Five weeks into a planned six month birding trip to SE Asia/Nepal and Colin Winyard, Dave Mills and I travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok with Steve Gantlett who was part way through his own world trip. Malaysia had been very successful. We now had two weeks in Thailand to look forward to, a country I had been to twice previously and Colin once. This personal account of the trip is almost entirely based on diary entries made at the time. Photos included are generally rather poor digital images of slides taken at the time and projected onto a white sheet of A4 paper.
Monday 15th February 1982: Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth and Kangar, Malaysia
We got 10:30 bus to Butterworth after a leisurely burger breakfast and less leisurely rush to bank. Bus arrived in Butterworth at 17:30 after a pretty boring and uneventful journey. After a brief stop for a drink we found we couldn’t get a bus direct to Hat Yai (in Thailand) so got one to Kangar (near the border) instead. Cost M$8 each and took nearly 3 hours. Stayed in a cheapish hotel (M$15 for a room for 4) but I lost a M$50 note between paying off taxi and getting the room.
Birds seen: Black-shouldered Kite 1, Black Kite 1, White-breasted Kingfisher 6, Brown Shrike 1.
We got taxi to Padang Basar, on Malay border, at 08:30 arriving at 09:10 (cost M$2 each). It took no time at all to exit Malaysia, except for Steve who had overstayed his visa by two days but managed to get away with it. We walked through a shanty town towards a Thai flag to find a taxi stand but no immigration. We got a taxi to Hat Yai (40 bhat each) on dirt roads via immigration. Entered
with no hassles although the form filling was quite time consuming. The drive to Hat Yai then took just over an hour. Visited a bank and got tickets on the 12:47 express to Thailand (332 bhat for a reclining seat). The train departed at 13:00, stopping briefly at Phattalung at 14:30, at Thung Song junction from 16:05-16:20 (where the engine was changed?), Bangkok Than (18:30-18:40) and Chang Yai (19:22). Seat reasonably comfortable but only slept fitfully. Surat
Birds seen from train included: Chinese Pond Heron 3, Lesser Whistling Duck 12, Black-shouldered Kite 1, Wood Sandpiper 1, White-breasted Kingfisher 2, Black-capped Kingfisher 1, Indian Roller 1, Brown Shrike 4.