Having fully embraced most of the well trodden backpacker locations throughout Thailand, over approximately 6 weeks, I wanted to explore the lesser visited areas and specifically the deep South. However, recent reports of almost daily bombings in Yala and warnings on the FCO website not to go there wasn’t encouraging. So rather than dismiss the idea based on hearsay, we headed South to Nakhon Si Thammarat, located in the province of the same name; far enough from danger but nearer to the action and hopefully more up to date info.
My daily routine now consists of checking the FCO website and keeping track of the latest news in the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla. It seems that the latter should only involve essential travel in the area on the Thai-Malaysia border, so after Nakhon Si Thammarat we took a deep breath and prepared ourselves for our next desination, Songkhla via Hat Yai (the latter is apparently in the no go area?).
However, Hat Yai seemed fairly safe and tourist friendly, although the well documented 2012 bombings that occurred here and in Yala have impacted the number of visitors here. It seems to be used by travellers predominantly as a transport hub between Malaysia and Thailand.
Songkhla is just 20 minutes away and has a completely different atmosphere where you feel somewhat safer and it’s busy with , as per my post: holidaymakers, but no Western tourists.
I really enjoyed getting off the beaten track as you can see from the posts linked in the text above, and I still hope to make it back to Hat Yai and possibly Yala.
We are currently in Malaysia and next week, will be heading to the Perhentian Islands to work on a volunteer project with turtles. I can’t wait for that, but will in the meantime, hopefully get some decent internet and be able to upload the photos of Southern Thailand and the low down on Penang and Langkawi.