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FRIDAY, September 30, 2022
nationthailand
Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

WEDNESDAY, August 17, 2022
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Yala is one of three deep South provinces in Thailand that many tourists overlook due to its distance from Bangkok. Yala’s Betong is the southernmost district in Thailand, sharing a border with Kedah and Perak in Malaysia. However, this small province has plenty of other attractions awaiting visitors besides its southerly location.

One of the most obvious features of Yala city is its urban planning. Yala was ranked by www.wtfintheworld.com as the world’s 23rd best location in the terms of city planning. The provincial capital is divided into zones covering government complexes, residential buildings, shopping districts and public parks, enhancing quality of life under the administration of the Yala Municipality Office.

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

Yala has also developed into a “city of learning”, with features such as TK Park Library housing books and information from all around the world, and public parks offering “edutainment” activities for children and the general public. The Exploring Park in Muang district features a state-of-the-art learning centre, playground and workout zone, outdoor amphitheatre, and green space for people to relax. Admission is free.

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

For your first visit to Yala, you could begin by paying respect to the Yala City Pillar Shrine in front of the city hall in Muang district. You will be greeted with a view of beautiful shrine revered by local people, surrounded by a public park with decorative shrubs and trees as well as a running track for exercising.

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

For those who enjoy street arts, head to Saphan Dam (Black Railway Bridge), which crosses Pattani River in Sateng subdistrict. This new landmark features street arts and performances by local artists, as well as the colourful “Rainbow Buildings” along the train tracks.

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

Yala is a city of multiple cultures, with local residents descended from different races, religions and cultures. The multicultural mix has created a unique charm reflected in many tourist attractions. For example, Wat Khuhapimuk in Na Tham subdistrict is a Buddhist temple that also has a shrine of Lim Ko Niao, a deity worshipped by Chinese people in southern Thailand. During Chinese New Year, Chinese communities in Yala host an annual fire-walking procession of faithful attendants to honour the deity. Meanwhile, the 80-year-old Yala Central Mosque in Sateng subdistrict offers proof of the piety and prosperity of local Muslim communities, with a beautiful and majestic design making it an unmissable attraction for Thai and foreign tourists.

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

Yala’s food also reflects the multicultural roots of the province, combining unique flavours of Thai, Muslim and Chinese Teochew cuisines. Recommended hotspots for foodies are Anna’s Garden for roti (flat bread), fried chicken and nasi dagang (Malaysian aromatic rice); Kuay Chap Thepwiman with its Teochew-style noodles; Rice Kafe for Thai-Southern fusion cuisine; and Lae Pha Na Tham restaurant in Na Tham subdistrict, where a towering cliff provides a natural backdrop while you enjoy Yala’s traditional jungle cuisine.

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

Yala is also a paradise for coffee lovers, with chic and vintage cafés dotted throughout the province. Look out for the Bali-style Bev Bar with selfie-friendly corners, and the Moon Café for its fusion menu of desserts and drinks made from the delicious local mangoes.

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems
 

Speaking of fruits, Yala’s signature product is durians, as can be seen from the orchards scattered throughout the province as evidence of the government’s support for cultivation and research. The Saded Nam Durian variety is exclusive to Yala as the province is characterised by steep mountainous areas with lodes – making the soil rich in minerals and nutrients. Yala durians are renowned for their firm flesh, unique texture, and creamy taste.

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

Other notable fruits grown in Yala include Betong Mandarin oranges, which have a unique fragrance, high acidity and soft peel; and Longkong (southern Langsat) whose thin peel and semi-transparent flesh are prized by Thais nationwide.

Bedazzled by Yala – Thailand’s city of multicultural gems

Yala has a wealth of urban attractions, but there are many more to explore outside the city area. For your next vacation, consider visiting Yala – you will not be disappointed.