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New Attractions in Songkhla Province in the Deep South

May 7, 2014 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

14125133431pSongkhla, one of the five southern border provinces of Thailand, connects with the Kedah State of Malaysia, and its Mueang district is a major seaside city. New projects have been launched to develop this southernmost province as a historical site and to introduce a new natural attraction. 

One of the projects is “Songkhla’s First Chinatown” and the other is the sunflower field in the heart of the city of Songkhla.

Chairman of the Songkhla Chamber of Commerce Somporn Siriporananon said that the Songkhla’s First Chinatown is included in the four-year Songkhla Economic Development Plan, 2015 to 2018. The plan was submitted to the Songkhla Provincial Administration in late February 2014. Songkhla Governor Grisada Boonrach has appointed a working group, comprising members of the public and private sectors, to carry out the project, which must produce concrete results within the next two years.

Songkhla’s First Chinatown is a new route for historical tourism. This route starts at the old city gate in Khao Daeng subdistrict, Singhanakhon district. Before the Sukhothai period, Chinese immigrants traveled by junk boat to Thailand through Songkhla. The old city gate area was the first place they entered the city. Under the project, the old city gate will be renovated, a junk museum will be built, and the landscape in this area will be improved, with the creation of scenic viewing points.

The route leads to various historical sites, such as the Songkhla Fort, Hua Khao Daeng Old City Wall, Wat Suwankhiri, Wat Pha Kho, the Laem Son Old Town, the Songkhla City Pillar, and the Hat Yai Cultural Center.

Hat Yai district, in particular, is the best-known business center in the southern region of Thailand. The ethnic Chinese have played an important role in developing Hat Yai into the center of the southern economy. Recognized as a popular shopping venue, Hat Yai offers numerous kinds of local and imported products at low prices. It also serves as the junction of communication and a gateway welcoming Malaysian and Singaporean tourists. The annual Chinese New Year festival is a much-loved and important tradition for the local residents of Hat Yai, because the area is home to one of the largest Thai-Chinese communities in Thailand. 

The Chairman of the Songkhla Chamber of Commerce said that the history of the early days of the Chinese community in Songkhla could be used to boost local tourism because of the historical significance of the area. In 2013, Thailand welcomed more than 4.7 million Chinese tourists. With the coming of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, it is expected that a great number of Chinese will visit Thailand, around 8 to 10 million a year.

As for the sunflower field in the heart of Songkhla city, it is part of a project making Songkhla into a low carbon city by increasing green areas. The Songkhla City Municipality has planted sunflowers along the route leading to the city to attract visitors. The sunflower field is set to become a new tourist attraction in the municipal area. 

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