For our previous trips, the standard plan to get from Alor Setar to Phuket in one day. This time however, our destination was much further north, and so we felt that it was a good idea to rest and recuperate in Hatyai for one night first after navigating the new Sadao crossing.
We gave ourselves a modest target of 280km to cover for the day, thinking that crossing Sadao on a Saturday could take anything from one to three hours. Thankfully, the crossing experience was extremely smooth and we cleared it within an hour. Travelling as a family with three young kids and my wife who has Cerebral Palsy, we were very grateful for the new, more straightforward immigration procedure, where we did not have to get off the car until the car was directly at the immigration booth. In previous years, it was a big pain having to park the car, walk quite a distance to the immigration booths and having to navigate the uneven ground, heavy traffic and confusing queues.
After clearing immigration in good time, we headed to our favorite lunch spot Tesco Lotus Sadao, only to find our preferred restaurant, The Pizza Company, closed. We settled for KFC, where we had the opportunity to get our son to complete his holiday homework of “Clearing the Tray at a Restaurant”.
Nowadays the schools have gotten very creative with their Character Education homework requirements. These are good initiatives, but add up to a little more stress for us parents, having to help engineer the learning situations and to take the photos to prove that the kids have done what was required!
After lunch, was just a short half hour drive to reach Hatyai. We didn’t have the opportunity to do much sightseeing today, the emphasis was just having a good nights rest and to be fully recharged for the two long days of driving ahead. There being no Accor hotel in Hatyai, we settled for the highly rated budget hotel M1 Residence (No Starhub or Singtel, only M1 haha) which exceeded our expectations greatly with a large clean room with space for the kids to run around and mess up.
After settling the family in, I went out to take a walk, to look around the area as well as to buy back some dinner for the family. The hotel was in the quiet area of town, so definitely less drama and not as “happening” as at the party centre, which is definitely what we prefer.
There were still some nice little cafes to hang out and interesting sights, like this huge little Eiffel tower at a shop which sells lights and signs.
This is part 5 of my 2018 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series, click HERE for part 6!
- Part 1 – 2018 Drive from Singapore to Thailand
- Part 2 – Getting a Grip
- Part 3 – Taiping Tyrannosaurus
- Part 4 – A Completely New Border Crossing
- Part 5 – First time in Hatyai
- Part 6 – Cantering Towards Chumphon
- Part 7 – Passport Panic
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