合艾 New Season Square Hotel／李明熙
合艾巿不大，從火車站走到我們下榻的 New Season Square Hotel 只需 15 分鐘，但已經走過了合艾幾條主要的商業街道。我們沒為意，錯進了 New Season Hotel，前枱職員看看訂房帳號，指示我們到旁邊全巿最新落成的 New Season Square Hotel。
New Season Square Hotel 的大堂金碧輝煌，落地玻璃加上高樓低，得到大量天然光照進來，氣派跟剛路過的酒店有顯著不同，非常光鮮。前枱職員用流利的英語問我們要吸煙或非吸煙房，我們表示要非吸煙房，她便拿出小小的條約，說明若在房間吸煙便要罰款。看來這間新酒店對不守規矩的客人的確有一套，從我們的角度來看，這是房間整潔衛生的保證，我們欣然簽下條約。
我們的雙人床房間超大，再多放一張乒乓球枱也有比賽的空間。強烈的空調是合艾的良伴，加上高速 Wifi 和衛星電視，我們決定下午留在酒店休息，入黑才出動到夜市。
所謂出動，也只不過是走出酒店門外的大馬路而已，原來日間冷清的 Prachathipat 路，晚間搖身一變成為熱鬧的路邊熟食夜巿，從串燒到高檔燕窩，都是平民價位。但在馬路上吃燕窩總覺不合格調，所以我隨便走進一間燕窩店，看看價目，點了碗細的，100 銖，當然是燕窩碎啦！但補品這玩意，每天吃才有用，偶爾一碗半碗，不用吃得貴，付飯後甜品的價錢，補補胃口就可以了。
24 Hours in Hat Yai/Kimberlogic
When planning our trip from Bangkok to Malaysia, we began searching for a city to stop in to break up the long journey. The only real city with accommodations and transportation centers was Hat Yai. Hat Yai is a small town in Southern Thailand near the Malaysian border.
With a quick look at hotels and train and bus schedules, we decided to stay there for one night. After our trip was booked I began doing more research to find out what we could do in Hat Yai. To say I didn’t find much is an understatement; I didn’t find anything! Hat Yai is the biggest “city” in southern Thailand, but really it is just a small town for mainly Malaysian tourists to go shopping.
Besides shopping, the only other reoccurring theme in my research was the news about terror attacks in the city. Unlike the terror attacks in the news today, these attacks are mainly limited to the southern region of Thailand and are between the government and separatist groups, although there have been many civilian causalities. So, with this information I was a little uncomfortable with our choice of stopping in Hat Yai.
When we arrived in Hat Yai, it was nothing like I imagined it to be. It was a very small, quiet town with no signs of hostility. We left the train station on foot and after walking through almost the entire town, we checked into the New Season Square Hotel. On the short walk from the train station to the hotel I could feel a difference in culture. Although we were still in Thailand, it sure didn’t seem the same as any other part of Thailand I had been to before. It felt like we had already crossed the Malaysian border.
Later that night the cultural change was even more evident when we were having dinner. All of the food on the menus was not the same kind of spicy Thai dishes you normally find. Majority of the dishes were Malaysian. We had chicken rice, pork bone soup and fried noodles. Although the food was tasty, there was very little spice in anything we ordered.
After the meal, we wandered the streets looking for something to do, but came up empty handed. There were a few streets with a couple of vendors, but not enough to keep us entertained for long. Finally, we decided to try and check out the view of the city from Lee Garden Plaza, one of the tallest buildings in the city. We were able to get up to the top floor, but there were no look out points.
On our way back down we found a nice, clean looking Thai massage place in the building. Since we were out of options with things to do for the evening, we booked a 90 minute Thai massage. Never having a Thai-style massage before, I was a little nervous I was going to get beat up. Although I left with a couple of bruises, the Thai massage was actually very relaxing and a fantastic way to end the evening.