Category Archives: Journals

Travel Journal - Luang Prabang, Laos (K M Cheng)

D5-6 Wed & Thur 12-13/1/2011 Luang Prabang, Laos

 Hostel: Xayana Guest House – US$4.50×2 nights (dorm)=US$9.00

Bus: Vientiane>Luang Prabang-B600+B580=B1,180 (plus a free lunch voucher)

Bangkok>Kuala Lumpur – B450

Food: 81,000kip (B327)

Entrance fee: 50,000kip (B202)

Tuk-tuk: 15,000kip (B60)

Sundries: B410

Total expenses incurred: B2,629 + US$9.00=Rm303

The arduous bus journey through mountainous roads from Vientiane to Luang Prabang took a full day so by the time I checked into Xayana Guest House (US4.50 dorm), it was late evening. After a warm shower, I had adinner in a local noodle stall and spent sometime at the Handicraft market – all within walking distance from the guest house.

The following day, I spent my time exploring the Luang Prabang town, the former royal capital now a UNESCO site and visited the morning market, the Royal Palace museum, Phu Si, Wat Pao Phon Phao, the Mekong river banks, temples & stupas etc.

Foreign tourists mainly from Western countries were seen in most of the tourist sites in Luang Prabang. I must confess I thoroughly enjoyed my stays in Luang Prabang – no regret coming here!

1) Scenic landscape from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, the moutainous northern Laos – an 11 hr bus ride (380km) through winding hilly terrains; sea of clouds enveloping the mountain range in the early morning

2) Tasty Street food – I had a grilled Mekong river fish and sticky rice wrapped with banana leaf for dinner (22,000kips=B90) , pork noodles (13,000kips) & seafood fried rice (13,000kips=B52) for lunch

3) Talat Dala, Luang Prabang oldest market – not a bad start for a morning walk to get a feel of the hustle and bustle of the place

 

4) Handicraft Market – long stretch of stalls selling handicaft items, T-shirts, souvenirs etc

5) Mekong river – for those who are adventurous, you may opt for a Mekong river cruise to nearby villages on the banks of Mekong or limestone caves upstream; enjoy a cup of coffee or local meal at a riverside restaurant



6) French colonial buildings vs locally built houses alongside the Mekong river banks & down town

7) Royal Palace Museum & Haw Prabang – entrance ticket (30,000kips=B120) – shoes off and no photography, built in 1904 during the French colonial era, artifacts, gifts, art , royal portraits, elephant tusk objects etc were on display

9) Wat Pa Phon Phao – a forest meditation wat, impressive architectural design

 

10) Wat Visounnarath – built in 1513 and rebuilt in 1890’s

11) Wats, temples & stupas in Luang Prabang – a class of it’s own

12) Saffron-robed monks returning to their temples after seeking alms from donors; you have to wake up before six in the morning to witness this activity 

I spotted this World Peace Gong behind Patuxai (Victory Gate), Vientiane. May peace continues to prevail in this earth. I really enjoyed my stay in Laos – a peaceful country in the making !

Hopefully with the completion of the tran-Asian rail links from China>Laos>Thai, this will bring faster economic progress & developement to Laos & Northern Thailand.

After Laos, my next target is Myanmar, the last of the Asean country I yearn to see.

“The secrets of life: Life is an echo; all comes back, the good, the bad, the false and the true. So give the world the best you have and the best will come back to you”.

Find out the original post by K M Cheng

Travel Journal - A Week In Thailand [Bangkok] (by Rani)

Hallo!

Day 1, Sunday, July 8th 2012

    I arrived at Soekarno-Hatta airport at about 3 pm. My mother went along with us too. But then she went home after I entered the gate. She didn’t go with us. Well, this is my first time to go abroad. I went to Bangkok with my sister and my aunt. I was so excited. Although I was a bit disappointed that I can’t go to Phuket. Anyway I brought one backpack, it’s heavy. I bet after this holiday, I will get backache. I ate my lunch at the lounge in terminal 3. The food was so so. We took airasia lines and the schedule flight was 16.55 but it delayed for 10 minutes. But that wasn’t a big deal. 

   During the flight, the turbulence was happened many times. It troubled me a lot. I entertained myself with listening to the music and writing this. But it didn’t help, I felt dizzy. It’d be better if I sleep now. But the seat is uncomfortable :”( poor me. Then after 3 hours, we arrived at Survanabumi International airport. We took many photos there before go exit. 

me and my sister

   We went to Khaosan palace hotel by taxi. It’s located in Khaosan Road, a popular street among tourists. It took 1 hour plus traffic jam and we paid 300 baht. The taxi’s driver was nice to us. Although his English accent was strange and he not influence in English. The road here was very crowded. I put my bag in the room, then I and my sister went to Mcd next here. I was searching for free wifi, unfortunately there wasn’t free wifi here. I must pay to use the internet. It’s quite cheap, 30 baht for 60 minute. There was an awkward story in Mcd. 

    I was ordering food, the waitress spoke English in thai accent. I didn’t get it at all. I had to repeat and repeat again my order until I got what I want. I think the waitress wasn’t patience enough to serve me hehe. Anyway the food was cheap too. After I finished my late dinner, I went along this crowded road again to reach seven eleven. It’s almost midnight but people didn’t seem to take a rest here. I bought some stuff, it’s cheaper too. Why things here are cheap? 

    I asked the receptionist about kiblat, but she didn’t understand the direction. So I prayed isya without know kiblat. Hope Allah accept my pray :”(

Day 2, Monday, July 9th 2012

   I woke up early in the morning. I was pretty sure it’s 6 in the morning yet the sun hadn’t rise. My aunt and sister woke up a lil bit late. So, we left at about 10 in the morning. Then, we had our breakfast at KFC. The taste was so different, not as tasty as here.

   After that, we went to Grand Palace by foot. We thought it will be close to our hotel. But we was wrong. Well actually, it was close. It’s just we couldn’t read the map correctly. Therefore we took wrong way. On the half way to go, we asked the officer the direction. But, their English was bad. It’s funny when he said “right” but his pronunciation was “lai” in thai accent of course.

   So, after walking about almost an hour, we arrived at Grand Palace. Sadly, the weather was bad. It was drizzle when we arrived. As you can see it in the picture, the sky was dark.

Outside the Grand Palace

Inside the Grand Palace

   If you are an Asian, you can go inside for free. The truth is, it’s fee free for thai. Since we are Indonesian, we have similar face with thai, so we can get in without pay. There’s two gate, one for tourist and the another one for thai. Yeah, we took another one gate for thai. And we didn’t get busted >_<

    When we about to left, it was rainy. Heavy rainy. But not so long. From Grand Palace, we went to Wat Pho it was famous for Golden Buddha. It’s located not so far from Grand Palace, so we went there by foot. For this time, we had to pay for 100 Baht.

It was a giant Buddha! His body fits the entire house.

   After this place, we went to Wat Arun. It’s located not so far from Wat Pho, so we walked again. But we had to take a boat because it’s across the river. It costed 3 Baht. 

The boat was crowded

   When we arrived, we was so tired. If you go inside Wat Arun temple, then you have to climb to reach the top with stairs actually. But it was so high and so many stairs have to climb. We decided to just take a picture from outside. 

   It was about 5 in the evening. We went back to our hotel with tuk-tuk a famous vehicle in Thailand. At the hotel, we took a rest.

Day 3, Tuesday, July 10th 2012

   We went to Ayutthaya. A province located near Bangkok. It was famous for the ruins of its various historical palaces and temple. I’ll tell about it here.

Day 4, Wednesday, July 11 2012

    We must went to Chiang Mai, because we booked an airplane ticket there. In the morning, we went to travel agency nearby to book bus ticket to Chiang Mai. We booked the ticket at Bangkok Tourist Center. It costed 450 Baht and it’s for tomorrow. We thought we can go to Chiang Mai in the evening. But, all the ticket was fully booked.

   We spent a day expand in Bangkok because that. We decided to go to Siam Center, where Madame Tassaud is located. The travel agency sell the tickets, it’s 400 Baht. It was pretty expensive therefore we didn’t but there and decided to buy ticket at the place.

   The Siam center was far from our hotel, so we took Tuk-tuk. It costed 100 Baht. Unfortunately, the ticket on the spot was more expensive. The fee was 800 Baht then discount 640 Baht. It’s complicated. We decided to buy ticket at travel agency and come back tomorrow.

   MBK center is a mall near Siam center. In Jakarta, MBK center is like ITC but better and Siam center is like Plaza Indonesia. Everything in MBK center was cheap. We went there and bought some things. 

   We bought bag, some clothes, and dry fruit. Everything was on sale. We had our lunch at international food hall on the 5th floor. I ate tom yam from arabian restaurant because it’s halal and costed 150 Baht. But it’s not worth it. The taste was so so and it was so small portion. I didn’t recommend to buy that again. I drank strawberry lover, a mix juice from strawberry, yoghurt, and honey costed 80 Baht. It was delicious!

   There was a prayer room for muslim in MBK. Although the room was small, but it’s okay. After that, we went back to Khaosan by Tuk-tuk in the evening. Khaosan road is famous for night bazaar. In the night, the road will be so crowded. We walked around the road to search for thai massage service. Then we found it! Actually many store offered thai massage service. Approximately, it costed 150 Baht. The experience trying thai massage was great! It didn’t hurt me yet it makes my body feel relax. You must try thai massage if you go to Thailand.
   Do you know Pad Thai? It’s thailand food made from mix noodles and vegetables. We like it so much. We ate Pad Thai in the morning and the evening. There were so many sellers that sell it at Khaosan road, but the most delicious stand was located at the end of the road. We were being a permanent customer lol.
   The seller was so nice. He added extra shrimp for us because we said it’s our last day in Bangkok.

Day 5, Thursday, 12 July 2012

   Early in the morning, we checked out from hotel. Again, it was rainy. We didn’t bring an umbrella so we bought it and costed 175 Baht. We put our bag at Bangkok tourist center, our travel agency. We bought Madame Tassaud tickets, then we went to Siam center by taxi meter because it’s rainy. It was cheaper instead of Tuk-tuk. It’s only costed 70 Baht.

   All day long we spent in Madame Tassaud. It was an amazing experience. We took so many pictures there. 

   We had so much fun in Madame Tassaud. At about 4 in the evening, we went back to Khaosan and waiting for the bus. The bus to Chiang Mai departed at 6.30 although it’s scheduled at 6. It took 12 hours to go to Chiang Mai, yeah it’s long journey.

Day 6 & 7, Friday and Saturday, July 13th-14th 2012

   We spent in Chiang Mai. I’ll tell you about Chiang Mai here.

   I love Thailand! The country is amazing. The city mix the traditional culture with modern life. While you can go to temple, you can go to luxurious places too.

Check out the original journal at Rani’s Blog