Hat Yai is an urbanized, major center in the south of Thailand situated in Songkhla province. It has a strong tourism economy for mostly sub-regional tourists, a diverse ethnic composition, and serves as the country’s gateway to Singapore and Malaysia. The surrounding suburbs have a relatively high number of vulnerable, poor people. Hat Yai relies heavily on the agriculture sector, and the majority of income for the province is generated from the rubber, wood, palm oil and fisheries industries. Water pollution affects the Utaphao River, which runs with limited drainage through the city in concrete channels.
The most popular attraction in the city is the Wat Hat Yai Nai, a large Buddhist temple which houses 1 of the 3 largest reclining Buddha’s in the world. It is located on Phetkasem Road, the main street of the city.
Another attraction worth visiting is the Hat Yai municipal park, which can be found on the outskirts of the city, on the road to Songhkla. This magnificent park is extremely popular among locals who go there to enjoy its serene atmosphere and its tropical plants and flowers.
The Kimyong Market, located near the Golden Crown Plaza Hotel on Phetkasem Road, is the most popular shopping place in town. Almost anything can be found in one of its hundreds of shops, from jewelry to clothes, furniture and pirated DVD’s and CD’s.