Category Archives: Travel

I am a passionate wanderer from Sarawak on the island of Borneo. This site is a footprint of my travel adventures in Southeast Asia.


Confusion Explained: 10K Baht in Cash Needed for Malaysians to Enter Thailand

Confusion Explained: 10K Baht in Cash Needed for Malaysians to Enter Thailand

It all began with this report about two Malaysian girls being denied entry into Thailand for not bringing enough Thai Baht. Having stayed in Thailand for two years and to deal with visa application processes and immigration and what not, and on top of the fact that I now travel to Thailand on a regular basis, I know that this was just an isolated case.

10,000 Thai Baht Needed for Malaysians to Enter Thailand? Confusion Explained. Photo credit to http://eng.mynewshub.cc/immigration-dept-ready-for-24-hour-border-operation/
Photo credit to http://eng.mynewshub.cc/immigration-dept-ready-for-24-hour-border-operation/

It’s a non-issue that need not be brought up in the first place. Unfortunately, The Sun had to run this story followed by this one based on just one incident. Coincidentally, the journalist who was tasked to write the story happens to be my close friend, but I’m not blaming him because he was just doing his duty.

But personally, I think both reports by The Sun were not necessary because an incident like this is rare. Running the stories will only cause more confusion and panic among Malaysians who probably just wish to travel to Hatyai for a day or two of sightseeing and shopping.

After these stories have made their way to the social media, says.com too decided to run a similar story, and people began posting pictures that show signs indicating the supposedly “new” ruling, like below:

Photo credit to “Loo Kw” on Facebook.

I just thought to write this entry to explain the confusion, with the hope that this non-issue will come to a halt.

Of course, my two cents below are just based on what I’ve learned and observed all this while as an individual, and in no way am I representing the Thai Immigration Bureau in disseminating my opinion on this incident.

First of all, the ruling in which holders of Visa on Arrival (e.g. Malaysians entering Thailand) may be required to show 10,000 Baht per person or 20,000 Baht per family is nothing new. Later, you will find out why Thai immigration officers, especially those at the Malaysia-Thailand borders, seldom impose this ruling on Malaysians.

Holders of other types of visa will also be subject to different minimum cash limits. If you’re on their radar upon entering Thailand, the immigration officers have a right to ask you to show them a certain amount of cash, depending what kind of visa you’re holding. This can take place at any immigration checkpoint, such as at the airports and not just the borders.

Second of all, pictures of signboards spelling out the ruling could have been planted somewhere at the immigration checkpoints for a long time. I’ve been to various immigration checkpoints all over Thailand and signboards like that are commonly noticeable.

It’s just that because all this while Malaysians have rarely been asked to show them cash upon entering Thailand, we kind of have taken it for granted that such a ruling never exists, and therefore we don’t get to pay attention to such signboards.

In one of the articles, it writes that “… due to this lackadaisical stance at times by the Thai authorities, many Malaysian travellers tend to take this clause for granted.”

To me I do not think it’s mainly due to the officers’ “lackadaisical” attitude. The reason why they don’t normally impose this ruling on Malaysians is because unlike some travellers of other nationalities, Malaysians generally don’t enter Thailand to work illegally. Instead, we holiday and spend our money there and meet their criteria of being so-called “quality tourists.”

Thai immigration officers normally would impose checks on Westerners and certain nationalities whom they feel may work illegally in Thailand (e.g., those teaching or working without a Non-Immigrant Visa  and permit/with a Tourist Visa).

Lastly, the two Malaysians who got asked to show 10,000 Baht in order to enter Thailand either must be so unlucky, or have offended the officer in one way or another. In any case, you know being polite to the immigration officers is always the key!

So my take if that if you were to travel into Thailand by air, it is only reasonable that you have some cash with you and your accommodation/onward flight ticket booked, just in case they ask you to show any of these. At the borders, just carry on with what we usually do and no need to worry so much over the reports. The reported case was just an isolated one.

So long as we don’t travel into Thailand to do illegal things, and as long as we can financially support ourselves during our stay in Thailand, we definitely do not need to worry.

Read: Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) Not Accepted by Thai Money Changers? Try This Alternative.

And yes, the “frequent traveller who drives back to Chumpon monthly” as reported in one of The Sun articles is me. So with this I risk being checked by them every time they see my name. Ha ha…


Camping Above Sea of Clouds in Freezing Weather on Phu Thap Boek, Phetchabun

Camping Above Sea of Clouds in Freezing Weather on Phu Thap Boek, Phetchabun

Sawasdee krub, people!

It’s time of the year when the cold spell hits Northern Thailand again. During this period of time, there are two and only two things you should be doing – hit up Lopburi or Saraburi to visit the sunflower fields, and spend a day or two camping in the mountains in Northern Thailand.

During the year-end holidays, both locals and foreigners alike would throng Doi Inthanon – the highest mountain in Thailand situated some 2,565m above sea level in the northern province of Chiang Mai, as well as the mountains in Phetchabun and Loei provinces, in order to enjoy the chilly weather.

On Doi Inthanon, temperatures would oftentimes dip to the single digits. This is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Bangkok, were temperatures rarely drop below 30°C throughout the year.

So anyway, my better half and I, as well as our friends Aof and his girlfriend Nu, went on a camping trip to Phetchabun this time around last year.

Aof is in the Thai army and based in Lopburi. After spending two days in Lopburi and counting down to the new year at his barrack in a hilariously drunken state (we were partying with a bunch of Aof’s and Nu’s army friends), early next day we immediately set off on a camping trip to the mountains of Phetchabun. I remember spending half of the first day of Thai year 2560 getting a serious hangover at the back of Aof’s car because I had had too much whiskey the night before.

Khao Kho, Khao Kho District

We were supposed to camp for one night in Khao Kho (Thai: เขาค้อ), a 1,143m high mountain in the western range of the Phetchabun Mountains, but then decided our short amount of time there simply didn’t do the staggeringly beautiful mountain views and nice, cold weather any justice.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

For those who intend to go but wonder where and how to go about it, the best way is probably to drive around, identify a campsite, and get down to ask if there’s any spot or tent available. Since many of these campsites are private properties, you can either pitch your own tent for a small fee or sleep in one provided.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

We found our camping spot at the Khao Kho Post Office. It was just a small post office with a considerable area of land around it, and they let people rent spaces within its vicinity for camping.

Aof was kind enough to bring along two tents, so we didn’t have to rent any. All we did upon reaching the campsite was to quickly snatch up an available, desirable spot before others did to set up our tents.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

We only proceeded to make payment after setting up our tents – I think it was just under 50 Baht per person, very reasonable. We also rented from the post office two large mats and a charcoal stove for cooking.

Since Aof is in the army, everything was pretty much military-themed – that included my, or rather, Aof’s jacket!

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

This was how Aof’s and Nu’s tent looked like:

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

And my other half’s and mine was right opposite, with some space in between for some cooking and chit-chatting at night.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

As the night wore on and the sun began to fall over the horizon, the temperature too began to drop to around 19°C. The stable, chilly breeze was all it took to send us into a shivering state.

The weather was perfect and exactly like what we were expecting. It was very relaxing; we were really carefree. Below was us spending time chilling out and drinking at our “common area.”

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

I remember waking up early on the next day, at 4.30am or so due to the cold draft and some noise other crowds were making. Apparently some had woken up early to watch the sun rise.

Later in the morning, we complained about how we hadn’t had enough of the breathtaking scenery and nice weather and unanimously decided to extend our otherwise very short holiday for another day. After all, the leftover food was enough to last us for another night.

Wat Pha Sorn Kaew, Khao Kho District

Before we left for Phu Thap Boek, the highest mountain in Phetchabun at an elevation of 1,794m above sea level, we visited Wat Pha Sorn Kaew (Thai: วัดผาซ่อนแก้ว).

If you have come across a picture depicting a series of five sitting Buddha statues, this is the place, situated in the district of Khao Kho. It is also said to be one of the most remarkable temples in Thailand, and I have to agree.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

The main temple building has nearly every surface beautifully covered in glass, ceramic, and beads in an elaborate manner. It looks wonderfully unconventional and one of a kind, almost like a palace.

Since I don’t have a lot of pictures of Wat Pha Sorn Kaew, you may want to check out this link to see some really beautiful pictures and read more about the special temple.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Phu Thap Boek/Phu Man Khao, Lom Kao District

Khao Kho and Phu Thap Boek (Thai: ภูทับเบิก) are about 85km apart, which translates to less than two hours’ drive between the two places.

As we were heading closer to the peak of Phu Thap Boek, the temperature got lower and lower, and I began experiencing ear pain due to the increased air pressure.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

By the way, Phu Thap Boek is also home to the Hmong hill tribe, so in certain places such as Ban Thap Boek, if you’re lucky you may get to witness a different way of life of the ethnic minority group, just like we did.

These mountain-dwelling people speak a different language and can be found in various places across Thailand, China, Laos, and Vietnam. If you’re interested, you may want to read my entry on the Hmong ethnic groups in Vietnam.

By the time we arrived at the peak and viewpoint of Phu Thap Boek, it was already close to evening and the site was packed with campers. While there were a few foreigners, most people who thronged the spot were locals.

It wasn’t easy to find a parking lot near to the campsite, but nevertheless we were able to secure one close to where our tents were. That way, it wasn’t much of a hassle carrying things up our tents.

It was also our lucky day because we were able to secure a spot with a reasonably good view to the surrounding landscape. Many had already set up their tents by that time.

Like in Khao Kho, if you don’t have a tent, you can always rent one from them for a reasonable fee of 500 Baht. Otherwise, you can set up your own tent at a desirable spot and pay perhaps 50 Baht (can’t remember the exact amount) per pax.

By the time we finished setting up our tents and cooking, it was already 7pm or so and the temperature had dropped to some 16°C. Always, it isn’t the air temperature itself, but the constant blowing of the wind, that determines how cold we may feel.

After dinner, my better half and I took a leisurely stroll around the campsite and some pictures of the night view. It was so windy and cold that we could see our own breath as we talked. The night view from the peak of Phu Thap Boek was nothing but magnificent.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

We were hoping to witness the panoramic view of the sea of clouds the next day, but instead we woke up to thick fog blanketing the entire area.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

As the sun gradually rose above the clouds later that morning, the fog began to disappear. Unfortunately due to the strong winds, the otherwise breathtaking view of the sea of clouds wasn’t too obvious to be seen, so we had to make do with what nature provided us.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Here are some videos I took of the panoramic view at the viewpoint of Phu Thap Boek:


Before we headed back, we went to several sites around the wind turbine area to take some photos, and the sceneries were just fascinating:

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Alright, that’s it for this entry! I hope it will be a handy reference guide to you.

If you have any question or comment on camping in Phetchabun, do feel free to drop it in the comment box below and I will try to furnish you with more information that I can remember.