Introduction

Songkhla is a border province in Southern Thailand, adjoining the state of Kedah in Malaysia. It has been known as a principal sea port and coastal trading post from time immemorial. As a historic town, Songkhla has inherited ancient ruins, arts, and places of cultural importance in addition to its unique tradition, dialect, and folk entertainment, a reflection of its rich cultural heritage for later generations to appreciate.

Songkhla has fine beaches, enchanting waterfalls, and a tranquil lake - a manifestation of its abundant natural resources. While Songkhla is noted for its fishery industry, Hat Yai, the major district of the province, serves as a transportation and communications hub of the South, with this bustling town linking with various destinations in the neighboring provinces and in Malaysia. Only 30 kilometers apart and with contrastive characteristics, Hat Yai and Songkhla can be ideal places for the tourist to visit: Hat Yai, a fast booming city in trade and business, while Songkhla remains a sleepy town still able to maintain its unique identity of ancient and historical flavors.

Songkhla covers an area of 7,393.9 square kilometers (approximately 1,848,472 acres). It is divided into 16 administrative Amphoe (districts), i.e. Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Hat Yai, Amphoe Chana, Amphoe Ranode, Amphoe Bangklam, Amphoe Namom, amphoe Khlong Hoykhong, Amphoe Nathawee, Amphoe Thepha, Amphoe Sabayoi, Amphoe Sadao, Amphoe Rattaphoom, Amphoe Singha Nakhon, Amphoe Khuanniang, Amphoe Rattaphum, and Amphoe Krasaesin. The population of the province is 1,159,672.

How to get there

By Bus
A 950 kilometers road journey from Bangkok on Highway No. 4 takes you past Prachuab Khirikhan, Chumphon, Surat Thani, and Nakhon Si Thammatat to Songkhla. Several daily air-conditioned coaches and non-air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok for Hat Yai and vice versa. 
For further information, please call Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal : (02) 4351199, 4345557-8 or Hat Yai Bus Terminal (074) 232404, 232789.
By Train
Train services linking Bangkok and Hat Yai include both rapid and express trains. 
For further details, contact Bangkok Railway Station (02) 2237010, 2237020 or Hat Yai Railway Station (074) 243705, 246267-8, 243978.
By Air
Thai Airways International offers many flights daily between Bangkok and Hat Yai. 
For information, please contact Thai Airways International Bangkok Office (02) 2820060, 6282000 or Hat Yai office : (074) 245851, 233433, 244282, 243711.

Festivals & Events

Songkran
is celebrated on April 13th each year. The traditional festival is held country- wide. 
In Songkhla, the festival starts with the merit making ceremony by participants respectfully pouring water on their venerable elders and ending up with throwing water at each other. In Hat Yai, the festival is held on Niphat Uthit 1, 2, or 3 Road from morning until afternoon and the event is enjoyed not only by local residents but also by Malaysian and Singaporean  tourists who arrive in Hat Yai in large number to celebrate this fun-filled event.

Thamboon Duen Sip Festival
Celebrated by the Buddhists of the South, the Merit Making on the Tenth Lunar Month festival originates from the belief that during the waxing moon of the month, souls of the deceased ancestors are allowed a period of freedom to visit their living relatives. It is the duty of the living to prepare food and bring it to the temple to make merit, In Sathing Phra, tall figurines representing venerable elders respected by the villagers parade along together in the procession.

Lark Phra and Tak Bat Devo
The festival is celebrated by residents of Songkhla on the first day of the waxing moon in the 11th lunar month (around October) in Songkhla town. The festival starts one day early with the robing of the pagoda on the top of Khao Tang Kuan. Early in the morning of the festival day, hundreds gather on the hill and proceed down the stairs to receive offerings from the faithful. Late morning is the scene of processions of artistically decorated vehicles with Buddha statue from temples in and around Songkhla. The vehicles are paraded around the town and the faithful make merits by joining the procession. Finally the decorated vehicles gather at Sra Bua (The Lotus Pond) for competition.

Thai Agricultural Products and Thai Fruit Festival 
The festival is organized annually around October with the aim of promoting agricultural products from various provinces in the South. Fruits and other products are sold at cheap prices.

Loy Krathong
is a Thai traditional event dating from the Sukhothai period. It is held throughout the country on the 15th night of the waxing moon of the 12th lunar month (around the middle of November). The festival is held to honor the goddess of the river and to make atonement for offenses made during the year. A float is made from banana leaf or other buoyant material. Candles and incense sticks, and even pieces of nail and coins are placed in the "Krathong" to float away one's misfortunes. The fun-filled night also features fireworks, float design  competition, and the Miss Noppamas beauty contest.

Information provided by Tourism Authority of Thailand

(c) 2001 travelthailand.net - Reproduction without permission prohibited.
Web design by B1