Betong

Betong

Almost Malaysia

The furthermost point from Bangkok, Betong is often referred to as the “town in the mist” as evidenced by the mist that tends to bathe the town in the early morning—in Malay, Betong means “bamboo” of which today, there is almost none in sight as the town is largely a concrete egg-carton style place.

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Set around 140 km from Yala, in a hilly district that borders with Malaysia, Betong is not a “hill station” by any standard, though the nights here are cooler than elsewhere in the region. Almost completely surrounded by rubber plantations, this is a good place to see all the rubber being collected and trucked away.

Love me a spire or three. : Stuart McDonald.
Love me a spire or three. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Rubber and mist aside, Betong is famous for three other slightly more unusual reasons; firstly for its Siberian swallows (it is easier for them to get here than you as they don’t have to worry about the hairpin turns), hundreds of thousands of which migrate here every year to perch on the city’s rooftops and weigh down the electricity cables.

Secondly, Betong claims to have the world’s largest postbox, though a quick web-search shows that the Guinness World Records gives the record to somewhere in the USA. It seems unlikely that Betong’s postmen could ever get that busy, but built in 1924 this British style red pillar post box stands towards the northern end of town. The mailbox has been heightened a few times and will no doubt continue to grow—luckily a palm tree grows beside it to give scale to your photos. The postbox is a functioning one so you can post your swallow crap covered postcards here for added ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)

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