It’s always amazing when a destination really delights and surprises and that’s exactly what happened for me in HatYai, Thailand. This was a long weekend trip for me from Kuala Lumpur by train and it is one I hope to do again soon. From seeing the tallest Buddha statue in south Thailand, experiencing my first floating market, eating lunch in a treehouse, and sipping cocktails each day at happy hour … it was a perfect escape from KL. I even tried dental tourism for the first time and that turned out great!
PRO TIP! Stay at the Centara HatYai hotel and book a half-day car and driver service with the knowledgeable and fun 22-year Centara veteran, Roger. He’ll get you to spots that normal taxis and tuk tuk’s can’t access.~Angela
HatYai Travel Guide: What to Eat, Drink & See
You’ll find links to everywhere I went below, along with the videos I shot of the train ride from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar and back and the full review of the Centara HatYai Hotel >>
- The Containers – don’t miss jacking up on pure Arabica bean coffee and devouring a scrumptious breakfast before you start your day in HatYai at this very special cafe. Their coffee jelly is a dream I keep playing over and over again in my head, it was SO YUMMY! They also have a full menu complete with healthy and naughty treats like burgers so be sure to go hungry, no matter if it’s morning or night.
- HatYai Municipal Park – this is the most impressive and non-commercial/touristy feeling Buddha statues and park I have been to in Thailand and absolutely a MUST for anyone visiting HatYai. Several people told me it is also the #1 stop to go to watch the sunset, which I plan to do on my next trip. Check out my friend Emily’s blog for details (there isn’t an official social media page for it that I could find).
- Centara HatYai Hotel – this wonderful gem is located right downtown and offered up such spacious and well-decorated rooms, perfect service, and festive nightly cocktail hour that I thought I was in a 5-star hotel. It is affordable luxury at its best.
- Alive restaurant & bar – if Tarzan and Jane were hipster foodies, this would be their number one favourite restaurant in HatYai! This open air hotspot is something truly special and a great place to come as a solo traveller, on a date, or with the whole family. It’s menu is chockablock full of fresh delights like a deconstructed Tom Yum Goong in fried rice form and one of the most tasty Thai salads with fresh squid I’ve ever eaten.
- HatYai Khlong Hae Floating Market – I couldn’t find an official page for this so it was the team at Centara Hotel that helped me plan my visit here. Open from 4pm (not 3pm as stated online according to the Centara team) Friday to Sunday, this is a VERY touristy thing to do but it’s still a fabulous time. For me, the floating stalls were a bit too over-the-top with costumes but on the “land side” of the river are rows and rows of dee-lish Thai street food and what I’m sure is a fun night market (I was there during the day). From sweets to savoury and even clothes and beer stalls, you’ll find something to tempt you here.
- SmileDent Dental Clinic – this was my first time exploring medical or dental tourism and it was a great success! I had read that dentists were amazing and that it was growing more popular for foreigners to go to the dentist in HatYai so I tried out SmileDent Dental Clinic for a teeth cleaning. Their office was so pretty and shiny white, and everyone was so kind. I’m also looking into going back to have two veneers done, so stay tuned! I absolutely recommend them and loved that it’s a mostly female office as you’ll see!
My HatYai Travel Videos
- Travel Vlog from Kuala Lumpur to HatYai by train (via Padang Besar)
- Centara HatYai Hotel review & tour (coming in a few days)