|Location||950 kilometers south of Capital Bangkok|
|Accessibility||Easily through Bangkok|
|Accommodation||Mainly in Hat Yai|
|Dining||Known for seafood|
Songkhla has several attractions, which are mentioned below:
Mother Nature has bestowed Songkhla with lovely scenic beauty. Prominent natural attractions in the province are cited as follows:
Largest source of inland freshwater in Thailand is the most famous asset of Songkhla province. The Lake is around 80 km from the estuary to the north, while it's width is 20 to 25 kms. Part of the lake in the vicinity of the sea is brackish. The lake is a nice place for the lovers of marine life and water plants.
Located close to Songkhla town, the beach is famous for it's fine white sand, lined with shady pine trees. Major attraction in the beach is the Golden Mermaid statue, which has been the symbol of Songkhla. One can lie down in the calm environment of the beach and enjoy the charming scenery. Food stalls under pine shade provide succour to the tourists when their bellies get empty.
Songkhla is a province of importance in Thai history. Ancient legacy it hosts attracts the educationists and the tourists alike. Historical sites of the place are as under:
Songkhla National Museum
The Museum, located at Wichianchom Road, houses archaeological artifacts and art objects dating back to the pre-historic period of Baan Chiang and Stone Age. Some objects belong to the ancient Srivijaya Kingdom as well as the Neolithic period of Kanchanaburi.
Khao Tang Kuan
Another important historical site is Khao Tang Kuan, important ancient temples. Erected during the Nakhon Si Thammarat era, the site atop a hill gives sweeping views of Songkhla landscape.
Wat Phakho, erected around 43 BC is located on a hill at Amphoe Sathing Phra. The shrine houses several ancient objects and artifacts, which include a reclining Buddha idol and some belongings of Somdet Phakho, a monk who once resided in this temple.
Twin Pagodas of Khao Daeng Hill are appreciated by many. The Black Pagoda was constructed by Somdet Phraya Ongyai to commemorate his success in suppressing the rebellion of Kedah in 1830. The White Pagodas was erected by Somdet Maha phichai Yat on occasion of his triumph over the rulers of Kedah, Penang and Patani.
Wat Matchimawat Temple
Over 400 years old Wat Matchimawat Temple, located on Saiburi Road, is the largest temple in Songkhla. The Temple is adorned with frescoes depicting Buddhist way of thinking and the history of Songkhla. The temple museum presents an intriguing collection of ancient art objects. Other mentionable monuments are Cannon Fortress at Laem Sai, Historical Tunnel at nam Khang Mountain, Wat Klang, the Pillar Shrine and the Wat Chai Mongkhl, Khao Noi Palace, Ban Sattha, Wat Chakho and Wat Chathing Phra.
Songkhla and Hat Yai are two main town attractions of the province:
Songkhla is a laid-back town, located on a narrow peninsula, sandwiched between the water body of Thale Sap and the ocean. It was an important sea port between the 7th and 13th centuries, during the era of Srivijaya empire.
Main sites of tourist interest, in and around Songkhla town, are National Museum, City Pillar, Wat Khao Noi, Wat Tung Kuan and Wat Matchimawat.
Hat Yai, the most important city in Songkhla province, is a transportation and commercial hub, with an international airport. Most travelers to the province like to spend their time in the city. The city is good for shopping of souvenir and provides amply for hotels and restaurants, serving excellent seafood.
Prominent local festivals of Songkhla are cited below:
Lark Phra and Tak Bat Devo
The festival is celebrated in Songkhla around October. Robing of the pagoda atop Khao Tang Kuan is undertaken one day earlier. The long processions are taken with artistically adorned vehicles with Buddha idols. The competition between the vehicles assembled at Sra Bua (The Lotus Pond) is interesting to watch.
Thamboon Duen Sip Festival
Popular among the Buddhists of Southern Thailand, the festival is celebrated on the Tenth Lunar Month. The faithful believe that during the waxing moon of the month, souls of the ancestors visit their living relatives. People prepare food and bring it to the temple to make merit.
Songkhla makes some nice products which can be taken home by the visitors as souvenirs. Kho Yo hand-woven fabric, a high-quality fine cloth with varied designs, is a famous cottage industry of Songkhla. Cashew nut sold in baked or unbaked form are also a nice take. Crafted shadow puppets and fish rice crisps are also popular Songkhla products easily available.
Spectacular sports and activities popular in Songkhla are as mentioned:
Bull Fighting has been popular in Songkhla for long. Bull fight one another in an arena, and the spectators can bet and cheer on them. The fight continues until one bull gives up and runs away.
Dove Singing Contest
Songkhla locals are very fond of cooing doves. There are several dove breeding farms in Chana, around 40 km away from Hat Yai, where dove lovers from even the neighboring countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore come to purchase their favorite birds. Dove cooing competitions are held every year.
Songkhla has good facilities in shooting sports. Two shooting ranges Roochirawong Shooting Range and Songkhla Navy Base Shooting Range. The ranges also offer pistols and rifles.
Several golf clubs have sprouted in Songkhla in the last decade. These clubs take care of the needs of the golfers, both locals and the tourists.
Like all seaside places, Songkhla climate also does not have much variation. The rainy season is from October to January. Proper time to visit the province is from February to September.
How To Reach
Various modes of transportation to Songkhla are as mentioned:
Several flights operate daily between Bangkok and Hat Yai.
Train operate regularly between Hat Yai and Bangkok.
Buses leave from Bangkok for Hat Yai via Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammatat. One can also hire a car to reach there.
Accommodation & Dining
Songkhla has good facilities of accommodation. Hotels, catering to travelers of various budgets are available, particularly in Hat Yai. Resorts are also available on popular beaches. One can use Hat Yai as a base, and go on excursions to various sites.
Restaurants and eating joints are aplenty in Hat Yai, but in rest of the parts of Songkhla, they are a bit difficult to find. However, in Hat Yai restaurants, almost every famous cuisine is available. Do remember that Songkhla is appreciated for it's seafood.