6 Fun Filled Attractions at Dannok, Songkhla Province
Most visitors looking for fun-filled attractions make a beeline for Thailand’s border towns; Dannok and Hat Yai over the long weekends and holidays. Dannok in Songkhla Province is a border town between Malaysia and Thailand. Other Border towns like Padang Besar, Betong, and Sungai Golok are well known for their nightlife.
For many years, Dannok remained a quiet town as visitors pass through from the Sadao Customs and Immigration. Dannok is very well-known to the people of Malaysian, especially for people who live in the northern part of Malaysia.
In recent years, the town boomed and has become more developed and popular than other border towns. It is now the IN place, a new playground to visit as a tourist-friendly place with many fun-filled attractions.
Dannok has very few farangs. In fact, when I was there I didn’t see any. The bell boys tell me that sometime a few will come by once in a long while.
Perfect for day trippers, you can drive and park at the duty-free complex in Bukit Kayu Hitam and walk to the checkpoint. Otherwise, you could take a flight into Hat Yai and travel to Dannok by minivan.
In Dannok, everything is easily accessible by foot. You’ll need plenty of sunblocks and a good umbrella with UV fabric if you want to walk around during the afternoons.
Come nightfall the place is transformed into a wonderland of lights. It is cool and pleasant to walk around. There is something in store for everyone in the family.
Generally, Dannok is a fun town catering to holidaymakers looking for a fun way to relax, get a few Thai massages, party and eat Thailand food.
Here is a list of the highlights that I got to experience when I stayed at MBI Resort that you’ll enjoy checking out.
Allow me to introduce to you, Dannok.
#1 Raid Thai Convenience Stores
There are no glitzy cookie-cutter shopping malls in Dannok. Don’t let this deter you from shopping. Dannok has 7-Eleven and the local convenience stores that you will find around the corner.
The best way to get your hands on a solid haul of Thai snacks is to go to these convenience stores. They sell individual as well as bulk so don’t worry. You can get your Pocky, Tao Ke Noi seaweed, Thai instant noodles.
The list of favorites is too long to describe here. Most of the snacks are cheaper in Dannok as they are manufactured locally. Watch out for great deals on other beauty essentials, toiletries, medications, balms, ointments, and groceries as well.
In fact, go with a large suitcase so you can save half the space for your snacks and nuts!
#2 Street Foods and Seafood
Dannok gets around 6 PM till 8 PM almost every night especially weekend. There is no shortage of delicious street food if you don’t mind sitting on both sides of the main road to eat. You get to enjoy Rustic Thai food like Pad Thai (Thai noodles) and Thai Wanton Mee (Ba Mee).
Then there’s the Deep Fried Som Tam (Thai Salad). It tastes as a light airy Thai tempura served with a wickedly delicious sweet, spicy and sour dipping sauce poured on top.
I’ve heard of fried chicken skins snack that goes with beers and drinks. The first time I tried this, I thought to myself, that the crunchy bits are absolutely delicious and so tasty! But did they do with the rest of the chicken meat!
The root of all street food lies with the incredible smells of grilling meats and chicken. The incredibly juicy grilled Moo Ping (Thai Grilled Pork Skewers) Gai Yang (Thai Grilled Chicken) makes my mouth water even as I write this.
The Thai Roti Pisang and Roti Milo taste like sweet pudding. The vendors roll out the ball of roti canai pastry thinly with sliced banana stir in with a raw egg and a spoonful of sweetened condensed milk. The folded square of pastry is fried with the egg-banana-mix. It is cut into bite-size pieces and topped with more sweetened condensed milk.
Of course, I tried to have Khao Neeo Mamuang (Thai Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango) as many times as possible.
#3 Enjoy Full Body Oil Thai Massage Therapy
Every day in Thailand is a massage day. Head over to a massage parlor for complete rejuvenation and restoration of body and mind. Try the Gaya Thai Spa located directly opposite the Olive Hotel. The simple unpretentious venue is clean.
If you’re squeamish, go for a traditional foot massage instead. You can opt for a full body massage. When I’m in Thailand I often go for the Full Body Oil Thai Massage Therapy. This is guaranteed to relax sore muscles, straighten all the knots out and back a spring in your step.
There are some good and very decent private massage rooms where you can enjoy a sauna and Jacuzzi bath for 2 hours for about 600 THB.
You can also check into any hotels here, and get a massage in your room for 400 – 500 THB an hour.
#4 Experience the Asian Cultural Village
Asian Cultural Village is a family theme park with over 10 separate highlights. There’s something fun for everyone here from kids to adults and elders. There are over 20 attractions here but I only managed to see about half driving by. We walked to three to enjoy some cool photo sessions.
Dinosaur Park for children and adults to experience the Dinosaur Adventure World.
This is one of the main attractions where you’ll find the biggest roars. For kids who know their Triceratops and Velociraptors, these larger than life mechanical monsters look frighteningly real.
Wu Lin Chinese Village features two rows of traditional Chinese wooden shophouses facing each other. There are red lanterns strung up and lit in the evening for a festive look. If you fancy taking photos in pretty traditional costumes, you could rent it for a small fee.
There is a Kayan Longneck Village with small huts in a semi-forested area for vendors to sell their handmade crafts. We were informed that the Kayan people (Myanmar) work here and return to their village regularly.
By nightfall, the attractions lit up in neon colors. Back at MBI Resort, there are two temples in the vicinity of Karaoke and Night Clubs. You will need to see this place to experience it.
#5 Family Style Thai Meals
For Lunch and Dinner, mealtime in Dannok is definitely satisfying. Thai-Chinese restaurants serve delicious seafood and authentic local favorites. We had two delicious meals here. We enjoyed lunch at the Olive Hotel and dinner at VJ Restaurant.
Thai-Chinese chefs prepare great tasting Tom Yam Kung with the right balance of sweet, sour and the whole heat of the chilies. The prawns and seafood are very fresh.
#6 Clubbing Style in Dannok’s Entertainment Clubs
There are about 8 to 10 a-go-go clubs and pubs in Dannok. Others are after 3 AM clubs, rave clubs, karaoke, and a sports bar. There are 3 well-known strip club joints, Winner, Scorpion, and Spider. Some of the names of other clubs are Kiss Club, Hello Bangkok, Yes Club, M Club, First Club, Jaguar Club and Club 7. Say hello to Dannok’s nighttime fun-filled attractions!
Club 7 is a karaoke club with plenty of drinks including liquor and juice. There are individual singing rooms equipped with a high-quality sound system. Our host even brought us snacks from street vendors after ordering beers all around. You can also hang out and sing in the open karaoke areas.
The clubs have live bands, male and female singers performing with dancers and plenty of change of customers. There are DJs playing club songs during intermissions. After that, there are coyotes dancers on stage dancing all night.
When you enter the club you find your tables order your drinks. Normally, the patrons will a crate of beers (normally Heineken) which cost around 180 baht per bottle. You kick back and just enjoy the show. The coyotes then will come over; sit with you, chit chat. The girls will request lady drinks, “Tequila shots” (100 THB each). Every time they will ask for 3 – 5 shots each. Later in the night after they become friends, they will ask you to buy flower garlands (500 THB – 1,000 THB) depending on the flowers.
Most of the girls come from Bangkok or Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai region. They are young, fair-skinned and very pretty. Some are quite charming and comely.
The night we were there some men bought 1,260 THB garland and cape for a coyote crowning.
The atmosphere in the clubs is quite casual. Customers don’t have to dress up to enter. We went in wearing shorts, tee shirts, and flip flops! Most patrons are from Malaysia and Singapore and predominately Malaysian Chinese.
Dannok is located in Sadao District, in the Songkhla region. The largest city is Hat Yai. If you’re on a visa run, you may consider getting your visa in Malaysia (Thai Consulate in Penang). You can take a few days to enjoy Dannok’s fun-filled attractions before returning to wherever you’re from.
Malindo Air flies to HDY airport then you can hop on the minivan (about 50 or 60 minutes) to Dannok depending on traffic.
1.0hour flight from BKK
45min flight from PEN
1.5hours flight from SZB
Express train 36 BKK – Hat Yai (it takes around 15 hours). Then the same and hop on a minivan to Dannok.
Express bus from BKK direct to Dannok (13 hours)
Safety in Dannok
Even though most people think that southern Thailand is dangerous, it is pretty safe at night here. We have walked back from Asian Cultural Village to our hotel the MBI Resort late at night instead of taking a shuttle tuk-tuk. Even walking back from 7-Eleven to MBI Resort past midnight is safe. We only heard some barking of stray dogs in the distance.
Influx of tourist
MBI International Group brings in China Chinese tourist by the busloads here. There are quite a number of Malaysian Chinese and Muslims here. Most of the hotel staff is Thai Muslims and there are many places with halal/ kosher food.
I am surprised that there are no backpacker hotels here, so you won’t see any farang tourists.