Hatyai Sabbatical 2015

I must really apologize for the lack of updates.

The first half of 2015 has just gone in a flash. A lot has happened during the last six months and my mind have been bogged down by family matters. All is fine for now and I hope it stays that way.

Last month, my folks and I brought forward our yearly retreat to Hatyai (we usually go during year end) and we took the opportunity to recharge and re-energize. Hopefully, we did not bring the negative vibes back with us.

I think Hatyai has been blogged to death by me so I shall consolidate the entire five days into one single post and not go into the details. Since it is simply a staycation, we spend most of our time sleeping/watching TV in the hotel when we are not out looking for food.

Now if you would fasten your seatbelt, our journey shall begin in just a minute.

Safely buckled up inside the plane at Changi Airport waiting for takeoff

Hatyai, here we come!

Arrived at Hatyai International Airport

The flight was uneventful except for this old fart in the seat before me who reclined his seat all the way.

Surely, everyone knows how tight space is on a budget plane so why would some selfish prick go invade someone else's space?

The back of his seat is pressing on my knees causing me unable to move my legs freely or to even flip the in-flight magazine.

I even had to put up with his booming voice as he shouted to his friend seated right next to him. I am just this close to becoming the next person in aviation history to attempt to open the emergency door (to throw that man out of the plane).

The next time you decided to reach for that recline button, kindly check with the poor dude sitting behind  if it's okay for you to put down your seat. I believe it will be greatly appreciated.

Our plane TR2132 on the tarmac unloading our luggage

Zeh zeh directing us which counter to go for our passport clearance

After clearing immigration, we were met with by our driver waiting to bring us to the hotel. 

Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel 

I had my reservations when Dad picked Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel as our accommodation. Having stayed there for so many times, I wanted to try other nearby hotels but alas, Dad like it here so much that he wanted no where else.

Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel may be strategically convenient but it is bothersome to have our bags searched by security each time we return from outside. Furthermore, we had to take the lift to the lobby on the tenth floor before transferring to yet another lift to go up to our rooms.

Sibeh leceh if you ask me.

A late lunch and early dinner at Shabushi

As per past years' SOP, after dropping our luggage inside the room, we will head to Shabushi below the hotel for a meal.

One significant change we noticed was that there is not much customers. Other than us, there were only two other tables occupied. We basically had the entire restaurant all to ourselves. Not that it is a bad thing but it is a striking contrast to our past visits when the place was bustling with business.

We thought that it might still be a tad too early but it is already near dinner time. Throughout our five days stay, business at Shabushi remained slow each time we walk past it. I guess it's time to explore Sizzlers on the second floor.

After our late lunch cum early dinner, it was time to prowl the streets.

One of the reasons for our repeated visits to Hatyai is to stock up on medication which is way cheaper here

Of course, massage is a must...

Returning to the hotel, we saw a crowd gathered near the entrance where two little girls were taking turns dancing to the crowd.

A box with the word "scholarships" was on the ground in front of them. I dropped 50Baht into the box hoping to help them a little but at the same time, I am wondering if the money really go towards their education because there are two adults keeping an eye on them by the side. I hope the girls are not being exploited into money-making tools by the adults.

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Rise and shine!

I am excited about the hotel's breakfast but I am not having much expectations...

The french fries, fried fish, drumlets and tomato are permanent items on the menu

I love fried chicken and fries but having these for breakfast at 8am seems rather heavy. The drumlets are a tad hard as usual but the chow mein and mini sausages are good.

After breakfast, we head for Kim Yong Market. I always believed that to understand the local's way of life is to visit their market place.

I wanted to try the steamed bread but the lady is not wearing any gloves

These entire basket of Mangoes costs just 300Baht = about SGD14

Lunch at my favorite coffeeshop!

This coffeeshop is located just across the road from ODEON's Starbucks. There is only ONE Starbucks in this area so you can't miss it.

I love 阿娇猪脚饭

60 Baht is like only SGD2.40

You can order a plate of pork rice or you can request for the pork to be served separately. We opt for the latter.

Stewed pork knuckles

The knuckles are stewed soft and tender! I love the skin! 

Salted vegetable

The rest of the day is filled with more shopping at ODEON and CENTRAL

Dinner later that day was at this hot and stuffy shop selling Hor Fun. Obviously, they don't call it "Hor Fun" there. You only need to tell the one taking order whether you want "Kway Teow", "Bee Hoon", or "Mee" and whether you want it "tah"(dry) or "th'ng"(wet).

"Th'ng" does not refer to soupy Hor Fun but the kind with thickened sauce found in Singapore.

We all had the dry Kway Teow which is aromatically fried with a hint of "wok hei". Ingredients wise, there is only kai-lan and pork but the thick slices of pork are extremely tender. We like it so much!

Wet weather plan - sleep!

We managed to reach the hotel just before it rained and we spend the remainder of the day watching TV in the room.

So that's how raining looks like in the distance

The rain is making me hungry again so I took the lift down to takeaway McDonald's back to the room.

Samurai Pork Burger

Thailand's McDonald's is called McThai. Other than Samurai Pork Burger, they also have Pork Hamburger and Pork Big Mac.

This is a must-have for me whenever I go Thailand because you can never find this in Singapore

(Top) Corn Pie, (Bottom) Curry with Crabstick Pie

McThai's pies are another must-try. Each time I'm there, they would always have different pies available. I love the Spinach Pie which I had two years ago. Sounds gross but it's really yummy. I have yet to try the Ham & Cheese.

I woke up real early on the third morning

Weekend crowd at Kim Yong Market

My favorite kueh hawker

The Thai Chinese here speaks different dialects. This hawker speaks Hakka.

I like this Basil Pork with Egg Rice

"Wanton Mee" with fishball, fishcake, yong taufu, char siew and NO wantons

Their honeyed sio bak is very nice!

(Left) Kee Chang, (Right) Glutinous Rice with different fillings (banana, hae bee hiam, etc)

Fish intestines

This lady was bludgeoning a live catfish for a customer

That uncovered pail by the roadside contains the batter for the dough sticks/you tiao

We had Hor Fun for dinner again

We had the "th'ng" version this time which is similar to what we have in Singapore. Compared to the "tah" one, the Kway Teow for the "th'ng" portion is considerably lesser and not as tasty.

Oyster Omelette 100Baht = SGD4

After the Hor Fun dinner, we walked back to the hotel and had this Oyster Omelette. The egg was super thin and crispy with no gooey starch. There is a pile of crunchy beansprouts beneath so it doesn't taste so jelat.

We also had the dessert which is cooling but not very tasty at all

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The little girl is at "work" again

The chicken and mushroom porridge is nice. So is the glutinous rice with crispy shrimps

There is a porridge stall selling coagulated pig's blood porridge but the attitude of the lady manning the stall is really one kind so I bought my porridge from another stall whose owner speaks Mandarin and Cantonese. 

Monks out on their rounds seeking alms

Kan Eng Restaurant

Kan Eng Restaurant is just round the corner from the Hor Fun place. As usual, the Mango Kerabu and Seafood Tom Yum are the confirm-must-order for us. We will try to have another two dishes from the menu which we never had before.

(Top) Mango Kerabu, Seafood Tom Yum
(Bottom) Brinjal with Bak Chor and Basil Leaves, Steamed Pomfret with Minced Garlic and Chili Padi

The entire meal costs 870Baht - SGD34.80

Loot of the day

Dinner is back here at the Hor Fun place third day in a row

Yes. We really, really like the Kway Teow so much!

Had the "dry" Hor Fun again cause it's nicer than the "wet" version

Nicely executed with "wok hei".

Walked past this "Adult Dim Sum"

Do they place the Dim Sum on naked women like their Sushi cousin?

Hatyai does not seem as bustling as before. Even the army and police personnel patrolling the area (there's a explosion at the McDonald's years ago) seem considerably lesser. Has Hatyai lose it's old school charm with visitors or did we arrive at a off-peak period?

Must gorge myself with Mango Sticky Rice on my last night in Hatyai

Hotel's breakfast

Must go Kim Yong Market again

I bought the chicken and mushroom porridge from the market back to the room

It was a flurry of packing and stuffing everything into the luggage before checking out at noon.

Waiting for the airport transfer

Our driver, Ah Tan speaks Mandarin and Hokkien. This is his number 0819574309 should you need transport to go sightseeing. He drives a luxurious van with karaoke equipment.

Goodbye, Hatyai!

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