Hat Yai (Had Yai) is the main town in the southern province of Songkhla and is Thailand’s fourth-largest city. It is the main city in the south and although it has little character, it has plenty of facilities.

There are pretty good shopping and eating options in Hat Yai and the nightlife right in the city center is also worthwhile, yet it’s not worth staying here for any more than a couple of days. Visiting Malaysians come over for the nightclubs, massage parlors and brothels.

Apart from the market shopping and Lee Gardens Plaza shopping mall in the center of Hat Yai, there is nothing much else to visit by day. Several attractions can be found just outside town, including the impressive Hat Yai Municipal Park with its hillside setting and huge reclining Buddha, where you can get inside and see its heart and lungs.

The main attraction of a visit to Hat Yai is the nearby coastal town of Songkhla. It couldn’t be more different than Hat Yai with its peninsular setting. Despite having a fairly large population, it has plenty of character and is very laid back, with beaches, museums, an excellent zoo, and a fishing port. Samila Beach is the main attraction in Songkhla, stretching for several kilometers and featuring many seafood restaurants.

There are also many other attractions farther afield, including the large Ton Nga Chang Waterfall with its elephant tusk appearance, while the Malaysian border is just 50kms to the south.

Getting There & Away

Hat Yai has an airport - Hat Yai International Airport - which no longer serves international flights but receives several services from Bangkok per day. Flight time from Bangkok is about 1 hour, 20 minutes. Taxis, limos, minibuses and songthaew run to the city. You can also get to Hat Yai by bus direct from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal, while slower trains leave a couple of times a day from Bangkok’s central Hualampong Station.

Things to Do

Hat Yai Attractions

Wat Hat Yai Nai

Located on phetkasem road, this temple features the world’s third-largest reclining buddha.

Hat Yai Municipal Park

Situated on the main road to songkhla, this pretty park is elevated and features shrines, a large aviary, flowering plants, a lake and a pavilion.

Ton Nga Chang

Lying about 20 minutes from town, these impressive falls have multiple tiers, with the large third level splitting up to resemble elephant’s tusks. views from this part of the surrounding landscape are amazing.


Lying 30 minutes to the east of hat yai, songkhla is the capital of the province and the main attraction in the region; a laid-back place with beaches, seafood restaurants and happy locals.