Photo: Detail at the Folklore Museum.

Ko Yo and Southern Thai Folklore Museum

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The small island of Ko Yo sits in the lake just south of town and is home to fishers, weavers, temples and a huge collection of Southern Thai artifacts at the excellent Folklore Museum.

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If coming from the south across Tinsulonanda Bridge you’ll be greeted by Wat Laem Pho, a lakeside temple featuring a 20-metre-long reclining Buddha image laid out in the open air. Wander further back to find a crumbling ordination hall near a Bodhi tree draped over a quirky collection of Buddhist and Hindu statuary, including Brahma, Vishnu and Erawan.

Wat Laem Pho's striking Buddha image. Photo taken in or around Ko Yo and Southern Thai Folklore Museum, Songkhla, Thailand by David Luekens.

Wat Laem Pho's striking Buddha image. Photo: David Luekens

Rather than sticking to busy Route 408, we cut west on a quiet street from Wat Laem Pho and passed flower-strewn villages and hundreds of stilted fishing huts dotting the brackish water. Baan Suan Mai Road continues along the west coast up to a larger village nestled on a bay behind the museum. Here you’ll find several homestay programmes, including Chan Yam, where you can settle into a house perched directly over the lake.

After cutting briefly over to 408, we turned into the Folklore Museum run by Thaksin University’s Institute for Southern Thai Studies. Before heading inside you might climb the viewing tower and gaze west over the Baan Ao Sai fishing village, and north to the long bridge linking Ko Yo to Sathing Phra. Within view to the northeast is Songkhla town.

Museum artefacts on display. Photo taken in or around Ko Yo and Southern Thai Folklore Museum, Songkhla, Thailand by David Luekens.

Museum artefacts on display. Photo: David Luekens

The Folklore Museum has dozens of rooms exhibiting 4,000-year-old beadwork; 1,000-year-old ceramics from China; nang thalung shadow puppets; Buddhist statuary from the Srivijaya civilisation; examples of local silk and cotton wears; kites shaped like buffalo heads; finely carved “rabbits” used for grating coconut meat; traditional musical instruments -- and much more.

English and Thai info boards explain historical details and cultural distinctions between Southern Thailand’s 14 provinces. After each room, visitors follow open-air stairs and paths to the next exhibition -- and it can feel like the museum has no end. Towards the end you can detour to a botanical garden and a traditional ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Ko Yo (also spelt Yor) is located 10 kilometres southwest of Songkhla old town; head south on Tinsulonanda Rd and cut briefly west on Route 408, which runs straight up to the island. You can also get here from the north via Sathing Phra. Bringing your own vehicle is best for exploring the whole island, but maroon songthaews running between Songkhla and Sathing Phra, which park just west of the clock tower on Chana Road in Songkhla town, can drop you at the Folklore Museum. These cost 15 baht and run frequently, with the last one returning to Songkhla at around 17:00.

Location map for Ko Yo and Southern Thai Folklore Museum

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Songkhla.
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