Hatyai is one of the most popular weekend tourist spot in Southern Thailand for Malaysians and Singaporeans alike (and now the Chinese are coming too). Located in the province of Songkhla, Hatyai is the largest city in the South and the fourth largest city in Thailand. It is a commercial hub, medical hub, tourism spot and a shopping haven for Thais and tourist alike.
The city is quite well contained and travelling within the city is rather easy and inexpensive with motorcycle taxis, and tuk tuks. Although English is not widely spoken (but more speaks it now), many shop owners speaks some Chinese and some Malay too.
So what is there to do in Hatyai besides shopping and eating, many of my friends ask. So I decided to share my 10 Must Visit Places in Hatyai through this feature article.
Wat Hatyai Nai
Wat Hatyai Nai is Hatyai’s oldest temple and the open-air pavilion contains a massive 35 meter long reclining Buddha, one of the largest in the world. Wat Hatyai Nai is a very important temple in the region and gets very busy during the major festivals, however during normal days it is pretty quiet.
Central Festival Mall Hatyai
Opened in December of 2013, Central Festival Mall Hatyai is the largest modern shopping mall in Southern Thailand consisting of more than 250 branded shops and eateries. The mall also has a ice skating ring, movie cineplex, and a large convention center. So once you got done with the “street-market shopping” do head out to this modern mall for your other shopping needs, as well as a nice hangout places with nice restaurants and cafes.
Magic Museum of Hatyai
The Magic Museum of Hatyai is one of the recent addition to the many attractions here in Hatyai. Located on Kanjanavich Road, the Magic Museum of Hatyai consist of a 3-D Art Museum, a magic museum, a magic theater, a magic store and a sit down cafe and restaurant. Live magic show are done 4x daily at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. This is a definite must for magic enthusiasts visiting the city as well as good fun family entertainment. Read more about the Magic Museum of Hatyai here.
Khlong Hae Floating Market
Khlong Hae Floating Market is one of the two floating market in Hatyai but is more popular and has more “floating boats” around. Unlike the floating market in Bangkok, the floating market here only consist of “stores” selling mainly their food items on floating boats parked on the river side. However it is still a pretty fun experience and some of the food are pretty nice. The Khlong Hae Floating Market is only opened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
Kim Yong Market
Kim Yong Market is a local market in the center of Hatyai city and is famous for the many things sold from clothes, fruits, snacks, nuts, food, fresh flowers, beauty products and etc at some of the best prices in Thailand. However do be prepared to haggle for prices and it does get a little hot inside the market.
Lee Garden Food Street
Opened during the weekends, Lee Garden Food Street is one of the most happening area in Hatyai and is where most of the visitors are congregated at. Portion of the street is closed up on Friday and Saturday evenings and stalls mostly food pops up. This is probably one of the places you want to enjoy your dinner at, walking and eating up all the delicious snack food. This food street will connects to the Lee Garden Night Market area where you not only find food but also clothing, beauty accessories, nuts and etc. You can probably spend a good hour or two here.
Night Markets – ASEAN, Greenway and JT Square
One of the attraction of Hatyai is definitely shopping and shopping in night markets. Hatyai has a few night markets around but the largest are that of ASEAN and Greenway. There are hundreds of stalls in both ASEAN and Greenway selling all sorts of items from consumer electronic, fashion, beauty, accessories and both the night market also has their own food courts. ASEAN usually caters more for the tourist while Greenway are where the locals usually shop at. Apart from these two, there is also a new fashion market called JT Square opposite the Diana Shopping Complex.
Hatyai Municipal Park
One of the most interesting place to visit in Hatyai is the Hatyai Municipal Park which is located on the East side of town. There are quite a number of things to see in the huge park (and is really happening during the Loy Kratong Festival). At the base you will see local residents going out for picnics by the lakeside or go boating on the lake and one can drive up the hill within the Municipal Park.
At the top of the hill, one can get a panoramic view of the whole city of Hatyai as well as see the majestic 25-meter high standing Buddha which was established in 1999 on the occasion of Majesty King Bhumibhol’s 6th Cycle Birthday Celebration known as the Phra Buddha Mongkol Maharaj.
From the top, one can take a cable car down to the Great Brahman Shrine.
On the back of the hill, one can also visit the 9.9 meter high white Jade-stone Phra Bodhisattva Guan Yin established on the 50th Anniversary of His Majesty Bhumibhol’s accession to the throne.
I would say the Hatyai Municipal Park is by far probably the largest attraction in Hatyai and one can probably spend a good two or three hours there. There is also an Observatory up on the hilltop with some powerful telescopes for star gazing.
Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol
The Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol is a very unique Buddhist temple that sits a top a hill on the East side of Hatyai and what makes this temple unique is the temple is constructed mainly with stainless steel pipes, making it truly unique and unlike any other temples that I have visited before. I would say the best time to visit this temple is at about 5:30pm as you get to enjoy the temple in daylight and comes sundown, the temple changes from its bright stainless steel color to green as the lights come on. Not too big, you probably can spend a good 30 minutes at the temple ground.
Pruksa Park : Wine Village
Like what you find in Chocolate Ville and Rome in Bangkok or Venezia and Santorini Park in Hua Hin, Hatyai also has it own “out of Thailand feel” theme restaurant and park known as Pruksa Park : Wine Village. The Pruksa Park : Wine Village is a newly opened attraction consisting of a lovely white castle (lovely for bridal photo shoots), a nice carousel, manicured lawn and a small animal farm where you can feed the animals. The Wine Village Restaurant is one of Hatyai’s premium restaurant, perfect for romantic dinners. The Pruksa Park is only open in the evening from 5:00 pm onwards and is Free Admission. On certain weekends, you might find some “night market” activities give visitors more things to see.
These are my 10 favorite places to visit in Hatyai and if you do have any questions, please do feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and for now .. work hard, travel harder.