Day 1: Chiang Mai to Betong, Yala Province via Hat Yai, Songkhla Province
Destination: Betong Sub-district, Yala Province, Thailand
Accommodation: Garden View Betong Hotel
Restaurant: Ta Yern Chinese Restaurant (大人饭店）
It took me about 2 hours and 15 minutes from Chiang Mai International Airport to Hat Yai International Airport by AirAsia to join my friends, who are flying in from Bangkok (Don Mueng Airport) with AirAsia. My flight landed just an hour before my friends so I went ahead and grab coffee and breakfast whilst waiting and done some more reading up on Betong since this is my first time here. I feel better to be at least well prepared or learn about the culture of the place before my visit.
I’m really excited about this trip, especially when I learned that there are so many lovely things to see, amazing restaurants and Dim Sum houses to check out for breakfast and I was there just in time for Betong Food Festival, 30 March – 7 April 2017 I am definitely in for such a massive feast!
My friends arrived at about 10:00 am and we got some food before Betong Pothong Tour’s driver called to confirm the departure time for Betong. It took us about 4 hours and 30 minutes from Hat Yai to Betong, Yala Province! It may seems a little crazy with curves and climbing up the mountains, but it’s all worth it as you will find out later on why I feel that way 🙂
Taking off from Chiang Mai International Airport – It was such a beautiful day, the sun is out and the sky is clear 🙂
Took off from Hat Yai, Songkhla Province and headed to Betong, Yala Province. Along the way I noticed that, there were so many Chinese-Thai people on the van, my fellow travellers’ spoken language seem to be Chinese Cantonese and Mandarin!!!
Later on my friends then explained that majority of people from Betong are Chinese Cantonese and most of them are working, living or relocated else where but they will travel back to Betong for Qing Ming Festival (Tomb-Sweeping Day) every year to clean the tomb, burial grounds and pray to their ancestor’s.
I feel so honoured to be here and travelling with my friends for such a special events with her family and most importantly I get to see another part of Thailand that I’ve yet to discovered!
I dozed off just a wee bit there as the curse and the mountains got me a wee bit dizzy (also from my hangover) and Voila as I open my eyes again, this is what I see and I quickly captured this beautiful sights
Arrived in Betong Sub-district, Yala Province at about 16:15 hrs. I was knackered and felt so agitated…I didn’t wanna anything at that point and all I wanted was bed period.
By the time we arrived, checked in to our hotel at Garden View Betong Hotel, it was pissing it down so hard that we could hardly walk out to the night market or explore around the hotel. Thank God! my friends’ niece was just around the area to come by and drove us around to get all the Qingming praying stuff sorted right before dinner!
Dinner at Ta Yern Restaurant (大人饭店）
The rain couldn’t stop our food hunt mission at Ta Yern Restaurant, we were actually looking forward to a signature dish of Ta Yern, the frog and the Betong Chicken in gravy. By the time we got there, the place was almost full house and we had to move to upstairs (air-conditioned room) the place is massive!
As soon as we settled in at one table, the waitresses came over to take our food order; as my friends were busy ordering and discussion the dishes. I realised that I am not actually in the Southern Thai LOL! I mean pun intended of course! I mean everyone here literally speaking Cantonese, this is actually their dialect and I felt like home – like really really homely feeling. Even the dishes and people around me, a complete strangers smiled at me and I smiled back with fluffy heart and feel so comforting to be here! How nice!
Ta Yern Restaurant – Highly Recommend dishes are:
- Pork Fermented Bean Curd(หมูเต้าหู้ยี้ทอด 猪肉豆腐乳)
- Betong Chicken (ไก่เบตงสับ – 勿洞鸡)
- Stir fried Watercress (ผัดผักน้ำ 清炒西洋菜 Note: Traditionally Watercress often used for double boiled soup with pork bone and dried red jujube(干红枣) to get rid of body heatiness )
- Deep fried Frogs (炸田鸡)
- Stir fried Petai with prawn in belacan (Shrimp paste) (虾炒臭豆）
- Spiced Pork (五香扣肉)
- Steamed Fish with sour plum, Chinese style (草鱼蒸酸梅)
This is just for dinner on our first day in Betong, I cannot wait for Qing Ming Festival tomorrow as I’m super excited about the places we will be visiting and a lot more to discover!