Nov
26
2009

Songkhla and Hat Yai / Thailand

Songkhla, one of Thailand’s important ports and coastal provinces, is located 950 kilometers from Bangkok. Occupying an area of 7,393 square kilometers on the eastern side of the Malaysian Peninsula, the province is bordered by the States of Kedah (Sai Buri) and Perlis of Malaysia to the south and the Gulf of Thailand to the east. In addition, Songkhla borders on Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung Provinces to the north, Yala and Pattani Provinces to the south, and Satun and Phatthalung Provinces to the west.

An undeniably historic town endowed with ancient ruins, arts, and places of cultural importance, Songkhla, a melting pot of Thais, Chinese and Malays, charms visitors with its unique traditions, dialect, and folk entertainment. These characteristics are reflections of the provinces rich cultural heritage, which has been preserved and passed down from generations to generations.

Hat Yai, a district of Songkhla, is perhaps better known than the provincial capital itself. Hat Yai serves as a southern hub of communication, trading and transportation as well as a gateway to Malaysia and Singapore. In light of this, Hat Yai has gained importance as the driving force of economic growth in the southern region.

History of Songkhla

Songkhla, a medieval pirate stronghold, is a historic, albeit sleepy town with a thriving fishing community. Another Srivijaya outpost in Thailands southern region, Songkhla was initially named Sa-thing”. Previously a port and a coastal trading post where Indian, Persian and Arabian merchants came to exchange their products, the place was named “Sing Lha” after the 2 lion-shape islands at the mouth of the city’s lake. At present, these 2 islands are Koh Nu (Rat Island) and Koh Maeo (Cat Island). The old part of Songkhla is located at the present-day Amphoe Sathing Phra.

Todays Songkhla

Over the last few decades, Songkhla has been rapidly developed and is currently a unique attraction worth visiting. Blessed with natural resources such as fine beaches, enchanting waterfalls, and a tranquil lake, the province has an abundance of tourist attractions and an amazing range of seaside resort towns. Moreover, the old section of Songkhla still maintains its unique identity of ancient and historical flavors through local architecture and cuisine.

While Songkhla is noted as a fishing community set in a peaceful atmosphere, Hat Yai, on the other hand, serves as a transportation and communications hub of the south with links to various destinations in the neighboring provinces and Malaysia.

Despite being only 30 kilometers apart, Songkhla and Hat Yai have uniquely contrasting characteristics and are ideal places to visit.

Songkhla is administratively divided into 16 districts: Muang Songkhla, Ranot, Krasae Sin, Sathing Phra, Singhanakhon, Khuan Niang, Rattaphum, Bang Klam, Hat Yai, Na Mom, Chana, Thepha, Na Thawi, Saba Yoi, Sadao, and Khlong Hoi Khong.

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