Songkhla, Thailand

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Songkhla, Thailand

Region: Songkhla, Thailand is located in Songkhla


Geographic Coordinates: 7.206100, 100.597000
Climate: Climate and weather patterns in Songkhla, Thailand vary throughout the year.
Population: 63834
Language: Thai

Songkhla, Located in southern Thailand, Is a captivating city that offers a unique blend of cultural heritage, Natural beauty, And modern attractions. Nestled on the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula, Songkhla is often overlooked by tourists in favor of more popular destinations like Phuket or Bangkok. However, This hidden gem has plenty to offer for those seeking an authentic Thai experience. One of the most prominent features of Songkhla is its stunning coastline. With miles of pristine sandy beaches stretching along the Gulf of Thailand, It’s a paradise for beach lovers and water enthusiasts alike.

Hat Samila Beach is particularly famous for its picturesque golden mermaid statue and serene atmosphere. Visitors can relax under swaying palm trees while enjoying breathtaking sunsets over the sea. Beyond its beaches, Songkhla boasts an intriguing history that can be explored through its ancient architecture and cultural landmarks. The Old Town area showcases traditional Chinese shop houses with intricate designs and vibrant colors that date back to the 19th century. The city’s iconic landmark is Tinsulanonda Bridge—a long concrete bridge connecting Songkhla’s twin cities across a narrow strait—offering panoramic views over both sides.

For history buffs, Songkhla National Museum provides fascinating insights into the region’s past through artifacts and exhibits showcasing ancient relics from various periods. Additionally, Visitors can explore Wat Matchimawat Temple with its impressive golden Buddha statues or visit Tang Kuan Hill to admire panoramic vistas from atop one of Southern Thailand’s highest peaks. Food enthusiasts will find themselves in culinary heaven while exploring Songkhla’s vibrant street food scene.

From aromatic curries to flavorful seafood dishes influenced by Malay cuisine—such as Tom Yam Talay (spicy seafood soup) or Nasi Kerabu (blue rice served with various side dishes)—there are endless options to satisfy any palate. Nature lovers will also be delighted by Songkhla’s natural wonders such as Ton Nga Chang Waterfall, Where cascading waters flow through lush greenery, Creating a tranquil and refreshing atmosphere. The Khu Khut Waterfowl Park is another must-visit spot for birdwatchers, As it is home to over 150 species of birds, Including migratory birds from Siberia. Songkhla’s annual festivals are not to be missed.

The most famous one is the International Balloon Festival held in February each year. During this event, The sky comes alive with colorful hot air balloons of various shapes and sizes—a truly mesmerizing sight. Songkhla offers a remarkable blend of natural beauty, Historical charm, And cultural richness that makes it an ideal destination for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience in Thailand. Whether you’re strolling along its pristine beaches or immersing yourself in its rich heritage and delicious cuisine—Songkhla promises to leave visitors with unforgettable memories of this hidden gem on Thailand’s southern coast.



Important Landmarks

  1. Samila Beach: A beautiful beach known for its golden sand and picturesque views. It is also home to the famous mermaid statue.
  2. Songkhla Old Town: A historic area with well-preserved buildings dating back to the colonial era. The old town offers a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage.
  3. Hat Yai Municipal Park: A popular park located on a hilltop, offering panoramic views of Hat Yai city and its surroundings. It is a great place for picnics and relaxation.
  4. Tang Kuan Hill: Also known as Monkey Hill, this hill offers stunning panoramic views of Songkhla City, along with an opportunity to interact with friendly monkeys.
  5. Wat Matchimawat Temple: One of the most important Buddhist temples in Songkhla, featuring beautiful architecture and intricate details.
  6. Khao Nam Khang National Park: Located just outside Songkhla City, this national park is known for its lush greenery, waterfalls, caves, and wildlife.
  7. Cat & Rat Island (Koh Yo): Two small islands connected by a bridge that are popular among locals and tourists alike for their seafood restaurants and scenic views.
  8. Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol: This golden pagoda is one of the tallest in Thailand and offers panoramic views from its top floor observation deck.
  9. Thale Noi Waterbird Park: Located about 60 kilometers from Songkhla City, this wetland area attracts migratory birds during certain seasons making it a paradise for birdwatchers.
  10. Ko Nu (Mouse Island): A small island located near Samila Beach that features unique rock formations resembling mice or rats.

These attractions offer visitors a mix of natural beauty, cultural heritage sites, stunning viewpoints, and opportunities for relaxation or adventure.


Primary Industries

  1. Fishing and Seafood Processing: Songkhla has a thriving fishing industry due to its coastal location. The province is known for its seafood processing plants, which export a variety of fish and seafood products.
  2. Petrochemical Industry: Songkhla houses an industrial estate called Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, which is one of Thailand’s largest petrochemical complexes. It hosts numerous petrochemical plants producing chemicals, polymers, and other related products.
  3. Rubber Production: The province is a significant producer of natural rubber in Thailand. Many rubber plantations can be found in rural areas surrounding Songkhla.
  4. Agriculture: Apart from rubber production, agriculture plays a crucial role in Songkhla’s economy. Rice cultivation is prominent along with crops like palm oil, fruits (such as durian), vegetables, and herbs.
  5. Tourism: Songkhla attracts both domestic and international tourists due to its beautiful beaches like Hat Yai Beach and Samila Beach, historical sites like Old Town Songkhla with traditional architecture, temples such as Wat Matchimawat (Golden Buddha Temple), cultural festivals like the annual International Balloon Festival held in February-March at Hat Yai District.
  6. Education Sector: With several universities and educational institutions located within the province (including Prince of Songkla University), education-related services contribute significantly to the local economy.
  7. Retail Trade & Services: The city of Hat Yai serves as a major commercial center for southern Thailand with numerous shopping malls, markets selling diverse goods ranging from clothing to electronics; hotels; restaurants; entertainment venues; transportation services; etc., catering to both locals and tourists alike.

These are some of the major industries and businesses that drive economic activities in Songkhla Province.


Noteable History

  1. Srivijaya Empire: Songkhla was once part of the influential Srivijaya Empire, one of the largest maritime empires in Southeast Asia from the 7th to 13th centuries.
  2. Old Town Songkhla: The old town area of Songkhla city is home to many historical buildings that reflect its multicultural past, including Chinese shop-houses, mosques, and colonial-style architecture.
  3. Chalatat Beach Landing: During World War II in December 1941, Japanese forces made a surprise landing at Chalatat Beach in Songkhla as part of their invasion of Thailand.
  4. Hat Yai Peace Talks: In 1989-1990, peace talks between the Thai government and representatives from insurgent groups were held in Hat Yai (a district within Songkhla). These talks aimed to address ongoing conflicts between the Thai state and separatist movements in southern Thailand.
  5. Tinsulanonda Bridge Collapse: In October 1986, the Tinsulanonda Bridge connecting Songkhla with neighboring Pattani province collapsed due to structural failure during construction. This incident resulted in significant casualties.

Notable People:

  1. Noppadol Srikrama (1908-1979): A renowned Thai poet born in Songkhla province known for his romantic poetry collection Chao Na (The Commoner).
  2. Preecha Suksinchai (born 1953): A famous Thai singer-songwriter hailing from Hat Yai district within Songkhla province known for his folk music style and political activism during the turbulent years of student protests against military rule.
  3. Suthep Thaugsuban (born 1949): A prominent politician born in Na Thawi district, Songkhla. He served as a Member of Parliament and held several ministerial positions in the Thai government.

These are just a few examples of notable historical events and people associated with Songkhla, Thailand. The province has much more to offer in terms of culture, history, and local traditions.


Museums and Things To See

  1. Songkhla National Museum: A must-visit museum that showcases the history and culture of Songkhla, with a wide range of artifacts and exhibits.
  2. Samila Beach: One of the most iconic beaches in Songkhla, known for its golden sand, clear waters, and the famous mermaid statue.
  3. Tang Kuan Hill: A hilltop viewpoint offering panoramic views of Songkhla city, including the stunning sight of the twin lakes (Thale Noi and Thale Luang).
  4. Hat Yai Municipal Park: A beautiful park with lush greenery, lakes, and gardens perfect for picnics or leisurely walks.
  5. Wat Matchimawat (Wat Klang): This Buddhist temple is known for its unique architecture featuring a mix of Thai and Chinese influences.
  6. Khao Nam Khang Historical Tunnel: An underground tunnel system used during World War II as a hideout by Thai soldiers; now open to visitors who can explore its history.
  7. Old Town Songkhla: Take a stroll through this charming area filled with traditional houses, local shops selling handicrafts and street food stalls.
  8. Sathing Phra Ancient Ruins: Explore these ancient ruins dating back to the Srivijaya Kingdom era; it includes ancient pagodas and remnants of an old city wall.
  9. Hat Sai Kaew Beach: A serene beach located on Ko Nu island near Songkhla; perfect for relaxation or snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.
  10. Central Mosque (Songkhla): Visit this grand mosque showcasing stunning Islamic architecture that stands out in the heart of Songkhla city.


Sports Teams

  1. Songkhla United FC: Songkhla United Football Club is a professional football team based in Songkhla Province. They currently compete in the Thai League 3 Southern Region. The team was founded in 2010 and has had moderate success in regional leagues.
  2. Hat Yai City FC: Hat Yai City Football Club is another professional football team from the region, specifically from Hat Yai District in Songkhla Province. They also participate in the Thai League 3 Southern Region.
  3. International Dragon Boat Races: While not a specific team, Songkhla hosts annual international dragon boat races on its famous Samila Beach. This event attracts participants from various countries and showcases both local and international talent.
  4. Muay Thai Events: Thailand’s national sport, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), is popular throughout the country, including Songkhla Province. While there may not be any prominent teams solely based in Songkhla, various Muay Thai events take place regularly featuring local fighters competing against opponents from other regions of Thailand or even abroad.

It’s important to note that these examples represent some of the limited sporting activities with historical significance in Songkhla rather than an extensive list of teams with long-established histories like those found in larger cities or more prominent sporting regions within Thailand.



Cultural Events

  1. Hat Yai Lantern Festival: Held annually in November, this festival attracts thousands of visitors who release lanterns into the sky for good luck and to pay respects to ancestors.
  2. Loy Krathong Festival: Celebrated on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month (usually in November), this festival involves floating krathongs (decorative baskets made from banana leaves) on waterways to symbolize letting go of negativity.
  3. Chak Phra Festival: This Buddhist festival takes place during October and involves a procession of Buddha images carried on boats along Songkhla Lake, followed by various cultural performances.
  4. Naga Fireball Festival: Held at Nong Khao village near Songkhla Lake in October, this unique event features mysterious glowing fireballs rising from the water, believed by locals to be created by mythical river serpents called Naga.
  5. Chinese New Year: Celebrated with great enthusiasm in February or March according to the lunar calendar, this festival includes dragon dances, fireworks displays, street parades, and traditional Chinese performances.
  6. Songkran Water Festival: Celebrated nationwide in April as Thai New Year’s Day, Songkran is known for its water fights where people splash water on each other as a form of purification and blessings for the upcoming year.
  7. International Balloon Fiesta Hat Yai: Held annually around February or March at Jiranakorn Stadium in Hat Yai city (Songkhla province’s capital), this event showcases hot air balloons from around the world along with various activities like live music concerts and food stalls.

Please note that these events may have specific dates that vary each year; it is advisable to check local sources or tourism websites for updated information before planning a visit.


Cuisine

  1. Tom Yam Goong: A spicy and sour soup made with shrimp, lemongrass, lime leaves, and chili.
  2. Pad Thai: Stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, tofu or shrimp, bean sprouts, and peanuts.
  3. Khao Yam: A traditional Southern Thai dish made with rice mixed with various herbs and vegetables like shredded mango or papaya.
  4. Hoi Tod: A crispy oyster pancake served with a tangy sauce.
  5. Satay: Grilled skewered meat (usually chicken or pork) served with peanut sauce.
  6. Khanom Jeen Nam Ya: Rice noodles served with a flavorful fish curry sauce and an array of fresh vegetables and herbs.
  7. Roti Sai Mai: Sweet roti filled with cotton candy-like strands of sugar called sai mai.

Some popular restaurants in Songkhla known for their local cuisine are:

  1. Nang Ngam Restaurant – Known for its fresh seafood dishes like grilled fish and prawns. Address: 55 Supasarnrangsan Road
  2. Laem Son Seafood – Offers a wide variety of seafood dishes such as steamed fish, crab curry, and grilled squid. Address: 35 Supasarnrangsan Road
  3. Krua Nakhon – Serves authentic Southern Thai food including curries, stir-fries, and soups. Address: 8/1 Raj Uthit Road
  4. Ruan Pae Restaurant – Famous for its traditional Thai dishes like Tom Yum Goong soup and Pad Thai. Address: 27 Raj Uthit Road
  5. Rim Lay Restaurant – Offers a beautiful seaside dining experience along the coast serving fresh seafood specialties. Address: Samila Beach

Parks and Recreation

Public Parks and Recreational Activities in Songkhla, Thailand

  • Tinsulanonda Bridge Park: Located near the famous Tinsulanonda Bridge, this park offers a beautiful view of the lake and is a popular spot for jogging, cycling, and picnicking.
  • Samila Beach: One of the most famous beaches in Songkhla, Samila Beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water sports such as jet skiing or banana boat rides.
  • Hat Yai Municipal Park: Situated on a hill overlooking Hat Yai city, this park offers stunning panoramic views. Visitors can enjoy walking trails through lush greenery and visit the iconic standing Buddha statue.
  • Ton Nga Chang Waterfall: Located within Khao Nam Khang National Park, this waterfall is known for its seven-tiered cascades surrounded by tropical rainforest. Visitors can swim in the natural pools or have a picnic nearby.
  • Songkhla Zoo: The zoo houses various animal species including elephants, tigers, crocodiles, monkeys, and birds. Visitors can explore the zoo by foot or take a tram ride to see different exhibits.
  • Sra Bua Floating Market: This floating market offers an authentic Thai experience with vendors selling local food specialties from their boats along the canal. Visitors can enjoy shopping for souvenirs or trying delicious street food.
  • Koh Yo Island (Koh Yo Eco-tourism Village): This small island located in Songkhla Lake is known for its peaceful atmosphere and traditional fishing village lifestyle. Activities include cycling around the island’s scenic routes or taking boat tours to explore nearby attractions like Koh Nu (Mouse Island) or Koh Maeo (Cat Island).
  • Songkhla Old Town: Known as Mueang Tamnan, this historical part of town features well-preserved buildings reflecting Chinese-Portuguese architecture from early traders. Visitors can wander through the narrow streets, visit local museums, and enjoy traditional food in charming cafes.

These are just a few examples of the public parks and recreational activities available in Songkhla, Thailand.


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