Photos by me, Zaidi, Fozan & Ajoi. Drone by me.
Ayer Hitam – Arau
We begin #RoadtripTH from Ayer Hitam, Johor Thursday afternoon. This is my first time doing a road trip with friends where usually I do this with my family. We went to Satun, Koh Lipe, Ao Nang, Koh Samui, Thale Noi, Hatyai & Narathiwat. Arrive at Arau, Perlis late at 12pm so we decided to stay at the state mosque after we had something to eat. Big mistake, we couldn’t sleep at all while being attacked by hundreds of mosquito.
Arau – Wang Kelian – Satun – Koh Lipe
The next morning we grab some breakfast and having it in front of our first stop, Bukit Keteri, the majestic limestones hills of Perlis. We stop at Wang Kelian viewpoint right before we check in Wang Kelian Border. From there we drive along the national parks and stop at Tesco to get sim card. Pak Bara pier is just around 45minutes from Satun city, we took a boat to Koh Lipe in the mid day after lunch. It is not the best time to visit the island & beaches on the west side of Thailand at this moment. Wind blowing so hard making our boat ride more like a roller coaster. One and half our of most exciting boat ride of my life.
When we arrive Koh Lipe, the weather looks great. Clear sky, smooth breeze, great looking sea. We checked-in Harmony Bed & Bakery for 2 nights. Walking street is just around the corner, so we have no problem finding dinner.
Sunrise was amazing. We spent the whole morning exploring Sunrise beach and nearby hotels. Seems like most of luxury resorts are not fully operational due to low season. In the afternoon we walk to sunset beach and Pattaya beach until sunset. There’s an army base at the end of Pattaya beach. Watching the Royal Thai Army on exercise was exciting. We had dinner at a local Muslim stall called Tusneem Halal Seafood nearby walking street. The food was really nice and absolutely cheap compared to walking street. It is just a few meters away from out hotel Harmony Bed & Bakery. We met new friends who also coming from Johor staying at the same hotel.
Koh Lipe – Pak Bara – Trang – Ao Nang
In the morning we visited Sunrise beach again but this time with new company, our new friends from Johor. Climbing up to Serendipity Beach Resort to get the best view point of sunrise, we spent 2 hours there. It was awesome! Right before we leave the island, we take our breakfast at the same stall from yesterday. We leave Koh Lipe at 9.30am and reached Pak Bara Pier around 11am. Along the way we had a few stop for take away lunch, best street food we had so far. Somtam, grill beef with mixed thai salad. We stop at Robinson Trang for an hour to get some souvenir. Trang to Krabi took around 4hrs with few stop for coffee & prayer. When we arrive at Krabi, it is already late. We pack some food for the night market and head straight to Oscar Pool Villa Ao Nang. The villa is not so far from Ao Nang beach but still need transport to get there. We check in for a night first to see weather there’s something to explore or should we continue our journey.
Ao Nang – Railay Bay – Thubkaek
Knowing the weather was not so good, we decided not to take the island hopping but instead we buy a longtail boat ticket to Railay Bay. It was just 10 minutes boat ride to one of most attractive beach in Krabi. The limestone hills looks amazing in drone. We spend the whole day exploring Railay bay, sleeping in the hammock and lunch. It was raining in the afternoon, lucky we had a roof, the tree lol. We leave Railay Bay heading back to Ao Nang before we visited sunset beach at Thubkaek. The weather was not on our side, but we still get a few photos of sunset. From Thubkaek, we decided to get some dinner at Ao Nang walking street. Lots of muslim food stall here. This is my fifth times visiting Ao Nang as I can remember. We stay another night at Oscar Pool Villa. Having a pool just on our doorstep is an advantages.
Ao Nang – Ratchaprapa Dam – Surat Thani – Koh Samui
We have mixed feeling whether to go to Phuket or straight to Samui. I know Phuket is amazing city. I’ve been there once. But due to rainy season we might ended staying in the hotel rather than sightseeing. So we decided not to waste our time and head straight to Koh Samui because it is another long journey. I read a lot about the Guilin of Thailand, Ratchaprapa Dam. We tried to take boat ride to the the Guilin but heavy rain coming ahead. Boat ride cancelled. Move on to Surat Thani. Raja Ferry to Koh Samui took one and a half our ferry ride. It cost us so little to bring the car along. This is my third visit to Samui so I remember a few spot to stop. Not having enough time to reached the island for sunset, we having it in the ferry. It was majestic. Once we arrived, we look for hotel near the Malay Village. Having dinner at Melayu Samui Seafood while still deciding for place to stay. The food is good, but it was better last time. The first time I visited this restaurant was with Sudin, there was a wedding ceremony that we were invited while eating here. Such an experience. We stayed at The Fisherman’s Challet for 2 nights.
I visited the fishing village in the morning to take a few drone footage. Next to the village is a small market where we can find fruits, seafood, groceries and breakfast. Bought some durian and breakfast for them. I slept the whole morning after breakfast. In the afternoon we stroll along the beaches, circling the island. This is the best time to visit Samui because the weather is great. Last time when I visited with my wife & kids, it was windy. Chaweng beach look so calm & beautiful. While visiting BangRak market, I bought a kilo of huge prawn sold by beautiful ladies. That impress me. The prawn. And of course beautiful ladies selling prawn. Along the way I found the place I visit with Sudin last time having fresh oyster for just THB25 and fruit salad with horse shoe crab. Extremely cheap oyster! Sorry I coudln’t figure out in google map where the exact point is, but it is just in front of 7-Eleven near the ferry terminal. Back home, we cook the prawn and having dinner with lots of other Thai food. Yummy. After dinner we visited the night market at Central Festival Plaza to get some food and souvenir.
Koh Samui – Surat Thani – Amphoe Tha Sala – Nakhon Si Thamarat – Thale Noi – Hat Yai
Three days in Samui is never enough. But we have to move out from the island to make sure we still within Zaidi’s holiday leave. Again before we leave, we had breakfast at the Muslim restaurant in Maret market. Uncle Yamin prepared nasi chicken baryani and nasi with beef. It is the best. There’s corn pudding for dessert as well. Cheap of course. Happy tummy, we drive. Last stop before we leave the island, Laem Sor Pagoda, Taling Ngam. This is the best view point of Tean island & Mat Sum island.
We took Setran Ferry instead of Raja. The jetty is further ahead, same rate for car & passenger but more comfortable. Once we arrived at the jetty, we head straight to Hat Yai. Along the way we had a few stop at Amphoe Tha Sala, Nakhon Si Thamarat & Thale Noi. We stop for prayer at Ban Nai Thung and while we make a u-turn we found a really nice market by the beach. The market selling dried fish and fresh as well. We bought mantis prawn & squid just because it is so tempting to see. We asked the lady where we can cook and she replied “king khao?”. Yes yes. Makan. She bring a guy from small restaurant next to the market. Surprisingly the guy speak fluent Johorean malay. Not just Pattani Malay. “Nak ape?” He asked. We laugh out loud. This is not the first time we find someone who can speak malay in Thai, but how he pronounced every word feels like we were in Parit Raja. lol. He bring us to his restaurant and ask his wife to cook. She is absolutely talented cook. We ordered beef soup, she fried the mantis prawn & the squid beautifully & sincere. I will make sure will visit his restaurant again.
The journey is one of the longest ever. We had another stop at Ban Thale Noi Wetland, longest bridge highway across a beautiful wetland that divided Phattalung & Songkhla. It is amazing how they build highway on wetlands while keeping the bird sanctuary and its largest fresh water reserve. I could spend weeks here just to see the purple swamp hens and pink waterlilies. If we have enough time, I would love to visit again one of Thai largest paddy field next to the lake. They planted sea coconut by the bunds that make the land looks like somewhere else. Unfortunately time doesn’t permit us, by the time we arrived it was already dark. So we head straight to Hat Yai. Before we checked-in at The Train Hotel, we visited Asean Night Bazar to get some dinner. The hottest seafood salad I ever had, it burns my mouth.
Hat Yai – Pattani – Narathiwat – Besut
The morning market was just 10 minutes walk from our hotel. Friday is the busiest day in the market. Cheap groceries, fruit & clothing. Seedless grape for just THB80/kg. Vegetables sold in bundle. An hour is not enough here. We check-out of the hotel and drive to Pattani. Because Pattani is hot area, we found road block every 10 minutes or less. They said it is safe to visit because the bombing is only targeted political places. Even Kru Se mosque which has been attack twice is safe. The 502 years old mosque has a very unique design and history. According to the locals, the late sultan of Pattani built this most back then. Moving forward, we stop at Pattani to get stock of Ovaltine biscuit which could never be found in Malaysia and Digestive. And some Hotwheels & Majoratte of course. Last stop before we cross the border is Tak Bai, another red zone. The border close at 9pm. We got there just in time and just enough gas. We stayed at D’Muara One Chalet for the night.
Besut – Bukit Keluang – Marang – Dungun – Kuantan – Ayer Hitam
Bukit Keluang is in our check list, but we didn’t realize it was on the weekend before national day. Hundreds of visitor hiking the hill with us. Even though it was just 10 minutes hike, it feels longer just because lots of other visitor with us. Ajoi manage to get to the top within half an hour. That was impressive. If you’re planning to hike, make sure come as early as you can. Take the entry point on the right side of the hill coz it easier to get up hill. Please…. Please bring your water bottle back down, don’t throw it away. Please…. I beg you. The view is breathtaking from every point. Getting down might be tricky because it is very slippery so please wear appropriate shoes. I saw a lady wearing wedges, I salute her. But the wedges didn’t survive. I hope her leg do well.
From Besut we head straight to Marang and then Rantau Abang. We took some photos of the legendary Batu Pelanduk and unique looking alien tree. That was our last stop in Terengganu. Next stop is Kula Cakes, Kuantan. We had some delicious signature Mango Cheesecake, Nuttella Pavlova, Choc Moist, Red Velvet and Blueberry Cheese.
Thats the end of our road trip. In total of 3059KM driving, 6hrs boat & ferry ride, 38 storey hiking, hundreds of KM walking. Hell of a good trip. This is my third road trip to Thailand. The next one will be further away hopefully.
Day 1: Ayer Hitam – Arau
- Fuel RM160/4pax
- Toll RM90/4pax
Day 2: Arau – Lipe
- Fuel RM80/4pax
- Insurance, TM2, TM6 – RM100 (agent)/4pax
- Ferry Lipe RM26/pax
- Simcard RM18/pax
- Bed & Bakery Hotel x2 night RM300/4pax
Day 3: Lipe
- Meals only
Day 4: Lipe-Ao Nang
- Oscar Pool Villa Krabi RM150/4pax
Day 5: Ao Nang
- Longtail Boat to Railay Bay RM12/pax
- Oscar Pool Villa Krabi RM150/4pax
Day 6: Ao Nang – Samui
- Fuel RM116/4pax
- Ferry to Samui RM94/4pax + 1 car
- The Fisherman’s Chalet x2 night RM340/4pax
Day 7: Samui
- Meals only
Day 8: Samui – Hatyai
- Fuel RM116/4pax
- Ferry from Samui RM94/4pax + 1 car
- The Train Hotel RM200/4pax
Day 9: Hat Yai – besut
- Fuel RM140/4pax
- D’Muara One Challet RM80/4pax
Day 10 – Besut – Ayer Hitam
- Fuel RM70
We collected money for meals among us, it just about RM300-/+ / 4pax in total.
Total of RM700/pax for 10 days road trip + boat & ferry including meals.