Category Archives: Hat Yai Thailand

Hadyai Thailand with backpackies

We arrived in Hat Yai,Thailand by mini van from Penang. It took us roughly 4 hours and cost Rm 28 per person. This is the railway station in Hat Yai.  The train from Hat Yai to Penang takes around 7-8 hours journey. From this railway station, you can connect to Hua Hin and Bangkok up north, and to Singapore down south.
In this blog, we will be writing about what is worth doing in Hat Yai as well as what makes Hat Yai special.

The center of Hat Yai has got to be Lee Garden Plaza/ Hotel. Tell any one “Lee Garden” and they will know where to go. So staying around this complex is also a good idea. It is near to food stalls, markets, money changers, travel agents and also strategic so you wont get lost. Checking into Lee Garden Hotel, we got this room for 1150 THB. It has free workable wifi, nice view and its clean.

The breakfast buffet included in the room rate is just average. Make sure you head down early to get a good choice of food. The food seems to finish early because this hotel mostly caters for group tours!

As it is in the center of town, you dont need to worry about transportation. There are plenty of tuk tuk’s, motorcycles and private cas waiting just outside the complex to ferry you anywhere. Make sure you bargain! They run till the night around 1am. After that you need to becareful when taking these transportation. Mostof them will overcharge you if they see that you are drunk.

Just outside Lee Garden is an evening market selling all sorts of craft and food. At night food stalls selling dumplings, assorted fried fish balls, sausages, mango sticky rice, BBQ squid and cheap birds nest’s can be seen parading outside. Plenty of street dining and drinking around here.

This is the road side scene around Lee Garden. Road side seating and dining. We arent very sure if the road side 100 THB birds nest is really birds nest. Because the proper shops are selling birds nest at 500THB a bowl. Well maybe they just put in small quantities of birds nest or they just put low quality birds nest in. (If you ask, they will all tell you its birds nest)

Hitting the pubs at night for some all night long happy hour! Post Laser Disc has a quite good live band that plays international music.

In most of the pubs, the waitresses will drink and accompany you.

One thing you got to try here is the ICE CREAM. This is the local coconut ice cream you can find on the streets. They use half of the coconut shell as the bowl. Creamy  ice-cream with a rich coconut flavour topped with crushed peanuts is served this weird assortment of pieces of bread, nuts and coconut meat…for 25 THB 🙂 YUMMY!

And if you are up for something more fancy, head over to Swensons at Lee Garden Plaza, the Ice Cream there is simply delicious, and affordable as well! AWESOME! I always cant leave Hat Yai without getting my satisfying fill of Swensons Ice Cream!

This is the chocolate indulgence! Lovely rich chocolate ice cream topped with hot chocolate fudge, and crispy chocolate wafers, whipped cream and a chocolate crunchy ball on top! Oh and you are also given extra chocolate fudge by the side…. in case you havent already have enough chocolate!

The Thai Seafood here in Hat Yai is lovely! Although most people make a short trip to Songkla or Kok Yoh for fresh seafood. There are still some good restaurants around Hat Yai town. They serve fresh seafood at reasonable prices. And the beauty of it is, you get to bring your own bottle of alcohol and drink while you dine with no corkage!

If you fancy eating seafood by the beach, you can always head to the seaside and buy some food along with you and eat there. It’s common to take away food here in Thailand. If there is something i noticed here in Thailand is that Thai’s love picnics!

Fresh grilled cat fish with chili and garlic dip! Yummy! Also try the assorted grilled meat (sausage and meat balls)!

Most tourists come to Hat Yai for cheap shopping. If you have already been spoilt by Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, dont expect the same variety of shopping here in Hat Yai.
Here in Hat Yai, you can find bags,quirky shirts, slippers, dried food and electronics. Among the famous street markets are Santisook Market, Kim Yong Market and the big Pasar.

If you explore Hat Yai town by foot, you will also notice  a lot of  Chinese shops selling a plethora of Chinese goods. Below is a Chinese shop selling prayer stuff like incense,nicely crafted candles., god statues, lanterns etc.

Asian tourists come here to buy dried foodstuff. Cashew nuts,ground nuts, squid, anchovies, berries and all are fresh and are sold wholesale here.  The anchovies fried with spice and aromatic leaves and a little sugar is very nice.

Below is a shot of pasar- the big market in Hat Yai. It is more like a local wet and dry market. There are a few sections in the market. The dry food section which is like below, selling beans, dried vegetables, spice.

The wet market which opens only in the early morning and in the evening sells meat, fish and vegetables.  Here you can find and learn the different ingredients used to make those delicious Thai food.

Although there is just so much to see in Hat Yai, the best is a short week end trip. You would be able to cover most of Hat Yai in this period.
The best time to visit Hat Yai is during the festivals. Loy Kratong (Thai New Year), Songkran (Water festival) and Chinese New Year.
For more information on Hat Yai – do join our travel group – Backpackies on face book!
Have a fun holiday!



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Hadyai Idea Market

Hatyai- Thailand’s southern entertainment capital.
Hat Yai’s skyline is very flat and spread out, but in actual fact, almost all the tourist activity central’s around a very small area. It is possible to explore Hat Yai City either by foot combined with tuk tuk or just by motorcycle.
One of the attraction within Hatyai worth visiting is the Idea Market held in Lee Garden Plaza.
This weekly market was originally held outside the Lee Garden Plaza but has been moved into the shopping complex due to the overwhelming response and also to improve the shoppers experience as the indoors are air conditioned compared the outside.
After they shifted the market indoors, it is less affected by rain and sun shine. We still remember about 1 1/2 years back. When it started to rain, everyone will be scattered running for shelter. Stalls will be closed and what a let down!

backpacking hat yai with backpackies

Panorama sweep shot of Hat Yai Skyline

Most of the traders here comprises of teenagers and young adults. These young minds adds to the refreshing burst of creativity and difference in the products and craft sold here.
Despite the small space area, almost everything is handmade and different from each other. This creates so much variety of things to see here.

lee garden plaza hat yai

Weekend Idea Market at Lee Garden Plaza

Among the interesting things you will see here are, custom made fridge magnets and home made wall clocks. They also make their own ear rings.They love to make them in nice colorful cartoonish designs. They make excelent gifts for kids and girls. The wooden wall clocks are pretty ingenious as well. They simply install a simple clock movement on to their drawing or art piece. And voila! a designer clock! Thailand is the only place in Asia that i’ve seen these type of clocks been made. There are also clocks that spot your favorite foot ball team, others have cute loving comments and some with vintage vehicles.

backpackies backpacking hat yai
There is a stall that lets you pick your metal bracelet / ring and then write down what wordings you want imprinted on it. He doesnt use the conventional engraving. He uses a chisel and hammer to knock your letters in. Therefore it stays there forever and lasts longer. Knocking is FREE! How cool is that. Nowadays not many things are free. ONLY IN THAILAND!!

backpacking hat yai

Personal Engraving on stainless steel and silver jewellery

The stall below sells nice handmade leather key chains, phone rings ( i think that’s what its called. Its to be hung on hand phones so that you can hold it). They also have bracelets and book marks. Again, you get to let him write down what kind of wordings you want on it. FREE WORDINGS! Im so loving Thailand!

hat yai market

customized leather key chains, book marks and bracelets

I think the Thai’s have managed to find a niche market in terms of customization. This is the very first time Ive seen customized plastic rings. You get to choose what ever icons or letters to be put on the ring. The ring, alphabets and icons come in many vibrant colors!

backpacking hat yai

Customized colorful alphabet plastic rings

You can also find leather belts, wallets, hand phone pouches, belt buckles, and bracelets. They are quite reasonably priced too too. For example, a studded leather belt with a fancy cowboy buckle will cost around 550 THB.

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leather products

I wonder why they only sell Liverpool dolls.

backpacking hat yai

Liverpool - you will never walk alone!

Here are the rings again! Im showing it because i bought one. Its to add to my bling bling accessories when i go out clubbing.

lee garden plaza

customized rings

Talking about plastic stuff. Check out what else they sell here. LEGO looking pendants that will get the kids screaming, and also plastic bracelets. The colorful mix was the one that got me attracted.

backpacking hat yai

creative necklaces made from lego

But if WOOD is your thing then check out the wooden dolls sold here. These wooden puppets can move and dance when you pull its strings.

backpacking hat yai lee garden

wooden dolls

There also seems to be plenty of watches sold here. These watches are different from what you will find in Hat Yai city. These are more colourful and have artsy designs on them

lee garden plaza

Check out the customized shoes. Take a pick of what design you want and the artist will draw it for you. Your spanking new designer shoes will be ready in a few hours.

lee garden market

hand drawn fabric shoes

One of the things that never bores me is their own designed t-shirts. Love the wordings and graphics on these t’s. Cheap too. A t-shirt costs around 120 THB.

lee garden plaza

nicely designed t shirts

Below are some other stuff we saw at the market

lee garden plaza

paper mache coin boxes, key chains, and table ornaments

lee garden week end market

CD pouches, coin purse, hand bag

lee garden market

very nice unique handphone pouches and bags can be found here

lee garden market

hand crafted flower candles

lee garden plaza

even the miniature street food tempts me!

After you are done shopping and you are hungry, you can always check out the many restaurants within Lee Garden Plaza or just walk out to the streets where there are plenty of road side stalls available.

Once again we at backpackies wish you guys a safe and fun-tastic holiday!
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We at backpackies are dedicated to make your holiday a fun, comfortable and bed bug prostitute free!

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Hat Yai International Airport with backpackies

backpacking hat yai

hat yai international airport check in counters

This is Hat Yai International Airport, around 25 minutes drive from Hat Yai town.
This is the e version of the tourist map that they normally give out at the hotels >> Map of Hat Yai Town
Easiest way to get here is by taxi. A cab from Hat Yai town will cost you around THB 250- 300. you can order a cab from any hotel reception or usually they will wait outside Lee Garden Plaza.
There is a local Sawngteaw that runs past the Airport. They will stop just outside the airport. You will need to walk in which is like around 300 m. Cost around THB 50. There is also an express van airport transfer for THB 150. The office is in Thanon Niphat Uthit 1 . Next to the Thai airways office.
The express vans from the Airport to Hat Yai town is very often (You can buy a ticket from the counter which is just outside the arrival gate) This is a very reliable, fast and cheaper alternative to the taxi. Van’s from Hat Yai town to Airport, there is a fixed time. You have to check at their office.

The food here in the Airport are like in most Airports. EXPENSIVE. There are 4 cafes downstairs and 2 upstairs.

backpacking hat yai

One of the 3 places where you can get a cup of coffee and some snacks

backpacking hat yai

Car Rental Counters

This is another sweep panorama shot of what you will expect at the Hatyai International Airport


This is how the other side of the airport looks like. Nope the massage chairs aren't for free

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Dairy Queen is fast food outlet selling hot dogs and burgers

For our Muslim friends: be careful to check if the food here are Halal. We know the Kopi Tiam here serves pork.

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Just a gentle reminder. The shops here DO SERVE PORK!

This airport has ATM machines. It is more convenient because if you are backpacking to the Islands of Koh Lipe or around Trang, there are not many ATM machines or banks.

backpacking hat yai

ATM's of all the banks in Thailand are here

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This is by far the cheapest place for coffee and cakes - on the second floor

If you are flying international, you will need to go use the international departure gate which is at the other end of the second floor.

backpackies in hat yai

Domestic Departure lounge

International Departure

You will need to scan your hand carry and go through customs and immigration.

backpacking hat yai

You need to clear immigrations before you fly international

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Immigration counter. Customs and security scanning is behind

For tourists, there is a VAT tax refund counter inside.

backpacking hatyai

VAT tax refund

thailand VAT refund for tourists

VAT refund guidelines

VAT thailand tourist refund

You can claim your VAT refund at international Thailand airports

Information on the VAT refund

A VAT refund can be claimed by any non-Thai visitor who

• is not a crew member of an airline;
• departs Thailand by air carrier from an international airport.

How to claim a VAT refund?

1. VAT refund only applies to goods taken out of Thailand within 60 days from the date of purchase.
2. The goods must be purchased from stores displaying the “VAT REFUND FOR TOURISTS” sign.

3. On any day, the value of goods purchased at each participating store shall not be less than 2,000 baht, including VAT. The total amount claimed for refund must not be less than 5,000 baht, including VAT.
4. On the purchasing day, present your passport and ask the sales assistant at the store to complete the VAT Refund Application for Tourist form (P.P. 10) and attach the original tax invoices to the form. Each application form (P.P. 10) must show a value of 2,000 baht or more.

5. Before departure, present your goods and submit the VAT Refund Application for tourists (P.P.10) form and original tax invoices to the Customs officers for inspection before check-in.
6. Valuable goods, such as jewelry, gold ornaments, watches, glasses, or pens must once more be inspected by the Revenue officers at the VAT refund office at the departure lounge after passport control.
7. You can either present your claim to Revenue officers or drop it into the box at the Refund Counter or mail from your home back to the Revenue Department of Thailand.

How will the refund be paid?

You can choose to receive your refund by
Refund amount

Refund method (You must specify the method of receiving the refund on your form (P.P.10).)

not exceeding 30,000 baht -cash in Thai baht, draft, credit to credit card account
exceeding 30,000 baht – draft, credit to credit card account

The following fees apply to refund requests

• For cash refund, a fee of 100 baht.
• For draft refund, a fee of 100 baht plus draft issuing fee at the rate charged by banks, and postage.
• For credit to credit card account refund, a fee of 100 baht plus money transfer fee at the rate charged by banks, and postage.


You cannot claim VAT refunds for the following goods:
• prohibited items
• firearms, explosives or any similar items
• gemstones

Some Hints

• Allow yourself adequate time at the airport for the refund process.
• In case your request for refund by draft or credit to credit card account receives no reply within an appropriate period of time, please contact the

The VAT Refund for Tourist Office, Revenue Department,
Phahon Yothin Road, Bangkok 10400, Thailand.
Tel: 0 2272 9384 to 5, 0 2272 8198 Fax: 0 2617 3559

Inside the Departure lounge, there is free drinking water and toilets.

backpackies in hat yai

in Thailand Monks are VIP's

The seats are comfortable and can be used to sleep.

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Departure lounge

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Have a safe and fun trip from all of us at backpackies

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