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Published: January 15th 2016
Everyone told me it is not safe to travel down that area in southern Thailand, yeah....I did a quick search on line and nothing but bomb explosion on the news in the past for Yala region, although not any recently incident, it still chopped down a worrying mark on my mind, so when I took the train to Yala after a short stay in Hat Yai, and I was riding with couple of military in the same compartment, suddenly I remembered those news I'd read..."the extremist mostly targeted the army and military". ou..oh...just when I was mumbling why they had to sit in my compartment but not the others, then I saw the approaching train from the opposite direction... there were military stationed in every compartment!!!! glad I didn't made a fool of myself by carry all my luggage to another carriage!
I wasn't dare to stop in Yala anyways, so I took a tuktuk to the minibus station right away for the ride down to Betong, my destination where I got an offer to help in an English club to tutoring the locals. Through the short ride from the train station to the minibus stop I caught a glimpse
of the city, there wasn't any serious danger atmosphere, people just go about their daily life, ngggg....should come back here later for a visit. The ride down to Betong mostly curve around deep green valley, and there were many military road block along the way, although you wouldn't feel and serious problem but the statement was there. They said you cannot use your mobile phone once inside Yala region until you register it with the police.
Betong is a small town right by the Malaysian border no more than 5km away. It main economic is rubber, you could see many rubber tree plantation all around the valley, you first impression must be the strange and bizzare milky smell of the rubber once you enter the region. Local told me the rubber business was a bit slow at the moment because of the shrinking of global economic. Betong is bless with warm climate in the hilly area, fruit variety are abundant. especially the King of Fruit - durian, every August there will be a festival for durian, and you can eat as much as you can...for free!!!! I'd already marked my calendar!!!! Like every places in Thailand, beside temple, waterfall
night scene in town
thousand of birds on wire
should be the most mentioned word in any tourist brochure, so sure you know where people would suggest me to visit in the area. Anyways...the main sight in town is the tallest mailbox in the world, the huge red tube stood right next to city gate when you entering the city from Yala, the gate was decorated with a Thai temple, Chinese pagoda and a muslim mosque, symbolic the united of 3 different ethnics in the region. My favourite place is the view tower above the interesting museum by the city park, a great hideout offered superb panorama of the city and cool breeze.
the tutoring work was fun, and it wasn't just young student, there are also adult from different walk of life, every Saturday a class would setup in the local market hall for some merchants to learn and practice English, all the people that I come across are super nice, if they has a noodle shop or restaurant they always wanted to take you to try their foods, whoever has a car or motorbike will show up anytime to drive you around for sight seeing. 5am drive up the mountain for sunrise and sea of cloud,
then of course....waterfall trip! And one day I was show to a home bakery for fresh bread. Another one show me to his pig farm, proudly introduced his bio-gas tank that consumed up all the waste and turned into energy for the need of the farm, beside...the place was cleaner than any other farm I'd seen, bio-gas really a great invention! There is also another guy took me to his rubber factory, where local tapper brought in their latex from their gum tree. Then I learn that the factory need to disintegrated the water from the latex before they can proceed further the line, to solidified and divided, to pressed and to dried, then the brownish rubber sheet were ready to export. Day started early in the English club as the owner had a small side business to sell soya milk in front of their house, so every morning before 4am his wife would prepared the soya bean, "the bean should be well soap up for 3 hours before grind" she emphasized, she'd point out that the milk will not be that good if over soaped. no wondered I couldn't stop drinking it whenever she hand me a glass, because
it was really so good!!! The husband would go exercise either jogging or cycling with other volunteer, I normally will heading to one of the morning market to look around, had a cup of sweet milk tea and people watch. my favour morning event. In between class, the best way to beat the heat is a dip in the local pool, sit and read on the beach chair, refresh and relax! Betong...a surprise and well worth stay!
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