Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Trip to Betong - Thailand 2010 (Day 2)

On day 2,

We get up as early at 8 am of Malaysia time to have our breakfast. Well, for your information Betong time is later than Malaysia by one hour.

We slept till 8am of Malaysia time and the time only showing 7am at Thailand ! How lovely it is. We woke up this early because we want to rush for a famous dim sum restaurant at Betong.

The concept is just like Malaysia. You pick your dim sum and they will heat it up for you. So we order till jam-packed our table.

Frankly, the dim sum is so~so but the price is seriously dirt cheap ! 10 baht per dim sum. Equivalent to Rm 1 per dim sum. Where to find in Malaysia ? And we spotted another Wan Tan Mee in menu and so we ordered two.

This Wan tan mee is way better than the first Wan Tan Mee we ate during our first day. The noodle is also hand made but more superb.

We finish our breakfast before 8 am of Thailand time and kick start our packed schedule for that day. First place to visit is the Communist lair, which is very famous with its sophisticated tunnels. We drove up north toward Yala for around 20 minutes.

Ever heard before terrorist incident along southern Thailand ? If never, then I would like to let you know that we are driving through the danger spot. Betong is a safe town as they have barrier and road block watching the entrance of Betong from North. After you pass the barrier, then you are on your own.

When I was driving toward the north, majority of the folks living there are muslim. Which chill my spine a little. Since long time ago, there were conflict between Thai muslim and Thai Buddist. Though we are Malaysian's Chinese but it is quite hard to differentiate us as we Chinese are look all the same in their eyes. So I drive fast. After dragging my car up the steep hill, finally we arrived at the destination.

They called it Friendship village. It called such a way for reason. Unlike Malaysia, communist in our country terrorize the people by killing, raping and stealing. But here, the village people are so friendly to them and they are more than willing to support them with foods and medicine as a form of support toward their vision.

We need to pay 50 baht for entry. Well, it sound a lot but actually it only cost us Rm 5. But before we reach the tunnel, we need to do some jungle trekking. Climbing the never lasting stairs till we found the hole !

People like us who have height of >175cm would face difficulty walking inside. We have to hunch our back and walk in this tunnel. At first I thought the tunnel will be very hot and stench with odor. But I was wrong. It is cool and fresh inside. The architecture is good and you won't feel discomfort staying inside.

They slept on stone bed.  But I can't manage to find their toilet. So I was wondering how are they going to do their business in the time of war when they have to hide in this tunnel for days.

There was an ex-communist giving a talk about history and telling them interesting facts and story. We heard a little bit and continue our exploration. They told us that they placed land mine around the jungle to prevent intruder last time and they assure us to don't worry about the bomb anymore because most of them had been destroyed. Well, even if there were some left, we don't need to worry as well because it is battery powered !!
Last time, for every 3 months they need to locate those mine and change the battery. And it is since 1978, so the battery is so dead by now. Hahaha.

Actually, Chinese from both Malaysia and Thailand are just differ in their language and culture, but in the sense of religion I think we are praying the same god. Just beside the tunnels, there were a small altar of 'Tua pek Gong'.

It is so reddish. Down the hill is all reddish because it get covered by fire cracker's leftover. Tourist can buy from them fire cracker and let it boom as a sign of auspicious and prosperity.

After that, we down the hill and headed to next destination, the hot spring.

Aside of my first time stepping on foreign land, this is also my first time visiting a hot spring.

Lucky for us, the water temperature is just comfortable enough to dip our feet inside without getting cooked ! Oh, we need to checked out before 12 pm to avoid penalty. So, we headed back to hotel and packed up. But the journey still continue.

We placed our luggage behind the car and stopped by the town to do shopping ! But before that, we hunt for our lunch first. At first, we have no idea what to eat and later we spotted a coffee shop packed with people. So we decided to try that one.

It sell 'everything of chicken'. In Kl, we used to eat 'pork noodle' which contains everything about pork. For this, it contain everything of chicken. At first we are afraid that we will have communication problem, but luckily one of the tea maker there knew Cantonese. So, we order their best selling.

Oh Man ! I must tell you ... this is very best ! First, the super thin kueteaw is so smooth. And its soup is so rich in spies. One sip of the soup and your mouth is all spies up. After adding their spicy sauces and chili powder. Woolah ! Another great cuisine only available from Thailand. It is so good.

There is one thing I love about Betong food. They don't use MSG in their foods ! even if they does, it must be in super small quantity because I don't get thirsty after their meal. Even for yesterday night firely dinner, I don't get thirsty at all after the dinner. In Malaysia, I used to crave for water after some heavy tomyam meal. It can be very suffer as your stomach is so full yet your body crave for more water.

Our stomach is happy because of good lunch and we go for shopping. We stroll along the market and shops again.

During noon, we saw a squad of military walking around the town with bomb detector and guns ! According to Junyen, the soldier will detect for possible bombing material around the town on daily basis. Well, this is a bit scared me off when everything around us can contain bombs ! Just like this two drain cover on floor which look like land mine to me.

Frankly speaking, it is safe. There were ample of soldier and police guarding our safety despite Betong is not a big town.

Unlike Malaysia, their soldier and police is fit for battle ! and there were cute police guard post on every junction of street.

Haha, it look like kiddo playground, but it is a police guard post. Speaking of 7-11.  We love it so much !

And we had go in and out like 5-6 times in a day either for its goods or for its air-condition. It is really different from Malaysia. The price of the goods is cheaper than outside ! We bought our beer from here after surveying price around. It have so much unique stuffs like frozen herbal eggs, funny drinks and they even sell VCD there. I even get my throat coolant from here after every spicy meal.

2 cent from me. There is nothing better than cold milk to cold down your throat after a hellish spicy meal. 10baht per bottle, how cheap !

Heard before world largest Post office box? It is right here at Betong. It is soooo tall !

Not tall ??? See this and compare

It is already 4-5pm that time and we have done visiting the famous spot. Initially we planned for dinner first before head back, but it is too early. So, we stroll around for a while and whack some junk food along the way. We found another Thailand style roti canai seller. This time, it is more unique with variety of flavors !

But there was some communication at first because she can't speak in Malay neither Chinese. So, we utilize our body language by pointing and showing money etc. I tasted the chocolate and green color flavor. Oh, it is delicious and fatty !

Out of boredom, we decided to have our dinner early. Though we are not hungry yet (of course, after walloping so much junk food along the way). We simply stop by a hawker stall beside the street and have our dinner. This time, I ordered tomyam mee !

Errr, this is a shame to Thailand. Its tomyam is not up to Thailand standard at all. But I still clear it clean off. Did I mentioned before that we had ate a really great roti-ayam on Day 1 ? oh, it is so good and it beat the hell out of all Malaysia Mamak that I had tasted so far. So happened that it opened early !

Hence, we tapao 10 of those to bring back to Ipoh.

After that, we headed back to Ipoh. When passing the Immigration, I thought they will search my car upside down. Well, there are a lot of cheap stuffs in Thailand especially liquors and cigarette. People can earn big buck by selling it back to Malaysia. There was this lady officer questioning me. I just open my car's trunk and show her mountains of luggage. She looked at it and let me pass. Just like that.

All of us 'antam' . Yc wanna buy some XO and Martel but afraid of heavy taxing. I want to buy that air gun but afraid of the law. Argh !!! We should have just bought all those.

Anyway, we drive back to Ipoh by trunk road again. Heck, trunk is fun on daylight but deadly on night. It is so dark and your vision is just few meters away.

After almost 3hours+ of driving and we finally arrive at Ipoh safe and sound. Oh, Thanks to Yc again for another stay at his house.

Looking forward for next oversea trip !!! I love to see different culture and have its uniqueness captured with my 4k  :-)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Trip to Betong - Thailand 2010 (Day 1)

Although my Internship get extended till this end of month, I still manage to get myself out from hectic corporate world and enjoy this wonderful trips with friends.

Fyi, this is a trip only went by 4 sticks. I called it 'Malaklou' trip to Betong. Haha, but it turn out fun to hang out with only dudes as we can express ourselves with more freedom. Oh, all those topics that with chit-chatted all the way in the car, it still fresh in my mind.

Anyway, Junyen brought along his newly gadget collection

A GPS. Well, it turn out pretty useless in Thailand though and have to fully dependent on maps printed from internet. For this, I need address courtesy to Junyen for all the preparation done.

We stopped by Ipoh for one night before heading out to Thailand. Thanks to Yc for providing us a heart-warming shelter.

Betong, is a small town of Thailand which govern by Yala Province. It located just beside Perak borders. Specifically, 10-20km away from Pengkalan Hulu. So, from Ipoh, we traveled by Trunk Road and heading toward Gerik.

Running on Trunk Road is fun ! Because you don't get bored like PLUS highway. And you can stop town by town for sight-seeing or whatever. From googling, I found out there is a town called Lenggong which we will pass by. From internet sources, it is famous for its Wan Tan Mee ! It called Loh Dee Wan Tan Mee

Oh, I am so excited because I am all crazy about Wan Tan Mee. Especially the good one. And that day is Sunday ! Damn, I am pretty sure it is open ! Who will close their shop during the best selling day in the week.

So, we finally arrived at the town of Lenggong and try searching for that shop for breakfast.

Uh. *Disappointed*. It really closed that day. I am so crazy about it and yet it closed on Sunday. Therefor, we continue our journey to Thailand through the Trunk Road. We decided to have our breakfast at Pengkalan Hulu. But that will be almost 2hours driving distance away from here.

So, we finally arrived and simply stop at one coffee shop to have our breakfast. Initially we decided to have our breakfast at Betong because Pengkalan Hulu and Betong are just 15 minutes away. But our stomach can't hold on any longer.

So, we have a Pan-Mee breakfast.


Edmund order a cup of hot coffee to kick-start his day.

And we continue our journey to the Betong. And after 15 minutes or so of driving, finally we reached the border and of course, there will be an Immigration building from both country.

Just few steps away and we will place our foot on a foreign country !

Ya I know. This is just Thailand so I do not need to get so excited about it. Well, this is my first time over sea-ing. Forgive me.

Speaking of immigration procedure. We have to fork out Rm4 for processing procedure and another Rm 3 for Car entry. Personally, I think they pocketed the money themselves. Anyway, don't let this few Ringgit to spoil our fun right ? Haha

Hip Hip Hooray and we drive in Thailand !

First thing first, we hunt for our stay. Junyen had came here before, so he recommend us this hotel called Butterfly .... erm I forget.

The cost is cheap. It cost us Rm 73 per night. The room is large and have balcony. Since we are all dudes, we decided to cramp together in this room. But the stupid us, had forget that most of the hotel policy would not allow so much people to cramp into a room. Especially when we have number of four to cramp in this two person room.

We should have go into the room separately instead of acting like F4 and walking in together ! Argh !!!!
After failing to negotiate with hotel management, we have to open a new room but with cheaper price. Rm50. So, in total we have to pay rm 123 for accommodation.

Speaking about his hotel, if you know all those taboo. Then I bet you can't sleep properly that night. Apparently our room is located on the poorest fengshui of all. First, one of our room is located on fourth floor, and one room is facing directly to the lift and another room is located on far end corner of corridor. Not to mention that there is a super big mirror placing at the end of the bed. So, you will see your handsome face first thing in the morning. Haha

Anyway, we guys still have a super good sleep that night and frankly, I felt no disturbance at all. Thanks god.
Ok, let get back to the schedule. As soon as we settle our luggage, we drive to the town and have our sight-seeing and food hunting. And we get welcome by a heavy rain-pour. So, we simply stop by a coffee shop and have our lunch as we can't really see properly the available choice as the rain poured really heavy that time.

So, we have Wan Tan Mee. Thailand Style of course.

Actually, it look exactly like Malaysia style. But, they don't really concentrate on the charshiew sauce which we use to like. The noodle is quite plain if eat as it served originally. So, we are expected to add the seasoning ourselves with provided chili powder, super spicy sauce and etc. One thing that is really cool about Thailand Wan Tan Mee is the noodle. The noodle is totally hand made and you can really tell that as soon as you munch it. I like the noodle  but not the taste though.

The rain stopped, so we start strolling around. One thing that I notice is Thaist ride motorcycle most of the time. Without helmet and always carrying an umbrella with them. It is raining season, so ... I see this a lot !

I found that this action of carrying umbrella while riding a bike is something I not use to see it in M'sia. Or maybe it don happen at KL. Haha

By the way, You will definitely meet the Thai King ! Even the blind will see it because

They love their King so much till they hang his highness photos everywhere. Even used it as their advertisement board or something like that. They even pray him even though he is still alive !

Well, maybe it is not a praying altar. Haha, but they really respect and love their King so much. So it is impossible for people to miss out or never met their King if they happened to be in Thailand before.

One of the trademark of Betong. The Clock Tower.

And we continue to stroll the shop and market. Oh uh ! so happened that I found out my favorite stuffs !!

Guns !!!! and it is Gas-operated BB gun !!! It looked so damn real and almost impossible to differentiate it from the real stuffs. I want it so badly but have to realize that it is totally illegal in Malaysia. I am drooling all the way when scanning all of their collection...

It cost around Rm 400+ per gun.. too bad, I will get myself in hot soup for getting this. So, out of fear, I suppress the temptation.

And expected from Thailand, the condom vending machine !

10 baht per condom. Cheap or expensive ? There are a lot of massage parlor  over there too. LOL

Just to let you know how big Betong is, we climb a long stairs of Muzium of Betong

And snap Betong Town photos from top.

I would say, medium size as we could visit almost every corner of the place within a day or two. Before our dinner, we visit a tourist spot. A Buddha temple.

But we went in late ! The main shrine hall is closed. So we only get to hang around outside of the temple.

Oh, about the currency.

My advise is, you do not need to trouble yourselves to change this currency as Betong accept Ringgit as well. They see 10 baht = Rm 1. But as the matter of fact, the actual rate is around rm0.90 cent per 10baht. So, we earn if we buy their stuff using our currency. So, don't bother yourselves to change ya.

Dinner time ! Junyen knew very well where to eat and straightaway guide us there. For dinner, of course we want spicy and firely stuff because we are in Thailand babe.

Out for 4-5 dishes, the Tomyam-gung is Good. Real Good

And one more special food. Really special and original. The *Junyen said* Gong-Chan-Lampa. Err, it sound like testicle, but we are not eating that stuffs lol.

It is raw prawn served with super-firely-spicy hot sauce for dipping purpose. No joke. This sauce can kill. It is not mean for faint hearted. We are all wetting the floor and table when have our first taste on this sauce. It even make tomyam-gung taste nothing but a sour soup. We end up getting double thick sausage at the end of dinner.

Haha, after a hearty dinner. We stroll the town again. Betong's night life.

And it is different from I was expecting. I thought Betong's night life would look like Petaling street. And I thought there will be sex workers standing beside streets to get business. I was totally wrong. Betong's night life is peaceful.

So, we just stroll around the night town. And visit some shop lots. Do you guys know porn is legal in Thailand ? Just to make sure, we entered a shop selling VCD & DVD and skim through their products. And Yes, we found PORN !!!!!! A massive collection of Porns !!!!  (We didn't buy those)

Liquors in Thailand is dirt cheap as well. Because it did not get taxed insanely like Malaysia. So, we bought 3 big bottle of big beers with total cost of 130 baht and drank it dry-off in our room. And yea, we have a good night sleep that night.

I even heard rumor said that Thailand television channel will air porn after starting from midnight. So we (the healthy and curious boy) waiting anxiously while kept on changing channel to see whether the rumor is true or not. And then, we get fed up as we get really sleepy after bottom-up the beers.

and so, we gave up the the rumor free porn from tv, and call it a day.

Ps : I woke up at 4 am that night due to stomachache. Well, expected after a firely dinner. And I checked the channel again. Confirmed. The rumor is a lie afterall.