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Attractions > South > Songkhla

Attractions in Songkhla province in Thailand

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Historically, Songkhla was an important regional port, located where a narrow channel allows the sea to run into a large lagoon, now called Songkhla Lake. The city was founded more than a thousand years ago during the Sri Vijaya Kingdom and developed as Indians, Persians, and Arabs came to trade in this region. The original city was on the north side of the lake inlet. In the 17th to 19th centuries, the city was redeveloped on its present site to the south of the lake inlet. Malay and Chinese people settled in Songkhla and created the old city as we know it today.



Hat Yai Municipal Park




Songkhla National Museum




Hat Samila




Khao Tang Kuan




Koh Yo




Institute for Southern Thai Studies




Saphan Tinsulanonda




Wat Cha Thing Phra




Songkhla Zoo




Koh Yo hand woven fabric making


City attractions in Songkhla

City Pillar

Located on Nang Ngam Road, this revered monument is in Chinese style and nearby dwellings, especially on Nakhon Nai Road and Nakhon Nok Road, bear the same influence. The Chinese immigrants who settled here in the mid-19th century played a major role in the establishment of today's Songkhla, hence the distinctive Chinese lifestyle of the area.

Laem Sai Estuary Fortress

This was constructed in the reign of King Rama III, in the mid-19th century, at the time of the city's reinforcement under the control of the new dynasty in Bangkok.

Wat Matchimawat

Also known as Wat Khlang and located on Sai Buri Road, this large temple is the most important in Songkhla. Originating in the 17th century, the current complex is largely 19th century, built in the Bangkok style. The temple has very interesting murals and much Chinese influence. The compound includes a museum of local artifacts.

Songkhla National Museum

Located on Channa Road, the museum was constructed in 1878 as the Songkhla ruler's mansion. In Chinese style, it became the domicile of Songkhla's upper administrative officers and then the City Hall. Made into a museum in 1953, it exhibits artifacts of lower southern Thailand. Today it is the central resource of local archaeology, history, and folk art and culture. It has a notable collection of artifacts of the Na Songkhla family that used to rule the city. Open from 9.00-12.00 and 13.00-16.00, except Mondays, Tuesdays and public holidays.

Hat Samila

This well-loved seaside location is a favourite recreational spot of local people, known for its long white sandy beach, shady pine groves and the mermaid statue that is Songkhla's symbol.

Koh Nu (Mouse Island) and Koh Maeo (Cat Island)

Beloved in local lore, these islands are situated off Hat Samila. A legend says that a dog, a cat and a mouse on board a Chinese sampan stole the merchant's magic crystal and tried to swim ashore, but drowned and lost their lives, The mouse and cat became islands while the dog, dying onshore, became the hill called Khao Tang Kuan, and the crystal became the white sand beach called Hat Sai Kaeo (Glass Sand Beach).

Khao Noi

This hill, near Laem Samila, has a road to the top for paying homage to the statue of a former viceroy of southern Thailand. To the south is a mansion calledTamnak Khao Noi, built in 1911 as the prince's residence and today that of Songkhla's governor.

Khao Tang Kuan

Rising above Laem Samila, this hill is topped by SalaWisan Daeng, a royal pavilion built a century ago, and an ancient Dvaravati chedi housing Buddha relics. In October there is a festival to clad the chedi with a cloth, to pull the Buddha image and to offer alms to monks. A panoramic view of the city and Songkhla Lake can be enjoyed from the hilltop.

Laem Son On

This narrow cape leads up from Laem Samila to the harbour entrance. Well shaded with sea pines, this peninsula is the best spot for close viewing of Songkhla Lake and island.

Khao Kao Seng

A beautiful beach located about 3 km, south of Hat Samila, dotted with large boulders. Local people believe that one boulder called Hua Nang Raeng has protecting spirits.


Out of city attractions in Songkhla

Songkhla Lake

This large sea inlet is about 80 km. long and 20 to 25 km. wide. A freshwater lake with brackish water near the mouth, it contains several islands. Boats are available for touring the lake. The park behind the post office and fresh market, has a longtail boat service.

Koh Yo

This island in Songkhla Lake is thickly forested and famous for its hand-woven cotton fabric. Reached via Saphan Tinsulanonda. A specail kind of jackfruit called Jampada is grown here and it has several popular seafood restuarants.

Institute for Southern Thai Studies

Located on Koh Yo, the institute's museum has comprehensive exhibits on local art and culture and southern life in general, as well as artifacts echoing local accumulated wisdom. In more than 30 rooms, the exhibits cover history, religion, tradition, occupations and handicrafts. There are also excellent viewpoints of Songkhla Lake and its aquaculture farms. For more information, Tel. 0 7433 1185-8.

Saphan Tinsulanonda

This two-part bridge spans Songkhla Lake, connecting the southern shore with Koh Yo and the northern coast. The longest concrete bridge in Thailand, it was constructed in the 1980sby prime minister and Songkhla native, General Prem Tinsulanonda.

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

The park is situated at Khu Khut, Sathing Phra, about 55 km. north of Songkhla, 3 km. off Highwa y 408. A wildlife refuge with an area of 1,166 acres, extending into Phattalung, it is part of Songkhla Lake. A survey counted a total of 44 families, 137 genuses and 219 species of bird. The best time to view the birds is from December to March. Boats are provided by the park office. For more information, Tel. 0 7439 7042.

Wat Cha Thing Phra

This ancient temple is at Sathing Phra on Highway 408, north of Songkhla. Established in 996 AD in the Srivijaya Period, it has a notable chedi and a chapel with a reclining Buddha.

Wat Pha Kho

Also known as Wat Ratchapraditsathan, this temple is located at KM 110 on Highway 408, about 48 km. north of Songkhla. Sited upon Khao Phatthasing, in the 17th century it was the monastery of Somdet Pha Kho, the most revered monk in the south. The story goes that one day a pirate ship was sailing along the coast. Seeing the monk walking along the shore, the pirates kidnapped him. But the ship became becalmed for several days until they ran out of fresh water. Somdet Pha Kho took pity on them and put his left foot in the sea, making it sparkle and turn into fresh water. The pirates became faithful, asked for his pardon and took him ashore. From then on the people started to pay homage to the monk.

Songkhla Zoo

This open zoo is On Chana Road at Khao Rup Chang. Established to preserve Thai wildlife and return animals to the wild, the zoo covers a hilly area and has a ring road for motor touring. Animals, grouped separately, include camels, red gaur, tigers and crocodiles. For more information, Tel. 0 7432 5037-8

Hat Sakom

This beautiful beach is about 53 km. southeast of Songkhla city, on the Chana-Thepha coastal road. It has white sand, food stalls and lodging. There are fishing vessels for hire to Koh Kham, about 2 km. offshore, suitable for sport fishing in the fish abundant waters.


Activity in Songkhla

Songkhla Lake Boat Rides

Long-tail boat services are operated from the port behind Songkhla post office and the fresh produce market.


Special events in Songkhla

Lak Phra and Tak Bat Thewo

The wo(giving alms) are held at the new moon in the eleventh lunar month in Songkhla city. Rites begin one day earlier with the wrapping of a large cloth around the top of the cbedi on Kbao Tang Kuan. On the festival morning, alms are offered to monks (tak bat thewo) at the foot of the hill. Several hundred monks walk down from Khao Tang Kuan to receive the offerings. Late in the moring monks travelling by boat from other temples in Songkhla proceed along the waterfront so that Buddhists can offer alms and pull their boats along. The monks' boats congregate at the lotus pond to participate in the boat decoration contest. At the festival ground there are also art and culture performances.

Nang Talung Shadow Puppet Theatre

This southern folk art is performed in Songkhla. A temporary platform is usually built for the performance. The puppets, cut from animal hide, are placed against a white screen in front of a bright light so the audience can see their shadows. The story is told by narrators. Puppets can be purchased from souvenir shops.


Shopping in Songkhla

Koh Yo hand-woven fabric is an important folk product of Songkhla, produced mainly on Koh Yo. The sturdy cotton fabric has intricate designs such as Lai Rat Chawat and Lai Luk Kaeo and can be purchased on Koh Yo or from shops on Nakhon Nai Road and Nang Ngam Road in the city.



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