Day05 Narathiwat to Hat Yai, Thailand

11:59 pm Motorbike/Motorcycle, Thailand, Travel
Departure Time 9:34am
Departure Location Narathiwat, Malaysia
Arrival Time 5:56pm
Arrival Location Hat Yai, Malaysia
Distance Travelled 269km

Day05

We got up relatively early, as Thailand is one hour behind Singapore and Malaysia.  We wandered down the road to find a place to eat breakfast, but all the food places that were open catered to Thai’s who are happy to eat noodle, seafood and fish sauce for breakfast.

We also noticed that the military presence was greater than we had realized the day before.  Again, the soldiers were happy to pose.

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We bought some items from a 7-Eleven store and sat on a street corner watching the world go by.  Notice how few people are wearing helmets?  A sign of how far away we are from the lawmakers.  People only wear helmets in larger towns, even though it is a law in the whole country.  We even saw people putting on their helmets at the first traffic light as they came into town.

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This little girl had been watching us eat breakfast, and when we were finished, we still had a fruit/milk item left over, so we gave it to her.  She bowed so nicely with her hands together and said thank you.  Then she rushed off to eat her treat.

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The military was now visible everywhere – and the road checkpoints that are normal in Thailand were of a much more serious nature – they were fortified.

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Some Thai’s still live in fairly primitive conditions – but the environment is a paradise.

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The military seemed on the move in different ways wherever we went.  Now you see them … now you don’t.  On one occasion we saw three armored vehicles, and by the time I had done a U-turn they had disappeared.

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Here is a town market in one of the smaller towns.  This was one of the more conservative areas.

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This was one of many Hummers we saw just before we entered Yala – one of the places of unrest.

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These pictures were taken in Yala.  Notice how computers should be transported?  If you can’t see them, click on the picture with the metallic green Mercedes protruding.

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We finally arrived at Wat Khuha Phimuk at 11:48am.  This place is an important archeological site that dates back to the 8th Century. It is a very beautiful place where a reclining statue has been created inside a huge cave.  Apparently what is now a Buddha originally had a Hindu head.  Smaller Buddha’s have also been found that date back to the 9th Century and are of Southern Indian style.  There are also lots of monkeys everywhere.

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This picture shows how big the cave really is – the yellow and blue dots are actually full size water buckets catching the drips from the roof of the cave.

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This is the view from the opening of the cave across the countryside.

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Can you see what is parked under the trees?  Perhaps the close-up makes it clearer!

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The cave openings are visible behind the temple.

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Notice the unusual roots of this tree?  Rebecca also spotted this Kingfisher – it was very bright.

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We had only just departed, when a huge rain shower came our way.  Luckily we were just passing through a little village, so we ducked under a roof in front of someone’s house.  We started having our lunch, when the person that lives there noticed our presence.  So he brought us another chair and some bananas.  I can’t believe how hospitable people have been to us everywhere we have been.  We turn up with a big motorbike, dressed in protective bike gear, and they just open their doors and welcome us!!

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The police stations were all heavily fortified.

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These floats were part of a fundraising event for different charities.  They were spectacular – and glistened in the sun.  Each of them had a vehicle underneath.  In the second photo you can see a steering wheel.

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This one was particularly spectacular, as it was made out of wax.  Notice the fans with water jets to keep it cool.

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The roads were also busy – but all the lanes bar one were for parking – unofficially, of course.  Then we saw some of the floats on the road, where whole teams were going door to door to collect money.  When they saw me taking a photo, they promptly came for a donation.  After I made a donation, I could hear on the Loudspeaker "Kob Khun Krap [pause] Thank You."

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Being the monsoon period, it was to be expected that we would once again encounter rain – and again we were fortunate to be able to pull under a roof.  And again we were surprised by the hospitality.  The man in front of whose house we stopped invited us in, and showed us his family photos.  His children speak English, but he doesn’t.  When I took an interest in his Chinese wall hanging, I was able to understand one sentence he said in Chinese.  He said that he doesn’t speak English – though we had already worked that out 🙂

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We arrived in Hat Yai at 16:05, and had a nice hot dinner at MK’s – one of our favorite restaurants in Thailand.

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After dinner we checked into the first hotel we found and went straight to bed.

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