All the Best Things to do in Hat Yai, Thailand
Home » Asia  »  All the Best Things to do in Hat Yai, Thailand
All the Best Things to do in Hat Yai, Thailand

In the heart of southern Thailand in the province of Songkhla is Hat Yai, a vibrant city that offers a blend of rich culture, delicious cuisine, and exciting activities. Many travelers pass through Hat Yai Junction when taking a train from Bangkok to Thailand's southern islands, or even onwards to Malaysia. We absolutely recommend spending 2-4 days to explore the many things to do in Hat Yai, Thailand.

Don't have time to read the full article?
πŸ‘‰ Check out the best accommodations for your visit.
πŸ‘‰ Start exploring the best tours around Hat Yai.
πŸ‘‰ Book your flight to Thailand.

All the Best Things to do in Hat Yai, Thailand

Whether you're a foodie, an adventurer, or a culture enthusiast, there's something for everyone in this bustling city. Here are some must-do activities to make the most of your time in Hat Yai.

1. Explore Kim Yong Market

Dive into the heart of Hat Yai's local culture by wandering through the stalls of Kim Yong Market. Here, you can sample authentic Thai street food, fruits and several sweets; shop for souvenirs, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of a traditional Thai market.

Stalls selling street foods and goods at Kim Yong Market, one of the things to see in Hat Yai
Kim Yong Market street

2. Visit Wat Hat Yai Nai

Marvel at the beauty of Wat Hat Yai Nai, aka (Mahattamangkalaram Temple), home to one of the largest reclining Buddha statues in the world, 35m long. This iconic landmark offers an escape from the city's hustle and bustle. In this complex, you can see several smaller temples and places of worship with beautiful architecture.

One of the largest reclining buddha statues in the world is in Wat Hat Yai Nai, one of the temples to see in Hat Yai
Wat Hat Yai Nai

3. Visit Wat Chue Chang

One of Hat Yai's cultural gems, Wat Chue Chang is a Buddhist temple with intricate designs and decorations showcasing artisanship and religious devotion of the people.

4. Wat Thawon Wararam

Just a short walk from Wat Chue Chang is Wat Thawon Wararam. It is a Buddhist temple with Chinese-inspired architecture and offers moments of peace.

Buddha in Wat Thawon Wararam, one of the temples to see in Hat Yai
Wat Thawon Wararam, Hat Yai

5. Experience Floating Markets

Take a stroll around Hat Yai's floating market, where vendors sell fresh produce, handicrafts, and snacks from boats along the canals. Khong Hae Floating Market is the largest in the area and is found 20 minutes from city-center.

6. Indulge in Street Food

Take your foodie spirit on a culinary adventure in Hat Yai's famous street food. From savory pad Thai to spicy green curry, you can find several good dining spots in Hat Yai. Don't miss trying local specialties like roti canai and mango sticky rice.

7. Relax at Ton Nga Chang Waterfall

Cool off from the tropical heat by taking a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of Ton Nga Chang Waterfall. Surrounded by lush jungle foliage, this natural oasis is the perfect spot for a relaxing day trip from Hat Yai.

8. Experience Nightlife at Lee Garden Plaza

As the sun sets, head to Lee Garden Plaza to experience Hat Yai's vibrant nightlife scene. From rooftop bars and nightclubs to several stalls popping up at night, the area comes alive after dark. Post Laser Disc Pub, The Library Hatyai, and The Panic Room are other excellent options open late into the night.

Food and souvenir stalls in Lee Garden Plaza at night, one of the things to see in Hat Yai
Lee Garden Plaza, Hat Yai

9. Visit a Natural History Museum

The officially titled Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Natural History Museum has exhibitions open every Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm and entrance is 30 THB. There are only partial English descriptions to exhibits so download Google Lens before your visit, however even without the language there are numerous animals, fossils and interactive exhibits to enjoy.

10. Hat Yai City Municipal Park

Just outside of city center, you can take a cable car into the mountains to find a beautiful city park. A small zoo can be found here as well as several beautiful temples. Take a quiet boat ride on the lake for just 50 THB, or just marvel at the views and the statues that are scattered throughout the park. If you take a Grab here and to not buy a gondola ticket, prepare for a 1.5km hike up the hill into the park. Both the park and the zoo are free.

11. Explore GreenWay Night Market

Open Tue-Sun from 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM, this night market is a must-visit destination for all foodies and shoppers looking for amazing deals on clothing and food. In the food court, you load up a prepaid card and then tap away at each vendor you want to visit. Once you've had your fill, visit the hundreds of shops and stalls outside selling quality clothing at huge discounts.

12. ASEAN Night Bazaar

A short walk from GreenWay is ASEAN, which shares the same opening hours. It has a more chaotic feel compared to GreenWay, with narrow corridors within a packed warehouse, however incredible deals and souvenir options can be found. Visit the second floor for the food court.

Several shops lined at ASEAN market, one of the things to see in Hat Yai
ASEAN market, Hat Yai

Hat Yai Hotels

There are several options for you to choose from in Hat Yai. We recommend staying in down town Hay Yai, as most points of interest can just be walking distance. Here are our recommendations:

Centara Hotel Hat Yai

This hotel is located right in the middle of down town Hat Yai. Centara Hotel Hat Yai offers a spa and an outdoor pool.

Grand Pink Hotel Hatyai

This hotel offers free WiFi, bar and free parking and close to several points of interest.

Kong Khong Homestay

Located downtown Hat Yai, Kong Khong Homestay is perfect for budget travellers. Note that they don't have an elevator and the rooms are in the 2nd and 3rd floors.

The Lantern Hatyai Hotel

Located downtown Hat Yai and close to several points of interest, The Lantern Hatyai Hotel has spacious rooms. There is conveniently a cafe at the ground floor.

Woman in the lobby area of The Lantern Hat Yai, one of the hat yai hotels
The Lantern Hat Yai

Where to eat in Hat Yai

Though we love eating street foods and from night markets, there are several dining spots we really liked in Hat Yai and these are our top picks:

Sultan Al Sham

If you are craving Mediterranean food, this is the spot. The staff are kind and attentive. Food was on point and with good servings.

Mediterranean food from Sultan Al Sham, one of the places to eat in Hat Yai
Sultan Al Sham

Owl Milk Tea

If you are looking for a quick, refreshing and affordable drink, visit the Owl Milk Tea. It is one of the bubble tea spots that we really liked.

The Bliss

A newly-opened restaurant in Hat Yai with live music and great food. The food and drinks are delicious and decently-priced.

Performers on stage playing live music in The Bliss, one of the restaurants in Hat Yai
The Bliss Hat Yai

Hat Yai Beaches

Many travelers inquire about the best beaches in Hat Yai, however disappointed to learn that this is a landlocked city with no beaches. The city however serves as an excellent access point to several sunny and sandy destinations.

Chalatat Beach and Samila Beach

It is the closest large beach, located in the neighboring city of Songkhla. It takes about 40 minutes to drive to this beach from Hat Yai. Sandy shores and a great sunset can be found here. A further 5 minutes along the coast has this beach connecting with Samila Beach, where you can see the golden mermaid and find more scenic views.

Koh Lipe

Alternatively, you may find yourself in Hat Yai as a gateway to the nearby island of Koh Lipe where you can easily get a land and boat transfer.

Boat docked in North Point beach with crystal-clear water of Koh Lipe, Thailand
Koh Lipe, Thailand

How to get to Hat Yai

Koh Lipe to Hat Yai

Traveling between Hat Yai and Koh Lipe or any other island will require a combination of land and sea transport. Luckily, the most convenient and affordable way to book this is through a combination ticket, offered by several tour companies. 12Go Asia is the best source to search and compare prices.

Boat loading passengers from Koh Lipe to Hat Yai, Thailand
Boat from Koh Lipe to Hat Yai

Bangkok to Hat Yai

If you are travelling from Bangkok to visit the south of Thailand and visit places like Koh Lipe, your major stop would be Hat Yai. The distance by road between Hat Yai and Bangkok is nearly 1,000km - it will be a lengthy journey. Thankfully, there are numerous options and all of them are affordable. The fastest option is a flight, which takes under 1.5 hours and is quite affordable if you have no checked luggage. The second and most popular option is a 14-hour overnight train, which is convenient as it saves money on a hotel stay. The final and cheapest option is a 22-hour bus.

Arriving train in Hat Yai Train Station
Hat Yai Train Station

Final Words

With its unique blend of culture and adventure, Hat Yai offers endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Whether you're sampling street food or shopping for souvenirs, you're sure to create unforgettable memories in this beautiful city.

We found the city much less touristy than the surrounding areas. Though Hat Yai is not as popular as the other destinations in Thailand such as Phuket and Bangkok, it still has plenty to offer. The city even has a small digital nomad scene, for those seeking a low cost of living within a city with excellent food and pockets of nightlife.

While in Thailand, do not miss out on Khao Sok National Park.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *