihh, bersabarlah kerana hidup memang penuh dengan pancaroba.

Ada banyak lagi kes bengang tapi takpe la yang lain tu hal kecik je. However however however, I still like Boracay and enjoyed my time there. Ok meh aku citer pulak beberapa moment gembira.

  • Walaupon island hopping trip macam agak jirake, tapi pada petang itu kitorg dapat rasa tengok sunset sambil duduk di atas sailing boat. Pedulikan ramai manusia yang tunggu giliran dan nikmatilah pemandangan sunset dengan bersimpuh di atas bot hanya untuk beberapa minit itu dengan tenang.
Nampak tak betapa ramainya berkerumun kat belakang tu?

  • I also tried massage! Ye memang harus ko coba. Ada banyak massage service kat tepi-tepi street tu tapi aku nak yang dalam bilik bertutup, ada privacy dan tak bising. Price: 350 for 1 hour. Murah gila kan? Memang berbaloi-baloi. Tukang urut orang Pinoy dan dia urut sedap amat. Sebabkan aku rasa bahagia time tu, aku terbagi pulak tips kat dia 100.

*nah belanja sket tengok sunset :)
  • Dan selain bermandi manda di tepian pantai, aku jugak rent a paddle board, 250 for 30 mins. Best pulak. Siap extend sampai sejam. Air kat situ tenang takde buaya juga ombak, so ber-paddle ke hulu ke hilir adalah sangat menyeronokkan.
If in doubt, paddle out ☺
  • The night life! There are many bars and clubs along the street but we preferred a cozy bar. Nak order shisha tapi mahal pulak sampai 700. So aku just duduk lepak atas bantal sambil menyedut coklat milkshake - asek layan milkshake jela - sambil tengok persembahan api sambil menikmati udara laut yang dingin sambil tengok-tengok orang sambil dengar lagu. Banyak betul sambil. Aku jugak layan je tengok brader kat tepi jalan tu dok menyanyi main gitar. Lagu Bob Marley la apa lagi. Oh what a beach life I love.
Shh! don't tell mama.
  • Barang-barang mostly murah. Tshirt, beg bole dapat dalam 100 je. Senang la nak carik souvenir. Aku pon terbeli gak waterproof bag 1L harga 200, tu sebab design rare tak penah tengok kat tempat lain. Accommodation pon murah, kalo korang datang 4 orang share 1 dorm bole dapat 2000 sorang untuk 3 malam. Murah dari itu pon ada. Pandai-pandai la cari. Dan kalo korang ada survey flight from AirAsia bole dapat harga ~RM350 return. Murah da kan? Surely worth the experience. 

Nah jemput tengok sunset again.

Apa lagi? Go and explore!

Overall, Boracay is niceeee! Beautiful place, good people, safe and it’s affordable. Sebab tu la makin sesak tempat ni. Tourist from Korea pon melambak sampaikan locals kat sana pon da belajar cakap korea sikit-sikit. Ada jugak kedai-kedai baju dan café yang own by Korean rasanya. Eleh suka la tu sape yang minat tengok oppa oppa jambu kulit pucat. *roll eyes*

Ok salamat Boracay! See you again~

*Aku kalo nak repeat pon lepas 5 taun la kot. Eheh!

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