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  • Dec28

    Day 19 - Heading to the Deep South

    December 28, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    The alarm went off at 8am, but I had been up hours monitoring the dismal performance by United at Newcastle. We showered, packed & were in the hotel reception at 9.20am.

    Ten minutes later, Chanika rolled up in her big Mitsubishi 4x4 & jumped out dressed as Dolly Parton without the chest. She was wearing a checkered shirt, jeans & cowboy crocks! Chanika was were usual excitable self & she chatted with Jackie for most of the 50 minute journey to Khok Kloi bus station.

    At Khok Kloi we were about an hour early, but Jackie wanted to be safe rather than sorry. Chanika rang the bus company to confirm it would be stopping for us, then we insisted she waited with us no longer. We gave her a decent 500 baht tip (she had been worth every baht) & sent her on her way.

    At 11.20 a battered old bus rattled into the bus station & tooted it’s horn. The female conductor jumped out & beckoned for us to hurry over. I threw our large rucksacks into the hold & boarded the bus. The conductor squirted our hands, gave us our tickets for ‘Mr Simon’ & we were off. The bus interior was disastrous with bits missing from the back of the seats, the vinyl floor had lifted into a big bubble & their were tears in the seat. Having said all that it seemed to go well & it was comfy.

    The 1st brief stop was Phang Nga with it’s very scenic limestone cliffs & rock formations which continued all the way down to Krabi. The bus passed through Khlong Thom, Mueang Trang & Phatthalung before arriving at Hat Yai bus terminal at 6.20pm. We had only one 10 minute stop at a service station during the entire journey of 241 miles, but it did seem to pass pretty quickly. It probably helped that we had two seats each to ourselves, plenty of snacks, half a bottle of Hong Thong & I watched 4 episodes of ‘Narcos’ on Netflix on my iPad.

    When we got off the bus at Hat Yai we were mobbed by taxi drivers, but I shooed them away, because it was only a very short walk to our hotel. I hoicked my rucksack onto my back and went to start backpacking, when Jackie announced she had got her mask stuck on her earring. Her mask was hanging from her right ear, so after taking a photo of her predicament, I set about unhooking her. It took a while, with bemused taxi drivers looking on.

    Eventually disentangled, we backpacked to our hotel, PM Residence, just 400 metres away. After checking in to our very satisfactory £17 a night hotel, we immediately went back out to Central Festival shopping mall. It was huge & spread over 7 floors. We managed to do a lap of each floor (got to keep the steps up) without buying a single thing. We were also the only westerners in the shopping mall & we stuck out look sore thumbs.

    Despite having a food court on two floors we resisted the urge to eat there & instead we went to the only restaurant we had found out in streets around us. We sat down & ordered a couple of Changs, but were curtly told that they didn’t sell beer. It was a Japanese (& possibly Muslim) restaurant, called Mari Chan, but strangely it did show beer for sale in their menu!

    I ordered 2 plates of gorgeous pork Gyozas & Jackie ordered a the teriyaki chicken set, which came on five different plate including a bowl of soup & some random chunks of fish. It was an experience.

    It would appear that not that many westerners make it to Hat Yai & this was probably summed up by a little girl in the restaurant who couldn’t tear her eyes away from Jackie, probably she had never seen anyone with fair hair let alone with blue eyes! The little girl waved Goodbye to Jackie when we left until we were out of sight.

    Song of the Day: Let The Day Begin by The Call.
    Everywhere I Go by The Call.
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    Andy and Teresa Mays

    The little girl probably couldn’t believe Jax eating fives plates of food 😂 - hope you’re enjoying Narcos. Feel any better hearing Liverpool lost 😂 The trip sounds amazing.