Hat Yai is in the south of Thailand near the border of Malaysia, nearly 950 km from Bangkok.
Often Hat Yai is considered just a stopover on the way to the border.
But there’s a lot more to see than you may have first thought.
If you want to avoid crowds, this is the perfect Thai city to see cultural attractions, markets, and nature.
Here are the best things to see and do in Hat Yai on your next trip.
1. Magic Eye 3D Museum
Enjoy a mind-boggling afternoon at Magic Eye 3d Museum.
Inside, you’ll find beautiful artwork and floor paintings that come to life.
Perfect for families and couples, take as many photos as you want at each painting.
If you get the right angle, you’ll look like you’re part of a cartoon!
This is a great place to spend 2-3 hours.
- Opening Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
- Address: 414 Kanjanavanich Rd, Hatyai, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
2. Songkhla Central Mosque
An impressive architectural landmark in Hat Yai, Songkhla Central Mosque was built in 2001.
While it’s a functioning mosque, most visitors come here to admire the incredible structure and peaceful surroundings.
It’s basically the Taj Mahal of Thailand.
Head to the end of the large pool to snap your perfect photo.
Then walk along the marble pathways to get a closer look at the fine details of the building.
- Opening Hours: Daily 8:30am-3:30pm; Friday closed
- Address: 352 หมู่ที่ Lopburi Ramesuan Rd, Khlong Hae, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
3. Hat Yai Municipal Park
This is a beautiful spacious park where families can relax and enjoy a picnic.
A large Buddha statue overlooks the park and is also a peaceful area to explore.
Catch a cable car to the top of the hills for panoramic views of Hat Yai.
It’s generally not crowded so you should be able to occupy your own cable with friends and family.
- Opening Hours: Daily 5am-9pm
- Address: 2GR3+RQH, ถนน กาญจนวนิช, Tambon Kho Hong, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
4. Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol
This is a beautiful stainless steel temple located on the hills.
It was created in honor of the previous king.
Explore the inside and surroundings as you see various Buddha statues and photos on display.
If you have to choose when to go, visit at night when the temple lights up the skies.
- Opening Hours: Daily 9am-8:45pm
- Address: 108 Poonnakan Rd, Kho Hong, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
5. Wat Hat Yai Nai
An open-air temple, Wat Hat Yai Nai has one of the largest Buddha statues in the world reclining under its roof.
It’s the main attraction at this location surrounded by other unique statues and sculptures around the grounds.
Like most temples in Thailand, make sure you have appropriate clothing – cover your knees and shoulders.
Spend some time here praying along side other monks.
The temple is generally not crowded, but if there’s an event, it can get busy.
- Opening Hours: Daily 7am-6pm
- Address: 2 Wathatyainai Rd, ต.หาดใหญ่, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
6. Namtok Ton Nga Chang Waterfall
This waterfall is located in the Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary.
It’s a bit out of town, but if you want a break from the noisy city, this is the place to cool down.
After a nominal fee of 200 baht, you’ll have access to explore the amazing natural views and dip your toes near the waterfall.
There are 7 levels of water flowing, but most visitors stay on the first 3 levels.
Make sure you have a decent fitness level because there is a bit of walking.
- Opening Hours: Daily 9am-4pm
- Address: Ton Nga Chang Wildlife Sanctuary, W6XM+XJC, Thung Tam Sao, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
7. Songkhla Zoo & Waterpark
This is a large open zoo where you can feed a number of wild animals.
You’ll see all your favorites including elephants, lions, monkeys, and other cuddly mammals.
Pay a bit extra to catch the shuttle bus around the zoo.
It’ll be handy if you want to see feeding sessions with penguins and tigers.
There is also a water park for kids to splash in and cool down on hot humid days in Hat Yai.
- Opening Hours: Daily 8:30am-4:30pm
- Address: หมู่ที่ 5 189 ถนน สงขลา-นาทวี ซอย 11 Khao Rup Chang, Mueang Songkhla District, Songkhla 90000, Thailand
8. Greenway Night Market
Sheltered under a semi-dome structure, Greenway Night Market has a modern and traditional feel.
It’s still great place to go souvenir shopping or bargain hunting.
Walk down the various lanes and you’ll see discounted clothes, shoes, and other unique items.
They’re also well known for their authentic street food in the food court.
- Opening Hours: Daily 4pm-10pm; Monday closed
- Address: 1406/4 ถนน กาญจนวณิชย์ Hat Yai, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
9. Asean Trade Bazaar
Just a short walk away is the Asean Trade Bazaar.
It’s open the same hours as Greenway Night Market so you can hit both locations in one night.
There are more souvenirs on offer as well as cheap clothes, toys, and mobile accessories.
On the second floor, there are food stores serving authentic Thai food.
- Opening Hours: Daily 4:30pm-10pm; Monday closed
- Address: 76 Chotevittayakul 3 Rd, Hat Yai, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
10. Santisuk Market
Santisuk Market is conveniently located in the city center.
There are plenty of bargains and haggling here.
It will be loud as you hear locals trying to get the best deals from vendors.
You’ll find items like cheap clothes, shoes, and bags.
But there are also plenty of food products like seafood, fruits, and local spices.
- Opening Hours: Daily 9am-7pm
- Address: นิ พั ท ธุ์, Nipatuthit 2 Rd, Hat Yai, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
11. Kim Yong Market
Kim Yong Market is another popular bargain stop in the heart of Hat Yai.
It’s more known for local snacks, fruits, and, spices but there are still some stalls with souvenirs, clothes, and jewelry.
Many of the products are imported from Malaysia and Singapore.
Even though they’re cheap, you still need to haggle with vendors as they will quote higher prices for travelers.
The lanes are quite narrow so expect some shoulder bumping.
- Opening Hours: Daily 10am-6pm
- Address: ตลาดกิมหยง Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
12. Hat Yai Khlong Hae Floating Market
Experience the unique Hat Yai floating markets and see how hardworking Thai locals make their earnings.
Wooden boats are aligned on the river selling different Thai cuisines.
If you’re ready in buy something, the owner will pass a basket attached to a long bamboo stick.
You just have to drop the money into the bucket and they’ll hand the goods to you.
This is a must-visit if you want to see real Thai culture.
- Opening Hours: Friday to Sunday 1pm-9pm
- Address: Khlong Hae, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
13. Central Festival Mall
One of the more modern shopping centers in Hat Yai, this mall is centrally located.
You can easily spend a day here browsing over 250 stores and dining on levels 4 and 5.
There’s also entertainment like an ice skating rink, bowling alley, and movie theatres including an IMAX.
On weekends, it will be very busy as local Thais try to avoid the heat.
Events are also held here occasionally.
Try to stay at a hotel nearby since there’s so much to do at Central Festival.
- Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday 10am-9pm; Friday & Saturday 10am-10pm
- Address: 1518 Kanjanavanich Rd, Kho Hong, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
14. Big C Hatyai
A more modern shopping complex where you can buy everyday goods or enjoy a mini shopping spree at Thai prices.
There are two main BIG C complexes in Hat Yai and a number of mini shops in other locations.
It might be interesting for you to see the usual chips, chocolate, and snacks wrapped in Thai packages.
They even have a few familiar restaurants like KFC.
Try to base your hotel close by so you have easy access to travel necessities if needed.
- Opening Hours: Daily 9am-9pm
- BIG C Address: หมู่ที่ 4 111/19 Khlong Hae, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
- BIG C Extra Address: 677 Petchkasem Rd, Tambon Kho Hong, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
Songkhla Zoo & Waterpark is the best place to spend the whole day for family with kids.
There are a lot of animals to see.
And when it gets too hot, the waterpark is the best area to cool down.
If you just want to occupy them for a few hours, visit Magic Eye 3D Museum.
To see the real Thai culture, night markets are great, especially Hat Yai Khlong Hae Floating Market.
But if you want modern shopping and entertainment at one place, visit Central Festival Mall.
Visit the night markets, particularly Greenway Night Market and Asean Trade Bazaar.
Or, you can watch a movie at IMAX in the Central Festival Mall.