The city of Hat Yai
The city of Hat Yai is 28 kilometres from the city of Songkhla,
is the gateway to the neighbouring countries of Malaysia and Singapore. It is only 60 kilometres from the port of entry
at Sadao. Hat Yai has grown significantly into the commercial, transportation, communication, educational, and tourism centre of the south.
The south of Thailand is where most of the country's
Muslims reside - Hat Yai's population is about 40 percent Muslim - the town has a different feel to most Thai towns - not just from the mosques seen aside Buddhist temples and the conservative dress of many ladies, but also the cooking smells from the Muslim
restaurants and the many Muslim Street stalls.
However, the preponderance of massage parlors and dubious karaoke places lends the city a certain seedy feel. Because of its proximity to Malaysia,
many Malaysian men make the trip over for Thailand's liberal 'entertainment' laws.