My Trip to Hat Yai


I’ve been to Bangkok too many times to count, and so decided to change it up on my most recent trip to Thailand. I went to Hat Yai, a city in Southern Thailand near the Malaysian border. Hat Yai is the 4th biggest city in Thailand, coming in after Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and Pak Kret. You might think there isn’t a good reason to visit a city in Thailand that you’ve never heard of, but you couldn’t be more wrong.

Here are ten reasons to consider Hat Yai if you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway!


1. 80 Cents For A Plate Of Dim Sum!


b2ap3_thumbnail_4-dimsum.jpgThere are many restaurants serving dimsum in Hat Yai, and they open really early too, so the first thing we did when we reached Hat Yai at 8am was to pop into a nearby restaurant and have ourselves a feast of steaming dimsum. You go to the counter and get a tray, and pile all the dishes that you want onto the tray. Then you pass it to the waiter/waitress, and they’ll steam it for you.

More importantly: each plate of dimsum will cost you around 18-20 Baht. That’s less than 80 cents! We had all of the dimsum pictured below + a pot of tea for a total of 200 Baht, or S$8.b2ap3_thumbnail_4-dimsum-2.jpg


2. You Don’t Need To Speak Thai


b2ap3_thumbnail_1-mandarin-speaking.jpgBecause of its proximity to Malaysia, most vendors, hawkers, and people in the service line that you encounter in Hat Yai are able to speak Mandarin. This makes it a lot easier to get around if you’re Chinese or if you speak Mandarin.


3. Get There For Less Than S$60


b2ap3_thumbnail_2-cheap-travel.jpgA plane ride will cost you approximately S$60, or for extra hobo points, do like we did and take a coach from Golden Mile Complex, which costs S$40. The coach takes about 14 hours and runs at night, so that’s 6pm to 8am. It’s pretty comfy too, with blankets provided. 

If you’re even more hardcore than that, you can take a public bus from Singapore to JB, then take a coach to Hat Yai – this will set you back by S$20-30.


4. Get A Room For $8 A Night


b2ap3_thumbnail_3-hotel.JPGPicture provided is for illustrative purposes and is not representative of Nam Huat.

Accommodation in Hat Yai is super affordable. The rate at Nam Huat Hotel for a double room is 400 Baht per night, which translates to S$8 per person per night. This gets you an air-conditioned room with WIFI, located centrally in the heart of Hat Yai (right next to Lee Garden Mall and Centara Hotel). 


5. Go Anywhere Around The Entire City For $2


Hat Yai is only 20.5 km² – it’s really small and easy to cover by foot, by motorcycle taxi or by rod deng – a kind of truck-taxi that picks up multiple customers at a time and sends you to wherever you want. Within the city, getting from any one location to another will cost you a maximum of 40 Baht.


6. Free Charging Stations + Wifi at McDonald’s


b2ap3_thumbnail_6-charge-up.jpgI know I said Hat Yai is a good weekend destination, but if you’re incorporating it into your journey across Southeast Asia or backpacking with a very limited budget, then you’ll definitely appreciate that the McDonald’s here offers charging stations and free wifi for your usage. 


7. Massage – Get 1.5x What You Pay For in Bangkok


b2ap3_thumbnail_7-massage.jpgThe going rate for massages in Bangkok is from 200 Baht per hour onwards. Over here, you can get massages for 200 Baht for 1.5 hours. An extra 30 minutes of massage for the same amount of money? Oh yes please!

If you’re concerned about sleazy massage parlours, ask the staff at your hotel for recommendations.


8. Tailoring to rival Bangkok’s


b2ap3_thumbnail_8-tailoring.jpgYou no longer need to go all the way to Bangkok to get yourself looking sharp! A tailor we found will make a suit for you within 24 hours. A blazer + pants (or skirt, for the ladies) combination starts at 3,500 Baht (S$140), and will be made for you within 24 hours.

The place we visited is Chokthavee Textile at 82 Niphatutit3 Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand 90110. If you don’t even have 24 hours to spare, they’ll send it over to Singapore once it’s done at no extra cost! Email for enquiries.  


9. The Mother of All Supermarkets


Tesco is a supermarket chain from UK popular in Thailand. You might have seen some outlets in Bangkok which sell cheap and tasty Thai snacks. The Tesco branch in Hat Yai is huge, and they’re the equivalent of Giant in Singapore, but with cheaper and trendier clothes.

The clothes you can get here aren’t much more expensive than what you’ll find in Platinum Mall in Bangkok, and a bonus is that you can try them on before buying. Other than clothes, they also sell shoes, bags, home furnishings, and toys. This gigantic teddy bear costs about S$60. Boyfriends of the world, you know what to do! 


10. Mini-Chatuchak Without the Heat!


b2ap3_thumbnail_10-mini-chatuchak.jpgIf you’re looking for cheap shopping, head to the night market, which is a mini version of Chatuchak. Actually, since it operates at night, it’s Chatuchak without all the heat. Look at my picture: those are jeans going at 150 Baht (S$6). I think that’s all the reason you’ll need.  


See Another Side of Thailand


Hat Yai is probably what Bangkok was like 20 years ago before it got overcrowded and commercialised. We pride ourselves on finding hidden gems, so here’s one for you. Hop on down to Hat Yai for a weekend and you’ll get a whole new experience at half the price of a trip to Bangkok.

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