Truck logo
return to homepage return to homepage

Next: Kota BharuPrevious: Ko Pha Ngan

Hat Yai and Songkla: stopovers on our way to Malaysia

From Ko Pha Ngan we head for Malaysia. In order to get there we need to pass the connecting city of Hat Yai near the border. But since that is not a very attractive city, we choose nearby Songkla for another stopover.

Loud music in the Thai bus from Songkla to Hat Yai

Via ferry and bus we arrive at 9 PM in Hat Yai, so we choose to stay there for the night. In search for a hotel, Sabine suddenly stops and proclaims "Yeah right, an elephantÂ…". And indeed, a large grey animal is eating nuts from some tourists. With our backpacks on we don't have time for such a happening, so we move on.

Unfortunately, the backpacker hostel of our choice is full, so we end up in a Chinese hotel which has a room available at a busy street. It isn't very clean either, and we have to kill a big cockroach before we go to sleep. Life can be tough for a backpacker.

The next morning we wake up early to move on to Songkla. A tuk-tuk brings us to the bus stop where we are lead into a red bus, although we know we should have taken a green one. After a while we find out that the bus is heading in the wrong direction, so we get out, take another tuk-tuk and then find the right, green bus. Lesson learned: pay attention instead of just doing what others say.

Amsterdam Guesthouse

After an hour we arrive in Songkla. The bus is making a round trip around town, but we think we have passed our destination, so we get out too soon. We end up making a long walk to finally reach our intended destination: Amsterdam Guesthouse. Unfortunately, the Dutch owner is out of town, but the Thai personnel and Hubert, the Dutch owner of the attached restaurant welcome us. Always nice to meet fellow Dutchmen abroad.

The guesthouse is an oases of peace and quiet, where we immediately feel at home. Hubert doesn't make Dutch dishes, but his Spaghetti, Chili and Chicken Curry are made for the Dutch taste, and are great. Moreover, there are Dutch books and magazines around, and we can play scrabble in Dutch, nice and cosy. Which, of course, doesn't mean the guesthouse and restaurant aren't suitable for other tourists than the Dutch.

Historical Songkla?

Interior of the Songkla museumSongkla is not a tourist hot spot. There are some foreigners working for offshore companies, but that's about it. Yet, there is a complete brochure with places of interest in town. But what is announced as a historic centre appears to us as an ugly concrete shopping street. Luckily, there is also an old city wall that draws our attention.

Near our guesthouse, situated on a quiet street, is Songla's museum. A nice white building with roof, windows and doors in red, formerly used as the residence of the local governor. In the museum is a strange gathering of shadow dolls, weaponry, woodcuttings, Buddha statues, and even the skeleton of a whale. A very interesting collection.


Songkla is situated on what seems to be a peninsula. On one side is the sea, on the other is the Songkla lake. On the seaside is a sandy beach of over two kilometres. From our guesthouse we walk between two hills to the north side of the beach. Here are many stalls, geared towards local visitors. The beach is narrow and a bit filthy, so we walk on south. At the north-eastern corner are the statues of a cat and a rat (referring to cat and rat island a few kilometers from the coast), and a mermaid, the symbol of Songkla.

Around the corner is the long stretch of the beach. It is broader, and lined with palm trees and a footpath with pavilions. It is a bit windy, so we decide to sit one of the pavilions. Soon we are accompanied by a Muslim family, that sits down for a meal. We are offered some food as well, but decline friendly.

The hard wind makes it a bit cold. Moreover, the chance of sunburn increases, and wise as we are, we do not stay on the beach too long. On our way back we make a detour and pass a sleazy area. Remarkable how many brothels are here, while there are just a few tourists. But we learn that over 80% of the clientele is composed of local men, even here in Thailand.

Back to Hat Yai

After a few days relaxing in Songkla we decide it is time to move on to Malaysia. So we say goodbye to Amsterdam Guesthouse and take the bus. The music in the local bus is very load so we happily bounce back to Hat Yai. Once there it starts to rain. Quickly we head for the backpackers hostel, which has a vacant room this time. It is a very big hostel, but with the right, relaxing mood. We also learn here how to move on to Kota Bharu in Malaysia. Although we search for alternatives in town, later we decide to take this offer.

The rest of the day is spent shopping. The streets of Hat Yai is full of stalls selling clothes, shoes, magazines, food, but especially electronic supplies. But all stalls look alike, which makes it difficult to find something interesting.

On our way south, Hat Yai and Songkla are good places to make a stopover. There are not many places of interest in both cities, but Hat Yai is a buzzing hub for travellers, and Songkla is a relaxing alternative.

Follow our World Journey!! Next Stop: Kota Bharu
Return from Songkla to Southeast Asia
Return from Songkla to Adventure Travel Tales and Tips

Return to top


[?] Subscribe To
This Site

Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Add to Newsgator
Subscribe with Bloglines

footer for adventure travel page

Powered by SBI

Webdesign by Succesvolle Website Bouwen Template Design