|— City Municipality —|
|• Type||City Municipality|
|• Mayor||Prai Pattano|
|• Total||21.00 km2 (8.20 sq mi)|
|• Land||20.50 km2 (8.00 sq mi)|
|• Water||0.50 km2 (0.20 sq mi) 2.38%|
|• Density||12,676.05/km2 (35,297.55/sq mi)|
|Registered residents only|
|Time zone||Thailand (UTC+7)|
Hat Yai (Thai: หาดใหญ่, pronounced [hàːt jàj], also Haad Yai or Had Yai) is a city in southern Thailand near the Malaysian border. Located at , it has a population of 157,359 (2008) in the city itself and about 800,000 in the greater Hat Yai area. Hat Yai is the largest city of Songkhla Province, the largest metropolitan area in Southern, and third largest metropolitan area of the country. It is often mistaken as being the capital of the province, but Songkhla is the capital and the center of administration and culture, while Hat Yai is the business center. The two cities are considered as twin cities due to their close connection, and accordingly, Hat Yai and Songkhla form the Greater Hatyai-Songkhla Metropolitan Area.
Originally named Khok Sa-Met Choon, Hat Yai was a small village until the southern railway was built there. The junction which connected the town of Songkhla with the main route was originally located in the Utapao area, but was moved to Khok Su-Met Choon in 1922 when the Utapao area turned out to be flood prone. Khok Su-Met Choon had only four residences at that time, but due to the investments of Khun Niphatchinnkhon (謝枢泗, Jia Gi Si, 1886–1972, Hakka Chinese), the railway contractor for the railway connection from Nakhon Si Thammarat to Pattani, it quickly grew into a small town.
In 1928 Hat Yai was made a Chumchon, which was upgraded to a sanitary district (sukhaphiban) on December 11, 1935. It covered an area of 4.4 km², and was administrated by the first mayor Udom Bunlong. In 1938 the municipal administration building was completed. On March 16, 1949 it was granted town status (thesaban mueang); on May 10, 1961 the area covered by the municipality was increased to 8 km². Due to the continuing growth, on August 13, 1968 a new larger municipal administration building was opened. On April 24, 1977 the area of the municipality was enlarged a second time to 21 km². Finally in 1995 it was upgraded to city status (thesaban nakhon).
Southern violence 
As the major economic center of lower Southern Thailand, Hat Yai has increasingly become a target of terrorism in the separatist campaign conducted by the Pattani United Liberation Organization and similar radical groups.
On March 31, 2012, a car bomb exploded in the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel, killing at least 5 and injuring hundreds. Both Thai nationals and Malaysian tourists were among the victims. The Royal Thai Army believes that members of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) group carried out the terrorist attack.
Hat Yai has become the transportation hub of Southern Thailand since the railway was built. The largest station in the south of the country, Hat Yai Railway Station is an international railway station. It handles 28 passenger trains per day, including 26 trains served by State Railway of Thailand and 2 trains served by KTMB of Malaysia. Hat Yai is also the hub for local trains in Southern Thailand.
Hat Yai Bus Terminal is a major hub in southern Thailand. It connects to nearly every town and city in the southern region and also other destinations, including Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima. Hat Yai also has a Mini-bus Terminal which hosts the largest mini-bus service in southern Thailand. There are also several private mini-bus services which focus on tourism destinations, including Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan, Pak Bara Peer in Satun (the doorway to islands in the southern Andaman Sea), Langkawi, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Mini-buses are considered a faster way to travel.
Hat Yai International Airport is 9 km from downtown, serving destinations throughout Thailand and connecting the city to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. It is also an important airport for Muslims on pilgrimage to Mecca. The airport is listed as the 5th busiest airport in Thailand, serving 1,869,113 passengers in 2011.
In the city, there are small taxi services called tuk-tuks; these are a popular means of transport for tourists. Meters were introduced in early 2012. Locals, though, often just use mopeds and scooters around the town.
Demographically, Hat Yai is notable for a higher proportion of Malay-Muslim and ethnic Chinese citizens than other cities of comparable size in the northern regions of Thailand. The population of Hat Yai is 157,359 as 2008, ranked 4th in the country behind Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Pak Kret.
Prince of Songkla University is the oldest and the biggest university in Southern Thailand, having the main campus near Hat Yai downtown (the campus area covers 'Hat Yai' city and 'Kho Hong' town, parts of Greater Hat Yai). This public university is always ranked in top ten of Thai universities. Furthermore, the first and the only private university in Southern Thailand – Hatyai University – is also located in the urban area of Hat Yai. In addition, the Ramkhamhaeng University's campus is located near the international airport.
Hat Yai is also home to several famous high schools, including the country's top ten, Hatyaiwittayalai School (public). Another well-known public school is Hatyaiwittayalaisomboonkulkanya School, the fomer branch of Hatyaiwittayalai. In addition, there are several popular private schools in Greater Hat Yai, including Saengthong Vitthaya School, Thidanukhro School and PSU Wittayanusorn School .
Hat Yai has a tropical climate, which is hot and humid, like other parts of Thailand. Hat Yai has only two seasons; wet and dry. The wet season, which is influenced by monsoon and rain storms, is from May to December, while the dry season is only from January to April. Additionally, There have been occasional floods in Hat Yai due to the heavy rain; it can rain for twenty-two days in November with more than 295 mm of precipitation.
|Climate data for Hat Yai|
|Average high °C (°F)||30.8
|Average low °C (°F)||21.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||44.7
|Avg. precipitation days||7||3||5||11||16||13||13||14||18||21||21||18||160|
|Source: Thai Meteorological Department|
Hat Yai is well known as a shopping destination for both Thais and foreigners. There are numbers of department stores and markets around the city. Kim Yong market on Supasarn Rungsan road and Suntisook Market on Nipat U-tid 1, 2 & 3 roads are among the best-known. Their main products are imported process food, cosmetics, fabrics and electric appliances. The city's fresh market and fruit market located near the railway. Several smaller fresh market can be seen around the area.
The city has two large weekend markets, namely Asian Trade and Greenway on Kanchanavanit road. They mainly sell second-hand products, including clothes, shoes, decor and souvenirs. In addition, there are several large shopping centres in the city, including Diana, Odean, Robinson, Central, Siam Nakharin, Big C, Big C Extra, Tesco Lotus and Makro. In October 2012, Central Festival, one of the largest shopping centres in southern Thailand, is planned to open.
- Official Hat Yai City website
- Hat Yai travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Media related to Amphoe Hat Yai at Wikimedia Commons