Friday, 27 April 2012

Our first night in a war zone and yet more problems with OPEC. (Malaysia/Thailand)

Throughout the entire of Malaysia, every time we stopped for petrol it involved a battle. As an OPEC country, the government subsidises petrol, but as a result they don't allow foreign vehicles to fill up with anything less than 97. Obviously we weren't about to grin and bear the 1.30RM/L (approx 35 AUc) difference, so we had to continuously be arguing with the petrol pump men to allow us to get the cheaper 95. It usually involved a mixutre of just shouting and saying lots of words and confusing them, and explaining that because this is an old car it only accepts the lower quality petrol, or in Australia cars only accept 95. It always seemed a bit ridiclous, but we got pretty good at it and managed every time. We're sick of OPEC always screwing us about, so although it may seem small, this is our satisfying victory.

Now, for those of you who are aware of our trip planning, you will realise that on the top of our list of concerns are places such as Pakistan and Iran, where our safety will be somewhat questionable. In all of our planning and researching however, we had completely overlooked the fact that wars and violence are not reserved for Central Asia and the Middle East, and in fact the South of Thailand have their own problems. On our first night in the country, we stayed in what seemed to be a very nice town called Phatthalung (where we had that brilliant dinner mentioned in a previous blog). The fact that is was completely void of any evidence of tourism only added to its charm. It was only when we received an email from a friend in Bangkok warning us to keep driving straight through the area that this town is in the centre of, because of an insurgency, that we realised why there were zero tourists there. We've since done some research - albeit a bit late - and found out that Smart Traveller reccommends not to travel there at all. We also of course used the world's most reliable resource - wikipedia - to find out more. Here's the link for anyone who's interested.


  1. Had a quick look at the wikipedia site, and other info online, and as far as I can see by the time you were in Phattalong you were already north of the worst of it.... but still, be careful and don't hang around more than you need to!

    1. Yes, actually you're right that we had already passed the very worst of it, but I believe there have still been some casualties in and around that town recently. But still, surely it is nothing compared to what we will deal with in a few months... good practise I suppose!