Images of Hat Yai - Page 1
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.
I've been a keen photographer since 1982 and my move to Thailand in 2003 roughly coincided with my transition from film to digital photography. I left all my film equipment in the UK and arrived in Thailand with one of the first Point & Shoot (P&S) cameras - a Sony DSC P1.
Having been used to shooting with film SLR cameras, I soon outgrew the Sony and yearned for something better. I bought one of Canon's first DSLR's - the Canon 10D - and started accumulating DSLR equipment.
When our daughter arrived in 2011 I then found that carrying around all my DSLR gear along with all the baby paraphernalia was too much and started to invest in a Canon EOS M mirrorless system.
If you are interested in the gear I use, check out my photography pages.
There is a strange fascination with places that were once busy and have been abandoned but left almost intact. Disused underground stations in London fascinate people as do hospitals, factories, abattoirs and shopping malls around the world that suddenly fall into disuse. Most of these places are hidden away but finding them can be like stepping into a time capsule. There are many people around, known as urban explorers I believe, who actively seek out such buildings.
Hat Yai Plaza, just behind the Clock Tower (Map 1), is always busy. Being the centre of the local rag trade, many clothes are made and sold there. In addition to locally produced clothing there are many shoe and leather shops as well as vendors selling toiletries, groceries, DVDs and all kinds of knick-knacks.
However, as you wander around you may notice that the clothes stalls are located around a quadrant and that there is nothing in the centre of the building. Well, that is not exactly correct. A large cinema exists there.
It is an old-fashioned kind of cinema from an era when only one film was shown at a time. Consequently there are more seats than in the average modern multiplex cinema. Hat Yai's three current cinemas exist in shopping centres that are fairly recent so I guess this was the town's original cinema before they were built.
With everything covered in a thick layer of dust it doesn't look as if it has been used for many years. What is strange is the way it has been left. It's as if after the credits ran on the final movie they just turned off the lights and closed the doors.
Maybe another purpose has been planned for this unused space in the future but for the time being it just sits there with only the ghosts of Thai ice-cream vendors watching over the empty seats. The entrance to the cinema is locked most of the time but if you are lucky you might find it open. Alternatively, if it is closed and you want to look, a smile, a few kind words and a few Baht might help to open the door.
October 2007 update: The old abandoned cinema (sadly) is no more. It has been refitted and is now a brand-spanking new conference venue with plush carpets and new seats. I happened to be passing by and saw the workmen adding the final touches.
It looks quite impressive and I'm sure many people will benefit from the new facility but sadly, another piece of Hat Yai history has disappeared.
There are many fairs in Hat Yai, but most aren't very exciting. The best fair of the year takes place in August at the Prince of Songkla University. It's well worth visiting if you in Hat Yai when it takes place. At the Agricultural Fair you will find lots of plants, pets, furniture, handicrafts and artwork for sale.
Vendors travel to Hat Yai from all around the country to take part and the best handicrafts and artwork always seem to come from Chiang Mai.
Spit-roast baby pigs ready for the table.
Hot chestnuts for sale at Gim Yong market. There are different kinds and these are another Chinese favourite. They are cooked differently and taste a little different to the ones I am accustomed to buying in London during the winter months but they are quite tasty.
King Chulalongkorn, otherwise known as Rama V (1853-1910) is still regarded as a very special king in Thailand. You will see his photos everywhere in Thailand and there is a special shrine dedicated to him inside Hat Yai Municipal Park.
October 23rd is Chulalongkorn Memorial Day and it is celebrated throughout Thailand. Many Thais visit the shrine on this day to present wreaths and flowers in memory of The Great Beloved King.
The area around the clock tower on Phetkasem Road is a starting point for many journeys out of Hat Yai, especially to Songkhla. It is currently being redeveloped (April 2009) and all that will remain when the building work is finished is the clock tower itself.
A Muslim woman selling durian at the local fresh market.
Against a dark background the setting sun illuminates part of Hat Yai.
Who said Hat Yai wasn't beautiful? (Well, I did actually.) An effort has been made to make certain areas of the town attractive. Flowers have been planted next to this klong which is in an area near to where local people go jogging and do aerobics in the evening. It's a blaze of colour and quite pleasant to look at.
On Supasarnrangsarn Road, near the junction with Saeng Sri road (Map 2), is a large public exercise area. Aerobics take place every morning and evening, there are basketball hoops, a children's play area, and free exercise machines. There are several other places in Hat Yai that also have free exercise machines.
Latitude: N 07° 00' 34.5" (N 07° 00.576')
Longitude: E 100° 28' 39.5" (E 100° 28.658')
Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View
Thailand's answer to Carmen Miranda, maybe? No, just one of Hat Yai's colourful characters. She's a friendly lady who receives a lot of comments about her headwear and enjoys the attention. If you wander around outside Suntisuk market there's a good chance you will spot her. She runs a small stall selling fruit juice (hence the hat) and is easily identified.
One ugly area of Hat Yai, of which unfortunately, there are many. Areas of waste ground are totally neglected and become public dumping grounds and temporary accommodation for stray dogs.
The situation is gradually improving. As more people arrive in Hat Yai to live, the price of land keeps going up and now it is very expensive. In central Hat Yai every piece of waste land is being built on. The rubbish is disappearing, but the town continues to become more congested.
Making merit (tum buun) is extremely important in the Thai value system and Thais believe that the only really effective way to make merit is via Buddhist monks, who are always men.
Although women do most of the work in Thailand, men have a privileged position in Thai society and this is most likely the reason. Merit-making is very important to Thais and men are the conduit through which merit-making is performed.
From Hat Yai you can board a train to Bangkok and then continue on to northern Thailand. Alternatively, you can go to the deep south of Thailand and then into Malaysia and on to Singapore via Butterworth and Kuala Lumpur.
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