Talk about Thailand and our mind instantly thinks about the usual places such as Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya. But the fact is that Thailand is an incredibly beautiful country that has many lesser-known gems that are worth exploring.
One such gem is Hat Yai, Thailand. It is one of the southernmost cities of Thailand and is a long way away from Bangkok. Over the years, the tales of this city’s breathtaking natural beauty have traveled far. In addition to its natural beauty, the city is also known for its bustling shopping district. All kinds of fancy food, goods, and gadgets are available in the markets of Hat Yai.
Why You Should visit Hat Yai
Hat Yai is an excellent getaway for those looking for a short holiday. People tend to fly from Singapore to Hat Yai to spend a few days, relax with friends and family, and then head back. You could emulate them, and we can guarantee that you will not regret it. Come for the shopping or to discover the city’s Buddhist heritage, which has great historical significance.
The Hat Yai Nai temple is home to a statue of Buddha that is the third-largest in the world. Pilgrims from across Asia visit this temple and offer their prayers. Although a bit crowded, it is still a must-visit when you are in Hat Yai.
To get a more authentic feel of the local Thai culture, you should visit the Hat Yai Nai temple in October. That is when the local Buddhist festival known as Chak Phra takes place each year. It is a celebration that the entire city takes part in. Chak Phra is held on the first day of the waning moon in the eleventh month of the Thai lunar calendar.
Culture, Markets, and What Else?
You can get a taste of Thailand’s scenic beauty at the Thale Noi Waterbird Park, which is a two-hour drive from Hat Yai. It is a spectacular place that warrants a visit at least once in your lifetime. Hundreds of waterfowl will greet you as you explore the park in a longboat. It is the largest such lake in Thailand and is home to over one hundred and eighty bird species – both local and migratory.
When you’re visiting Hat Yai, be sure not to miss the Hat Yai Municipal Park. It is really colorful and so full of character that you will be pleasantly surprised. One of the biggest attractions there is a golden statue of Buddha that, by many accounts, is simply jaw-dropping.
Once you have rejuvenated yourself in Mother Nature’s lap, it will be time to re-enter the hustle and bustle of Hat Yai city. Make sure you visit the Greenway Night Market for a spectacular sight with thousands of tiny shops. You can literally get anything that you want in this market. Moreover, you will also bump into some friendly locals who will help you out in picking some fascinating Thai souvenirs.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Since Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful islands in the world, it is essential that you get to at least spend a little bit of time in the water. The first thing on our list is snorkeling and scuba diving. Swimming and spending time at the beach is one thing, but going under and witnessing what feels like an entirely different world is another.
If you want to get acquainted with fish and look at colorful reefs, snorkeling is the best option for you. If you want to take it a step further, you can scuba dive in the depths to really get a feel for all the life and excitement that goes on deeper in the ocean.
How to Get to Hat Yai
Why You Should Travel By Bus
1. It’s Conenient
You can travel to Hat Yai by a VIP24 bus. VIP buses are luxury long-haul buses that link Bangkok to the provinces around the country, including Hat Yai. Depending on the level of service you choose, the bus ticket can be expensive as a plane ticket. But the good thing is that VIP bus tickets in Hat Yai are still cost-friendly compare to others.
For instance, a green bus will cost ~$12 USD. For this price, a meal and luggage handling are included. If you’re on a budget, then you can travel via night bus and save money on accommodations.
2. It Saves Time
When traveling in Hat Yai, this is important if you’re pressed for time, have only a limited amount of days for vacation, or want to have a quick weekend getaway. If you fly within Thailand, expect to spend at least a half of day. When taking a night bus, you will have the whole day for yourself.
3. Comfortable Seating Options
When riding on a VIP bus, you’ll find it as a comfortable experience. The VIP seats are extra plush and wide and have adjustable leg rests, headrests and reclining capabilities too.
Tall people will feel relieved when riding in a greenbus VIP seat. You can use the adjustable leg rest and not feel cramped, even if the passenger in front of you is fully reclined back.
Like an airplane, you can open, close, and adjust the air vents direction. The bus also has reading lights. The overhead bins aren’t deep, but are narrow. While you can fit a shopping bag, electronics bag, or a large purse, don’t expect to fit a TSA maximum sized carry-on bag. You have to place it at your feet or under the bus during the ride.
PRO TIP 1: Anytime you travel via bus, train, or plane, make sure to keep your valuables (electronics, personal documents, money, jewelry) at your person to eliminate the chance of them being stolen while stowed away.
PRO TIP 2: When you book a ticket, you don’t have to travel from the originating city to the final city – You can book halfway through the route.
In short, Hat Yai is a place definitely worth visiting. The next time you are planning a trip to Thailand, remember that there is a friendly city down south waiting for you.
Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.
Hat Yai: One Of Thailand’s Lesser Known Treasures