20:10 30/8/2012 When time forbid us exploring the beach paradise of Thailand, we had settled to Hatyai or Hadyai, nearest border city of Thailand and Malaysia. This is closest place when we can get a Thai stamp on the maroon passport. On top of that, we want to discover for ourselves why Thailand is the most loved and unforgettable place among the travel bloggers be it farangs (foreigners) or pinoy like us. After 3D2N, we’re able to prove that and we now belong to the league of people amazed by Thailand. Sawadee Ka!
We started our journey from KL Sentral embarking a 15 hour train ride going to Hatyai. It may not be the smoothest train ride we experienced but enough to send Summer to dreamland and made Sky battling with insomnia. Don’t worry he’d a doze a bit, after watching a travel flick recommended by Gay of Pinay Travel Junkie.
After several hours we reached Padang Besar, a boundary between the State of Perlis, Malaysia and Songkhla Province, Thailand. It was one of the moment that we’re waiting for, to traverse the other country by Land. We’re happy and same time anxious knowing there’s a lot of stories and mishaps crossing the border. We’re solemnly praying and knocking on the wood at the same time. We keep our composure and took a deep breath.
We passed the two immigration without a glitch. Sigh! So far, the best and memorable land border crossing. Did we tell you that two immigration booth were just opposite to each other?, about 20 paces. That makes this train border crossing more convenient in contrast to Bus Border crossing in Sadao. After some 45 minutes, we reached Hatyai town proper.
Then we jump to our temporary abode at the heart of the town in Hatyai. A very warm and pleasant receptionist greeted us with “Sawadee Ka”. We haven’t realized that Thailand time is an hour behind from Malaysia, so we arrived an hour ahead. But realizing the guest needs is their top priority, and that made this Tune Hotel Hatyai exceptional. We’ll be sharing on a different entry how we’d been treated like a VIP and why it is awesome to stay in this hotel.
We commenced the tour starting at the Hatyai Municipal Park with a car (instead of a tuktuk). A local park in which The Standing Buddha, Laughing Buddha, and huge image of Chinese deity Guan Yin are located. We also visited two of the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand, the Wat Hat Yai Nai and Wat Phranon Laem Pho in Ko Yo, Songhkla on the second day.
Of course, we didn’t slip a chance to visit one of the lively night markets in Hatyai, the ASEAN market. As common to night markets, you’ll see the knock offs, second-hand clothes, locally made bags and shoes and food stalls. If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you’ll know who can’t leave the market without carrying something.
The adventure of Hatyai wouldn’t be complete if we haven’t visited their own version of floating market , the Khlong Hae. What we love about this floating market, where the friendly Thai vendors selling their local food. And for a budget of 20 Baht per food, you can start your food tripping. A thumbs up for a cheapskate like us. But wait, it’s not the only made Hatyai being famous. Have you seen a mega gigantic humungous godzilla like fresh water prawns? Okey, that’s a lot of superlatives to describe that prawns. Yes, we’d been blown away seeing that monstrous prawns and overwhelming choices of seafood in the night market. Too bad, we haven’t tasted it, and again enough reason to come back.
But it doesn’t end there, Thailand street food is just irresistible, and I bet guys who went to Thailand can attest that. The Pork BBQ with sesame seeds, fried chicken skin, grilled chorizo like, and the delectable banana roti just among our personal favourites. The first night was filled with gastronomic bliss, enough to send us to utopia.
One of the best things happened with this travel was the unexpected road trip. We had planned to take a public transport to roam around Hatyai and Songkhla and should stick with that. But the offer of a car service with the same quote as what tuktuk driver is too good to be true. It’s for real and there was no gimmick, thanks to the exemplary service of Hatyai hotel staff who recommended him. We never regret it, we even pay extra more than the allocated transportation budget.
And it is was one of the best and enjoyable road trips by far. We haven’t expected from our driver to tour us around the best places in Hatyai and Songkhla. He even brought us to his friend’s party and turn out it was a wedding reception. So we’re now an official wedding gatecrasher.
Just like in the Philippines, Thailand also believed in myths and folklore as depicted on these icons. The serpent naga, the mermaid and story of cat and the mouse which now turns as famous landmarks in Songkhla. Expect of people cam whoring here and there.
Lo and behold, there was more to see than temples and night market. Our driver was happy taking us to the hills of Tang Kuan and Hatyai municipal park to view Hatyai and Songkhla on highest vantage. The panoramic view of the two cities is stunningly beautiful. We stood there for ages and breath the smell of Thailand and promise to explore more beyond our eyes can see.
After concluding our Hatyai trip, we realized that we do not miss the temple nor the night market or that expensive fresh water prawn. But the happy faces of people we met on this short journey. Our wacky friend from KL that we haven’t met before that became our instant travel buddy. The Thai lady who served us the best Thai fried rice, the kids who taught us how to properly greet with the Thai gestures. The ladies who encouraged and made us ate a fried cricket and the loving charisma of souvenir vendor (Mommy D). Lastly, the pleasant and VIP treatment of Tune hotel Hatyai staff that made our stay comfortable and hassle free. We missed you guys! XOXO
Whoa! It’s been almost a month now after this trip and our mind was still left in Siam. Anyway, we’ll be coming back before the year ends and will tag along with friends.
Wait we haven’t revealed why it is Chai Hatyai? Chai in Thai language is Yes. So Yes Hatyai! an expression we utter when ditching our Krabi trip.
Sky and Summer