Tag Archives: southern thailand

Sungai Kolok a Cowboy Town

Just after the Bridge, Immigration couter is in the building on the right. You can just walk straight without entering the building.

Sungai Kolok ( สุไหงโก-ลก) used to be famous with tourists from neighbouring country, Malaysia. However since the rise of the seperatist groups in Southern Thailand where there were shootings, bombings etc few years ago, the town slowly turns to be a very quiet town.

On the way into the town from the border.

Normally on weekends, it might be very difficult to find a hotel room in this border town. However now, it is very easy and you might be given discount for weekends. The border security in Sungai Kolok is not that tight. The Sungai Kolok – Rantau Panjang Bridge connects Thailand and Malaysia.

Entering the town.

Vendors from both countries use the bridge a lot. However, the checkpoint in Malaysia is very strict. You need to pass the immigration counter so that your passport or border pass will be stamped. However, after walking across the bridge, you can just walk straight without ignoring the Thai Immigration counter which is situated on the right hand side.

Quite empty.

There are plenty of motorcycle taxis around that area. They charge around 20 Baht from the border into the town which is about 1km. Holding 2 nationalities is very comfortable for me to walk in and out between these two countries.

Very quiet even on the day time.

Sungai Kolok is like other Thai border towns. There are Thai, Thai Chinese and Thai Muslim all over. There are also army in almost every parts of the town. For me, without those bombings or shootings, Sungai Kolok is a very perfect town. Not so big or small. Just nice. In Sungai Kolok, the locals speak Yawi, one of the dialect in Malay Language. Thai is being use in the town as well. Some of the Chinese families in the town speak perfect Chinese language.

Downtown

Main street in Sungai Kolok

On the Malaysian side. The immigration counter is in the building which everyone has to go through. It is a little strict than the Thai.

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Gun fight in Pattani

A wounded soldier is rushed to a hospital on Tuesday following a gunfight wtih insurgents in Pattani’s Khok Pho district on Tuesday. Six insurgents were killed while two soldiers were injured.

The Nation

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Anti-Thaksin in Pattani

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A soldier walks past a banner at a market in Pattani’s Muang district which criticised Thaksin Shinawatra of being a traitor and trying to sell Thailand to Cambodia.

The Nation

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Travelling by train back to Thailand

JungleTrain2Malaysian Locomotive

From Malaysia, travelling by train is more comfortable than express buses.  I used to travel by train back to Thailand few times. It took almost 13-14 hours depending on how long the train stops at each station. Normally, the Malaysian train (KTMB) operating from the main hub in Kuala Lumpur Sentral until their last station on the Malaysian side of Padang Besar. For travellers who travel to Hatyai, they might need to wait for the Thai locomotive to bring the coaches and continue until Hatyai. From Hatyai, travellers will need to change train if they continue their journey to Bangkok.

Image00003IMAGE024_2KTMB Coaches

IMG_1938Lower Sleeping Booth

Ticket can be purchased at the Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station. To Hatyai, it costs around 570++Baht for lower sleeping booth which has more space and is more comfortable. The price for the upper booth is just 50 or 60Baht cheaper. The sitting coach ticket is cheaper.

DSCN3240Padang Besar Station(including Malaysian Immigration and Thai Immigration as well)

At the Padang Besar Station, all passengers need to get down with their luggages as KTMB will only let the Thai locomotive which is operate by (SRT) to bring 1 sitting coach and 1 sleeping coach. Malaysian border police will get on the train to make sure that all passengers get down. For those who will continue their journey to Hatyai, they need to go through the Malaysian Immigration checkpoint and then walk to the other side for the Thai Immigration Checkpoint. Both located in the same building. The border towns too share the same name. Padang Besar.

DSC02278Hatyai Junction

While waiting for the train to come back, I normally go to the toilet to brush my teeth and wash my face. After about 30 minutes, all passengers are allow to get back on the train. This time, Thai railway police will be joining from Padang Besar to Hatyai. There are some touts who will go along and ask travellers with backpack if they need a taxi or van to Krabi or Phuket. Each time I travel by train, I will come across the same Muslim lady which I assume to be a Thai who works for KTMB as a cleaner on the train. She has a side job which is an illegal money changer. She gives better rate than license money changer.

959484-tuk-tuk-0Tuk Tuk in Hatyai

Once the train reaches Hatyai Junction, there are more touts coming over and ask if you need a tuk tuk truck. They are cheap and just bargain with them if they offer you more than 100Baht to your destination as the price should not be more than that. The train station is in the city itself and just few blocks away from Lee Garden which is the city center. I sometimes walk there. I only take the tuk tuk truck if I am going to the bus terminal as it is quite far by foot.

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Loy Krathong in Pattani

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Police in Pattani’s Nong Chik district test their Krathong on a canal Sunday before sending it to contest in Loy Krathong Festival. The province is one of deep south provinces which have suffered daily violence.

The Nation

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Buddhist man shot and torched in Pattani

An owner of a motorcycle repair shop in his southern border province was shot inside his shop in the heart of the city centre Wednesday.

Insurgents also torched the body of Sayan Naknukul, 40.

The man’s son, who escaped by hiding inside a toilet room, told police that four men arrived on two motorcycles and two of them went inside the shop, located on Yarang Road in Muang district, and opened fire at Sayan.

The son said the attackers also chased after him but he locked himself inside a toilet room. When he emerged from the toilet room, he found the burned body of his father.

The Nation

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Railway unionists continue their strike Sunday

Contrary to an announcement made earlier by governor of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), train services in the three southernmost provinces failed to resume Sunday.

Not a single train moved in the country’s deep South.

Many passengers showed up at local train stations Sunday only to face disappointment.

The stoppage continued mainly because negotiations between SRT labour union and representatives of the SRT management failed Saturday night.

“Train services have not yet resumed because more than 80 per cent of train drivers feel they are not ready to go back to their work yet,” Wiroon Sakaekhum Sunday said in capacity as the head of Hat Yai branch of SRT labour union.

The Nation

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Suspected insurgent leader arrested in Yala

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A suspected leader of a local insurgent group was arrested here Tuesday.

Col Komkrit Ratanachaya, commander of Paramilitary Troopers Taskforce 41, said Mayusoh Jehbu, who was wanted on two arrest warrants, was arrested at a house in Moo 4 village in Tambon Korlam in Raman district.

Komkrit said Mayusoh was a leader of a local insurgent group.

The Nation

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Muslim man killed in Narathiwat

A Muslim man was shot dead apparently by an insurgent inside his construction material shop in this southern border province Tuesday.

Police said Isma-ae Jehloh, 57, was shot and killed while selling his goods inside his shop in Moo 2 village in Tambon Rusoh Ok of Rusoh district.

Police said an assailant on the back of a pick-up truck shot him when the truck was driving by in front of the shop at 9:30 am.

The Nation

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Nearly all local train services from Hat Yai suspended

The Hat Yai-Sungai Kolok train was the only local train that was in service Saturday as railway unionists still refused to provide services from other local trains.

The unionists commanded locomotives of other trains to Hat Yai depot for safety checks.

As a result, the services for other local routes, such as Pattani-Yala, Narathiwat-Patthalung, and Nakhon Si Thammarat-Chumporn were cancelled.

The Nation

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