The City of Hat Yai
|• 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 the South, and the third largest metropolitan area of the country. It is often mistaken for being the provincial capital. In fact, Songkhla is the capital and the center of administration and culture while Hat Yai is the business center. The two cities are considered twin cities due to their geographical proximity, 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, making it one of the major rail hubs of the line. The junction which connected the town of Songkhla with the main route was formerly located in the Utapao area, but was later moved to Khok Su-Met Choon in 1922 when the Utapao area turned out to be a flood-prone area. At that time, Khok Su-Met Choon had only four residents, but thanks to the investments of Khun Nippat Chinnakorn (謝枢泗, Jia Gi Si, 1886–1972, Hakka Chinese), the railway contractor for the railway line from Nakhon Si Thammarat to Pattani, it quickly grew into a small town.
In 1928 Hat Yai was made a Community (Chumchon), which was upgraded to a sanitary district (sukhaphiban) on December 11, 1935. It covered an area of 4.4 km², and was administered by the first mayor Udom Bunlong. In 1938, the municipal administration building was completed. On March 16, 1949 Hat Yai was granted town status (thesaban mueang). On May 10, 1961 the area covered by the municipality was increased to 8 km². As a result of the town's continuing growth, on August 13, 1968, a larger new municipal administration building was opened. On April 24, 1977 the total area of the town's municipality was enlarged for the second time to 21 km². Finally, in 1995 the town was upgraded to city status (thesaban nakhon).
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 Junction has become the transportation hub of Southern Thailand since the railway was constructed. Being one of the largest railway stations in the South, Hat Yai Railway Station is an international railway station which handles 28 passenger trains per day, including 26 trains served by State Railway of Thailand and 2 trains served by KTMB of Malaysia. Also, Hat Yai is the hub for local train services in Southern Thailand.
Hat Yai Bus Terminal is a major transport hub in Southern Thailand. It offers bus services that link Hat Yai with nearly every town and city in the southern region as well as 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 tourist destinations, including Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan, Pak Bara Peer in Satun (a gateway to the islands in the southern Andaman Sea), Langkawi, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The mini-bus service has gained popularity in recent years as mini-buses are considered a faster way to travel.
Hat Yai International Airport is located 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 Thailand's 5th busiest airport, serving 1,869,113 passengers in 2011.
In the city, there are small taxi services called tuk-tuks; You will see plenty of Tuk-Tuks whizzing around Hat Yai. These are often ideal for making it through traffic jams. You can just flag an empty Tuk-Tuk if you see one on the street. They will often be parked outside of hotels and in tourist areas. It is always advisable to negotiate the price before you commence your journey. 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 other regions of Thailand. The population of Hat Yai is 157,359 as 2008, ranked 4th in the country after Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Pak Kret.
Prince of Songkla University is the oldest and largest university in Southern Thailand, whose main campus is situated near Hat Yai downtown (the campus area covers 'Hat Yai' city and 'Kho Hong' town, part of Greater Hat Yai). This public university is always ranked one of the top national 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 former 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 has a reputation for being a shopping destination for both Thais and foreigners. There are numbers of department stores, shopping malls and markets throughout 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 processed food, cosmetics, fabrics, gadgets and electrical appliances. The city's major wet market is located near the railway station whereas other smaller wet markets can be found around the city.
The city has two large weekend markets, namely Asian Trade and Greenway, which are both located on Kanchanavanit Road. They mainly sell second-hand products, including clothes, shoes, decor and souvenirs. In addition, there are several large shopping centers in the city, including Diana, Odean, Robinson, Central, Siam Nakharin, Big C, Big C Extra, Tesco Lotus and Makro. By the end of 2013, Central Festival, one of the largest shopping centers in Southern Thailand, will be opened.
Ton Nga Chang Waterfall. Ton Nga Chang Waterfall is located about 25 km. away from Hat Yai city center. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Songkhla province and for good reason. If you arrive here following the rainy season you will find the fall at its most spectacular. The water fall is made up of seven stories and on one of these, the water breaks up into two cascades; they look like twins and create a visually stunning effect.
The most important Buddhist temple of the City is Hat Yai Nai Temple or Wat Hat Yai Nai is home to the third largest reclining statue on the planet. This is a really impressive sight and it is difficult to not feel at least a little in awe. People travel from all over Thailand just to pay respect to this statue. Held in the first night of October, the Chak Phra tradition is a Buddhist festival specific to the south of Thailand. It is celebrated with Buddha boat processions or sports events like a run up Khao Tang Kuan hill. In September or October at the Chinese Lunar festival, the Thai and Chinese present their offerings to the moon or Queen of the heavens in gratitude for past and future fortunes.
- Official Hat Yai City website
- Hat Yai travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Media related to Amphoe Hat Yai at Wikimedia Commons