Photo: Songkhla charm.

Introduction

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With a lake-view heritage quarter on one side of town and a golden beach fading into the sea on the other, the capital of Songkhla province is an excellent alternative destination in Southern Thailand.


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In the 12th century, Indian traders established a port at a channel between the ocean, a vast lake and two peninsulas, dubbing it Singora after a pair of islets resembling lions. Later dominated by Chinese merchants, Malay Muslims and Siamese Buddhists, who preferred the name Songkhla, the port also attracted traders from across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The area retained a measure of autonomy until the early 20th century, when Songkhla became a Thai province. Locals still harbour a strong sense of regional identity and pride.

Tourists have fun with one of many murals in Songkhla's old town. Photo taken in or around Songkhla, Thailand by David Luekens.

Tourists have fun with one of many murals in Songkhla's old town. Photo: David Luekens

From this deep history came graceful Sino-European houses along with temples, mosques and a magnificent Chinese-style palace that’s now part of Songkhla National Museum. In 2015 the city made architectural preservation “an urgent task,” transforming former wealthy homes into museums as street artists added ghostly murals and entrepreneurs opened cafes, galleries and boutique hotels. While the old town attracts growing numbers of Thai and Malaysian tourists, few Westerners have caught up to Songkhla ... Travelfish members only (Around 700 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 Songkhla.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda
 Read up on where to eat on Songkhla.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Songkhla.
 Read up on how to get to Songkhla, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Songkhla? Please read this.
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