Songkhla is a southern border province, adjacent to the State of Kedah (Sai Buri), Malaysia. It is an important port and coastal province of Thailand since the old days with Amphoe Hat Yai as the southern centre of commerce, transportation and rapid economic growth. The province is ideal for tourism because of its two distinct characteristics: the old buildings of Amphoe Mueang Songkhla, and the developed Amphoe Hat Yai, separated by only about 30 kilometres.

The old part of Songkhla is located at the presentday Amphoe Sathing Phra. Indians, Persians, and Arabs came to trade and called the place "Singhla". The name came from two islands with the shape of crouching lions at the mouth of Songkhla lagoon. The islands are presently called Ko Nu and Ko Maeo. Songkhla occupies an area of 7,393 square kilometers.

:: Attractions

Songkhla's main beach, Samila Beach, has fine white sand and a wide beach area protected by a line of tall pine trees. Close by are the famous Koh Noo (Mouse Island) and Koh Maew (Cat Island). On the headland is the famous bronze Mermaid Statue similar to the one in Denmark, a Kodak spot that no visitor can pass up.

South of the city is the Muslim village of Khao Seng where colorful korlae fishing boats can be seen. The korlae boats are a distinctive style of the southern fishing communities.

The city boasts two significant and impressive museums. The exquisite Songkhla National Museum is the former residence of Songkhla's deputy governor built in 1878 in the southern Thai-Chinese style. Exhibit highlights include earthenware jars recovered from the sea around Songkhla. The Patsree Museum in Wat Matchimawat, or Wat Klang to locals, contains a 35-cm stone image of Ganesh, the Hindu elephant god, that dates back to the late 6 th century, making it the earliest artifact found in the peninsula. It also contains other wares from foreign countries that affirms Songkhla's importance as a former maritime trade center.

Songkhla's Thale Sap (lake) is the nation's largest fresh-water lake with a scenic panorama. The bay's mouth contains many islands, the most popular being Koh Yor for its hilltop perched restaurants, cotton-weaving industry, and fish farms. Spanning three kilometers across the Songkhla Lake, the Tinnasulanon Bridge was named after our highly respected privy councillor, a native of this area. The nation's longest bridge connects Songkhla city with the narrow coastal strip to the north and intersects through Koh Yor in the middle of the lake.

Wat Phra Kho in Sathing Phra District is believed to be the oldest temple in the province. Archeological findings indicate the district was once an important port selling ceramics to foreign traders. The temple was also the former residence of a highly revered senior monk, Luang Poo Tuad, and contains a bronze replica of him for worship.

Wat Tham Talod is a large cavern that burrows through to the other side of the mountain. Inside are ancient Buddha images constructed from wood and encased in cement dating back several centuries. Beside these, there are over 100 different Buddha images and a gigantic, 6-foot tall giant statue guarding the cave entrance.

Located in Nathawee District, the Khao Nam Kang (Mountain Dew) Historical Caves houses a series of caves connected by a complex tunnel system that was formerly used by the Communist group, similar to the ones in Vietnam. It has recently been promoted to a museum and the area was declared a protected park.

The Kukud Nok Nam (waterfowl) Park is located in the restricted gaming zone of the Songkhla Lake in Sathing Phra District and comprised mainly of islands. Sea grasses thrive on these islands, covering it with a vivid green carpet giving the appearance of grass fields in the midst of the lake. Numerous species of birds flock here for the abundant food supply.

The world's third largest reclining Buddha image is found at Wat Hat Yai Nai near Hat Yai. The image is 35 m. long, 15 m. high, and 10 m. wide. You can walk inside the image by entering through a small shrine room. Herbal saunas and massages are offered on the compound.

See the spectacular seven-tier Tone Nga Chang Waterfall located 24 kms. from Hat Yai. The third tier is the most beautiful as the water separates into two streams resembling elephant tusks, thus the literal translation of the waterfall's name.

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