Hat Yai is the capital of Thailand's Songkhla province. The city is perhaps best known for being the last major Thai settlement on the route to Malaysia's Georgetown / Penang. However, Hat Yai deserves to be much more than just a dot on a map or a passing sign on an express train journey from Bangkok to Malaysia.
|The Hat Yai train station which connects the city with other parts of Thailand, including Bangkok as well as the Malaysian city of Butterworth|
The city is a combination of street markets and many cultural attractions. The reclining Buddha, the Guan Im Temple and the Four Faced Buddha are just a few of the monuments sprinkled around the city.
|A view of the 'small' reclining Buddha|
|The Reclining Buddha Temple, said to be the second largest in Thailand|
|A lazy visitor relaxes at the steps of the Guan Im Temple, dutifully guarded by a golden royal dragon|
|The notable Masjid Pakistan or Pakistani Mosque located near Hat Yai's main train station|
Perhaps the greatest part of Hat Yai's charm lies in its small town feel coupled with a unique demographic mix. The city's population is less than 200,000 and includes sizeable Chinese and Muslim populations. In fact, Hat Yai is unique among Thai cities in that the combined Muslim and Chinese populations outnumber the 'traditional' Thai population.
|Colorful examples of Peranakan architecture on a Hat Yai street|
|A wall mural of a dragon painted on the walls of a Chinese temple|
Imran is a Singapore based Tour Guide with a special interest in arts and history. Imran has lived and worked in several countries in his career as an international banker. He enjoys traveling, especially by train, to feed his curiosity about the world and nurture his interest in photography. Imran can be contacted at email@example.com.