Using the KTM we arrived in Hat Yai slightly before noon. The Hat Yai Train Station is a small, dusty, old station with a few tracks running past the station. We got off and had to walk across a couple of train tracks to get onto the platform. It was hard getting directions as the officials do not speak English.
Luckily, we managed to get some directions with lots of pointing and gesturing and simple English from the tuk-tuk/taxi drivers. We exited the station and took a short walk to Tune Hotel.
First glimpse of Hat Yai. Bustling border town with a mix of Thais and Chinese. Hokkien and Mandarin is widely spoken here.
Tune Hotel, our home for the next couple of days. Surprisingly the rooms are huge. I've stayed before at a few of Tune Hotels and this is not a norm. Their rooms are usually small and cramp. However, Tune Hotel Hat Yai have a very spacious room with enough space for me to dance around :p
After we settled in, we headed out to look for food. First stop, Odeon Shopping Center. Food Court is located on the top floor, with a few stalls but with good enough range of food. Being a big fan of German Pork Knuckles, my dad ordered that and we had a good meal with tasty, home-cooked pork knuckles. The meat was boiled till it was soft and sweet. Great start to our first meal in Thailand.
Next stop, Kim Yong Market, with lots of stops along the way. There was just too many things to see and every time someone stops to look at something, everyone have to stop as well. Cons of travelling in a group.
Sad to say, Kim Yong Market was a disappointment. After reading so much about it, there was nothing much to see and buy - just lots of toys, food stuff, car accessories, etc.
We then walked to Robinson Department Store, which is a big contrast compared to the outside. However, its not as posh as the Robinson in Kuala Lumpur (I'm not sure if its the same company). Anyway, clothes, shoes, accessories are pricier then we expected. My parents enjoyed themselves and spend quite a bit of time at the housewares department.
I did managed to get myself a piece of fried chicken for 19 bht just outside Robinson Department Stall. It tasted really good, oily and slightly crispy, or maybe it's because I was hungry.
Walking back to Tune Hotel, my mum spotted bowls and bowls of Pork Knuckles from the back entrance of a kitchen; which my parents could not resist and thus we had a very early dinner.
Pork Knuckles was more fatty this time. Green Curry was super spicy which made us cried. Almost. Portion was super huge and we had to tapau some. Omelette was too salty but a generous helping of prawns.
Night view of Hat Yai from my 3rd floor Tune Hotel room. I wished I had asked for a room on the higher floor.
Next morning, we had breakfast.. or brunch at a hawker restaurant like just opposite Tune Hotel, on the left. We had pork porridge, hokkien mee, fried rice and char kuey teow. All every different from Malaysia but nonetheless good and tasty and cheap.
We wanted to try the pineapple as it looked very interestingly small, about half the size of our normal pineapple but the price of 120bht made us decide otherwise. Says who Thailand is cheap.
A temple as we walked along. Just directly behind Tune Hotel.
We headed up north, towards Lee Garden Plaza as I read good reviews about it. However, we found out later that this Lee Garden Plaza is the new one. The old one further down south is no longer around. We did passed by a few other department store, small enough that I don't really consider them department stores. But the vendors were surprisingly rude. I think it's because there are less tourists as compared to Bangkok, which is more tourist orientated, and thus friendlier.
Lee Garden Plaza is a new mall with a nice mix of big spacious shops and small quirky shops. We spotted some brands and quite a few interesting things. However, the newness of the mall is evident with the lack of people and the unopen stores. But I have high hopes for it. A very nice place to hang out. There is a big shoe shop towards the back of the mall where we bought quite a number of things.
Carrying our bags of shopping, we headed back towards the hotel for a shower and some rest before continuing our food and shopping trip. Travelling with my parents means going at a slower pace with lots of coffee break in between. However, I'm not complaining. It allowed me to see the roses by the roadside :)
Next up, the night market.