has been dubbed “the great city of two seas”. It overlooks
Lake Songkhla (the inland sea or Thale Nai as local People
call it) on the west and the Gulf of Thailand (the outer sea
or Thale Nok as local people call it) on the east. An area
of sandy ridges and low plains on the Sathing Phra
peninsula. These rridges developed from sand collecting
offshore among the seaweed on stretches of clay. Long sandy
ridges were built up all along the shore, from Amphoe Ranot.
Amphoe Krasae Sin, Amphoe Sathing Phra, Amphoe Singhanakhon,
as far as Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Chana, Amphoe Na Mom and
Amphoe Thepha. The higher sandy areas are sites where
communities appeared, since the lower areas have been
planted as paddy fields.
The hillocks in some areas of Amphoe Hat Yai, Khuan Niang
and Rattaphum were created as the land lifted.
Low-lying plains skirt the shores of Songkhla Lake in Amphoe
Bang Klam, Amphoe Khuan Niang, Amphoe Hat Yai and in parts
of Amphoe Muang. The lake has an area of about 1,040 sq.km.
Only a small part is fresh-water. Most of the middle and
lowest sections are brackish or brackish and salty, but the
ecosystem is rich and diverse. The lake is an important
resource for local people especially fisherman. Around Ko Yo,
Pla Kapong fish are raised in floating baskets. Pla Kra Bok
fish are also raised commercially along the gulf coast and
in districts around Songkhla Lake such as Tambon Ko Yo and
Khao Daeng. A low-lying plain to the north has many paddy
fields and valuable water resources. Nakhon Si Thammarat,
Phatthalung, and Songkhl are respectively the largest
southern producers of rice.
The range of mountains, foothills and plains which are
connected with those in Malaysia covers parts of Amphoe Saba
Yoi, Na Thawi, Sadao, Na Mom, Khlong Hoi Khong and Hat Yai.
Turning Points in History
Prehistory: The Stone Age. A stone axe, about 3,000 years
old, found at Ban Phli Khwai, Tambon Kradang-nga. Sathing
Phra, indicates that community moved from their caves to
settle in the fertile plain around Lake Songkhla and along
the sand ridge of the Sathing Phra peninsula.
Bronze Age. Abronze cermonial drum or Dong Son drum found in
Chana. This testifies to settlements along the seacoast, and
early trade among communities.
Historical Periods in the 1st and 2nd
centuries, it is believed that Ban Sathing Mo was the first
community to be established on Sathing Phra peninsula. The
people were Hindu traders and fisherman. Sathing Phra, which
was and agricultural area, flourished later as a port city.
In the 6th century, Buddhist culture began to
appear on the Sathing Phra peninsula, entering the area with
In the 7th century, Sathing Phra was an
international port and an administrative center for fthe
areas around Songkhla Lake.
In the 9th century, Mahayana Buddhism from India
was assimilated in this area.
In the 12th century, after the decline of the
Siwichai Empire, the people of Sathing Phra were converted
to Langkawong Buddhism from Sri Lanka.
At the end of the 13th century, the Phatthalung
at Phakho settlement was founded. This ancient community is
now located at Wat Phakho. White ruled by the Ayutthaya
kingdom, it was both a port and an agricultural area. It was
also an important center of Lakawong Buddhism in the deep
South. Phakho acted as a buffer between Nakhon Si Thammarat,
the center of Lankan Buddhism and Pattani the center of
Muslim’s coming from Sumatra to the Peninsula Malaysia.
Aroyal tradition was begun to grant the land and people to
In the 14th century, the city of Phakho declined
in the face of marauding invaders from the sea. The people
retreated and settled near the mouth of Lake Songkhla at the
foothills of Khao Daeng mountain and Bang Kaeo, now in
Amphoe Khao Chai Son in Phatthalung province.
In the mid 16th century, the city of Songkhla at
Hua Khao Daeng was an international port under the rule of
Dato Moghal, a Muslim leader. Merchants from southern India
called the community in this area Singkhon Nakhon, the
In the latter half of the 17th century, the city
grew as the Chinese took the lead commercially. More houses
were built on a narrow plain at the very end of the Sathing
Phra peninsula. This settlement later became the city of
Songkhla on the Laem Son shore, near Wat Bo Sap and Wat
In the 18th century, the Thon Buri period, King
Taksin appointed Chin Yiang Sae Hao, who was the founder of
the Na Songkhla clan, governor of Songkhla in 1775.
In the Rattanakosin period during the reign of the King Rama
III, Songkhla moved to its present location on Tambon Bo
Yang in 1842.
In the reign of King Rama V, the city of Songkhla was under
Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat.
There was a packet boat running between Songkhla and Bangkok
and amoung various cities in the South and Singapore.
Songkhla became center of a commercial port in the South. A
rubber plantation was also begun at this period.
In 1917’s, a railroad was built in Amphoe Nuea (later called
Amphoe Hat Yai). This was the biggest railway junction. In
the region of King Rama VII, the Monthon administration was
abolished and Songkhla became a province since then.
Songkhla nestles against a route onnecting the cultures of
East and West, islands and land masses.
It is thus a kind of melting pot from the nations and
races, a boundary between Buddhist and Islamic cultures.
Historically, Songkhla has been free commercial port
and is home to a large community of overseas Chinese.
Many southerners are Buddhist, including the residents of
Songkhla and immigrants from Phatthalung and Nakhon Si
The people are mostly farmers.
The lives of local Muslims are shaped by the cultures of
Java and Malayu.
Most Muslims Thai are fisher folk or traders who live along
the shores of the lake and on the Gulf of Thailand.
There are Muslims Thai living in border areas between
Buddhists in Songkhla and Muslims in Pattani in Amphoe
Thepha and Amphoe Chana.
Hokien Chinese began to form communities and to play a role
in the economy and government of Songkhla toward the end of
the Ayutthaya period.
These neighborhoods trace back to the Chinese gentleman,
Chin Yiang Sae Hao.
Chinese people and culture came, vigorously mingling with
Thai culture during the reigns of the 3rd. 4th
the largest group of Chinese Thai live in Amphoe Hat Yai.
The Chinese were pioneers who changed the jungles into
the commercial towns they are today.