Banna Doem ARDF Event – The Journey There

Banna Doem ARDF – The Journey

The Amateur Radio Group in Banna Doem organised a Fox hunt in their district and they had open invitations to those who wished to participate. We the Malaysian team comprising of Lee – 9W2YCL from Malacca, Chow – 9M2CF from Subang and myself KC – 9M2LC from Penang Island, took up the offer. It was chance for us to take a holiday and to have an interesting fox hunt again in a new location.
The first thing was finding where Banna Doem is located and so with the aid of Google Maps in the internet came into play. Initial search was not successful, although I was told that it was somewhere near Surat Thani town. Pouring through the online maps and using search engines did not yield results. Requested help from my Thai counterpart, finally found the location.
The reason why Google search did not find the location, was that Google Maps marked it as “Ban Na Doem”.

 

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Anyway, we decided to make our journey by van departing from Penang Island at 5.30 am on Friday, August 19th to Hatyai, in southern Thailand, a journey lasting approximately 3.5 hours. We cleared the Malaysian border at Bukit Kayu Hitam only to be stuck in a long queue for 1 hour at the Thai immigration side. Never expected such a big crowd heading into Thailand, especially with the recent bombings occurring a few days ago in the southern resort towns in Thailand. For us, we were not worried as we were not going to those tourist resort areas and Banna Doem is not known to foreign tourists.

On arrival at Hatyai, we asked the van to drop us at Lee Garden Hotel, a familiar location. There we went to the basement of the complex and bought our phone sim cards. The sales person recommended us the brand “Happy” for tourists by DTAC, which comes with 1.5 Gb unlimited* data plan (4G)  valid for 7 days for a price of 200 Baht. I would have preferred to use “TrueH”.

* Unlimited, in the sense that, after using up the quota of 1.5 Gb at full accessible speed, you can still access to internet but at a much throttled down speed.

With the Thai sim cards activated, we were able to call our fellow Thai hams in Hatyai and met up with them at McDonalds in the complex.

hatyai-malaysian-hams-2016

After discussion with the Hatyai hams, we decided to spend a night in Hatyai and head to Banna Doem the next morning in their car. The distance from Hatyai to Banna Doem is another 3.5 hours driving north on the highway. Meanwhile, took the opportunity to visit some interesting places in Hatyai and dinner with the local hams.

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

After breakfast, we left in a car driven by a fellow ham – HS9HK (Ake) who drove at a very fast pace. With not much traffic on the highway, we made good time reaching Banna Doem just in time for lunch. The accommodations arranged were very nice. It was a sort of motel besides the highway, next to a petrol kiosk and rest stop where there were stalls selling food and drinks. They even had a mini-market run by 7-11 chain and a coffee station.
Rooms are very affordable at 500 Baht  per night,

bannaaug2016-motel

and if you get the chalets, it was going for 700 Baht per night.

bannaaug2016-chalet

Most participants who arrived earlier stayed at this motel. Heard that other participants were still on their way, travelling at night and expecting to arrive just in time for the hunt on Sunday morning.

Together, Here we meet again!
bannaaug2016-meetup

That night, the organisers took us for a welcoming dinner at a nearby village, providing simple but delicious local dishes. After that, we all returned to the motel and called it the day.

bannaaug2016-dinner

Next: Banna Doem ARDF … Hunt Day, Sunday August 21st, 2016

Written by Musang

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