Songkhla is both one of Thailand’s most important port cities and a coastal province known for its ethnic diversity and its unique traditions, dialect, and folk entertainment.
An outpost of the Srivijaya Empire from Sumatra (c. 7th century C.E.), Songkhla served as a port and a coastal trading post where Indian, Persian and Arabian merchants came to exchange their products. The city was named “Sing Lha” after the 2 lion-shape islands at the mouth of the city’s lake. At present, these 2 islands are called Koh Noo (Rat Island) and Koh Maew (Cat Island).
An undeniably historic town endowed with ancient ruins and places of cultural importance, Songkhla is a melting pot of Thais, Chinese and Malays, and charms visitors with its unique traditions, dialect, and folk entertainment. These characteristics are reflections of the province’s rich cultural heritage, which has been preserved and passed down from generation to generation.
Hat Yai, a district of Songkhla, is perhaps better known than the provincial capital itself. Hat Yai serves as a southern hub of communication, trading and transportation as well as a gateway to Malaysia and Singapore. In light of this, Hat Yai has gained importance as the driving force of economic growth in the southern region.
Over the last few decades, Songkhla has been rapidly developed and is currently a unique attraction worth visiting. Blessed with natural resources, such as fine beaches, enchanting waterfalls, and a tranquil lake, the province has an abundance of tourist attractions and an amazing number of seaside resort towns. Moreover, the old section of Songkhla still maintains its unique identity of ancient and historical flavors through local architecture and cuisine.
While Songkhla is noted as a fishing community set in a peaceful atmosphere, Hat Yai, on the other hand, serves as the transportation and communications hub of the south with links to various destinations in the neighboring provinces and Malaysia.