Hat Yai is close to the Malaysian border and it’s like Bangkok used to be many many years ago. Though the city is not super pretty, it sure has its own unique charm to be uncovered. One thing is true if you want to experience local life, inexpensive massage and authentic Thai food, Hat Yai is the place to go.
Lee Garden Plaza and Surrounding
Lee Garden Plaza is the centre of Hat Yai surrounded by shopping centers and street vendors. It is about 15-minutes walking distance from Hat Yai railway and most buses drop off at this area. As Hat Yai is a highly popular city among the Malaysians and Singaporeans, most of the locals are able to speak Mandarin and Hokkien in addition to English.
I checked into Hat Yai Youth Hostel which is about 20-minutes of walking from train station and 5-minutes from Lee Garden Plaza.
I started off with an early morning and ready to explore what this underrated city can offer!
About 30-kilometers away from Hat Yai lies the neighboring city of Songkhla. Famously known as “the great city on two seas” this city is surrounded by beaches such as Samila and Son Awn. This is probably the least touristy beach in Thailand!
Tang Kuan Hill (Dog Mountain)
About less than 5-minutes from Samila Beach, Tang Kuan Hill is not only a place for 360-degree breathtaking views of Songkhla City but also housed the sacred pagoda Dvaravati Chedi built to contains the Lord Buddha’s relics.
Admission is free if you choose the full 300 plus step, calorie burning vertical climb. Otherwise, for a small fee of 30 baht, you can take a 3-minutes ride 105-meters up inclined-lift ride up to Phra Chedi Luang.
Located 6-kilometers outside of central Hat Yai is a park that covered from hills to a lake. In the park there is White Jade Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy), Laughing Buddha and a standing Golden Buddha. Newly addition of cable car brings you to Kor Hong Mountain where the four-faced Brahma Shrine is located. The park admission is FREE!
Wat Hai Yai Nai
Measuring 35-meters long, 15-meters tall and 10-meters wide, Phra Phuttha Hattha Mongkhon is the third largest reclining Buddha in the world. This open-air temple is free of charge!
Getting Around Hat Yai
Motorcycle taxis, locally known as songthaew, are easily flagged down especially around Lee Garden Plaza. Compared to Phuket and Bangkok, prices for taxis and songthaew are laughably cheap so don’t hesitate to use this service. I had hired a private songthaew to cover all these area in 6-hours for 700 Baht (USD20).
Next stop: 5 Do-It-Yourself Day Trips Outside Bangkok
Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!