Kangar & Hat Yai

I guess you can see from my previous posts on Hat Yai on where to go. I was in Hat Yai end of last month. The family went there after all of us attended our cousin sister’s graduation from Universiti Malaysia Perlis in Kangar. Kangar itself is quite a dead town. But it has breathtaking scenes. This is where the local Chinese production filmed their movie – Tian Tian Hao Tian. I’ve been to Kangar twice – once during a short holiday sometime this year and last month, was my second time. So, I get to witness two scenes – once with the vast green paddy fields and the second time, harvesting – where all paddy had been harvested and second time, only left plots of watery and muddy lands. I guess if you want to see Kangar, you have to see it when the paddy are still green or ripening.

Sunset at Kg. Wai, Kangar, Perlis

The set where local production shot the movie, “Tian tian hao tian”

Sunset at Kg. Wai, Kangar, Perlis

What I want to highlight this time, is the Hat Yai night market, I believed is called Suntisuk Night Market. I think I haven’t been there eventhough I’ve been to Hat Yai twice. Both times, we were too busy watching Simon Cabaret or Thai Girl show. Haha. Well, this time round, we didn’t intend to watch any shows so our driver took us to the night market. If you look at the map, the market is rather near Lee Gardens Hotel. Two blocks away. Here -especially girls, you will go CRAAZZZZYYYYY over shopping. Even my sister – the most thrifty among us went crazy. She ended buying two pairs of shoes – one for only 100 baht and 130 baht, some clothes for Ern Ern and Sasha. As for my cousin sisters – they went crazy buying dresses at only 99 baht each! However, for dresses, you couldn’t try though so you have to estimate if you could wear the dresses or not. As for me, sure no size lah. Haha. So I just bought 6 pairs of slippers (Ranging from 49 baht to 79 baht each!) and a small bag for 150 baht which is now my favorite bag. I kinda regret for not buying more though!

The Elephant temple, Hat Yai

Other than dresses, shoes and girly stuffs, you can also get a tattoo here, phone accessories at really dirt cheap prices, pets (though I don’t think you can get them out undetected.. also, I do not support buying pets, adopt them!), etc. Another thing is the food being sold here! They have all sorts of food from Thai to Western to Japanese. They have stalls of pretty little sushis on sale. We ended eating chicken rice – sold by a Muslim lady. The chicken was crispy and nice! We also went to try other stalls of food – pork rice with siew yok. We could have spent more time here.

The temple on highest point in Hat Yai

Another place you should be shopping is at the Tesco Lotus. You wouldn’t believe that the groceries there – biscuits, instant noodles, canned food, etc were so much cheaper. If you like bread sticks, they have other flavors as well which we couldn’t find here in KL. I love Meiji Panda vanilla biscuits, if not mistaken, in KL, it’s priced about RM3.50 per packet. But in Hat Yai’s Tesco, you can get it for only 19 baht. So you imagine how crazy we went in Tesco. Even aunty-ish stuffs like washing detergent and fabric softener are dirt cheap! The only thing we regretted is we didn’t drive a lorry to Padang Besar to cart all our things back to KL! Haha! I told my friends, in Hat Yai, not only you will go shopping.. you will go sapu-shopping! Everything on the shelf – you just sapu!

The floating market – Khlong Hae

Oh yes – we were staying in Kangar earlier, so we went into Hat Yai via Padang Besar’s entry point instead of the usual Sadao. Sadao is normally more packed compared to Padang Besar. In fact, I think we were the ONLY tourists when we were checking at the Padang Besar checkpoint. It was strange because we were at the check point on a Sunday morning, there weren’t many people going into Hat Yai via Padang Besar.

Another thing I want to highlight about Hat Yai is probably the chicken rice we had on the last day when we were there. It’s Jae Toi’s Hainanese Chicken Rice along along Prachatipat Road, right opposite one rather big 7-11! The chicken rice is made from Siamese fragrant rice. We doused generous servings of fried garlic onto our rice before we tucked in! It was heavenly! I think it’s open everyday from 7 am to 5 pm. Tel: 074-238915

Here’s a big map of Hat Yai for you to plan your trip. Also, check out my earlier posts on Hat Yai.

For more photos, click here.

Shopping Frenzy in Hat Yai

I totally forgot that we went to aquarium the previous day. (I only remember the Thai Girl Show vividly ! Lol!) It cost 200 baht for adults entrance per person and kids under 3 years old, get in for free. It was said, this Hat Yai aquarium is much bigger compare to the one in Langkawi. I haven’t been to Langkawi’s one so I don’t know. Anyway, there was nothing much except, there will be a feeding time at 3.30 pm every day. You get to see how sting ray eats! Good place to bring children.

13th December 2008, Saturday

It was the last day being in Hat Yai. So, what is more rewarding than a shopping frenzy? We went to Talak Sot, a market in town which is actually a building with few storeys packed with shops inside. I didn’t notice how many storeys as my eyes were clouded by the goods and wares in the market!

Hat Yai is a good place to pick up imitations – some are not as good as Chiang Mai’s but what the heck. My friends picked up a lot of Hello Kitty bags and make up boxes which are quite cute. We also bought some cashew nuts. It’s about RM26 per kg. If I remember correctly, I bought 1 kg in Chiang Mai for RM32. And also you get to buy lot of other sea produce and bird nest at reasonable prices. And guess what? Instant noodles of famous brands like Pama – the yummy duck and tom yum flavored instant noodles are as cheap as RM15 per box of 30 packets! That is like 50 sen per packet when you have to pay RM4.50 for 5 back in Kuala Lumpur! I could see some jaw dropped now. Haha!

Hotels are quite cheap in Hat Yai. We stayed at Yong Dee Hotel, which is a budget hotel at only RM58 per night per room on twin sharing basis. It’s a bit old but it is clean. The thing I don’t like is the bathroom. It doesn’t have a handle to place the shower and there is no shower curtains.. and the water from the tub flow right out to the hole next to the toilet bowl! But it’s quite clean also lah.. consider satisfactory. What to expect?? RM58 nia! If you prefer more comfort, perhaps you can try staying at Lee Gardens Plaza or Novotel.

I didn’t really have much in mind to buy so I just pick up some t shirts for the kids at home and also, some shorts for myself along with a little knick knacks as souvenirs.

After the short shopping, we went to have our lunch at the Sky Buffet, Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel. Surprisingly, the buffet only costs 149 baht. It was nothing spectacular, but the food is not that bad. And we get to see Hat Yai horizon while having lunch. I think it would be better to have dinner and watch the sunset.

We had bird nest @ 400 baht each bowl. Since it’s considered quite pricey to us, we joked about going to the toilet to ta pao our urine when we wanna go to the loo so we could use it on our plants. Gross!

We went back to Sg. Petani by 8 pm and made our way to Bukit Tambun for a good and cheap seafood . Our host suggested this restaurant called Gee Seng as they are very popular for being cheapest and the most delicious. I thought to myself, I would never eat anymore seafood when I come back to KL! This trip is seafood overload.. It’s like we are in cholesterol heaven!

Before we go back to Kuala Lumpur, we were delighted when our host took us to Cha Zuo restaurant along Jalan Putra, Sg Petani to try out the pandan nasi lemak. It’s green in color.  You may choose normal rice also, to go with the variety of dishes. The modest shop is manned by one Chinese uncle, helped by an Indian lady. Green rice is cooked with pandan, so you get to smell a whiff of pandan as you savour down the delicious nasi lemak! Do try the wan tan mee too! It comes with lard!

Well, hope you guys enjoy reading the Hat Yai posts.

PS. I think some of you may have problems loading pics in this blog.. so I guess I will minimize  loading pictures and probably just give you guys the link.

Tiger? Thai Girl!

This post is 18SX. If you are under 18, please stop reading right now.

12th December 2008, Friday

I remember paying 500 baht – walk-in rate some 6 years ago just for the Aqua show. This time, we paid 650 baht for both Aqua and Thai Girl Show inclusive of a scrumptious 5-course dinner! We had fatty pork with mui choy some more!! Yum! That is dirt cheap.

I was apprehensive about going to the Thai Girl Show as I do not support exploitation of women. I had been to Thailand many times and never once watched a Thai Girl Show. The one in Bangkok is exclusive because it was a fake Thai Girl show. LOL!! Seeing that the group was eager to go and I didn’t want to be stuck in the hotel with the terrible two (kids!), I relented and went with them.

Aqua show was normal lah. You have the Japanese song, the English song, Indian song.. Korean song..etc. There were many beautiful she males dancing and lip synch to music. Their costumes alone were worthwhile to pay 200 baht to watch. They could make any women fumed with envy with their hot and tight bodies!

Be careful when you get out from the concert hall though. Here, they will persuade you to take photos with them and you have to pay them 100 baht just for posing with you! I remember it cost only 20 baht 6 years ago to pose with them! 100 baht is a little too pricey. And they are very smart. They keep the exit glass door open only one side to ensure steady stream of people to pass them instead of a mad stampede. It was funny to think that getting out of the place is like walking on mine field. You just have to avoid the shemales at all costs.. or be ready to tip them 100 baht for taking pictures.

Then, we adjourned to watch Thai Girl Show. The place was some defunct strip club located at some back alley. We were escorted to our seat and waited at the lounge as there was an ongoing session upstairs. As we were waiting, we noticed that there were more women than men who came to watch the show.

While waiting, Yuin got nervous. He kept asking where is our guide? I said he is probably outside. Then, Yuin kept insisting that we should be at all times escorted. I think Yuin chickened out. He asked us, how big are the TIGERS? LOL!!! Yeah right. He’s not as innocent as he wants to portray himself to be. For all you know, he might even enter the “cage” to play with the “tigers”. LOL! He probably wank himself silly  in the hotel after the show.

After the first session spectators came down, we observed their faces. No smile, no amused look, no shock. Everybody looked bored and stoned as if they were grudgingly disturbed from sleep. I guess it must be one of those “fake” Thai Girl show again. When I was in Pattaya, the group of us were duped to watch a “Thai Girl Show” and ended watching some badly choreographed sleazy performance. You can read it here in my old blog. Thai Girl show to me – ping pong, blow pipes, coca cola, cigarettes, blades, gold fish… the list is endless..

We were ushered to this very packed room at the first floor of this building, reeking of smoke and alcohol and huddled to our seats. We were given one drink each. There was a small stage with no curtains in front of us.

The show started with a girl doing some pole dancing and I thought this was it. Another fake Thai Girl show and let out a sigh. The girl then took off her bikini and came down to the audience and started doing lap dancing on some old and lecherous looking uncles. The men were persuaded to give pearl necklaces to the stark naked girl which the manager of the place would later on asked for money from the men. I am not sure how much though.

Just when I thought it would be a long, long night of solely pole dancing, the show started to pump up with another girl in bikini eating fire. Woah! This is getting interesting! Then, I was thinking of the safety issues being here. The room is so crowded and there is only one exit. It would be one hell breaking loose if there were a fire. I put the thought away from my mind.

The show spiced up with a girl came out and pull a string of fire crackers from her vagina and she made the fire cracker pop as the string were pulled out. The smell of the fire cracker powder filled the room. Followed by another pole dancing and lap dancing at the audience… then there was a magician show by this chubby fella. No taking off clothes. Purely a magic show. The audience was pretty impressed judging from the loud applause.

I was surprised that this is actually a semi-pseudo Thai Girl Show. They had all the pointless pole dancing, magic show and snake show.. but also coupled with all the supposedly genuine “Thai Girl Show” – ping pong, blades, etc. It was amusing to see that the girls had to move the sofa up and down according to how they want to use it to “perform”. They even need to switch off the fan at the stage themselves when they were doing the fire eating gig. LOL!!!!

Just when I was getting a little sleepy and bored, suddenly, they placed a drum in front of the stage. After the fire eating, magic show, snake.. I thought they probably would play a band now. I was partly correct. Then a man came out wearing only a cowboy hat and a loin cloth. I told Yuin, “Don’t tell me he’s gonna play the drum with his dick!”

I was right. The blaring music suddenly stopped. There was a deafening silence. Everyone eyes were fixed onto the stage with the man in cowboy hat. The man was holding his penis and playing the drum with it, “Dum! Dum! Dum!” Repeated thrice. Then, he bowed and left the stage hurriedly in total embarrassment. And the crowd applauded! LOL!! Also, I couldn’t believe we actually applauded for a girl masturbating with a giant dildo in public and she curtsied! Yes… curtsied after the act. Omigod.

The show ended with a couple faking it (having sex with clothes on!) on stage along with the “Titanic” tune. Then, all lights were switched on as if the police were raiding the place and the manager of the club shouted in hokkien, “BOH LIAO!” (Means finished). LOL!!!

Gawd. I tell you, if I had missed this Thai Girl show, I would have kicked myself in the ass.

To be continued…

*Seriously, I only realized today that it is actually spelt Thai Girl Show… LOL!

On the contrary to what I’ve said earlier that I do not support “Thai Girl Show” as it’s deemed to be an exploitation of women, I have to admit that, these girls (and guys!) have put up a really good show. They have my utmost respect.

Full Swing Hat Yai – Songkhla

12th December 2008, Friday

The day started early with a scrumptious breakfast in some anonymous restaurant. Our guide is a solemn faced elderly gentleman. He spoke very little Hokkien. I didn’t talk to him because someone else is doing the arrangement this time. I just go with whatever that has been planned. And yes.. he drives like mad man too.

The first stop was a small temple that houses a dead monk whose body did not rot even after a few years. A quick check on google couldn’t really show the name of the place… I don’t know. I guess it’s a small temple with not many visitors and only locals would know this place. I prayed for safety and health for my family and friends.

Then, we adjourned to another temple at the top of the hill – the four faced Buddha. We had to climb to this temple as only cars which carry elderly people are allowed to drive to the top. So, we had to huff and puff to climb the steep road towards the top. It wasn’t much of a climb, really. Just that the lazy me just don’t hike! At this time, I was already feeling the toll of the long bus and van ride and felt somewhat lazy.

The third temple is probably the most intriguing with a gigantic statue of Buddha is erected. A quick check on the internet came up with this description.

“Phra Bhudda Mongkol Maharaj is a gigantic Buddha Image with the height of 19.9 meters high. It is located in Hat Yai, Songkla, the Southern part of Thailand. Hat Yai Municipality intended to build this Buddha Image to commemorate and celebrate the King Bhumibol’s 72th birthday in 1999 and also to be a peaceful place for people in HatYai and tourists. The Buddha is standing in a giving blessing gesture with the right hand up and the left hand lying beside the body. The Buddha Image made of brass and named ‘Phra Bhudda Mongkol Maharaj’ by the King. “

By the third temple, I was already bored shitless. To my dismay, we went to another temple by the hill – the Kuan Yin temple with a huge dragon’s mouth. I didn’t really find it inspiring so, I sought refuge from the immense heat by sitting under the tree at the many marble benches donated by deities and ate ice cream. It was quite cooling.

I was somewhat disappointed that we were not brought to the huge reclining Buddha. That would be much worth a visit! I guess I have to do this another time.

After a quick lunch near Samila Beach, we went to snap some pics of the golden mermaid. I tell you… tourists can be really, really annoying. You get the whole bunch of idiots who want to take solo pictures with the mermaid.. Imagine a tour bus of 40 people. Probably, they would take 40 shots before they could leave the poor mermaid alone! I don’t know why they have to climb on the mermaid and did all kinds of stunts to get a picture. It simply befuddles me. So this image is almost impossible to take – just the mermaid alone with no idiots in sight.

It was a Friday and I am surprised that there were so many people on the beach. The last time I came, there were only a handful of people and street peddlers. Now, you could see kites everywhere, peddlers mushrooming alongside of the beach, almost carnival like. Imagine coming here on a weekend. Gosh!

Then, we made a brief stop at this Tenaga port where a statue of naga is erected. It was believed that this sacred statute is to safeguard fisherman to return safely home to their dear ones after a day catch.

The highlight of this trip is probably the new floating market in Khlong Hae. Situated about 10 minutes from Hat Yai town, the place is lined up with huts selling mainly food, clothes and wares. There were also peddlers on small sampans “parked” along the river bed. It was quite an indigenous way to attract visitors. This place is only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We walked about snapping pictures of the ever friendly peddlers and bought some food from them. If you are worry about the hygiene, do not fret. It was pretty decent as none of us suffer diarrhea after that. LOL!

Be careful when walking near the banks to the sampans though. The soil is quite soft and your feet might sink in it. So, walk on the planks provided. I got my feet stuck in the mud and had to use tissue to remove the mud sticking on my shoes!

The range of food was incredible. You can even get sushi here! And Ramly burger! We tried as much as we could to satisfy our ever curious palate.

Then we went back to the hotel to take our baths and prepare ourselves for Aqua show.

To be continued…

Hat Yai? Hadyai?

11th December 2008, Thursday

After a short nap, we took baths and had breakfast at Da Yu Bin Chinese restaurant somewhere in Sg. Petani. Forgive me, but the bus ride at night and lack of sleep just put my brain into some trance like state that I didn’t really remember to jot down anything for the purposes of blogging. LOL!

The dim sum is alright. Its specialty is the huge prawns in the har kow. Succulent and juicy! Our host also ordered soft and buttery smelling man tao to go with some Indian curry. It was said to be the specialty in this shop. Man tao with curry is a must try. YUM!

After the late breakfast, we went to visit Shih Bee’s husband’s new spare parts shop. We were amazed that, in less than 5 years the business had gone from small business to almost medium sized business and showing no sign of slowing down. I am happy that things went on pretty well for the family.

The eight of us plus two children packed our things in two cars and made our way on the highway to Changlun, where we parked our cars and hired cabs and then van to Hat Yai. We were advised by the cabbie to include RM1 when we get our passport stamped by the Thai immigration. Wow. Imagine the amount of money the officers would get. If there were 100 people lining up at this Sadao immigration per day per counter, he would get Rm100 extra. Easy job huh? Yet, there was no smiling officer for this Land of Smiles. They couldn’t be bothered to look at you also.

It seemed everybody in Hat Yai is in a hurry. They drive like Mad Max. The driver sped 130 kmph on the narrow two-lanes road heading for Hat Yai and actually overshot the police block by a few metres. He got down, opened the compartment for officer to see, then was allowed to go.

You will know it the moment you reached Thailand. Mangled electrical cables are common sight in any parts of Thailand. Since it was the King’s birthday not too long ago, there were Thai flags as well as the yellow colored flags decorated with the royal emblem leading the way to the small town. Shops, hotels, cafes, restaurants and also small stalls were also peppered with national flags.

The moment we reached Hat Yai, it was already 4 pm. We eased our hungry stomachs eating at the road side stall. we had plates of char kueh teows, char kueh kak, fried rice, and fried noodles. I remember Hat Yai used to be more dense and packed when I visited six years ago. I found this time round, the place, even though still busy with people, it was not as packed and hectic the way it was six years ago. I guess because of the fanatic terrorism and bombs two years ago that rocked the otherwise lively Hat Yai and shattered the livelihood of everyone regardless of race and religion in Hat Yai.

After the very late lunch, we headed to the hotel to take a short rest before going out again. This time, I suggested massage. I remember I went for Thai massage in Grand Plaza Hotel and it was probably the best I had so far among the many trips I made to other parts in Thailand. Surprisingly, the price has not increased much even after 6 years. I remember it was 240 baht for two hours and now, its 250 baht for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

I was somewhat disappointed with the result. The masseurs sort of “force” us to have stomach massage to “release wind” for additional 250 baht. I insisted that I do not need stomach massage to “release wind” as I fart ALL THE TIME! She ended giving me extra stepping on my back. Yes.. she stepped on my back twice. I think she forgotten that she stepped on me when she excused herself to go to the toilet and came back and did the stepping all over again!! Of course, the others had a great time laughing at me. I think the lady was disgruntled that I didn’t agree to the extra massage service. In the end, I still tip her 100 baht. I remember they told me that they only get 30-40 baht for each customer. I am a sucker for sad and dramatic stories.

After the terrifying massage, we went to have dinner at Hia Kai, a seafood restaurant opposite the famous Hia Kui along Saeng Sri Soi 2. We went to Hia Kai because we were told that this Hia Kui is super expensive. From the way we see it, Hia Kui has more customers compared to Hia Kai and were a little skeptical.

We gave in to the miser in us and went to Hia Kai. We were huddled into the air conditioned room and was told, no extra charges to use the air conditioned room. I chuckled at the thought. I think we Malaysians are quite famous for haggling prices and would be wary if the restaurant charge us extra for merely using the air conditioner.

We ordered the usual – some fried sotongs, thai escargot, crabs, tom yum, vegetables, etc. It wasn’t too spectacular to create an impression but it was quite a satisfying dinner.

We were quite tired towards the end of the day, coupled with the bruises inflicted from the over-pijaking by the masseur.. haha.. no lah kidding. Actually the masseur squeezed me a little too hard with her fingers on the neck as if I am a piece of meat. Sigh.

All in all, it was quite an eventful day.

PS. Thanks to Yuin again for the food pictures and also I nicked the massage pic from him as well!