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Land and Nature

Songkhla 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 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 Indian traders.

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 Wat Phakho.

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 mountain city.

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 Suwankhiri.

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.

Thai Buddhists

Many southerners are Buddhist, including the residents of Songkhla and immigrants from Phatthalung and Nakhon Si Thammarat.  The people are mostly farmers.

Muslim Thai

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.

Chinese Thai

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 and 5th kings.  Nowadays, 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.

Site Map: Songkhla

::: Introduction

::: Hotel Reservation:

  ::: Hat Yai

::: Attractions:

::: City of Art & Culture
::: Culture along Lake
::: Old Cities
::: Fishing at River
::: Gateway to Malaysia
::: Natural Sites

::: How to get there

::: Map

::: Festival

::: Tour Program

::: Local Cuisine

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