Ended up meeting a lovely Irish couple the night before leaving and having a bit too much Thai rum...so the long 500km+ journey was a little hazy! We booked the whole journey with the owner of our hotel and it cost 1,200 Baht (£27) each, bit steep compared to normal overland travel, but with a border crossing so not too bad. 7.30am minibus to the boat, then a journey back to Hat Yai, which was OK actually, the minibus was cool and relatively comfortabel.
The second minibus from Hat Yai to Panang however was not so great. The driver was incredibly rude and unhelpful at the border crossing. We had no idea what to do, but luckily there were helpful locals on the bus to guide us through. He was also driving like even more of a maniac than they usually do, at least we got to Panang quickly!
What we did:
Funnily enough, walking from the bus, we bumped into the Grimsters on the street! It was so lovely to see Lucy again, and her parents Ginge and Rose. So we dropped off our packs and met them at ‘Rose Garden’, a food court with all kinds of different foods and Chinese people, and had food and drinks.
Feeling rather hungover, we thought it would be a good idea to head to Panang Hill on the bus. Really easy to get there by taking the No204 for 2RM (40p) each one way…we didn't realise that it was a Sunday and so all the locals were going too. Met the others there and we queued for 1 ½ hrs to take the 30RM (£6) train (locals pay ⅓ of this) up the hill. Luckily we caught the amazing view before the rain came in. Walked around the top, got soaked and left. Delicious Indian curry plus drinks at Restoran Kapitan for 73RM (£14) for all 5 of us! Made up for being drenched.
Next day, we weren't hungover for the first time in a few days, so decided to hire bicycles from the guesthouse for 5RM (£1) each. It was extremely hot, the bikes were tiny so we were melting. We saw old calonial buildings and lots of the amazing street art though which was cool. Met up with the Grimsters in the evening and took a taxi to Batu Feringghi on the coast to have food, drinks and watch the sunset.
Muntri House in the middle of Old China Town is where we stayed. The location is great, right next to the backpack street and there's some nice street art nearby. It's a lovely traditional old Chinese house, the staff are really helpful and we got free tea and coffee and breakfast. It cost us 70 RP (£13) per night for the two of us in an 8 bed dorm.