Hat Yai

Trip Start Sep 21, 2007
Trip End Apr 10, 2009

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, March 14, 2008

Sawadee my dear readers,

It's been a while since my Bangkok entry, so here's a new one, from Hat Yai in southern Thailand.

In Bangkok I didn't do much, I was just relaxing and enjoying the luxuries of life you can find in Bangkok, like shopping malls, cinemas and 7 Elevens. I also hang out with Australian Paul and Canadian Olivier which I met in the hotel in Yangon. And a great surprise to me was that one evening I bumped into Esther, a Dutch girl I met before in Sanya in China! So of course we had a few drinks together. The world is so small sometimes!
I did one afternoon of sightseeing, but since I'd been already three times in Bangkok before, there wasn't all that much new or interesting left for me. I also did get a little bit tired of all the worship of the king and queen: everywhere you can see giant billboards, posters and sort of shrines to them and about 10 percent of the population wears shirts with the royal emblem. I thought that's a bit much, as if it almost wasn't allowed not to love the royal family.

After a week I left Bangkok and took the bus to the royal resort town of Hua Hin, where I stayed two nights. The beach here wasn't all that great, but it was fairly relaxing.

From Hua Hin I took a nine hour bus ride to Khao Lak. Here I also went to the beach. Khao Lak was one of the hardest hit towns by the tsunami and a lot in this town still reminds you of this big disaster, like photos of people who died and new signs with 'tsunami evacuation routes'. I was on the beach for quite a few hours and the weather was mostly cloudy, so in my stupid mind I decided not to use sunscreen..... What a great mistake this was! Back in my bungalow I realised that while I was looking in the mirror and seeing my deep red belly, chest, back and upper legs. The next three days I stayed indoors, only to come out at night, like some nocturnal animal.

After this ordeal I took a bus to Kok Kloi where I changed to a bus to Krabi. In Krabi I then took a songthaew (pick up truck) to Ao Nang and from there a long tail boat to the Hat Ton Sai Beach of Railay, which can only be reached by boat. The beach was at low tide and quite muddy when I arrived; not that I was going to any sunbathing at all anyway. In my hut near the beach I discovered that pretty much all the parts of my burned body had turned into watery blisters, which almost exploded when I touched them. Luckily enough this didn't hurt and I took a shower to get rid of some excess skin. Hereafter I went for a walk to Hat Railay West Beach, which was a quite beautiful beach, especially the scenery around it. After a while I wanted to go back to Hat Ton Sai Beach, which I couldn't do anymore without getting my feet wet, because it was high tide now.

My burns got better and better and I decided to move on. So I took a long tail boat back to Ao Nang, a songthaew to Krabi, a bus to Trang and another bus to Satun. Here I found an overpriced hotel, but because the rain was pouring down, I decided to stay here anyway. Later that evening I returned to my hotel and when I opened the door I saw four cockroaches scurrying away, which I hadn't seen before in the (much) cheaper hotels in Thailand.

The next day I took a songthaew to Tammalang and from here I called Inge, a Swedish friend whom I met seven years ago in Peru and with whom I've kept contact all the time. Inge is retired and has bought a yacht several years ago and invited me to visit him on his yacht in Langkawi in Malaysia. And that of course, is hard to say no to. I took a ferry to Kuah on Langkawi and Inge was already waiting for me. He just was getting better from having diarrhoea for a long time. His yacht was really beautiful and was anchored in the bay of Kuah, so we had to use a dingy to get ashore. I stayed about five days on the yacht and even slept on the deck one hot night. One evening we went ashore to have something to eat in town and we parked the dingy on a beach at high tide, but when we came back it was low tide and we had to plough our way knee-deep through disgusting mud to get back into deeper water: quite an experience.
To see something more than just Kuah, I rented a motorbike one day and Inge motorbiked me around the island to beautiful beaches, the highest peak and a mangrove forest.
Langkawi was much quieter than I expected and the people were very, very friendly here. I had a great time with Inge.

Yesterday I said goodbye to Inge and his yacht (again thanks a lot Inge!) and took the ferry to Kuala Kedah on the mainland of Malaysia and a local bus to Alor Star. Here I walked around for a few hours and visited the beautiful Zahir Mosque and the Alor Star Tower. Late in the afternoon I took the train to Padang Besar, the border town with Thailand. After customs I had to buy a train ticket to Hat Yai and they asked for a ridiculous high price for the short distance to Hat Yai. So me and another Dutch guy René decided that we were not going to be ripped off (that much) and decided to find some road transportation instead. On the Thai side we found a songthaew which brought us to Sadao and from Sadao we took a minibus to Hat Yai (in total 71 baht - about 1.50 euro) and saved about 200 baht (4 euro). We shared a room last night and this morning René continued his trip and I decided to stay one more day to have some laundry done and to use the internet to upload this entry and some new pictures amongst other things.

My plan for the next few weeks is to go back to Bangkok and from there continue on to Cambodia and Vietnam and finally to go back to China.

Enjoy yourselves and bye bye for now!

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