Live in Harmony: SONGKHLA Southern of Thailand
The Inuit has many definition of ice. East and Southeast Asian nations have many definitions of paddy. For Thai’s, they have a lot definitions of a SMILE.
Thai smiles is not on the lips, but in their eyes.
Can you see their smile? can you spot differences? their smile emerged from sincerity. DEEP from their heart.
In Thailand, no one would ignore you. No body as a guest, every body is a friend, son, and daughter. Everybody welcomed you like they welcomed their relative. That’s why you feel home. That’s why, foreigners loves living in Thailand.
For me, Thailand is not second home. Thailand is my home. Home where the harmony lives. Home that diversity alive.
LET’S GO TO THAILAND!!
BANGKOK (BKK) TO SONGKHLA (HDY)
I started my trip from Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) in Bangkok to Hat Yai (HDY) in Songkhla Province. Songkhla stand for Province name; Songkhla Municipality stand for Provincial Central City; and Hat Yai is one of 16 district existed in Songkhla. Hat Yai is well-known district than others.
I fly with THAI SMILE (WE). Full service flight departing from BKK. Actually the flight is not that longer. But, THAI SMILE provided meals. FYI, Thai Airways and Thai Smile is 1 of 10 best arline in the world according to SKYTRAX. And Thai Airways (TG) awarded as World Best Airplane Lounge Spa and as Asia Best Airline Staff. I flew with Airbus A320-200. The plane is clean. And I meet friendly cabin crew there.
They provided very delicious burger with tuna’s patty and lettuce. I’m falling in love with the taste. Another thing attracted me was the way they use the recyclable package for the meal. For me, that was my best flying experience with TG and WE.
After you landed in Airport everybody are welcome. You will never feel like a stranger. Do not hesitate ask for help. Because, everybody will be happy helping you.
ARRIVE IN SONGKHLA
Songkhla located in the Southern part of Thailand. Songkhla neighbor is Yala, Pattani, Pathalung, and Nakhon si Thammarat Province. In the southern, it has Malaysia (Perlis) border.
I went to Songkhla Municipality. Home for three groups: Thai, Thai-Chinese, and Muslim. In fact, there is never a conflict between the groups. They live, traded, and have a joke with each other. No border separated. Even though they are different.
Songkhla comes from “Singgora” word means Lion City. Long time ago, Singgora was the international port connected China mainland and the South East Asia. That’s why, Songkhla are diverse. There are 30 percent Muslim live in Songkhla. Live side by side with the Majority Thai and Thai-Chinese.
In 17 century, Songkhla (Singora) was under the Sultanate (Muslim reign monarchy). They Sultan (King) name is Sultan Sulaiman. At the end of 17 century, The Ayuthayya send troops to Singgora. After three time of war, finally Songkhla was under Ayuthayya.
I am a Muslim. Every time I go abroad, It is like a guilty pleasure. You feel happy, but you need to be careful of your activity. For Muslim, you need to eat halal food. And, do pray five times a day. I TOLD YOU GUYS. Do not worries going to Songkhla. Why? This city provided everything that Muslim need. You will find many Mosque and halal food.
In the Bo Yang District, Songkhla Municipality you will find that harmony lives together. There you will find Mosque and (Chinese/Thai) Temple. And, you will easily find halal food near the Mosque.
Many Malaysian tourist went to Songkhla. In Songkhla Municipality, two Muslim Country have their Consulate: Malaysia and Indonesia. The Consulate located near to Samila Beach. In Samila beach you could find these diversity lives together. Muslim, Chinese and Thai do chill and relax. I just amazed and I am feeling grateful to see that kind of peace.
Near the Mosque, we could find Temple that influenced by Chinese. That pagoda front of the temple is explained that thing. After visiting temple and mosque, I went to beach. You know what, that beach was so nice.
SAMILA beach located in the middle of Songkhla Municipality. You do not need to pay anything entering the beach. It was public area that anybody could enter. The sand are clear and white. So do the sea. Even, the animal can do chill and relax. 5555
Alongside the Bo Yang District. You will see many street art. That picture above was my favourite one. These picture illuminate how people of Songkhla live. On the left side is a Muslim, on the middle is Thai, and on the right is Chinese.
One thing that I do amazed is people of Songkhla and Thailand know the difference. But, they stay manage everything OKAY.
FYI: If you are Malaysian or Indonesian or anyone who would like across border. You need to spent 400 baht (10 USD) to across border. Quite cheap to do some adventure right?
I ended my journey in Songkhla Municipality and went to Node Na Le Farmer Village.
Peter Parker went to Europe and save the world. I went to Songkhla the most peaceful destination I have ever visited.
I arrived in the Node Na Le Village. The village I am feeling HOME.
Node Na Le Farmer Village located in the Sating Phra District, Tha Hin Subdistrict, in Songkhla. It takes 1.5 hour from Hat Yai (HDY) Airport. You could travel with van from HDY Airport.
FYI: NODE means palm tree; NA means paddy’s farmer; and LE means fisherman. Three main livelihood there.
Guys, here I am feeling HOME. And, I am so excited right now. Eight women welcomed me. I felt grateful to be there. They greet with their smile. I can see from their eyes.
They offer me to learn how to be local. They show me how to collecting palm sugar, collecting fish, and seeding the rice plantation.
Alongside the village, usually farmer planted Crolatarea Juncea (yellow leaf). The function of these plant is to fertilate the land. After farmer harvested the paddy’s, usually they decided to plant the Crolatare Juncea. It will put nitrogen inside the land and after four month the farmer will seed the rice.
First, they taught me about collecting palm sugar. They call this activity by “Node”. I go through the palm tree near the village. The palm sugar farmer was there and ready to show us how to collecting palm sugar. I amazed when the farmer climb the tree. He climb THAT FAST. As Spiderman. Moreover, he use red shirt.
Palm fruit will shed water. And the farmer collected the water in the bamboo. And then, the water from palm fruit will be processed. The palm fruit extract boiled in the big pan. It will avoided bacteria expand. Usually it takes five or six hour.
Before we go further, they cooked us some meal for dinner. The Thai’s style foods. I CAN’T WAIT 5555
Tom Yum Gung (Tom Yam with Prawn) and deep fried fish is the main course. They serve the food with red rice. Everything just so healthy. This community usually hosted guest. Many of them comes from abroad. Lecturer, company visit, and university student
Our dinner that evening was amazing. The food are very delicious. We talk with each other. And I introduce my self. Even though no one could speak english. The energy was different. I even would be laugh while they laughing. I can see their happiness sincerity comes from their heart. That’s why, the energy was different. God, thanks I am feeling grateful. I am feeling home.
HARMONY IS NODE NA LE
In the morning I decided to go to market near my homestay. I can feel that energy. The harmony’s energy. I walk alongside the market and I found diversity alive. I do realize that Thai people are different. THAI don’t see people by their attribute but by their HEART.
Processing Palm Sugar
After I went to market, I decided to see palm sugar processing. In the first place, I just amazed how the coconut tree could be very useful. Every part of the tree could be processed. Palm water will be glueing after boiled. Before it going harden, they put the palm extract to the mold. The sugar are ready to package. The community in the village will sell the product or consume by them.
It is a Khanom (Cake) Phla. For Thai, Khanom means food with sweet taste. Phla means . Khanom Phla tasted good. I can felt coconut taste inside with tender texture. Usually they add some more coconut slice. So delicious!
I recommend you guys to visit this village. Because, they processed everything by them self. With traditional technique. I mean like, in here you would understand how to feel grateful every time. Many of us live in the city. Everything was there, and may be you do not realize that every activity you do lead to consumptive habit. In here everything could be productive good. They seed, they collect, and they sell.
Another activity I did in the village is NA. Node Na Le Farmer Village surrounded by canals. This village has large lake divided them to Patthalung Province. At this lake, usually the fisherman build fishpond to catch fish or prawn.
I went to the lake with boat. The boat containing five person. I do fun with this activity. But, guys don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat.
It takes ten minutes from the port located at the Node Na Le Farmer Village. After ten minutes I arrived in the middle of the lake. There, the fisherman checked fish trap he tided a day before. Cat fish and prawn trapped on the net. SOOO, Welcome to our dinner.
As Southeast Asian, I felt grateful that we have a paddy. While western use wheat as main food. People in Southeast Asia usually eat rice. In Node Na Le Thai Farmer Village, rice plantation was important. It supply staple food all over the village. Moreover, the village located in the lowland. So, paddy’s could growth well.
I visited rice plantation at the village. The communities taught me how to be a farmer. I seeded rice on the land. It is quite easy to do. You just throw everything randomly. There is no special technique. Later, paddy’s seed will be growth as time goes. It will be no rice without paddy’s processing. Here is how they process it.
After farmer harvested paddy, the seed dried at least one night. Then, paddy’s seed will be strain to divide it Is meat from the skin. It will be not the first process. There are two other process: sieve and mash. After that three process the paddy’s are ready to cook. And we got RICE for our lunch 5555 That was amazing Node-Na-Le experience I have ever had.
Go check my video: KHON INDO VISITING SONGKHLA
VISITING SONGKHLA-NAKHON SI THAMMARAT BORDER
After visited Sating Phra District. I had a plan visited Ranot District. It takes 1 hour by car from Sating Phra District in Songkhla. Did you know that this district is in between two province: Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat. This two province divided by the river canal. So the river bridge divided two different area.
I thought that the border is like “nothing to see” area. But, I was wrong. There are a beautiful floating market divided two different province. COOL!
We started the journey from the homestay. The hosted provided us the “song teaw”. “song teaw” means two seated. Two seated on the traditional car.
Along side the road, we can see large rice plantation. As you can see in the picture, there are palm tree right? Did you know, that that kind of plantation technique was comes by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama 9) and His Mother Her Excellency Srinagarindra. They taught the people to be more productive than before. So, the land could be utilizied more productive. They plant anything that could plant in the same land area.
This is the area that I told you before. I am quite excited visited this place. Because, (I don’t know why) I like anything about geography. The bridge on the photo above divided two different Province. On the left side is Nakhon si Thammarat and the right side is Songkhla Province.
This floating market open at 5 PM. When we arrived, most of the store closed. But we took our time to do some activity there until time comes.
I crafted bracelet with this kind of grain. Usually you could crafted by your own creativity. You could crafted necklace or anything. They sell this kind of crafted around 30-150 baht. The price depends on the difficulties.
Another activity that you can do is weave the palm leaf. I could enjoy this this activity much. The artist would taught you how to craft the palm leaf. Usually the crafted will become a bag or floor mat.
You know puppet? kind of Southeast Asian toy and tradition performance. The puppet illuminate person or their shadow.
Time comes and we had our dinner soon. First and first, MANY people comes. I though that no one could come this place. Because in the first place there are no one here.
At six o’clock, after the market play Thailand’s national anthem the dancer come to the middle of the bridge. They do the Thailand traditional dance called “bandura”. This kind of song originated from Ayuthayya period.
I do like that kind of vibes. Everybody just chill and relax. Buy some food and they eat together (kin gao) with they relative. Seeing sunset on the edge of the canals.
There are many foods you can buy. One of my favourite is rice noodle. Other than that, you can buy many kind foods like sushi, satay, rice noodle, and coconut ice cream. The price between 10 baht – 200 baht depending the food you would buy.
You can enjoy this floating market. Comes before 6 PM. You could enjoy sunset while you have your delicious dinner.
We had our dinner. And came back to the homestay. Sleep and rest to strat another activity further.
LUANG PU THUAT: MOST POPULAR MONK IN SOUTH OF THAILAND
As you already know, majority of Thai people religion is Buddhism. So do in the Southern part of Thailand. Even though, Southern part of Thailand influenced by Sultanate of Malay, they have long history about most respected monk. He is Luang Pu Thuat (หลวงปู่ทวด).
I visited another Ranot destination. The villager belief that Luang Pu Thuat was born there. More over, they have their Luang Pu Thuat dead bodies. And his hair still growth even though he was died.
I’ll tell you some story and enjoy.
Long time ago, Lung Pu Thuat just a special person. When he was born, many miraculous thing happen. He was almost eaten by big Snake. According to locals, He has ability to move so fast. That’s why his parents called him a “crab” (ป).
He was a monk since childhood. When he was teenager, he decided to study to Ayuthayya (Siam capital city at that time). He went to Ayuthayya by boat. In the middle of the sea, the boat crew get fresh water run out. So, they can not drinking water. Lung Pu Thuat decided to put his leg on the sea. Something miraculous happen. The sea water being a fresh water. Then, the boat crew can drink.
From that time, his miraculous ability being legend. Ayuthayya reign pay respected for him, until he came back to the Ranot District in the Songkhla.
He died, in the village. After his death, villager put his skull in the temple. Usually the villager are not scared about the skull. They assume that as holly thing they need to take care the most.
After this pilgrimage activity. You could enjoy and go around the village. You could enjoy paddy’s field and enjoy your lunch. Or you go decided to windmill and cowherd farmer.
Probably It was my last journey in Songkhla Province. And I am feeling sad leaving this beautiful village. 🙁
I DON’T WANNA GO HOME
THE PURPOSE TO BE MANKIN IS TO MAKE THE WORLD SAFE FOR DIVERSITY
Before we leaveing and went to the airport. We had our last lunch in the Songkhla Municipality. I took the photo with the team. May be it is the last time we met. 🙁
I came here and I feel grateful, I met this great team. From the left, Pi Nuk, Pi Auu, Pi Joy, Ron, and Pi Henk.
Pi Nuk is Thai, she has a blue blood, currently worked at Traveloka, and she write and travel much time. She was a great at writing and photograph. She is my partner during live inside the Node Na Le Village in Songkhla. Every time he just help me translating Thai to english. So, I could talk with each other and laugh together.
Pi Auu is Half-Thai-Chinese, she is just like my mom. They way she treat me just like she treat their own child. Ask “how are you?” “are you okay?” “have you had lunch, dinner?”. She currently work at Satun CPS Travel. She treat me not as guest, but as a son.
Pi Joy is fully Thai. She is our guide during Node Na Le visit. She pick me up at the HDY Airport. Since there, she taking care of me. She always there beside me and explain everything in to english. Moreover, she always wait for me every time I left behind. Thank you Pi.
Ron is Thai but Malay Muslim. He is from Yala, southern part of Thailand. He is a Muslim. He is photographer and videographer. During my visit to Node Na Le, he just help me translating Thai language into Malay. So I can understand much thing easily. He help me to transfer my data when my laptop got crash.
Pi Henk is Thai but Malay Muslim. He is from Yala, like Ron. I thought he was 25 but he is 30 now. he just taking care and have some joke quite often. Even though, he was work there but everything just goes by. He always any moment, even though sometime the schedule are very tight.
Every evening, we got our dinner. We made a circle, and every food was in the middle. No border. Sometime Pi Joy put some rice into every plat exist. She put rice one by one. Pi Henk usually start the jokes and every body laugh. Every time they laugh I just laugh, even though I don’t know what they talk about. Pi Nuk will start help me to translate Thai language into english, so I can join them laughing 5555. Pi Auu, start explaining some Thai cake, like what does it come from, ingredients, and how does it taste? Ron, start jokes and everyone just laugh again.
Even though, we are different we don’t realize that we are different. I am very happy to be here. While the rest of world are over proud about their identity, but not here. Every body just come as relative: son, brother, and sister. I feel do not like a stranger. I am feeling home. The way of THAI’S life that I will share for every one in the World. Thank you Node Na Le, Thank You Songkhla, Thank you Thailand. I DONT WANNA GO HOME!