Hat Yai

Last updated on May 26, 2023

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Nestled in the far south of Thailand, near the Malaysian border, Hat Yai is a must-visit destination for any traveler passing by. This bustling city offers a unique blend of culture, history, and modern amenities that make it a standout destination in Thailand.

One of the biggest draws is the food scene. Hat Yai is famous for its street food, and you’ll find some of the best dishes in southern Thailand here. From spicy curries to delicious noodles, the city’s food is a true feast for the senses!

Shoppers will also find plenty of options in Hat Yai, from bustling local markets to modern shopping centers like Lee Garden Plaza and CentralFestival Hat Yai. Whether you’re hunting for souvenirs or simply window-shopping, the city offers a paradise for all.

And let’s not forget about the landmarks and attractions! Hat Yai Municipal Park and the famous Hat Yai Cable Car offer breathtaking views of the city, while temples like Wat Hat Yai Nai and the Hat Yai Chinese Temple are must-visits for those interested in the local culture and history.

Famous places

Wat Hat Yai Nai

Wat Hat Yai Nai temple on a sunny day, featuring the 35-meter-long Phra Phuttha Hattha Mongkhon reclining Buddha and intricate architecture
Sunlit Wat Hat Yai Nai featuring the 35-meter-long Phra Phuttha Hattha Mongkhon reclining Buddha © Nalidsa / Shutterstock.com

First up, we have Wat Hat Yai Nai, one of the most famous temples in Hat Yai. This beautiful temple attracts visitors from all over for its stunning architecture and rich cultural and religious significance. Wat Hat Yai Nai is a true representation of the Thai people’s devotion and spirituality, making it a must-visit for those interested in the local culture and history.

Lee Garden Plaza

At Lee Garden Plaza, locals and tourists alike will find a unique shopping experience. The bustling center offers a wide selection of souvenirs, international brands, and more – making it an ideal destination for those wanting to check out the Hat Yai shopping scene. Whether you’re looking for something special or looking around, Lee Garden Plaza has everything you need.

Hat Yai Municipal Park

Unidentify tourists enjoying moment in Hat yai Municipal Park, Songkhla

And last but not least, we have Hat Yai Municipal Park, a beautiful park that offers breathtaking views of the city. Whether you’re looking to relax, exercise, or just take in the sights, Hat Yai Municipal Park is the perfect place to visit. With its lush greenery, peaceful atmosphere, and panoramic views, this park is a true gem in Hat Yai’s crown.

More information about Hat Yai Park can be found on Tripsadvisor.

Things to do in Hat Yai

Exploring Hat Yai’s street food scene is an experience not to be missed, from spicy curries to delectable noodles, it caters to every taste and budget. This delicious array of dishes is a feast for the senses that no foodie should miss.

Various dried food shop at Kim Yong Market famous wholesale market in Hat Yai
Local market in Hat Yai © Brostock / Shutterstock.com

Another popular activity in Hat Yai is shopping. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, local goods, or international brands, Hat Yai has plenty of options to choose from. With everything from local markets to modern shopping centers, shopping is a fun and exciting way to experience the local culture and take home a piece of Hat Yai with you.

At night, Hat Yai comes alive with an array of bars, clubs, and other venues to suit every kind of night out. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or simply enjoy a peaceful drink with friends, the city’s vibrant atmosphere after dark is sure to provide plenty of memorable experiences.

Getting to Hat Yai

Bangkok to Hat Yai

Train Bangkok to Hat Yai
Hat Yai Train Station © Chadawan Heemsuhree / Shutterstock.com

Traveling between Bangkok and Hat Yai, roughly 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) apart, offers several options to suit various preferences and budgets.

Train: Thai Railways operate trains between Bangkok’s Krung Thep Aphiwat central terminal and Hat Yai Railway Station, taking 14 to 18 hours. Travelers can choose between different classes and types of sleeper carriages (first or second class, air-conditioned, or fan-cooled). Booking ahead is advised, especially for the faster train that departs late evening.

Bus: Buses from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal to Hat Yai take around 13.5 to 15 hours and are generally cheaper than trains. Options include Express, VIP, and VIP 24 buses, with varying levels of comfort and service. Companies like Siam Lane Tour and Piya offer these services.

Minivan: Faster than buses, minivans offer a quicker land route but may lack onboard facilities and comfort compared to buses.

Flight: The quickest and usually most expensive option, flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport or Suvarnabhumi Airport to Hat Yai International Airport take around 1.5 hours. Airlines like Nok Air, Thai Lion Air, Thai AirAsia, and Thai Smile offer flights at various times throughout the day.

Read more in our full guide: Bangkok to Hat Yai.

Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai

Flight Bangkok to Hat Yai
Hat Yai International Airport © rachata photography / Shutterstock.com

Traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai offers a range of options to suit various budgets and preferences, making the 530-kilometer (330-mile) journey a pleasant experience.

Flight: The quickest option is flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Hat Yai International Airport, taking approximately 1.5 hours. AirAsia offers daily flights, making it a convenient choice for travelers looking to reach their destination swiftly. Upon arrival at Hat Yai Airport, you can take a taxi, airport limo, or public minivan to the city center, which is about 15 kilometers (9 miles) away.

Bus: For a more budget-friendly option, consider taking a bus from Kuala Lumpur’s Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) to Hat Yai. The journey takes around 8 to 9 hours, depending on traffic conditions. Numerous bus operators, such as Konsortium Bas Ekspres and Alisan Golden Coach, offer comfortable and air-conditioned rides. Buses run daily, and it’s advisable to book tickets in advance.

Train: For a scenic and relaxed journey, opt for the train operated by KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu). You’ll need to take the ETS (Electric Train Service) from Kuala Lumpur’s KL Sentral station to Padang Besar, Malaysia’s border town. From there, transfer to a Thai train for the remaining journey to Hat Yai. The entire trip takes approximately 10 hours, offering picturesque views along the way.

In summary, choose between a flight, bus, or train for a comfortable and enjoyable journey from Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai based on your preferences and budget.

Traveling from Hat Yai

Once you’ve experienced the wonders that Hat Yai has to offer, it’s time to decide where your next destination will be.

Hat Yai to Koh Lipe

Krabi to Koh Lipe from Pakbara Pier with Jolly Travel Speedboat
A Jolly Travel Speedboat heading to Koh Lipe.

A short distance away from Hat Yai lies the serene island of Koh Lipe, known for its relaxing beaches and turquoise waters perfect for swimming and diving. If you’re looking to travel from Hat Yai to Koh Lipe, you have a few options to choose from.

From Hat Yai Bus Station to Koh Lipe by minivan and Ferry: Several tour companies operate minivan and ferry services from Hat Yai Bus Station to Koh Lipe, including Satun Pakbara Speed Boat Club and Smart En Plus. These services take around 5.5 hours and can be booked online.

From Hat Yai Airport to Koh Lipe: If you’re flying into Hat Yai Airport and wish to head straight to Koh Lipe, you can book combined minivan and ferry tickets through companies like Smart En Plus, Satun Pakbara Speed Boat Club, Jolly Travel, and Sukhothai Tour Hat Yai. The total journey time is about 5 hours.

Pickup from Hotel in Hat Yai to Koh Lipe: For added convenience, consider booking a hotel pickup in Hat Yai through tour companies like Sukhothai Tour Hat Yai, Smart En Plus, or Satun Pakbara Speed Boat Club. This option saves you time and money by eliminating the need to travel to a bus or railway station.

Ferries operate year-round from Pak Bara to Koh Lipe, but schedules are reduced during the low season. Plan accordingly and consider the weather and sea conditions before booking, especially if you’re prone to seasickness. The smaller the boat, the rougher the journey may seem. Regardless of your choice, enjoy the serene beauty of Koh Lipe upon arrival!

Hat Yai to Phuket

Flight from Hat Yai to Phuket
Bangkok Airways ATR 72-600 landing above the sand beach near Phuket Airport © Phuong D. Nguyen / Shutterstock.com

Hat Yai, a bustling commercial hub in southern Thailand, offers lively markets and shopping opportunities. After exploring the city, consider heading northwest to Phuket for beautiful beaches, exciting nightlife, and stunning scenery perfect for hiking.

Phuket, an island connected to the mainland by a bridge, is about 430 kilometers (269 miles) from Hat Yai. Travel options include taking a bus or a flight.

Though more expensive than buses, a flight from Hat Yai to Phuket takes just an hour. Bangkok Air operates one flight per day, with a 20 kg luggage allowance included in the ticket price. Keep in mind that Phuket Airport is about 32 kilometers (20 miles) from Phuket City, so factor in additional transfer time.

Traveling by bus is cheaper and offers more departure times throughout the day. You can book bus tickets through 12Go, with Sri Trang offering Express and VIP 24 buses. Express buses are more basic, while VIP 24 buses provide extra comfort and amenities. The journey takes 7 hours for Express buses and 8 hours 25 minutes for VIP 24 buses. Bus travel allows you to enjoy the beautiful Thai scenery along the way.

In summary, choose between a faster, more expensive flight or a slower, cheaper bus journey to travel from Hat Yai to Phuket.

Read more in our full guide Hat Yai to Phuket.

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Kamolchat Thanaditsayakun
About Kamolchat Thanaditsayakun

My name is Kamolchat - a writer with a passion for travel who loves sharing stories of new destinations and unforgettable adventures. I was born and raised in Thailand and I have always been captivated by the beauty and diversity of my homeland which inspired me to venture out and discover the world.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of contributing to various travel publications and websites, such as Lonely Planet and Viator. I strive to provide an authentic representation of the places I visit, get into the heart of local cultures and finding authentic experiences that nourishes the soul.

As I continue to journey across the globe, I want you to join me in experiencing the wonders of our world through my stories. Together, we can learn, grow, and be inspired by the incredible people, places, and cultures that make our planet such an extraordinary place to explore.