23 December 2010

Xmas 2010 @ Hat Yai Day 1

We are back!

This year we vowed to make up for lost time, and the fact that our Xmas vacation was cut short last year.

As usual we used the Konsortium Bas Express Semenanjung (KBES) bus company. This time I ordered online (http://www.kbes.com.my/) and got a 10% off the ticket price. However the price for the 10:30PM double decker bus had (I initially thought) gone up by RM10 to RM60, so in the end the tickets were RM54 each.

Since Puduraya was closed for refurbishments (thank god, in my opinion Puduraya should be closed for good!) we boarded our bus at the Hentian Duta bus terminal. To our surprise, the bus I booked online was not the double decker but the plusher Super Snoozer bus! It was way more spacious, and check this out.. each seat had DVD screens! Cool!!

Brendan brought a book thinking he'll be bored on the bus
Turns out the book was not needed!


For the past two years, we've stayed at Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel. Two years ago we booked through an online travel agent, while last year we booked directly with the hotel.

Last year Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel charged us 1149Bt per night and 490Bt for an extra bed, but this year we were informed that there will be a 600Bt surcharge for Xmas eve and Xmas day! We were quite miffed and made a bold decision to try our luck with a different hotel when we arrived in Hat Yai.

Turns out, we could actualy purchase hotel vouchers from the local KBES office in Hat Yai. These vouchers meant we could get cheaper room rates (minus the usual breakfast provided by most hotels).

Just in case, we made the usual reservations with Lee Garden Plaza Hotel but we thought that we would try a different hotel this year (if there were any vacancies).

So as soon as we arrived, we walked into the local KBES office. Lo and behold, we got ourselves checked into the Grand Plaza Hotel (7° 0' 20.00", 100° 28' 17.75")!

Goodbye Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel..
..Hello Grand Plaza!

The room at Grand Plaza was a ridiculous 680Bt and the extra bed a mere 200Bt. Better still, there was no surcharge nonsense during the Xmas period. And to top it off, it was right beside Lee Garden!

Having sorted out our accommodations, we freshened up and went to McDonalds for breakfast. I didn't take any photos coz I was not feeling well and left the camera behind.

After breakfast we headed to Robinson (7° 0' 14.25", 100° 28' 8.50") for the usual bout of shopping.

On our way to Robinson
A 10 minute walk, but Brendan still wished he could take a tuk-tuk instead
Robinson here we come!

We checked out a row of canopy-roofed stalls outside Robinson.

These row of stalls sold local delicacies
While this role sold clothing

We then had lunch at the same quaint little roadside shop (7° 0' 9.50", 100° 28' 9.00") behind Robinson that we had found last year.

Good ole authentic local dishes
The lady smiling sweetly coz she remembers us from last year
Caution: its flamingly spicy!
Let's eat

The lady who runs the shop was trying to regale us with tales of the big flood that hit Hat Yai just the month before. Our Thai was poor at best, so we couldn't quite follow, so she showed us a picture of the floods.
Her shop is somewhere in the centre of the photo

After lunch we decided to walk back to the hotel (Brendan was none too pleased, still hankering for a tuk-tuk ride).

Posing at every street corner
Another street corner
Someone tired already?

On the way back to our hotel we met this very smartly dressed gentleman.

Wonder where he works?
We didn't ask

We rested awhile at our hotel, and went out for tea time at Chester's Grille.

My 55Bt cafe mocha
Brendan had fried chicken and french fries
Lovely!

Then a quick pop to the local KBES office (7° 0' 22.00", 100° 28' 18.00") to purchase our return tickets.

Friendly service as ever

Xmas was in full swing in Hat Yai, judging by the red tree outside Lee Garden Plaza.

A red Xmas tree, how novel
This photo is now my computer's wallpaper

We then walked across the street to Central Department Store (7° 0' 21.25", 100° 28' 16.25") to get Brendan's school shoes, but they were out of his size.

Brendan goofing around with my camera while the salesgirl went hunting for his shoes

After dinner Brendan and I went for a foot massage (Cat couldn't coz it was 'that time of the month').

Ooh..
Aah..
Ooh..
Aah..

Off to bed for a good night's sleep. More adventures tomorrow!

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