Continued from the entry Thailand – Laos: Day 2 – Part 4 – Salma Restaurant and Trip to Prachuap Khiri Khan. For pre-travel, please refer here.
Date: 30 Disember 2016
Location: Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand
Starting from this post, I will define Prachuap Khiri Khan as “PKK”. Do not be confused with Prachuap Khiri Khan Town and Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. PKK town is the capital of PKK Province. The popular Hua Hin town is one of the areas under the PKK Province.
The PKK town placed the headquarters of the Royal Thai Air Force and was the gateway to the Japanese occupation of the Japanese on December 8, 1941, during World War II (The Battle of Prachuap Khiri Khan). Remembrance Day is held annually in December to commemorate 38 Thai air force and civilians who were killed during the opposition to the 143rd Japanese infantry regime.
For the history of the PKK Province, it started with the name Muang Na Rang. After the city was abandoned due to the collapse of the Ayutthaya government in 1767, the city of Muang Na Rang was rebuilt and was named Bandar Prachuap Khiri Khan which means “city in the mountains”. PKK town became a seaside resort during the reign of King Rama V.
Upon arriving at the PKK train station, only we were the train passengers who stopped there. Most passengers will stop at Hua Hin or Bangkok. So, 20 minutes before arriving at PKK, the railway officer came to wake us up from sleep. Actually, we already awake because we can’t sleep very much. He told us to get ready as soon as possible because the train would only stop for 3 minutes. Without further ado, we immediately put on Aqif shoes and packed other items. Our fate is good because the newly known Pakistani friend helped Aqif to wear shoes.
Tip: If you ride the train at night, do not worry about falling asleep. Indeed, train staff will carry paper lists of passengers who need to get off at each station and awake them from sleep. For them, passengers who missed the stop were more problematic. If not, imagine the next stop there were passengers who were already booking our beds? Of course, there will be a problem. But, do not rely heavily on the officer to come to wake you up from sleep.
When arriving at the station, the clock is 4.41am. We have not updated the plan yet, considering that if we can get a hotel, the check-in time is only at 12.00 noon. The situation was dark at the station. For your knowledge, the original plan for traveling to PKK’s Town in just one day. That is, we plan to place a backpack at the Left Luggage Office at the PKK railway station. Then from there, we will visit some famous tourist areas or destinations here. But because I was still exhausted due to the lack of sleep, tiredness and so on, we decided to stay only one night which eventually made me choose PKK as the top number one destination compared to all the 11 cities we visited. Continue reading about PKK …
We took pictures in front of the PKK train station while thinking of the idea for the next plan. For your knowledge, this adventure mission is indeed trying to sit at the highest level of confidence. That is to surrender and let God determine where we are going and whose people will be moved by Him to help us or what and how we are driven by Him to ask anyone for directions.
Thailand-Laos journey is not just about getting the cheapskate results or trying to ride the popularity of being a true or genuine backpacker. Backpacking is nothing new to me (except the wife and children), only the submission to God is more important.
The clock not yet reached 5.00am so we sat down for a while.
Taking a picture on the edge of the ticket sales counter. In Thailand, ticket counters are open 24 hours.
Train schedule for all types of classes that may be updated daily.
At the station, somehow there are 3 people waiting for the train, a man at the age of 50s who know only a little Malay language (for your knowledge, almost 80% of the local people we meet don’t know how to speak English). I asked him on how to get to the PKK coast which is located near the main city. Then a hijab woman who initially bought a ticket when I pictured the counter, came to the man. When I knew they were Muslims, I asked if there were Muslim restaurants nearby. The old man seemed to want to help us earnestly. Then he called his friend who sent him to the station earlier to help take us to a Muslim restaurant. His friend is riding a three-wheeled motorcycle that I think might be used to carry vegetables or for business use.
Many times I refused because I did not want to bother his friend. But they both still invited us to ride on the motorcycle. So we all ride a motorcycle that carrying a vegetable including with our backpack. Wow, it’s space were enough when everyone gets in, hehe. Several times his motorcycle tire hit the hole and made the motorcycle less stable. I was feeling anxious and nervous. Not to think negatively, but if the motorbike is overturned because of the hole, everyone will be bounce off without a helmet. However, I’m still confident (in my heart, this is the last one and will not repeat again in the future). As a human being, it is common to have fear.
His friend took us almost to the whole area of PKK Town and even to the main highway that many Malaysian motorcyclists use to travel to Bangkok. Unfortunately, there is no Muslim restaurant that is still open during that hour.
Before that, the motorbike we rode had bypassed a 7E shop in PKK, so I asked him to leave us there. Nearly 20-25 minutes we boarded his motorcycle, so we felt like a temporary fever caused by a fairly cold morning wind. The city is also near the beach. Thank you for those who helped us that morning. I forgot to take a picture of them, enough video above to be made as our memories with them.
I asked Tatie and Aqif to go to the 7E store in front of us to buy some snacks for breakfast. Meanwhile, we put a backpack on the edge of a shophouse that has not been opened yet. I watched the clock and it almost 6 am. The reason why I told Tatie to buy food at the 7E store because there were two heavy backpacks that I needed to guard.
I purposely photographed video of the 7E store in PKK to be kept as memories…
After Tatie had finished buying some food, we had a few biscuits and looked around, especially the hallway leading into the morning market.
It seems that the public has begun to come to the morning market and many of the sales items are being pulled down from the truck. The store next to us has just opened and they sell bread and biscuits.
I advised Aqif not to play the toy car on the floor because it was dirty, but he insists to play as well. In the case of “a lone ranger family” like this, we have no effort to trivial things but other things that are more important.
7-Eleven store location at PKK Town: 11.804186, 99.797239
Next, we are guided by Google Maps to the coast and through the market halls that are already busy with morning sales activities. There are various items sold here, but we have no mood to appreciate the morning market but thinking about other things to come.
At the front of the market, I had to ask a woman who is a seller there. As always, communication is like chicken and ducks because they do not know English. I had to open Google Translate and type “beach” and translate it into Thai. The seller understands and shows me the way. I’m supposed to depend on Google Maps, but my GPS phone is less sensitive to the satellite at this time.
Many are staring at us, probably because there are not so many foreign tourists in the morning like this and maybe even PKK Town does not have many tourists from abroad. Or maybe in their minds, “What happened to these two adults who carry a huge backpack, where are they heading? Are they war refugees?” But best of all, they all treat us good and show directions to the beach.
At the end of the hallway to the right, we had to go to a darker aisle before arriving at another morning market facing another road. Even though the hall was dark, we went and walked through it.
This is the morning market of the section overlooking the other road.
Here, there are many items sold such as fruits, vegetables and flowers for religious purposes. I find out that the morning market in PKK is indeed no trader from the Muslim community. Perhaps when it comes to the Thai area that is approaching Bangkok, the existence of Muslims is getting smaller.
Good Morning Prachuap Khiri Khan
When we arrived at the beach … hmmm, what should we do here? The sky is still dark. There is only a barrier to protect the town from a large wave like in Padang Kota, Penang. We waited …. waited for 10 minutes. The scene became apparent when the sun began to show a little.
When you surrender to God and don’t make any plan or reservations, suddenly God gives a nature scenery like this … WOW !! It’s a really magnificent view. We stand here longer than expected because of the beauty of nature. I started removing the Micro SD card from the SLR camera to transfer the picture into the phone to be shared with my Facebook friends. Why share a picture? Because we are stunned to see the beauty of nature in front of us. Many of these views can be seen on Thailand’s west coast, Krabi, Ao Nang and Phuket. And we’ve never been to the west coast of Thailand.
Our face was cold as it was hit by the wind from the Gulf of Thailand. While enjoying the beauty of the beach, I started to imagine… “straight in front of us, it can reach up to Cambodia and Vietnam ….. and if you walk through these beaches, you can reach the beaches of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kuantan in Malaysia”.
After that, we’ve been feeling really cool. I discussed with Tatie of where to go next. From the beach we see a rather old foreign tourist standing behind the fence of a hostel (or guesthouse). Then we went straight toward him aim to relax and warm up for a moment in the motorbike garage of the guesthouse. But it’s grieving because we are treated like homeless by him who often say that the guesthouse is full, full and full.
Okay, we ignore the man and I recommend to Tatie that we head back towards the main street in the middle of the town, aiming to take shelter from the cooling breeze. From one hotel to one hotel we walked in asking the hotel rate, indeed expensive. So, we were sitting beside the hotel parking area and I was moved to ask the parking guard if there was a “cheap hotel” everywhere, but I was forced to use Google Translate as well when talking with them. Luckily, he knows. He told me to look for Maggie Guesthouse (MG) just 300 meters away from us.
When we arrived at MG, many times I shouted hello, hello and hello, no one responded. MG’s is a community style guesthouse, so be sure to take care of the place. It’s already past 7.00 am and maybe all its residents are still not getting up from sleep. At the reception, there is a phone number to be contacted. I tried to contact …. but no one answered. (regarding the review of this MG place, later I will tell in the next post).
Location of Maggie Guesthouse. GPS coordinates: 11.805752, 99.797933. Very close to the beach, right?
Outdoor kitchen areas at MG are used by the backpacker’s community here. Facilities here are free.
We sat on MG’s sofa, almost an hour. Still no one. Mosquitoes are so many, so we decided to go back to the beach looking for a suitable place to cook maggi (instant noodle). You might ask … “Cook maggi? How the hell do you cook maggi ???” Hehe…
We searched for the right place, suddenly we found a small temple and we hang out next to it and ignored the people who passed by around here. Without delay, we start cooking maggi while making a shameless face, and so … who knows us here? No one. Here is the advantage. Our style is similar to the homeless … hahaha. This is a valuable experience … pre “street smart” education for my kid on the survival technique. Undoubtedly, halal restaurants are indeed very difficult to find in PKK.
It is fun when backpacking style is combined with a camping style. Did you think that we did not bring a butane travel stove with mini gas barrels? Hehehe … But in all the tools in the picture above, I like the mess tin most. It was purchased from the same company that supplied mess tin for the Malaysian Armed Forces. There is definitely durability and quality.
As Tatie cooks, I just noticed that the sun is rise. WOW! Views look even more beautiful of the hills on the coast at the present time. It’s really beautiful. It’s also worth our effort early this morning.
Then on our left, we saw a Wat on the hill. At first, I thought it was a bungalow house or something, actually, it’s a temple. Look at the picture above, the hill is quite high. I felt a dejavu as I’ve dreamt this place before, with the same scene and surrounding. Indeed we got up the hill and I’ll tell you in the next post.
After packing, cleaning and clearing the side of the temple, we went back to MG with the hope that the receptionist would arrive there. Hmmm … same, still no one. There is only a slightly older French traveler who approached me for a chat. His way is like trying to help us. Actually, he just wanted to get out to the beach for a bike ride. He said the owner sometimes came late and we were chatting about some interesting places in PKK Town.
After chatting, my eyes could not stand more and I was asleep almost more than an hour on the sofa at MG. Fortunately, Tatie already slept well on the train and she helped to keep an eye on our backpack.
While sleeping soundly, Tatie suddenly came and wake me up, saying that Maggie had arrived. She introduced herself as Nok, a niece to the MG owner (Maggie). We talk about looking for a room. She asked, at what time did we arrive this morning? We said that we got off the train at 4.40am. She checked the room and luckily there was a vacant room at THB500 per night.
The cost for the sleeper berth should be THB500 for Aqif but not required for small children. Then we used it to rent at MG for one night. So, our real budget is still sufficient. Anyway, THB500 is still expensive because the rates here in Agoda, lowest (except hostels/dorms) is MYR58 (USD$15). The distance from MG to the beach is just 150 meters away.
Ok, we agree. We got a private room with bathroom, air-conditioner and very fast wifi, faster than UNIFI in my place! With our pity face look, I told Nok that we did not have sleep enough. She then allowed us to check in at 9.00am. It was a relief to us.
As soon as I entered the room, I sat down on the bed and then fell asleep again.
Being the head of travel, as usual, I need to check out the situation in the room, bed, toilet and others. Who knows, there may be a python. Not to think negatively, but in Thailand, there have been many cases in which the python loves to hide in the toilet holes. Oh yes, the extension plug here is just like the USB extension port. For your knowledge, though I’ve been to a far country, Thailand is a new country for me and my family. So, the “never seen something new” level is so high. Please note.
Tatie finished washing all dirty clothes before we all went to bed until 2 pm. We only carry little clothes and will rotate the same clothes day after day. Soaps are also easy to carry, it is cut into half to reduce the weight. Thanks to my wife! The more we save, the further we travel.
Regarding the beach of Ao Manao and Wing 5 which should be told in this post, I will continue in this post… Thailand – Laos: Day 3 – Part 2 – Wing 5 and Ao Manao Beach.