Latest schedule and price update on April 25, 2017
The city of Hat Yai (or Had Yai) is one of just three Thai cities chosen to participate in the 2015 “We Love Cities” global campaign, a celebration of community and sustainability sponsored by World Wide Fund for Nature. The 800,000 people of the Hat Yai district love their vibrant, diverse and connected city – and they welcome you to come love the cultural treasures, the marketplaces and the nightlife of Hat Yai, too!
As the largest city in southern Thailand, Hat Yai is a sophisticated major metropolitan center – but one that’s set like a jewel among the surrounding forests, with the scenic views of the Ton Ngan Chang Waterfall and Wildlife Sanctuary to the west, and the Nakhon Hat Yai Municipal Public Park and Songkhla Lake to the northeast. A day excursion to the popular municipal park and its Art and Culture Center allows you to explore the park’s pond, gardens, aviarium, statues and shrines. A journey to the lake offers the small tourist island of Ko Yo, and the mythical creation story of the stolen Chinese crystal that became the white sand of its Hat Sai Kaeo beach. These attractions and more are a short drive from Hat Yai, as is the roughly 30-kilometer trip from the Gulf of Thailand seacoast – but once you’ve arrived in Hat Yai itself, you’ll likely want to stay there too!
The city is an important center of commerce, transportation, culture and education, and serves as the gateway to neighboring Malaysia and Singapore. The population is diverse, with many Malay and Chinese influences and a Muslim population of about 40 percent. You’ll notice exquisite Buddhist temples, statues and historic sites alongside the city’s mosques, and an intoxicating mix of colors, cuisine and culture that set Hat Yai apart from many other Thai cities. Because it’s so close to the border, Hat Yai is a favorite holiday destination for tourists from Malaysia and Singapore.
Visitors to Hat Yai enjoy world-class accommodations, such as the Buri Sriphu Boutique Hotel at the Hat Yai Market and the Hat Yai Paradise Hotel and Resort in the city’s north. The golf courses and day spas are delightful, but budget travelers find a wide choice of lodgings too, including hostels. The Hat Yai Youth Hostel and the Cathay Guest House are near the downtown railway station and not far from the city’s Prince of Songkla University.
The university presence in Hat Yai creates a climate of intellectual pursuit and the international influence of this well-regarded educational center. A conference center, university hospital and sports facilities are just a few of the assets that the Prince of Songkla presence brings to Hat Yai. Theater, music and other cultural offerings – an art exhibit focused on sustainability, in partnership with the United States Embassy is one example – create a rich experience for locals and tourists alike. And of course, the Hat Yai culture reflects the university influence as cities do all over the world, with a youthful nightlife scene brimming with music, dancing, bars and restaurants, and the latest technology. The city’s dining options feature upscale seafood restaurants, the aromas of street food and everything in between.
Hat Yai is a top destination for lots of reasons, and includes boats, bullfights and brothels in its eclectic mix. The convenient banks, restaurants, venues, shopping markets and hotels are considered safe, although Hat Yai has occasionally been the target of regional terror groups within Thailand’s unsettled political climate. Visitors should be aware of increased security, such as bag searches and metal detectors, in settings where large crowds gather.