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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend Getaway to Betong, Thailand

On 25th February 2012, our family had a weekend getaway to Betong, Thailand. It was actually a trip organised by Peter's company and our family just tagged along. Hehe

Betong is just a small town in Thailand but located at the border of Malaysian, and it was used to be a Communist area, thus I guess it takes time before the place will be more developed.

Back to my trip.

We started our journey as early as 7am! We met up with everyone and the total of 8 cars started our journey. We took the north-south highway and went to Kedah and then Perak before we reach the border of Malaysia-Thailand. It was a two-hour ride from Penang Island.

Shern sleeping soundly on our way

Us at the Thailand Immigration

It was quite hectic as when we reach the Thailand Immigration. All of us had to get out from our car. We need to fill up the arrival form (which we need to pay RM2/person for the officers to fill up for us felt cheated here) and then queue up and pay RM2 to get our passport stamped (felt cheated here again) . The drivers need to go through a more thorough check, bringing the original car certificate by the driver itself (not too sure of the process because dad went separate ways during immigration).

Anyway, after the slight fuss at the immigration, we've officially reached Thailand, which means no more communication to the outside world as our handphone lines are dead. Plus, Betong is such a small town so they dont provide free wifi! Now that I think of it, I didnt see any McD there too! :O

We went straight to sight seeing. Our first stop, Pudtathiwa Temple @ Wat Betong.

It was a really sunny weather. The sun was burning our skins. Sigh... One thing about the weather in our area is that it's too humid for tourist! Times like this makes me wish I was enjoying the cool breeze from foreign countries.

Only Mum and Ah Yee climbed up the temple. The rest just chilled at the grounds. Below are pictures taken by Mum.

Inside the temple

View from the top

Then we drove down to the lower grounds of the temple.

There was also a big Buddha statue.

Everyone was hungry so we decided to eat our lunch first before we continue with our tour. We drove back to the town, found a kopitiam that has lots of people and just ate there. Too hungry to look around before deciding also.

Roundabout @ town

If you notice the picture above, the motorists doesnt wear helmets! Dangerous!!!

We settled in this kopitiam. We ate something like 'wan tan mee' and fried rice. Okok only la.

After lunch, to our luck, there was a stall selling Thai Coconut Ice-Creams! We have to get them!
The ice-creams had pulut rice, corns, 'atapchi', peanuts and of course, coconut flavoured ice-creams!

Wanted to take pictures of the ice-creams but Shern couldnt wait any longer!

It was really nice to have ice-creams on a hot sunny day!

We then walked around the town for a while, but nothing much to see. It was really a small town.
Then we went back to the temple to meet up with the other 6 cars. Shern konked out again.

One the aunty that came together with us bought Shern a trailer truck with many buses. He loveeeeeeeeees it so much that he fell asleep holding it! Boys are boys!

After all 7 cars are there, we headed off to the post office. Okay, you might wonder why are we visiting the post office?

Because it has the LARGEST MAILBOX IN THE WORLD!!!!!

I have no idea why such a small town needed such a big mailbox. LOL

Then we headed off to the hot spring.

I packed my bikini along in my luggage thinking that I will get to soak in the hot spring for an hour at least, came our with silky smooth skin and maybe hopefully prolong my life for at least 5 years.

Turns out that the hot spring was a PUBLIC recreation. It looks like an ordinary pond located in some public park with little maintanence. T_T dreams shattered...reminded myself not to be lazy and do some research before any trip so that I wont be disappointed

Back to my trip.

So we reached the hot spring. There were stalls selling eggs, which is weird. Why eggs?

Turns out that we can buy the eggs and put them in the hot spring to boil! The eggs will be placed in the plastic bag and then the whole bag will be placed into the hot spring to boil them. Thus the eggs I guess will still be clean because it doesnt touch the bottom of the pond?

the place to boil the eggs

So obviously the hot spring to boil eggs are a little too warm for us to soak ourselves. We went to the other side where the water are less warm, then we soaked our legs.

It was very hot in the beginning. It took me quite a while before I can soak my whole leg into the water. And after 5 minutes my whole body was sweating! :S I came up after that and bought an ice-cream to chill myself! Hahahaha

After hot spring, we headed off to visit the Piyamit Tunnel.

What is the Piyamit Tunnel?

It's a tunnel where during war times, soldiers stayed inside to keep themselves safe. It's a tunnel where they sleep, eat and work there. It entrance fee was written $5 for adult & $2 for children. We thought 'wah so cheap.. means RM0.50 for adult and RM0.20 for children only'. Turns out that It was THB50 and THB20. Zzzzz (oh just something extra, the locals there usually accept both Thai Baht or Malaysian Ringgit)

Only Dad, Ah Yee, Peter and me decided to go to try out the tunnel. So we paid the entrance fee and off we went.

After we enter the grand entrance, only we realised that we have to do some hiking! Zzzzz

It was quite a long hike. About 10 minutes of steps!!!! :S Then we reached the entrance of the tunnel.

I was quite disappointed with the tunnel. Hahaha Maybe because I've already went to War Museum in Penang where they have a tunnel like this too, and it was way interesting. The tunnel in Penang's War Museum needs us to crawl, climb ladders etc - get our hands down on the floor. But the Piyamit tunnel was just something like a cave with holes here and there with the labels 'work station', 'sitting area', 'bed' etc.

The four of us had a short tour in the tunnel then we went back down to meet the rest.

Oh! Actually there was a tour guide that would explain to you but they were all speaking mandarin, so we walked ourselves. Maybe that's why I dont find the tunnel interesting.

While we were hiking and exploring the tunnel, Mum, Yin and Shern walked around the garden and then chilled with fresh coconuts.

We joined them for coconuts when we went back.

After this we are all glad that we are heading towards our accommodation - Winter Flower Garden.

It's not really a hotel, and not a motel. More to chalet styles. There's two types of room. One is made of 'atap roof and knitted walls' while the other is the brick type.

We stayed at the 'atap roof and knitted wall' type.

The background was our room

Side view of our room

View outside our room

Our room

No aircond but it was still quite cool there as the place was located in mid hill. Plus it's located in some ulu area which means it was surrounded by trees.

They even have a strawberry farm there! Too bad it's still not in season.

After each of us had our bath and a short nap, we went out to the garden for a short photo-taking session and then to dinner.

There's a local choo-char by the hotel (dont know how to call this place, so I will just use hotel). The choo-char was quite nice. I can see that they serve veges that I believe they planted themselves. Feel so organic after that! LOL

Too hungry and forget to take photos of our food for dinner.

After dinner, it was only about 7.30pm. But I dont know why most of us was feeling so tired and sleepy already. Maybe because there was nothing to do. The TV has no English channels, only Thai speaking channels, no internet available, I somehow forget to bring books to read.

There was actually a karaoke session and mahjong session organised, but I was just too tired to even join them.

So I played some games on my phone (luckily I have some games to keep me entertained), chatted with my family members, and then all of us went to bed at 9pm! So healthy right?

Woke up as early as 7am the next morning. The morning weather was quite cooling. On our way out to breakfast, we spotted a really HUGE butterfly! It was the biggest butterfly I've ever seen~ :)

Breakfast was good too! There were quite a lot of varieties for a simple place like this.

After breakfast, we walked around the garden again, and took some pictures again.

Then we chilled in our room and packed our things. We left the hotel at 11am and headed to town for some souvenir shopping.

Soft toys are cheap here! But we didnt get any of them. We bought some cashew nuts and Thai brand instant noodles for souvenirs! LOL This shop was where we bought all of our souvenirs. (Another thing to share:- most of the locals can speak Cantonese).

After walking around the town for a while, we went for lunch at a local kopitiam, and left Betong town at 2pm. We headed straight home! (and paid another RM2 at Thai Immigration zzzzzzzzz)

In conclusion, although there's nothing much to do in Betong, it was still a pleasant getaway with family. :)

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