PC398 Ranong to Khota Bharu in Malaysia Monday 19/11/07 ...
To Long Suan
across the mountain to the east coast to Long Suan, walk around, tried to go to next town Lamae, wrong ST to Paknam; strange aircraft carrier building. Got Lamae .. not interesting. Students gave me ride to Tha Chana, met teachers who have hotel business. Trouble the town has little within walking distance. Beach 5Km, mountain temple 5Km

Fri - Tha Chana
Walked around Limestone Rock outcrops. Bus to Phuntip. ST to Wiangsa another typical, but boring Thai town. To Thung Song hotel walked around.

Sat- Roy Krathong Festival Day
Decided best way is to take the night train another 6 hours south to Yala. Walked around found a park with a cave which goes through the limestone rock hill to the other side. It's filled with Buddas of course.

Maybe the Thai equivalent of Christmas. Everyone takes their float to put in in the river. It's made of a slice of banana tree trunk decorated with flowers with a lit candle in the middle. I stood on the bridge watching the people carefully dropping them into the water 30m away.

The thing is under the bridge are rapids so they all get overturned anyway so it seems pointless to me. Which reminds me why don't those people who whinge about climate get so excited about Christmas when it's a complete waste of energy and time ?

In the park people were sending paper balloons into the sky- photo
video 1, video 2

While I was waiting for the 2am train my bag started moving. A rat had bitten through the zip !

Sun - Yala/ guerrilla territory
Few tourists go into this area south of Hat Yai cos the occasional bombings and shootings. The train staff changed, some had guns in fact soldiers ride at the front of the train. Stations had some barbed wire sections. Army patrols were seen by the trackside.

The city of Yala had a few troops scattered around. I walked around for 3 hours and up to the lakepark etc. Then I took a train to the Sungei Kolok border another 2 hours away. For some reason my passport took 10 minutes to process instead of the 1 minute for everyone else. After crossing I waited ages for a bus then 1 hour to Kota Bharu.

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