Yala is located in a landlocked province, in Thailand southernmost tip. The city is quite different from other Thai metropolis in that it follows a more Western style of urban planning. Wide boulevards and well-organized street grids around a central circular park make up the city’s landscape. Today, it is essentially a university town and considered by many to be the educational center of Thailand’s deep south. Still, Yala maintains its traditional Thai charm and offers plenty of little gems for its visitors to explore.
The ASEAN Barred Ground Dove Festival is what attracts most visitors to Yala every year. In March, feathered friends flock here from neighboring Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia for some friendly competition. The main event is a cooing contest where up to 1,500 participants join in. Birds are also bought and sold during the festival, so you can pick up a friend for a bargain.
City Pillar Shrine
Like any other traditional Thai provincial capital, Yala features a City Pillar Shrine. This one is located just in front of City Hall and houses a shrine made from Chaiyapruk wood. The top of the pillar on the pillar was gifted by the Thai King in 1962. Every year, a festival in honor of the City Pillar is held between 25 and 31 May.
Also referred to as Wat Na Tham, this temple is one of the most revered sites in the South of Thailand. Wat Na Tham literally translates to “a temple in front of a cave” and that is essentially what it is. Located in a cave about 8km from Yala city center, the unique temple contains an ancient reclining Buddha dating back to the 8th century.
Yala Central Mosque
With over three-quarters of its population belonging to the Muslim faith, one of the main features of the city landscape in Yala is its central mosque. Built in 1984, this is also the main mosque of the province. East meets West in the mosque’s architectural style and you’ll be able to admire its 30 wide steps leading up to the upper terrace.
Suan Khwan Mueang
If your eyes get sore from the Yala city landscape, head over to Suan Khwan Mueang. This 80-acre piece of green is located just 300 meters from the City Pillar Shrine and boasts a sports field and a 27-acre pond. And if you want to dream of Thailand’s sandy coastline for a little while, head over to the park’s landscaped beach.
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