297 Kms from Alor Setar
Day 1, Jan 4th, 2017: As we landed at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport, we almost forgot the weariness of the journey from Guwahati the previous evening, the long wait at Kolkata airport, and the almost lack of sleep on the flight due to excitement (or was it too much coffee). Visa on arrival was done quickly enough and hassle free as we excitedly took pics from inside the car as our car sped through early morning Bangkok traffic to Don Muang airport for our flight to Phuket.
275 Kms from Alor Setar
The drive towards the coast is characterized by limestone karsts appearing one after another on the horizon, each larger and more awe-inspiring than the previous. The main beach here -- Ao Nang -- rolls into view as if from a glossy magazine centerspread: endless stretches of emerald blue water turning into froth at the touch of the white sand, with longtail boats gently rocking to the rhythm, sticking their elegant necks out in perfect symmetry. As you go through your days here, though, you realise nearly everything is a picture postcard. Not just the many ridiculously perfect-looking beaches, but also the pristine coast-hugging roads, the quirky roadside shacks, heck -- even the shop-lined streets.
96 Kms from Alor Setar
This island – located close to the Malaysia border – is said to be one of the most unspoiled islands in Thailand. It was also the setting for the fifth season of the reality TV show Survivor. While not exactly undiscovered it’s quiet, clean, beautiful and protected – everything the main tourist islands are not. There are no major resorts, no beach parties just an ample supply of peace and gorgeous natural scenery. It’s protected national park status also ensures there is plenty of wildlife – as well being a nestling ground sites for turtles, Langurs, crab-eating macaques and wild pigs are common. Accommodation on the island is run by the National Park and guests can choose from either a tent or a fan-cooled bungalow.
145 Kms from Alor Setar
We decided to make a spontaneous stop at Taiping between Tanah Rata and Penang. We took a bus to Ipoh and then to Taiping, a colonial city in northwestern Malaysia. While the people here were charming, there was not a great deal to do. There is a very nice lake garden, which is worth seeing. However, Taiping is not the reason we came here. We came here in search of Orangutans on the mysterious Palau Orang Utan. The island itself is quite a remarkable conservation effort of these magnificent creatures. They have minimal human interaction and roam free in their 5 acre designated area. As a visitor, you are in the cage to see them, separated by two fences in order not to disturb them. There is a nursery where young infants are looked after if there are complications at birth. Forced breeding is not encouraged and Orangutans have a very slow reproduction cycle, hence why every effort is made to safe newborns. If you have a soft spot for these animals or are unsure, this is a great place to visit.