Roadtrips 1.0 Kuala Lumpur to Phuket – Day 1

Just recently we had this opportunity to embark with the maiden roadtrip from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket, a journey that would cover 2706 km over 10 days. We started with a crew of three from the beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur after collecting our lovely KIA Sorento Turbo Diesel 2.2 from KIA Malaysia Sdn Bhd. After making sure the SUV is in good conditions, we started to head north. The drive was uneventful, and the ride was comfortable.

This was my first experience in the Sorento, and I must say, it definitely created a good impression with me. The ride was smooth and comfortable, the soft suspension was taking in all the bumps and potholes, power was there when you needed it. The interior of the car is neat and simple (we had the lower spec version) but the head space and leg room was amazing. We kept the third row of seating down and the Sorento gave us huge trunk space, more than sufficient for our luggage, camera equipment and etc.

The ride from Kuala Lumpur took us closer to 4 hours as we were held up in a jam after Tapah due to an accident (which was cleared by the time we to the site) and we were hungry by the time we got to the Juru toll. So we decide to pull into the famous Warung Kelapa Sawit in Tok Kangar in Juru for some deep fried fresh pomfret and we were indeed lucky to be there just in time to get to enjoy their last servings.

After lunch we continued to head north, bypassing a newly installed AES system at Sungai Petani North (do take note guys) – first northbound AES in the PLUS NSE in Kedah Darul Aman. We got to Bukit Kayu Hitam border about 4:30pm ~ after a short stop to fuel up the diesel tank and also stop by to purchase the insurance required for bringing your vehicle into Thailand.

After passing through the new Malaysian Immigration Complex in Bukit Kayu Hitam, we noticed that the new Vehicle and Passenger Checkpoint for Thailand is also in operations now and you notice the chaos drivers have when approaching this new complex.  The queue was manageable, passengers of cars do not have to disembark from the vehicle now, just drive up to the window, pass the officers your passports as well as the TM2 (Information of Conveyance) and TM3 (Passenger List) forms and the stamping of passport efficiently. However, car owner or driver will have to pull their vehicle aside and do the vehicle import permit.  Since we were driving a company car, it was a little more troublesome for the vehicle import permit as we have to prepare not just the car registration card but also company document – Form 24, Form 49, as well as an authorization letter signed by one of the company director together with his identification card.

Going through the immigration took us a good hour plus and we got into Dannok, our first check-point about 5:00pm (Thailand Time). We met up with our two Thai counter-parts who will join us for the Dannok-Krabi-Phuket-Lanta-Hatyai part of this 1.0 journey and check into our hotel ~ Vouk Village which was located just across from the four-faced Buddha shrine.

We were hungry and walk down the alley to Bali Bali Cafe which served pretty much Penang-type food ~ we had the usual Char Koay Teow, Wan Than Mee, BBQ Fish and Lala. After dinner we headed out to the Asian Cultural Village – pretty much the only attraction in Dannok if you exclude the clubs.

Although I have driven pass Dannok a few dozen of times, this was actually the first time I stayed a night in Dannok and also the first time I visited the Asian Cultural Village. The Asian Cultural Village are divided into 17 sections ~ some were free, some has an entrance charge ~ and there are even a few hotels within the park itself.  A few notable parks that we like includes the Lover’s Panda Lock, Road to Wulin, Cowboy, and the 18 Lohan. We heard the Dinosaur Park is quite interesting if you have young children with you but that is one section that you have to pay to enter. We spent a good hour or so wondering in the Asian Cultural Village before heading back for a good night of rest.

Read 1.0 Day 2 here.

Read roadtrippers asia 2.0 Day 3 here.


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