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NARATHIWAT TOUR

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Located approximately some 1,149 kilometers south of Bangkok is Narathiwat the southernmost province in Thailand and one of the nation’s five provinces that borders Malaysia at Amphoe Su-ngai Kolok, where the southern railway line ends.
Access from Malaysia is convenient via a ninety-minute bus trip and two immigration points where travelers can cross into Thailand and vice versa. With Amphoe Su-ngai Kolok serving as an economic and border tourism center, the province welcomes an increasing numbers of Malaysians and Singaporeans on short holidays or shopping sprees.

Geographically, Narathiwat is situated on the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula. The north borders Pattani Province and the Gulf of Thailand, the west borders Yala Province, the east borders the Gulf of Thailand, and the south borders Kelantan in Malaysia. The plains where the Maenam Sai Buri, Maenam Bang Nara, Maenam Tak Bai and Maenam Su-ngai Kolok converge are adjacent to the gulf.

With an area of 4,475 square kilometers, of which 75 percent are jungles and mountains, visitors to the province are provided with great opportunities to spend days at the beach or in the forests and take excursion trips to some of the magnificent temples. Narathiwat has a tropical climate and has only 2 seasons; summer and rainy. The wettest period is during November to December.
Narathiwat literally means “the residence of good people”. The city of Narathiwat has an abundance of traditional culture and authenticity with village-like tranquility. The inhabitants of Narathiwat are largely farmers and fishermen with the majority being Muslims who use the spoken and written Yawi language (Yawi has roots from the spoken Malay language and uses Arabic consonants and alphabets). As such, Narathiwat is an amazing and unique area with a constant flow of culture and trade between Thais and Malaysians.

Provincial Seal

The provincial seal depicts a sailing boat with a picture of a white elephant on the sail in a circle. It signifies that Narathiwat is a province on the coast, engaged in fishing and trading with neighboring countries and that the province has a white elephant called Phra Sri Nararat Rajakarin.

History of Narathiwat

In the past, Narathiwat was a southern borderland named “Ban Bang Nara” or “Manalo”. It was located near Maenam Bang Nara and the sea. In the reign of King Rama I, this village was under the administration of Sai Buri. Later, it came under the administration of Ra Ngae town of Pattani province.

In 1906, Bang Nara became a big trading city with well-developed sea and land transportation. King Rama V moved the administration office from Ra Ngae to Manalo. In 1915, King Rama VI changed the name of the town to “Narathiwat”.

Todays Narathiwat

Narathiwat is currently divided into 12 districts, namely Mueang, Ra-ngae, Su-ngai Padi, Sungai Kolok, Ruso, Yi-ngo, Waeng, Bacho, Tak Bai, Si Sakhon, Sukhirin, Chanae and one Sub District of Cho Ai Rong.

Distances from Amphoe Mueang (Town) to Neighbouring Districts:

Chanae 47 kms.
Cho Ai Rong 31 kms.
Tak Bai 33 kms.
Bacho 28 kms.
Yi-ngo 18 kms.
Ra-ngae 24 kms.
Ruso 48 kms.
Waeng 83 kms.
Sukhirin 112 kms.
Su-ngai Kolok 63 kms.
Su-ngai Padi 49 kms.

 

Narathiwat Attractions

Narathiwat Art, Culture and Heritage

Luang Pho Daeng of Wat Choeng Khao

Attraction Details :

The temples former abbot and a revered monk of the province, Luang Pho Daeng, died on 1 January 1979 at the age of 90 years old. After death, his body did not decompose, resulting in much reverence by local residents who placed his body in a glass coffin for others to pay their respect.This temple is situated at Mu 4, Ban Choeng Khao, Tambon Paluka Samo, approximately 13 kilometers from the District Office on the way to Pattani. Take Highway No. 42 (Phetchakasem Road), turn left at Ban Ton Thai and drive for 5.5 kilometers.

Thaksin Ratchaniwet Palace

Attraction Details :

This Palace is on Tanyongmat Mountain, Tambon Kaluwo Nua, on the coast near Manao Bay. It is 8 kilometers from town on Highway No. 4084 (Narathiwat-Tak Bai). Situated on an area of 480,000 square meters at the summit of the Tan Yong Mut Mountain, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej commissioned its construction in 1973 as his royal summer residence. The compound is comprised of throne halls decorated with an assortment of trees which provide a good shade for the whole area. A craft center providing training on pottery and ceramics, as well as selling products is also located nearby. When the royal family is not in residence, the grounds are open daily for public viewing between 8.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. The Royal Family normally resides here between October and December. The garden provides a great view of the adjacent beach and contains an aviary. To visit the Palace, take a bus that goes to Amphoe Tak Bai and get off in front of the palace.

How to get there :

By Other

It is 8 kilometres from town on Highway No. 4084 (Narathiwat-Tak Bai).

Narathiwat Nature and Wildlife

Ao Manao Park

Attraction Details :

Located at Mu 1, Tambon Kaluwo Nua, the 4-kilometer beach connects with the eastern coast of Pattani Province. Divided into several segments by its rocky terrain, Hat Ao Manao borders on Thaksin Ratchaniwet Palace to the south. The beach is an ideal place for relaxation with its arboretum and row of pines. In addition, there is a beach forest study trail for nature enthusiasts. Native plants such as Chak Thale, Manao Phi and Toei Thale (appearance similar to a pineapple) can be found in the area. Private accommodations nearby are available for overnight stays. The beach is situated approximately 3 kilometers from town along the Narathiwat – Tak Bai route (Highway No. 4084).

How to get there :

By Other

Take Highway No. 4084 (Narathiwat-Tak Bai) for about 3 kilometres and a road to the beach for 3 kilometres.

Hat Narathat

Attraction Details :

This white-powdered sandy beach stretching for 5 kilometers is located near the estuary of the Bang Nara River, where the annual Korlae boat races are held. The beach is naturally decorated with dense pine trees, which provide a tranquil shady area suitable for pitching tents. Several beachside restaurants serving southern-style cuisine and accommodation facilities are provided. The view from the beach is impressive, as there is a backdrop of fishing villages extending along the river and the bay is full of Korlae fishing boats.Narathat Beach is located just 1 kilometer from town on Phichit Bamrung Road. Visitors can conveniently hire motorcycles, tricycles or mini-buses from town to the beach.

How to get there :

By Other

Tourists can conveniently take hired motorcycles, tricycles or mini-buses from town.

Kubu Beach-Ban Khlong Tan

Attraction Details :

This 24-kilometer beach extends over Tambon Sai Wan, Tambon Sala Mai and Tambon Chehe ending at the mouth of Maenam Su-ngai Kolok. The beach has a long, powdery beach dotted by shady pine trees that creates a relaxing environment. To get there, take Highway No. 4984 (Narathiwat-Tak Bai) and proceed for 20 kilometers and switch to the beach road that runs for 1 kilometer.

Koh Yao

Attraction Details :

The island is located close to Wat Chon Thara Singhe. From Tak Bai District Market intersection, there is a 345-meter long wooden bridge spanning Tak Bai River to Koh Yao. The islands attraction is its eastern seaside section with a white sandy beach and cozy ambience. In addition, most of the inhabitants are Muslim fishermen who dwell in simple homes in coconut plantations.

Budo-Su-ngai Padi Mountain Range National Park

Attraction Details :

The park is part of the Sankala Khiri Mountain Range that serves as a natural border between Thailand and Malaysia. The area was once mostly inhabited by guerrillas, therefore, few people could get in to admire the natural beauty of the virgin jungle. It was only with the establishment of the Pacho Waterfall Park (later known as Budo-Su-ngai Padi National Park) in 1974 by the Royal Forest Department that the situation had changed. The park occupies an area of 294 square kilometers and extends into parts of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani Provinces.

Hala-Bala Wildlife Reserve

Attraction Details :

A not-to-be-missed attraction for nature lovers, Hala-Bala is one of Thailands more recent conservation areas. Officially established in 1996, the reserve is located near the Thai-Malaysian border. Covering an area of approximately 433.16 square kilometers, it extends over Sankala Khiri Mountain Range and the deep forests of Hala and Bala Forests that are not connected to each other. Although they are a part of the same reserve, Hala Forest is in Amphoe Betong in Yala Province and Amphoe Chanae in Narathiwat Province while Bala Forest, the only part that is open to the public, spans Amphoe Waeng and Amphoe Su Khirin in Narathiwat.Highway No. 4062 (Khwam Man Khong Road) goes through Sankala Khiri Mountain Range, making access to the reserve easier. Visitors can start at Ban Buketa in Amphoe Waeng, go through Bala Forest and end up at Ban Phu Khao Thong in Amphoe Su Khirin for a total distance of 18 kilometers. On both sides of the road are the most verdant jungles in Thailand. To study nature, you only have to drive through the area and you will likely see many extraordinary things from the park office on.For nature enthusiasts, simply driving through the area from the Park Office onwards will provide extraordinary views of nature. Approximately 5 kilometers from the office, is a wildlife lookout point. The numerous Banyan trees flourishing in the area yield plenty of fruit for animals that regularly come to feed there. About 10 kilometers further is the Phu Khao Thong Protection Unit, a sub-office of the reserve. From here it is possible to see a sea of mist at dawn. Walking about 100 meters from the unit, visitors will find a gigantic Somphong (Kraphong) tree that has a diameter of 25 meters. The height of a section near the ground that supports the trunk is about 4 meters. This tree likes to grow near water and is a softwood tree used in making toothpicks or matches. Along the route are several plants that are rarely found elsewhere in Thailand such as the Yuan tree of the bean family. This tree is regarded as the third tallest tree in the world, after the redwood and eucalyptus, respectively. It has a white trunk and can reach a height of 65 to70 meters. Normally, the tree is perfect for making furniture. Another tree located here is the Saya tree of the rubber family, which is the most striking tree of the Hala-Bala forest. Looking carefully, visitors will see hornbills as the forest are their preferred nesting sites. In addition, it is possible to see the Hua Roi Ru Nam tree, which is one of the newest plants found in the country.Wildlife here creates an ecological balance for the area. Many of the animals are on the list of nearly-extinct animals of Thailand. They include the large black gibbon, or Sia Mang, that is totally black in color and nearly double the size of the white-handed gibbon. There is also the agile gibbon that is usually found on Sumatra, Borneo and northern Malaysian jungles and southern Thailand. With luck, visitors may be able to see two of these creatures hanging from a branch. The area also has Thut frogs that are the largest frogs in the country. It is about a foot long and weighs over 5 kilograms. The frogs live in watershed forests on high mountains. A survey discovered that four types of protected mammals, which are the Sumatran serow, tapir, marbled cat, and Asian two-horned rhinoceros, inhabit the area.The hornbill, a rare bird, is an indicator of the state of the forest. Nonetheless, the reserve has 9 out of 12 species of hornbills in Thailand. These include the wrinkled hornbill, helmeted hornbill (the only kind of hornbill that has a thick upper beak and Indonesian villagers hunt it to get the beak to carve into ornaments like ivory), Oriental pied hornbill, great pied hornbill, white-crowned hornbill, bushy-crested hornbill, Malayan rhinoceros hornbill, black hornbill, and wreathed hornbill.Visitors wishing to enter the area for nature study must write in advance to the reserve at P.O. Box 3, Amphoe Waeng, Narathiwat 96120 or the Wildlife Reserve Department of the Natural Resources Conservation Office, Royal Forest Department, Bangkok. As the reserve is a sensitive area, visitors are not permitted to stay overnight. The best time to study nature here is from late February to September, when there is little rain.

 Getting there: Mini-buses can be hired from Amphoe Waeng Market or from Su-ngai Kolok train station.

The hornbill, a rare bird, is an indicator of the state of the forest. Nonetheless, the reserve has 9 out of 12 species of hornbills in Thailand. These include the wrinkled hornbill, helmeted hornbill (the only kind of hornbill that has a thick upper beak and Indonesian villagers hunt it to get the beak to carve into ornaments like ivory), Oriental pied hornbill, great pied hornbill, white-crowned hornbill, bushy-crested hornbill, Malayan rhinoceros hornbill, black hornbill, and wreathed hornbill. Visitors wishing to enter the area for nature study must write in advance to the reserve at P.O. Box 3, Amphoe Waeng, Narathiwat 96120 or the Wildlife Reserve Department of the Natural Resources Conservation Office, Royal Forest Department, Bangkok. As the reserve is a sensitive area, visitors are not permitted to stay overnight. The best time to study nature here is from late February to September, when there is little rain.Getting there: Mini-buses can be hired from Amphoe Waeng Market or from Su-ngai Kolok train station.

Sirindhorn Peat Swamp Forest Nature Research and Study Centre

Attraction Details :

This last remaining peat swamp forest in Thailand spreads over 3 districts including Tak Bai, Su-ngai Kolok and Su-ngai Padi. Covering an area of 192 square kilometers, of which 80 square kilometers are dense forests, the swamp is rich in fauna and flora. Major waterways that pass through the area are Khlong Su-ngai Padi, Bang Nara River and Khlong To Daeng, from which the forest derives its name.

Publicized nature study treks are provided to transfer knowledge on peat swamp forests to visitors. The 1,200-meter trail starts from a swamp behind the research center with one segment of the trail consisting of a wooden bridge suspended by metal slings and another consisting of a high tower for viewing the lush scenery below. Informative signs provide interesting facts about trees and provide guidance for new trekkers. The trail is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with no admission fee. An exhibition room is also provided to give nature enthusiasts additional information.

A peat swamp forest originates from fresh water that is confined in limited space for a long period of time and subsequently leads to an accumulation of organic matter in the soil, like dead plants, trees and leaves. These progresses are slowly transformed into peat or organic soil that is soft like sponge with low density and absorbs water very well. In this area, peat has accumulated together with marine sediment to create 2-3 interlocking layers of both types of soil. Because the sea level was high enough to cover the forest accumulation of sediment ensued and seawater was contained in the area. This resulted in the demise of plants in the forest and created a mangrove forest in its place. When the water level receded and rain came, the water was transformed into fresh water and the peat swamp forest emerged. The deeper soil layers date from 6,000-7,000 years, while the top layers is from 700-1,000 years.

The forest has a diverse ecological system with every life being interconnected. Trees have strong roots that spread out to those of other trees and help them in supporting their large trunks. Therefore, trees in the peat swamp forest will grow together in a group. If one falls, so will the others.

There are over 400 species of plants in the peat swamp forest. The most outstanding are strange palms like Lum Phi whose fruits can be eaten and red palm whose entire trunk is red in color. Red palm is popular as a garden plant. Moreover, there are aromatic flowers like the Goniothalamus giganteus, a plant of the Annonaceae family that has large flowers. In addition, with careful scrutiny, visitors may be able to spot orchids and an assortment of small plants.

There are over 200 animal species in the forest. Small creatures include langurs, civets, wild cats, Singapore rats, and Malayan tree frogs while large animals include wild boars and binturongs. A variety of fish also makes it home in the forest, including a certain species of catfish that can be raised in acidic water and the strange angler catfish that has a flat, wide head and a long body. This catfish has a poisonous spine in its dorsal fin. The fish uses the forest as a refuge and to spawn. Villagers catch this fish for food when it is fully grown.

Birds here include the Rufous-tailed Shama that is mainly found in Sumatra, Borneo and Malaysia and was first discovered in Thailand in 1987. The Malaysian Verditer Flycatcher is found only in Sirindhorn Peat Swamp Forest in Thailand. Both species are now endangered.

The forest is interesting not only because of its unusual flora and fauna, but also because of the overall unique experience that people, particularly children, are bound to receive when they visit. The surrounding nature offers a constant stream of surprises. While trekking amidst a serene forest, visitors may encounter an animal grazing. Trails take you close to, but not overly interfering with, nature.

 Note: Visitors to the forest are recommended to bring notebooks, colored pencils, binoculars, cameras, and mosquito repellent. With these items in hand, it is possible to spend a whole day of fun here as the cool climate of the forest is conducive for explorations. The best time to go is during February-April because there is little rain. The other months will see frequent rainfall because the forest is situated on a peninsula.

Tourists should be aware of the disease-carrying black mosquitoes, which are prevalent in the area and come out in the evening. Forest fire can happen as a result of smoking and discarding cigarette butts on the ground. When there is a forest fire in this forest, it is more difficult to put out because there is ample fuel in the form of trees, dead barks and organic matters in the ground. The fire will actually spread underground, making it extremely difficult to extinguish and control and can last for months. The only way to put it out is to wait for heavy rainfall where the subsequent inundation should extinguish the fire.

Getting there: It is more convenient to get there by train from Bangkok as the last station is at Su-ngai Kolok. If not, bring a car which can also be chartered from Su-ngai Kolok.

If driving, take Highway No. 4057 (Tak Bai-Su-ngai Kolok) for about 5 kilometers, then switch to the branch road and proceed for 3 kilometers to Chawananan Road. After that, turn left and proceed for 2 kilometers where directional signs that lead visitors all the way to the forest are posted. For more information, contact P.O. Box 37, Su-ngai Kolok, Narathiwat 96120.

How to get there :

By Other

It is more convenient to come by train from Bangkok as the last station is at Su-ngai Kolok. If not taking your car, you can use the service of hired car from Su-ngai Kolok.
If driving, take Highway No. 4057 (Tak Bai-Su-ngai Kolok) for about 5 kilometres. There is a branch road to Chawananan Road for about 3 kilometres, and turn left for 2 kilometres. Signs show the way to the forest. For information, contact P.O. Box 37, Su-ngai Kolok, Narathiwat 96120.

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