The Hot Hat Yai

JOURNEY TO THE WEST edition (3 of 10)
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The sun had just rose up when we stepped on Thailand's ground for the first time. From Bukit Kayu Hitam/Sadao border, it was still about an hour drive to reach Hat Yai, the biggest city in Southern Thailand and the fourth largest in the whole country. The bus dropped us just in the heart of the city. From the drop point, we walked a bit and found Cathay Guesthouse, a place where we would stay while in Hat Yai. It was pretty cheap to stay there, only 280 Bath (IDR 90,000) per night for two persons.

After dropping off our bags, we started to explore the "Little Bangkok". Hat Yai is apparently called so for some reasons. First, it was a big city dominated by Thai culture with many temples around. Then it was kind of challenging to communicate with people there as only very few of them could speak understandable English. It was recommended to learn Thai language a little bit (at least for numbers) before going there. Finally, what people said about 'hot' Bangkok also prevailed here. Even Hat Yai was still hot for us who had got used to the high temperature in Ambon. That's why in most restaurants there, free ice rocks are always offered to the customers.

Hot temperatures really affected our mood in traveling and doing anything. That's why we chose to go to Hat Yai Municipal Park, thinking that the big trees there would make us cooled down a bit. We saw many outdoor decorations for the Lantern Festival. There was also a lovely lake where visitors could rent a boat. Unfortunately, we did not climb up to the hill there where many big statues stand, considering the extremely hot temperature and our running-out of energy.
At Hat Yai Municipal Park
We can take these boats to get around the lake
Kristin and one of the decorations for the Lantern Festival
In Thailand, fitness seems to be given much attention.
Almost every park we visited in Thailand, even the small one has outdoor gym facilities like this.
To explore a city, transportation is an important factor. In many cities in Indonesia, sometimes people are unwilling to travel due to the terrible public transportation system. To overcome this, people tend to use private cars and motorcycles to travel but then create a new problem of congestion. Well, in Hat Yai, like in other parts of Thailand I believe, there were unique public transports called tuk-tuks and songthaews. I thought both are the same. But actually, tuk-tuks are like a traditional taxi while songthaews are more like angkots in Indonesia with their fixed routes.

Before going to the park, we took a tuk-tuk to a Thai temple. That's the first and only we took one. Anyway, the temple we visited was Wat Hat Yai Nai where we could see a big reclining Buddha statue. It was believed to be the third largest in the world. Few other interesting things could also be seen in the temple complex.

The blue one (left) is tuk-tuk and red one (right) is songthaew.

Kristin and the tuk-tuk's Driver
Inside the Songthaew. Passangers sit separated from the driver.
To tell the driver to stop, just press buttons available there and ring the bell.
The entrance gate of Wat Hat Yai Nai
Me with the background of very typical Thai temple
The World's 3rd Largest Reclining Buddha was just few meters behind Kristin.
The best attraction in Hat Yai  according to me was the Lee Gardens Sky Buffet which located on the 33rd floor of Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel . We had dinner there and never regretted to do so. It was only 170 Bath (about IDR 55,000). I never knew there's such a cheap buffet back in Indonesia. The food offered was so complete. Even we could take various fruits and ice cream as many as we liked. At night, it's more beautiful because we could see the city's view from up there.

Around Lee Garden there were many things sold with cheap price. At night, Hat Yai became more alive with many street vendors appeared across the town. In conclusion, Hat Yai is really HOT (awesome)!

Inside Lee Garden Sky Buffet
This is only one side of Hat Yai city's view you can see from the Sky Buffet
My first round! :D
Food stall around Lee Garden Hotel selling dry squids
Hat Yai at night

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