Posted on Thursday, 31 March 2011 by haan | 1 comments

Here is a summary of the travel articles available in this blog, for easy retrieval and references.

Dec - Taiwan round island (3 weeks)

Bangkok, Thailand

Apr - Brisbane, Australia
May - Sunshine Coast, Australia
Jun - Mt Tamborine & O'Reilly's (Gold Coast), Australia
Jul - Tangalooma, Australia
Sep - Noosa, Australia
Dec - Sydney, Australia

Feb - Melbourne & Wagga-Wagga & Canberra, Australia
Feb - Sea World (Gold Coast), Australia
May - Movie World (Gold Coast), Australia
Jun - Fraser Island, Australia
Jul - Dream World (Gold Coast), Australia

Feb - Sunflower Farm (Cambooya), Australia
May - Sydney, Australia
Oct - AmsterdamVolendamRotterdam, Netherlands (2-week trip)
Dec - NSW Summer X'mas Camping, Australia

Jul - Skydiving, Australia

Mar - Sungai Lembing, Malaysia (weekend getaway)
Jul - China, Hong Kong, Macau (1-month backpack)

Jan - Northern Thailand (1-week backpack)
Jun - Sungai Lembing, Malaysia (weekend getaway)
Jul - Redang Island, Malaysia (OW certification)
Jul - Anyer, Indonesia
Jul - Jakarta, Indonesia
Aug - Bandung, Indonesia
Aug - Islamabad, Pakistan
Sep - Brunei
Nov - Cameron Highlands, Malaysia (Photo Albums 1, 2, 3) (weekend getaway)
Dec - Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore (2-week backpack)

Feb - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Mar - Bandung, Indonesia
Apr - Hanoi, Vietnam
May - Bali, Indonesia (1-week backpack)
Jul - Redang Island, Malaysia (AOW certification)
Sep - New Zealand (2-month backpack & self-drive)
Nov - BundabergLady Musgrave Island, Australia (diving)

May - Perhentian Island, Malaysia (diving)
Aug - Tioman Island, Malaysia (diving)
Dec - Sipadan Island, Malaysia (diving)

Jan - Laos & Bangkok, Thailand (16-day backpack)
Apr - Lamma Island & StanleyHong Kong
May - Koh Lipe, Thailand (diving)
May - Hong Kong city
Aug - Xinjiang, China (17-day backpack)
Oct - Project AWARE in Tioman, Malaysia (diving)

Jan/Feb - Hong Kong
Mar - Sumatra (Samosir Island & Weh Island), Indonesia (backpack + diving)
Apr - Taman Pertanian, Malaysia (day trip)
Apr - Tioman Island, Malaysia (diving)
Jun - Parit Baru Aquaculture Park, Malaysia (day trip)
Jun - Malacca, Malaysia (weekend getaway)
Jun/Jul/Aug - Sichuan & Yunnan & Hong Kong, China (65-day backpack)
Aug/Sep - Sungai Lembing, Malaysia (long weekend getaway)
Sep/Oct - Nepal (1-month backpack)
Oct - Narita, Japan (layover)
Oct/Nov/Dec - Hawaii, US (attend course)
Dec - Los Angeles & Grand Canyon & Sedona & Las Vegas, US Mainland (1-week self-drive)

Jan - Hawaii, US (attend course)
Feb - Tokyo, Japan (attend course & travel)
Mac - Miri & Mulu, Malaysia (caving trip)
May - Boracay & Clark, Philippines (island trip)
May - Singapore (visit friends)
Aug - Busan & Jeju Island & Gyeongju, South Korea (11-day backpack)
Aug - Lembeh Island, Indonesia (diving)
Sep - Betong & Hatyai, Thailand
Sep/Oct/Nov - Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan (63-day backpack)

Jan - Kyoto & Nara & Osaka, Japan (12-day travel)
Jan/Feb/Mar - Niseko, Hokkaido Japan (48-day accommodation exchange)
Mar/Apr - Tokyo, Japan (26-day accommodation exchange)
May - Turkey, Cyprus, Greece
Jun - Greece, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Denmark, Germany
Jul - Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Italy
Aug - Italy, Slovenia, CroatiaBosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia (FYROM), Bulgaria
Sep - Bulgaria
Oct - Bulgaria, Romania
Nov - Romania, Moldova (including Transnistria), Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Liechtenstein
Dec - Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Tunisia, Algeria, Mexico

Jan - Mexico, Belize, Guatemala
Feb - Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras
Mar - Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
Apr - Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
May - Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina
Jun - Argentina, Uruguay, Malaysia (coz passport lost in Argentina), London, Norway
Jul - Norway, Denmark, Bulgaria, Netherlands
Aug - South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Bostwana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi
Sep - Tanzania, Kenya

Travelled & Lived: 

01. Albania
02. Algeria
03. Argentina
04. Australia (lived in Toowoomba QLD & Sydney NSW)
05. Austria
06. Belize
07. Belgium
08. Bolivia
09. Bosnia & Herzegovina
10. Bostwana
11. Bulgaria
12. Brunei
13. Cambodia
14. Chile
15. China Mainland
16. Colombia
17. Croatia
18. Cyprus (Rupublic of)
19. Czech Republic
20. Denmark
21. Ecuador
22. El Salvador
23. France
24. Germany
25. Greece
26. Guatemala
27. Honduras
28. Hong Kong, China
29. Hungary
30. India
31. Indonesia
32. Italy
33. Japan
34. Kenya
35. Kosovo
36. Laos
37. Lesotho
38. Liechtenstein
39. Macau, China
40. Macedonia (FYROM)
41. Malawi
42. Malaysia (lived in Selangor & Penang)
43. Mexico
44. Montenegro
45. Moldova (including Transnistria)
46. Nepal
47. Netherlands
48. New Zealand
49. Norway
50. Nicaragua
51. Pakistan
52. Panama
53. Peru
54. Philippines
55. Poland
56. Romania
57. Singapore
58. Slovakia
59. Slovenia
60. South Africa
61. South Korea
62. Sri Lanka
63. Swaziland
64. Switzerland
65. Taiwan
66. Tanzania
67. Thailand
68. Tunisia
69. Turkey
70. United Kingdom
71. United States (lived in Hawaii)
72. Uruguay
73. Vietnam
74. Zambia
75. Zimbabwe

Entered but denied entry:
01. Serbia (by train)
02. Ukraine (on foot)
03. Costa Rica (on foot)
Last Updated: Sep 2015


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Bus Tickets around Laos

Posted on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 by haan | 0 comments

This post is to share the price of bus tickets around Laos. Please be noted that the stated prices are valid as of the mentioned dates. Hopefully this info is helpful to those who are budgeting for a trip to Laos.

Please be noted that the price is on per person basis.

Vientiane town to Buddha Park
  • 30 Jan 2011 - by local bus No. 14 - from Talao Sao bus station
  • Pay while arriving at the destination: 5,000 Kips (RM 2)
  • Tuk Tuk driver will provide service at about 700 Baht (RM 70) for a return trip, and tell to you that local bus takes about 1.5-2 hours to reach
  • The bus takes about 1 hour to reach, while picking/dropping passengers along the way
  • The bus could be very packed at the beginning, but will get better especially after passing the Friendship Bridge (this bridge is crossed to go into Thailand)
  • Tuk Tuk is not recommended because it's pricey. After passing the Friendship Bridge, the roads are quite dusty. By taking bus, at least you are more "covered".

Vientiane to Vang Vieng
  • 31 Jan 2011 - by air-cond bus
  • Buy from accommodation provider: 50,000 Kips (RM 20)
  • Toilet break after 1.5 hours
  • Four hours to reach destination

Vang Vieng to Phonsavan
  • 1 Feb 2011 - by minivan (MPV)
  • Buy from ticket agent (same price offered by accommodation provider): 105,000 Kips (RM 42)
  • Toilet break after 2.5 hours
  • Five to six hours to reach destination

Phonsavan to Luang Prabang
  • 3 Feb 2011 - by minivan (MPV)
  • Buy from accommodation provider: 100,000 Kips (RM 40)
  • Toilet break after 3.5 hours (driver did not intent to stop, but we forced him to stop)
  • Meal break after 5 hours (driver's option)
  • Seven hours to reach destination
  • It costs only 90,000 Kips (RM 36) if you buy directly from minivan station
  • If you take bus, it costs 80,000 Kips - informed by other travelers

Luang Prabang to Vientiane
  • 6 Feb 2011 - by VIP bus
  • Buy directly from Southern Bus Station: 130,000 Kips (RM 52) - can get seat number assigned directly - means you can request for front seat if required
  • Twelve hours to reach destination
  • VIP bus ticket comes together with a food coupon. You can use it when it stops for a meal break. Mineral water will also be provided on the bus. 
  • You have gotta "check in" before you could put your luggage and board the bus. 

Vientiane to Nong Khai (Thailand)
  • 8 Feb 2011 - by air-cond bus
  • Buy directly from Talat Sao bus station: 15,000 Kips (RM 6)
  • One hour to reach destination
  • While buying ticket, your passport will be needed for verification (because this is a cross-country journey). 
  • You can take local bus No. 14 to Friendship Bridge, being stamped for departing Laos, then get another transport to Nong Khai. Choosing a bus going directly to Nong Khai is because, we won't have to deal with our luggage till we reach the Nong Khai bus station. 
  • If you were to travel from Nong Khai Bus Station to Nong Khai Railway Station, it will cost 30 Baht per person by tuk tuk. 

You might be curious why I mentioned from where the tickets were bought. That's coz if you do not buy directly from the bus station, normally there is surcharge of at least 20,000 Kips (RM 8). Half of it, 10K Kips, are the costs of pickup; another 10K Kips are earned by the seller (i.e. agent or accommodation provider).

Of course, it's the cheapest to buy directly from bus station, but imagine, if you were to take tuk tuk to/fro the bus station, that will already cost you 20K Kips at least. So sometimes, it's easier to just buy from your accommodation provider. They earn their commission, while you can save some money.

I cycled to Luang Prabang Southern bus station, which is located around 3km out of town, to get my VIP bus ticket. Therefore no additional amount was spent. Just that I had to cycle for quite a distance :)

Minivan might not be a good choice if you are very tall. Bus will give you more room for your legs. 

Intha Hotel, Vientiane

Posted on Saturday, 19 March 2011 by haan | 0 comments
Labels: ,

Intha Hotel was the first place I stayed in Laos. Pre-booked this hotel online prior to departure, based on its price and the reviews given. In short, it's quite a good place, but I personally feel it's still not as good as Mixay Paradise Guesthouse.

The boss of the hotel doesn't seem to speak fluent English. However, the young guys there do speak okay English and very helpful.

If a critique is really needed, I'd say, why the window does not let natural light in?

Read some negative reviews, but I was lucky, for not having those smelly, leaking kind of experiences. 

You can enjoy Chinese shows from the TV. However, the clothes hanging rack is not very stable. 

Complimentary water and coffee. 

The road where Intha Hotel is located. Just within walking distance to the popular Fa Ngum Road.

Night external view of Intha Hotel.

What I most concern with is always the shower. Don't worry, it's strong enough to be enjoyed.

Basic toiletries are provided.

Prices (USD, Euro, Baht) differ for different floors. However, we paid USD18 for a twin room, and stayed at Level 3.

Free breakfast every morning, served between 7-9am.

You can have a selection of ham, bacon or sausage. For drink, it's juice and/or coffee.
Contact details to share with you. 

Intha's Hotel location map. 

Eat, Pray, Love

Posted on by haan | 6 comments

Finally, I finished reading the book "Eat, Pray, Love" on this date, 19 March 2011. After taking a vegetarian meal as breakfast, read today's newspaper, did some online research about the northeast areas of Urumqi, I took up this book again on this rainy day.

Yesterday, I was just talking to my good friend about this book. I asked, do you know in Bali, how the people deal with an issue where the male is unfertilized, causing his wife unable to get pregnant? I then elaborated what I've read from the book. Yes, that's unbelievable but this is still happening in today's society, at somewhere not too far from where we are staying.

The author, Elizabeth Gilbert (Liz) writes about her search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia, in this book. In the last chapter (108), it's great to see these statement from her:

Since I was last here, I've circled the world, settled my divorce, survived my final separation from David, erased all mood-altering medications from my system, learned to speak a new language, sat upon God's palm for a few unforgettable moments in India, studied at the feet of an Indonesian medicine man and purchased a home for a family who sorely needed a place to live. I am happy and healthy and balanced.

I'm very glad to read such a beautiful ending.

I used to be on a similar trip too, but of course, mine was very much "not-worth-to-mention" compared to hers. I didn't meditate everyday, I didn't go to countries in different continents. That was just my self-claimed "working holiday across NZ and AU", where eventually, my working holiday visa was never utilized, but I did work and earn back all my traveling expenses :D

The journey was embarked in a mood filled with disappointments with my own life, having a lot of questions unanswered in mind. Went to a country that was new to me, making myself busy with traveling, driving, photography etc everyday; then went back to a country I used to stay. Once I reached back the places I used to live in the past (Toowoomba, Sydney), I realized that I've never made a wrong decision. Because, if I were to make the same decision again, my selection would still not change. Furthermore, by talking to my friends who have been living abroad for years, I was pretty confident with the "answers".

Not sure about others, but for myself, I strongly believe this kind of journey is helpful to individuals. I do not tend to possess a lot of things especially big-sized assets, as everything is gone in split second when a nature disaster hits; whilst various experiences we undergo would contribute to our self-growth. I do not pursue the kind of life where most people deem to be "normal". For me, I just know, I wish to pursue what I love in my life, and what I love could be a place, a thought, a style etc. There is no way for me to accept something I do not love from my bottom heart, but just to demonstrate to others that I'm "normal", still following the standard flow of life.

"Traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt, ever since I was sixteen years old and first went to Russia with my saved-up babysitting money, that to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby - I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it's mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to - I just don't care."

By reading the above paragraph by Liz, it's hard for me not to love her writing. Meanwhile, the following are the questions which a lot of people tend to ask but heck, please, please do not apply your XXX (a bad word here) SOP thinking onto others who do not embrace them!

"He asks why I can't keep a relationship going, why I ruined my marriage, why I messed things up with every man I've even been with. He asks me where I was the night I turned thirty, and why things have gone so sour since then. He asked why I can't get my act together, and why I'm not at home living in a nice house and raising nice children like any respectable woman my age should be. He asks why, exactly, I think I deserve a vacation in Rome when I've made such a rubble of my life. He asked me where I think I'll end up in my old age, if I keep living this way."

I remember that after I came back from my AU-NZ trip and before getting a job offer, I stayed at home everyday. Though having no income, I was living good. The stress did not actually come from financial worry, but more about how the people around think of me. I enjoyed reading books at home everyday, looking into dictionary for each word that is new to me; but the auntie cleaner helping my relative family next door came and "provided me her kindest advice", saying that YOU CAN'T BE LIVING LIKE THIS, YOU SHOULD GO AND LOOK FOR A JOB.

This made me absolutely pissed. I don't understand why people tend to be busy body to CARE about others they don't actually know, some more wanting to APPLY their personal standards onto other's life. Shouldn't that enough for you to just apply your standard onto yourself? I bet she would also faint if she reads the following:

"The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement." Once, I really wished to reply to the auntie by saying - I'VE A LOT OF MONEY IN BANK. I CAN LIVE WITHOUT A JOB. DO YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEM WITH THIS? Of course, I didn't, therefore I use the word "wished" here.

I've marked a lot of sentences which I love (at first sight) in the book - too many for me to share here. After reading the book, am now longing to watch the movie, to see how different/similar they are.

Before I end, allow me to share the last one:

"The search for contentment is not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people."

If you want to read the book, you are welcomed to come to me :)

P/S: My friend has a similar post. Click here

Mixay Paradise Guesthouse, Vientiane

Posted on Friday, 18 March 2011 by haan | 8 comments
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During my time in Laos, Mixay Paradise GH was the best place I've stayed, and yet, it was not the most expensive. Would like to share some photos here, together with descriptions.

It's an eye-catching building, situated just next to the popular Wat Mixay. Therefore, it's absolutely easy to locate it. It's full EVERYDAY!

The prices are quite reasonable.

A double room with air-cond and fan. That's a king-sized bed.

What I most concern is always the shower. It's definitely strong enough. You will enjoy it :)

The balcony. I should have gone to the top floor to capture a photo, but I realized that only after I left.

The dining area. Breakfast is served here every morning, up until 11am. WiFi is available too.

This is the set offered to each guest. Didn't expect a fried egg in heart shape. 

If the default set is not enough, you still have other options to make yourself more filling - salad and biscuits. 

I was excited to see this. Have been eager for some curries but didn't make it. It comes at the right time! Furthermore, this is the type I love - with carrot and potatoes. 

My breakfast.

Hot water for you to make tea or coffee. Cream and sugar are provided too.

The reasons I recommend this GH to other travelers are:
  1. Reasonable price.
  2. Free breakfast is provided, and you won't feel the quantity is not enough. Free "add-on" is available.
  3. Breakfast is served up until 11am. For people who are leaving, they can wake up late, take a brunch before going to airport. Checkout time is 12pm.
  4. Location is strategic. Impossible for tuk tuk driver to not know Wat Mixay.
  5. Not far from the popular Fa Ngum Rd and Setthathirat Rd.
  6. Various food options nearby.
  7. WiFi is available for free.
  8. Staff have very good attitude and service.
Last but not least, would like to share with you its contacts because it doesn't have a website for online booking:

Tel: (+856 21) 254 223, (+856 21) 254 224

The staff mentioned that, it's best to call them and send them an email. Hope you enjoy your stay there!

Slow Motion Notice

Posted on Thursday, 17 March 2011 by haan | 1 comments

Seems like I'm still not doing much travel writing. Am really not as productive as I used to be. Please pardon my slow motion. I'd still choose to do it when I feel I most want to, instead of forcing myself to complete a task/responsibility. The output from both is very different!

Recently, the Internet connection at home is kinda slow. Not really feel wanna spend much time online as most of the time would just be waiting, waiting and waiting. I rather shut the laptop down and transfer my attention and energy to books. Am at the final chapter of "Eat, Pray, Love" where the story now is about the writer's life in Bali. After reading her interesting parts in Italy and India, I found Bali is more attractive, especially due to the people she met and shared in the book.

It's shameful to say, I haven't been able to finish the book since January. This week, it has become my book before going to bed. Meanwhile, am also reading some magazines which are new to me.

Stepping into March 2011, this week I've got a few accomplishments. Firstly, my second trip of the year is settled. Now, I just have to wait for mid May to come. I believe there are 6 other people doing the same as me.

I will never ever forget about the third trip of the year. For something I've been planning for months, in a split of second, what I did was to change mind! Not a big surprise, just change from "outer" to "inner" (you might not understand now but you will in September). Booked the flight ticket too, while the MATTA fair promotion is still valid. What I didn't expect is, I'm going to travel with THE 2 PERSONS again. One, we went to China in 2007 for a month of backpack. Another, we were hanging around in NZ for almost 2 months in 2009.

Yesterday, celebrated a friend's birthday together with some college friends. Though we didn't go for very special meal (we went to organic vegetarian restaurant), but it was still a good moment to sit together and chit chat. You might not be able to imagine how warm it feels where these people, you knew them before you were 20. But when you are steeping into 30, they are still together with you, not feeling out of topic, still communicating just like 10+ years ago.

The most obvious change would be, in the past, we rode on motorcycle all around Penang for a lot of delicious food. Nowadays, we all agree to go eat something vegetarian :P

After having a laptop bag stolen, I'm now having problem with the keypad of my laptop. Some keys just do not work! It happened in the past but only one key was problematic, and would become okay again after awhile or a restart. This round, there are a bunch of keys not working. Therefore, I got an external keyboard from MIS this morning.

Now, when using this external keyboard but without an external mouse, I'm feeling kinda weird.

Whilst hearing about the news of tsunami everyday from radio, I'm telling myself, if 22/12/2012 is really the end of the world, I still have one year plus to get my dreams come true one by one. When the testing at work does not produce positive results and I need to keep capturing logs for him to fix, I keep telling myself, 好事多磨.

Tomorrow is Friday again. Let's look forward to another weekend!

Burglary Again

Posted on Monday, 14 March 2011 by haan | 2 comments

Some people might have been expecting me to write about the last trip here. Sorry. I've been writing at another space to "enhance the knowledge base" there, somewhere I sourced a lot of useful info for the trip. I've finished writing at the space. Will switch my attention back to this blog.

However, I'd still hold on awhile for some "breaking news".

In my life, there were a few dates which I could hardly forget. Talk about the bad ones:

1) 21 March 2007 - House was broken in and I lost my laptop and a very new DSLR camera.
2) 28 July 2009 - Car parked behind the house was badly damaged early in the morning, coz it was hit by a drunkard.

Today, 14 March 2011, another item is added to the list. Early in the morning, when I reached office, I found that the laptop bag I put next to my desk had gone missing!! I clearly remembered it was there last Friday, before I left the office. Very sure!!

You might ask, don't you bring back your laptop, together with the bag? Yes, I always do. Apart from my personal laptop, I had 2 additional ones, which I previously lent to vendor for development and testing. They returned to me in mid Feb. Due to having limited drawer space, I only locked the laptops in my drawer, leaving the bags next to my desk. Those power adapters and mice, I also left them on my table, thinking that, the office should be very safe.

I was wrong. Seriously wrong.

Am not sure if the latest Dell laptop bag is really that beautiful. As how I put the 2 bags, the Dell laptop bag always leans against the wall, then the HP laptop bag leans against the Dell laptop bag. Meaning, the Dell bag is usually covered by the HP bag. Perhaps the HP bag is really less attractive, making both of them have stayed SAFE there for almost 1 month.

I reported the case to MIS, as I'm supposed to return them the complete set (laptop, mouse, adapter, bag) in the future. When I submitted my report, saw another similar piece. I briefly read through. It's also another missing case, but that is a power adapter.

In fact, normally there is a surveillance unit functioning in the office. When I intended to check that, I was told that the unit had stopped working since last week due to certain problems. Co-incidence doesn't happen so timely when you need them, but happens when you least expect!

Honestly, I feel very disappointed with the work place. When I saw the notices in the toilet, saying "please flush after use", I already wondered, is this kind of friendly reminders actually necessary? We are all working adults. We don't know that we should flush the toilet after use? Even we know, we are unable to practice it nicely?

When I was about to leave today, I tried to see if my drawer can really fit the only-left HP laptop bag. Not able to. Did something very funny. I carried the empty bag home. I feel very unbelievable with what I did, but if I don't, seems like people will call me stupid.

Since today, I will lock everything in drawer before I leave, inclusive of power adapter, mouse etc. When I'm trying to ask myself trust others around, incidents keep asking me not to. Quite sad!!

The Taste of Memory

Posted on Thursday, 10 March 2011 by haan | 3 comments






就算是我离开了之后,我们见面的地方也是我们的“老地方” - 面对面板面店。







Review of Lamphu House, Bangkok

Posted on Wednesday, 2 March 2011 by haan | 1 comments
Labels: ,

Prior to leaving Lamphu House, I managed to leave a review on the 2nd page of their 14th guestbook. Not able to complete it nicely as the pick-up driver was already there, rushing us to get onto the shuttle, to go to the airport.

These were what I wrote...

Before checking out, I was still not sure I'd leave a positive or negative review for Lamphu House. It's really good in terms of:

1) location - not far from everything yet not noisy for a slumber
2) room - nice, clean
3) staff (reception & tour desks) - patient, good-mannered, nice
4) environment - cosy

However, last night (my last night here), after coming back from outside, I found that my universal adapter (which can be used throughout the world) was already broken. That must be broken (unintentionally) by the cleaners, based on the damage it has. That's truly a good one and I've been using it for years.

I tried to ask for compensation from Lamphu House. I feel my request was fair enough, because if I break any of their things, I'm supposed to pay/replace too. Am not trying to create trouble but that's something really important to me. Else, I can't charge my batteries, mobile phones, use the hair dryer etc.

After a lot of hoo-ha, finally they are willing to buy me a new one. I agreed with a "less advanced" one but can serve basic needs. Mine costed around 800 Baht when I bought it. The one they could find here is 205 Baht.

They drove out to buy at around 11pm last night, came back and said that the shop was already closed. This morning, I've gotta leave early at 8am. When I came back from breakfast at around 0730, the staff already gave me a new universal adapter. The old one was returned together.

I truly appreciate their understanding and good service, even though they used to try not admit it's due to cleaners, or said the adapter was only partly broken, not 100% broken. I just need problem to be solved. By the way, the power point is really not well located in the room.


After leaving, on the way to airport, I actually realized some details were missed out in the article, especially on how they tried to refuse a compensation. However, I couldn't really recall much now.

In short, the incident was mainly due to the design or layout of the room. The power point is not well-located. We had to move a bed in order to make space to use the power point. When their cleaners went into the room (I only asked them to clean the dustbin but they were so kind, helped to make the bed too) and worked at the limited space, one was stumbled by my multi-plug, which was connected to the power point via the universal adapter.

Before I told them how much did my original adapter cost, I already expected they would think I'm crazy, and took chance to ask for a large amount of money. But, I really paid that much (RM 79.90 if not mistaken). That's coz it's Travel Blue, a popular brand. I bought a good brand coz I don't want it to spoil my electrical appliances. When I was at the airport, I saw a shop selling Travel Blue's items. Went over to check for their universal adapter. Though the design and color have slightly changed, the price is still 810 Baht.

Now I recalled what I missed out. The boss of Lamphu House used to say, your adapter is easily broken because it's of bad quality. Honestly, I was very pissed when I heard this statement from him. Bad quality in the sense that it can survive throughout so many countries but not a room cleaned by your staff?

In fact, during my first visit to their reception, they didn't get what I mean. They thought I wanted to borrow an adapter from them, so they gave me one. I took that one, went back to my room, thought of not returning the adapter to them them afterwards, but since then, I've to carry 2 adapters whenever I travel. Pretty sad. Told my mum what happened. She was the one reminding me I had the rights to ask for compensation!

In total, I had 3 conversations with them. The last two involved some arguments. Before the incident was amicably solved, I wrote in my diary, saying that, not sure what will happen but I try to believe I will be lucky (coz we got 2 lucky coins - total 7 Baht - from the Lucky Buddha that day).

When I was handed a new universal adapter, again, I realized that, the law of attraction does work!

My Checklist of a Good Guest House

Posted on Tuesday, 1 March 2011 by haan | 2 comments

Thought of doing this checklist while I was still traveling around NZ back in 2009. Every time we checked into a room, right after putting down our luggage, we would check for the availability of a few things. I believe someone who used to be on a long period travel and need to often stay at different accommodations, would basically do the same.

However, after I finished my trip, it seemed to be difficult to come out with such a list.

Therefore, took the chance this round (the Laos-Thai trip) to make it. This is how I judge a guest house. More ticks means better.
  1. Strong shower
  2. Clean - no spider web, no algae, not smelly 
  3. Comfortable, able to sleep well - no intolerable noise, no other unintended creatures eg. insects
  4. Nice quality pillow
  5. Nice quality duvet/blanket - based on different weather/environment. At least does not make you feel "insufficient".
  6. Power point
  7. Mirror in the bathroom
  8. Mirror in the room
  9. Dustbin in the bathroom
  10. Dustbin in the room
  11. Hangers for clothes
  12. Somewhere to put hangers
  13. Somewhere to hang clothes in bathroom
  14. Toilet paper - right quantity & good quality
  15. Window - I personally do not like a room without window
  16. Heater / Air-cond - sometimes it depends on whether you are willing to pay more
  17. Hot shower - sometimes it depends on whether you are willing to pay more
  18. Breakfast - sometimes it depends on whether you are willing to pay more
I came out with the list only when I was back to Vientiane, and stayed at the Mixay Paradise Guest House. Basically it fulfills all the requirements above. That's definitely a place which I'd recommend my friends to go. 

When I stayed in Lamphu House in Bangkok, a place which is highly recommended by the Cari forum members, it achieves a slightly lower score, based on my personal checklist. 

Will share about these places in future posts. 



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