Whenever it’s possible, I think it’s nicer to arrive at a place slowly, on water.
So when I looked at the ways to reach Songkhla (see map in previous article) I chose to travel down that blue line next to the coast, and to cross into Songkhla city via the ferry. The alternative was anyways quite a long detour to the southwest, and back up into the city.
This was the only time Ms. Chuckles made a mistake on the whole trip. She announced “In 300 meters turn left and immediately take the ferry.” It seemed like an odd thing to say. As though there was some urgency, and on no account could I stop for a pee. But what she didn’t know was that in those 300 meters there was a long line of traffic, also waiting to “immediately take the ferry.”
“Immediately” turned into thirty minutes. No big deal. The sea views were nice. And the crossing eventually took about ten minutes.
About 80 kms from Songkhla I thought “I’ve picked the wrong day.” It had been sunny the whole way with pleasant scenery. And then I realized I was headed straight at a large storm. The kind you wouldn’t want to fly though; and it seemed to be sitting on top of Songkhla city! As it happened, the road turned slightly left, and the storm stayed slightly right, only dropping a few drops of water, before eventually ending up behind me.
I should add, even though the road is maybe 250 meters from the shore, I only managed one brief glimpse of the sea before arriving at the ferry terminal. The land seems to be sightly raised next to the beach, and then drops away down to the road level. Shame.
Meanwhile, back at the ferry terminal: actually “terminal” is an all too grandiose term for what is just a ticket booth and a strip of concrete that leads, ungarded, straight into the sea. If you were not paying attention and forgot to make the hairpin left onto the motorized barge that serves as the ferry, there would be a very large splash!
Anyways, to get you into a Songkhla mood, arriving by sea as I did, here’s some ferry pix…
Not far from the ferry terminal on the city side there’s a hill – Khao Tang Kuan. It has a temple at the top. Now, a hill without a temple at the top would be a big surprise. I decided to head up there first so I could look at the whole area and get my bearings. You can walk, or you can step into something that looks like an elevator car, except it goes up the hillside at about a 45 degree angle, through a metal tube. Quite bizarre.
Here’s some views from the top, along with the wat and a lighthouse.
There are steps to the top as well as the elevator, and the tourist information recommends walking down, in order to see other buildings and different views. To be honest, I hadn’t planned to do that, but I’d already gone down about a hundred steps to reach Sala Wihan Daeng, the red pavilion, and I thought what the heck, might as well keep going. So here’s the pavilion and the views on the way down…
When I arrived at the bottom of the hill, I had no idea where I was. Certainly nowhere near the main entrance, nor anywhere near where I’d left Bert. And this being Thailand, there were no signs. Clearly I was going to have to walk around the base of the hill to get back to where I’d started. But, which way?
Needless to say, I picked the wrong way, and must have walked, unnecessarily, around 95% of the hill. Looking down at my feet I could see no shadow, so I figured it must be as close to midday as you could get – and it was hot. If I say it was hot, it was HOT! But travelling by car with luggage does has its advantages, as a change of shirt was needed and executed.