Asia > Southeast Asia > Thailand > Southern Thailand > Southern Gulf Coast > Yala
Yala (ยะลา) is a town in Deep Southern Thailand.
Yala is the southernmost province of Thailand. It has an area of 4,521 square kilometres. It is the only landlocked province in the south. Yala is the border province with an interesting history, culture, and beautiful scenery. The province has a unique mixture of cultural heritage of several groups: Thai, Chinese, and Muslim. The city centre has systematic town planning and is one of the educational centres of the south as well.
The word "Yala" was derived from the local word "yalo" meaning "fish net". Yala used to be a part of Pattani, a colony of the Sukhothai Kingdom. In 1767 (2310 BE) when Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese, the southern colonies became independent. During the reign of King Rama I of the Rattanakosin Dynasty, the king sent his brother, Khrom Phra Ratchawangbowon Maha Surasihanat to take Pattani. In 1808 (2351 BE), the king had Pattani partitioned into 7 smaller colonies, namely Mueang Pattani, Mueang Sai Buri, Mueang Nong Chik, Mueang Yaring, Mueang Ra Ngae, Mueang Raman, and Mueang Yala. Yala had changed its rulers many times before Monthon was abolished in 1933 (2476 BE) and finally became one of the provinces of Thailand.
Yala is 1,084 km south of Bangkok by road. One can take Hwy 4 (Phetkasem Rd) from Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chumphon, then onto Hwy 41 through Thung Song, Phatthalung, Hat Yai, Pattani, and Yala.
There are no direct flights to Yala but Thai Airways International offers flights from Bangkok to Hat Yai. From Hat Yai one can either take the train, bus, taxi, or air-conditioned van to Yala. See Airways [dead link].
Yala is 1,055 km from Bangkok by rail. The State Railway Authority of Thailand operates daily rapid and express train services from Bangkok to Yala. Trains leaves the Bangkok Railway Station at 12:25, 14:45, and 15:50. For more information visit  [dead link].
To/from Bangkok: Air-con buses by The Transport Co. Ltd (บริษัท ขนส่ง จำกัด (บขส.), bor-kor-sor) run between Bangkok southern bus terminal (สายใต้, sai-tai) and Yala bus terminal daily. The distance is ~1,089 km and normally takes 14 hours.
- 24 seats VIP bus (พิเศษ, piset) costs 1,215 baht, departs from Bangkok at 17:30. On the reverse, the departure is at 14:00.
- 32 seats Class 1 B bus (ม1พ) costs 914 baht, departs from Bangkok at 19:00 and Yala at 15:30.
- 40 seats Class 1 C bus (ม1ข) costs 783 baht, departs from Bangkok at 17:00 and Yala at 16:30.
- 47 seats Class 2 bus (ม2) costs 609 baht, departs from Bangkok at 14:00 and 18:00, Yala at 12:30 and 14:30.
Air-conditioned bus services are run daily between Bangkok and Yala from the Southern Bus Terminal. Departure times from Bangkok are as follows:
- VIP Bus – 17:30.
- Standard 1 Bus – 10:30 and 17:00.
For further information, call the Southern Bus Terminal at tel: +66 2 4351119-200.
Thai Doen Rot Co.,Ltd (tel: +66 2 4357424) operates a daily bus service from Bangkok to Betong. The bus leaves the Southern Bus Terminal at 16:00.
To/from Sungai Kolok
Mini bus for 120 baht or by train for 20 baht. The travel takes about 2 hours. The train may be slower.
Because of the recent bombings your cell phone's SIM card will be disabled on the way down here. You will still have data access. Go to Telewiz to register your SIM in Yala. (+66 73 228900-2) you'll need to show your passport and fingerprints.
There are street stalls and small restaurants all over Yala. Like the rest of Thailand you are never far away from food. Yala is not used to Westerners or tourists so just smile a lot and point at the food you want. Many people understand rudimentary English so say the kind of meat you want and go from there.
There are a few watering holes, but keep in mind this is a Muslim area and you may offend someone with your drinking. Alcohol is available and drunk in considerable quantities by the local non-Muslims, but getting inebriated and making a ruckus is not advisable. Prices here are very reasonable.
- Chang Lee Hotel, 318 Siroros Rd, ☎ . This place is one of the tallest buildings in Yala. It's 15 stories with the top two floors in ruins occupied only by bats. Chang Lee Hotel is not for the faint of heart or squeamish. It's been many years since it's glory days. Rooms have air-con and a TV with only Thai channels. 460 baht.
- Park View Hotel, 2-18 Jongrak 3 Rd, ☎ . This place is bustling compared to My House or Chang Lee. The rooms are simple but tidier than the Chang Lee, although with a very loud air conditioning. You must pay a 205 baht deposit for the minibar when you check in; however, you receive all of it back when you check out if you've not used the minibar. Wi-Fi can be had in the lobby for free. They have a cafe and restaurant as well as a discotheque in the area. 395 baht.
- Yala My House, ☎ . This place looks worlds better than Chang Lee and it's cheaper. You can choose a karaoke girl off of the wall when you come in for 200 baht, but that's standard around these parts. If you don't want one no problem. There's a 2 hour Thai massage across the street for 240 baht and several discotheques and karaoke bars. All seem to be thinly veiled fronts for prostitution. 340 baht.
- Yala Rama Hotel, 21 Sri Bumrung Rd, ☎ . Very centrally located, appears to be the most reputable hotel in town according to locals. 350 baht.
In 2004, long-simmering resentment in the southernmost Muslim-majority provinces burst into violence in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces. Some rebel groups have threatened foreigners, and three foreigners were killed in bombings in Hat Yai (in neighbouring Songkhla Province) in Sep 2006, but while targets have included hotels, karaoke lounges and shopping malls, Westerners have not been singled out for attacks. If you are polite, respectful and smile a lot you don't have much to worry about. Do not dress in overly revealing clothing. There are soldiers all over the town, but they are there to keep you safe and keep the peace.
|Routes through Yala|
|Bangkok ← Hat Yai ←||N S||→ Sungai Kolok|