Monday, November 11, 2013

Hatyai 2013 (Part 2)

13 July 2013 (Saturday)

Upon reaching Danok, we took an air-conditioned shuttle van for RM6 (THB57) one way to Hatyai. Its a 1 hour journey and one of its stop will be Lee Gardens Plaza.


Cheap guesthouses and inns are aplenty in Hatyai. They might not have the best facilities or the prettiest decor, but it is sufficient for a night's stay or two. Price range: RM40 - RM70. 

The more 'luxurious' hotels will be Lee Gardens Plaza, Grand Plaza, The Regency, Golden Crown Plaza, Mayflower Hotel, BP Grand Suite, and New Season Hotel, to name a few. Prices for these higher end hotels ranges between RM100 - RM300 (depending on season). 

Since we weren't planning to stay cooped up in the room for the whole day, we decided to stay at a cheap guesthouse and use the remainder of the money on good food! We wandered around and finally settled on Num Huat Guest House. For RM50 a night, we got a pretty decent room. Can't complain much for the price we paid! 

It was dark when we decided to drag our lazy bums out for dinner. 

There was some kind of concert going on near our guesthouse. Lucky us! Cause when they are concerts, there are tons of street food! *cue tamjiak face* 

Found this store interesting cause of the ang moh chef. Decided to give the skewers a try. Bad decision. Gave us both diarrhea the next morning. Reckon the meat wasn't well cooked. 

Everyone was sitting on the grass listening to the singers belt out traditional thai songs with dancers as accompaniment. There was a merry-go-round and a mini rock climbing station for the kids. 

After about 45 minutes, we wandered off into the main town area and had tomyum and vege with rice at a random restaurant. Street food is not enough to satisfy our rumbling tummies! The tomyum was fantastic! But the vege was a tad bit too salty and oily for my liking.

Random elephant on the street.

Right outside Lee Gardens Plaza. Always packed with people!

Beef noodles from a roadside stall outside Lee Gardens. THB50. 

Really watery and tasteless o-jian. THB100. 

After maxing out our tummy space, we decided to call it a night. Food hunting can be really draining!

14 July 2013 (Sunday)

Up early the next morning! Time for more food at the morning market! Best time to buy fruits, veges and poultry!

 Looks like cucur udang to me...

  At our favourite-test (lol) breakfast joint!

We stumbled upon this gem selling pork/beef noodles when we first came to Hatyai in 2012 and we've been regular customers ever since. Its located along one of the streets in Hatyai, which name i know not (haha. sorry.). They only serve 1 dish here. Unfortunately, I don't know what its called. I usually just wave my fingers signalling how many bowls i want and they will settle the rest. You can choose to have it dry or with soup. I prefer it dry, whilst Mong likes his with soup.

The usual condiments you will find in every Thai restaurant - Fish sauce, chili flakes, chili sauce, and sugar.


After breakfast, we went for a short stroll in Lee Gardens Plaza. Honestly, there's nothing much to do here. Probably cause its like the 100th time I've been here =/

Paddle Pop Side Slit dress from Zalora
Yellow sandals from Vincci

So that about sums up our 2 days 1 night trip to Hatyai. This post is wayyyyyyy back logged and since then, I've came to Hatyai another 2 times! haha! Not sure if I will blog about Hatyai again but we'll see.

Ending the trip with a poster of The Lone Ranger - Customized version yo! Only in Thailand! :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hatyai 2013 (Part 1) - Getting There

13 July 2013 (Saturday)

I was supposed to have my wisdom tooth extracted yesterday in Aimst dental hospital, but as luck would have it, they forgotten to schedule it. So my appointment was pushed back to the following Friday. I was pretty bummed about it cause Mong came up all the way from KL just to accompany me through the painful weekend post extraction. Such a waste. haih. 

Didn't want to let his trip up be of waste so we made a spontaneous trip to Hatyai again! Plus! I have been craving for authentic Thai food for the longest time! Talk about killing 2 birds with 1 stone! =D

 Had some assignments and work done in Old Town first before zooming off to Thailand!

For the juniors who will be joining us soon in Alor Setar, please visit Hatyai at least once during your 1 year stay here! Its such a waste to not explore Thailand when you are sooooo near to it! It might sound scary to some, but trust me, its pretty safe and simple to cross the border into Danok, and then travel to Hatyai.


You will need this form to enter into Thailand. You can buy it from either the random shops along Changloon or you can buy it at the Sadao Immigration Complex. To my knowledge, the form is supposed to be free (isn't it in most country?). To confirm, I asked the Immigration Officer at Sadao where can I get the form for free. He just casually directed us to this makeshift stall at the side (next to the public restrooms) and asked us to buy it from there. Its RM2 for 1 form and they will help you fill in your particulars.

*The arrival/departure card is free. There's a box before Thai Immigration counter where you can get the cards for free and there will be an officer who might be there to make sure you only take each per person.


Thai time is 1 hour earlier than us. Meaning, if Malaysia time is 3pm, Thai time is 2pm. So make sure you set your watches!


If you are planning to just wander around Danok, converting your Ringgits into Bahts is not necessary. Hatyai however, only accept Baht, so if you are planning to venture further, do take note. 

Danok is the border city of Southern Thailand and thus deal with Malaysian customers and tourists on a regular basis. All 7 Eleven (there are 4 in total!), KFC and McD in Danok accept Ringgit. The conversion rate was 972 when I was here last weekend (meaning RM100 = THB972). This rate is not fixed of course. When i was here earlier this year, it was 990.  

There are many Currency Exchangers all over Danok and Hatyai. Alternatively, you can change your money in Changloon (a town before Bukit Kayu Hitam). Based on my experience, there aren't much discrepancies between the rates in Changloon and Danok/ Hatyai. So just pick whichever is convenient for you.


There are a few ways to travel to Hatyai:
1) Driving own car
You will need your car registration for this and will need to purchase insurance. Plus, you will have to fork out an additional $$$ to cross the border. My info on this is limited cause I have never driven into Thailand before. But if you want my opinion, Don't drive! (unless you are going with a group of people). Petrol in Thailand is super expensive compared to ours, and the traffic there is scary! Plus parking is a bitch. I saw an open air parking lot in Hatyai charging RM20/ hour. Crazy!

*To bring car into Thailand, bring your original car registration, and buy Thai insurance at the border (RM16 for 9 days). After immigration clearance, move on to the custom booth, hand them your passport together with your car registration and the insurance that you bought just now. They will print an import/export form and bring them over to another counter where a custom officer will ask you to sign on the form before stamping on it. After that, you car is legal and free to enter Thailand. Make sure to keep the form and return it on the way out. Pretty same procedure. Just don't lose that form or not return it back to Thai custom because your car might have problems entering Thailand in the future.

2) Train
Just buy a ticket from the Alor Setar KTM station for RM16 one way. It is a second class seat with air-cond. Tickets can only be bought on the day of travel itself. Seats are usually never full (except during peak seasons like Raya) so don't worry about not getting a seat. The train leaves for Hatyai at 8am and the KTM ticketing counter opens at 7.45am (yes, you will have only 15 minutes to get your ticket and get into the train). The train will stop at Padang Besar, where you will have to get down from the train and get your passport stamped at the Immigration department before continuing the journey to Hatyai. The journey takes roughly 3 hours.

3) Walk + Van
This is one of the most cost efficient way to travel to Hatyai! Of course I don't literally mean walk all the way to Hatyai. You can cross the border into Danok by foot, and then get an air-conditioned shuttle van from Danok to Hatyai for only RM6 (THB57) one way. Tickets can be bought at a make-shift stall in front of 7 Eleven. Its a 1 hour journey from Danok to Hatyai by van. The van will stop at several points in HatyaiLee Gardens Plaza is one of them. Best to disembark here! 

4) Bus
Its cheap, but its hot and stuffy. No thanks!

5) Taxi
Relatively more expensive compared to van. Around RM60 one way (if im not mistaken).

Immigration Complex Bukit Kayu Hitam. Passport will be checked so get it ready.

Once you've crossed the Bukit Kayu Hitam Immigration Complex, you have to walk about 1km to the Sadao Immigration Complex at the other end.

This way to Thailand!

We were supposed to be walking on the other side but there was no walkway there, so we walked against the traffic for the first half before crossing over to the other side.

Sadao Immigration Complex. Passport will be checked again here.

At the edge of Malaysia!

After crossing the Immigration complex, this is what you will see first!

I'll end Part 1 of Hatyai here. Will write about the remaining of the trip in the next few posts :)

I hope this post will be of help to whoever who plans on visiting Danok/Hatyai in the future. Feel free to ask me any questions if your are doubtful about something and I will try my best to answer them!
Good luck and have fun! =D

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Not Ready

ETA 97 days till the start of my final professional papers of my degree.

Without realizing it, almost 5 years have passed and soon, if all goes well, i can finally call myself a certified Doctor.

I feel like time is moving too fast. So many things yet to be done, so many goals yet to be fulfilled and so many roads not traveled!

I'm just not ready to enter the working adult world, which is filled with endless responsibilities and commitment. How can I when my bucket list is as long as the Nile river!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gunung Jerai

Gunung Jerai, also known as Mount Jerai, is the highest mountain in Kedah, standing at 1217m tall. Located only 50km away from Alor Setar (the capital of Kedah, and where I'm currently residing at), it was hard to resist the calling to visit. 

It was a spontaneous trip, as is with all my other mini adventures :) 

Mong was here to accompany me as well which makes it doubly fun!

 Breakfast at the famous chicken rice stall Kedai Kopi Town House in Alor Setar. 
A must try if you are around the area! Operates only during lunch hour. 

We used the old road instead of the highway. Skimped on toll money :) 

Coolie at the gas station. hahahahaha!

 At the foot of the mountain. 

There's 3 ways of going up the mountain. You can either ride up on a motorized vehicle (car, motorbike, van...), cycle, or walk. I would suggest riding a car up as there are a lot of wild monkeys, bee hives, and monitor lizards spotted. Plus the view isn't all that interesting until you reach the top. So take my advise and just drive up. Its roughly 12km to the top.     

At one point, the road will diverge into two trails. We took the right one which leads to a resort. We did venture to the latter on the way down but there was nothing interesting there. 

It was so misty at the top! Felt like we were at Genting (minus the crowd)!

Lots of interesting plants. I like this the most. The colors are so pretty.

Wild monkey spotted!

It started pouring an hour after we arrive, so we had to cut short our visit and head home. 

Nothing much you can do here besides enjoying the cool climate. There are only a few mini trails you can hike and a cafe for light food. But it was enjoyable nonetheless =)