Sunday, July 30, 2023

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to Betong, Thailand (勿洞,泰国) 2023

Being one of the nearest towns in Thailand to the Malaysian border, Betong remains as a popular destination for many Malaysians for a short retreat. Many new places have sprung up since the lockdown and the town has regained its previous glory. Our short trip here was to uncover some new places and of course, to visit new attraction like the Betong Ayerweng Skywalk. Read more on our previous trip in 2019 here.

If this is your first trip crossing the Malaysia-Thai border by car, same procedure as before. You just need to get the immigration cards done with valid passport as well as relevant vehicle permits. 

1) Skywalk Ayerweng (a.k.a. Betong Skywalk)
Entrance Fee: THB 200/ adult
Shoe Protector: THB 30/ pax
Tuk-Tuk to Peak: THB 50 return/ pax
Address: Ayerweng, Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 5:30 am to 4 pm. Opens Daily.

Approximately an hour drive from Betong Town, the Betong Ayerweng Skywalk is one of the latest attractions in Betong. It was open to the public after the lockdown. It is situated on a mountain top at Ayerweng, with more than 2,000 feet above sea level, the place is surrounded by mountains and it offers a breathtaking scenic view. The popular time to visit the place is early in the morning, as early as 5:30 am or before sunrise. If you are lucky enough, you will get to witness the sea of clouds (or mist if the weather is not in favor). 

The road to Ayerweng can be winding and not much of streetlights around the area. If you are not familiar with the area, it is advisable to visit the place during daytime (not before sunrise). Once you are at the entrance, you will need to park the car at the public car park and ride either Tuk-Tuk or Motorcycle. For Tuk-Tuk, the return fare is THB 50 per pax while Motorcycle would be THB 40 per pax. But for Tuk-Tuk, the driver will need to gather enough passengers. From our experience, they will need at least 8 pax before they start the engine. 

Once you reached the peak (the entrance to the Skywalk), you will need to proceed to the counter to purchase the Shoe Protector for THB 30 per pair. Next, would be the entrance ticket- THB 200 per pax. Children below 12 years old get to enter for free but they will not fit in any shoe protector and instead, they will need to take off their shoes (there are complimentary lockers provided). Nothing much to explore at that area, except taking some photos and admiring the scenic view. Was it worth to travel 2 hours back and forth just for the Skywalk? We don't think so unfortunately. 

2) Noppadol Fishing Farm
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 49/3, Noa Mae Roa, Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 11 am to 6 pm on Fridays, 10 am to 6 pm on every Saturday and Sunday. Closed on every Monday to Thursday.
Contact Number: +66 99 262 5649

Salt-Grilled Tilapia (THB 250)

Glass Noodles Chicken Kerabu (THB 150)

Stir Fried Thai Basil Chicken (THB 120)

Omelette (THB 60)

While on the way back to Betong town from the Betong Ayerweng Skywalk, do stop by Noppadol Fishing Farm. It is also the only fishing farm in Betong but it is also a popular Thai restaurant in the vicinity. The place is known for fresh Tilapia. There are plenty of other Thai stir fry dishes too. Price points are very reasonable, worth visiting considering the affordable price range as well as its unique dining atmosphere. The waiting time however, can be a little long. We recommend trying their Salt-Grilled Tilapia. The whole piece of fish (weighed around 1 kg) is priced at THB 250 only. 

3) Thai Boat Noodle Grandview Betong
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: Opposite 7-Eleven and Grandview Betong, Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 8 am to 6 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +66 62 949 1939

Thai Boat Noodles with Wan Ton Noodles (THB 45)

Tom Yum Seafood Noodles (THB 55)

Fresh Orange Juice (THB 12 each)

To complete your Thai experience, head to Thai Boat Noodles right opposite to Grandview Betong. Look out for the nearest 7-Elevent within walking distance from Grandview Betong, this place is directly opposite to the convenient store. Apart from Thai Boat Noodles, you can find other Thai noodles here (like Tom Yam, Yen Ta Fo-like soup with fermented Red Bean Curd etc). The serving portion is not big so do slot in for light breakfast or even in between-meal snack. It is best to share with a few so you get to try different soup bases. After trying both the Tom Yam and Thai Boat Noodle, the few of us thought the Boat Noodle was good... with amazing depth of flavors. 

4) Krua Samui
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: Pratana Road 3, Betong, Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 10 am to 10 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +66 95 597 9362

Tom Yum Seafood (THB 150)

Green Curry Chicken (THB 150)

Mango Kerabu (THB 100)

Vegetables with Sambal (THB 80)

Stir Fried Mani Vegetables with Egg (THB 100)

A popular restaurant for tour agencies, Krua Samui is strategically located near to the Thai custom border (of Betong). With less than 10 minutes away from the border, Krua Samui is an ideal pit stop to recharge over a sumptuous meal. The menu is big, featuring many popular Thai delights and importantly, the price points are very affordable with huge serving portion. We had a few dishes but we did not like all of them. We suggest trying their Mango Kerabu and Vegetables with Sambal. Somehow we found the Sambal in Betong is very different compared to the usual Sambal here in Penang (we are very much used to Sambal Belacan) but it has got a very strong chili kick. A meal here for the 3 of us including drinks costs THB 650 only (and we could not finish all of them).

5) Jai Jai Coffee Bakery and Thai Desserts
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 57, Betong Town, Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 9 am to 5 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +66 93 615 4629

Thai Glutinous Rice Balls with Coconut Milk (THB 35)

Thai Cup Desserts (THB 25)

Millet with Coconut Milk (THB 35)

Iced Americano with Honey and Lemon (THB 65)/ Matcha Strawberry Milk (THB 75)

Jai Jai Coffee Bakery and Dessert is very famous amongst the younger group of tourists due to its aesthetically pleasing Thai desserts. Many make special trips to this place just to try some of their signature Thai sweet treats. Their signature desserts include Thai Glutinous Rice Balls served with Coconut Milk, Millet with Coconut Milk, Thai Cup Desserts as well as Thai Glutinous Rice Balls served with desiccated Coconut. The Thai Cup Desserts come in 2 different variants- something similar to our Kuih Talam (Pandan base with Coconut Milk) and another one with Banana (imagine ripe Banana with Coconut Milk). Uniquely Thai but not something foreign or unusual to Malaysians. The Glutinous Rice Balls come with a sweet filling- a concoction of desiccated Coconut with Palm Sugar/ Coconut Sugar and served with Coconut Milk that has a hint of saltiness. Do not miss the Millet version, it has an addictive gooey texture and it seems to bring out the salty essence of the Coconut Milk more. The place also sells their home-baked biscuits and pastries, definitely a place worth checking out. Jai Jai is also strategically located just across the street from Betong's wet market, right smack in town. 

6) Riverside Restaurant Betong 来福餐馆
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 66/70, Street 12, Prachatiphat, Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 11 am to 9 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +66 92 927 1766

Betong Chicken (THB 350/ half bird)

Thai Style Steamed Tilapia (THB 350 per KG)

Paku Kerabu (THB 130)

Known to serve some of the freshest Tilapia in town, Riverside Restaurant Betong is one of the newer restaurants in Betong but it has quickly gained popularity due to its unique location where diners get to enjoy their meal right next to the river. The restaurant has a Chinese and English menu, making it extremely easy to place orders. The proprietor speaks decent Mandarin too. The price points however, are on the higher side, probably 20-30% higher as compared to some restaurants in Betong. But you basically get everything essential here- like the Tilapia, Betong Chicken and all those signature Thai dishes. We strongly recommend trying the Tilapia, the fish is fresh with meaty flesh, sans the unpleasant fresh water fish stench. Mind you, the place is surrounded by lush greens with a river, so be prepared to dine-in with mosquitoes, flies and insects.

7) Suvarnaros Cafe, Bistro and Bar
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 135/5, Ruamwit Rd, Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 10 am to 6 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Contact Number: +66 96 154 2944

Taro Cake (THB 89)

Orange Black Coffee (THB 75)

Avocado Frappe (THB 80)

A spot meant for cafe hoppers to check in- Suvarnaros is probably the prettiest cafe in the Betong district. It has a nice cottage-hut architecture design surrounded by greens, exuding a comfortable, relaxing vibe. The menu is a very limited though, with almost nothing to munch on (no snacks and mains)... only a beverage list and a couple of sad cake options. The drinks are not too shabby though (we enjoyed the Avocado Frappe). The interior decor is cozy and offers a good spot to stretch your shopping legs or take a respite from the sultry hot tropical weather. 

8) Tai See Hee Dim Sum
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: Next to Betong Mongkolit Tunnel, Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 4 am to 10 am. Closed on Mondays.
Contact Number: +66 72 230 459

Dim Sum (THB 24/ basket)

Stir Fried Teo Chew Noodles (THB 35)

Chee Cheong Fun (THB 35)

Probably the most crowded Dim Sum joint in Betong town, Tai See Hee Dim Sum gets crowded as early as 8 am in the morning. It is strategically located right next to the roundabout in the heart of Betong town and right next to the junction to the Betong Mongkolit Tunnel. Apart from the usual Dim Sum dishes, Tai See Hee also offers some small bites and dishes like Chee Cheong Fun (stuffed with jicama) and Teo Chew Noodles. No Bak Kut Teh sighted though. Like most Thai Dim Sum joints, the Dim Sum dishes are freshly steamed to order, so expect a longer wait. The place is also very cramped and can be uncomfortable for bigger groups. Nothing too spectacular about this place and may give it a miss if you are not into Dim Sum.

9) Lay's Cafe Bingsu and Dessert
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: Opposite to the junction to Guan Yin Temple, Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 11:30 am to 8:30 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +66 82 635 6514

Mango Sweet Black Sticky Rice (THB 89)

Salted Egg Yolk Bualoi Bingsu (THB 129)

Lay's Cafe is often packed during dinner hours as the Pork-Free place is popular amongst Muslim diners. Not only do they offer desserts, the cafe also has a big main menu featuring Thai Hot Pot. The ventilation is poor so if you visit the place during such hours when someone is having hot pot, you might find yourself caught in a BBQ-smoke stench. The best time to visit this place would be after lunch or dinner, for the desserts. We highly recommend the Mango Sweet Black Sticky Rice- beautifully cooked Black Glutinous Rice (with Coconut Milk) served with a scoop of Coconut Ice Cream and fresh Mango. It's almost similar like Bee Koh Moy but it has a better texture and flavor combo, especially with the ripe, sweet fresh Mango. The Bingsu is nowhere near After You so the calorie-watchers can skip this. 

10) Story Homemade Ice Cream
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: Few Shops away from Lay's Cafe, Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 11 am to 9 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +66 93 740 3254

Sour Mango with Fish Sauce (THB 39)/ Strawberry Cheese Cake (THB 49)/ Butterfly Pea Coconut Milk (THB 39)

An unexpected encounter, Story Homemade Ice Cream can be found right in front of Grand Mandarin Betong Hotel but it's easy to miss this place (we stumbled upon this place by chance). The exterior does not create the excitement nor it gives any hint on what the place offers. Story Homemade Ice Cream is an ice cream joint that offers home-made ice cream with some unusual flavors. For the adventurous eaters, try their Sour Mango with Fish Sauce. A culture shock on the palate where you will taste a jolting sourness meets with a savory seafood essence on the palate. There are also some uncommon flavors like Butterfly Pea Coconut Milk, for the novelty experience.

11) Kasong Wholesale Betong
Address: Betong District, Yala, 95110, Thailand.
Business Hours: 7 am to 6 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +66 73 235 226

Kasong Warehouse is forever packed with customers, this is probably the most convenient place to stock up your Thai snacks. You will basically find everything here- from the usual Malaysian favorite Thai Cashew Nuts, Dried snacks to potato chips, cooking paste and sauces... even toothpaste and shampoo. They do sell in bulk here, making it easier to load them in the car. While it is still the best to pay with cash but in case you run out of cash as a result from shopping therapy, this place accepts Credit Card but with additional 3% service fee.

Have Fun Exploring Betong! 

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