1st January – Cameron Highlands

3 Jan

Diesel price here only 1.8 MR (that’s only about 36p/Lt !!)

Approx 5MR to the GBP

It was tempting to stay up in the cool weather of he highlands, but as we needed to be in Port Klang on 3rd January to drop the car off for shipping, we started to head down. On the way there are lots of things to see as it is a major growing area for all sorts of fruit and vegetables. It was started by the English and there are still some very English looking houses around and literally hundreds of Land Rovers of all ages.






We had expected to see lots of Land Rovers on the trip, but this was the first place we had seen a lot. We had also not seen one Land Rover dealer on our route.

There are lots of strawberry farms on the way, and it was interesting to see how they are grown here.




And mushrooms that are gown in plastic bags, preloaded with spores. The mushrooms grow out of the ends, are broken off then the next ones push through.




They look fantastic when they push through, almost like flowers.




The landscape is broken by the occasional tea plantation, but most of it is covered with  huge areas of poly tunnels, some lit through the night.



The road winds down the mountain and as you get lower there is lots of natural jungle. There is a huge area of National Park here also which is great for hiking. It is best to use a guide as several people get lost in the jungle here each year. Spending a night with the leeches, ants and other big bugs when not prepared for it, might not be fun!






That evening we ended up about 15km north of Port Klang, and found a place by the sea to camp. It was still really busy at it was school holidays. As always in South East Asia, free camping is no problem at all.




1st January – Happy New Year !!!!!! : )

2 Jan




One thing that has surprised us as we wound our way down here to Malaysia is that the people who have the least are often the happiest and most generous. The other is that people are almost all good.

The new year is also a time to say thanks to everyone who has kept in touch and shown an interest in our trip. Most days more than 100 people visit the site!

Have a great year!!

Love Graham and Marjool xx

31st December – Enter Malaysia – Cameron Highlands

2 Jan

From Songkhla we drove straight down to the Thai Malaysian border at Sadao, it had rained hard in the night and the whole area was very wet. The East coast tends to get the worst of the weather at this time of the year.

Having dug out all the documents, we made sure that we had the Temporary Conveyance (Import) document TM2 ready as we were told that it was critical for an easy passage through customs.



In fact  there was only a casual glance at the TM2 and we were given it back to take away. There was more interest in the carnet, although it is not really needed for Thailand. We had got it stamped on the way in and so made sure it was stamped on the way out. Just so you know what the TM2 looks like, here is a picture!



On the Malaysian side we went through immigration without any problems. The girl on the counter collected foreign notes, so we dug out a couple of Mongolian and Russian notes, and she gave us enough Malaysian money to pay the ‘toll’. We had not changed any yet and so it was really handy.

Once through immigration, we parked up and visited the customs officials. They led us to a small office and they stamped us in on the carnet. Important as you need this when you ship out of Malaysia. All in all a very easy border to cross with your own car.

Outside the border area, just down the slope on the right hand side are a few small offices. The first sells insurance (about 80 MR) for one month, and the second is a Department of Transport office where you get a sort of temporary tax disc (circulation/transit permission). This is free, but necessary.


The rest of the day was driving in the rain, and later the dark into the Cameron Highlands. Arriving late, we had ideas of gatecrashing a New Years eve party in a big resort at the highest point, but ended up just parking right outside reception and setting up camp. No one seemed to mind and the party just carried on without us. At one point Graham was tempted inside by the noise of people having fun, but after seeing himself in a hotel mirror, unshowered, crumpled clothes and with a few days stubble, decided he did not fit in and crept back into the camper. As we lay in bed, and the countdown got to midnight, we heard the sounds of people cheering and blowing whistles and wishing each other a happy new year, we felt a bit like Mr Bean when his visitors tricked him into going to bed early while they enjoyed a party next door!!

We did however enjoy our coolest evening for weeks, as the temperature dropped to 17 or 18 degrees C during the night instead of the normal 28 to 30 degrees C.


29th and 30th December –

30 Dec

After dropping Tom and Ben at Phuket airport, we retraced our steps back towards Krabi. The landscape is spectacular.



We actually stayed in the same place on the next beach along from Ao Nang, this time in the camper rather than a bungalow. It cost a very reasonable 100 Baht for the night including Wifi and showers.

In the morning we headed off towards Trang. On the way we stopped at Chai Mai Beach National Park for lunch and decided that it was too nice to leave straight away. We hired a canoe and explored the rocky coast.






Initially we had parked backing on to the beach but the monkeys drove us away. As soon as the doors were opened they prepared to storm the car. We retreated to the space next to the National Park office as the monkeys did not venture that far.



In this national park we did not have to pay extra for camping as they decided that camping only meant tents. The only charge was to enter the park. This was 200 Baht per adult.

In the morning we drove on towards Phatthalung. There are lots of rubber plantations on the way and so we stopped to watch the rubber being transferred from jerry cans filled with diluted sap, into big drums for transfer into tankers and then on to the processors. It is a very distinctive, and not that pleasant a smell.



We decided to take a bit of a detour to Songkhla and arrived there mid afternoon. There are hardly any farang (foreigners) here, and the place is geared towards local tourists. Quite refreshing after Patong, where Thai tourists are in the minority.



26th to 29th December – Phuket

30 Dec

Stayed near to Patong to see the busy side of Thailand’s beaches. Not our normal choice, but interesting for a couple of days. Also was handy for Tom and Ben’s flight back to Bangkok.

Everyone was fascinated by the lady boys.

Enough of bars ….

On the road to the beaches there are several elephant camps. Watch where you drive!

The beaches are busy, but away from Patong still very pleasant and the water is a beautiful clear blue.

More volleyball in the sea. It’s so warm that there is no rush to get out.


Final bit of relaxation before the long flight home ……



25th December – Ao Nang near Krabi

25 Dec

Graham Marjool Tom and Ben would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year!!

Tom and Ben went to Hong Island on a boat trip while Graham and Marjool walked up the beach to a National Park beach. The plan was to meet in the afternoon to open a few presents and go out for a meal. Probably not rice or turkey!









24th December – Railay Beach

25 Dec



23rd December – Krabi and Phi Phi

24 Dec





Unusually crowded beach at Phi Phi Leh, as it was the one where “The Beach” was filmed. Speedboats come in from Phuket and Krabi.





20th – 22nd December – Hat Bang Ben – Kao Sok National Park

22 Dec

On 26thDecember 2004 at 11.12, the tsunami ripped through this low lying mangrove area. The National park buildings were all destroyed. When they were rebuilt, they kept the clock as a reminder.

19th December – Sam Roi Yot National Park

19 Dec