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Finally my train left Bangkok. It was an hour late, with tens of Thailand soldiers inside it. I thought they would go to the border, replaced the old soldiers there.

It needed 19 hours before go down to Pattani, and 20 hours to Yala. Both of them are the conflict area in southern Thailand.  The train moved slowly, sometimes had to stop longer when crashed with other train.

When it leaft Hatyai’s station, there was something happens on the train. Three soldiers were walking along the compartment, checking passanger’s baggage sand bags. Three years ago there was a bomb exploded in the train  to Yala. They suspected it was hided by a passenger. It is a routine procedure now.

They walked close to me. The one is rubbing my side bag, the other asked me in Thai language. Though I could nott speak Thai, I knew he asked my final destination. I said, “Yala.” He was laughing at me before left me. How handsome his  smile.

When arrived in Yala, I knew the train was 4 hours late. Walking around in the town, from a station to the near market, then passing by some university, school, and parks, I saw the city that have been neglected. Yala is one of the cities that have good education. But now, the schools, colleges, even university seem like lost their energy. Maybe the hot weather is the reason.

 I saw soldiers everywhere, placed in every corner. They hold their heavy guns. For most tourists, Yala is not a safe place to visit. Even for Yala’s inhabitants, the city remains horror. Good for the history and past events.

“Why you have to go to Yala, Ary? The city is not safe. People easily steal someone’s car then use it as a bomb,” Berm. my Bangkok’s friend who lived in Yala before, asked me before I left Bangkok.

I have more than just desire. I wanted to see Yala, Pattani, and other southern cities in Thailand straightly; maybe to prove myself that political conflicts around there was not caused by religion, but by cultural gap. And I am correct.

Religion should not been accused as a conflict reason in the world. Yes, there was a Bali bomb, there was a 21’st September WTC bombing. All the suspects were Islamic radical’s group. For me, all religions are teaching the good things, but the goodness comes with people’s mind and action. We use to religion as a cover in our political action. Oh since when we start to sell our god?

Here are Yala and cities around southern Thailand with the people and their daily that I captured along the travel.

(read another reference:

Pengungsi dari siam selatan (1)

pengungsi dari siam selatan (2)

soldiers in hualamphong

waiting for train

halal food sells on the train

kids go to school

yala train station

on the way to pattani