Thailand, Travel

CNY Trip to Thailand : Hat Yai and Songkhla

CNY Trip to Thailand : Hat Yai and Songkhla
I know, I know. It’s crazy. It does seems like I’ve been travelling non-stop since the last December school holidays. When such travelling opportunities arise, how I could I bring myself to say no? Sometimes I really think that my motto in life is, “to live to travel”.

Rewinding back in time, I spent my Chinese New Year Eve on a bus heading from Tuas, Singapore and all the way to Hat Yai, Thailand. That’s like 15 hours of bus ride and this bus journey is even longer than the bus ride I took from Toronto, Canada to Washington D.C in America.

The first attraction we visited was Khao Nam Khang Historical Tunnel. I didn’t take any pictures there because I always have this uneasiness whenever I visit such historial sites where people suffered and died for a cause. Instead of holding a camera and shooting the site, I very much wanted to stow my camera away in my bag and just focus my senses on learning and visualizing about the events which had taken place here as the guide goes on to tell us true stories about the site. Besides, I believe that even if I’ve taken shots there, my pictures would do no justice to this historical site. Maybe that’s one of the limitations of photography. It can’t fully capture the mood and atmosphere. And there’s no way I can take a photograph of the largest and longest man-made tunnel which is three levels deep. Darkness is photography’s greatest enemy.

IMG_8925

It was a “well-spent” 4 days 3 nights travelling to somewhere new and refreshing, thought I’ve visited Thailand several times, each province stoods out differently from each other. We spent our first day visit the weekend floating market in the late afternoon around 5pm where the crowd came flooding in. This floating market starts only in the late afternoon! It’s somewhat different from the usual Thai floating market which starts only in the morning.This attraction is one of the highlights of this trip because I mean who does it better than the Thais when it comes to floating markets? Purchase a drink for SGD2 with the mug! Yes, you will get to bring home these cute collectibles shown above. Doraemon or Hello Kitty?

Songkhla’s version of sushi

IMG_8927

Songkhla’s floating market is unlike any other floating markets I’ve seen in the regions near Bangkok. The foodsellers stationed their sampans along the stone pavement, waiting for people to order food from them. What I love about this place is the presence of good local food made and order by the locals living here! The only foreigners here were us and this group of Malaysians. A true immersion into the Thai culture, I must say.

IMG_8953

It’s really a feast for both my eyes and stomach. Everything look so delicious and appetizing here. I really wanted to buy some and stash it right into my mouth but we are having dinner in an hour’s time. All the local snacks here cost between 20 to 30 baht. Rounding off, it’s about SGD1. If only good street food were that cheap in Singapore…

IMG_8973

Place your money in the basket.

IMG_8975

Then, collect your food!

Another creative invention by the Thais for you here!

IMG_8977

The Thais love it very sweet and spicy at the same time.

IMG_8987

Buy an ice-cream for 25 Baht and you will get to bring home that little clay pot which contains the ice-cream too. What a good deal, isn’t it?

IMG_8990

I really like this photo composition. Notice how the crackers are arranged neatly, like grid lines?

IMG_8995

IMG_9004
Life here is simple but colourful.

Our tour guide says the Thai people love spicing up their lives with colours. Well, bright cheery colours like yellow and red do perk your mood up, right?

IMG_9006
The Thai mango salad was irresistable! Mum and I had to order it!

IMG_9011
The Thai kids are adorably cute. The ones I’ve met so far had witty eyes and charming smiles.
IMG_9019
Fancy converting a vehicle to a shop selling vintage stuff?

IMG_9018

On our third day, we spent the wee hours of the morning touring the local market after breakfast.

IMG_9032

Then we saw some monks queuing on the streets with huge metal bowls. Thai monks are highly respected individuals in their society.You could see it from the way the woman in the photo kneeling down on her knees and handling some food to the monks.

IMG_9033

Fresh dew on lotus.

IMG_9034

Fresh flowers, for you every day.

Since most of the Thai people here are Buddhist, they often visit the temple to pray. They pray to their gods with fresh flowers each time.

IMG_9038

Dad and mom checking out the fruit stall while I went hopping from stall to stall, in search for something to shoot at.

IMG_9045

This looks like a scene in Little India, Singapore.

IMG_9048

I was a little nervous while taking photos of the monks because I am not too sure whether it may seem as disrespectful to take pictures of them openly on the streets like that. But moments like this are too rare, how often could you witness such a sight like this? I want to capture the moment before it is all gone and forgotten. That’s my inspiration and motivation behind photography. I don’t exactly aim to take the most beautiful or gorgeous pictures with my camera. I just want to capture the precious moments with my camera lens because I know time could never turned back again. The trick is to know when to press the shutter button.

IMG_9050

The market place is an exciting photo-taking attraction. It’s full of activity, movement and colours. A playground for all budding photographers.

IMG_9052

After visiting market, the tour bus drove us to an ancient town in Songkhla province. We visited a temple, beach and the town area in Songkhla province.

IMG_9053

I thought the doggie was acting as the guard for the sleeping Buddha.

IMG_9055

Covered with gold flakes, dancing in the breeze.

IMG_9060

Sleeping Buddha with sleeping doggie.

IMG_9066

The Golden Mermaid

IMG_9069

Samila Beach

IMG_9072

Good yoga posture there!

So after the day tour, we were brough back to our Hotel at Hat Yai where we had about 3 hours to roam around the town. The sun was beating down and everyone was dead tired but I still insisted on exploring the area around the hotel before sunsets.

IMG_9079

Lots of seafood here, at Hat Yai! This is where you get the freshiest prawns to cook Tom Yum Soup!

IMG_9080

Mayflower Grande Hotel.

We stayed at this small hotel for 2 nights.

IMG_9081

For dinner, we went to Lee Gardens for a Sky buffet on the 33rd storey. The view was spectacular but the ambience was mediocre. In fact, it was like those fancy hotel buffets served in Singapore. The dishes here were limited but were delicious. For about SGD 7, you get to enjoy hot fish maw soup, Tom yum, fried chicken wings and a few more other dishes in a small restaurant cramped with lots of people. Everyone was practically snatching and grabbing food from the food trays. Within 1 minute, the food tray containing fried rice is emptied. Blame it on the Chinese New Year crowd. There were alot of Chinese Malaysians who came here for the good Thai food.

IMG_9087

When the sky turned dark, the red lanterns started to glow in brightness. Soaking into the Chinese New Year festive mood. But I just can’t really immerse myself into this Chinese New Year mood. Am I diverting away from my own roots?

 IMG_9089

IMG_9091

Water treatment dispenser spotted along the streets of Hat Yai!

Thailand, you never fail to amaze me each time I visit you!

Travel Destinations on my ever-growing bucket list:

1) Turkey
2) South Africa
3) Egypt/Dubai

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *