Why should one go to Hat Yai?
No reason at all, unless maybe you are a Chinese angkong from nearby Malaysia, looking for cheap deals on pearls and gold.
Maybe you like being neither here nor there.
In that case Hat Yai is perfect because it feels like a city in transition, I would even say it is liminal- a place that is both old and new.
Hat Yai is just a quiet border town, sandwiched between the beautiful beaches of Krabi and the infinitely more pristine Langkawi or Penang. We were only supposed to stop in Hat Yai for a few hours or a night at most, if we can help it. We wanted to ride the overnight train to Kuala Lumpur- a slow and expensive affair, but I love trains and Alex loves me, and since love makes you do crazy things, we’d happily be sloth- stuck in this situation together.
“There’s always a way if you’re not in a hurry.”
― Paul Theroux, The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari
Imagine that you have a teleporter machine. It is a very simple piece of technology. Basically, the way it works is it eliminates the empty space between molecules. The idea from this invention is from a quote that claimed, “if you were to condense the size of the universe, it will only be about the size of an apple.” So you can displace yourself from your home in Montreal, and *poof* be in Angkor Wat with a single stride.
You would not have traffic, and very little carbon emissions. Then again, you also give up on those pensive bus rides. As well as places like Hat Yai.
Hat Yai is dusty. It is hot and humid. It doesn’t have the chaos of Bangkok or the excitement of the beer soaked Koh Phi Phi. Hawker stands were a rare sight. Fanny-packed farangs were far and few in between.
Hat Yai is the Thailand that most people wouldn’t know. It is her quiet beauty, after she has washed her face, free of lipstick.