daytrip

Bangkok side trip – visiting Ganesha

Ganesha

Ganesha

Fairly recently a big Ganesha has been erected outside of Bangkok, at Wat Saman Rattanaram.  See the size of it by Google Street view. It has proven so popular that other temples and statues have sprung up in the same area.  By private transport it would be a half day trip. We thought we’d try public transport, which meant we were away most of the day.

Bangkok's Eastern Bus Terminal

Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal

You can catch a train to Chachoengsao, but we read it’s very crowded and you’d have to stand for two hours. And after that you catch a pickup for the rest of the way, to Wat Saman Rattanaram.  We went by mini-bus (‘Rottoo’) instead to Chachoengsao, and then a pickup ( ‘Ten sou’) to Wat Saman Rattanaram.

inside the bus terminal - the ticket window for C is under that big orange sign

inside the bus terminal – the ticket window for Chachoensao is more or less under that big orange sign

The mini-bus to Chachoengsao departs from Bangkok Bus Terminal (Eastern), on Sukumvit Road, opposite BTS Ekkamai Station. We caught the 8AM minibus, but there are three earlier departures, and the next is at 11.00.  However, check the day before, as timetables change frequently.  A ticket costs THB18, from memory. It took us about two hours to arrive at the Chachoengsao bus station.  We were there at 10.10AM.

the mini-bus to

the mini-bus to Chachoengsao

the bus terminal at C

the bus terminal at Chachoengsao

The pickup to Wat Saman departs from a side street next to the market, about two minutes walk from the bus terminal. Our mini-bus driver showed us where.  We had to wait about 20 minutes for the next departure, at 10.30. The fare was THB30.

the pickup to Wat

the pickup to Wat Saman

on the pickup on the way to Wat Saman

on the pickup on the way to Wat Saman

Ganesha sign

Ganesha sign

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

almost there

almost there

And then we arrived at Wat Saman at about 11.25AM.  It has no entry charge.

lots of stalls near the temples

lots of stalls near the temples

first time I've seen this one

first time I’ve seen this one – the sign for the timetable for the pickup back is in front of this.

time table for the pickup back to C

time-table for the pickup back to Chachoengsao – catch the pickup here

Erawan

Erawan

Ganesha

Ganesha

Ganeshas

Ganeshas

dragons

dragons

little island

little island

another Ganesha

another Ganesha

buddhas

buddhas

big Draemon

big Doraemon

huge statue

huge statue

another huge statue

another huge statue

lunch

lunch

my lunch

my lunch

It was interesting to do once and to experience the ordinary public transport.  Bangkok traffic can be bad, so consider which day you make the trip. And take some water to drink,  as usual.

In the Wat market area, we saw a lot of local produce shops, fruit, nuts, cookies, flowers, plants, spice, and charcoal BBQ chicken take away.

The hawker area serves food: food, quality, hygiene, volume and value all were quite satisfactory for a super touristy place.

If you became over heated you can escape to Amazon cafe which is the only air-con place in the Wat.  It is a couple of minutes walk past Ganesha.

Advertisements

Penang Hill – November 2012 minor update

UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF ARTICLE

an old carriage displayed near the top station

I don’t mind crowds. But I don’t like waiting a long time because something is crowded.  As we heard that you can wait a long time to catch the cable car up Penang Hill, we chose the worst possible conditions – around opening time (6:30AM) during a torrential downpour. Surely it wasn’t going to be crowded then. It wasn’t.  And it was easy to park the car, too.

And why, after all these years, haven’t I been there before? Well, the ticket prices are far higher at RM30 than for Malaysians, who pay RM5, even for those of us who are residents.  I do not wish to support such discrimination. RM30 is almost our water bill for one year. I only went because a friend of mine was visiting and really wanted to go.

Read here for information from the government site.

You can see from this map where the top station of Penang Hill is, marked by “A”.

And from this map you can see how to get there by car. It is as the end of Jalan Bukit Bendera, and you can park if you turn right into Jalan Pokok Ceri, immediately before the end of Jalan Bukit Bendera.  On the left after a few hundred metres you will find a car park.

From the opposite end to the car entrance to the car park is a path leading down to the lower station.

path to station from car park

For access by bus, catch Rapid Penang No. 204 from Weld Quay to Penang Hill Railway Station. There is more information on the route here.

Entrance with the bus turning circle in front

the car at the bottom station

driver controls

heading up

Once you are up the top you can wander around. But note that the restaurants etc. don’t open until 11AM. For more information on eating

at the top station, ready to head down

My plan, were I to go again,would be to go up early, take coffee and food to consume before the coffee shops etc. open, and wander around everywhere until lunch time.  Have lunch, and then come down. Actually, I am going to try to walk up next time – which is quite a challenge.

———————–

November 2012 minor update

Unfortunately the Penang Hill funicular train service suffers from frequent technical problems. Last Thursday many people were stranded, and the service was closed the next day.  It has closed for business several times since it was reopened last year.

Here is another article from The Star, published Friday November 16th:

Please be aware that it is possible to catch four wheel drive up or down from the Botanical Gardens, if the train is closed. It is also possible to walk up or down, but I am told it is very steep.

And as the last link stated, “… the public could call PHC at 04-8288880 or log on to www.penanghill.gov.my for enquiries.  Before going, this could be a good idea.

Penang Hill

an old carriage displayed near the top station

I don’t mind crowds. But I don’t like waiting a long time because something is crowded.  As we heard that you can wait a long time to catch the cable car up Penang Hill, we chose the worst possible conditions – around opening time (6:30AM) during a torrential downpour. Surely it wasn’t going to be crowded then. It wasn’t.  And it was easy to park the car, too.

And why, after all these years, haven’t I been there before? Well, the ticket prices are far higher at RM30 than for Malaysians, who pay RM5, even for those of us who are residents.  I do not wish to support such discrimination. RM30 is almost our water bill for one year. I only went because a friend of mine was visiting and really wanted to go.

Read here for information from the government site.

You can see from this map where the top station of Penang Hill is, marked by “A”.

And from this map you can see how to get there by car. It is as the end of Jalan Bukit Bendera, and you can park if you turn right into Jalan Pokok Ceri, immediately before the end of Jalan Bukit Bendera.  On the left after a few hundred metres you will find a car park.

From the opposite end to the car entrance to the car park is a path leading down to the lower station.

path to station from car park

For access by bus, catch Rapid Penang No. 204 from Weld Quay to Penang Hill Railway Station. There is more information on the route here.

Entrance with the bus turning circle in front

the car at the bottom station

driver controls

heading up

Once you are up the top you can wander around. But note that the restaurants etc. don’t open until 11AM. For more information on eating

at the top station, ready to head down

My plan, were I to go again,would be to go up early, take coffee and food to consume before the coffee shops etc. open, and wander around everywhere until lunch time.  Have lunch, and then come down. Actually, I am going to try to walk up next time – which is quite a challenge.

Daytrip from Penang to Taiping zoo

It took us one hour and twenty minutes, from when we left home until we parked at the Taiping Zoo, according to my GPS. (Max speed shown was on a trip on the Autobahn, and didn’t get us to the zoo any faster.)

GPS

So, an easy daytrip, and/or easily combined with other activities.

It’s a quick trip down the E1 motorway to the turnoff, Exit 148.

turnoff to Taiping

And although it is only another 10 KM to the zoo, it is very slow thereafter due to multiple red lights which jam up the traffic, and it took us 20 minutes.

We parked in Parking A, which cost RM2.  Before entry there are toilets, where you have to pay to enter, although once inside toilets are free.  The toilets are the usual poor Malaysian standard. There is also a hawker centre, with quite unappetising looking food.

Zoo Bistro, AKA, hawker centre

There are a few souvenir shops just outside, too.

souvenir shops

The zoo is open 08:30 to 18:00 every day of the year. Entry charges into the (day) zoo are RM12 for adults, RM10 for adults over 55 (just show something with your age on it) and RM8 for children.  You are given a nice colour brochure which mainly explains how to get there – superfluous when you are already there. Feeding time for the animals is 10am to 12 noon.

There is also a Night Safari, which is open 20:00-23:00, and charges differently: RM16 for adults, RM13 for adults over 55, and RM10 for children.

Once inside there is a free “train” to take you around.

“train”

However the drivers prefer to hang around, and tell you to wait for “15” minutes.  They will stop and pick you up anyway as you walk around, so you may as well do just that.  The train drives slowly, but is noisy and bumpy, and you still cannot have a proper look unless you walk.

bumping along

There are paw prints painted on the road surface, so you can just follow them around to see the zoo.

The mesh on many of the cages make it difficult to take good photographs.  There is no charge for photography, but apparently flash photography is forbidden.

animals this way

They have picnic huts around the zoo, and you can buy refreshments and snacks.

picnic hut

Refreshments and souvenirs

Beware of aggressive gangs of monkeys who might try to intimidate you into giving up your food to them.  I was eating an ice cream.  They were not deterred by me shouting, “No, no” at them, but disbanded when I switched to Bahasa Malay and tried, “Tidak, tidak”.  Lucky, because otherwise I could only manage to entertain them by counting to five.  (Note to self: New Year’s Resolution – learn six to ten.)

gang’s lookout monkey

The zoo is not spectacular, and is quite small, and many of the animals were sleeping as it was hot, and they are possibly nocturnal. Nevertheless, it was like a pleasant, easy jungle walk, with, importantly no mosquitoes and no mud.  It is close to Penang, and not expensive to visit. We spent two hours there.

like a jungle walk with animals, but without mosquitoes

I am interested in visiting for the night safari, but do not wish to drive back home at night for safety reasons, and cannot find a nice hotel nearby, nor do I know of anyone who recommends a local hotel.

After the zoo you can visit nearby Taiping, and see the lake which many people recommend. You could drive a further hour or so south to Ipoh, which is a nice city, and have lunch there. My favourite Ipoh Duck restaurant is Sun Yeong Wai

And if you drive to the south of Ipoh you can see the cave temples. The location is

N 04.56619  E 101.11369

cave temples

A nice daytrip from Penang – Kulim Canopy Walk and Penang Bird Park

On a sunny day, this is a pleasant day trip.  Pack a picnic lunch, or BBQ if you are ambitious, swimming costume, towels water, hats etc. You don’t need hiking boots, as flip flops will do – although shoes would be better. No liability accepted etc. etc.

The general idea is to visit the recreation area and take the canopy walk, then optionally swim (?) or splash around in the nearby river, and after picnic next to the river.  Later, head back into Penang State and visit the Bird Park in Butterworth.  It’s a short drive back across the bridge to the island, thereafter.

And check the site for current information: Tree Top walk. There are plenty of sites with information, so I won’t bother repeating it.  And besides, I was there twice in 2010, so my information could be a little out of date. Another site about tree top walk.  And check the route, too – I don’t entirely trust this map.

Another site gives the coordinates of Sungai Sedim Recreational Forest as 5°24′49″N 100°46′49″E

map

And check the latest on the bird park, while you are about it.

Kedah map

In light traffic it takes about an hour and a half to two hours to reach to the canopy walk. Park near the river where you’d like to picnic later.  There are toilets, and you can change into or from a swimming costume when you wish.  Then walk through the arch and up the road for a few minutes to the actual entrance, where you pay the admission fee.

entrance arch

You can see a map of the walk.

canopy walk diagram

Just don’t get shot.

A few photos of the walk

Entrance

a river runs by

the forest you are walking through

quite high

If you are lucky you might spot hornbills

sometimes you see wild hornbills

one of a pair of hornbills

After doing the canopy walk you can return to the car park, and then swim in the river.

the river near the car park

Well, soak, or play in the river would be more accurate.

it’s quite shallow, but quite a strong current in places

butterflies on the rocks near the river

a lot of butterflies

After your swim, a picnic by the river is nice.

Then drive back to Butterworth for the Bird park. Check what time the shows are so you can see one if you are interested.

bird show

http://www.penangbirdpark.com.my/

Bird Park (Penang) Sdn. Bhd. Jalan Todak, Seberang Jaya, 13700 Perai, Penang, Malaysia.

Tel : 604-399 1899 Fax : 604-3991899