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Muslim fabric shop in Gim Yong market

Muslim fabric shop in Gim Yong market


Hotels Deals

I live in Southeast Asia and have booked hundreds of hotels in this region. I have spent many hours researching hotel prices to get the best deal and I always end up booking through Agoda. Their rates are far lower compared to other companies or booking directly with hotels. Give them a try!

Images of Hat Yai - Page 3


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.

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Prai Pattano

Prai Pattano, the current (2008) Mayor of Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Prai Pattano, the current (2008) Mayor of Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Prai Pattano, the current (2008) Mayor of Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Prai Pattano, the current (2008) Mayor of Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Prai Pattano, the current (2011) Mayor of Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Abhisit, Chuan and Prai - Click for larger image

Prai Pattano, the current mayor of Hat Yai, is the man behind much of the town's ongoing civic redevelopment. He was voted in by the honest people of Hat Yai for another term of office during 2008 and the general consensus is that he is a good guy.

I think he has done an excellent job. The removal of the overhead power cables downtown and the laying of new pavements made a big difference to the appearance of central Hat Yai.

More work to bury power cables underground is now being carried out in other areas of Hat Yai.

Renovating Jiranakorn sports stadium was also a very worthwhile project.

The new minivan terminal in Hat Yai Nai is a little less convenient to get to but it was a good thing to get all the individual minivan stands out of the central area. In addition to this, some bus routes have been changed and as a result the clocktower area now has less traffic.

The clocktower area and Hat Yai Plaza look a lot better than they did previously after the redevelopment of this area. The same can be said of the new recreation area adjacent to Diana department store.

The cable car at the municipal park is a good addition to Hat Yai's tourist infrastructure, even if it covers less distance than I had anticipated, and even if the charge for non-Thais is double the Thai price.

Behind the scenes - and a little less visible - is the work that has gone on to improve Hat Yai's flood defences. Not only do floods make people's lives miserable but they can also kill - as happened in 2000 when there was a severe flood.

The big flood in November 2010 took everyone by surprise but the water that caused the damage came from areas outside of Hat Yai. Hat Yai's flood defences are now actually quite good and there is a lot less flooding during 'normal' rainy season conditions.

Prai is a man of vision and is always looking to improve the town. He is keen on Westernisation and I even heard that he was thinking about turning the canals into a tourist attraction. Turning Hat Yai into a little Venice would be a good way to improve the look of the town, but very expensive.

My own wish for Hat Yai would be to improve the traffic situation, which is dire. Driving in Hat Yai during the rush hour these days is almost as bad as Bangkok.

Some areas could be made into pedestrian only zones and the local police really need to take a strong stance against people who double-park. Many drivers in Hat Yai think nothing of parking in the middle lane of a busy road with their hazard warning lights on while they pick up some food or go to the ATM. Their inconsiderate, selfish behaviour makes the already bad traffic situation even worse.

I would also like to see the outdoor aviary at the municipal park renovated. It looks like a great facility but it has been closed for years. It's large and given the right treatment could rival parts of Jurong Birdpark in Singapore.

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Railway Station

Hat Yai railway station - Click for larger image

Hat Yai has great transport links for all modes of transport including trains. It is on the main line between Bangkok and Butterworth in Malaysia. There is a regular booking office on the concourse and an advanced booking office upstairs. There are also lockers available.

In the past it has been a target for Muslim extremists and the insurgency that resurfaced at the beginning of 2004 has resulted in attacks on train lines. Throughout 2005 there has been a fairly strong police and military presence at the station to guard against terrorist attacks.

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Rice Farming

Hat Yai rice fields - Click for larger image

When I think of rice fields in Thailand I normally think of the central plains and mountainous regions in northern Thailand, but rice is grown all over Thailand and Hat Yai is no exception.

Many visitors to Hat Yai never go out of the central tourist district and - understandably - leave with a very negative image of the town. If all I ever saw of Hat Yai was the central tourist district I wouldn't be very impressed, either.

However, just a few kilometres outside the downtown area in any direction is some quite pretty countryside. These rice fields are located just behind Goh Wat temple, which is just off the airport road.

It's actually just a ten minute motorbike ride from my house and this is where I go when the hustle and bustle of Hat Yai gets too much for me and I need some peace and quiet.

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Roadside Seamstresses

Roadside clothes repairs and alterations in Hat Yai - Click for larger image

One of the things I love about Thailand is how open everything is. People don't lock themselves away as they do in other countries, life just takes place on the street. Individuals set up a table on the roadside and sell food, drink or goods while others offer a service.

These women with sewing machines are superstars. Nothing is a problem to them. If something needs repairing or altering they will do it in a flash at a ridiculously low charge. I have had pockets repaired and trousers altered and been very pleased with the results. One guy I met who visits Hat Yai often buys bags, wallets and clothes cheap from the market and then gets one of these women to customise them to how he wants. He has zips and Velcro added or removed, and extra loops put in hip bags so he can wear them on his belt.

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Part of the Hat Yai skyline - Click for larger image

Yes, just like genuine large cities Hat Yai really does have a skyline which has been created by the large hotels in the centre of town. When approaching the town by road or train it is quite noticeable.

I love the cloud formations in the picture. During the rainy season the sky looks great at times as the clouds roll in. It's so much more interesting than boring blue skies (and a lot cooler too).

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Smog from Indonesian forest fires - Click for larger image

Saturday 13th August 2005. All of last week there were news reports about severe air pollution in Kuala Lumpur caused by slash-and-burn farming practices carried out in Indonesia. It's an annual event but under certain conditions the smoke can affect a huge area. The last time there were serious problems in KL was in 1998.

This morning, Hat Yai was also affected. I woke up to a smell of smoke in the air and could taste it in my throat. This photo is of a high-rise condo building a few kilometres away which can normally be seen quite clearly. The photo is exactly how it came out of the camera.

Hat Yai's skyline was still visible (just) but very hazy. The low mountains that surround the area could not be seen at all. Fortunately there was rain in the afternoon which cleared the air. It's about time that someone started having serious talks about this with Indonesia.

What is kind of ironic (or maybe karmic?) is that the country that suffers most is Malaysia but, according to reports I have read, many of the culprits are companies in Indonesia owned by Malaysians.

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Staying Dry

Keeping dry the Thai way in Hat Yai - Click for larger image

This is how Thais stay dry while riding motorbikes. As if they're not crazy enough already, they don't think anything of riding one-handed. Sometimes they hold umbrellas, and sometimes mobile phones. I've yet to see one riding with no hands as he talks on his phone and holds an umbrella at the same time but it wouldn't surprise me.

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Taking Care Of The Deceased

The Chinese are very much into ancestor worship - Click for larger image

More clothes for sale on the streets of Hat Yai? Not quite. Many Thais in Hat Yai are ethnic Chinese and ancestor worship is an important part of the Chinese belief system. On certain days of the year the Chinese remember their dead relatives. They believe that by burning paper reproductions of worldly goods these will then find their way to the deceased. There are shops that sell all manner of paper objects including houses, mobile phones, electrical goods and of course, the ultimate in Asian status symbols - BMW and Mercedes cars.

This shop has a selection of shirts, ties and slippers all made out of paper. On the streets are hundreds of little fires acting as celestial mailboxes. At such times the air is filled with embers from the burning paper.

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Thai Buddhist Monks Chanting

Thai Buddhist monks chanting - Click for larger image

Buddhist monks during their evening chanting session at a temple in Songkhla.

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Thamnoon Vithee Road

Thamnoon Vithee Road, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Thamnoon Vithee is one of Hat Yai's main arteries. This is the view coming straight out of the train station. A little further along are guest houses, restaurants, shops and bars. This road runs all the way to the Prince of Songkla university.

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Tuk-tuks outside Hat Yai railway station - Click for larger image

Tuk-tuks lined up outside the railway station. The drivers hang around in the station pouncing on every person who steps off a train. Farang backpackers are prized targets as they are gullible and don't have a clue about local fares. The drivers will try it on with foreigners, asking Bt80 for Bt20 fares.

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Urban Elephants

Urban Elephant, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

I can't recall seeing any roaming pachyderms when I first arrived in Hat Yai but after a while three suddenly turned up. The mahouts don't earn a lot in the countryside so they bring the elephants into towns where they try to sell people bananas and sugarcane with which to feed their beasts.

It's against the law as far as I know but that means nothing in Thailand. In Bangkok there is an elephant hotline number to call if people see them in the street but I've heard nothing about a hotline in Hat Yai.

Farangs with cameras are an obvious target for the mahouts but the locals are quite generous as well. The elephant is a powerful piece of symbology in Thailand and the old Thai flag included a white elephant. Providing for elephants is a good way to make merit in Thailand.

Personally I don't like to see them having to watch out for vehicles and avoid stepping into storm drains. I know little about elephant social behaviour but I understand that their life cycle is roughly the same as a human and they have the same mental development.

This particular elephant is five so how would we feel if a five year old child was exploited like this to make money? I also believe they are very social animals that live in matriarchal groups. This five year old should be with others of its kind being looked after by its mother, aunts and elder sisters. It just doesn't seem right.

They are magnificent animals, immensely powerful but gentle with kind eyes. Occasionally they go on the rampage, presumably as a result of fear or frustration, and cause damage to cars and buildings.

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Wat Cheo Chaang

Wat Cheo Chang, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Wat Cheo Chaang is an enormous Chinese Buddhist Wat under construction that is being built solely from donations from local Chinese Thais and visiting Chinese from Malaysia and Singapore. It is located on the corner of Suphasarnrangsan and Saengchan roads (Map 1). The basic concrete shell has been finished for some time. What happens now is that when enough funds have been donated the builders are called back to do some more work.

Recent work has included the addition of bright red and yellow ornamental window surrounds. Because of the size of the building and the way that the construction funds are collected I expect it will be a number of years before it is completed but when it is it should be quite an impressive temple. I think it's worth taking a look at if you are in Hat Yai to see how work is progressing.

Latitude: N 07° 00' 30.6" (N 07° 00.509')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 19.7" (E 100° 28.328')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

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Wat Hat Yai Nai

Wat Hat Yai Nai, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

The temple at Hat Yai Nai which houses one of the largest (if not the largest) reclining Buddha images in southern Thailand.

For more information about this temple and other temples in the Hat Yai area, see:

Places of Worship: Temples

Latitude: N 07° 00' 11.5" (N 07° 00.192')

Longitude: E 100° 27' 12.8" (E 100° 27.213')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

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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. 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 - you can simply pay at the hotel when you check in. Also, 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

Images of Thailand