Where to go in Hat Yai

Things to do in Hat Yai

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

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

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

Where to go in Hat Yai

Below is a compilation of the places to visit in Hat Yai, and they are in no order, just where you may want to see them.

Please take note of the timings of some places, as they are only open during selected hours and on selected days.

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 the river to sell their local Thai dishes.

This place is not to be missed if you love local Thai food. Some of the best hawker food and drinks can be found at this floating food market called Khlong 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 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 ropeway, which is about 30 minutes from the 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 a fascinating 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

The Great Serpent Nag is an exciting statue attraction located by the Songkhla Municipal Park, 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. Try a Hat Yai Street Food Experience

The streets of Hat Yai are littered with hawkers selling local Thai food. When you explore the city, you can find many local stalls by the roads 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 in popular areas of the main city.

For a gastronomical experience, try the local restaurants that serve authentic Thai food. Some restaurants around Hat Yai town also serve Halal Thai food.

Time to spend here: As long as you like.

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

5. Khao Kob Cave in Trang

The Kao Kob Caves are about a one—to two-hour drive from Hat Yai. They offer one of the most unique caving experiences I have had. The cave tour starts as a boating adventure and leads to an amazing river cave system.

Not for the faint-hearted, this is an experience highly recommended for any adventure lover. See the picture above, and you will know what I mean.

A fun adventure suitable for all ages, and entrance fees apply to the Khao Kob 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, which is actually very interesting.

The Songkhla aquarium caters to freshwater and saltwater fishes of 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 apply at the Songkhla Aquarium, where there are sometimes special promotions for visitors. Check with the counter when you get there.

Time to spend here: Around one to two hours.

Satun Cave Visit
The famous '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, about an hour and a half's drive from Hat Yai city.

Here, you have the option of exploring these beautiful caves on foot. 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.

There are 20 caves inside and seven floors to explore. However, only two floors are open to the public. If you love caves, this is also the third-largest cave in the world.

Vendors sell local Thai handicrafts, food, and drinks outside the Phu Pha Phet Cave. Visitors pay an admission fee.

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 is located at Hat Yai Park near the cable car. The place is highly popular among local Thai tourists, and this ice dome is also the first of its kind in Thailand.

Visitors can experience the ice-cold feeling of winter inside the dome. A number of structures on display were carved by well-known Chinese sculptors from Harbin, China.

The main walkway also displays ice carvings of well-known structures and places worldwide. Admission fees are applicable, and winter jackets and gloves are provided.

Time to spend here: Around 30 to 60 minutes.
Note: The Hat Yai Ice Dome has been 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 replaces it is the Hat Yai Wonders Land, a mini water park combined with some indoor attractions.

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

A ton of locals will be seen there, namely to utilize the fun outdoor swimming pool. After all, if you are travelling 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 attracts many visitors. It is located in the city's heart near Central Festive Shopping Mall.

Greenway Market is a much brighter and cleaner version of Bangkok's Rot Fai Train Market. Generally, you can find anything related to Thai night markets, but in a more organized concept.

Many local and international food, clothes and other commercial items are found here.

Do you have anything 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 travellers or first-time Hat Yai visitors when you have extra time to explore.

The Magic Eye 3D Museum is located in Hat Yai's city area, and if you really run out of places to visit, this can be an option.

Otherwise, if you really want some tacky photographs, head straight to this place. It can be a fun place 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.

I can only share a little here, but a massive night market will always be a massive night market.

Anyone who travels to Hat Yai will visit it, and you can expect tons of local food and even more items brought in from Bangkok and around Thailand.

Deserts, animals, wigs, clothing, toys, jewellery and accessories, shoes, trinkets, and whatever you can think of are 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, many buses go here, but local tour companies are bringing in tourists with their busloads.

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

At Malaysian 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. You can fly to the Hat Yai International Airport (HDY) from Kuala Lumpur. It only takes a 20-minute taxi ride from the airport to the city.

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

Flying to Hat Yai will significantly cut your travel time and give you more time to explore this place. It is also much cheaper than driving. Hence, those who are further away will usually use this option.


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

Some of the places mentioned above require only a half-day trip, so they are near the main city area. Tour operators and hotels can also provide more information on what to do and where to go in Hat Yai.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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