Betong Layover

Posted: April 28, 2015 in Mountain Bike Touring North West Malaysia 2014
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16th May 2014 / 20 kms

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Not exactly the Eiffel Tower, but it will do. We are in the exact center of Betong.

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Breakfast in the back lanes

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 The Thai Jesus bears a striking resemblance to Matthew McConaughey…

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Thai military presence is everywhere, more so right after any bomb blasts. The restive ‘insurgent provinces’ are usually those in  the eastern coastal provinces. Betong is being targeted, as like all border towns, there’s a bit of tourism centered on karaokes, pubs and bars. Illicit sex sells, though it’s comings and goings in Betong rises and falls like the tide. Nevertheless, it’s fair game for those who are intolerant of it, needing to bomb to make their ideology logical?

All I can recall is that there was one blast a few months before our trip and another a month after we left.

Can’t we all live in peace and appreciate some good bikes?

A short stroll to get breakfast turns up some good looking and well kitted out mountain bikes, their owners seated nearby, devouring their small town breakfasts.

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Not just the Mandarin Hotel, but the Grand Mandarin Betong Hotel sits atop a small hill and towers above all else. What can justify it’s existence? 24 floors of empty rooms. Well I should thank them for free wifi, clean toilets and views of the surrounding town and countryside. Thb 1490 a night. Whilst resting in their climate controlled lobby, we sort of found out, one reason.

3 senior looking Malaysian men on R & R, with 3 not so senior looking Thai Chinese girls. The girls looked like their daughters, but daughters don’t really sit on their fathers’ laps in skin tight clothing, teary eyed as these fathers would be heading back to reality and families, soon.

The girls had lots of gifts and shopping bags in hand. Their attention turned to those once the final hugs, kisses and goodbye waves ended.

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Betong’s claim to fame is this giant mailbox in front of the post office. I doubt it gets a 100% filled.

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 For a small town. Betong has quite a road tunnel.

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On the other side of the tunnel and after a short hill climb, we get to be further entertained by more girls in tight clothing, but these were very serious in their endeavours. High impact aerobics are still the rage all over Thailand come sundown. Any open space, mostly temple grounds as is this one, is fair game. This crowd was sizable and the 2 leaders were merciless, at least to themselves.

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 A different clientele. Super sexy models? Really?

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No Thai town is complete without a 7/11 outlet or a massage place. A wee bit pricier than other rural Thai towns, because of Malaysian clients. A treat for us. Slightly tired cyclists. Come tomorrow, we are aiming for Penang, a 125 km ride.

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