Hat Yai is in southern Thailand, down near the Malaysian border. It is milesabout 600 south of Bangkok. The city is the largest city of Songkhla Province, which is the largest metropolitan area in the south, and the third largest metropolitan area of the country. Hat Yai is the business center for the region. The city was originally named Khok Sa-Met Choon, and was nothing more than a small village until the southern railway was built there, and it became and remains a major rail hub.
As the major economic center for this part of Thailand, Hat Yai has increasingly become a target of terrorism in the separatist campaign conducted by the Patani United Liberation Organisation and other radical groups. Over the last decade there have been a number of bomb attacks in the area, resulting in the loss of many lives. At the moment things do appear to have quietened down somewhat.
Hat Yai has one of the largest railway stations in the south of Thailand. It is an international railway station which handles 28 passenger trains per day. These including 26 trains domestic trains of the State Railway of Thailand and 2 International trains served by KTMB of Malaysia.
The Buddhist temple Hat Yai Nai Temple is home to the third largest reclining statue in the world People travel from all over the country to pay respects.
On the first night of October, Chak Phra Festival is a Buddhist celebration specific to the south of Thailand. Local people perform Buddha boat processions and sports events like running up Khao Tang Kuan Hill.