The Kota Bharu Road Trip Day 1 – Ko Yao Noi to Songkhla
Quite a simple day really.
The start is always a bit slow. The car ferry is usually late, but rarely by more than twenty minutes, and after the ferry, getting to the other side of Krabi town can take a while. So it was after 10am before I started to make any real progress.
I was aiming for the Central Mosque in Songkhla, a 300km southwesterly hop across the country. I’d calculated I’d arrive at 1:45pm, and in fact, arrived at 1:45pm! This was despite encountering a multi-vehicle pile-up, which you can pretty-much guarantee finding on any road trip in Thailand.
They were probably practicing for Songkran – the forthcoming seven-day Buddhist New Year holiday during which road deaths exceed forty – per day! Every year the government introduces new measures aimed at reducing this number, and every year the number increases. It’s quite some achievement. I’m aiming to be back home before the real silliness starts.
Why would I be heading for a mosque? This aerial photo should answer that question…
It’s somewhere I’d been meaning to visit. It looked like the perfect place to make an aerial video.
But from either my previous home in Khanom, or my present home in Ko Yao Noi, it seemed like a long way to go to visit a mosque, no matter how nice it looked. I figured it best to visit if I ever found myself making a trip that went anywhere near Songkhla. Sort of going from A to B via Songkhla … and that’s exactly what this trip entailed.
Now, if you’re hoping for the full story of how it came to be built, how long it took, where the raw materials came from, when it opened, etc., etc., I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. Like most attractions in Thailand, the amount of information available could be written on the back of a postage stamp. It almost seems like it was built to attract Malaysian tourists, as the majority of signs is only in Bahasa Malaysia and Jawi. The latter is a way of writing Malay in Arabic script.
Signs telling you not to drive on the pathways that border the reflecting lake, and to remove shoes before entering the mosque, do not really answer my many questions. I can’t even tell you if it’s open – in the sense of serving as a place of worship. If the answer is “yes” then I’d have to think it’s not a very popular place.
I’d made a note that in the event I arrived early, I should visit someplace else first. It was Friday. And every male Muslim strives to attend Friday midday prayers. I’d imagined it being mobbed with worshipers. Nope. It wasn’t, and there were no indications that it had been. But there was a line of tourist buses all with Malaysian license plates.
So, like me, you can take a good look at the place, but you can’t bore your grandchildren with facts and figures. Maybe this is a good thing!
The interior is relatively sparse, but functional…
I wasn’t sure if photography was permitted, but there were no signs in any language to say it was not, so I respectfully took just a few, and scooted out before anyone could complain.
As I mentioned, I wanted to make an aerial video…
…the results of which you can find HERE.
Oh, and I should explain, I went twice. After the first visit I headed off to a market, which I’ll cover in the next article. And then returned to the mosque at sunset. I think it was worth the effort…