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Hat Yai (หาดใหญ่), situated approximately 28 kilometres from the city of Songkhla, is an important gateway for travellers coming overland from Malaysia and Singapore. Strategically located 60 kilometres from the Malaysian border, Hat Yai has recently been rapidly transformed into a commercial, transportation, communication, educational and tourism hub in southern Thailand.
Hat Yai has a tropical climate with generally hot and humid conditions year round. The average highs are 29 °C (December) to 35 °C (April), while nights are mostly in the 21-24 °C range. The annual precipitation is around 1,600mm with most of that falling from September to December. January to March is the driest time of the year.
Hatyai has a very huge bus station which is known as Bor Kor Sor (บ.ข.ส.).
There are several buses company which operates good service between Hatyai and Bangkok like Piya Tour (ปิยะทัวร์) Tel: 074-246022 and Thai Doen Rot (ไทยเดินรถ,) Tel: 0 7442 9525. Thai Route is the best website to check buses schedules, fares and companies in and out of Hatyai.
There are also vans from the town, which generally pick up at your hotel or ticket office. Van to Krabi takes just over 4 hours and costs about 250 Baht. Buses also ply between Hat Yai and Butterworth and Penang in Malaysia and stop at the border for immigration purpose and then take to further journey.
From the airport to the city, a taxi costs around 250 baht. The minivan service costs 80 baht.
There are countless internet bars across the country in big and small towns. Internet cafés are widespread and most are inexpensive. Prices as low as 15 baht/hour are commonplace, and speed of connection is generally reasonable, but many cafes close at midnight. Higher prices prevail in major package-tourist destinations (60 baht/hour is typical, 120 baht/hour is not unusual). Keyloggers are all too often installed on the computers in cheap cafes, so be on your guard if using online banking, stock broking or even PayPal. Remember that in the smaller towns and more traditional areas the owners and staff of internet bars prefer if customers take off their shoes at the entrance and leave them outside. This might seem strange although this gesture goes a far way to make friends and give a positive image of foreigners to Thai people.
Outside the most competitive tourist areas, free Wi-Fi is not as common as in neighbouring countries in many budget hotels and guesthouses and they may charge small fee for Internet by LAN or Wi-Fi even if you bring your own laptop. Wi-Fi is commonly available in cafes and restaurants serving Westerners.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international code for Thailand is 66. 999 connects to all emergency services. Standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. 911 for Tourist Police Department, English available.
For mobile phone users, Thailand has three GSM mobile service providers - AIS, DTAC and Truemove - which may be useful if you have a mobile phone that will work on either one or both of the GSM 900 or 1800 frequency bands (consult your phone's technical specifications). If you have one, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for any of the Thai carriers in any convenience store for as little as 50-200 baht and charge it up as you go. Using your own mobile phone while on holiday with a Thai pre-paid SIM card can save a lot of money and lets you give your number to family back home, so they can have an emergency contact number.
Thailand Post is the Thai postal service that deals with all local and international mail in Thailand. The business is operated from local post offices. Post offices are easy to recognise with their red white and blue motifs and the words 'Thailand Post' in English and Thai above the entrance. They are open from Monday to Saturday, usually 8:30am to 4:30pm (main ones until around 8:00pm), though keeping shorter hours on Saturdays (usually until 1:00pm). They are generally closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Each post office offers a comprehensive service which includes an Express Mail Service (EMS) and parcel post. They also have a price calculator for letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. They also have a track and trace system and money transfer services. If you want to send packages, it might be a good idea to check with private courier companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and generally quite competitively priced.
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