Malaysians are a bunch of lucky lads. Seriously.
Because unlike citizens of other countries who have to either drive or fly to travel into Thailand, we can just walk there.
Here’s how you can travel to Hat Yai, Thailand. By Foot.
1. Find your way to Changloon, Kedah. As you approach the little town, you will see a lot of travel agents offering transportation services to fetch tourists over to Hat Yai. Before you enter Thailand, you will reach the Kedah – Thailand border, where you’re required to alight your vehicle and get your passport stamped.
2. Proceed to the Immigration counter by foot, and queue up there.
3. While waiting for your turn to get your passport stamped, be sure to indulge yourself with some Thaigrish (Thai English).
4. Next, do this. I’m not going to elaborate more on this action. The photo is self explanatory
5. Get your passport stamped, and then voila! You’re in Thailand already!
It was raining quite heavily as we entered our van and proceeded straight to Hat Yai town. Like any typical Thai city, you will definitely notice the following :
1. Motorbike riders without helmets. If you’re lucky you can sometimes see up to 5 people on one bike.
2. Loads…. and loads… of portraits of the King.
3. And a fantastic network of “advanced” (or more appropriately – entangled) electricity cables.
We stayed at the heart of the city centre in Novotel, a hotel with a good network of chains around the world.
Be sure to check out their suites (it will set you back around B$4500 per night during non-peak seasons)…
… and the beautiful receptionist who will bring you for a guided tour to your room…
One thing I really like about Thailand is the availability of Pork Burgers in McDonald’s, which you will never find anywhere in Malaysia. The only other place I’ve been to with Pork Burgers in McDonald’s is China.
Hat Yai is not like the bustling city of Bangkok, so at first I thought it’s going to be a slow, simple town without those fashionistas like those from Harajuku, Japan. However, I was quite shocked to see this guy (or girl… I’m not sure) who happens to be a promoter of a jewelry booth, with this type of make up :
!@#$%^&* Somebody KILL ME!
I’ll pay you 50 cents if you dare to go to work with this kind of make up
Another thing I noticed about Thailand is the racial and religious integration, which in my humble opinion, more open and less sensitive compared to Malaysia. Yes, no doubt that there are more riots and fanatics bombing everywhere to get media attention in Thailand, but at the same time, you won’t see muslims and chinese having their food stalls parked side by side anywhere in Malaysia except in Kelantan.
And the best part is that the customers are completely okay about it. You will see people in tudungs (head scarfs) and thai customers sitting next to each other eating their own food and neither parties wouldn’t mind at all.
One advice that I always give to my friends is that if you want to grab the best food in a foreign place you’re visiting, go to those places where the locals frequent. Not the tourist areas.
One restaurant I want to recommend to you all in Hat Yai is Gan Ying Restaurant. It’s a chinese restaurant packed with local thai people. Just hop on into one of those many Tuk Tuks in Hat Yai and tell the driver that you want to go to Gan Ying Restaurant.
One of their most famous dish – Steamed Pork Arm.
One word about the Tuk Tuk. If you’re a tall person, you may have to suffer and lay low for a while during the ride, especially if the Tuk Tuks are going through bumpy roads. It’s gonna hurt your neck a bit.
Lastly, be sure to taste the local Thai beers. This time I went for Chang Beer, the official beer for Everton Football Club.
But remember don’t drink and drive. Or you’re gonna end up like this.
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An engineer by profession, Jonathan loves music, travelling, fun and adventure and finds immense joy and fulfillment in making friends and meeting new people from all walks of life. An ardent believer in moderation, he pursues balance in everything he says and touches. Follow his blog at www.jonathanfun.com and his tweets at @jonathanfun.