Khanlao Viewpoint – Glamping at Hat Yai

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Kudos to the power of social media (especially to this Chinese social media known as ‘xiao hong shu’ (little red book) which is heavily used by mandarin speaking audience from Malaysia and China), I stumbled upon this lovely accommodation at Hat Yai which provides a glamping experience ‘in the clouds’.

Just sharing with you the first Instagram reels I’ve ever created and if the video interests you, maybe you can continue reading about my experience.

 

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A post shared by @flyhoneystarstravel

Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of the place called ‘Hat Yai’ before. It is not a very popular tourist destination (not sure if it will ever be) as it is constantly overshadowed by the popular ones like Krabi and Phuket, which has received way a lot more media attention in the past many years. Hat Yai, is situated at southern Thailand, sharing a land border with Malaysia. As a result, during our short 3D2N trip there, we felt like the majority of the visitors were Malaysians who had probably driven up north (like how we Singaporeans drive over to JB). The merits of Hat Yai as a good travel destination is that it is only 90 mins plane ride from Singapore. You can take the bus too but it would probably take you more than 12 hours (still do-able). The downside of this ‘least’ popular place is that there’s only 1 flight a day, by Scoot. This means that the ticket prices are hardly on offer and in fact, our return flight was overbooked! They tried to offer us a chance to return the next day which we had to decline because we were all responsible office workers =p

In conclusion, if you do plan to pay a visit to this lovely town – please book early to secure the best prices!

Here’s something I have not done in the past 4 years – my budget breakdown!

Details Price (THB)  Price (SGD)
Airfare (Scoot)Singapore to Hat Yai (Fly @ 13:40) | Hat Yai to Singapore (Fly @ 14:50)
Includes 20kg check-in baggage (shared between 2 pax)Tip: Always purchase your baggage together with your flight ticket! I thought I didn’t need check-in, but ended up paying $72 for that extra baggage allowance as I added it as an after thought.
$236.28
Travel Insurance[I bought an annual insurance this year, anticipating i would travel a lot but as of today, the amount is still less than if i bought single trip but let’s review this next May; to see if it was worthwhile after all.]

Not excluding this in my breakdown cause I’m a huge advocate of buying travel insurance so this is a reminder to you to ALWAYS BUY one.

0
Accommodation (Average Price per pax per night: $50.236)1 Night at Khanlao Viewpoint (includes breakfast and dinner) @ 2,500B/2
Room service (water, ice, coke, chips) @ 260B/21 Night at Crystal Hotel Hat Yai (with breakfast) @ S$46.70/2
1,380 $23.35
Transportation

  • Transport from airport to hilltop accommodation: 400 THB
  • Transport from hilltop accommodation to Crystal Hotel: 250 THB
  • Grab transport in Hat Yai + to airport on last day ~1,000 THB (we always round up the amount as tips)
825
Food

  • Lunch at Baan Khun Bhu (thai food) = 650/2
  • Dessert at Cheevit Cheeva Hat Yai =405/2
  • Wonton mee @ Nan Yuan = 270/2
  • Random 7-11 snacks =?
685+ ?
Shopping & Activities

  • Massage at ‘Ease Me’: 90 mins @ 1,050B (not the cheapest but it was good)
  • Shopping @ Big C
  • Shopping @ 7-11
1050 + ?
Exchange rate 1 SGD = 25.73 THB 5,000B
Total $453.96

Given that it was a 3D2N trip, I wouldn’t say it was a super affordable holiday as the airt tickets took up more than 50% of the entire cost. We only booked the air tickets 1 month before the trip (after making sure the glamping accommodation was available). The trip was for that glamping experience anyway.

Alright now moving on to the glamping experience.

Booking contact is done via WhatsApp from the number found in their Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/khanlaoviewpoint/

Upon messaging them, these were the photos they sent me. I’m using their photos because I forgot to take photos on my own and I want to help them do some publicity since I highly recommend the experience. My photos (there would be some later on), don’t look that good because I’m not aesthetically sensitive =/

This is what the overall place looks like – they have 8 glamping tents and about 6 rooms (aka called Nordic House). The tents cost 2,500B while the rooms (with air-conditioning) are 3,500B.

From my understanding, they started off with the tents first (which was why for the photo above, you can’t see the rooms (which is situated one ‘floor’ below the tents).

(I might be wrong) If you’re taking tent 1,2,3 – this is what it looks like from within – where the beds are ‘together’ with this pole in the middle.

 

For tent 4,5,6,7,8 – the beds are separated with a small walkway in the middle.

Please note that in the tent, there isn’t air conditioning but they do supply a fan which we had to keep it turned on for the whole night as the temperature did not drop to the low 20s (and I’m a person that feels hot more than cold most of the time).

For toilets, it will be situated outside, behind your tent with workable shower and flushable toilet – whereby they discourage you from flushing toilet paper down. I guess their sewage system is still not up to standard (but hey, it’s still a secluded mountain stay so a flushable toilet is pretty much a luxury if you ask me).

The photo below was what I received from the WhatsApp contact, while the photo below is from my stay in Sep’23. If you take a look closely, you will realise that there’s an addition of water heater! The water heater is a pleasant surprise as in the initial booking – they mentioned cold showers only – but I guess they are having some upgrades in progress. It is a gas heater and you can actually see the fire burning inside the heater when you shower. That being said, it is still advisable to only take short showers are water supply is probably very limited up in the hills. To be honest, bathing with hot water is really a Godsend. However, I am not sure if they have this in every single toilet so do check in with them if it is a necessity!

The WhatsApp staff also shared the view from each of the 8 tent.

We were super lucky to be offered the tent with supposedly the best view = No. 8. Seems like if you take 1 to 5, there would be trees in your way but I think it’s not too much of a big view if you ask me. I only booked one month in advance so I guess I was really really lucky to have a choice of the best view. No.8 was also the corner unit which means that you can enjoy a little bit more privacy (though in my honest opinion it doesn’t really exists as the tents are all side by side). More about that later on.

If comfort and privacy is a greater preference, please opt for the rooms instead! The rooms are pretty new and there are two styles – 1 with the beds at the upper deck, while the other is just like the one below.

I guess it can be really fun for kids to run up and down the stairs. Please note that they do charge extra for kids and the maximum is 4 per room.

Ages 6-12 yrs = 500/PAX
Ages Over 12 yrs = 800 THB/PAX

Mookata dinner was offered as part of a ‘special offer’ for us (and for every other review I’ve read thus far).

To be honest, no idea when this ‘special offer’ will end but otherwise, the cost is 390B for 2 pax which is a pretty affordable and value for money too.

This was our view while we ate. You could choose between pork and chicken for the meat selection. The chilli was also very tasty and I think we might have finished half of the bottle =p

Given that there was nothing much to do, dinner was served around 6pm, before it turned dark. If it was raining, you would most probably enjoy your email at the dining area near the entrance. Otherwise, you’ll get served like first-class hotel room service! The small issue I had is that sitting on the floor for a long time can be quite uncomfortable (given that I am no longer that young). I found myself having to switch around my legs positioning time and again, while trying to figure out the most comfortable way to sit.

Room service menu

Our initial plan was to visit a convenience store when we were on our way from the airport to the accommodation. However, the driver (including us) forgot and before we knew it, we were up the slopes. Decided to just accept our fate and thankfully they offered a simple room service menu. We ordered a coke, ice bucket and 6 more bottles of water (on top of the 2 complimentary) as we wanted to hydrate ourselves well.

There are 3 selections for breakfast: American, Khao Yam and Khao Mak.

Similar to the dinner experience, it was served to us like ‘room/tent service’ – allowing us to enjoy the beauty of the scenery in front of us while having breakfast.

Based on the reviews I read, I opted for the Khao Yam (Spicy rice salad with fried chicken) option which was really tasty!

It also comes with one hot drink – coffee or Ovaltine.

This was the view from the ‘dining area’ that I was talking about earlier.

The highlight of the accommodation is definitely this hammock! A lot of visitors like to bring out the pillows and bedsheets to lay it on the hammock for that Instagram-worthy photo. For me, I didn’t like the sun/heat (what an irony right) and I only laid there for a really short while in the morning. However, during the night, I did lie down for a while (while my friend took a shower) and just stared into the sky. Sadly, it was a cloudy day and we had no chance with stars or the moon. Nevertheless, to lay down comfortably out in nature and enjoy the night breeze is a pretty amazing feeling too!

As always, I will share to harsh realities of the not-so-ideal situations that some travelers may feel iffy about.

Bugs and Insects – Surprisingly, there was no mozzies in the mountain or at least we didn’t get bitten (but i got bitten in town the very next day). When we arrived, there were ants (some red ones as well) on the decking outside of our tent. My friend was rather reluctant to sit on the deck initially but I was telling her that we could just ignore the ants and kill it if it disturbed us =/ Apart from the ants, there were harmless flying bugs as well that I can’t put a name to it. Most of them don’t bother us so it’s fine. When nighttime came, we were conscious about zipping up our tents to ensure that the bugs did not fly in. Bugs are attracted to light so we stayed within our tent (zipped up) most of the time. However, when we had to visit the toilet (which I did multiple times as I drank a lot of water), we had to do the zipping up and down. As the bugs were attracted to light.. it was only inevitable that our toilet was full of bugs. Some were drowned in the water puddle from the light reflection while others were just resting on the walls when I entered. The moment I saw that buggy scene (which I did not take photos of), I knew some of my friends won’t be able to stomach this ‘glamping’ experience. Then again, they could still opt for the air-conditioned room option which would probably have less bugs.

Noise – As seen from the photos, the tents are very close apart and there’s absolutely 0 soundproofing. There was a group of 6 friends who came together (who took tent 4,5,6) and they were talking and laughing from the moment they arrived till they fell asleep. I can’t blame them because I would be noisy if I was in a group too, it would be very hard to stay quiet. Apart from the noise from our tent neighbours, there was also another accommodation nearby with a live band which played through the night. It was pretty insane but there was a full setup with drums and guitar and the singer and the sang all the way till 3am. No kidding. At 11pm, we were already lying down, preparing to doze off as there wasn’t any entertainment. I remember waking up at random intervals each time and found the music/voice still blasting through the night and when I saw that it was 1am, I was like.. are you kidding me? By 1am, the noise from the group of 6 has died down and all we are left with was the loud sounds of bass and drums. Anyway, it was quite funny cause my friend and I were both awake at about 2am+ and we were like.. ‘How on earth are they still singing at such wee hours in the morning?’ I remember going to the toilet for the last time at close to 3am and they were finally singing a song that I knew – My Love by Westlife. And that was the last song.

To be honest, I’m not sure if this live band thing is a daily/weekly affair but the quality of my sleep tracked that night was rather poor from all that waking up.

In case you’re asking about Wifi – they do offer something which is tethered network from a mobile hotspot (not wired connection). It was not the best connection but if you’re in such a nice surrounding, you should not be on your phone that much.

Apart from the bugs and the noise, my first glamping experience was close to perfect. I was hoping really hard that I could see the ‘sea of clouds’ view but it was a rare phenomenon that happens really occassionally (but it does).

If you’re keen to make a reservation, please WhatsApp the number found in their Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/khanlaoviewpoint/

Currently, they are not in any booking platforms (like agoda, etc.) and they do not even require you to make a deposit to ‘secure’ your booking.

Everything was pretty much a gentlemen’s agreement (which is a huge risk for the biz in my opinion), but I guess everyone starts off small and ‘baby steps’!

Hope you enjoyed my first ever ‘travelogue’ post post covid 😀

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