BETONG – Piyamit Tunnel & Betong Hot Spring (Part 4)July 21, 2008 | 7,887 views
Finally … after a good ~20 minutes drive from town
Driving up north from the clock tower in Betong town, using Sukkayang road, we soon reached the outskirts of town. Our mind wandered whether we were on the right track, as there was no signboards in sight, and the endless forests somehow reminded us of the grim events surrounding Yala province. Fortunately, we pressed on and caught view of road signs indicating we’re well on our way to our destination. Phew ….
Entourage of Beetles provided a myriad of colours to the war-torn site
The relieving sight, sound and smell of the crowd …
Some strange fruits (?)/ vege (?) resembling yams being sold at the entrance
The bridge with replicas of the 12 zodiac animals, according to Chinese belief
The entrance to the tunnel (RM5 per pax)
A brief history of the tunnel
Yup,the tunnel was used as a base for the communists way back in 1977. Somehow, the camarederie offset the grievances, despair, and bleak history of the place. Or, could we be in for a surprise?
The eternal climb to heaven … NOT!
Bearing in mind the entrance to the tunnel is very near to the ticketing counter, we realised we were wrong, and we still had to climb a distance to the tunnel itself. Huh?! The weather was horrendously hot that particular day, we were sweating buckets, and yet had to jungle-trek?!! Oh well ….
Helpful guy (supposedly ex-communist himself) explaining the history, and architectural features of the place … in Mandarin. Shucks …
After a short (ahem, I beg to differ, it was LONG enough to sap 3/4 of my energy) climb, we reached a platform where a very friendly uncle told some grandfather’s story, which was interesting, covering the history of the tunnel, and the utilities for war/cooking/storage. However, my command of Mandarin is akin to an Indian speaking French (=P), therefore my mind wandered … “Hmm, wonder will we bump into any ghosts around this area?” … “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if he demonstrated how they cooked and what they ate back then?” …
Trust me, you would NOT want to step into this small cavern …. (hint : look at the ceiling above !!! Yikes!!!)
Those suffering from claustrophobia should be warned
The eerie tunnel measured around 1km, with various exits
The whole tunnel was a maze, with nooks and crannies we did not explore fully. Trust me, walking around while hunching over (the ceiling’s pretty low in some areas) somehow takes your breath away, if the view hasn’t. And climbing short and high steps continuously reminded me of my breathless/asthmatic experience at the Great Wall of China. Huffing and puffing away, we miraculously survived the ordeal. (Yippee!)
Bye guys! Salutation for being able to survive in such cramped condition!!
Betong’s very own Statue of Liberty?!! =P
After exiting the tunnel, we were led to an exhibition room, with another round of explanation by a lady, also formerly an ex-activist herself. However, no snapping of photos is allowed. Which I humbly abided to, of course.
Aaah … cold and soothing on a scorching afternoon!!!
Soon, it was time to leave. But it was still early to retire back to our room for a rest. Therefore, we aimed for the next destination, which is very near to the tunnel; Betong Hot Spring.
Doesn’t this remind you of California? Palm trees and all? 😉
The Betong Hot Spring
No entrance fees required. The Betong Hot Spring is a natural lake situated somewhere near the tunnel. You’ll pass by this area on your way back to town. However, soaking our feets in the boiling hot water on a steaming hot day somehow sounded ridiculous.
Boil your eggs here. Or your clams (as proven possible by a mother and child combination)
After walking around aimlessly, trying to find a shed (yup, probably most of us were waxed princes/princesses in our previous lives), we decided to scram, and the thought of standing under a cold shower, and then relaxing on our fluffy beds in a fully air-conditioned room was never too appealing.
The Wai Sek Kai (Food Street) of Betong, a few roads away from Central Market
The tong sui (Sweet soup) auntie is operating on this street itself. (Refer old post for reference). To appease the hunger pangs, we went for a stroll around town. Of course, food’s never too far when the Motormouth’s tagging along. =P
Bearded Uncle : Show me the MONAY!!!!
Everyone went for another round of tong sui, then we came to this stall selling fried porky goodness.
Deep fried lean pork meat with sesame
Random fish roe, deep-fried to perfection
The pork strips were rather tough, but being lean meat, that’s understandable. He sells half lean-half fatty cuts as well, deep fried til golden brown. He broke a piece of the fish roe for us to try, and the taste is somewhat an acquired one. Salty, and briny, I found them savoury, perfect as complements to a cold jug of beer.
Til the next instalment …. (FCOE, this is gonna conclude soon, no worries … =P)
Next Post : Part 5 – The Temple & The Curry Meal in Betong