The most well-known symbol of Songkhla Province is this image of the Golden Mermaid at Laem Samila. It is similar to The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, however, this Thai one is not a character from the book of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. The Golden Mermaid is in fact a character from Phra Aphai Mani, a popular book in Thai literature by Sunthon Phu. In this folk tale, a mermaid sat and combed her hair on a beautiful beach on a stary night. A young fisherman met and frightened her and she fled into the sea. The fisherman waited for her but she disappeared forever. This bronze statue was sculpted in 1966 by Jitr Buabus and has since become the symbol of this beach. When we were there the other day, there were many tourists lining up to have their picture taken with the mermaid. Many of the men sat on her lap and stole a kiss.
Samila Beach has white sand and clear blue water. It is one of those rare beaches which also has green grass and you can lie down in the shade of pine groves. It isn’t really a busy beach and I think it is a nice place for families to come and relax on the beach and to eat seafood in the nearby restaurants. Out in the bay are the two islands of Koh Nu and Koh Maeo. These translate as “Mouse Island” and “Cat Island”. You can see Mouse Island in the background of this picture.
A legend says that a dog, a cat, and a mouse, on a Chinese sampan stole the merchant’s magic crystal and tried to swim ashore but drowned and lost their lives. The mice and cats became islands while the dog died on shore and became the hill called Hin Khao Tang Kuan near the bay. The crystal was totally destroyed and became the white sandy beach called Hat Sai Kaeo. This giant bronze statue was sculpted by Montri Sungmusikanon in 2000. Unlike the mermaid that cost a mere 60,000 baht, local people donated 1.2 million baht for this statue.
Many thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for flying us down to Songkhla for the weekend and also for showing us around the city. Visit our ThailandGuidebook.com website for more tourist information.