Hat Yai & Songkhla

Image of Hat Yai & Songkhla

Songkhla is one of Thailand’s most southerly provinces, bordered on one side by the Malaysian state of Kedah and on the other by the Gulf of Thailand. In its cities, the province has a distinctive double appeal with two contrasting focal points: the busy modern hub city that is Hat Yai, and the old world atmosphere off Songkhla, an ancient port, the two being only 28 km. apart. Add to this a large inland sea and a long coastline, and the visitor can enjoy the varied pleasures of history, beaches, boating, birdwatching, shopping and nightlife, as well as distinctive sports like Thai bullfighting and bird singing contests.


When the Thai railway system was built in the early 20th century, the station for Songkhla was placed at Hat Yai junction. That began the rise of Hat Yai into the biggest and richest city of the south. The city’s name may be taken from mahat yai, a large mahat tree, rather than the literal meaning, which is “Big Beach”. The city of Hat Yai has grown significantly into the commercial, transportation, communications, education and tourism centre of the south. Its proximity to Malaysia is important in Hat Yai’s development. The city serves as a gateway to the prosperous neighbouring country, the border post of Sadao being only 60 km. to the south.

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