Category Archives: Thailand

I had to put up with a 13-hour bumpy train ride on KTM’s Senandung Langkawi from Malaysia to Thailand. It was almost impossible to sleep.


A Hatyai Escape: Getting My Teeth Realigned by Unlicensed Street “Dentist”

Yes, you read the title right.

So on my recent trip to Hatyai, Thailand with Crazy Catea, I got my teeth realigned by a street “dentist”. Or at least attempted to. As horrible and crazy as it may sound, I did it nevertheless! Anyway, more about it later since I want to talk about other highlights of our Hatyai escape first.

I wanted to dedicate a long post to the Asean Trade Market but only to realise I had forgotten to take pictures!! Tamade.

Anyway, I bought some cheap clothes from there and spent at least half the time bargaining with the hawkers. To my utmost horror Catea said I reminded her of her mom! WTH where got??

Conveniently located near the Hatyai bus station (it takes about 15 to 20 minutes on a tuk-tuk from the Lee’s Garden area to arrive), the Asean Trade Market is such a great place to shop for clothes and also second-hand stuff but I only got to know about the latter after coming back from Hatyai and reading about it online.

No wonder the sling bag I bought from there looks like someone had used it before. Nevertheless, it still looks great and cost me only RM12, so no regret very much.

On the second day in Hatyai, I woke up early (like I always do) to snap pictures of the things in our guesthouse out of boredom while waiting for my travel mate to wake up.

Look at this very old-school fan regulator and power point in our room:

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

The room looked dirty but wasn’t. It was just old but very comfortable.

It had an air-conditioner installed but we reckoned we could survive without it, and that pretty much summed up why we only paid RM30 instead of RM50 per night for our room.

It proved to be a great decision because the room was really comfortable and neither hot nor stuffy.

I left Catea a note because I was beginning to get bored and wanted to take a stroll down the streets outside our guesthouse. I was thinking maybe after I came back Catea would have been ready for the beginning of our second day…

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

So an hour later after returning to the guesthouse, the note was still there on the exact spot on the table, unread.

Cat was still sleeping!

-_-

Later that morning we passed and saw this CIMB ATM which gave me a funny feeling. What is our bank doing there haha!

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

It was Sunday and unfortunately most shops were closed, but when we passed by a soi (side-street) we saw dozens of people queuing up in front of this restaurant:

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

Look at the crowds:

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

Turned out this shop was selling salted vegetable soup with pork insides. We joined the crowds nevertheless.

Catea ordered only for herself because I already had my breakfast earlier while Catea was still sleeping. The dish looked like it could feed two persons – just look at the crazy amount of pork and pig offal served!

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

Catea couldn’t finish the dish and didn’t like pig offal so I had to finish the dish for her. It made me slightly want to throw up afterwards as I am not a fan of pork.

The bill came up to RM16 including drink. It was one of the amazing dishes I had tried in Hatyai but slightly expensive.

After breakfast we visited the Hatyai City Municipality Park, where one can see from afar a statue of a standing Buddha of approximately 20 meters and another statue of Guan-yin made of jade.

I won’t delve too much into the Hatyai City Municipality Park. If you’re interested, you can read more on the Municipality Park here. All I can say is that I think the park is worth a visit.

Some pictures of us on our way to the hilltop of the Hatyai City Municipality Park:

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

After spending about four hours at the Hatyai City Municipality Park (it was crazy hot!), our tuk-tuk driver dropped us at the Diana Complex Shopping Center because he said there was a market nearby.

But at the shopping center we asked and asked and no one seemed to know anything about the market. :(

Saw this banner in Diana and I suggested to Catea to don this kind of hair. “During my wedding,” she said. I told her it must be in the exact letters: C-A-T-E-A.

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

Bought a chocolate-dipped coned ice cream at Dairy Queen inside Diana because I thought its shape interestingly resembled that of a pile of shit.

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

Eh it really did leh!

Just when we were about to leave, we accidentally stumbled upon a lousy-looking booth behind Diana and guess what they did?

ORTHODONTIC SERVICES! And at costs below those in a proper dental clinic because the people involved were most likely unlicensed or uncertified “orthodontists”.

So there was this guy and another person whom I suspected to be his wife who did dental braces and retainers at really cheap rates. They also made fashion braces for people who would wear them as an accessory. Just look at these colourful plastic pieces below:

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

I’m not sure how they did with these plastics, but I think one gets to choose the colours she want to be added onto the brackets on the braces and these “orthodontists” will get the braces done by using their unprofessional-looking but seemingly handy equipments!

We spent almost an hour just trying to get him to explain to us how it worked because I felt like doing it and was quite fearful something might happen to my teeth afterwards.

No one from the store could understand English and although Catea knew some Thai, still more profound sentences could be a challenge for her.

Good thing was that the guy was super helpful and uncalculative, so he called his friend up to be our translator.

I swear if he was a Malaysian he would have asked us to go home lor.

The translation process took us forever and I almost felt like giving up.

In the end we concluded that having braces put on might be a little troublesome for me as they would stay semi-permanently on my teeth. That also meant I would need to go back every now and then for the braces to be realigned.

And the best solution? To make a pair of retainers for my upper and lower teeth!

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

If you want to know how much they cost me, it was only RM100, which means RM50 for each one. I think the price was totally reasonable. Even if it may not work in the end, it was, after all, only RM100 and what mattered most to me was the experience and thrill.

Before working on the braces the guy got a mold of my teeth structure like what all other orthodontists would do. What really impressed me was that they probably had the lousiest equipments to run their service but somehow they were still able to pull things off like a pro.

Here is how my lower teeth mold looks:

Getting Teeth Realigned by Non-professionals in Hatyai

Yes I know my teeth are bad!

Unfortunately after that, he told us to come back after 4 hours, and thus I didn’t get to see him work on those retainers.

I managed to capture one photo (although we were told not to) of the guy working on one of my retainers and from here you may get an idea of the kinds of equipments they were using.

Hatyai Thailand Teeth Realigned

Four hours later…

.

.

.

Putting the braces on!

Hatyai Thailand Teeth Realigned

I know some of you may think they are useless, and I am thinking the same too. But like I said it was the experience that mattered to me and it was definitely an eye-opener for me!

Click on respective links to read the Part I and Part II of Cat and my Hatyai escape.


A Hatyai Escape: When Floating Market Fails to Excite

The first post on my Hatyai adventure with Catea can be read here.

At Hatyai, crazy Catea and I got all excited seeing Thai words everywhere. It was totally a pleasant smell of freedom!

We got excited over every little thing – even their mineral water bottle because it was simply exotic. We insisted on bringing it home so that we could show it off but in the end I bought so many stuff that I had little space left for the bottle and had to throw it away %#*&%$!

The epic bottle that looks like our battery water filler bottle deserves some recognition, and hence…

Hatyai Floating Market

Hatyai Floating Market

Totally noob and wuliao I know but whatever.

Saw what looked like Bak Kua which was sold (barbeque/dried pork) at only 35 Baht (RM3.50) per packet so I bought it without hesitation.

Hatyai Floating Market

The taste was just meh and the meat too hard to chew. To be honest, I had and still have no idea what it was actually made of but I always imagined it to be the skin of snakes whenever I chewed on it! HAHA.

The Thais really know how to live their life. A simple house like below can have its own garden too!

Hatyai Floating Market

Like I’ve mentioned in the first post, we visited the Idea Market at Lee Garden Plaza where Catea bought some handmade shoes.

Later that evening we took a tuk-tuk to the Klonghae Floating Market. The Hatyai variation of tuk-tuk is totally different from and an upgraded version of Cambodia‘s.

Hatyai Floating Market

By tuk-tuk it was actually a mini truck with a shelter behind.

The uncle wanted to charge us RM50 for a round trip to the floating market but after bargaining with him to death he finally agreed to take only RM35. Teehee!

That made me feel like a terrible tourist.

Just in case you’re wondering how we communicated with the Thais, there are actually heaps of Thai-Chinese there who, even to this day are well-convesed in Hokkien, so there were no problems for us. Even the native Thais in Hatyai could speak some Hokkien to my utmost surprise!

Irregardless, our beauty in the photo below does know how to speak some Thai.

Hatyai Floating Market

When we got down at the Padang Besar custom and immigration checkpoint earlier that day for passport stamping, she was chatting away in Thai with some lady and I just gawked at them dumfounded like Ah Ngong.

What.

The.

Hell.

Catea said once she went to A’Famosa at Malacca and beside her were two performers of Thai nationality who were having a conversation that went like:

Thai Guy: Suay mai? (“Do you think she’s pretty?”) *Referring to Catea*

Thai Girl: Mai suay! (“Not pretty!”)

At that instant Catea felt the urge to confront them upright and ask, “OOI, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY NOT PRETTY???”

AHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHA!! You say siao or not this chick?

Upon arriving at the floating market, the uncle was kind enough to warn us of the approaching rain. From underneath the seat of the tuk-tuk, he then pulled out an umbrella and handed it to us, wanting us to take it just in case it rained.

Suddenly I was overwhelmed with a sense of guilt for bargaining so much with him. :(

Anyway…

Hatyai Floating Market

Big chunks of pork satay being sold at the entrance to the floating market for only RM1.50 per stick. Not exactly cheap for Hatyai standards but nevertheless still cheap for us Malaysians!

This is how the floating market looks like:

Hatyai Floating Market

Hatyai Floating Market

It started raining as we reached the platform where local Thai boat traders sold things to tourists.

The heavy rain had pretty much ruined the experience of sightseeing and eating at the market. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise because the crowds were not as heavy.

At the platform, just tell them what you want and they will pass you the item using a long bamboo stick.

Hatyai Floating Market

An assortment of drinks were sold at 20 Baht (RM2) per cup and if you pay 5 Baht extra, you get to enjoy your drink served in a clay mug of any design, which you can take home!

Hatyai Thailand

Fried bird eggs served in a banana leaf boat. Can’t remember how much it cost but price was certainly reasonable.

Hatyai Thailand

One thing I didn’t like about it though, was that they dripped some Maggi seasoning onto the bird eggs. Not that it didn’t taste nice, but I was expecting something more “local” than “glocal”.

Another instance of glocalisation at the Klonghae Floating Market, which I wished would cease to exist:

Hatyai Floating Market

Seriously?

I don’t know if I’m selfish to hope for “preservation” of local culture in a highly commercial place like this but sometimes you just don’t wish to see the same old stuff you can get in your own home country, overseas.

Anyway the rain turned heavy at one point and we had to wait at a shelter atop the canal while waiting for it to subside.

Then I noticed these cute Thai siblings:

Hatyai Thailand

Attempted to take an artsy photo but failed miserably. Le sigh.

Apart from the floating market, there were also stalls near the canal selling all sorts of stuff ranging from delicious-looking foods to fashion accessories to clothes and to plants!

Notice our beauty queen in a grey T below drooling over the food? HAHAHA.

Hatyai Thailand

We later came across a stall that sold exotic plants so I bought one of these home:

Hatyai Floating Market

Cost me freaking RM6 leh!

Thai version of “muachi”:

Hatyai Floating Market

Looks like it’s made of steamed rice and coated with sesame seeds.

The night was still young after we got back from the floating market. After refreshing at our guest house, we decided we had not had enough fun and found ourselves looking desperately for a night market to hang out. Will reveal which night market we headed to in the next post.

We were kinda craving some beer after eating so much at the floating market (crazy Catea ate so much more). So before taking off to the night market we headed to Robinson beside our guest house to buy some beer.

Catea and I keisi-ly told the cashier no need plastic bag, and so we went ahead to open our beer bottle at their fridge, and drank away immediately. We and our beer in the tuk-tuk as we were heading to the night market.

Hatyai Floating Market

Hatyai Floating Market

Alright, post ends here. Third post coming in a few days, so make sure you check back!