Cheap Flights To Hat Yai
At first glance, Thailand's southern capital seems just a typical provincial town of malls and markets. But dig a little deeper and you'll discover some hidden gems. Hat Yai is also a springboard to the natural wonders of Songkhla province.
Located just an hour from the Malaysian border, the city exudes a frontier town feel with its travel agents, tour buses, massive seafood restaurants, and seedy nightclubs.
This being Thailand, it does boast a floating market and some fine temples. And this being the south, it's also home to a number of noteworthy mosques. Its biggest draw is its status as capital of Songkhla province, which is blessed with lovely waterfalls, jungle temples, wildlife sanctuaries and delightful beaches.
Curiously, it's also famed for its bullfighting. However, unlike the Spanish version, there's not a matador in sight as two bulls are pitted against each other. You can also enjoy all the Thai festivals here as well as many local fiestas.
Things To Do
The city's jewel in the crown is Wat Hat Yai Nai, home to the world's third largest reclining Buddha. Named Phra Phuttha Hattha Mongkhon, the image measures 35 metres in length and stands 15 metres tall, and draws pilgrims from all over the country.
Easily spotted by the tall standing Buddha at the entrance, Hat Yai Municipal Park is where locals go to relax. It's a charming spot with its flowering plants, pavilions, food stalls and Brahmin and Chinese shrines. Take a trip on the newly constructed cable car and enjoy bird's eye views of the city and environs.
Nature lovers will enjoy trips to Elephant Tusk Falls, Namtok Boriphat Forest Park, Khao Nam Khang National Park, and Songkhla Lake. Songkhla town, an ancient port on the Gulf of Thailand some 26 kilometres from Hat Yai, is home to some lovely white sand beaches and the famous Mouse and Cat island.
Calendar Of Events
Hat Yai celebrates all the Thai festivals such as Songkran and Loi Krathong along with quite a few unique events of its own.
Vegetarian Festival: Residents of Chinese origin celebrate this important festival for ten days during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The highlight of the event is a grand procession of deities and dragons around the shrines of the city, accompanied by lion dances and much banging of drums and gongs.
Thamboon Duen Sip Festival: Buddhist Southerners prepare to greet their ancestors whom they believe are free to visit them during the tenth lunar month (September). Songkhla town is a great place to view this festival as vehicles decked in Buddhist paraphernalia drive through the streets to Sra Bua where a contest is held to choose the most artistic.
- Lantern Festival: Held for several months in the municipal park usually starting in November, this lovely event displays lanterns from all over Thailand as well as from Singapore and China. With colourful lanterns of all shapes and sizes, it's a photographer's dream.