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23.Aug.2013 to 25.Aug.2013

Part 4 – Koh Samui again, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Hat Yai & back.

Cover Pix

This is the 4th and last part of my journal. In this part, I’ll cover my journey back, including 1 night in Ko Samui, rediscovering Phatthalung and Songkhla. This part is quite long and filled with photos.

23.Aug.2013 – Koh Samui

Ah! Back again in Ko Samui at about 1 PM and finding my bike covered with a fine layer of dust. Quickly, I removed the sandy particles with a cloth and soon I was on my way to New Villa Hotel, located at most southern part of Chaweng Beach, with the help of my GPS in my phone.

Villa? Expecting to find a villa type resort, I was disappointed to find that this hotel was a row of shop houses and the rooms were above the retail area. No beach front but the beach was only 3 minutes walk from the hotel. That’s the problem with booking online using Agoda.com. Not really sure the actual deal until one reaches the destination. The rooms were really big and the promised WiFi was good!

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Oh! Yes! There’s a balcony overlooking the road.

Once I settled into my room, I was on my way to Hin Ta and Hin Yai, also known as Grandpa and Grandma rock.

Hin Ta & Hin Yai

Hin Ta, Hin Yai

The entrance to the attraction

I was travelling a bit fast and missed the entrance to this attraction and had to back-track. Found a parking spot and paid THB20 to the attendant for a parking space.

Hin Ta, Hin Yai

The usual souvenir stalls lining the street to the attraction.

I came to this place more than 20 years ago and the surroundings must have changed a bit for I couldn’t recognise any landmarks.

Finding Grandpa rock was easy. I didn’t ask for directions for the easiest route to that rock and had to climb up using a risky route. After climbing up, only then did I spot an easier route.

The following were the sights around this place;

Hin Ta, Hin YaiHin Ta, Hin YaiHin Ta, Hin YaiRock MeetingFat papa, baby & mama rockWaiting for the sun to set

Hin Ta, Hin Yai

Hin Ta, Hin YaiFinding Grandpa rock (as shown above) was easy. Looking for Grandma rock was a bit difficult and only after asking around did I find the Grandma rock.

Frankly, as many had commented in Trip Advisor forums, if you had to pay for coming here, save your money because there’s no nice places for photography. You will need some imagination to visualise the human genitalia.

Secondly, this place could be hazardous for those with weak knees or legs. Definitely not a place to venture for those with wobbly legs.

However, if the pictures shown here are to your taste, then maybe you may decide to pay a visit here.

On the day I came to visit this place, the sky was cloudy, so it wasn’t a good time to shoot photos.

Lamai Beach

Going back north of the Hin Ta and Hin Yai area is another sought after beach location. You can find lovely hotels, restaurants and shops around this place. I find this place not as commercialized as ChaWeng Beach.

Lamai Beach, Ko Samui

Lamai Beach, Ko SamuiLamai Beach, Ko Samui

Lamai Beach, Ko Samui Lamai Beach, Ko Samui

After spending about an hour at Lamai Beach, I decided it was time for dinner.

Big Rock Restaurant

Earlier, while searching for the Hin Ta & Hin Yai attraction, I had spotted a lovely restaurant called “Big Rock” and was situated opposite a really big rock on high ground. Deciding to check this place out, I decided to treat myself to good restaurant food. This restaurant had fantastic location and the place looks good from the road.

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The presentation of the food was great but I think I must be early. I had ordered Barracuda and I found the meat a bit hard. I guess the cook doesn’t know how to cook it or had been frozen too long. However the ambience of the restaurant was excellent. Definitely had a beautiful view of the sea. Since that day was a cloudy day and this place faces the east, no sunset shots here.

Going back to my hotel to spend the rest of the night, I stopped at a viewpoint overlooking ChaWeng Beach and took this shot. Not many people at this time of the evening.

Lights of ChaWeng Beach

24.Aug.2013

Woke up pretty early at 5.45 AM, I took a short walk to the beach. I pointed my camera to the rising sun and took this.

Long Exposure Dawn

Beautiful colours of dawn. 5.57AM

Dawn @ ChaWeng Beach, Koh Samui

@ 6.30AM, ChaWeng Beach

A little rest while the sun rises

That’s me resting at 6.44AM, ChaWeng Beach

Dawn @ ChaWeng Beach, Koh Samui

@ 6.49AM, ChaWeng Beach as seen from the southern part

Good Morning @ ChaWeng Beach

@ 6.54AM, ChaWeng Beach

The photos were taken at a family run resort. The old lady instead of chasing me away from the her place made a deal with me. Breakfast at THB80. Done deal!

After taking all the photos, I came back to a waiting cold breakfast of eggs, ham, bread, butter and coffee. Quickly, I consume it and left, wishing her luck! As I walked away to my hotel, I saw some of the residents come out from their chalet.

Mainland Thailand

Packed up my belongings and placing them in my bike, I followed the directions to Raja Ferry Terminal using the Sygic GPS in my phone. Noting the dark sky, I quickly reached the ferry terminal and bought the ticket. I had to pay slightly more for the ticket and boarded the ferry.

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Interior (passenger section) of the ferry.

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Rain clouds awaiting me on the mainland

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Smoking Room

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Entertainment on the ferry

The moment I landed on the mainland, it started to drizzle. Well, never mind, I told myself. Probably the rain will fizzle away when I travel further south. Nope! The rain got heavier and I got wet. Had to stop at a roadside shop to let the rain pass and let my jacket and pants dry out.

After waiting for about an hour, the rain became a drizzle and I decided to continue my journey to Songkhla. Shortly, the sun appeared in the sky and I stopped at Nakhon Si Thammarat for a quick and cheap lunch.

At this juncture, instead of using the coastal Highway 408, I decided to try Highway 41 that will take me to Phatthalung. At the crossroad, heading east, I decided to check out Phatthalung and found the town to be quite large. As I headed further east, passing the town, I saw a signboard that pointed to Saen Suk Lampa Beach (Saen Lampam Beach). Knowing that Phatthalung and Songkhla share a large lake (Songkhla Lake), I decided to check out that attraction.

Saen Lampam Beach (Saen Suk Lampa Beach)

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This beach is nowhere near the sea. Instead, this beach is at the western side of Songkhla Lake. This lake is about the same size as Singapore or even bigger.

The following were taken around this attraction.

King Rama 5 @ Had Saensuk Lampam Beach

King Rama 5 monument at the entrance

Saen Lampam Beach

The big signboard in Thai at the entrance

Saen Lampam Beach

The entrance to the park

Saen Lampam Beach

Rest area inside the park

Saen Lampam Beach

The pathway leading to the fountain

After spending slightly more than an hour here, I headed back to Phatthalung and then south towards Hat Yai. About 40 KM south of Phatthalung, along Highway 4, if not mistaken at Tha Nang Prom village, protesters closed all access to the town by using lorry, trailers or buses to block both sides of the Highway. Seeing that I was alone, the protesters allowed me to pass through the village and continue my journey south. I saw a convoy of big bikers resting beside the road wondering what next to do. I asked where they were heading and they replied they were heading towards Kanchanaburi. I wished them luck and I continued south.

Songkhla

At the junction where I had to make a decision to head towards Hat Yai or Songkhla, I headed east towards Songkhla. I had not visited this city for more than 20 years and decided to check it out. WOW! So much changes. Couldn’t recognise the place. Using my GPS, I headed towards Songkhla Municipal Song Thale Park. This park must have been created during the past 20 years because I couldn’t remember seeing this place with so many attractions here.

Songkhla Municipal Song Thale Park

Siamese Dragon head

Water Dragon Monument

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Closer view of the Water Dragon

Songkhla Municipal Song Thale Park

Abstract monument in the park

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Old ferry carrying cars and passengers from north-western part of Songkhla back to Songkhla city.

Songkhla Municipal Song Thale Park

Krom Luang Chumphon (1st Admiral of Thailand) monument

Songkhla Municipal Song Thale Park

The esplanade

Songkhla Municipal Song Thale Park

my bike in front of the pavilion

Songkhla Map

Samila Beach

I could recognise Samila Beach because of the Songkhla Mermaid. Lots of food around this area.

Samila Beach, Songkhla

The roundabout near Samila Hotel

Mermaid of Songkhla

Songkhla’s famous icon

Samila Beach, Songkhla

Koh Nu as seen from Samila Beach

Samila Beach, Songkhla

Cat & Mouse monument

Samila Beach, Songkhla

Samila Beach as seen from the road

Hat Yai

By the time I left Songkhla, it was quite dark. Trying to conserve my phone’s battery and using the phone sparingly, I finally got to Hi Season Hotel, which was not too far from Siam Mansion which I stayed at the beginning of this trip. After checking into my room, which was just as small as the one in Siam Mansion, I took a bath and rode out to town and ate noodles in one of those shops that had many stalls selling various types of Thai food.

Along the way, I bought a pair of slippers. I had left the old one in Ko Samui.

Whilst in my room, I saw the news on TV about the protesters I had passed near Phatthalung.

25.Nov.2013

After a simple breakfast in Hat Yai, it was time to go home. At 10.45AM, I was back in Malaysia.

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By around 6.30PM, I was back in Petaling Jaya having dinner in Donald Lau’s shop eating the famous pork noodles.

Thank you for visiting this blog.

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