Photo: Photogenic.

Introduction

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For many travellers, the steamy streets of Hat Yai pass by in a blur on the way to or from Malaysia. Those who hang around can browse massive markets and sample a diverse range of food in Southern Thailand’s largest city.


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With some 800,000 people living in the metro area, Hat Yai competes with Chiang Mai for the title of second most populous city in Thailand. Founded only when the railway was built in the 1920s, the city grew into a regional economic powerhouse with an international airport, two large bus terminals and a skyline composed of towering hotels and office buildings. Hat Yai is sometimes dubbed the capital of the South.

View from Hat Yai Municipal Park. Photo taken in or around Hat Yai, Thailand by David Luekens.

View from Hat Yai Municipal Park. Photo: David Luekens

Stroll through the central business district to watch incense smoke coiling from Chinese shrines as shopkeepers sell bird’s nest soup, gold chains and teacakes while speaking the Teochew and Cantonese dialects that came with their immigrant grandparents decades ago. Also contributing to Hat Yai’s cosmopolitan feel are Malay-Thais, Malaysian tourists, a handful of Western expats and business travellers from around the region. All of these influences are represented in a competitive culinary scene.

Though downtown Hat Yai is short on attractions beyond the food and markets, you’ll find several places worthy of a side trip. Water plunges through old-growth jungle at Ton Nga Chang, one of Southern Thailand’s most impressive waterfalls. History buffs could head 80 kilometres south to a network of tunnels once used by Malay and Thai communists at Khao Nam Khang National Park. Songkhla’s lakeside old town is worth a trip east to the Gulf coast, or you could strike west to Ko Lipe’s marvellous beaches in the ... Travelfish members only (Around 600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Hat Yai.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Hat Yai.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Hat Yai.
 Read up on how to get to Hat Yai, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
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