icon
icon
article hero

Hat Yai In 3D2N: Your Muslim-Friendly Itinerary For The Best Weekend Vacay (Under RM600!)

AvatarName

Cheng Sim  •  Sep 21, 2019

icon

[UPDATED 21 Feb 2020] 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.
Credit: Giphy 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 for 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.
Getting there
Credit: Gee Sapphire on Flickr Flight
  • 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) is considered pricey.
Car
  • From Kuala Lumpur, take a 6-hour drive toPadang 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)
Train
  • Take the KTM ETS train from KL Sentral to Padang Besar (5 hours 30 mins). The fare starts from RM76 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-tuk available in Padang Besar.
P.S.Love Hat Yai? Thencheck out these 5 spectacular train journeys you should take with your girlfriends in Malaysia! Bus
  • 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.
Accommodation
  • Hat Yai is a fairly small city so finding accommodation with 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.
  • 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 lookingfor something more upscale, the prices range from RM180-220 per night for a double/twin room. Some hotels that are popular with travellers areCentara 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 at Hat Yai and getting around
Credit: @fishfamtravels on Instagram
  • As the largest city in Thailand's Songkhla province, Hat Yai is best known for their 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 dayranges 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 purchasetheir products.
Cost: varies on your spending 
Lunch at Salma Halal Restaurant (1 hour)
  • A 6-minute walk from Kim Yong Market, Salma Halal Restaurant 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 fiery tom yum, Thai green curry and kerabu mango instead.
Halal status: Muslim-owned Average price of main dishes: THB120-180 Opening hours: Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun; 7AM-9PM, Tue; 9AM-9PM, Fri-Sat; 7AM-5PM Address: Prachathipat Rd, Tambon Hat Yai, Amphoe Hat Yai, Chang Wat Songkhla 90110, Thailand Contact: +66 74 893 449 Facebook 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 splendid optical illusion?
  • Admission rate: 400 baht (RM55) per adult; 300 baht (RM41) per child
Cost (per person): THB400 (RM55)
Admire the view at Hat Yai Municipal Park (1 hour)
  • It may be a steep drive toHat 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 the food court first because it'll be dinnertime when you arrive
  • 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 spotvendors 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.
  • 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 P.S. Love budget getaways? Here are 12 budget-friendly destinations for every Muslim traveller in 2020!
Day 2
Breakfast at Khaled Restaurant (1 hour)
  • Wake up to a plate of nasi kerabu, nasi dagang and roti canai at Khaled Restaurant.
  • If you're craving for Thai food, the restaurant also serves tom yum and Thai-style fried rice.
  • It gets prettypacked in the morning, so you might have to wait for a while before you get a seat and for your food to arrive.
Halal status: Muslim-owned Average price of main dishes: THB30-60 (RM4-8) Opening hours: Open daily, 6AM-9PM Address: ถนน ศุภสารรังสรรค์, Hat Yai, Hat Yai District, Songkhla 90110, Thailand Cost (on average, per person): THB50 (RM7)
Take a day trip to Samila Beach (1.5 hours)
  • Enjoy a 50-minute drive to Samila Beach to catch the lapping waves and stroll along the soft sandy beach
  • A laid-back retreat away from the bustling Hat Yai town, follow the locals' footsteps and wander around the beach to appreciate the wonderful sea breeze.
  • One of Samila Beach's famous attractions is the Golden Mermaid statue, also called Nang Nguek Thong.
  • Built in 1966, the statue was inspired by a snippet from Prince Phra Aphai Maniepic's epic saga about a young fisherman who was smitten by a beautiful mermaid.
  • Besides refreshing coconut juices, spot a few Muslim-owned stalls that sell coconut ice cream by the beach.
  • Topped with crunchy peanuts and sweet jellies, it's the perfect treat for a sunny afternoon at Samila Beach.
Cost: Free
Lunch at Islam PaiDaeng Restaurant (1 hour)
Credit: Mohd Syafiq Syaf Ypvs on Facebook
  • A 10-minute walk from Samila Beach, lunch isalways around the corner atIslam PaiDaeng Restaurant.
  • While you hear the waves crashing in a distance, savour sweet and sour fish, tom yum soup, fried omelette, kerabu mango and more.
Halal status: Muslim-owned Average price of main dishes: THB150 Opening hours: Open daily, 8.30AM-9PM Address: Chalathat, Tambon Bo Yang, Amphoe Mueang Songkhla, Chang Wat Songkhla 90000, Thailand Contact: +66 86 966 6254 Cost (on average, per person): THB150 (RM20)
Explore the street art at Songkhla Old Town (2 hours)
  • From Samila Beach, take a 10-minute drive to Songkhla Old Town, a charming town that is peppered with 19th-century buildings, Instagram-worthy street art and a gorgeous view of Songkhla Lake.
  • If you chanced upon the Songkhla Lake, remember to snap a photo because it's the largest natural lake in Thailand!
  • The old town is decorated with beautiful street art, so find them in various alleyways and walls on heritage shophouses.
  • Spot a number of captivating street art around Songkhla station such as this snapshot-worthy mural of the bright lamp shining on a hidden door.
Cost: Free
Immerse in the local culture at Khlong Hae Floating Market (1.5 hours)
  • Take a 35-minute drive to Khlong Hae Floating Market, a unique riverside market that's well-loved by travellers near and far
  • Selling yummy street food and refreshing drinks, it's awonderful way to experience the local shopping culture.
  • There are many Muslim boat vendors at the Khlong Hae Floating Market, so finding Muslim-friendly snacks is a breeze!
  • Look out for fried quail eggs, som tam noodles, seafood tom yam, takoyaki, coconut juice and more
  • Since it's a popular tourist attraction, the food prices are pretty steep compared to the street food in Hat Yai city centre.
Cost (on average, per person): THB50 (RM7)
Dinner at Khlonghae Seafood Buffet Halal Hatyai (2 hours)
  • It's tough to turn down a delightful seafood dinner at Khlonghae Seafood Buffet Halal Hatyai.
  • Only a 2-minute drive from Khlong Hae Floating Market, it's an all-you-can-eat feast of fresh fishes, oysters, crabs, prawns, squids and more sea critters from the ocean.
  • Each table is fitted with a charcoal grill, so you can prepare it to your liking. Don't forget to try their sauces too!
Halal status: Muslim-owned Average price of main dishes: THB290 Opening hours: Open daily, 3PM-10.30PM Address: 69/72 Lopburi Ramesuan Frontage Rd, Amphoe Hat Yai, Chang Wat Songkhla 90110, Thailand Cost (on average, per person): THB290 (RM38) Total cost for Day 2: RM202
Day 3
Breakfast at Kai Tod Decha Halal Restaurant (1 hour)
  • For your last meal in Hat Yai, head over to Kai Tod Decha Halal Restaurantfor a latebreakfast.
  • Serving Southern Thai cuisine, one of the most popular dishes is the Thai fried chicken that is deliciously fragrant when it's served straight out of the wok.
  • If you need more reasons to stay, order tom yum goong, deep-fried squid, beef bakar and more.
Halal status: Muslim-owned Average price of main dishes: THB60-100 (RM8-RM13) Operating hours: Open daily, 10.30AM-9.30PM Address: 93 Chee Uthit Rd, Tambon Hat Yai, Amphoe Hat Yai, Chang Wat Songkhla 90110, Thailand Cost (on average, per person): THB80 (RM11)
Shop for local snacks at Big C Supermarket (2 hours)
  • If you still have space in your luggage, shop to your heart's content at Big C Supermarket
  • Known as one of the biggest supermarket chains in Thailand, there are many snacks and tidbits you can buy for your loved loves and colleagues back home.
Cost: varies on your spending Total cost for Day 3: RM11
See you next time, Hat Yai!
Train
  • Take the train from Hat Yai Junction Railway station to Padang Besar station (1 hour 13 mins). The fareis approximately RM7 per person
  • Take the KTM ETS train from Padang Besar to KL Sentral (5 hours 22 mins). The fare starts from RM76 per person (one-way)
Bus
  • Take the bus from Hat Yai bus terminal on Chee Utchit Road to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) in Kuala Lumpur. The journey will take 8 hours 30 mins.
  • The fare starts from RM65 per person (one-way)
Estimated cost breakdown for the whole trip (per person in a group of 4, excluding shopping and flight/bus/train ticket):
  • Day 1 = RM123
  • Day 2 = RM202
  • Day 3 = RM11
  • Accommodation: RM120
  • 1-day private car charter: RM50
  • Transportation (by taxi/Grab): RM12 (THB90, assuming you take 4 THB90 trips with 3 other people)
ESTIMATED TOTAL COST = RM518And that's how you spend less than RM600 in Hat Yai 😉 Do note that the estimated price is based on a group of 4, so remember to adjust it according to your travel group size. If you're going to be doing a lot of shopping, we advise bringing more money. Beaming with bustling street markets, lip-smacking Thai food and exciting attractions, there are many things to discover in this scenic city. If you're looking for waysto spend your long weekend, Hat Yai is definitely the place to be!P.S. Think Hat Yai is not for you? Check out our Muslim-friendly guide to Hua Hin too!