Songkhla Tourist Attractions
Songkhla in the southernmost part of Thailand - 720 km (447 mi.) from Bangkok as the crow flies - is among the most beautiful seaside resorts in Thailand and is unspoilt by tourism.
The provincial capital (university and technical college) retains much of its original character. Songkhla, almost completely encircled by water, lies on a promontory between the Gulf of Thailand and Lake Songkhla, the largest inland lake in Thailand, which has a narrow link to the gulf here. Miles of white sandy beaches edged by casuarina trees stretch along the lake and the gulf. The countryside between the sea and the land is of extraordinary beauty.The lake used to provide a livelihood for the numerous fishermen and their families but it has been over fished. A program laid down by the government in 1991 is intended to replenish the fish stocks.By car: from Nakhon Si Thammarat highways 401/41/4/43 to Hat Yai route 407 (220 km (137 mi.)); or Highway 408 along the coast (160 km (99 mi.)).By bus: from Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal several times daily; and from Hat Yai every 30 minutes until 7.30pm.By air: nearest airport in Hat Yai; from Bangkok twice daily.Protected by a bay, this once significant port (known in former times by the Malay name Singora) is used increasingly for coastal traffic. Larger vessels berth between the islands Koh Nu and Koh Meo (Mouse and Cat Island).
Although it is not particularly old the 19th c. Wat Klang is worth a visit. The Sala Reussi, a brick building and the bot guarded by Chinese lions are decorated inside with frescos which are among the least notable paintings of the Bangkok style and depict hermits practicing yoga. The pedestal of the bot is finished with flat reliefs by a Chinese artist.
Samila beach on the bay is popular with locals chiefly on weekends, whereas the beach on the Gulf coast is deserted. At the end of Samila beach lies the fishing village Ban Kao Seng, inhabited by Moslem fishermen. During the day their colorfully painted boats are drawn up on the beach.
Two hills dominate the town; a park is laid out on the smaller one (Khao Noi). The higher one is crowned by a temple; from here there is a good view of Songkhla and the surrounding area.
In the Wat Matchimawat (16th c.) there is a notable 2000 year old Buddha statue which was once decorated with a pure gold lotus crown. For security reasons the crown is kept in a safe and only put on the statue on religious holidays.
The center of the town has moved its location over the centuries. Remains of the fortifications of old Songkhla, which endured until the 17th c., can be seen near the present-day village of Khao Hua Deang. They were constructed by a sultan who rebelled against Ayutthaya rule. On its recapture the town was destroyed and later rebuilt on the site of Laem Song. The present day town on the south side of the bay dates from the middle of the last century. Parts of the fort and town wall can still be seen (near the police station).Many of the inhabitants of Songkhla and its surroundings are Malays or Chinese, a typical Chinese business quarter is on the Phatthalung Road.Bullfights (bull versus bull) are popular and take place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the ring on the Rajchutid Road.
Songkhla National Museum
Built in 1878 the Governor's Palace (seat of the Na Songkhla family) is a wonderful Chinese style building with splendid carvings; nowadays it is a National Museum. There is another museum in the Matchimawat Wat. Both house valuable bronze sculptures from the Srivijaya period, which bear a strong resemblance to early eastern and central Javanese art, ceramics from the Srivijaya and Ayutthaya periods together with everyday objects, including many curiosities (mostly discoveries from Sathing Phra).