Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hat Yai / Songkhla Part 1

I was browsing through old pictures just now and found some pictures during our visit to Hat Yai in October 2010. It was a very short visit, and it was my second visit to Songkhla province. We just wanted to run away from Kuala Lumpur to somewhere near, so off we went to Hat Yai. I cant really remember what we exactly did during the few days visit, it has been 10 months already. So before I forget all about it, I better write it down in this blog so at least I have bit and pieces here and there about the trip.

It was really a last minute arrangement. Within few days, I bought Air Asia ticket from LCCT to Hat Yai. Our previous trip was through Bukit Kayu Hitam to Sadao, but this time I thought we better fly direct to Hat Yai. Hat Yai airport wasn't big, the city itself is not big anyway. The first thing that caught my attention while queuing at the immigration was the above signboard. "Fill information in TM.6 already, please". Sounds like somebody is talking to us isn't it? It took me perhaps 20 seconds to figure out what that really means haha. Oh OK... they asked us to fill in the TM 6 form before going through the immigration. The immigration process was simple, they really took a minute or less as per their terms of service, at least in my case.

There's a minivan service from Hat Yai airport to the city, so Mr D told me perhaps we can just use that service. It was cheap, I think it was around 80 baht at that time. But you really get what you pay - that is waiting and waiting for the minivan to come! I was complaining to Mr D and insisted to get a cab instead, but Mr D keeps on asking me to be patient and wait as we've already paid for the ticket, and 'enjoy' our view at the airport. View? What view?

The minivan arrived finally, after waiting for about two hours [and of course tons of me complaining]. There and then I made a vow, that should I ever visit Hat Yai through Hat Yai airport again, I will just take a cab to the city. It is not expensive anyway, if I am not mistaken it was only around 300 baht. That would save me from nagging and complaining.

I've already made a booking via internet few days before our trip at Regency Hotel. And so that was our destination. At the reception, I showed them my booking receipt, only to be told that they don't accept internet booking? Aiyooo... luckily there's plenty of room available. I was told by the receptionist that the hotel currently undergo some renovation process, so we got an old standard room costing less than 900 baht per night. Isn't that cheap? It is, but the room is basic lah... just a normal standard hotel room.

I was quite hungry later in the afternoon, so I thought we should go and find for food. But the first food we saw when we came out from the hotel was those roasted pigs, or should I say roasted baby pigs. I don't know whether these pigs are coming from a smaller species of pig, or these are really baby pigs. They look so small, so cute, and look so yummy... opps! But they do look yummy don't they? I bet the skin is kind of crispy hahaha!

Though predominantly NOT a Muslim area, we know that there are a lot of Muslim around, so hunting for halal food was not a problem. There are a lot of Muslim hawkers selling various things around the hotel we stayed, from nasi lemak to fried chicken to fruits to fried seafood items bla bla bla. And most of them speak Malay, with either Kelantanese accent or Kedah / Penang accent. So communication was not a problem at all. Even if hawkers food is not what we are looking for, there are a number of restaurants serving halal food around, the southern Thai type of food. We did go to a restaurant nearby for our second night dinner, I can't remember what was the restaurant's name, was it Hamid? But basically even the menu was written in both Thai and Malay, so choosing from the menu was very- very easy (though the waiter who took our order that night didn't seem to be able to speak Malay).

But the highlight of my makan session in Hat Yai was the prawn. I love prawn, that is. And there are a lot of hawkers selling fried prawn in that area, from the tiny little minny prawns, to the giant version. I bought the giant version at the price of 300 baht for 4 giant prawns, am not sure whether that's considered expensive, but I did eat the same size of prawn in Muadzam Shah once and it costs us RM18 per prawn! but overheard the hawker telling 2 Malaysian chinese girls that the price was 500 baht for 3 prawns of the same size? Heh.. I knew then that the price is not fixed. I suspected for local people, the price will be even lower than what I got. Clever aren't they? The prawn was not that nice though.. I think because they use the same cooking oil over and over again, it wasn't that sweet. But okeylah....

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