About Me And This Site
C e n t r a l- -F e s t i v a l
When Central Festival - the largest shopping mall in southern Thailand - opened in Hat Yai at the end of 2013 it completely transformed the face of shopping, eating and entertainment in the town. Many visitors to Hat Yai now come specifically to visit Central Festival.
Check out my comprehensive floor-by-floor guide to Central Festival in Hat Yai to find out exactly what's there.
In 2003 I left the UK and ended up living in Hat Yai. Why Hat Yai?
When I lived in England I travelled quite a lot and Thailand was always a very special place. After deciding to leave the UK and live elsewhere I didn't need to think where to go. I already knew. However, I wasn't sure where in Thailand to live.
As a tourist I had visited Thailand a number of times and stayed in tourists resorts, but I knew that I didn't want to live in a tourist resort. I found these places artificial and I didn't want to live alongside thousands of other foreigners.
I had a number of travel guide books and I was always looking at maps of Thailand. The well known places didn't interest me, so I was always looking for places that no one seemed to know about.
These rice fields are located five minutes from my house in Hat Yai
Hat Yai fell into this category. It was obviously quite a large, important town in the deep south but Lonely Planet barely covered anything and no one ever spoke about it. I remember being at Changi airport in Singapore on one occasion and overhearing an airline pilot asking his colleague where Hat Yai was after seeing it on the arrivals board.
In 2002 I met some German friends in Kuala Lumpur and we travelled up through Malaysia into Thailand. They were eager to get to the beach resort of Khao Lak, but I saw an opportunity to visit Hat Yai. I stayed in Hat Yai for a few nights before joining them in Khao Lak.
I really enjoyed Hat Yai. After only experiencing tourist resorts in Thailand where most people were foreigners and virtually all business was related to the tourism industry, it was refreshing to see 'real' Thailand. There was a kind of honesty about the town that I liked.
The following year I left the UK and stayed with my brother in Singapore for a couple of months. I then took a bus to Malacca and started to travel through Malaysia to Thailand. Once in Thailand I returned to Hat Yai. I was keen to get back and it was conveniently located near to the Malaysia border.
It wasn't my intention to stay in Hat Yai, but to travel around Thailand for a while. However, I met a girl, got settled, found a good job, met friends and became quite comfortable. A few years later I got married (to a different girl), had two children and bought a house. Having done so, it then became quite difficult to leave Hat Yai.
To be honest, Hat Yai would not be my first choice when looking for somewhere to live in Thailand. However, it is convenient for many things and my wife wanted to stay close to her family. After living in Hat Yai since 2003 I know the town and its surroundings quite well.
About This Site
During my first six months of living in Hat Yai I walked everywhere, all day. Most Thais have a serious aversion to walking anywhere and many couldn't believe how far I walked, but I wanted to find out all I could. I am a curious person and even to this day I am always trying to find out about new things and new places.
I always carried a camera and wherever I went I would try to get as much information as I could. I still do. I wanted to retain this information and as I already had some HTML skills it seemed to make most sense to record the information in the form of web pages.
After a while the web pages I created started to take shape and formed the genesis of the site you see today. When there was sufficient information I decided to publish what I had written to make the information more widely available.
I have a couple of objectives. The first is to create information that is useful to people. I actually use the information myself and I get annoyed with myself if I read something that I previously wrote and find it isn't very useful.
The second is to be honest because the world wide web is a very devious place and many people lie in order to attract visitors to their sites.
I have personally visited every place that I have written about on this site. Many other websites don't do this, but instead steal information and photos from other sites. Many of my photos have been stolen and used on other sites. Nontheless, despite never having been to Hat Yai they claim to be 'experts'. This kind of dishonesty really irritates me.
On some sites offering information about Hat Yai hotels it is obvious that the author has never been to Hat Yai. The sites say that X hotel is conveniently located for Y and Z, but Y and Z are both miles away. It is obvious that the author of the site lnows nothing about Hat Yai.
This site is updated almost daily. During the normal course of my life I have to travel around Hat Yai a lot. I keep my eyes open and if I see that a new shop, hotel or restaurant has opened I will add it here. It is the same with businesses that close (as many do).
Things change so quickly in Hat Yai that it is impossible to keep all the information up to date - and I can never guarantee that everything is up to date - but I do the best I can.
Advertising And Affiliates Disclaimer
I spend a lot of time on this site and it also costs me money to run and host. If I drive out to Dannok (or anywhere else) to get information I use petrol and there are also web hosting and domain registration costs to pay every year. I don't receive any money for the time I spend and can't reclaim any expenses.
To attempt to recover some of my expenditure I use advertising or affiliate links. If you see an advert and click on it I receive a small sum of money. If you book a hotel on-line through one of my affiliate links I also receive a small sum of money.
The sums are very small, but if enough people support me I can afford to keep the site going. If not, there is a chance that the site may end. After all, most of us wouldn't accept doing a job that didn't pay a salary. My objective is not to make a profit, but just to cover my ongoing expenses. As I write this, in July 2016, that isn't the case and the information on this site that I make freely available actually costs me money to provide.
I would never encourage you to use any service that I didn't use myself and I use Agoda for all my own personal hotel bookings. I have always found that Agoda have a great inventory of hotels, the on-line booking process is efficient, and the room rates are very competitive.
Swimming pool and pool bar at the Amari Garden Hotel, Pattaya
When I stayed at a hotel in Pattaya in April 2016 the Agoda rate represented a huge saving compared to the hotel's walk-in rate.
Please help to support small websites on the web, such as this one.
Get The Best Deal On Your Hat Yai Hotel Room
Listed opposite are some of my personal recommendations for hotels in Hat Yai based on budget. I have lived permanently in Hat Yai since 2003 and my recommendations are based on a lot of local knowledge.
Each link will take you to the relevant page on the Agoda website where you can see photos, read reviews, and book on-line. I use Agoda to book all of my own hotels in Thailand and the Southeast Asia region. Agoda hotel rates are usually always the lowest and I have received good customer service, therefore I am happy to recommend the company to other people. Here is some analysis I did regarding booking hotels in Southeast Asia.
Booking.com used to be more expensive than Agoda, but when I have checked hotel prices recently I have found their rates to be quite competitive. Unlike Agoda, you don't need to pay at the time of booking with Booking.com - you can simply pay at the hotel when you check in. Also, Booking.com show you total prices whereas Agoda show you a price and then add on 17% for tax and service charge.
If you want to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined.
Images of Thailand
- Buri Sriphu Hotel
- Centara Hotel Hat Yai
- Crystal Hotel
- The Habita
- Hansa JB Hotel
- Hatyai Signature Hotel
- La Pause
- New Season Square Hotel
- S Hadyai Hotel
Near Central Festival