Thailand: last stop in Nakhon Si Thammarat & back to Malaysia, Penang
As you could understand in our last post, we left Ko Phangan under the sun after almost 5 days of rain. We took a ferry then a mini bus to get to Nakhon Si Thammarat, a town totally out of the touristic trail. Not sure why we chose to stop there, it is probably because we usually do not like to go back to one place and prefer to move forward to explore further. Magali has read that there was a few interesting places to visit in town and thought that after having being immersed in the colorful Ko Phangan, it would be interesting to just go off the beaten path for a couple of days.
At the Pier of Donsak, back on the continent, we were the only one going to Nakhon and were a bit lost when the mini van left us at the bus terminal. Our homestay was about 5km away and we were looking for a taxi or a songtaew, sort of a pick up very common in South East Asia as narrated in episode 26 to bring us to our accommodation. For the first time there was no one around, quite unusual as taxi men are habitually staying at the door step of the bus to try to get a ride from people disembarking. We walked up and down the street and suddenly saw a couple of taxi but they were taking a break and eating noodles in a joint nearby. We asked for help and one of the guys told us that we should use moto taxi and he took care to deal a ride with two guys (official ones wearing the famous orange vest) for 50 thai baht each (1.40 USD). We had no choice but to accept, well this time a bit more reassured, we were provided with helmets (see a short preview of our ride in Myanmar, when we were 3 on the same motorbike…OMG never again!)
Nakhon has a beautiful and very old temple, the Wat Phra Mahathat Woramaha Wihan, which has a strong Sri Lankan influence in its architecture, and we were keen to see it. The Chedi, also called stupa, is sacred and contains one of the Buddha’s relic. We liked the 73 grey chedis spread all around the big white one (momentarily under renovation).
After a couple of days in Nakhon, our last stop in Thailand, we were ready to leave the country. We liked being in Thailand and were a bit sad but we were also looking forward to go back to Malaysia and most of all to Pulau Penang. We visited Malaysia 5 years ago and we liked the island so much that despite our wish to avoid going back to already visited places, we definitely wanted to come back. Seems Georgetown, the old and colonial city, hasn’t changed much but we found out that we missed quite a few things on our first visit. The town is well known for its street art and we gladly wandered around the streets to find them. Also the Chinese mansions in the old town are so charming. We also went back to one of our favorite buddhist temple, Kek Lok Si. Located about 30 minutes by bus, it is easy to get to and even if a bit kitschy, it has a great atmosphere and offers a nice view of the town.
we specifically enjoy
- Nakhon: the visit of the Wat Phra Mahatat.
- Penang: the street art, the chinese temples of the old town and the Kek Lok Si temple.
- Nakhon: the Tree Home Plus Homestay, beautiful house made of wood, the room was super large and the bed so comfortable, however even if being a homestay we regret to not had better interaction with the owners as they were out most of the day and the housemaid couldn’t speak any english.
- Penang: the Cintra Heritage House, is a lovely mansion and the room was OK, however a bit dark and run down, nevertheless the location is unbeatable.
- Nakhon: the excellent Krua Nai Nang, no menu in english here. Some staff could fortunately speak some words of english to help us. The food is excellent, this was our restaurant for our stay. We kept going and going and going…
- Nakhon: Coté Café, close to the Wat Tao Kot temples, a nice café with good cakes for a well deserved break.
- Penang: the unbeatable Red Garden food court, every kind of Asian cuisine and very good seafood.
- Penang: the Mews Cafe, where we proudly wrote this article and edited the video of this week, good food, good Wifi, welcoming staff.