"Hat Yai" Top 5 Page for this destination Hat Yai by phil_uk_net
Hat Yai Travel Guide: 379 reviews and 718 photos
Hat Yai gets overlooked by the guidebooks but I thought it was a great place. Maybe it was because I had no expectations? This is often the case with travelling and life in general.
It has all the sights and sounds you'd expect of a Thai city but doesn't have the traffic, noise, pollution and sheer lunacy of Bangkok. It is also not full of farang tourists. The odd backpacker can be seen as they travel between Malaysia and Thailand but generally they don't hang around for long.
There are a wide range of accommodation options at all price levels and some great places to eat. My first stay coincided with Chinese New Year which added to the general excitement. Everyone is even more happy than usual and the sound of Chinese firecrackers can be heard all around. I now realise why I have seen so many kids walking around with cotton wool in their ears!
Lonely Planet is normally quite good at giving background information on a place but I think they did a lousy job with Hat Yai. They give the impression that it used to be a busy place with Malaysian visitors but it no longer is. Rubbish. At weekends it is full of Malaysians (mainly Chinese) and a few Singaporeans. Some come to shop (or have their feet massaged). Others come for less wholesome pleasures. It is pretty quiet during the week but at weekends completely different. Be aware that finding a place to stay on a Friday or Saturday night can be a little tricky.
Hat Yai was the first place I had visited that had a 'restaurant' specialising in live snakes. Not quite my cup of tea/blood but interesting all the same.
My first visit to Hat Yai coincided with Chinese New Year. One of the customs at that time is to release caged birds and make a wish at the same time. There are people on the streets with cages full of birds waiting to be released. I think I paid about 50 baht to set this on on its way.
- Pros:Good example of a typical Thai provincial city
- Cons:Not a lot of 'cultural' places to visit
- In a nutshell:All the good things about a Thai city without the madness of Bangkok
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