Where to go in Hat Yai

Things to do in Hat Yai
Where to go in Hat Yai is an article is specially created for anyone visiting Southern Thailand and thinking of what you can do around the Hat Yai district of Songkhla.

Hat Yai is very well known to the Malaysians and Singaporeans and there are quite a number of things that one can do while visiting this southern Thailand area.

Before you get to the list, you should know that Hat Yai is located at the south of Thailand and bordering Malaysia, and you can either drive or fly here.

Where to go in Hat Yai

Hat Yai Floating Market
Floating Food Market in Hat Yai
1. Floating Market in Hat Yai

One of the most popular places is located just 20 minutes drive from Hat Yai city. This is truly a food lovers haven and the unique feature here is that the food vendors come by boat via river to sell their local Thai dishes.

This place is not to be missed if you love local Thai food and honestly, some of the best hawker food and drinks can be found at this floating food market called Klong Hae Food Market.

There is also a land market selling all sorts of things including more food, so this place is hands down one of the must-not-miss places to visit. The Floating Market in Hat Yai only operates only on weekend evenings.

Time to spend here: Around one to two hours.

Cable Car at Hatyai
Riding the Hat Yai Cable Car
2. Hat Yai Cable Car 

One of the popular attractions around Hat Yai is the cable car or rope way, which is located about 30 minutes from Hat Yai city area. The surrounding area of the cable car area is quite interesting as you can find a massive golden Buddha statue at the main entrance.

Once you go up the hill, you will come across an interesting Elephant Temple, where many devotees are seen coming here to pray to the elephant gods.

The views from around the hill area show parts of the Songkhla district. A fee applies to ride the Hat Yai Cable Car.

Time to spend here: Around one to three hours.

Hat Yai Serpent Nag Statue
Serpent Statue at Songkhla
3. Serpent Nag Statue in Songkhla

An interesting statue attraction located by the Songkhla Municipal Park is called the Great Serpent Nag, which shoots water into the ocean. The locals call this place Laem Son On Naga, and many often compare this to the Singapore Merlion. 

The head portion of Nag faces the sea while the other sections of the dragon are located nearby. It is believed that Nag brings good fortune, wealth, fertility and prosperity to the people of Songkhla City. There is no entrance fee at the Serpent Nag statue in Songkhla.

Time to spend here: Around one hour or less.

Hat Yai Local Food
Local Hat Yai Food
4. Hat Yai Street Food Experience

The streets of Hat Yai are littered with all types of hawkers selling local Thai food. When you explore the city, you can find a lot of local stalls by the roads in the day and night, selling some of Southern Thailand's best food.

Famous dishes like Thai fish cakes, sticky rice and grilled seafood are easily found at popular areas of the main city. For a gastronomical experience, try the local restaurants for some real authentic Thai food. There are also Halal Thai food found at some restaurants around Hat Yai town.

Overall, a Hat Yai food tour is not to be missed for anyone visiting this part of Thailand, and the prices are pretty reasonable.

Time to spend here: As long as you like.

Hat Yai cave tours
Some unique cave tours around Hat Yai area

5. Khao Kop Cave in Trang

Located about one to two hours drive from Hat Yai is the Kao Kop Caves, which is probably one of the most unique caving experiences I have tried.  The cave tour starts as a boating adventure, which then leads into an amazing river cave system.

Not for the faint hearted, this is one experience which is highly recommended for any adventure lover. See the picture above and you will know what I mean. A fun adventure which is suitable for all ages and an entrance fees applies at the Khao Kop Cave.

Time to spend here: Around three to five hours.

Aquarium in Songkhla
A diver inside the aquarium in Songkhla
6. Songkhla Aquarium

Another popular attraction located about 45 minutes from Hat Yai city is the Songkhla Aquarium or Hat Yai Aquarium which is actually very interesting.

The Songkhla aquarium caters to freshwater and also salt water fishes which range in many different species and sizes. This place is recommended as a fun place to visit, and if you have kids, that will be a bonus. An underwater show inside a large tank is also the end attraction here.

Admission fees applies at the Songkhla Aquarium where at times, there are special promotions for visitors, so check with the counter when you get here.

Time to spend here: Around one to two hours.

Satun Cave Visit
The popular 'Jade' Rock inside the cave
7. Phu Pha Phet Cave in Satun

Another cave worth a visit is the Diamond Cave or Phu Pha Phet Cave in the Satun area which is about an hour and a half drive from Hat Yai city.

Here, you have the option of exploring these beautiful caves on foot where various structures can be seen throughout the caves. One of the highlights is a 'Jade' rock that sits in the middle of the 18 acre cave.

A total of 20 caves are found inside while there are seven floors to explore. However, only two floors are open to the public and if you love caves, this is also the third largest caves in the world.

Outside the Phu Pha Phet Cave, vendors are seen selling local Thai handicraft, food and drinks. There is an admission fee for visitors.

Time to spend here: Around two to three hours.

Snow Park Hat Yai
Inside the Hat Yai Ice Dome
8. Hat Yai Ice Dome (Closed and Replaced with Hat Yai Wonders Land)

Another interesting attraction to visit is located at the Hat Yai Park near the cable car. The place is highly popular among the local Thai tourist and this ice dome is also the first of its kind in Thailand.

Visitors have an opportunity to experience the ice cold feeling of winter inside the dome. A number of structures on display are carved by well known Chinese sculptors from Harbin, China.

Ice carvings of well known structures and places around the world are also displayed along the main walkway here. Admission fees is applicable and winter jackets and gloves are provided.

Time to spend here: Around 30 to 60 minutes.
Note: The Hat Yai Ice Dome is closed since March 2016.

Wondersland Hat Yai
Kids having fun at the Hatyai Wonders Land
9. Hat Yai Wonderland

With the closure of the Hat Yai Ice Dome, the new attraction that replace it is called the Hat Yai Wonders Land, which is a mini water park combined with some indoor attractions.

As strange as it is called Hat Yai Wonders Land, most people will simply call it Hatyai Wonderland, and this place will probably fill your curiosity only if you are in the area.

A ton of locals will be seen there, namely to utilize the fun swimming pool which is outdoors. After all, if you are traveling with kids, just make sure you have swimming attire for this attraction.

Time to spend here: As long as you like.

Greenway Market Hat Yai
Inside the Greenway Market in Hat Yai
10. Hat Yai Greenway Market

Another bazaar in Hat Yai that attracts all kinds of visitors and located in the heart of the city near Central Festive Shopping Mall. Called Greenway Market, this is a much brighter and cleaner version of Rot Fai Train Market in Bangkok.

Generally, you can find just about anything related to Thai night markets, but in a more organized concept. There is a lot of local and also international food, heap loads of clothes and other commercial items found here.

Nothing to do in the evening? Just head here and you can easily spend a few hours. Expect huge crowds of Malaysians on weekends.

Time to spend here: Around one to three hours.

Hat Yai Magic Eye 3D Museum
Require a unique family photo? Head to the 3D Museum in Hat Yai
11. Magic Eye 3D Museum 

If you have already been to a 3D museum, you would probably say they are all similar, and you are right. However, this concept still works for family travelers or first time visitors to Hat Yai, namely when you have extra time to explore.

The Magic Eye 3D Museum is located in the city area of Hat Yai, and if you really run out of places to visit, then this can be an option. Otherwise, if you really want some tacky photographs, head on straight to this place. Can turn out to be a fun place to visit for families with kids.

Time to spend here: Less than an hour.

Hat Yai Asean Night Bazaar
What the Asean Night Bazaar looks like
12. Asean Night Bazaar

Probably the most visited attraction in Hat Yai to date, who does not love a massive bazaar in the night which is covered? Bangkok has it, Chiang Mai has it, so Hat Yai needs one too. Especially with the hoards of Malaysians and Singaporeans crossing the border on the weekend.

There is nothing much I can share here, but a massive night market will always be a massive night market. It will be visited by anyone who travels to Hat Yai, and you can expect tons of local food, and even more items brought in from Bangkok and around Thailand.

Deserts, animals, wigs, clothing, toys, jewelry and accessories, shoes, trinkets and whatever you can think of, it is all found here. Imagine an organized Chatuchak market, that is what you will expect.

Time to spend here: Around one to three hours.

How to Go to Hat Yai?

Driving - The most popular way is by road from Malaysia, and most Malaysians or Singaporeans will self drive to Hat Yai. Alternatively, there are many buses that go here too, but local tour companies seem to be bringing in tourist by the bus loads.

For those driving into Hat Yai, here is the average time it takes from various parts of Malaysia and Singapore. The time given is without stops, hence you can factor in an hour or so for that.

Also, at the Malaysia and Thai customs and immigration, it depends on the time and day you are entering Thailand, hence you can allocate another 30 to 45 minutes for this.

  • From Singapore - Ten Hours Drive
  • From Melaka - Eight Hours Drive
  • From Kuala Lumpur - Six Hours Drive
  • From Ipoh - Four Hours Drive
  • From Kuantan - Eight Hours Drive
  • From Penang - Three Hours Drive
  • From Kelantan - Four and a Half Hours Drive
  • From Perlis - One and a Half Hours Drive

Flying - Now, let us get to the easy part of flying to Hat Yai. From Kuala Lumpur, you can just fly to the Hat Yai International Airport (HDY). From the airport to the city, it only takes a 20 minute taxi ride.

The flight from Kuala Lumpur only takes one hour and ten minutes, while from Singapore it only takes 90 minutes flight time.

Flying to Hat Yai will cut your travel time a lot, and give you more time to explore this place. I believe flying will be much cheaper than driving, hence those who are further will usually use this option.

Conclusion 

If you are visiting Hatyai anytime soon, there are actually many things to do apart from just shopping around town or hanging out at the many malls in the city.

Some of the places mentioned above require only half a days trip, so they are pretty much nearby the main city area. You can also get more information from tour operators and hotels on what to do and where to go in Hat Yai.
Where to go in Hat Yai Where to go in Hat Yai Reviewed by David Jr on Monday, May 28, 2012 Rating: 5

8 comments:

hcvvorld of Travels and Photography said...

nice places to target at..of all the places you have included above, I have only been to the floating market (first time to hatyai last year)
I missed out the naga serpent place and also those caves...the Songkhla government is doing a lot to promote Hatyai eh :D

HenRy LeE said...

thanks for sharing... been to Hatyai early this year but too bad i only visited most of the temple there :(

David Jr said...

Thanks guys. Well, next time you visit Hat Yai, you know there are options to check out there.

Jeff Chuah said...

I went to the floating market and the Nag statue when I was in Hat Yai last year...so much fun...

Alex said...

this all looks like so much fun! Great choices! Just started reading your blog and absolutely love it! Keep up the great work!

Alex

David Jr said...

Thanks all, make sure you spend at least 2-3 days here if you want to visit some of these places.

Anonymous said...

were can i find home stays in hat yai

David Jr said...

Hi there, there are numerous home stays available but you have to look for them on your own. Most of them speak basic English too. Just to let you know.

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