Ann and I loves road trips. And I love it even more if it is on 2 wheels. When one of our pals Yazid, suggested a motorcycle road trip to a little town called Betong in Southern Thailand Yala Province, we packed our bags, started our motorcycles and off we went.
We started our trip from Singapore. We travelled to Malaysia via Tuas to the North-South Highway. We exited the highway near Ipoh and rode the Gerik Highway to Pengkalan Hulu where the Malaysia-Thai border is situated. The overnight ride with three pit stops took us more than 10 hours.
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If you are riding to Betong do bring the necessary paperwork for your vehicle such as insurance, log card and of course your passport too.
Tip: Fill up the arrival form at the checkpoint, and prepare to pay RM2/person. There is also someone at the border counter who can also fill up the forms for you if you are feeling lazy.
History of Betong
The word Betong is loosely translated to Bamboo in Malay. The district is the Southernmost point of Thailand and is situated in Yala province. The distance between Singapore to Betong is about 740km.
Betong is surrounded by mountains which results in a cool climate in the city! The high rainfall and frequent fog in the province gave the nickname, The City in the Fog with Beautiful Flowers. As of 2005 the city has less than 25 000 inhabitants but surprisingly they have many tourist attractions that are in the record books!
Mandarin Betong is situated right smack in the city centre and it is the tallest building in the city that you cannot miss it. It offers one of the best accommodation in Betong backed by reviews from fellow riders.
The rooms are comfy, have great views of the city and they even have an outdoor pool. When we checked in, the Hotel Manager even gave us a parking spot right in front of the hotel entrance! That is what we call great service. 🙂
The hotel have everything you need to make your stay a pleasant one.
Check out Mandarin Betong rates HERE!
Things to do in Betong
After the long ride, we rested and the following day we hired a personal tuk tuk driver to bring us around Betong. The first location was Piyamit Tunnels. This tunnel was built by the Malaya Communist Division 2 in 1976, winding through the mountains for more than 1 kilometre. It is used to store food, ammunition as well as to protect the Communists from air raids.
Currently it is being used as a museum. There is an exhibition of the way of life of the Communist soldiers back then which is open from 8 a.m till 4.30pm daily.
The museum is a great location for war history buffs.
Betong Hot Springs
After the long day at the Piyamit, our driver brought us to a Hot Spring. We soaked our sore feet. It is believed that the hot springs can cure many ailments from muscle pain to skin irritations. Some of the tourists also bought quail eggs to boil them at the location. At the hottest spot of the hot springs, the eggs can be fully cooked in under 7 minutes!
World Largest Mailbox
As we said earlier, for a small town in Thailand, Betong holds many records. One of them is the World’s Largest Mailbox. It was built in 1924 as a communication post where a radio is placed on top of the box and mail slot below it.
The mail box attracts tons of tourists every day and of course Ann and I just had to pose a photo at it!
The Largest Bronze Buddha in Thailand
The second record Betong holds is the Largest Bronze Buddha in Thailand. It is located on a hilltop at Betong city centre on the grounds of a temple named Wat Phutthathiwat, Thanon Rattanakit. Although it is made of bronze, the Buddha is covered in gold colour. It is about 40 metres high built to commemorate the 69th birthday anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen.
Betong Mongkhonrit Tunnel – The First and Largest in Thailand
The 3rd record is the first and largest road tunnel in Thailand. It is a curvy tunnel that connects the city centre to a town in the South East. The tunnel is 268 metres long and opened on 1st January 2001.
The tunnel is used for vehicles but many tourists would walk in and take photos.
One of Betong iconic symbols are the Siberian swifts that escapes the cold weather of Siberia to migrate to Betong during September to March which is the cool season. The swifts would fly all over the city at dusk to rest on electricity and telephone lines as well as the houses.
One of their favourite spots would be near the clock tower and the hustle and bustle of the birds make a great Instagram worthy photo!
For a small town, Betong has many massage parlours scattered all over the city. After a long day of walking, a foot massage is the order of the day.
Prices are cheap too! And do tip your masseurs. It goes a long way for them. 🙂
A trip to Thailand is not complete without eating the Thai Pancake. Although it is not common in this part of Thailand, we manage to find one street vendor selling the pancake.
Ann of course goes crazy buying her fave banana Thai pancake and ended up stuffing our faces throughout the trip.
For a province that is land locked and far from the sea, Betong has one of the best seafood stalls. From oysters to shrimps and lobsters cooked in Thai signature style the seafood was simply mind blowing.
The food was so good we kept topping up new dishes. And don’t forget to order the home pressed sugar cane juice too!
We are not sure of the name of the stall, but it is situated near the clock tower beside a sleazy bar. 😛
Wet Market Beef Noodle
One of the best breakfast foods you can find in Betong is the Thai Beef Noodle Soup. We found one situated at the Betong Market at level 2.
The Beef Noodle was so fantastic that we had two bowls each! Do come early as the market closes by midday.
All in all the 3 of us truly enjoyed our motorcycle road trip to Betong, the small city in Thailand with many record holding attractions and great food as well as cool weather.
We will definitely return here again given the chance but I already sold off my beloved BMW GS Adventure bike. Maybe it is time to get another motorcycle Ann?