Narathiwat . South Thailand Unrest

So far, Its always been a fly and ride for me. Far away exotic places are always greener than home.
While my neighbors, like our backyard, familiarity and within reach doesn’t excite me as much.
Shamefully the furthest I’ve taken my TEX (acronym for Triumph Tiger Explorer) to is Cameron Highland.
On an trip organized by the local distributor. Somehow their definition of an ‘adventure’ is cruising the highway to visit a strawberry farm (we didn’t get to see one anyway but that’s another story)
On the bright side, at least it’s not Starbucks.
Anyway, back to my TEX.
I will need to take it out for a real ride before it’s first birthday.
Phuket and Hatyai are too touristy, not my cup of mocha
Narathiwat province ? hmm.. much have been read about this place, mostly negative reports.

A region plague by violence from separatist insurgency.
6000 have been killed and 10,000 have been injured since 2004.
Is the situation really that bad ?
Last incident was on the day I left, 9th March, with 9 casualities and previously in Feb with 13 casualities injured by a car-bomb.

Most people entering Thailand via Malaysia would enter via the congested Sadao.
I’ve never been there.
The first time I enter Thailand was through Rantau Panjang back in 2012.
The whole custom clearance process took about half an hour.
It could be faster if not for my unpopular and system unlisted bike then
And I wouldn’t even make it in if not for my near decision to abandon my reluctant riding partner then, who’s facial expression show serious signs of overdose of mainstream news report.

I’ve learned to read news with only a pinch of wasabi.
The only way to find out, is to go in and see it for myself.
The two objectives of this trip – to overcome my fear of riding solo and to enter the ‘troubled’ South Thailand
This trip was hastily planned. With the next destination decided only on the day of arrival. Due to the uncertainties of the local situations, I try not stay for too long at any spot. Hence I am left with only few photos and mostly lame bikefie.
This region was the former Sultanate of Pattani, until it was conquered by the Siamese in 1785, present Kelantan were spared. Pattani Malay are spoken here, which makes me feel so ‘at home’ with my limited Indonesian, since I can’t speak Thai to stop an oil leak.
 
Comparing with neighboring Malaysia state of Kelantan. Narathiwat are obviously underdeveloped, however it is calm (among the storm). No doubt one will suspect the intended neglect from the central Thai government.
except for the numerous checkpoint manned by young soldiers and police.
One of the perks of riding solo, in a deserted and isolated place. You get to ride your bike along the shore and with no one to judge you.
You can misbehave! Oh wait.. the word ‘mis-‘ and ‘behave’ itself is judgemental.
Let’s just say be myself – ‘self’ of that moment captured in time, as ‘self’ itself is not indefinite.
 
End Note: Apparently I am not alone. Shortly after this photo was taken. I was caught for trespassing. The owner, Encik Amin, was an opportunist. He offered me to sell me this Rocky hill and the surrounding land. There must be a divine reason i end up in this isolated land and meet this guy while acting like a monkey.
Contact exchanged… I’ll be back!
Riding within the village that is off the main road was a scary challenge.
Reports of people being shot within this village road still ring in my head.
I don’t know what to expect, but I am not turning back with the same stories that I was told to read.
 
Tips to self : Retract your helmet sun visor or remove your sunglass.
so even when you smile in your full face helmet, the recipient can still see your smiling cheek and eyes.
 
All fears subside the moment you give a waving Hi and the Makcik (Aunty in Malay) return you will the widest smile in the Land of Smiles. They welcome my presence more that brighten up their uneventful, dull and hot lazy afternoon.
 
Surely there are some who look hostile to your presence.
Likewise I will never fell obliged to entertain any damn tourist like a caged animal.
 
I am just a guest here.

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