Yala (ยะลา) is a town in Deep Southern Thailand.
Yala is the southernmost province of Thailand, with 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 Malay. 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 B.E. 2310 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 B.E. 2351, the King had Pattani separated 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 B.E. 2476 and finally became one of the provinces of Thailand.
Yala is 1,084 kilometres south of Bangkok by road. One can take Highway 4 (Thanon Phetkasem) from Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chumphon, then onto Highway 41 through Thung Song, Phatthalung, Hat Yai, Pattani, and Yala.
There is no direct flight 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. Please call Thai Airways at 1566, 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000 for more information.
Yala is 1,055 kilometres 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 0.25 p.m., 2.45 p.m. and 3.50 p.m. For more information please call Travelling Service Unit, Bangkok Railway Station at tel: 1690, 0 2223 7010 and 0 2223 7020 or visit www.srt.or.th.
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 ~1089km and normally takes 14 hours.
Air-conditioned bus services are run daily between Bangkok and Yala from the Southern Bus Terminal. Departure times from Bangkok are as follows:
For further information please call the Southern Bus Terminal at tel: 0 2435 1119-200.
Thai Doen Rot Co.,Ltd (tel: 0 2435 7424) operates a daily bus service from Bangkok to Betong. The bus leaves the Southern Bus Terminal at 4 p.m.
To/from Sungai Kolok
Mini bus for 120 Baht or by train for 20 baht. The travel takes about 2 hours, be awarded that 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-(0)73-228-900-2) you'll need to show your passport and provide a fingerprint.
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.
There are a few watering holes, but keep in mind this is a majority Muslim area and you may offend someone with your drinking. Alcohol is available and drank in considerable quantities by the local non-Muslims, but getting inebriated and making a ruckus is not advisable. Prices here are very reasonable.
In 2004, long-simmering resentment in the southern-most 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 September 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.