When the conversation falls on the south of Thailand, most travelers think of long sandy beaches on Phuket, cold sunset drinks on Koh Samui, or the dramatic limestone seascape in Krabi. What most visitors aren’t aware of, however, is that the Thailand’s tropical south is cultural melting pot with much more to offer.
Often dismissed as purely a commercial hub with little in to see and do, Hat Yai occupies the minds of travelers more as a necessary evil in order to get to nearby bounty islands than the charming, historical city it really is. Wander down quiet streets lined with shophouses and enjoy a wealth of culinary influences at the city’s night market along Thanon Supasanrangsan. For sweeping views across Hat Yai, visit the multi-attraction Municipal Park where a cable car brings visitors to the best vantage spotin town.
Songkhla’s old town feels like a living museum, created just for your photo opportunity. Along Thanon Nang Ngam, find old, wooden shophouses, Chinese temples and tea and dessert shops. The night market on Friday and Saturday night has an impressive variety of street grub as well as a stage where locals take to the microphone for a session of karaoke.
If it’s food you’re after, you have come to the right place. Trang is famous for its grilled pork and for good (marinated) reason. In the mornings, head to one of the city’s many Chinese tea shops and watch old men sit around sipping tea and locals tucking into a hearty dim sum breakfast. Offshore islands such as Koh Mook and Koh Kradan offer more traditional tropical pursuits.
Nakhon Si Thammarat
Nakhon Si Thammarat has many of the attractions that people travel to Samui and elsewhere to experience. Here, long stretches of deserted beach, pristine waterfalls and jungle await. Visitors should include the iconic Wat Phra Mahathat on their itinerary to see the Buddha’s tooth relic.
Pak Meng Beach
Tired of crowded beaches in Krabi or Koh Samui? Why not head to the long stretch of coastline in Trang province? It is wide and almost deserted, the water is clean and there are zero beach chairs or wandering vendors. Along the road, there are a bunch of restaurants serving freshly caught seafood.