Top 12 BEST Things to do in Hat Yai


Looking for the top things to do in Hat Yai? Here are the top attractions and experiences you should not miss!

The city of Hat Yai is located on the southern point of Thailand close to the Malaysian border, which is about 950 kilometers away from the capital city of Bangkok.

It is where the Thai, Singaporean and Malaysian cultures come together in perfect harmony. It is a major hub commercial wise and is one of the most famous destinations in Thailand for all shopaholics.

Mostly considered as a layover for travelers that are either coming from Malaysia or going towards it, the city of Hat Yai gives off a very cosmopolitan vibe.

Unlike other famous Thai spots like Krabi and Koh Samui, Hat Yai is more prominent among the local people as well as Singaporeans and Malaysians. As a result, you would be surprised to not see a lot of foreigners here which in a way is a good thing as most of the places in Thailand are flocked with so many tourists that you hardly see a local around.

Although it is not that popular as compared to other cities and towns in Thailand, it, however, has its own different charm that makes it so likable.

Hat Yai, apart from its well known floating markets that sell everything from regular knick-knacks, handicrafts to clothes to mouthwatering Thai food, is also famous for its Ton Nga Chang Waterfall and its reclining Buddha statue of 35 meters at the Wat Hat Yai Nai temple among other things.

But that is not all as this brimming hub of a city has a lot more interesting and extraordinary things to offer than you might think. Compared to other Thai cities, Hat Yai is also quite affordable, and also you can get around the town very easily, simply rent a taxi or a bike.

While during the day, Hat Yai might seem like any other Thai city but comes sundown, and it gets transformed into something else, with its numerous night markets, bars, restaurants, and museums prepared to be vowed by its vibrant nightlife.

If you are confused as to where to head to and what to do in Hat Yai, here are a few of the things to do in Hat Yai and places you can visit once you are there.

Top 12 BEST Things to do in Hat Yai


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Visit the Hat Yai Municipal Park

The Hat Yai Municipal Park, since it is located a bit far away from the city, you need to do a bit of traveling to get there. It is a very relaxing and family-oriented park where the locals visit with their families for a fun picnic day or just to relax the day away.

The park is overlooked by a giant statue of the Buddha perched atop a mountain named Khao Kho Hong. If you want a great bird’s eye view of the entire town of Hat Yai, you can hop on a cable car that will take you to the summit of the hill for a great scenic view.

The Hat Yai Municipal Park is dotted with various temples, statues, and shrines and so it holds great religious significance for the local people.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Hat Yai

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Floating Market in Hat Yai
via Flickr|John Ragai

Experience the unique Hat Yai Floating Market

One of the best things to do in Hat Yai is to visit the Khlong Hae floating market in Hat Yai can be deemed as the only floating market in the southern part of Thailand. Visiting these floating markets is a great way to experience the Thai culture.

The sellers dress in the local Thai or unique retro-themed costumes. As for the food, there are so many choices here you will be spoiled for choice, from local Thai food to halal dishes as well.

What truly makes these floating markets special is that the sellers here as opposed to using plastic cups and other such things believe in a more sustainable and organic approach, that is why it is no surprise that they use coconut shells or earthenware cups to serve drinks in.

It is here that you truly get to see just how hardworking Thai people are. And if you want to buy something, the seller passes a wicker basket that is attached to a long stick of sorts towards you. You can simply put the money in there, and the item you bought will be passed to you in that same basket.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Hat Yai

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Be amazed by the Magic Eye 3D Museum.

The Magic 3D museum in Hat Yai, as the name suggests, is a museum for all modern art aficionados. It might look like a total waste of time and money at first glance, but you would be surprised to find out just how much fun this whole place is. It might just be the most exciting place to visit in the whole of Hat Yai.

The museum consists of a lot of 3D art pieces. The Trompe-l’oeil illusionary technique literally plays with your mind and also with your eyes.

The interiors are so stunning that even if you are not a good photographer, the photos taken here will definitely be all IG-worthy. The museum’s gallery has its own different theme, and so all the exhibits here follow that same theme.

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Explore the beauty of Namtok Ton Nga Chang waterfall

The Namtok Ton Nga Chang waterfall is located a bit outside of the town area. So it can be a perfect mini getaway, especially when you want some peace and, of course, a bit of adventure along with it.

The waterfall is located inside the Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary, and you have to engage in a short trek to get to the waterfall.

On the way to the waterfall, you are greeted by great views with thick green foliage as a backdrop and also lakes where you can dip your feet for a while before resuming your journey. Nature lover or not the Namtok Ton Nga Chang waterfall should not be missed at all costs if you visit Hat Yai.

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Watch the sunset at Samila Beach

The Samila beach is not only famous for its immaculate beach area and palm trees, and also the excellent spot for watching beautiful sunsets.

The beach has a famous golden statue of a mermaid believed to bring good luck to anyone that touches it. You can also take a photo with the statue as a backdrop.

The statue is a great symbol of the province of Songkhla and is visited by many people. The beach offers a lot of activities to do as well, like kite flying, horse riding, etc.

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Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol

The most luxurious and unique temples in the whole of Thailand, Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol is perched atop a hillock right behind the University of Prince of Songkla. What makes it so special is the fact that it is built entirely with stainless steel.

The temple literally glitters in the sunlight and can be seen from miles away. You can visit the temple by climbing up the stairs leading up to it. The evening is the best time to visit as it is exactly then that you get to see a breathtaking sunset and the panoramic view of the entire town area.

The interior of the temple has a very calm and serene environment. It is perfect if you want to spend some time alone meditating or otherwise.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Hat Yai

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Songkhla Central Mosque

The Songkhla Central Mosque might remind you so much of the Taj Mahal, and it is, in fact, nicknamed as the Taj Mahal of Thailand. The architecture is heavily influenced by the Mughals. So it features a square-shaped building with a big golden dome on the top, four tall minarets flank the mosque with their own four mini golden domes.

The monument is a big tribute to the town’s Muslim population. It is located along the main road that connects the Songkhla city and Hat Yai. It is located in a very serene surrounding and has wide open fields around it.

This is indeed of the best things to do in Hat Yai.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Hat Yai

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Visit Wat Hat Yai Nai

What makes Wat Hat Yai Nai temple so special is that it is home to the third-largest Buddha statue in the world. The statue measures 35 meters in length, 15 meters in height and 10 meters in width. Aside from the Buddha statue, the temple itself is a great work of art.

It features various pillared pavilions and has roofs painted in red and gold, which are great examples of Thai architecture. Locals come here to pray and leave offerings in front of the giant Buddha statue. Visit here for some quiet time away from the buzzing and noisy town.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Hat Yai

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Explore a medieval castle at Pruksa Theme Park

One of the best things to do in Hat Yai is the Pruksa Theme park is the ultimate dream come true for an animal lover. It is home to various animals like goats, rabbits, sheep, and birds. Unlike zoos, where animals are caged, and you cannot go near them here in this park, you can freely interact with them. Snacks for these animals like bottles of milk and vegetables like carrots are available on the premises for a mere 25 baht or 1 US dollar.

The theme park also featured Le Chateau, a castle with white bricked walls and pointed roofs. The whole vibe of the medieval castle makes you feel like you are in some sort of a fairy tale.

Apart from that, the theme park also comes with other attractive features like colorful carousels that lay dormant during the day but after dark light up in an array of vibrant colors.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Hat Yai

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 Things to do in hat yai papaya salad with grilled chicken
One of the best things to do in Hat Yai is trying out the local cuisine! via Flickr|Alpha

Try a papaya salad with grilled chicken in Som Tam Chaba restaurant

Somtan Chaba Restaurant is located off the beaten track in Hat Yai. It is popular among locals and tourists alike for its charming ambiance and varied yet inexpensive menu.

The choice of food that you get is not only great tasting, but these are also very well served. What’s more interesting is that you also get lightning speed service here; it might take some time to zero in on your food choice, but it is served within minutes of ordering.

The restaurant specializes in Thai and Asian food in general. Apart from its many seafood dishes and soups, it is crispy Papaya salad that comes with juicy grilled chicken is so amazing that even casually thinking about it later will surely get you drooling.

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Eat a Thai Dim Sum in a local restaurant

Dim Sums are a ubiquitous phenomenon that is so ingrained in the Asian culture that it is very hard to not be greeted by its sight in every Asian restaurant.

This delicious dish is prepared using a type of filling, which can be either vegetable or meat-based; it is then wrapped in a piece of the flattened dough and steamed in a bamboo basket or boiled in a pan. It has so many variations, and all of them make use of different types of fillings ranging from simple vegetables to pork, seafood, noodles, and much more.

There are many restaurants in and around Hat Yai that serve authentic Thai dim sums. Cook Chai Dim Sum restaurant specializes in Chinese and Asian food and serves out-of-this-world Thai dim sums fresh out of the steaming baskets.

Visit here for its signature dish of Thai dim sums and various other Thai dishes like herbal pork soup, deep-fried kuey teow-a type of noodle dish, and much more besides that. What’s more, the place is also very affordable as compared to other Thai restaurants in and around Hat Yai.

WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Hat Yai

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Try a delicious beef braised soup noodles at Chen Long Boat Noodle

The Chen Long Boat Noodle restaurant is located in Hat Yai and is not far away from the shopping hub of Central Hadyai. Here you can customize your own noodle dish as well by selecting the type of noodles that you want and pairing it with the choice of meat and even garnishing.

Its most popular signature dish is the braised beef boat noodle – a dish of silky smooth noodles bathed in a rich soup with crispy vegetables and melt in your mouth braised beef. The dish leaves a great aftertaste and lingers in your thoughts for hours.

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