Hat Yai is a district and the largest city of Songkhla Province in southern Thailand, the largest metropolitan area in the South, and the third largest metropolitan area of Thailand. Hat Yai is the business center while Songkhla is the capital and the center of administration and culture. One of the largest railway stations in the South, Hat Yai Railway Station is an international station served by State Railway of Thailand and KTMB of Malaysia. Hat Yai is well known as a shopping destination for both Thais and foreigners with many department stores, shopping malls and markets throughout the city.The most important Buddhist temple of the City is Wat Hat Yai Nai or Hat Yai Nai, which houses the third largest reclining statue in the world and a very impressive sight. People travel from throghout Thailand to pay their respect at a festival held the first night of October. This Chak Phra tradition is a Buddhist festival specific to the south of Thailand, and celebrated with Buddha boat processions or sports events like a run up Khao Tang Kuan hill. During the Chinese Lunar festival in September or October, the Thai and Chinese present their offerings to the moon, Queen of the heavens, in gratitude for past and future fortunes.
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