Hat Yai is the largest city in the South of Thailand. Located in Songkhla Province it has a lively mix of Thai, Malay, Chinese and Muslim influences, which makes it quite an interesting and exciting place. The city has a large public park with plenty of trees and lakes, a tranquil place to go and cool down. Nearby you will find the Tone Nga-chang Waterfalls and the beaches of Songkhla. If you are traveling up from Malaysia or making your way out of Thailand, then Hat Yai is an ideal stopover as it is only about 50km north of the Malaysian border. There are many opportunities for entertainment, ranging from sporting and water activities to shooting ranges, they even have bull fighting, a traditional southern pursuit in which two rival beasts lock horns. Due to its close proximity to the Malaysian border, Hat Yai offers a variety of cuisines, spicy Thai cooking, seafood and Chinese and Muslim specialties.
Wat Hat Yai Nai (Reclining Buddha Image) is the third largest reclining Buddha image in the world, 35 meters long, 15 meters high and 10 meters wide. The statue is said to be one of the most admired statues in the region; Tone Nga Chang Waterfalls (Elephant Tusk Falls) cascade dramatically over seven tiers before dividing into two streams, thus striking a resemblance to elephant tusks. The best time to visit the falls is in the rainy season (Oct. to Dec.) as the falls are at their fullest. Many people take picnics her and swim. Just 30 mins away from the city is Songkhla, the provincial capital of Songkhla province, a small coastal town with an inviting beach resort. There are plenty of accommodation and restaurant options here as the place has an interesting history and a lot of character. The Prince of Songkhla University, one of Thailand's premier educational institutions, is also located here.
If you want to do a little shopping then you can find all sorts of Thai handicrafts, some good buys are the cut out, leather shadow puppets used in telling traditional Thai folk stories and the locally made cotton products. If you like cooking then pick up a variety of preserved Thai fruits, dried seafood and other culinary delights.