Klonghae floating market, Hat Yai, Thailand
Taken on: 1st April, 2012. Copyright: All Rights Reserved - See monkey holding peach's page of Flickr
Read more about Hat Yai
Booming Hat Yai city is almost as modern and high rise as you get in Thailand outside of Bangkok, the bustling downtown area consists almost entirely of huge banks, skyscraping hotels interspread between department stores and massage parlours.
At ground level the central area is jammed with small shops, food stalls, arcades selling everything imaginable and all lit by dazzling neon.
It is not western tourists who are responsible for this boom but the crossborder visitors from Malaysia, an hours drive away, who flock here in droves for the cheap wares.
Crudely speaking this involves the wives shopping in air-con malls while the men go off for a massage or "hair-cut" -- Thai women being one of the cheap deals to be had for many Malaysian and Singaporean men.
Despite the busy downtown area, Hat Yai is not that big and most of the activity is concentrated along its 3 main throughfares Niphat Uthit 1,2 & 3, known locally as Sai Neung, Sai Song and Sai Sam, particularly ... Read our complete Hat Yai travel guide