A Hatyai Escape: Land of Guaranteed Smiles

So Crazy Catea (a.k.a. the greatest travel companion) and I sneaked away to the land of smiles – Hatyai, to be specific – over the weekend.

For this first trip of ours, we had to put up with a 13-hour bumpy train ride on KTM’s Senandung Langkawi, which was impossible to sleep comfortably but a highly recommended experience nevertheless.

See the “compartments” in the sleeping class:

Hatyai Thailand

Well, not luxurious but what you pay is what you get right? RM60 (or RM54 if you opted for the upper berth) per person to me is rather reasonable.

Train departed from KL Sentral at 9.20pm and we were supposed to reach Hatyai the next morning at 10.30am.

One advantage of traveling by train is that you don’t have to deal with traffic hassle, unless you travel overnight by bus.

On our way back to Malaysia by bus, we we trapped in the traffic jam for 3 FREAKING HOURS MORE because everyone was hurrying back to Kuala Lumpur towards the end of the Hari Raya Haji day.

Anyway, back to the train…

Wanna know the width of the sleeping berth?

Hatyai Thailand The Land of Guaranteed Smiles

About my height.

So my feet chun-chun kena the barrier lor. After putting my luggage I practically had no leg space left.

I can’t imagine a person over 185cm tall sleeping in a berth like that.

Hatyai Thailand

The lower berth comes with a bigger window and part of it can be pulled open to about 40 degrees. That would make the berth more airy compared to the upper one.

Being a kiasu Cina, I printed out three copies of the train tickets and the ticket checker went like, “Kenapa print banyak-banyak?”

And I said, “Two copies (by two copies, my original intention was to give Catea one, which I never did) without the bar code and another copy with the bar code.”

And the ticket checker’s reaction to that was WTF.

Hatyai Thailand The Land of Guaranteed Smiles

Woke up in the middle of the night to the this sight…




Hatyai Thailand



It was Catea’s hair strands.

I woke up at 7 or so the next morning to be greeted with these amazing scenery of the paddy fields in Kedah:

Hatyai Thailand

Hatyai Thailand

Hatyai Thailand

We arrived at the Hatyai station about an hour and a half later than the scheduled time due to a delay at the Padang Besar custom and immigration checkpoint.


Hatyai Thailand

Upon arriving at the station, a few Thais came barging in the train from behind like siao. This freaked us out lor, as we thought we were so suey even before stepping out of the train in Hatyai already got greeted by a robbery.

It turned out they were from local travel agencies trying to promote to us their services. LOL.

Hatyai Thailand

It was a great feeling seeing Thai words on signboards and signages!

Catea and I checking into Louise guesthouse.

Hatyai Thailand

Guess how much it cost us per night?

Only 300 Thai baht, or RM30! If you think that is cheap, there are other guesthouses (on top of shops) that change only RM20 per night!

Hatyai Thailand

The policeman in the picture reminds me of something worth mentioning about Hatyai. There were policemen patrolling around major areas at night so that made me feel very secured as a tourist.

Good thing about Louise guesthouse is that it was situated RIGHT BESIDE Robinson.

Catea and I are not quite a fan of shopping centers in foreign countries but still if we were trapped in a rain, shopping centers would be the next awesome places to kill time!

We went to some market places, including the ASEAN market, Kim Yong market, and Suntisook Market about 10 minutes’ walking distance from our guesthouse and had lunch there.

Hatyai Thailand

See the big umbrellas in pink?

That was around where various market places were located. By “market places” they were actually three-story shops each compartmentalised into small units selling things like imported foodstuffs, electrical appliances, clothes, and even pornographic DVD’s.

Catea loved the chapfan there so much that she insisted to gaoguan the same store twice in two days! And this crazy chick could really eat, WTH!!!

Hatyai Thailand

Unlike Peninsular Malaysia, pork is widely available in Hatyai and cooked in many different styles. AND AND AND, it is also generously served in huge slices and portions, so if you’re a pork lover, Hatyai is probably your kind of place.

I remember Catea telling me there were McDonald’s pork burgers in Thailand but I forgot to check that out when I walked past the McDonald’s at Lee Garden Plaza.

Young Thai coconut I bought at 40 baht, of which after conversion cost me about RM4.

Hatyai Thailand

Which was freaking expensive, because afterwards Catea bought one for just RM3 from another stall. FML.

The coconut water was heavenly though!

After that, it was about to rain heavily so we went loitering at Lee’s Garden Plaza, a shopping center Catea insisted had to visit because it has her childhood memories.

That was when we got to see the Idea Market, which only opened over the weekend. People were very creative and made all sorts of creative and innovative crafts and sold them there at really reasonable prices.

Hatyai Thailand

Catea bought a pair of manmade (though I think it was more like semi-manmade) red polka dot shoes at RM20 or so and the lady customised them by knitting some decent knots around the shoes.

Hatyai Thailand

People in Hatyai were generally very friendly! You bargain with them for the 100th time and they would still smile at you, unlike our Ah Bengs at Petaling Street who would probably swear at you and chase you away.

Anyway, guess what this place was:

Hatyai Thailand

Mind you it wasn’t not a registration counter.

It was…

Hatyai Thailand


Why the hell was their cybercafe so sophisticated-looking one??

Last but definitely not least, the following picture was taken outside a hotel. Look at their flood-presenting measure.

Hatyai Thailand

And here comes the end of the first blog post on my Hatyai trip with Catea.

More to come, very soon.

Part II: A Hatyai Escape: When Floating Market Fails to Excite

Part III: A Hatyai Escape: Getting My Teeth Realigned

British Colonial Style for Home Decor: DIY Wall Art

Moving into a new house certainly makes one creative!

Earlier this year I when I first moved here I was so excited about this new place that I spent a good amount of time exploring this area. My exploration had me ended up collecting some dried tree branches thinking they could be put to good use. I could maybe recycle them into something artsy.

Of course that never happened, until like half a year later now when I’m about to move into my own unit. And I thought, why not turn the branches into some kind of a wall art, since the theme of my home is British colonial.

Thus I started the wall art project off by creating a frame of branches, where it took me about two days to assemble. The photo below depicts how the frame looks like.

wall art

I installed a wall lamp at the corner of the frame. Reason being that I had earlier bought two of those lamps from Ikea without knowing what to do with them. And guest what – they cost only about RM11 each, super cheap!

wall art

The incomplete wall art below. At this point I was hesitating whether to paint the frame white. I wanted it to look classy and vintage.

wall art

I know the white warm light is a little off and feels “unromantic”. Opting for warm white light would have been more appropriate.

My biggest mistake, however, was my decision to paint the branches white, thinking it could pull the classy look.

wall art

The reason why white doesn’t go quite well on the wall is because it doesn’t stand out against my already creamy-white wall! If I had chosen not to paint it, it would have easily stood out.

wall art

To fix the problem, my colleague suggested putting something darker at the back of the frame to enhance contrast against the white-painted frame.

And here is the outcome:

wall art

Well, much better, but not as good as before the frame was painted white. Nevertheless I feel it’s still an okay wall art for a first-timer like me.

Change the bulb to a warm white one and it shall give a more desirable atmosphere.

I’m Ken, a passionate traveller from Sarawak on the exotic island of Borneo. Currently a teacher in a rural town in Southern Thailand, from time to time I share on this blog my experiences teaching the kids and living a laid-back lifestyle here. With its focus on all things Thailand, mrdefinite.net also features a handful of stories about my travel adventures in other Asian countries.