Songkhla is a border province in Southern Thailand, adjoining the state of Kedah in Malaysia. It has been known as a principal sea port and coastal trading post from time immemorial. As a historic town, Songkhla has inherited ancient ruins, arts, and places of cultural importance in addition to its unique tradition, dialect, and folk entertainment, a reflection of its rich cultural heritage for later generations to appreciate.
Songkhla has fine beaches, enchanting waterfalls, and a tranquil lake - a manifestation of its abundant natural resources. While Songkhla is noted for its fishery industry, Hat Yai, the major district of the province, serves as a transportation and communications hub of the South, with this bustling town linking with various destinations in the neighboring provinces and in Malaysia. Only 30 kilometers apart and with contrastive characteristics, Hat Yai and Songkhla can be ideal places for the tourist to visit: Hat Yai, a fast booming city in trade and business, while Songkhla remains a sleepy town still able to maintain its unique identity of ancient and historical flavors.
Bull fighting has long been a popular sport among the people in the South. Unlike bull fighting in Spain where a matador fights with a bull, the bull fighting of the South features a bull fighting another bull. A pair of fighting bulls are led into the arena for each about where spectators can cheer and bet on the winner. During the fight, specially trained bulls lock horns until one decides to call it quits and runs away. Each bout mornally takes between 15 to 30 minutes.
Dove Singing Contest
Cooing doves are popular among Southerners, particularly residents of the five Southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Satun and Songkhla. The most sought after birds are from breeding farms in Chana, some 40 kilometers from Hat Yai on Highway 408, where dove lovers from neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore flock the district to purchase the birds. Dove cooing competitions are held annually between January and July. Criteria used in judging the quality of dove's sound is based on pitch, melody, volume, and continuity in its singing
Songkhla's two shooting ranges are open to the public daily.
Roochirawong Shooting Range is opposite Hat Yai Police Station. Open daily, the range offers pistols and rifles for rent, along with training coaches. Details may be obtained by contacting (074) 243311.
Songkhla Navy Base Shooting Range is located in the premise of Songkhla Navy Base on Chalathat Road. Open daily, the range also offers pistols and rifles for rent. Food is also served at its seaside restaurant. Contact (074) 311451-5 for further details.
A martial art unique to Thailand, has been a popular national sport. Boxing competition is organized throughout the country. Two boxing stadiums are open to visitors to Songkhla. Songkhla Navy Base Boxing Stadium (074-311451-5, Ext. 2049) and Hat Yai Boxing Stadium(074-232682) organizes a fight on occasions. Tickets are available at the gate.
Pa Prem Recreational Garden
The garden is located on the shore near the head of the first section of Tinnasulanon Bridge (From Ban Nam Krachai to Koh Yo). This lakeside garden is filled with flowering and ornamental plants and provides shady and cool area for picnic. It also features a children's playground.
Festivals & events what's happening on the local scene
Songkran is celebrated on April 13th each year. The traditional festival is held country- wide. In Songkhla, the festival starts with the merit making ceremony by participants respectfully pouring water on their venerable elders and ending up with throwing water at each other. In Hat Yai, the festival is held on Niphat Uthit 1, 2, or 3 Road from morning until afternoon and the event is enjoyed not only by local residents but also by Malaysian and Singaporean tourists who arrive in Hat Yai in large number to celebrate this fun-filled event.
Thamboon Duen Sip Festival
Celebrated by the Buddhists of the South, the Merit Making on the Tenth Lunar Month festival originates from the belief that during the waxing moon of the month, souls of the deceased ancestors are allowed a period of freedom to visit their living relatives. It is the duty of the living to prepare food and bring it to the temple to make merit, In Sathing Phra, tall figurines representing venerable elders respected by the villagers parade along together in the procession.
Lark Phra and Tak Bat Devo
The festival is celebrated by residents of Songkhla on the first day of the waxing moon in the 11th lunar month (around October) in Songkhla town. The festival starts one day early with the robing of the pagoda on the top of Khao Tang Kuan. Early in the morning of the festival day, hundreds gather on the hill and proceed down the stairs to receive offerings from the faithful. Late morning is the scence of processions of artistically decorated vehicles with Buddha statue from temples in and around Songkhla. The vehicles are paraded around the town and the faithful make merits by joining the procession. Finally the decorated vehicles gather at Sra Bua (The Lotus Pond) for competition.
Thai Agricultural Products and Thai Fruit Festival
The festival is organized annually around October with the aim of promoting agricultural products from various provinces in the South. Fruits and other products are sold at cheap prices.
is a Thai traditional event dating from the Sukhothai period. It is held throughout the country on the 15th night of the waxing moon of the 12th lunar month (around the middle of November). The festival is held to honor the goddess of the river and to make atonement for offenses made during the year. A float is made from banana leaf or other buoyant material. Candles and incense sticks, and even pieces of nail and coins are placed in the "Krathong" to float away one's misfortunes. The fun-filled night also features fireworks, float design competition, and the Miss Noppamas beauty contest.