Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hot Nights In Hat Yai

I always remembered Hat Yai from this Singapore album "Why You So Like That?" where one of the skits was called Hot Nights In Hat Yai. I had never been to that part of Thailand before, well at least not until last week.

It was a simple weekend getaway where the only thing confirmed was our flight ticket. Nothing else was booked beforehand, since we will be there from Sunday to Wednesday, knowing that there will be plenty of empty rooms in the hotels around the town. Ended up staying in Lee Garden, a 33 storey shopping complex cum hotel.

Hat Yai is like a huge Taiping where everything is within walking distance though I suspect the population is much larger than Taiping. One thing I really like was that the groceries are 10% - 20% cheaper than Malaysia (my kind of groceries anyway like instant noodles, chewing gums, soft drinks, etc.). Next time will come & stock up on more stuff to bring back.

So what are the hot nights in Hat Yai? Well Hat Yai is known for its 'escort' service. Here, young boys or old men go about in search for the perfect evening with one of the many Thai (there were some from Myanmar & Indonesia as well) ladies in service. For approximately 2,000 baht, this ladies will be at your beck and call for up to 24 hours (supposedly from around 10 am till the next morning). Of course all other incidentals are purchased by the guys during that 24 hr period. I won't go into details but suffice to say these ladies are at the men's beck and call.

I did have the chance to speak to one of them over supper. She was 27 years old and is the youngest child in a family of five (with two older brothers). Coming from the north, she came to Hat Yai to look for enough money to start her own business though she is not sure what business she wants to dabble in. Accordingly she doesn't come too often, only when money is tight, but she's been in the line for almost 2 years. Anyhow, she mentioned she will settle down before hitting 30 back in her hometown, hopefully with her own family and business venture.

Now I don't speak Thai but actually in Hokkien with the majority of the Hat Yai population. Its like the 2nd language here, and I ended up being the translator for my colleagues when we were travelling around town. Not that my command of Hokkien is any good, but at least its good enough to bargain for prices, negotiate taxi fares, ask for directions, and discuss about personal life. Its no wonder I noticed a few cars with Penang number plates on the streets.

One other thing which is great about this city is that the massages are super cheap. Only RM 24 for a 2-hr Thai massage. Furthermore the place we went looked very professional (not the parlors with extra services), and the massages were very good. If only PJ have a parlor like that, I would have visit it every other day.

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