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SONGKHLA TOUR

General Information How to get there About Songkhla Map
Attraction Accommodation Restaurant/Dining Shopping/Souvenir
Local Product Festival Activities Trip Guide
Interesting Go To Hotels

Songkhla, one of Thailand’s important ports and coastal provinces, is located 950 kilometers from Bangkok. Occupying an area of 7,393 square kilometers on the eastern side of the Malaysian Peninsula, the province is bordered by the States of Kedah (Sai Buri) and Perlis of Malaysia to the south and the Gulf of Thailand to the east. In addition, Songkhla borders on Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung Provinces to the north, Yala and Pattani Provinces to the south, and Satun and Phatthalung Provinces to the west.

An undeniably historic town endowed with ancient ruins, arts, and places of cultural importance, Songkhla, a melting pot of Thais, Chinese and Malays, charms visitors with its unique traditions, dialect, and folk entertainment. These characteristics are reflections of the provinces rich cultural heritage, which has been preserved and passed down from generations to generations.

Hat Yai, a district of Songkhla, is perhaps better known than the provincial capital itself. Hat Yai serves as a southern hub of communication, trading and transportation as well as a gateway to Malaysia and Singapore. In light of this, Hat Yai has gained importance as the driving force of economic growth in the southern region.

History of Songkhla

Songkhla, a medieval pirate stronghold, is a historic, albeit sleepy town with a thriving fishing community. Another Srivijaya outpost in Thailands southern region, Songkhla was initially named Sa-thing”. Previously a port and a coastal trading post where Indian, Persian and Arabian merchants came to exchange their products, the place was named “Sing Lha” after the 2 lion-shape islands at the mouth of the city’s lake. At present, these 2 islands are Koh Nu (Rat Island) and Koh Maeo (Cat Island). The old part of Songkhla is located at the present-day Amphoe Sathing Phra.

Todays Songkhla

Over the last few decades, Songkhla has been rapidly developed and is currently a unique attraction worth visiting. Blessed with natural resources such as fine beaches, enchanting waterfalls, and a tranquil lake, the province has an abundance of tourist attractions and an amazing range of seaside resort towns. Moreover, the old section of Songkhla still maintains its unique identity of ancient and historical flavors through local architecture and cuisine.

While Songkhla is noted as a fishing community set in a peaceful atmosphere, Hat Yai, on the other hand, serves as a transportation and communications hub of the south with links to various destinations in the neighboring provinces and Malaysia.

Despite being only 30 kilometers apart, Songkhla and Hat Yai have uniquely contrasting characteristics and are ideal places to visit.

Songkhla is administratively divided into 16 districts: Muang Songkhla, Ranot, Krasae Sin, Sathing Phra, Singhanakhon, Khuan Niang, Rattaphum, Bang Klam, Hat Yai, Na Mom, Chana, Thepha, Na Thawi, Saba Yoi, Sadao, and Khlong Hoi Khong.

Distances from Amphoe Muang Songkhla to Neighboring Districts:

Ranot 73 kms.
Hat Yai 26 kms.
Krasae Sin 74 kms.
Na Mom 34 kms.
Sathing Phra 36 kms.
Chana 37 kms.
Singhanakhon 26 kms.
Thepha 73 kms.
Khuan Niang 72 kms.
Na Thawi 52 kms.
Rattaphum 60 kms.
Saba Yoi 104 kms.
Bang Klam 46 kms.
Sadao 70 kms.
Klong Hoi Khong 43 kms.

Songkhla Province

SONGKHLA

Songkhla, 950km from Bangkok, is another former Srivijaya satellite on the east coast. Not much is known about the pre-8th-century history of Songkhla, a name derived from the Yawi singora – a mutilated Sanskrit

reference to a lion-shaped mountain (today called Khao Daeng) opposite the harbour. Though the original settlement lay at the foot of Khao Daeng, the city later moved across the harbour to its present site on a peninsula between Thaleh Sap Songkhla (an inland sea) and the South China Sea (or Gulf of Thailand, depending on how you look at it).

Today it’s a pleasant place with a colour­ful market, charming older section (west of Th Ramwithi) and plenty of coastline. Seafood served along the peaceful, white-sand beaches is excellent, although the water is not that great for swimming (especially if you’ve just come from the Ko Samui archi­pelago). The town has plenty of other curi­osities to offer, however.

The population is a mixture of Thais, Chinese and Malays, and the local architec­ture and cuisine reflect this combination. Over the last decade Songkhla has become increasingly Westernised due to the influx of multinational oil company employees – particularly British and American. This, along with a strong Thai navy presence, has created a wealthier-than-average Thai city.

Information

The Songkhla post office (Th Wichianchom; open 8.30am-3.30pm Mon-Fri, 9am-noon Sat & Sun) is opposite the market; international calls can be made upstairs. Dotcom Internet (open 8am-10pm daily), next to Mrs Brown’s guesthouse, provides links to the web.

Consulates in town include those for Malaysia ( 0 7431 1062; 4 Th Sukhum), China ( 0 7431 1494; Th Sadao) and Indo­nesia (( 0 7431 1544; Th Sadao). File for visa extensions at the immigration office

(0 7431 3480; open 8.30am-4.30pm Mon-Fri).

Corner Bookshop ( 0 7431 2577; cnr Th Saiburi & Th Phetchakhiri; open 7am-7.30pm daily) sells novels, maps, newspapers, maga­zines and Lonely Planet guidebooks (all in English).

Songkhla is well supplied with banks

Housed in a 100-year-old building of south­ern Sino-Portuguese architecture is this pic­turesque national museum

Wed-Sun, closed national holidays). Along with the innate architectural charms of its curved rooflines and thick walls, it’s a quiet, breezy building with a tranquil gar­den at the front. The museum contains ex­hibits from all national art-style periods, particularly the Srivijaya, including a 7th-to 9th-century Shivalingam found in Pat­tani. Also on display are Thai and Chinese ceramics, and sumptuous Chinese furniture and a lacquer bookcase owned by the area’s local Chinese aristocracy.

Prem Tinsulanonda Museum

The Prem Tinsulanonda Museum (cnr Th Jana & Th Saiburi; admission free; open 8.30am-4pm Tues-Sun) is touted as the birth­place of Thailand’s 16th prime minister, who served from 1980 to 1988. The ‘mu­seum’ is a wooden house that was actually built recently upon the site of Prem’s birth­place, and contains some of the furniture and personal effects that graced the original home. While something of a shrine to Prem, the museum is worth a visit even if you have little interest in Thai politics — it’s a charm­ing example of the combination of breezy verandas and cosy interiors that constitutes the traditional Thai house.

Temples & Chedi

Wat Matchimawat (Wat Kiang; Th Saiburi) typifies the Sino-Thai temple architecture of 17th-century Songkhla. One of the wihdan contains an old marble Buddha image and a small museum. Another temple with similar characteristics, Wat Jaeng (Th Ramwithi), was recently renovated.

There is a Singhalese-style chedi and royal pavilion on top of Khao Tang Kuan, a bill rising up at the northern end of the peninsula; to reach the top you’ll have to climb 305 steps.

Songkhla Architecture

All that remains of the old King Narai-era city is a lengthy section of wall along Th Jana near the national museum and main market in the centre of town. A few patches of 19th- and early-20th-century architecture can be seen near the inland sea waterfront. Walk along the back streets parallel to the waterfront Th Nang Ngam, Th Nakhon

Nai and Th Nakhon Nok to find older

Songkhla buildings showing Chinese. Por­tuguese and Malay influence. Many of them disappeared during Thailand’s economic boom, but a few have been restored and hopefully the city will support some sort of historical architectural legacy.

Beaches

Hat Samila is a casuarina-lined beach and pleasant for strolling. At the north end, sitting atop some rocks, a bronze mermaid sculpture is depicted squeezing water from her long hair in a tribute to Mae Thorani (the Hindu-Buddhist earth goddess). Locals treat the figure like a shrine, tying the waist with coloured cloth and rubbing the breasts for good luck. Near the mermaid statue is a cat and rat statue, which represents the islands offshore (who are supposed to look like their namesake animals).

The less-frequented Hat Son Awn extends north of Hat Samila. There are a few seafood restaurants at the south end of this stretch, with less pleasant ones farther north on the other side of the road. Jogging or bicycle riding are good activities here; rent bicycles at Amsterdam or Abritus guesthouses.

Other Attractions

To the north of centre are the two forested hills of Khao Tang Kuan and Khao Noi (also known as Monkey mountain, since hordes of monkeys live here). They’re safe to ex­plore during the day, but be careful at night,

when druggies find refuge there. A cable car is being built on the east side of Khao Tang Kuan and may be operational when you visit.

Just north of Khao Tang Kuan is a man­made lake full of catfish. If there’s anyone selling fish food, you buy some, toss the stuff in and watch the waters boil to a feed­ing frenzy. A legendary 2m catfish is sup­posed to inhabit this lake.

A few kilometres south of Hat Samila is Kao Seng, a quaint Muslim fishing village – this is where the tourist photos of gaily painted fishing vessels are taken. SAwngth­dew run regularly between Songkhla and Kao Seng for 8B per person.

Places to Stay Budget

If you are a budget traveler, you are in luck here; Songkhla has an exceptional number of good and inexpensive guesthouses that cater to travellers.

Amsterdam Guest House ( 0 7431 4890; 15/3 Th Rong Meuang; rooms with shared bath 180-200B) is a popular homey

place set up to serve travellers. Bicycles/ motorcycles are available to rent for 100/ 200B per day. Rooms are basic, and there’s a lounge and restaurant nearby.

Abritus Guest House ( 0 7432 6047; )  28/16 Th Ramwithi; rooms with shared bath 200B) offers four

spacious, clean rooms. Downstairs is a good restaurant and one Internet connection. English, German, Russian and Bulgarian are spoken, and bikes and motorcycles are available for rent.

ABC Guest House ( 07431 2558; 28/14 Th Ramwithi; Ew www.abcguesthouse.info; dorm beds 130B, rooms 220-300B) is a brand

new place a couple of doors down from Abritus, and has a Thailand rarity: dorm beds.

Mrs Brown’s ( 0 7432 7475; 28/19 Th Ramwithi; rooms 150-180B) is right near

Abritus and run by a friendly Englishman. It’s a popular place with well-furnished rooms; in the future there may also be small dorm rooms.

Patcharin Backpackers Inn ( 0 7431 1821; 65 Th Sisuda; rooms with shared bath

230-250B) offers six beautiful, large rooms. It’s new, clean, friendly and central to Songkhla’s bar scene. There’s a tiny garden at the front.

Narai Hotel (( 0 7431 1078; 14 Th Chai Khao; rooms with shared bath 150-2008)

hardly looks like a hotel; it’s a faded yellow wooden house with overgrown yard. It’s friendly but not central, and rooms are clean and fairly quiet. There is one huge double room with bathroom for 250B.

Choke Dee (- 0 7431 2275; 14/19 Th Wichianchom; rooms with fan 280, with air

con 380-400B) offers a good deal, with large, clean, modem and bright tiled rooms along spacious halls and sitting areas. Pastel blues and a modem ambience emanate from this place, which is a bit less homey than those mentioned previously.

Suk Somboon 1 Hotel ( 07431 1049; 40 Th Phetchakhiri; rooms with fan 180-250B, with air-con 300B) has reasonable budget

rooms with some personality. Rooms facing east are brighter than those on the other side, which sport wall views.

Saen Sabai (( 0 7444 1027;  Phetchakhiri; rooms with shared bath 150B, with fan/air-con 220/2708), right behind the Caltex petrol station, is a small place with dark, musty rooms but it’s friendly!

Places to Stay – Mid-Range & Top End

Suk Somboon 2 ( 0 7431 3809; 14 Th Sai­buri; rooms with fan 2008, with air-con 400-

500B) is actually two buildings, an old and a new, right next to each other. The new half has pleasant smallish mid-range rooms with good showers, TV and fridge, while the old half is much more basic.

Royal Crown Hotel (( 0 7431 2174, fax 0 7432 1027; 38 Th Sai Ngam; rooms with air

con 400-4508) comes with good, carpeted mid-range rooms, and is located right near the bar area.

Viva Hotel (‘ 0 7432 1033; 547/2 Th Nakhon Nok; singles/doubles with air-con

500/6008) has decent, modern (though not luxurious) rooms. There’s a coffee shop with karaoke, and the lobby is nice, but the place isn’t central.

Lake Inn ( 0 7432 1044; 301 Th Nakhon Nok; rooms with air

con 390-590B) isn’t really worth it except for the 590B rooms with balconies and the views. The halls are worn and rooms modest.

BP Samila Beach Hotel (0 7444 0222, fax 0 7444 0442; 8 Th Ratchadamnoen; rooms with air-con from 11508) lies like a swanky

monster next to the beach, Songkhla’s best accommodation. All the amenities are on tap; pay the extra 100B for sea views, as they’re worth it. Balconies are large, the amoeba-like pool is inviting and the Inter­net is available near the grand lobby. It’s not a bad deal at all, if you can afford it, and rates include breakfast.

Pavilion Songkhla Hotel ( 0 744 1850, fax 07432 3716; 17 Th Platha; rooms with air-con from 7508)

is a great deal. The lobby is fancy, the loca­tion is good, and the large, luxurious rooms have some wood panelling, satellite TV and carpeting.

Haad Kaew Resort ( 0 7433 1059, fax 0 7433 1220; bungalows 5278, rooms with air-con 771-8998) is actually a long drive out

side Songkhla, on the peninsula north of the channel. This large, pleasant resort has its own lagoon, beach front and pool on its

landscaped grounds. Comfortable rooms and bungalows come with all the amenities.

Places to Eat

For cheap food, try the string of good, in­expensive seafood places along Th Ratchadamoen near Hat Samila. Right at the tip of Songkhla’s northern finger are food carts that set out mats in the grassy park-like waterfront area. And, at the south end of Th Sisuda is a night market called Rot Fai Night Plaza on Sunday, a morning market pops up here.

Sea Sport Restaurant ( 0 7432 7244; Th Ratchadamnoen; dishes 50-2008; open 4pm ­midnight daily) is highly recommended by

locals for its seafood. The ambience is un­beatable, at least when it’s not raining: out­side wooden benches (some shaped like boats) are set on a grassy, bricked terrace

a while a cloth tarp blows overhead. At night everything’s lit up romantically, and the breezy sea is right there.

Nai Wan Restaurant ( 0 7431 1295; Th Ratchadamnoen; dishes 35-2008; open 10am‑

9.30pm daily) is popular for its crab dishes (bring moist wipes!). Also on the menu are Thai salads, soups and other seafood offerings, as well as a few vegie entries. The large, casual space is near the little mermaid sculpture.

Tan Koon (( 07431 3297; cnr Th Phetcha­khiri & Th Saiburi; dishes 35-1008; open 8.30am-7.30pm daily), set back from the

street and inside a leafy garden area, is a small Thai place with some breakfast items. From Th Phetchakhiri you go through a shop to reach the restaurant. Coffeebucks is next door and brews passable java for 20B to 50B per shot.

LoBo Cafe ( 0 7431 1788; T10/1-3 Th Platha; dishes 40-1208; open 7am-10pm daily)

cooks up Western breakfasts and Thai food in a modern, homey and friendly atmosphere. It rents motorcycles, too.

Ya’ll Come Back Cafe (Tawnee Bar; Th Sisuda; dishes 1508; open 8am-6pm daily) is

energetically run by two southern boys  from the USA. Generous portions of home-cooked Creole and southern dishes, such as Jam­balaya, chicken dumplings and Spanish omelettes (as well as other breakfast items), are served in a tiny, dim bar atmosphere.

Sweet Basil Cafe (50/2-3 Th Sisuda; dishes 50-1208; open 10am-midnight daily)

serves good Vietnamese and Thai food in a pretty, peaceful setting at least compared to the bar scene outside. The service is good_ and a large picture menu makes ordering easy.

Tae Hieng lew south of the town centre, serves locally recom­mended seafood in a decent atmosphere with nice wooden furniture. Look for it just south of the elaborate Chinese cinema.

Abritus Guest House and Mrs Brown’s both have their own popular restaurants, with a half-dozen tables and CNN on TV. Food reflects their clientele’s tastes: there are Western breakfasts, burgers and basic Thai dishes. Abritus adds Bulgarian meatballs and kebabs.

The seafood of Ko Yo (see Around Song­khla) has a reputation for being some of the best in the area. Restaurants are located near the main island road, next to the water.

Entertainment

A string of bars just east of the Indonesian consulate is jokingly referred to among local expats as `The Dark Side’. Not as omi­nous as it sounds, this strip caters mainly to oil company employees and other Westerners living in Songkhla. The Office, the bar nearest Soi 5, is run by an Englishman.

On nearby happenin’ Th Sisuda, interspersed with some restaurants, are a few other casual bars worth checking out. Cor­ner Bier is a small corner place where Song­khla’s Canadian community hangs out. Parlang, where the Hash House Harriers meet every Saturday at 3pm, is another pop­ular expat place the cashew chicken here has been especially recommended.

Getting There & Away

Air THAI operates several daily flights be­tween Bangkok and nearby Hat Yai; see the Hat Yai section later in this chapter for details.

Bus, Minivan & Share Taxi Songkhla is something of a Hat Yai transport satellite; from Songkhla, you’ll have to go to Hat Yai to reach most long-distance destinations in the south. There are a few destinations orig­inating in Songkhla, though.

Across from the ferry station is a small-strangely located government bus terminal Four 2nd-class buses go daily to Bangkok

(437B); these stop in Chumphon (245B), Nakhon Si Thammarat (100B) and Surat Than (150B), among other places. One VIP bus to Bangkok leaves at 4.45pm (870B), while three 1st-class buses (562B) leave late afternoon and evening. There’s one or­dinary bus (312B) at 11.30am.

To Hat Yai, buses (16B), minivans (20B) share taxis (25B) take around 40 minutes and leave from Th Ramwithi. Minivans to Pat-tarn and Yala (70B) leave from the southern part of Th Sisuda, while ordinary buses to Nakhon Si Thammarat (70B) leave from the not-very-useful bus terminal south of town.

Boat Towards the head of Laem Songkhla (Songkhla’s finger-like peninsula), there is a government-run ferry that plies the short distance across the channel where the Tha­leh Sap Songkhla inland sea meets the Gulf of Thailand. The barge-like ferry carries about 15 cars, plus assorted motorcycles and pedestrians. The fare for the seven-minute ride is 18B per car, 5B per motorcycle and 1B per person; it runs 5am to 9pm daily.

Getting Around

Share taxis to the Hat Yai airport cost 150B to 180B; private taxis charge 400B.

SAwngthaew circulate around town for 10B. Motorcycle taxis around town cost 10B to 20B; rates double at night.

Amsterdam and Abritus guesthouses rent bicycles and motorcycles; LoBo Cafe just rents motorcycles. Prices are 100B per day for bicycles, 200B for motorcycles.

AROUND SONGKHLA

Songkhla Zoo

This is a new (and not quite finished), sur­prisingly humane and unusual zoo ( 0 7433 6038; admission per person/car/motorcycle 30/30/108; open 9am-6pm daily). The hilly enclosures are large and in a natural setting, with lots of greenery between exhibits. So much greenery, in fact, that the whole place really needs to be explored in a vehicle — distances are almost too long to walk. Roads lace the mountainside where the zoo is located connecting the exhibits to each other (this lofty setting affords occasional good views of the surrounding country­side). Unfortunately the zoo’s roads are pretty close to the animals, who are no doubt exposed to the motor noises.Animals on display include rhinos, ele­phants, ostriches, camels, orang-utans, chim­panzees, and birds such as flamingos, parrots and hornbills. If you’re lucky you can watch the tigers being fed: plucked chickens are suspended from ropes, and the beasts take running leaps out to grab them.

The zoo is south of Songkhla about 5km. on the Songkhla—Chana road. Follow the signs; the turn-off is at the Esso petrol sta­tion, then it’s another 500m to the gate. It’s best to rent a motorcycle (or bicycle if you like pedalling up hills) to get here, since then you’ll have transport within the zoo.

Ko Yo

An island set in the inland sea, Ko Yo (pro­nounced kaw yaw) is a peaceful, country‑

road-filled place surrounded by fish farms and supporting a small cotton-weaving in­dustry. The good-quality, distinctive phda kaw yaw is hand woven on rustic looms and available on the spot at `wholesale’ prices – meaning you still have to bargain but have a chance of undercutting the usual city price. There are many different households around the island engaged in cotton weaving and they sell their wares at a small market off the highway. You can hire a motorcycle in Songkhla (make sure you know how to operate one first, however) and tour the quiet backroads of Ko Yo: tiny villages, scenic coastline, forested hills, spiritual wat — it’s a very local treat, and off the beaten track. And don’t leave Ko Yo without trying its famous sea­food: look for shorefront restaurants along the island’s main road. Folklore Museum At the northern end of the island, about 2km past the market, is this large and excellent museum ($ 0 7433 1184; admission 50B; open 8.30am-5pm daily) run by the Institute of Southern Thai Studies. Opened in 1991, the complex of Thai-style pavilions overlooking the Thaleh Sap Songkhla contains well-curated collec­tions of folk art, as well as a library and sou­venir shop. Be ready to hike, however; the museum ripples down a hillside, each dis­play room connected by stairs, stairs and more stairs. Displays include pottery, beads, shadow puppets, basketry, textiles, musical instruments, jewellery, boats, religious art, weapons, and various household, agricul­tural and fishing implements. Among these is a superb collection of coconut-grater seats carved into various animal and human shapes, as well as a glassware display that Martha Stewart would salivate over. On the institute grounds is a series of small gardens, including one occasionally used for traditional shadow-theatre performances; a medicinal herb garden; and a bamboo

ture garden.

Getting There & Away Frequent sAwng­thAew to Ko Yo leave from Th Platha in Songkhla (10B, 30 minutes). To stop at the small market ask for nda talaat, `in front of the market’. To get off at the museum, about 2km past the market, ask for phiphithdphan. Buses to Ranot pass through Ko Yo for the same fare. You could also hire a motorcycle in Song­khla and scoot your way here, even making a loop north, coming back into town via the short ferry ride across the channel. This is a long distance, though — about 20km — and it includes hairy highways and windy bridges. Make sure you’ve completely mastered the art of motorcycle driving in Thailand.

Of course you could also rent a bicycle to do this ride, but unless you’re a Greg LeMonde wannabe you probably shouldn’t risk the next-day leg-muscle cramps.

Khukhut Waterbird Sanctuary

On the eastern shore of the Songkhla inland sea, about 30km north of Songkhla near the village of Sathing Phra, is a 520-sq-km sanctuary for waterbirds. Together with the similar Thaleh Noi Wildlife Preserve in Phattalung, the wetlands are habitat for over 200 resident and migrant bird species from the entire Thaleh Sap, including bitterns, egrets and herons (these three are called n6k yaang in Thai), rare Javanese pond herons, fishing eagles (nok yiaw plaa), cormorants (ndk kaa nkam), storks, kites, hawks, falcons, plovers, sandpipers, terns (nok naang nuan) and kingfishers. A book that’s available from the park office ( 0 7439 7042) has detailed informa­tion on the waterbirds and maps showing their habitat. The best months to go bird-watching are November and December, and the worst are from May to August. The park office also arranges boat trips – it’s about 250B for a one-hour bird-watching excursion, and 500B for two hours to see birds and stop at two islands. Each boat can hold up to seven people. Buses to Sathing Phra are 20B . take a red Ranot-bound bus. From the bus stop in front of the Sathing Phra district office you can walk the 3km to the park, or get a motor­cycle taxi for 20B.

 

Songkhla Attractions

Songkhla Art, Culture and Heritage

Songkhla’s City Pillar

Attraction Details :

Located on Nang Ngam Road, the pillar, which is highly revered by the local residents, was constructed when the city was built. This area of the city has distinctly Chinese characteristics as can be seen in the Chinese-style building where the pillar is enshrined and nearby buildings on Nakhon Nai and Nakhon Nok Roads. The distinctive Chinese lifestyle and influence in the area is due to the presence of Chinese immigrants, who came to settle in Songkhla at the beginning of the 24th Buddhist Century and had a major role in the establishment of Songkhla.

Khao Nam Khang Historic Tunnel

Attraction Details :

This Tunnel is situated in Khao Nam Khang, Mu 1, Tambon Khlong Kwang, approximately 4 kilometers from the Park Office. Once known as the Piyamit Village 5, the tunnel was operated by Communist insurgents. After almost 40 years of fighting with the Thai Government, the Communist Party was dispersed and became part of Thai Development Participants in 1987. Thailands largest and longest man-made tunnel, it was completed in two years with three separate corridors and three levels deep. The tunnel itself could accommodate about 200 persons with several rooms such as conference room, sick bay, radio transmission room, kitchen, firing range, etc.

Laem Sai Estuary Fortress

Attraction Details :

The Fortress was constructed during the reign of King Rama III, when the city was established. Today, the Fortress, which is located behind the Songkhla Provincial Police Headquarters, stands as a timeless proof of Songkhla’s rich heritage.

Songkhla Zoo

Attraction Details :

Songkhla Zoo is an open zoo, on the Songkhla – Chana Road, Tambon Khao Rup Chang. It was established for the preservation of Thai wildlife and to return them to the wild. The zoo covers a hilly area with an asphalt ring road. The various animals have been grouped separately, such as camels, birds, bantengs, tigers, crocodiles, and others. One of the highlights in the zoo not to be missed is the viewing point for the city where food stalls are available. Open everyday during 8.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. For more information, please call Tel. 0 7433 6038-40.

Tinsulanond Bridge

Attraction Details :

The bridge, which is the longest concrete bridge in Thailand, spans Songkhla Lake and is part of Highway 408. The bridge has two parts with the first part connecting the coast of Amphoe Muang Songkhla at Ban Nam Krachai to the southern coast of Ko Yo for a total distance of 1,140 meters. The second part connects the northern shore of Ko Yo to the coast of Ban Khao Khiao for a total distance of 1,800 meters. It was opened to traffic on 25 September 1986.

Phathammarong Museum

Attraction Details :

Phathammarong Museum is on Chana Road near the Songkhla National Museum. It was constructed in the Thai style to resemble the birthplace of General Prem Tinsulanonda, President of the Privy Council and Statesman who is a Songkhla native. The construction was based on his testimony when his father was the prison warden. Open everyday except Monday and public holidays during 8.30 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.

The Institute for Southern Thai Studies

Attraction Details :

It is situated on Ko Yo, near the foot of the second part of the Tinsulanonda Bridge. It was established in 1978 for the studies of southern arts and culture. Its museum has comprehensive exhibits on local arts and culture, and southern lifestyle as well as artefacts echoing local wisdom accumulated through several generations. The systematic exhibits cover more than 30 rooms displaying history, religion, tradition, occupation, folk play, handicrafts, and various artefacts. Viewing points for the Songkhla Lake and aquaculture farms should not be missed. Admission fee is 60 baht for adults and 30 baht for children. Call Tel. 0 7433 1184 – 9.

The Songkhla National Museum

Attraction Details :

Located on Chana Road, the Museum, constructed in the Chinese style, was originally built in 1878 as the mansion of Songkhla’s ruler. It later became the domicile of Songkhla’s upper administrative officers, the City Hall and in 1953, the building was converted into a museum to exhibit lower southern artifacts. Today it is the place where local archaeology, history and folk art and culture can be studied and appreciated. Noteworthy is the collection of artifacts of the Na Songkhla Family that used to rule the city. It is opened to the public, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., except Mondays, Tuesdays and public holidays.

Khao Noi

Attraction Details :

Located in proximity to Laem Samila, this small hill has a hiking path that wind up to the top where the statue of Prince Lop Buri Ramet (The Southern Viceroy) is situated. There is a viewpoint where it is possible to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. On the northeast is Suan Seri (Seri Park), a nicely landscaped park decorated with ornamental plants in animal shapes. Tamnak Khao Noi, on the south, was built in 1911 as the residence of Prince Lop Buri Ramet and was used by Their Majesties the King and Queen on a visit to the south in March 1959. Today the mansion is the residence of the Songkhla Provincial Governor.

Songkhla Nature and Wildlife

Hat Sakom

Attraction Details :

The beach is set amidst white powdery sand and shady trees, which makes it highly suitable for relaxation. Travelers can hire a fishing vessel to Ko Kham, which is just 2 kilometers offshore and is a perfect place to go fishing. Food and accommodation are available for tourists. This beach is about 53 kilometers from Amphoe Muang Songkhla, on the Songkhla-Chana-Thepha Highway

Khao Kao Seng

Attraction Details :

Approximately three kilometers to the south of the famous Hat Samila is Kao Seng fishing village, which has one of the most beautiful beaches in Songkhla. Along the coastline are several pieces of rocks, one of which stands out above the cliff. The local residents refer to that rock as “Hua Nai Raeng”. Kao Seng is a corruption of the name derived from the Thai word “Kao Saen”, referring to the nine hundred thousand bahts treasure that is buried under Hua Nai Raeng. Kao Seng can be reached via the road to the National Coastal Aquaculture Institute.

Laem Samila

Attraction Details :

Located in the City Municipality, about 2.5 kilometers from the fresh market (Thalat Supsin or Thalat Sot Thetsaban), the peninsula is renowned for its powdery sandy beach, shady pine groves, and the statue of a mermaid Songkhla’s most famous landmark. It is easily accessible via Hat Yai-Songkhla buses. From the city, visitors can take a minibus directly to the beach.

How to get there :

By Other

about 2.5 kilometres from the fresh market (Thalat Supsin or Thalat Sot Thetsaban)

Laem Son On

Attraction Details :

A peninsula situated to the northwest of Laem Samila that is naturally shaded with sea pines. At the end of the peninsula is the statue of Prince Chumphon Khet Udomsak, 28th son of King Rama V and founder of the Royal Thai Navy. The best view of Ko Nu and Songkhla Lake can be spotted from here.

Khu Khut Waterfowl Park (Tha-le Sap Songkhla Wildlife Refuge

Attraction Details :

Khu Khut Waterfowl Park (Thale Sap Songkhla Non-hunting Area), is situated at Mu 4, Tambon Khu Khut, about 55 kilometres from Songkhla, on Highway 4083 and three kilometres from the highway into the park. It was established as a non-hunting area on 19 April 1976, covering an area of 227,916 rai (91,166 acres) in both Songkhla and Phatthalung provinces. In fact this waterfowl park is part of the Thale Sap Songkhla or Songkhla Lake. The survey undertaken by the Royal Forestry Department discovered 44 families, 137 genera, and 219 species of birds. The best period to view the birds are from December to March.  Boats are provided by the park office at 200 baht an hour. For more information, please call the Park Office at Tel: 0 7439 7042.

Songkhla Lake

Attraction Details :

This lake is the largest lake in Thailand covering an area of approximately 80 kilometers long and 20 to 25 kilometers wide in Songkhla and Phatthalung Provinces. In addition, it is the only natural, fresh-water lake in Thailand. Several islands across from its mouth namely, Ko Yai, Ko Si, Ko Ha, Ko Kaeo, Ko Mak, Ko Rai, and Ko Yo are worth visiting for relaxation. Boat services are available for touring the lake. The port behind the post office or the fresh market has all-day long-tailed boat services.

Koh Yo

Attraction Details :

A small island in the Songkhla Lake that has recently become an important tourist attraction in Songkhla. Covering an area of 9,275 rais (3,710 acres), the island is accessible via the Tinsulanond Bridge. Geographically, the islands coastal plain is suitable for agriculture such as a special kind of jackfruit called Jampada. Another famous island product is its hand-woven fabric.

How to get there :

By Other

can be reached via Tinsulanond Bridge

Khao Tang Kuan

Attraction Details :

Another charming attraction located at Laem Samila is Khao Tang Kuan. This is the location of the famous Sala Vihan Daeng, the royal pavilion built during the reign of King Rama V. An additional attraction is a hill-top Dvaravati chedi housing the Lord Buddha’s relics that was built during the Nakhon Si Thammarat Empire. From this hilltop, visitors can admire a panoramic view of the city and the Songkhla Lake. Every October, there is a festival to drape the chedi with a cloth and to offer alms to monks who descend to the foot of the mountain to receive alms. In addition, monks travelling by boat from other temples in Songkhla would proceed along the waterfront so that the local residents can offer alms and pull their boats, which is considered highly merited.

Khao Nam Khang National Park

Attraction Details :

This Park, covered with verdant forests, is where two magnificent waterfalls namely Ton Dat Fa and Ton Lat Fa are located. There are two routes to the park: from Amphoe Sadao the distance is 26 kilometers or from Amphoe Na Thawi on the Na Thawi-Ban Prakop Road with a distance of 31 kilometers. Please call Na Thawi District Office for more information at Tel. 0 7437 1010.

Koh Yo

Attraction Details :

A small island in the Songkhla Lake that has recently become an important tourist attraction in Songkhla. Covering an area of 9,275 rais (3,710 acres), the island is accessible via the Tinsulanond Bridge. Geographically, the islands coastal plain is suitable for agriculture such as a special kind of jackfruit called Jampada. Another famous island product is its hand-woven fabric.

How to get there :

By Other

can be reached via Tinsulanond Bridge

Namtok Boriphat Forestry Park

Attraction Details :

Namtok Boriphat Forestry Park is about 52 kilometers from Amphoe Muang Songkhla. To get to this small all-season waterfall, drive along Highway 406, at the kilometer 35 and 36 marker, switch to use a dirt road and proceed for about one kilometer.

Namtok Ton Nga Chang

Attraction Details :

Namtok Ton Nga Chang is located in the Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary. It is one of the beautiful waterfalls of the South, about 26 kilometres from the city.  Follow the Hat Yai – Rattaphum Road for 13 kilometres, then turn left at Ban Hu Rae for another 13 kilometres. This waterfall has seven levels, the third level is the most beautiful and is named after the waterfall. At the third level, the stream separates into two, resembling the elephant’s tusks. Treks have been provided for more adventurous tourists. One can hire a motorised tricycle (tuk-tuk) to the waterfall for two to three hours at 300-400 baht, or one can take the minibus from the fresh market (Talat Sot Thet Sa Ban Hat Yai).

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