Friday, 3 July 2009

Yellow Cruiser Trans Overland Diary 2005

My first overland trip began on 10 February 2005 covering Thailand, Laos, China and Myanmar. A total of 15 4x4 vehicles participated and the whole returned journey covered was approximately 8000 km. I had a marvelous time, tiring but definitely worth the effort as it was an incredible and unforgettable experience driving to other countries in a convoy.

Morning Briefing



DAY 1 (10 February 2005)
Sungai Buloh, Malaysia - Surathani, Thailand (880km)

We started our journey from the Rest and Recreation area Sg. Buloh, Selangor, Malaysia and headed towards north to Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah, Malaysia.Proceed to the border, Sadao checkpoint at Thailand and after border clearance, proceed to Surathani, Thailand and checked in the hotel approximately at 8.00pm.
Me.....infront of Hin Chang Spirit House

DAY 2 (11 February 2005)
Surathani - Ayuthaya, Thailand (720km)


Me.....infront of Hin Chang Spirit House

Hin Chang Spirit House

After the morning briefing, we started our journey to Ayuthaya and stopped at Hin Chang Spirit House or famously known as Elephant Path at KM453-454. Some participants prayed and offer offerings (lighting up fire crackers available for sale at the house)for a safe journey. It is a custom that drivers honked their horns when passing by the spirit house. Along the spirit house there are several stalls selling all banana delicacies and snacks.

We continued our journey and stopped for lunch at Prachuap Khiri Khan (a town situated by the beach).).Prachuap Khiri Khan. After lunch proceed to Ayuthaya bypassing Bangkok city. Arrived Ayuthaya and checked in the hotel at about 8.00pm followed by dinner.



DAY 3 (12 February 2005)
Ayuthaya - Chiang Seam, Thailand (800km)

Headed for Chiang Seam passing through Nakhon Sawan, Kamphaeng Phet and stopped at Tak for lunch (restaurant by the riverside).Tak


After lunch continued journey to Chiang Rai and took right towards Chiang Seam. Reached Chiang Seam at 8.00pm and stopped for dinner at Mekong riverbank and later checked in hotel.


DAY 4 (13 February 2009)

Chiang Seam - Chiang Khong, Thailand - Luang Namtha, Laos (270km)


Hall of Opium
Visited the Hall of Opium at Chiang Seam and then proceeded to Chiang Khong to exit Thailand.

Man Fighter, Ghazi, Dato Hj. Isa and the Hill Tribe Children Crossed the Mekong river with a ferry to enter Laos via Houeixai and drove 200km off road to Luang Namtha. Along the journey we stopped at the village
to donate some food, snacks, exercise books and stationeries to the children. Arrived Luang Namtha around midnight.

Ferry crossing at Chiang Khong heading towards Laos



Dinner with Dato Zack, Dato Isa and Man Fighter

Visited the Hall of Opium at Chiang Seam and then proceeded to Chiang Khong to exit Thailand.Crossed the Mekong river with a ferry to enter Laos via Houeixai and drove 200km off road to Luang Namtha. Along the journey we stopped at the village to donate some food, snacks, exercise books and stationeries to the children. Arrived Luang Namtha around midnight.


DAY 5 (14 February 2009)
Luang Namta, Lao - Mohang - Jiang Cheng, China (340km)


Laos/China BorderChina/Laos Border
our vehicle with China registration numberThe process was completed in about 2 hours. After that we started our journey to Jiang Cheng which was a long and tiring journey. We were lost, and along the journey we had to stop at a small village nearly at midnight for our meal.


Mee maggi Cepat dimasak Sedap Dimakan
We literally had to wake up the house owner for assistance to boil water for our cup noodles. After the meal, we proceed to our destination and finally arrived at the hotel at 3.00am.


In the morning visited the wet market at Luang Namta, Laos and proceed to Bo Tan, a border town between Laos and China. After the customs and immigration clearance in Laos, entered China through Mohang after which we proceed to Mangla, China for lunch and later proceed to the road and transport department. In order for us to bring in our vehicles, we are required to undergo vehicle inspection and also, all drivers are to attend a short briefing on China road rules and regulations. Once completed, we are issued with China driving license and car registration number. Note : International or Malaysian driving licence and Malaysian car registration number is not valid in China.

The process was completed in about 2 hours. After that we started our journey to Jiang Cheng which was a long and tiring journey. We were lost, and along the journey we had to stop at a small village nearly at midnight for our meal.


DAY 6 (15 February 2005)
Jiang Cheng - Yuan Yang, China (280km)


Terraced Paddy Field

After a good night sleep, we continued our journey towards Yuan Yan at 10.30am and stopped for lunch approximately 3.20pm. Along the way, I had a minor accident with a van, accidentally grazed the side mirror which eventually broke and had to fork out US100.00 for the damage. Before reaching Yuan Yan, we stopped at the terraced paddy fields where the fields are terraced from the foot of the mountains onto the very top. During February to early April and September to early November, when water is filled in the paddies after harvests, a natural grandeur of thousands of mirrors are formed when the sun is low near the horizon of both ends of the days (0500-0630 and 1700-1800). Locations to witness
this spectacular scene are Lao Ying Zui (Eagle's Beak), Sheng Cun, Duo Yi Shu and Ba Da. Arrived Yuan Yang at 8.00pm

DAY 7 (16 February 2005)
Yuang Yang - Qui Bei/Pu Zhu Hei(400km)


Departed Yuang Yang for Pu Zhe Hei and stopped at Jianshui a town 220km southeast of Kunming. It is a 1200 year old town with vast collection of historical heritages and we went for a tour of the complex and courtyard just before lunch. We felt very honored to have had our lunch at the Zhu Family Garden. Continued our journey and arrived Qui Bei around 8.30pm. The hotel is situated next to the lake. After dinner we were treated to a cultural performance by the locals and one participant bought fire crackers and we had a great time becoming kids again that night.








DAY 8 (17 February 2005)
Qui Bei/PuZhe Hei - Luoping(172km)


In the morning before leaving for Luoping, we stopped by Pu Zhe Hei, scenic area consisting of group of lakes, peaks and karst caves and took a boat ride to enjoy the scenic view. This area is located 15km from Qui Bei city. We continued our journey and arrived in Luoping in the evening. The Head of Luoping Tourism Department welcomed us and later took us for a visit to the rapeseed plantation. Luoping is located eastern most Yunnan adjoining Guizhou province. Their landscape is similar to Guillin with small hills and river meandering through. Luoping is one of the major rapeseed producer in China and yellow rapeseed flowers are in full bloom in February and March.

DAY 9(18 February 2005)
Luoping - Kunming(250km)


After a hearty breakfast and short briefing, the convoy left for Kunming. The journey was tough because visibility was less than 30 meter as at 10.00am and slowed most of the vehicles when negotiating sharp bends.

We stopped at the Forest Stone - an extremely rare geological phenomenon dating back 270 million years. It has 80 hectares of of karst limestone pillars in fantastic shapes resembling a forest. The Stone Forest is also home to the Sani Tribe who are renowned for their diligence, embroidery and dancing. We continued journey and arrived hotel at Kunming approximately 5.30pm. The vehicle owners had to find time to service their vehicles, they have driven for almost 5000km. We went for dinner and a cultural show and later brought to the night market. The ladies had a great time shopping and the males were waiting anxiously in the coach.



DAY 10 (19 February 2005)
Kunming - Simao(397km)


In the morning, we visited the Kunming oldest mosque estimated to be 500 years old. Particpants contributed cash and food to the mosque and we were pleasantly surprised to note that the mosque community are knowledgeable about our country leaders. They liked our former Prime Minister YAB Tunku Abdul Rahman and also the rest of the other prime ministers.

We went shopping around the city and had lunch at one of the famous muslim restaurant. Afer lunch we continued our journey to Simao and along the way, passed through a bridge crossing the Yuan river. The height of the bridge is 165 meter and a length of 810 meter, supported by 7 pillars. We also passed the Tropic of Cancer and a 3.37 meter tunnel. we arrived Simao about 10.00pm.





DAY 11 (20 February 2005)
Simao - Keng Tung(347km)


Started our journey early heading towards Myanmar and along the way stopped by to buy tea. W arrived Jianhong city at 12.15pm and stoppd for lunch and continued our journey to Myanmar border after lunch. We reached China/Myanmar border at 4.00pm and did our normal immigration and customs clearnace of both countries. There was a minor problem as one of the participants, a Brazilian, did not have a visa to enter Myanmar. We continued our journey only at 7.10pm and arrived Keng Tung (lies in Shan state) at 10.00pm.

DAY 12 (21 February 2005)
Keng Tung - Lampang, Thailand (465km)
We visited their wet market and proceed to visit the hill tribe village. There we were welcomed by the locals and we had a great time watching the locals persuading our group into buying their products. After that we proceed to Trachilek, a border town between Myanmar and Thailand. After finishing all the relevant immigration and customs procedures, we entered Thailand through Meisai. We stopped for dinner and arrived hotel at Lampang around 1.30am. The next morning we departed for Bangkok and arrived at 1.00am.








DAY 13 (22 February 2005)
Lampang - Bangkok (599m)

DAY 14 (23 February 2005)
Bangkok









DAY 15 (24 February 2005)
Bangkok - Surat Thani (644m)

DAY 16 (25 February 2005)
Surat Thani - Kuala Lumpur (834m)

We had a good night sleep and only woke up at 9.00am. After breakfast at the hotel, we took a taxi and went shopping in town. We had our dinner on board a boat cruising the Chao Praya river and a certificate presentation after dinner. We bade farewell to everyone as we will go separate ways after tomorrow, the police team and I are leaving for home.

We drove from Bangkok and stayed overnight at Surat Thani. We continued our journey to Sadao, entered Malaysia through Bukit Kayu Hitam and arrived Kuala Lumpur at 10.00pm.




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