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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Trip to Haadyai - 29-31 Jan(CNY '06)

5 days of holiday ahead with no plans for the Lunar New Year, what would you decide to do? Head up to Haadyai, that was what we did. We had thought of this plan some 2 weeks ago after our Chiangmai trip. We were anticipating an influx of Malaysian tourist into this southern city of Thailand, and indeed most of the hotels were fully booked for this period.
However, Jules with the help of our regular travel agent in Changloon, Kedah, managed to secure a reservation for two rooms at the BP Grand Tower hotel for a 2 nights stay from 29th to the 31st of the month.
We figured the best time for us to travel there would be to leave in the wee hours on Lunar New Year’s day(29th), and travel back to KL on the 3rd day of the new year to avoid the massive jam in view of the holiday. This way, on the night we we hit the road, most travellers would have already been back to their hometown spending time with their family.

The eve of the new year, we had a reunion dinner at Jules’ parents place at Mutiara Damansara. Attempted to sleep after dinner before we hit the road but could only managed to catch a few winks as my mind was set for the five hour road trip. Left the house at 1.45am. We travelled this time with Jules' folks, so we took Jules dad’s new KIA Sorento. Sorry Moggy, this time you have to stay home. To my surprise, the SUV (we decided to name him Lorenzo) is a pretty good looking car with very good road handling. Good power considering the fact that it is a diesel powered automatic with a 2.5 Liter turbo-diesel engine. Same capacity as our Ford Ranger Moggy, except I believe the chasis is lighter. In addition to this, there was very minimal engine noise in the interior as even when cruising at 3,000 rpm at a speed of 140-150 km/hr with virtually no vibration in the cabin. Diesel fuel consumption is superb. We left the house at full tank, by the time a arrived at Changloon(some 450km later), we had more than ¼ of a tank remaining. Refilled at Changloon, drove up into Haadyai for 3 days and back until we got to Bukit Behrang(near Rawang), only did we required to refill again. So we had easily covered some 650km on a full capacity tank.

Traffic towards north was very well behaved considering that it’s the super peak holiday season, except that we avoided certain major rest areas as it was packed with travellers on coffee break. We did not take any coffee stop right up until we reached the Sg Perak rest area. Arrived at the border at around 7.30am malaysian time(6.30am Thai time). By the time we check into the hotel it was 8.30am, had a quick breakfast, returned into the hotel room for a catnap to catch up on lost sleep.
Woke up at 12 noon, we did some shopping at Central Department store Novotel Hotel and Lee Gardens shopping centre. That evening, we had seafood for dinner at Beung Thong Seafood Garden and fishing park. After a good dinner we went to Carrefour Hypermarket to check out prices for some grocery items. Back at our hotel room, we ordered a 2hr Thai massage before we retired into bed. That was a well deserved rest as we hardly rested the night before.


The morning of day two, we were at the wet market. Later, we drove to Songkhla then took a ferry across to the other side of Songkhla to cross the bridge into Ko Yo(Yo Island) for a seafood lunch at Sak Seafood restaurant. The bridge is 2.6km long which is the longest in Thailand. Ko Yo is also known for their cotton weaving industry. At Sak's, our menu was deep fried Siakap with garlic(Pla Kapong Katiam), Tom Yam Talay(Seafood Tom Yam), mixed vegetables, mango salad(Yam Mamuang), and as usual Singha beer.
On the third and final day in Haadyai we shopped at the Odean Dept store around the Lee Garden hotel area. We left Haadyai in the afternoon after grocery shopping at Tesco Lotus. On our way back to KL, we stop at Bukit Tambun, for again for some cheap seafood. Traffic was quiet bad from Tanjung Malim up until Sg Buloh stretch of the highway and we managed to get back to Mutiara Damansara at about 10pm.

For more pictures, visit http://pauljules2006.shutterfly.com

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