Hat Yai

Hat Yai In 3D2N: Your Muslim-Friendly Itinerary (Under RM600!) - Day 1


Cheng Sim •  Jan 09, 2024

Hat Yai is where you should go to escape the retail madness of Bangkok and the lively nightlife of Phuket. Only a short flight or a rewarding drive away from Kuala Lumpur, Thailand's fourth-largest town has something to offer beyond the mouthwatering Thai food, charming town and fascinating street culture.

If there's a free weekend on your calendar, give Hat Yai a chance to show you what they've got! Besides the city's sights and sounds, this three-day itinerary (under RM600!) will showcase a side of Hat Yai that's waiting to be explored. To help you plan your trip better, we've also included the cost of food, attractions and accommodation per person in a group of 4. Do note that we've excluded the cost of shopping and flight, bus or train from your hometown to Hat Yai.

We've split this article into days for easy access! Check out Day 2 and Day 3

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Getting there


AirAsia airplane

  • Take a flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) to Hat Yai International Airport (1 hour 15 mins)
  • The average ticket prices are between RM330 and RM450 per person (return flights). Any rates above RM450 per person (return flights) are considered pricey.


  • From Kuala Lumpur, take a 6-hour drive to Padang Besar in Perlis.
  • Present your passport at the Malaysian immigration checkpoint
  • At the Thai immigration checkpoint, present a few documents including an original vehicle registration card, a photocopy of your road tax, the driver's driving license as well as the driver and passengers' passports.
  • Other documents like Thai vehicle insurance form, car information (inbound and outbound), the driver and passengers' arrival card and passenger list form can be registered at the town itself before crossing the Thai border.
  • Once approved, continue your drive from Padang Besar to Hat Yai (1 hour)


  • Take the KTM ETS train from KL Sentral to Padang Besar (5 hours 30 mins). The fare starts from RM80 per person (one-way)
  • Once arrived, you need to go through the Malaysian and Thailand immigration counters. It's best to arrive an hour early before you catch the next train to Hat Yai.
  • Take the Thai train from Padang Besar to Hat Yai station (25 mins). There are only two train timings: 9.55am and 3.40pm. The fare starts from RM7 per person and tickets can be purchased at the counter.
  • If you missed the train, there are shuttle vans, Grab car and tuk-tuks available in Padang Besar.

P.S. Love Hat Yai? Then check out these 5 spectacular train journeys you should take with your girlfriends in Malaysia!


  • Take the bus from TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) to Hat Yai (8 hours 30 mins).
  • The fare starts from RM60 per person (one-way)
  • Do note that most buses will only wait up to 20 minutes at the Thailand immigration checkpoint. You'd also need to bring your luggage to be scanned at the immigration clearance process.
  • When purchasing your bus ticket, always choose Hat Yai as your drop-off point (Chee Uthit Road or near Lee Gardens Hotel). For drop-off point at Da Nok immigration terminal, you need to hire a taxi or tuk-tuk to Hat Yai.


Hat Yai is a fairly small city so finding accommodation in a good location won't be hard. As a rule of thumb, try to book a hotel near around Hat Yai train station, Odean Shopping Mall and Lee Gardens Plaza.

Hotel room in Hat Yai

  • Most of the hotels around the area are 3-star hotels and prices range from RM110 to RM150 per night for a double/twin room. Some hotels we'd recommend with halal breakfast are V.L. Hatyai Hotel and Golden Crown Grand Hotel.
  • For those of you looking for something more upscale, the prices range from RM180-220 per night for a double/twin room. Some hotels that are popular with travellers are Centara Hotel, Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel and Diamond Plaza Hatyai Hotel.
  • If you're planning to save more on accommodation, there are many hostels around the area with prices below RM100 per night.

Cost for 2 nights (on average, per person for Double/Twin room): RM120

Day 1

Arrive in Hat Yai and getting around

  • As the largest city in Thailand's Songkhla province, Hat Yai is best known for its lively street markets, bustling culture and delicious Thai food.
  • Since Hat Yai is massive, the attractions are situated far from one another.
  • If you're travelling within the city, getting a taxi or ride-sharing apps like Grab is the most convenient way to get around. The rates for GrabCar range from around THB40 (RM5.30) to THB90 (RM12) for travelling within the city. The rate for travelling from the airport to downtown Hat Yai is THB250 (RM33).
  • If you're thinking of exploring outside of the city to Songkhla Old Town, we recommend booking a private driver or renting a car for a day. The typical rate for a private car charter for 1 day ranges from THB1200-1500 (RM159-199, depending on the number of places you're intending to visit). You can approach your hotel staff if you're interested in getting a private driver as they will usually have contacts for drivers.
  • For this itinerary, assuming that you'll be exploring outside of the city for 1 day, we'll be including the price of a 1-day private car charter (THB1500 for 4 people).

Cost (per person, on average): THB375 (RM50)

Shop for snacks at Kim Yong Market (1 hour)

  • Kim Yong Market is packed with local vendors selling dried fruits, snacks and peanuts at amazing prices.
  • Buy a packet of cashew nuts, dried strawberries or for the road. The price for bulk buys usually goes by weight.
  • Asam boi is also a grandmother's remedy for car sickness, especially when you're moving around on a car or tuk-tuk. Buy a small packet for yourself, just in case.

  • Explore deeper into Kim Yong Market to spot cheap clothes, sandals and handbags.
  • The rule of thumb for bargaining at Kim Yong Market is to ask politely if the vendor can lower the price. If you buy in bulk, there's a chance that they'll give you a better discount too.
  • Be courteous and bargain only if you're interested to purchase their products.

Cost: Varies on your spending

Lunch at Hamid Restaurant Hatyai (1 hour)

  • A 5-minute walk from Kim Yong Market, Hamid Restaurant Hatyai is a charming lunch spot that's popular among Malaysian travellers.
  • Specialising in Malaysian and Southern Thai cuisine, this restaurant serves everything from nasi kerabu to nasi lemak ayam goreng.
  • To immerse yourself in the flavours of Thai, order the Thai SomTam and Steamed Ikan Bawal with Lime and Chili sauce.

Halal status: Muslim-owned

Average price of main dishes: THB75-180

Opening hours: Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun; 7AM-9PM, Tue; 9AM-9PM, Fri-Sat; 7AM-5PM

Address: 73-75 Prachathipat Road, Tambon Hat Yai, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand

Contact: +66 74 243 008


Cost (on average per person):THB150 (RM20)

Capture fun tricks at Magic Eye 3D Museum (1.5 hours)

  • Your eyes will definitely play tricks on you at Magic Eye 3D Museum that's plastered with 3D murals and floor paintings.
  • A decent attraction to escape the afternoon heat, it's also a fun museum to get your kids to try mind-boggling yet awesome poses
  • Who knew Johannes Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Earring painting could turn into a splendid optical illusion?

Admission rate: 400 baht (RM55) per adult; 300 baht (RM41) per child

Address: 414 Kanjanavanich Rd, Hatyai, Songkhla 90110, Thailand

Cost (per person): THB400 (RM55)

Admire the view at Hat Yai Municipal Park (1 hour)

  • It may be a steep drive to Hat Yai Municipal Park, but it has one of the best vantage points to admire the natural countryside and bustling town of Hat Yai.
  • The afternoon heat may get to you at this point, so slap on some sunscreen and put on your best hat.

  • Besides exploring the public recreational park, there's a 20-metre golden Buddha statue named Phra Buddha Mongkol Maharaj for a wonderful snapshot on a sunny day.
  • Since it's an active place of worship, visitors are encouraged to remain respectful at all times.
  • Admission rate: 300 baht (RM41) per adult; 150 baht (RM21) per child

Cost (per person): THB300 (RM41)

Dinner at Food Court ASEAN Night Market (1 hour)

  • Take a 1.5-hour drive from Hat Yai Municipal Park to ASEAN Night Bazaar
  • You may be tempted to shop, but dine in the food court first because it'll be dinnertime when you arrive
Street food

  • Walk into ASEAN Night Bazaar, head over to the second floor to find a food court that serves a variety of street food and Thai cuisine
  • Look out for the Muslim-owned stalls that serve pan-fried crispy mussel with bean sprouts, shrimp fried rice, roasted chicken with rice and more. The prices here are really affordable, around THB50 for a dish.
  • You can also spot vendors selling refreshing local drinks, such as Thai milk tea and iced green tea, as well as fruit juices too.

Cost (on average, per person): THB50 (RM7)

Shop away at ASEAN Night Bazaar (2 hours)

  • Now that dinner is out of the way, it's time to shop till you drop at ASEAN Night Bazaar
  • A famous shopping spot among locals and tourists, it can get crowded during the weekend. If you're travelling in a group, it's best to set up a meeting point at the bazaar's main entrance.
ASEAN Night Bazaar

  • Sprawled with many shops, stock up on affordable clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories.
  • Parents can also score good deals on children's clothing, toys and shoes.
  • When bargaining at ASEAN Night Market, start with a price that's 20% lower than the retail price. Then, haggle with a smile until you reach a comfortable price point between you and the vendor.

Cost: varies on spending

Total cost for Day 1: RM123

Intrigued to know more? Continue on to Day 2 and Day 3 right here!

P.S. Love budget getaways? Here are 12 budget-friendly destinations for every Muslim traveller in 2020!