Hat Yai is the biggest city in southern Thailand and it has its own unique blend of cultures and traditions. It may not be the most beautiful city in Thailand but it can be a rewarding place to have a great time without spending too much money.
Since Hat Yai is right on the border of Malaysia, I have always visited Hat Yai since I was young. I first visited Hat Yai when I was 7 years old. To me it was strange and awkward. I have chosen this place to spend my 2011 New Year’s Eve with my family. It is still mysterious, exotic, full of potentials, and pitfalls.
Shopping is a big attraction and Hat Yai offers many good buys in Thai handicrafts – especially local cotton products and cutout leather shadow puppets – leisure and sportswear, and a large variety of preserved Thai fruits, dried seafood, and other culinary delicacies. Such is the fun of shopping among both Thai and foreign visitors that browsing and people-watching can be as much fun as bargain hunting.
Being somewhat of a cultural crossroads, Hat Yai affords ample opportunity for dining on a variety of cuisines. In addition to spicy Thai cooking and seafood for which the South is famous for, Chinese and Muslim specialties are to be enjoyed at a number of excellent restaurants as well. Check out what I have found in a famous restaurant’s restrooms. I saw Male, Female, and…SHEMAN!
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.