Pass by Baling Hill, the limestone outcrops in Baling Town, a little town famous for the 1955 peace talks between Malayan Communist Party and the Government

After the tragedy of the van ambush, more and more Betong folks are going to Hadyai via Malaysia. Currently there is a shuttle bus traveling from Betong to Hadyai every day which costs 260 baht per trip. It is usually full and one has to make early reservation to get a seat.

I travel to Bangkok quite frequently, either for work or to catch an international flight from Bangkok to other places. As it takes only 1 ½ hour’s drive to Penang International Airport, I used to fly Air Asia from Penang to Bangkok. However, a few delay experiences have caused me to reroute by taking a flight from Hadyai International Airport. Nevertheless I hardly took the Yala route to Hadyai, but used the Malaysian route instead. Firstly being a security reason and secondly, to avoid the notorious winding road from Betong to Yala, which made me very sick every time.

It takes about 3 to 3 ½ hours driving from Betong to Hadyai Airport. Presently there is a new road under construction and once completed, it is expected to shorten the journey by at least 30 minutes.

As a frequent traveler, staying in the car for three to four hours is usual for me and it is the time for me to look at the view, to meditate, to rest and to sleep. Usually half of the journey I’d just be lying down on the back seat and zzzzz…. 

The route to Hadyai passes some small towns, villages, industrial zone and paddy fields. As Betong is a small valley town surrounded by mountains, one can only have short distance views and a slow drive. Therefore, speeding along the expressway with beautiful scenery passing by and viewing the vast paddy fields becomes a pleasurable experience. I really like the view of vast paddy fields alongside the expressway. Though they are not boundless like those in Cambodia, it is nevertheless the view one will long for when living in Betong town for too long!

Half way/The North-South Express Way

Paddy fields alongside expressway/The Malaysian Immigration Checkpoint

Leaving Malaysia and entering Thailand