20 December 2002 – 02 January 2003
As adventurous travelers, we started our journey from Johor Bahru to Butterworth on 19 Dec 2002, with our two daughters and a son aged, 15, 13 and 8 respectively. We joined Penang 4X4 overland trip, a 14 days self-drive overland to Thailand and Cambodia.
Our overland convoy began on 20 December 2002.About 40 vehicles met up at Makro, Butterworth at 10.30am. Ours is the only one from the Southern tip of peninsula Malaysia. We traveled in convoy and reached our first destination, Surathanni at about 8.00pm. We checked into Wang Tai Hotel. We managed to have a proper and sumptuous Thai cuisine despite we had difficulty in communicating with the local Thais.
The next morning, we proceed our convoy and stopped over at Prachup Khiri Khan. It was a small fishing village by the beach. The scenery was picturesque, just like a paradise. We spent about 40 minutes on photo-taking. Later, we continued our journey and had our dinner at a famous Taw-Chew restaurant at Hua Hin. At about 9.00pm, we conveyed to the city of angel- Bangkok to put up for three nights. There was heavy traffic congestion in Bangkok City. We only managed to checked into our hotel after midnight.
We spent our 3 nights 4 days in Bangkok leisurely. Our first morning, we took a taxi to Sunday Market. The market was too huge with endless retail stalls. We were too tired to after we had grabbed some nice, comfortable clothes which cost less than 100 baht. We spent the days in the hotel to recover from lethargy.
Our second day in Bangkok began with a city tour by coach. Our first stop was floating market. There were more tourists boat rides than the sellers’ boats. Next, we moved on to Wat Arun, an ancient temple. It was very serenity and we offered our prayers and donations. Later, we visited Rose Garden. We were entertained by elephants’ show and traditional Thais dance. Unfortunately, we were trapped by BANGKOK traffic jam which jeopardised our itinerary to Four-faced Buddha. Finally, we ended our city tour by watching paper doll show near our hotel. It was a fantastic trip. We were exhausted and flat off when we reached our hotel room.
Our last day of Bangkok was spent in M.B.K shopping center. It was the largest shopping Mall in Bangkok. Everybody was rushing for this last minute shopping in this paradise. We managed to celebrate Christmas Eve at German Beer House.
After saying bye bye to Bangkok, we travelled in convoy to Poipet, the border of Thailand and Cambodia. However, we failed to get through the Thai/Cambodia check point as the border gate shut off by 5pm. Hence, we had an extra ordinary night at the border town, namely Arrayaphatet.
We were ‘quarantined’ at this border town for a night. Our vehicles were help up for inspection. However, we managed to enter into Poipet, Cambodia by local transport. We spent most of the time in the Casino which was operated by a Malaysian –owned company.
On that night, some children fall sick. My daughter was one of them. We were chauffeured by a hotel staff of Holiday Palace, to visit a local doctor who charged us USD30 for the visit. It was indeed a nightmare for most of us.
Finally, on the eighth day of our convoy, our vehicles managed to be on road. We travelled on a rough, dusty and muddy road to Siam Reap. All passengers including the drivers were struggling through the most terrible journey. We released our discomfort in the bushes. We ended having our ‘mad meal’ in one of by sweeping off all the food and drinks in a road side stall within an hour. The stall owner was astonished as she could not replenish her stock in time. She surrendered herself as to close up for the day. This was indeed one of the most unforgotten meal for us before we landed into Angkor Wat, the seven wonders of the world.
Angkor Wat – The seven wonders of the World. It was full of mysterious stories. It was so magnificent and awesome. We could feel the mysterious wind blow and sound……….
We spent almost half a day in Angkor Wat before we convoy to Phnom Penh, the Capital of Cambodia, very late at night
In Phnom Penh, we went for city tour by coach. We visited ‘torturing museum’. We were saddened by the cruelty, inhumanity act of the Khemer Regime in 1975. We saw the ‘torturing tools’, pictures, bones…
After visiting this place, majority of us had no appetite at all to eat. Thus we only opted for a simple lunch and landed on to Grand Palace. We saw lots of Buddha statues made of gold, silver or jade, decorated with diamond. After that, we went for shopping at Phnom Penh Center and back to hotel subsequently. We were served dinner by the poolside.
It was the eleventh day of our journey. We checked out and left Phnom Penh after breakfast. We returned to Poipet and put up another night. The next day, we conveyed directly to Suratthani. Along the way, we had stopped over a small village to buy the most popular ‘salted duck eggs’. We managed to grab last minute shopping at Suratthani and drove non-stop to Bukit Kayu Hitam, our homeland.
We spent our last night in Alor Setar and travelled alone to Johor Bahru the very next morning. It was 2nd January 2003, 4.00pm in JB.