21 interesting places to visit in Songkhla

Songkhla is a province located in southern Thailand, known for its charming atmosphere and peacefulness. The province is home to several historical and natural attractions, including the famous Samila Beach and Ko Yo Island. Visitors can enjoy the coastal atmosphere and feel like they are on vacation. Additionally, the province’s capital city, Hat Yai, is a bustling commercial area with a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and services available. Along with the well-known tourist destinations, the province also offers many lesser-known attractions for visitors to discover and explore.

Samila Beach

Samila Beach in Songkhla is a famous tourist attraction, known for its stunning natural beauty. The beach boasts a small rocky outcropping that juts into the sea and is famous for its fine white sand, referred to as “Sai Kaew.” The beach is shaded by a dense pine forest, creating a cool and serene atmosphere. From Samila Beach, visitors can take in panoramic views of Koh Nu and Koh Maeo, and it is said that those who visit Songkhla without visiting Samila Beach have not truly experienced all the city has to offer. A highlight of the beach is the statue of a golden mermaid, a famous symbol, surrounded by a tranquil garden perfect for relaxing in the evening. The sea views from the beach are also stunning, including the sights of Koh Rat and Koh Cat, which are additional symbols of the area.

Tang Kuan Hill

Tang Kuan Hill is a significant tourist destination in Mueang Songkhla. From the hill’s summit, one can have a panoramic view of the surrounding area of Songkhla. There is a stupa located on top of the mountain, which was built during the Nakhon Si Thammarat Kingdom period and is a masterpiece of Dvaravati art. Additionally, the scenic area features several other interesting tourist attractions, including a lighthouse and Sala Phra Wihan Daeng.

Songkhla old town

The old town of Songkhla is situated in the city district and boasts three noteworthy roads, Nakhon Nok Road, Nakhon Nai Road, and Nang Ngam Road, that feature lovely buildings and architecture, preserving their original charm. These roads are home to wooden row houses with Chinese-style architecture, classic Sino-Portuguese buildings, and Hokkien Chinese tenement buildings on either side. Despite some renovations and repainting, the structures of these buildings remain unchanged. These old buildings in Songkhla serve as a window into the history of the area through its architecture, and some even feature street art that depicts the story of Songkhla, making them perfect for tourists to take pictures.

Songkhla National Museum

Songkhla National Museum, located in the city of Songkhla and across from the city wall of Songkhla Province, is a historic site of national significance. It features a unique Chinese architectural style that is over 100 years old. The museum building is comprised of four interconnected houses with a corridor, and features a courtyard and hall buildings on either side. Distinguished by its Chinese-European architecture, the museum building showcases bas-relief sculptures and paintings depicting Chinese gods and floral patterns. It is a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting Songkhla, as it offers a stunning display of the building’s beauty.

Naga Head (Sculpture of the head of a serpent spraying water)

Naga Head, a statue depicting the head of a serpent spouting water, can be found at Samila Beach along Sadao Road in Songkhla. It is regarded as a symbol of the province and was erected to enhance the ambiance of Samila Beach as a leisure destination for tourists and local residents. Naga is believed to symbolize water and fertility and is revered as sacred by the people in the south, making the statue a symbol of hope for a prosperous life. Currently, it is closed until further notice.

Phathammarong Museum

Phathammarong Museum, also known as the House of the Tinsulanonda Family, is a noteworthy historical tourist attraction that was built by the Department of Corrections during the term of the Director-General, Mr. Sanit Rujinarong. The museum stands at the site of the former residence of the father of His Excellency General Prem Tinsulanonda, a former Prime Minister and prominent statesman who hails from Songkhla province. The museum, a one-story wooden house, features two pairs of hip-shaped roofs connected by open terraces, and houses an exhibition of historical artifacts and memorabilia belonging to the Tinsulanonda family.

Wat Matchimawat (Wat Klang)

Wat Matchimawat, also known as Wat Klang, is the largest and most significant temple in Songkhla, with a 400-year history dating back to the end of the Ayutthaya period. It houses a variety of interesting antiques, including the Ubosot, built during the reign of King Rama I and featuring Thai-Chinese applied art. The temple boasts well-preserved murals, depicting scenes such as the busy trading port of Hua Khao Daeng in Songkhla, and features arches blending Chinese and European art. As a repository of antiquities from Songkhla, Sathing Phra, Ranot and other southern regions, the temple serves as an important historical landmark and educational resource.

Tinsulanonda Bridge

Tinsulanonda Bridge, popularly known as the Tin Bridge or Pa Prem Bridge, is a major tourist attraction in Songkhla province. Constructed during the term of Prime Minister General Prem Tinsulanonda, it is the longest bridge across the lake and offers faster transportation compared to the car ferry, which can become congested due to the increasing number of vehicles. The bridge is divided into two sections, linking Ko Yo on both sides, with the second section connecting the northern part of Ko Yo to the coast of Ban Khao Kheow in the Singhanakhon district. With a total length of 2,640 meters, it is the longest concrete lake bridge in Thailand.

Koh Yo

Koh Yo is a renowned tourist destination, known for its diverse offerings. Visitors can experience the local lifestyle, relax at homestays and resorts, and visit a variety of interesting locations such as Laem Pho Temple, the Institute of Southern Studies, coffee shops, and charming restaurants. The island boasts stunning natural beauty, featuring mountains, plains, capes, bays, and other unique features. Additionally, the Tinsulanonda Bridge connecting Koh Yo to neighboring sub-districts adds to the beauty of the view. Koh Yo is also famous as a seabass breeding ground in Songkhla Lake, leading to a wealth of quality dining options on the island.

Institute for Southern Thai Studies

Institute of Southern Thai Studies is a research center located on the hill of Koh Yo in Songkhla Province, near the second Tinsulanonda Bridge that connects Koh Yo to Koh Yai. Established in 1978, its main goal is to study and promote the arts and culture of the southern region of Thailand. The institute covers an area of 23 rai, making it a relatively large campus for research and education. In addition to its academic pursuits, the Institute of Southern Thai Studies also serves as a tourist attraction, offering a view point from which visitors can admire the beauty of Songkhla Lake. From this high vantage point, the Tinsulanonda Bridge can be seen stretching across the lake, while the houses and fish cages of the fisherman villagers offer a glimpse into their traditional way of life. Overall, the Institute of Southern Thai Studies is an important cultural and educational hub in the southern region, as well as a scenic and interesting place to visit.

Wat Laem Pho

Wat Laem Pho, also known as Wat Phra Non Wat Laem, is a historic temple located in Tambon Koh Yo on the edge of Songkhla Lake. It is a significant tourist attraction in the Songkhla province and is known for housing the largest reclining Buddha image in the posture of nirvana in Thailand. This impressive statue measures over 30 meters in length and boasts intricate artistic designs on its feet. The temple’s proximity to the Tinsulanonda Bridge road on the Koh Yo side makes it a highly visible and eye-catching sight for those who pass by, contributing to its popularity among tourists. In addition to the reclining Buddha statue, Wat Laem Pho also features other historic and cultural artifacts that make it a noteworthy destination for those interested in exploring the rich heritage of the region.

Chalatat Beach

Chalatat Beach is a lengthy shoreline that extends from Samila Beach, with a straight coast and a beach road lined with pine trees for shade. It is popular for watching sunrise due to its northeast facing direction. The beach is also home to a recreational park and playground for Songkhla Municipality, complete with a beach volleyball training ground. People can be seen cycling along the road in the mornings and evenings. The northern end of the beach is connected to Laem Samila and has a statue of a reader at the round about, symbolizing the importance of reading for the Thai people.

Wat Khao Kao Saen

Wat Khao Kao Saen is an old temple located in the city district of Songkhla province, not far from the famous Samila Beach. Over time, the temple has become a tourist attraction, attracting visitors with its unique location next to the sea. A pathway has been created for tourists to easily access the area and explore its surroundings. One of the highlights of Wat Khao Kao Saen is the sacred rock, named “Hua Nai Raeng,” which sits on the edge of a cliff and offers stunning views of Laem Samila Beach and the picturesque Rat and Cat Islands. Visitors can take a stroll down to the beach to enjoy its clean white sand and also take in the beauty of the sunrise from this breathtaking viewpoint.

Kao Seng Beach

Kao Seng Beach is a serene stretch of coastline located in the southern part of Songkhla. It boasts a continuous sandy shoreline that extends from Chalatat Beach and culminates at a small bay dotted with a fishing village. The sand grains at Kao Seng may not be as white as other beaches, but the overall appearance is still breathtaking. The area offers a glimpse into traditional fisherman’s life and the natural beauty of the region. The local fisherman still carry on their profession amidst the urban landscape, and this beach is also known for being the hub for building local fishing boats and gorge boats, which are adorned with vibrant patterns. The beach also has an assortment of rocks that have been scattered by the sea, one of which is called “Hua Nai Raeng”. This rock formation is a rugged hill with a few trees, unlike other coastal hills in Songkhla, and offers views of Koh Nu and Koh Maeo in the distance.

Hat Yai District

Hat Yai Cable Car

Hat Yai Municipal Park is a popular tourist attraction that is home to the first cable car in Thailand, Hat Yai Cable Car. It offers a unique experience for tourists who wish to visit the sacred objects enshrined on top of Khao Kho Hong. The journey starts at the first station, Phra Buddha Mongkhon Maharat and ends at the second station, Thao Maha Phrom and Guan Yin. Along the way, visitors are treated to breathtaking views of Hat Yai City and Songkhla Lake from the top of the mountain. The cable car station itself has a modern feel, with various amenities available for visitors such as souvenir shops, coffee shops, and tourist services. This cable car is the only one of its kind in Thailand, providing a unique and memorable experience for those who visit.

Songkhla Provincial Central Mosque

Songkhla Provincial Central Mosque, also known by its full name “Dinul Islam Central Mosque,” is a highly regarded religious site that has gained a reputation among photographers for its beautiful architecture. The mosque is situated on Lop Buri Ramet Road in the Khlong Hae Sub-district of Hat Yai District in Songkhla Province, Thailand. One of the most striking features of the mosque is its large pool that extends over 200 meters, reminiscent of the Taj Mahal in India. The mosque’s beautiful design, combined with its location near the pool, creates a breathtaking view especially during the sunset, which is why it is a popular spot for photographers. As a spiritual center for Thai Muslims in Songkhla Province, the mosque serves as a place of worship and is an important part of the local community.

Phra Maha Chedi Triphop Trimongkol

Phra Maha Chedi Triphop Trimongkol is a magnificent pagoda located on the Khao Kho Hong hill. It was constructed to pay tribute to His Majesty King Bhumiboldej on the occasion of his 60th year of ascension to the throne. The pagoda boasts a unique and beautiful design, as it is entirely made of round stainless steel pieces of varying sizes that have been connected to form the pagoda shape. The top of the pagoda features tiers and has a segmented appearance. This pagoda is a first of its kind, as it is the first ever built entirely out of stainless steel. When the sun shines on it, the stainless steel glitters in a silver light, reflecting the material’s pure qualities. The use of stainless steel as the primary building material symbolizes the idea of purity.

Wat Hat Yai Nai

Wat Hat Yai Nai, located in the Hat Yai District of Songkhla Province, is a historic temple that attracts visitors from all over the world. The temple boasts a stunning reclining Buddha image, Phra Phuttha Hattha Mongkhon, which is considered the third largest in the world. The image measures 35 meters in length, 15 meters in height, and 10 meters in width. Visitors come to worship this magnificent piece of art and pay their respects. The temple also houses a room dedicated to monks and serves as a place where the ashes of those who have passed away are kept. The entrance to the room is located at the base behind the Buddha image, and is open for visitors every day.

Khlong Hae Floating Market

Khlong Hae Floating Market, located at Khlong Hae Temple Pier just outside the city of Hat Yai, is the first floating market in Southern Thailand. Despite being a relatively new market, it has quickly gained popularity. Visitors can find a variety of local food options, including both Thai and Muslim cuisine, fresh fruit, and other local products. Row boats are lined up along the Wat Khlong Hae pier, offering a well-organized and convenient shopping experience. There are also shops along the banks for those who prefer to walk and explore. The market operates on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Visitors can purchase souvenirs, enjoy a meal, or take in southern cultural performances. The market places a focus on eco-friendliness, promoting the use of food containers made of materials such as coconut shells, bamboo cylinders, and earthenware pots.

Kim Yong Market

Kim Yong Market is a well-known two-story market in Hat Yai District, located on Lamai Songkroh Road. The upper floor is a merchandise store while the ground floor is a dry market. It is a popular destination for tourists along with Santisuk Market, which sells electrical appliances, perfumes, and cosmetics on Niphat Uthit Road. Previously, the ground floor of Kim Yong Market was also a fresh market that sold not only local products but also items imported from Malaysia, especially dry foods such as instant coffee, snacks, and equipment. Hence, Kim Yong Market has become a popular source for Thai tourists seeking to purchase electrical appliances and other souvenirs.

Ton Nga Chang Waterfall

Ton Nga Chang Waterfall is a stunning and well-known waterfall located in the southern region of Songkhla province. It boasts 7 tiers, with the most prominent one being Ton Nga Chang, the 3rd tier where the stream splits into two streams that resemble ivory. Situated within the Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary, the area provides tourist services such as nature trails and tours to different levels of the waterfall. To see all 7 tiers, visitors have to hike over a distance of more than 1 kilometer. Each tier is named differently, with the first tier being Ton Ba, the second tier Ton Pliu, the third tier Ton Nga Chang, the fourth tier Ton Dam, the fifth tier Ton Nam Lei, the sixth tier Ton Ruesi Khoi Bo, and the seventh tier Ton Met Chun. The Ton Nga Chang level is a must-see and is known as the highlight of the waterfall experience.