Journey to Malaysia – Plane to Hat Yai & Van to Penang

We awoke Sunday morning and took a song taew (red shared taxi) to the airport, where we checked in with relatively no hassle. We hadn’t realized it at the time but we were given “hot seats” on Air Asia, which cost extra because they are the exit seats with more leg room and this meant we got to pre-board (this is when we noticed that we had been given these seats). Two hours later we arrived in Hat Yai, in southern Thailand.
We then took a blue shared taxi (like the one in the lower left corner of the picture below) downtown where we were pointed in the direction of the King’s Hotel. Across the street was the travel agency we had booked a bus trip with to Penang, Malaysia.
With only an hour to spare in Hat Yai, we decided to walk around a bit and see what we could of the town. There were several open air markets, all lined up with umbrellas and awnings over them alongside the streets.
The vendors here sold everything from fresh fruit to plastic toy cars. We even saw chestnuts roasting “over and open fire”. People standing near it, like us, were in danger of getting hit with a piece of coal sent flying from the very hot metal caldron:
The woman working the stall handled getting hit with coal rather well, showing all the passerbys how to take it like a woman!
We decided to buy some for the road:
And we passed a Muslim shoe store and Ligeia could not resist buying a pair of what she calls “the pointy shoes”:

At 3:30pm we were sitting in a very deluxe van with cushy mustard yellow seats, air-conditioning and even a movie screen, along with two Japanese guys, a Thai man and an Indonesian woman. We were told it was 1 1/2 hrs to the Malaysian border and during that time, Mr. Don, our driver, played a DVD of scantily clad woman “dancing” on stage at an international car show. The DVD featured up close shots of the women’s crotches, breasts and butts, and every once in awhile, showed a glimpse of a car. This went on for the 1st hour, when thankfully he put on a Thai comedy. Although we couldn’t understand the language, we were able to enjoy the Thai slapstick style comedy, replete with sound effects to accentuate glances and surprised looks or someone’s pants falling down. Again, this movie had a sexual theme.

But then, we had arrived at the border, when we all piled out of the van, waited in line at Thailand’s exit immigration, and were picked up on the other side. I’m sorry to say that this is where we lost the Thai passenger, who, for some reason, was not allowed beyond this point. On we drove to the Malaysian immigration where we again, piled out of the van, waited in line trying to remember the few Malaysian phrases we had leaned the last time we were in Malaysia and after putting our bags in an X-ray machine were picked up again and on we journeyed onward to the island of Penang, which is connected to the mainland by a 7-kilometer bridge.

After another 2 hours of the same semi-porn video we began with, we had reached Penang, which was one hour ahead of Thailand.

We found our hotel (Guest Inn Muntri) with ease, went looking for food and settled in for the night.

Stay tuned for our first day’s adventures in Penang!

Mindy and Ligeia :):)

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