"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are..." - Theodore Roosevelt
(15 - 16 January 2011)
|(Group photo @ Welly's Batu Caves)|
We joined the convoy with more than 50 bikers and crossed the Malaysia-Thailand border for a one-night stay in Betong. The town reminds me of a Malay fantasy story ‘Anak buluh Betong’ played by Ahmad Mahmood and Aziz Jaafar. The movie was about a man who was actually the son of the bamboo demon who grew up wild and overthrew his adopted father who is the Sultan of this country.
|(Refuelling @ Petronas)|
|(Lunch break @ Tasik Raban)|
Betong is in a district of Yala Province, situated in the southernmost Thailand in Sankalakhiri mountain range. It borders the Malaysian states of Kedah and Perak. Its terrain is mostly mountainous and hilly with forested plateaus. About 1,900 feet above sea level, 140km from Yala and 1,224km from the capital city of Bangkok.
|(Immigration Malaysia/Thai border checks)|
Betong, meaning bamboo, in Malay has a population of less than 50,000 mostly Muslims and Chinese, the majority of its people are agriculturists. Climatically, it is the same as peninsular Malaysia, under the influence of the Southwest and Northwest monsoons with a lot of rain and the weather is nice and cool with fog in the morning. This is perhaps how it got its nickname. We had a relaxing foot massage and spent our free time to ride around town and snapped pictures of some of Betong local scenes and attractions.
|(A clock tower in the centre of town)|
World's Largest Mailbox
The mailbox is located at the Clock Tower Intersection in the town center. It was built in 1924. The purpose of this mail-box is to distribute news and to give services in posting and distributing mails for the people of Betong. It is made of reinforced concrete, with a cylindrical shape body. At a total height of 320cm, it is at present used as an ordinary mailbox.
|(World largest mail box?)|
The Betong Mongkollit tunnel is situated in the town area, a pretty short tunnel connecting to the south. The temple behind is the Hilltop Yala Shrine.
|(Mongkollit Tunnel and Hilltop Shrine)|
Betong Central Mosque
Al-Jamek Al-Ahmadi Mosque is located on the river bank is equipped with basic necessities. The water supply is from the natural spring that comes from the ground exactly below the mosque and piped to be drained at the abolution area. The water from the stream is cool and crystal clear.
|(Al-Jamek Al-Ahmadi Mosque)|
This spectacular chedi sits atop a hill at the eastern edge of town. The chedi is faced with four sparklingly gold Buddhas in four different poses. At the base of the chedi is a massive 80m tall bronze Buddha -- the largest in Thailand. The views from the top of the chedi over town are splendid.
Betong Hot springs:
These hot springs can hard-boil an egg in 7 minutes. The springs have been built into a pool structure with a walkway to the centre where the water is extremely hot. The rest of the pond is very warm and there is a second pond where you can dangle your feet for some supposed mineral medical miracle.
|(Betong Hot Springs)|
Excavated by Malayan communists in 1976 to avoid bombardment, this network of tunnels stretches for over a kilometre and is in a lush jungle setting. It is not as massive as the Chu Chi tunnels in Vietnam. There is also a very interesting museum on site tracing the struggle the communists fought and ultimately lost.
|(The Piyamit Tunnel)|