After a few days sitting around on Patong Beach, I decided to hop a flight out to Hat Yai, in the Songkhla province of southern Thailand. Airfare from Phuket International is around $100USD, and the flight takes less than an hour.
I read in a travel guidebook that described Hat Yai as a kind of “mini Bangkok.”
To me, Hat Yai looks and feels a lot more like old Phuket Town. Older. Older buildings. Fewer tourist attractions, and so fewer tourists. In fact, I don’t think I saw more than a handful of farang (white folk) the week I was there.
I stayed at the LeeVaNa Hotel, which was okay. It’s listed as a 3.5-star hotel on Expedia. The room was nice and big. It had an electric kettle (something common to every hotel room I’ve stayed at in Thailand), but strangely, the maid never brought any of those little instant coffee packets and sugar. So each morning, I had to go scrounging for coffee in the streets, which was fine with me. Wandering around lost and confused is one of my favorite pasttimes when exploring new environments.
Highly recommend going for breakfast at Chokdee Dim Sum. They were extremely busy on a Sunday morning, but worth the wait.
From there, I traveled onward to Bangkok.