I never expected to visit Hat Yai. I travelled into Thailand on the overnight Butterworth - Bangkok train, but at the Thai frontier one of my friends was denied entry due to her passport not being accepted at all border crossings. We were thrown off the train late at night, and told to find a taxi to travel 50km to another border post, where we might have more luck.
After three hours, two taxis, one army checkpoint (checking for weapons smuggling in s-e Thailand) and numerous near-death experiences on unlit country roads in plastic Proton taxis, we were able to enter Thailand and made it as far as Hat Yai before realising we could neither catch up with the train nor make it to Bangkok that night.
We tried a few other hotels, and noted that the Regency was recommended in our Lonely Planet guide for it's "old world charm". If by "old world" you mean Russia in the 1970s, and if by "charm" you mean "decrepit" then that recommendation still stands.
The modern reception impressed us, and the room was cheap. But we were in the older of the two towers and the room was tired. It was reasonably clean, but only as far as we could tell with the old carpet and horrific seventies bathroom decor. The ceiling and walls were stained from water leaks, and the shower made more noise than a jet engine. The fixtures and fittings suggested we had been transported back in time, to a time when bedside tables in hotels had radios the size of televisions in them and when room service menus featured sketches of French chefs sniffing their pots. We were happy only with the Regency only because, after hours of thinking we might have our entire holiday cancelled due to a diplomatic impasse, we had been permitted to enter Thailand.
We left for Bangkok at 7am, after a bizarre Thai re-interpretation of a western breakfast. I'd have been happy with some Thai food, but after noticing the menu some fellow Chinese guests received, I can only presume the hotel patronises its guests into only eating food they think you want.
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- Also Known As:
- Regency Hotel Hat Yai