Shopping all the day and get wild through the night -- this is probably the best description for "Hat Yai" the biggest and liveliest city of Southern Thailand. Each year, it welcomes million visitors especially from the neighboring countries to experience the famous Thai style culture and lively nightlife. What are the best things to do? Where are the best places you should not miss? Let's discover the charm of this 'sleepless city of the south'.
Genuine Thai Nightlife
No doubt, Thailand is always loved by party lovers from around the world. While Bangkok and Pattaya are the most known places to enjoy the night in the upper part of the country, in the south is Hat Yai owns the fame.
Hat Yai is famous hang out place among Malaysian and Singaporean, so no worry if you don't speak Thai. There are many places you can enjoy through the night from chilling with live band performance to dance with friend at disco clubbing. If you craving for "sexy stuffs" try get to the famous Thai girl show pub, sexy karaoke or you can even opt on body massage and more.
Tons of Thai Style Attractions and Temples
Despite locates in southern Thailand, Hat Yai has many things in common with Bangkok and central Thailand --- large part of the people is from Chinese origin and belief in Buddhism. This makes Hat Yai homes to lots of temples and shires with beautiful Buddha and god statues you can see and pay respect to.
Visit Wat Hat Yai Nai to see the world's third largest reclining Buddha and Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol Temple for World's only stainless steel Buddhist chapel. This is yet to include Hatyai Municipal Park which is not a normal green space but a mountain with cable car to 3 shires and temples with amazing viewpoint of Hat Yai city on the top.
Easy to Travel from Malaysia and Singapore
With the location only 50 kms from the border with Malaysian Padang Besar and has its own international airport just outside the city Hat Yai is the most very convenient Thailand's destination from Malaysia and Singapore. From the border (Sadao) there are vans, buses and trains at service all day long. Or if you want to drive, it only takes a brief 40 minutes.
There are more than 6 flights daily to and from the countries. This is yet to includes some 30s flight from main airports of Thailand like Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai --- a good starting point for your Thailand trip.
Cheap to Travel, Do and Stay
Apart from famous nightlife and beautiful temples, many travelers visit Hat Yai because it's cheap to travel and stay --- in fact, this city and the whole Thailand country is ranked among the cheapest place in the world you can travel to. Even comparing to Bangkok and Pattaya, this city offer much cheaper hotel and cheaper food. This is yet to include the reasonable services for the nighttime activities.
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Side Trip to Danok
If you want to have a change from Hat Yai or don't want to go too far from the border (in case you drive from Malaysia), Danok (Dannok) is a good place to enjoy the night. Though it is only a small town on the border with Malaysia, it has been growth into one of the cowboy town --- "hot"spot for entertainment lovers. You will find rows of bars and nightclubs to enjoy. There is nothing much during the day, but if you pass through the border it's a good idea to check out the duty free shops around immigration checkpoints for cheap and good sundries.
Food, Street Food is everywhere
You will feel undone if you visit Thailand without have a bite on street foods. Hat Yai hosts a great number of street vendors and hawkers selling fingerlicking dishes at reasonable price.
Walk from your hotel empty stomach and begin the hunt for delicious Thai street foods in the evening especially around the city centre and Lee Garden Plaza Hotel. Try on everything that look delicious or have long queue Thai style sour sausage, deep fried Kuey Teow, beef noodle, fried insects, barbecues, roasted chicken -- you'll get back to hotel full of smile on the face and plenty of money to spare as the food is cheap!
Just the place for Shopping
If you are shopping lover, Hat Yai has everything to keep you occupied throughout the day. This place has been known as shopping destination for both Thai and foreigner travelers for many decades -- scattered with tons of shopping places from down to earth local markets, back lanes, flea markets to air-conditioned shopping plaza.
You can browse through allays and back lanes of Hat Yai to find a wide selection of goods for sale including knock-off goods, electronics, 'brand-name' clothing and usual dry tidbits like dried fish maw, cashew nuts, pistachios, and crispy durian. Make sure you take a good look at the item and compare prices before you buy. Don't forget to bargain for the price!
For anyone who are looking for 'legitimate' goods, Hat Yai is home to a number of shopping malls includes Central Department Store, Lee Garden Plaza, Robinson Department Store, Diana Plaza, Tesco Lotus supermarkets, and Big C supercentre.
Photo from: Eagely Hong, Jane Kuan, Tim Wong, Yan Leng, Sorawit Pramokchutima @Shutterstock.com