It took 9.5 hours, but we made it to Hat Yai safely!
No one can expect a great nights sleep on a bus, but it wasn’t so bad. We chose Inter Top, one of the nicer “executive” bus options, which cost us roughly USD 12 per person. The seats reclined to a decent level and there was a bar to rest your feet on, under the seat in front of you. However, there was no bathroom on the bus, which was extremely inconvenient for those who like to stay hydrated during the night. There were no pillows or blankets on the bus, so I curled up in my seat and used my jacket as a pillow and Sam shared his sleeping bag with me, which we used as a blanket. Without the two, I wouldn’t have slept a wink. Come prepared.
We were woken up several times from 4am onward as we stopped for gas and crossed borders. Our bus wasn’t full, but ours was one of several to be crossing the border in the early morning, so we did have to wait in line for about 45 minutes before we got back on the road. We ended up making it into town at around 9 am.
When we finally arrived in Hat Yai, we posted up at a Starbucks to make some plans for the rest of our stay. We ended up staying at V-Ocean Palace. It was a fair value for the price and in a safe section of town. The hotel unfortunately ended up being my favorite part of Hat Yai. After checking in, we took some showers and rested up from our long night of travels before heading out to find some dinner and finding bus tickets to Phuket.
It was raining when we woke up so we took a TukTuk to a small shopping center closer into town to get some lunch. Through a “miscommunication” (rip off), we ended up paying the TukTuk double what he had quoted us, it took us nearly four hours to find lunch, it was raining, and Sam was catching a cold. We were frustrated, desperate for a fresh meal, and tired from having walked all over town. Everywhere we went it seemed the locals just wanted to make an extra buck and we went back to our hotel without bus tickets for the next day to Phuket. We spent the evening with a couple jugs of orange juice and made the plan to arrive at the bus station the next morning and hope for the best.
We arrived at the bus station at 8:30am, and as luck would have it, the next bus was departing at 9am. It was a double stacked executive bus with a bathroom and about half the price of what we were being quoted in town. We got some drinks and snacks and boarded the bus shortly after 9. 7.5 hours later, we arrived in Phuket…