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BANGKOK 23 February 2019 01:07

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What's it like to live in Songkhla?

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As a retiree , I mean not working and not partying, but just peacefully living each day and enjoying little pleasures that don't necessarily raise one's heart rate (I'm not talking about sports:post-4641-1156694572:  - or sex  :shock1:.) Would like to get feedback from TVF members who have lived in Songkhla for some period of time: I'm scouting for a place near the sea, under (Chinese/Russian) tourist radar, inexpensive and retiree-friendly.

 

1) Transportation wise, looking for inner-city bus/songthaew system that is serviceable, meaning taking one pretty much around town and not too infrequent. Is Songkhla big enough a town to afford such public services? I visited Chiang Rai recently and its public transportation for me is quite dire.

 

2)Re housing would like to get some general idea for apartment/condo rental in the upper budget range, around 5000 baht per month if that sounds reasonable. Which areas should I be looking at? Doesn't have to be in "farang town" (I speak some Thai),  but farang-standard appreciated (quietness, cleanliness, and safety especially - I live alone)


3) would like to hear more about Songkhla University there, do they have any cultural/communities events that farangs can participate? Sports complex, tracks, swimming pool? I don't need a night life, can't imbibe much alcohol anymore, anyway a good day time work out will have me happily retire at sundown.

 

4) Anything in general that I need to look out for (I don't mean unrest in the South, but anything peculiar that one doesn't encounter in  Bangkok but might do so in Songkhla?)

 

5) (Last but not least I love muslim food, esp. beef dishes, me being Texan - just kidding! - so Songkhla is right up my alley.)

 

Thank you in advance for any input/guidance. Much appreciated.:smile:

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5000 baht per month for apartment or condo ? Maybe a bit low anywhere in Thailand....a studio room yes but that's about it...in a Thai style building

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On 9/16/2017 at 9:14 PM, tonray said:

5000 baht per month for apartment or condo ? Maybe a bit low anywhere in Thailand....a studio room yes but that's about it...in a Thai style building

You can get a house on the beach on the gulf of Thailand anywhere from Nakhon si Thammarat all the way down to Songkhla for 5000 baht a month if you look around. Not everywhere is Bangkok or Phuket.

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On 9/25/2017 at 3:27 PM, YT3k72Em said:

You can get a house on the beach on the gulf of Thailand anywhere from Nakhon si Thammarat all the way down to Songkhla for 5000 baht a month if you look around. Not everywhere is Bangkok or Phuket.

Or Sukhumvit for that matter. Yeah, that's what I thought, for that part of the country especially. And I do look around...Thanks for the reassurance.:stoner:

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On 9/25/2017 at 9:27 AM, YT3k72Em said:

You can get a house on the beach on the gulf of Thailand anywhere from Nakhon si Thammarat all the way down to Songkhla for 5000 baht a month if you look around. Not everywhere is Bangkok or Phuket.

There are no houses on the beach in Songkhla... on the peninsular at least. Most of the choice land is army-appropriated. Outside of the main tourist hotspots, real estate in Songkhla is some of the most expensive in Thailand. A condo room can still be had for 5k in the older ones though.

 

Manic: not really; it has been dying a slow death for the last few years.

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10 hours ago, daveAustin said:

 

Manic: not really; it has been dying a slow death for the last few years.

It seems so, even the lady food vendor  at my take out who's from Had Yai, vehemently indicated that I should stay in Had Yai and make day daytrips to Songkhla:" More modern, more fun, more comfortable (in Had yai)!" she said. Which translates to Songkhla is kind of dead...

 

So what remain as attractive in Songkhla for me:

- the sea and quiet clean beaches devoid of foreign tourists
- great, everyday priced sea food.
- easy daily transportation to Had yai.

 

Now all I need is affordable housing with reliable wi-fi. I guess I'd have to do some recon with boots, I mean flipflops on the ground. FWIW, I once was considering Chumphon, but I've been there one time in passing to the islands, did a walkabout in the evening and remember it was not a very attractive place - to be blunt pretty charmless. Is Songkhla in the same category? Please correct me if I'm wrong.:stoner:

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We live in Hat Yai, had thought about Songkhla, way back when we were looking at where to live, but it is a sleepy backwater, sure it's a pleasant place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

 

Yes it does have a charm to it, certainly more charming than many paces in Thailand, that the Navy own the coastal strip for their base means the long beach front hasn't been turned into a mess of crappy buildings, so it's a relaxing walk along the front, but it is pretty dead.

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8 hours ago, Stocky said:

We live in Hat Yai, had thought about Songkhla, way back when...

Could you be so kind as to give some suggestion of which part(s) of Hat Yai is quiet, safe and well served by public transport (bus, songthaew)? I know it's a big city...Would appreciate that, thanks.

(ps - You're welcome to pm me if that works better.)

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21 hours ago, Stocky said:

We live in Hat Yai, had thought about Songkhla, way back when we were looking at where to live, but it is a sleepy backwater, sure it's a pleasant place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

 

Yes it does have a charm to it, certainly more charming than many paces in Thailand, that the Navy own the coastal strip for their base means the long beach front hasn't been turned into a mess of crappy buildings, so it's a relaxing walk along the front, but it is pretty dead.

Hat Yai is pretty dead too imo...lived there for 7 years

Being bigger/busier it gives the illusion that it's more 'interesting' though.

I would still recommend Songkhla although it's pretty quiet/boring.

On the plus side..miles of beachfront/cleaner air/no tourists/no mongering scene

You have to create your own little 'scene' here...unless drinking at the Buzzstop is your thing

 

I would recommend the OP to take a look first at both places.

I might give him a bike tour of Songkla if not busy.

PM me.

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17 hours ago, smo said:

Could you be so kind as to give some suggestion of which part(s) of Hat Yai is quiet, safe and well served by public transport (bus, songthaew)? I know it's a big city...Would appreciate that, thanks.

(ps - You're welcome to pm me if that works better.)

All of Hat Yai is 'safe', there are no dodgy areas, at least not that I'm aware of.  There are 5 songthaew routes that loop across the city, red, white, blue, green, and white with the yellow & green stripes. As well as plenty of tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis. There are taxi 'meter' but due to frictions with the tuk-tuk operators it's difficult to flag them down, just call the number. But it's difficult to get them to use the meter!

 

Lots of places to live in Hat Yai, I guess it depends on what you're looking for and your budget. Nicer part of town is to the east of the city toward Prince Songkhla University (PSU) and Kho Hong and the Municipal Park. That said we live in the older part of town to the west of the railway near Wat Hat Yai Nai, no real reason beyond we found a house we liked there. Provided you don't stray too far from the 4 main roads Phetkasem, Sam-Sip Met (Rachindee), Sripoovanart and Kanjanavanit you'll always be near a songthaew route. The main malls and supermarkets all lie on these roads too, Tesco Lotus 1, Macro and Central Festival on Kanjanavanit, Big-C Extra, Plaza, Gim Yong, Index Living and Tesco Lotus 2 on Phetkasem, and Diana on Sripoovanart.

 

We've several large condo blocks but most housing in town is the shop house kind, with some detached housing with small gardens largely to be found to the east of town.

 

Nightlife is concentrated in three main areas. The town centre where there's a cluster of music bars, pubs and restaurants around Thumnoonvithi Road. Rajuthit Road to the west of the railway line has the Hansa Entertainment Complex plus a scattering of bars close by. Thumnoonvithi Road East (toward PSU) bars, restaurants and clubs in the studenty end of town. There are bars, restaurants and clubs scattered elsewhere throughout town, plus numerous karaoke bars and massage parlours which tend to cater for more licentious pleasures; we have no a-go-go scene in Hat Yai.

 

There's a lot of development out near the airport, with lots of newly built gated housing estates, but you'd want your own transport to live out that way.

 

4 hours ago, vinniekintana said:

Hat Yai is pretty dead too imo...lived there for 7 years

Being bigger/busier it gives the illusion that it's more 'interesting' though.

 

I'd say that it's far from dead, though equally far from being Bangkok, Phuket or Pattaya, if you're looking for crazy nightlife, splendid cultural events, Michelin starred restaurants, all set against a beautiful city backdrop then Hat Yai ain't it!

 

If you're happy enough with a moderate sized city, reasonable amenities, a smattering of nightlife and a safe environment to raise a family then Hat Yai's not a bad place to be.

 

But as suggested above, best to come take a look yourself, spend a bit of time in Hat Yai and Songkhla. PM me if you find yourself in Hat Yai.

.

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On 10/9/2017 at 4:01 PM, Stocky said:

All of Hat Yai is 'safe', there are no dodgy areas, at least not that I'm aware of.  There are 5 songthaew routes that loop across the city, red, white, blue, green, and white with the yellow & green stripes. As well as plenty of tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis. There are taxi 'meter' but due to frictions with the tuk-tuk operators it's difficult to flag them down, just call the number. But it's difficult to get them to use the meter!

 

Lots of places to live in Hat Yai, I guess it depends on what you're looking for and your budget. Nicer part of town is to the east of the city toward Prince Songkhla University (PSU) and Kho Hong and the Municipal Park. That said we live in the older part of town to the west of the railway near Wat Hat Yai Nai, no real reason beyond we found a house we liked there. Provided you don't stray too far from the 4 main roads Phetkasem, Sam-Sip Met (Rachindee), Sripoovanart and Kanjanavanit you'll always be near a songthaew route. The main malls and supermarkets all lie on these roads too, Tesco Lotus 1, Macro and Central Festival on Kanjanavanit, Big-C Extra, Plaza, Gim Yong, Index Living and Tesco Lotus 2 on Phetkasem, and Diana on Sripoovanart.

 

We've several large condo blocks but most housing in town is the shop house kind, with some detached housing with small gardens largely to be found to the east of town.

 

 

Thanks Stocky, for the city layout and especially the songthaew routes, particularly vital info for me as I don't drive or use motosai taxis. Much appreciated. I'm also curious about PSU, for the simple reason that being the bookish type, I always enjoy a learning environment, whether I play an active role in it or not. Just wondering if by chance you know anything about their campus and its activities? Again, thanks for chipping in with very helpful info. I will definitely get in touch once I arrive there - can't determine for now when since I just did some travelling last month and the year end holidays are upon us... 

 

PS - Was browsing on booking.com to check out accommodation. Seeing the interior decor of some of the budget venues, it crossed my mind that Hat Yai may well be adroit in the business of catering "for more licentious pleasures." Being a border town, that comes as no surprise really. Didn't mean to judge, no bother at all since I normally turn in at sundown.:saai:

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My sister works at PSU and it is a really great resource.  They frequently have community events -- not always advertised beyond the campus, but certainly open for the campus.   It would be worth "liking" them on Facebook to get some of those announcements.   I have been to a few concerts that they have put on and they are filled from people all around the South. The library is open to the public, but wifi and copying are at a nominal fee for non-PSU students.  They have a neat museum for natural history.  They have a great food market where the emphasis is on clean, healthy eating.  I also like eating in the PSU hospital cafeteria -- cheap and good!  (There is a stall there that I have declared 'Best Khao Man Gai' in the country.)  There is a massage center on PSU's campus -- actually it is part of their natural medicine faculty.  You can get amazing traditional massages.   The pool at PSU is new and nice, but I'm not sure if it is open to the public (I have a feeling it is....for a fee, of course)

 

I am a big fan of Hat Yai.  There is a lot to do and eat there!   I wish I had more answers for you about Songkhla.  The night market in Songkhla is loaded with good southern thai food, including 'ancient' snacks/sweets.  The night market sometimes has a shadow puppet theatre.   There is a small department store area, Lee Subsin, with some other small shops.   The beach is nice and peaceful, a lot of people sit out there at sunset and eat snacks -- there are also a lot of groups that sit together (Muslims, School students, etc.) for community meetings.   There are a lot of sea-view restaurants that have big menus and a relaxing atmosphere.  There are some beautiful temples including Khao Tang Kuan Pagoda with views of both the lake and the ocean.  In writing this, I reflect that I am definitely in 'tourist' mode when I am in Songkhla and am not sure what I would do day-to-day if I lived there.   Sorry I couldn't help more.

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16 hours ago, Joosesis said:

My sister works at PSU and it is a really great resource.  They frequently have community events -- not always advertised beyond the campus, but certainly open for the campus.   It would be worth "liking" them on Facebook to get some of those announcements.   I have been to a few concerts that they have put on and they are filled from people all around the South. The library is open to the public, but wifi and copying are at a nominal fee for non-PSU students.  They have a neat museum for natural history.  They have a great food market where the emphasis is on clean, healthy eating.  I also like eating in the PSU hospital cafeteria -- cheap and good!  (There is a stall there that I have declared 'Best Khao Man Gai' in the country.)  There is a massage center on PSU's campus -- actually it is part of their natural medicine faculty.  You can get amazing traditional massages.   The pool at PSU is new and nice, but I'm not sure if it is open to the public (I have a feeling it is....for a fee, of course)

 

I am a big fan of Hat Yai.  There is a lot to do and eat there!  

Thanks a million Joosesis for the way excellent info on PSU! I can't wait to check out its campus, sounds right up my alley. in BKK I live practically across the street from Ram University, after a few years it has become my stomping grounds so to speak, though Ram U being a governmen-run institution is not really endowed with many amenities . Of which seems like PSU has aplenty  (and then some, museum, food market, massage center, I must be dreaming? I'm sure I'll get access to its new pool one way or another. And definitely will try your "country-best"  Khao Man Gai stall!) 

 

(that's one nice thing about Thailand, you're free to roam...If I remember correctly, once upon a time, on UCLA campus canteen, there was a sign that said if you're not student, prepare to pay a higher price on your lunch items, though happily that wasn't strictly enforced, meaning the cashier couldn't care less. And the last time I checked, say about 10 years ago, the moment you entered the campus grounds, you're immediately slapped with a 10 dollar - or was that 12 -  parking fees!)

 

Re Songkhla reading between the lines not just from you but also from others, it seems like a nice place to visit but not that "sabai-sabai" comfortable to live...I'm willing to trade the once or twice-weekly van rides to the beach (Songkhla) for all the living comforts that the city (Hat Yai) has to offer. Fair enough( and life's too short!) If I have one more question it would be about the weather, any recommendation when would be a good time to visit Hat Yai? It doesn't matter to me rain or shine, but I would want to avoid when the streets are prone to flooding and what not... Thanks,

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Well we're just about to head into the wet season down south, the north-east monsoon should be with us next month. November and December are the wettest months in Hat Yai, that's the time we can get flooding. Best month to visit is February, but January and March are also good.

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