Area: 7,393.9 km2
Density: 176 /km2
|Town and Districts|
|Songkhla, Sathing Phra, Chana, Na Thawi, Thepha, Saba Yoi, Ranot, Krasae Sin, Rattaphum, Sadao, Hat Yai, Na Mom, Khuan Niang, Bang Klam, Singhanakhon, Khlong Hoi Khong |
|General Information |
|Songkhla, one of Thailand's important ports and coastal provinces, is located 950 kilometers from Bangkok. Occupying an area of 7,393 square kilometers on the eastern side of the Malaysian Peninsula, the province is bordered by the States of Kedah (Sai Buri) and Perlis of Malaysia to the south and the Gulf of Thailand to the east. In addition, Songkhla borders on Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung Provinces to the north, Yala and Pattani Provinces to the south, and Satun and Phatthalung Provinces to the west.|
An undeniably historic town endowed with ancient ruins, arts, and places of cultural importance, Songkhla, a melting pot of Thais, Chinese and Malays, charms visitors with its unique traditions, dialect, and folk entertainment. These characteristics are reflections of the provinces rich cultural heritage, which has been preserved and passed down from generations to generations.
Hat Yai, a district of Songkhla, is perhaps better known than the provincial capital itself. Hat Yai serves as a southern hub of communication, trading and transportation as well as a gateway to Malaysia and Singapore. In light of this, Hat Yai has gained importance as the driving force of economic growth in the southern region.
Songkhla is administratively divided into 16 districts: Muang Songkhla, Ranot, Krasae Sin, Sathing Phra, Singhanakhon, Khuan Niang, Rattaphum, Bang Klam, Hat Yai, Na Mom, Chana, Thepha, Na Thawi, Saba Yoi, Sadao, and Khlong Hoi Khong.
Songkhla, or in its correct Malay form Singgora, was the seat of an old Malay Kingdom with heavy Srivijayan influence. In ancient times (200 AD - 1400 AD), Songkhla formed the northern extremity of the Malay Kingdom of Langkasuka. The city-state then became a tributary of Nakhon Si Thammarat, suffering damage during several attempts to gain independence. Since the 18th century, Songkla has been firmly under Thai suzerainty.
The Na Songkhla family's residence, now used as the Songkhla National MuseumIn the 18th century many Chinese immigrants, especially from Guangdong and Fujian, came to the province. Quickly rising to economic wealth, one of them won the bidding for the major tax farm of the province in 1769, establishing the Na Songkhla (i.e. 'from Songkla') family as the most wealthy and influential. In 1777 the family also gained political power, when the old governor was dismissed and Luang Inthakhiri (Yiang, Chinese name Wu Rang became the new governor. In 1786 the old governor started an uprising, which was however put down after four months. The post was inherited in the family and held by 8 of his descendends until 1901, when Phraya Wichiankhiri (Chom) was honorably retired as part of the administrative reforms of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab. The family's former home is now used as the Songkhla National Museum.
In 1909, Songkla was formally annexed by Siam as part of Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 negotiated with the British Empire. Songkla was the scene of heavy fighting when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Thailand on 8 December 1941.
Songkhla was not initially affected by the recent outbreak of Pattani Separatism, which began in 2004. However, three bombs exploded during the 2005 Songkhla bombings on April 3, 2005 creating concern that violence might spread into this province as well.