2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand – Concluding Thoughts

Today we completed the final leg of our 2017 road trip to Thailand. The whole trip- 3133km covered over 18 days, burning 191 litres of diesel at an economy of 16.4km/l with an average speed of 67km/h. It has been an utterly memorable and enjoyable time, although there were certainly some minor hiccups along the way. Here are some of my concluding thoughts about our journey:

(1) Time as a Family – Even though this was our 3rd road trip, this was the first time we embarked on this trip without a helper accompanying us. Throughout the 18 days (except for our time in Krabi where we had our brother-in-law’s family with us), it was just the 5 of us in the car, and we had to manage everything on our own. Although, this was more tiring on our part, it made for a more meaningful trip. Credit also goes to our daughter for stepping up her game to help take care of her two younger siblings.  She also helped with some of the housework at Cameron Highlands where we did not have housekeeping service.

(2) Official Theme Song – this year, the most requested and repeated song in our collection was 小宝贝, or “Little Precious One”. My wife and I first heard this song when we visited China’s Yunnan province last December, and all the shops were using this song as their in-house entertainment. The song is simple and catchy, even though it is in a minor modality. The kids kept asking for this song to be played when we were on our long drives, and we had to constantly put it on repeat mode! Click below to hear the song:

(3) Conflicting Feelings – Whenever we approach these long drives, I always ask myself if I’m crazy… Why in the world am I doing this? Why don’t we just book flights? But once we embark on our long road trip, I’m always like… this is amazing, I need to do this again next year!! It is a wonderful love-hate struggle. For me, I realise that the journey is more important than the destination. I love to see the sights and scenes along the way. I love that the drive gives me time to think, to reflect about my life.

(4) Bring Everything You Need – One of the best things about doing a road trip is that you can bring whatever you want without having to be restricted by baggage limits and aeroplane rules. Ok, almost anything. We are blessed that we have an MPV with the luxury of a big boot, and for this trip we really took advantage of it by throwing everything behind… diapers, inflated swimming floats, shopping, everything!

(5) Plans for Next Year’s Drive – After doing Phuket for the past three years, we have decided to aim for Bangkok next June. It should take only one extra day of driving. Anyone wants to join us??


This is final part of my 2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series, do also check out my other Blog Series about our road trips to Hokkaido and Hungary!

Here are the links to the other parts in this Blog Series:

Reviews of Hotels and Restaurants:

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship and a nice home-cooked meal. So if you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!


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2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand – Day 11 – Crossing back into Malaysia

Alas, how time flies. It is time to pack our bags and make our return trip back into Malaysia.
Time for one final group photo for memories sake, and we set off on our 400km journey from Krabi back to the Thai Malaysia border.

Thank God for good weather and a smooth drive, except for having to emergency break and swerve to avoid hitting a dog who decided to have a sudden dash across the highway.

The border crossing was also straightforward. Just drive your vehicle directly to the immigration booths:

Slip in a one ringgit “tip” into every passport. After getting your passports stamped, proceed to the next booth to sign and return your vehicle import form.

After clearing the Thai side, drive up to the Malaysia immigration where each adult might be required to place two index fingers on the biometric scanner for identification. There is also the payment of RM3.60 via the Touch N Go card. Thankfully, no RM20 entry fee required here.

After successfully clearing the customs, we said goodbye to my brother-in-law’s family- They will be headed back to Singapore while we will extend our stay for a few more nights at Cameron Highlands and Melaka.


Click HERE to read the next installment of my 2017 SG-TH blog series where I share about my leaking tyre experience halfway on the drive up Cameron Highlands.

Here are the links to the other parts in this Blog Series:

Reviews of Hotels and Restaurants:

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship and a nice home-cooked meal. So if you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!


 

2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand – Day 10 – Extended Family Fellowship

Going on a road trip is fun, but having your extended family around to share the experience with you is double the fun!

Our previous two Thailand road trips were on our own, but this year, we managed to get my brother-in-law’s family to join in. Although they couldn’t be with us all the way, we arranged to meet them in Krabi for our three days here.

We had a great time together!

My brother-in-law was the person who inducted us into the joys of these long distance road trips. We have so many fond memories of our first road trip together 12 years ago when we tailed his car as we drove together as a convoy to Melaka. At that time, the 200km journey was an adventure to us. Fast forward 12 years, we have ventured on our own further and further north to satisfy our wanderlust, to KL, then Ipoh, then Cameron Highlands, then Penang and then to Phuket.

This year, we finally did it together again as an extended family, and what a pleasure it has been! Two family units with a kindred spirit, both with a love for the sense of freedom that goes with the pleasure of the long drive.

Yesterday, I went for a refreshing morning jog with my brother-in-law along the beach. It was great to spend that time with him against such a pretty backdrop of the ocean, the beach, the cliffs, and the islands.

Today, we brought both our families to Tesco Lotus to shop and eat, and we came back for a nice swim and massage. We ended the day with a dinner in our hotel room, playing Uno, chatting and watching TV! Brings back memories of group chalet stays in our younger days. 🙂

This is truly an amazing way of bringing family and friends together, to give the time amd the platform for the young cousins to bond. Isn’t this what life should be all about?


Click HERE to read the next installment of my 2017 SG-TH blog series where I share about the journey from Krabi back to Malaysia.

Here are the links to the other parts in this Blog Series:

Reviews of Hotels and Restaurants:

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship and a nice home-cooked meal. So if you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!


 

Siam Deli, Marriott Phuket Beach Club, Phuket Thailand

After attending the Marriott Vacation Club members update talk, we were given THB4000 worth of Food and Beverage Vouchers to be used at any of the resort’s restaurants. We decided to try out the Siam Deli Restaurant after reading the positive reviews on Tripadvisor.

To be honest, the prices of the food here isn’t cheap, and if not for the vouchers, we probably wouldn’t have even tried this place.

We ordered a Lamb Rogan Josh, Fish and Chips, JW Marriott Burger, and two kids meals – Spaghetti Alfredo and Mini Beef Steak.

Generally speaking, the food was okay, but unfortunately at these prices, our expectations were much higher. The adult meals were of a better standard, but the kids meals were not very good. The kids spaghetti had no ingredients whatsoever and was practically just pasta with cream sauce. At THB180++ surely they could have at least put in some mushrooms or ham??

The whole bill came up to THB2036, which frankly we would be able to find much better at much cheaper, even at the nearby Turtle Village.

Ratings:

Lamb Rogan Gosh (8/10)

JW Marriott Burger (6/10)

Fish and Chips (7/10)

Mini Beef Steak (6/10)

Spaghetti in Cream Sauce (2/10)


Here are the links to the other parts in this Blog Series:

Reviews of Hotels and Restaurants:

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship and a nice home-cooked meal. So if you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!


Seoul Grill, Tesco Lotus Thalang, Phuket, Thailand

Had a great dinner at Seoul Grill at the Tesco Lotus Thalang shopping complex. We wanted a change of cuisine from fast food and Thai food and we were attracted by the great price of THB349 per adult and THB155 per child for a wide buffet spread of grilled meat, Korean, Japanese and kids-friendly options. Sure enough the kids loved it and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly as well, there was something for everyone and free flow drinks and desserts too!

The icing on the cake was that they omly charged us foe one kid and our two younger kids were on the house! Highly recommended!

Rating: 10/10 (All you can eat in 90min, value for money, good spread of food with something for everyone)

Total Bill: THB853 for two adults and one child, with two younger kids on the house!


Here are the links to the other parts in this Blog Series:

Reviews of Hotels and Restaurants:

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship and a nice home-cooked meal. So if you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!


2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand – Day 3 – Jitra to Phuket

For all of our long road trips to Thailand, the entry into Thailand via the Sadao border crossing has always been the most harrowing part of the journey. This year proved to be the most frustrating year, even though it was our 3rd time. 

We set off from Jitra at around 8.30am and even though there was rain, we had a smooth journey to the Malaysia half off the border crossing at Bukit Kayu Hitam. As in previous trips, we made a short stop to settle our Thailand 3rd party vehicle insurance at the Duty Free Complex at “No Man’s Land” in between the two immigration complexes. We paid RM33 for 19 days coverage.

Similar to last year, we parked our car on the left hand side of the road just before the Sadao immigration complex. There is no more big carpark as they are building the new immigration complex where the big carpark used to be. (After one year, they are STILL building?!?)

We then got the empty immigration cards as usual from the first office on the building on the left. Filled them up and lined up to get our passports processed. After lining up for 20 minutes, we finally reached the front of the queue. However, the immigration officer refused to attend to us as we lined up at the “VAN / BUS” queue instead of the “CAR” queue. Even with three kids in tow, he insisted that we line up on the other side where the “CAR” passengers were supposed to queue up. The past two years, we never had this problem, I’m not sure why this year they were so particular about this.

Without a choice, we went to queue up again on the right hand side at counters 7 and 8. There were only 2 queues, and ours unfortunately took an eternity to clear. It must have taken us another hour and 20 minutes standing there. In the mean time, on the “VAN / BUS” side, there were empty counters with immigration officers waiting there without people to attend two. I’m not sure why they didn’t open up more counters for the “CAR” people. Thankfully, the vehicle customs clearance was more straightforward.

All in all, it took us 2 hours to clear the Sadao border crossing. CRAZY. 😛

Once into Thailand, we proceeded to our normal lunch spot at Tesco Lotus Sadao, where the delicious food at the Pizza Company undid the damage of our lousy Pizza Hut dinner the previous night at Jitra. We did some grocery shopping and changed currency, and set off for Phuket.

This year, we took a slightly different route, following the Number 4 road turning left towards Trang, then Krabi, taking a coffee break at the outskirts of Krabi town at an Amazon Coffee outlet at one of the Petrol Stations. The great thing about this route was that it was a much smoother drive with dual carriageways for almost the entire journey and not that many rough country roads.

Making good progress, we then proceeded towards Phang Nga and crossed into Phuket Island at 6:30pm Malaysia time (5:30pm Thailand time).

Not surprisingly, the kids were extremely happy to finally arrive at the Phuket Marriott Beach Club. It is going to be a great week here as a family!


Click HERE to read the next installment of my 2017 SG-TH blog series about our time at the Phuket Marriott Beach Club.

Here are the links to the other parts in this Blog Series:

Reviews of Hotels and Restaurants:

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship and a nice home-cooked meal. So if you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!


2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand – Day 2 – KL to Jitra

day 2 drive.pngToday’s leg was a 453km drive from KL to Jitra. We normally put up in Alor Setar but this time we wanted to try the LSH Resthouse at Jitra which is further north and closer to the Thailand border.

On the way up towards Ipoh, we witnessed a 4 car pile-up in front of us which forced me to do an emergency brake on the fast lane of the highway. Thankfully I was alert and I avoided ramming into the car in front. This was a stark reminder of the potential dangers when taking these long drives. Always look two or three cars down the line, this will give you more time to react to emergencies. If you only brake when the car immediately in front of you brakes, sometimes this will be too late to avoid a nasty accident. I’m extremely grateful that we managed to avoid the crash, it would have spoiled our entire holiday!

Ipoh, at just about the halfway point of today’s drive, was a good spot to stop for lunch, as always. This time we didn’t go downtown for the Dim Sum, but settled for fast food at the outskirts of town.

The drive after lunch was a scenic one, amidst mountains and through a tunnel. We managed to arrive at Jitra in good time, around 4 pm.


Click HERE for the next installment of my 2017 SG-TH blog series which details our interesting experience at the Sadao border crossing.

Here are the links to the other parts in this Blog Series:

Reviews of Hotels and Restaurants:

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship and a nice home-cooked meal. So if you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!