Wednesday, 22 June 2016
A Hatyai shopping weekend
My wife and I took off on a weekend holiday to Hat Yai with some friends last week. This trip had been in the planning since the beginning of the year but only materialised about three weeks ago when the friends we knew suddenly agreed to come along with us.
So there we were at the Bukit Mertajam railway station last Friday morning to await the arrival of the 7.37a.m. KTM ETS train to Padang Besar. Once we arrived at the border and having cleared Malaysian and Thai immigration, we boarded the State Railway of Thailand's diesel railcar service to Hatyai, arriving in the Thai city at about 9.45a.m. local time.
A 10-minute walk took us to the Kosit Hotel. The Kosit was an aged hotel but the accommodation was still clean and comfortable enough. We were allocated a room at the end of the long corridor which turned out lucky for us because it was quiet. However, it was not so lucky for two of our friends who were given a room near to the lift lobby. Throughout the night, there were people loitering around the lobby and chattering away without a care for the guests in the rooms. My friends should have complained to the hotel's reception, which they did not.
Lunch on the first day was at a Thai restaurant across the road from the hotel. Our first authentic Thai meal during our stay. And after we had finished, it was a walk into the business district of Hatyai. We found our way to the Kimyong market for purchases of some foodstuff and cheap clothes. Thereafter, we made our way by the tut-tut to the Central Festival Mall, an upmarket shopping centre catering mostly to tourists. Dinner was at one of the restaurants there which served kurobuta pork.
Our second day in Hatyai began with a filling breakfast of pork porridge at a coffee shop across the road from the hotel. Thereafter, travelling by tut-tut to their main wet market. Nothing much to buy there, seeing how the roads around the market were in a chaotic mess and we not knowing where exactly to go. As a result, we went from the market to the Lee Garden Plaza instead, from where we took a lazy stroll back to the Kosit.
By this time, it was close to checking out time. A quick lunch of chicken rice at the same coffee shop and we were soon on our way to the railway station. We boarded the diesel railcar which left at one o'clock and arrived at Padang Besar at 2.50 p.m. Malaysian time. Seeing that we still had about two hours to kill before the ETS train would depart, some of us made our way to the Padang Besar shopping arcade for, yes, still some more last-minute shopping.