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Explore Yala in Thailand Exciting Things to See and Do

Explore Yala in Thailand: Exciting Things to See and Do

A trip to Thailand isn’t just about picture-perfect beaches, dream island getaways, and exploring the vibrant Bangkok. One particular gem that’s worth checking out is Yala, which you’ll find in the southern part of the country.

Yala is packed to the brim with recreational activities—hiking, birdwatching, temple-hopping, dipping in a hot spring, and more! And to help you achieve an adventure-packed itinerary to this amazing region, we crafted this guide. Let’s go!

Things to Know

Time Zone:

Indochina Time (UTC/GMT+7)

Currency: Thai Baht
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai (Central Thai)

Calling Code: (+66)

Location: Yala, Thailand

Nearest Airport: Narathiwat Airport (71.5 km)

Operating Hours: 24/7

Best Time to Visit Yala

The best time to visit Yala is during the high season between November and February. During this time, you can enjoy cooler temperatures, less rain, and lush greeneries, which are ideal when exploring and taking part in activities.

Just know that tourism services are more expensive and many people visit during these months. It’s worth it since you can explore Yala’s famous attractions to your heart’s content any time during the day.

How to Get to Yala

Plane: Boarding a plane is the fastest way to get to Yala from places like Bangkok, Phuket, or Chiang Mai. The only issue is you can only fly to Narathiwat Airport, which is an hour away from Yala City.

That means an airport taxi ride is necessary to complete the 4-hour journey to Thailand’s southernmost province. Unfortunately, this is also the most expensive way to get to Yala.

Train: Riding a train is the only direct way to reach Yala from Bangkok, and it’s also the cheapest. These trains depart from the Bang Sue Grand Station and will drop you off at the Yala Railway Station.

However, this will take 16 to 17 hours, so be sure to plan carefully if you want to go there by train. Train tickets will cost 927 to 1,192 baht depending on your seat type.

It’s 200 to 250 baht cheaper if you buy the ticket at the station but they often sell out days before. That’s why most people book them online.

What to See and Do in Yala

Take a stroll around the City Pillar Shrine

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The City Pillar Shrine, also known as Chao Por Lak Muang, is the stunning result of Yala City’s incredible urban planning. Its central point is a lakeside shrine amid symmetrical roads and alleys that give the city its iconic spider web shape.

This ivory-white shrine is packed with elegant gold carvings and ornaments, so it’s definitely worth checking out. Moreover, the greeneries surrounding the shrine make it one of the best places for a pleasant stroll around the city.

Admire the cloudy mountainscape at The Sea of Mist Aiyerweng

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A visit to Yala isn’t complete without seeing the breathtaking scenery at The Sea of Mist’s observation deck. It’s located in the high mountains of Betong, so expect to see an ocean of clouds over the surrounding lush hills and greenery.

That’s why it’s one of Yala’s most photographed natural wonders. This place attracts massive crowds, so expect many tourists and locals at this viewpoint’s summit.

Most people visit this place in the morning and afternoon, so avoid these times if you dislike crowds. Otherwise, it’s the best time to visit since the scenery is more stunning during the sunrise or sunset.

Explore Wat Khuhapimuk’s cave temple

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Wat Khuhapimuk is one of the most unique Buddhist temples you’ll find in Thailand. It’s inside a cave system, so expect a lot of climbing and trekking when exploring the sights within its temple grounds.

There are plenty of standing and reclining Buddha images inside this cave temple. You’ll even find statues of monks and Naga alongside numerous rock carvings inside the cave.

Aside from that, there’s a small lakeside shrine outside the cave. It’s perfect for strolls since trees surround the tranquil lake area and there’s a charming concrete bridge.

Arrange a birding expedition to Banglang National Park

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For dedicated birdwatchers, the Banglang National Park in Yala is an avian paradise. It’s home to over 290 recorded bird species, so you have a great chance to spot rare and migratory birds within its borders.

This includes birds like the Mountain Leaf Warbler, Black-browed Barbet, Black Laughingthrush, Blue Nuthatch, and Malayan Whistling Thrush. Apart from that, the park is also a popular camping and hiking spot.

You can find impressive rock formations and a small waterfall along its nature trails.

For the best experience, arrange a guided tour with a park ranger at the visitor’s center at the park entrance.

Watch the stunning scenery in Banglang Dam

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This roadside reservoir is well-known to people who travel to Yala. In fact, it’s a popular relaxation spot, so expect to see numerous parked vehicles near the road.

That’s because many locals and tourists hang out here to watch the gorgeous view and have a picnic. You might even see visitors setting up tents in the area.

Go on a romantic picnic at Suan Khwan Muang

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This public park is great for couples looking for a romantic picnic spot in Yala. Suan Khwan Muang ticks many boxes: it has a gorgeous lake, a bridge, a grass field, trees, and benches, and its atmosphere is peaceful and quiet.

That makes it ideal for casual park dates. If you visit between December and February, lotus flowers will bloom in the lake making the place even more romantic.

Make your way through Piyamit Tunnel

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Going through the Piyamit Tunnel in Betong District is one of the more unique experiences you can have in Yala. This tunnel has many turns and levels, so there’s plenty to explore while you’re here.

The ceilings and walls are plastered for protection, but it lacks information graphs about the tunnel’s history. Instead, you must head to the museum outside to learn more about this place.

You’ll find the famous Piyamit Millenium Tree at the end of the tunnel. This distinctly tall and old tree is a must-see, and we think it definitely makes going through the tunnel worth it.

Take a dip at Betong Hot Springs warm pool

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The place to be if you like to hang out with your friends. Here, you can dip your feet in the warm pool while catching up with old friends or having fun conversations with new ones.

That’s why Betong Hot Springs attracts mixed crowds of locals and tourists. They also sell boiled eggs cooked in this place’s warm pool water.

It’s the perfect snack to have while taking a relaxing dip in the hot spring. Moreover, this venue’s layout is gorgeous with plenty of Naga statues, charming walkways, and lush greeneries.

Stop by the Yala Central Mosque

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Yala Central Mosque is one of the most important places in the province, and we think it’s definitely worth visiting at least once. It’s a popular masjid, so expect to see plenty of Thai Muslims and pilgrims during your visit.

Its most notable feature is the wide staircase at the entrance which isn’t a common architectural design among mosques. Plus, the main building is more rectangular with only a small dome at the center.

Where to Eat in Yala

Thara Restaurant

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Address: 39 Phiphit Phakdi, Tambon Sateng, Mueang Yala District, Yala 95000, Thailand

Operating Hours: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 73 212 356


Prices: ฿฿

Thara Restaurant is a renowned seafood place in Yala. It offers a wide selection of affordable and fresh dishes like black crab curry, crab and shrimp omelet, fish porridge, shrimp fried rice, and tom yum soup with mixed seafood.

When visiting as a group, we recommend ordering the massive portions they serve per kilogram. You can share the huge servings and get the most value for your money.

Lamoon Cafe

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Address: Siroros Road, Sateng, Mueang Yala District, Yala 95000, Thailand

Operating Hours: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 73 215 303


Prices: ฿

Lamoon Cafe’s extensive menu includes dishes from various cuisines: Thai, Japanese, Korean, and Western. That makes it the ideal food place if you value variety.

Some of their notable dishes include maguro fish bowl, sushi roll, bibimbap, gungjung Tteokbokki, kimchi soup, pad kee mao, and tom yum noodles. Aside from that, Lamoon Cafe also serves Western soups, steak, and burgers.

The Tunnel

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Address: 15 Amornrith Road, Betong District, Yala 95110, Thailand

Operating Hours: 4:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 73 234 565


Prices: ฿฿

If you like food and music, this bar and restaurant is the ideal place to be. The Tunnel serves traditional Thai and Chinese-style dishes.

This includes deep-fried seafood, chicken soup, Isan sausage, Thai chicken wings, stir-fried pork with kaffir lime leaves, and more. It’s one of Betong’s more popular bars, so expect to see a lot of visitors coming here to drink beer.

It’s also worth noting that the Tunnel’s live band mostly plays Thai songs with a few English hits here and there.

Where to Stay in Yala

Foto Hostel

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Address: ถ. รัตนกิจ Betong, Betong District, Yala 95110, Thailand

Operating Hours: 2 p.m. (Check-in) & 12 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 87 815 5906


Prices: ฿

Foto Hostel is a cozy and affordable accommodation in the heart of Yala’s Betong District, making it ideal when your goal is to stay in the province for several days.

Plus, it’s close to most of the attractions in Betong like the clock tower and the world’s largest mailbox.

The Linux Garden Hotel

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Address: 9 ถ.สันติสุข, ซอย3, สะเตง, Mueang Yala District, Yala 95000, Thailand

Operating Hours: 2 p.m. (Check-in) & 12 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 73 299 578


Prices: ฿฿

The Linux Garden Hotel is most notable for its charming rooms and elegant bedrooms. It’s a mid-range hotel, so you won’t break the bank staying here either.

Moreover, this place has a small garden area which is nice when you want a place to relax. It’s also within walking distance from the Yala’s City Pillar Shrine which we think is a massive plus.

Butterfly Hotel Betong

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Address: 188 Prachathipat Road, Betong, Betong District, Yala 95110, Thailand

Operating Hours: 2 p.m. (Check-in) & 12 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 73 230 888


Prices: ฿฿

This chic hotel in Betong is a solid pick. It has modern interiors and facilities, so you’ll be comfortable staying here.

They also have spacious rooms with dedicated workstations which is nice when you’re working while on vacation. That also means you’re already covered for high-speed internet.

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