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จองโรงแรม ทั่วโลก

Narathiwat


 

Narathiwat at a glance

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
Cho Ai Rong
Tak Bai
Bacho
Yi-ngo
Ra-ngae
Ruso
Waeng
Si Sakhon
Sukhirin
Su-ngai Kolok
Su-ngai Padi

47

31

33

28

18

24

48

83

65

112

63

49

kms.

kms.

kms.

kms.

kms.

kms.

kms.

kms.

kms.

kms.

kms.

kms.

How To Get There


By Car

From Bangkok: Take Highway No. 4 passing Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chumphon Provinces and Highway No. 41, passing Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung and Hat Yai Provinces and connect to Highway No. 42 for Pattani and Narathiwat Provinces. Total distance is 1,149 kilometers.

 


By Bus

The Transport Co., Ltd. operates daily bus services between Bangkok-Narathiwat and Bangkok-Su-ngai Kolok.

 

For more information, call tel. 0 2435 1199-200; Narathiwat Bus Terminal tel. 0 7351 1845 and Su-ngai Kolok Bus Terminal tel. 0 7361 2045 or visit www.transport.co.th.

From Narathiwat: Buses to Bangkok leave from 2 separate small terminals on Suriyapradit Road, close to the police stations. They depart 4 times a day. Buses to Phuket Province via Pattani, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Trang, Krabi and Phang-nga Provinces leave 3 times a day.

There are also minivans that connect Narathiwat and Hat Yai Province for 120 bahts, Pattani Province for 60 bahts, Su-ngai Kolok District for 50 bahts, and Yala Province for 60 bahts. They leave from different stops around the city.

 


By Train

The State Railway of Thailand has a daily express and rapid Bangkok-Tanyongmat (Narathiwat)-Su-ngai Kolok service, departing from the Hua Lamphong Railway Station at 0.25 p.m. and 2.45 p.m. For more information, call tel. 1690, 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020; Su-ngai Kolok station tel. 0 7361 1162, 0 7361 4060 or visit www.srt.motc.go.th. The train station is located approximately 20 kilometers west of town, which is accessible via Songthaew that costs 20 bahts.

 


By Air

Thai Airways International has 2 weekly flights connecting Phuket with Narathiwat. For more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel. 0-2280-0060, 0-2628-2000; Narathiwat office, tel. 0 7351 1161, 0 7351 3090, or visit their website at www.thaiairways.com.

 

Getting around Narathiwat

Walking around the town is highly recommended as the city can easily be explored on foot. For those who do not want to walk, the motorcycle taxi is a good alternative with the rate ranging between 10 and 20 bahts/trip, depending on the distance.

Car rental service is also available and is provided by some guesthouses.

Chao Mae Tomo Celebrations

Chao Mae Tomo Celebrations is an important festival of Su-ngai Kolok and consists of the Chao Mae Tomo procession, floral floats, lion and dragon parade, and performance of people being possessed. The event is held on the 23rd day of the third month of the Chinese calendar. Entertainment includes Chinese opera and many shops.
 Narathiwat Products Fair

Narathiwat Products Fair showcases all the highlights of the province, such as the show of special arts and crafts, Krachut sedge day, barred ground dove cooing contest, Longkong day, and the annual Korlae boat races in front of the throne hall.

- Korlae-Long Boat Races in front of the Throne Hall are held on Bang Nara River opposite Sala Prachakhom (community pavilion). This annual event is held when the Royal Family is in residence at Thaksin Ratchaniwet Palace.

- Krachut Sedge Day is an event that the province hosts around the same time as the boat races in order to publicise and promote hemp products, one of the activities of the crafts project of the province. Products are made in places like Moo Ban Thon and Ban Phikun Thong. Activities of the day include an exhibition on the production process from the preparation of raw materials to weaving the sedge into beautiful mats or transforming it into other lovely and unusual products like hats, handbags, letter holders, food covers, and lamp shades. Moreover, there are Krachut contests and stores selling Krachut sedge products.

Local Products

 Batik

Mu Ban Yakang This old village is where unique and famous batik, cloth printed with exotic patterns, is made. It is located about 4 kilometers from the town on the road to Amphoe Rangae.


 Korlae boats: Ban Thon

A traditional Thai Muslim fishing village, Ban Thon is located approximately 16 kilometers from the city. The village is a well-known center for production of real and miniature Korlae boats, which is considered to be an exquisite form of local art. Boys over 13 years old traditionally make the miniature boats, costing from a few hundred baht to 2,000 baht. Moreover, some children spend their free time making these miniature boats.

 

Korlae Boat is a small, coastal, fishing boat that is used in the lower southern provinces. The boat ranges in size from 1, 250, 1,100 and 1,000 centimeters. The boat has a unique style, with the bow and stern being higher than the hull. Designs on the boat are a combination of Malay, Javanese and Thai styles, with emphasis on Thai patterns. Such patterns include a running scroll design, lotus, serpents, magic monkeys, and heads of birds in literature like Burong Si-ngo or Singhapaksi (a creature with the body of a lion and the head of a bird holding a fish with its beak) at the bow. The creature, which has sharp fangs and claws, is powerful, and is a good diver, and has been a favorite of Korlae fishermen ever since ancient times. The boat is like an artistic masterpiece on waves and is considered life art as the Korlae boat not only shows off the greatness of its design, but is also the primary instrument used by fishermen to make a living. It is said that a Bang Nara villager without a Korlae fishing boat is like a person without clothes.


 Longan

Longan is a tropical fruit indigenous to Java, Malaya, the Philippines and the south of Thailand. It grows well in loamy sand or loose soil in shady areas with regular rain and good drainage. The sweet and fragrant fruit has a thin peel and only a little latex. The most popular variety is called long-kong see poh and it grows in Ra-ngae District. There are similar fruits called langsad and duku. Longan is in season from August to October. It is also exported, especially to Malaysia and Singapore.

Amphoe Bacho
 
 Budo-Su-ngai Padi Mountain Range National Park
 

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.

 Luang Pho Daeng of Wat Choeng Khao

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.

 Taloh-manoh Mosque (Wadil-husen Mosque or the 200-year Mosque)
 

Situated in Bacho District, the mosque is usually dubbed the 200-year mosque or 300-year mosque by the locals. It is believed that Haji Saihu, a religious teacher ordered a builder named Sae-ma to build the mosque in 1769.

 

Instead of using nails and screws, the whole mosque was traditionally built using old building tools such as Malarbar ironwood (a local timber known as Mai Takien) and wooden bolts and pins. The 26 wooden poles are 10x10 inches, the floor is two inches thick and window shutters are of solid wood boards. The mosque itself consists of two adjacent buildings built in a mixture of local Thai, Chinese, and Malay architectural styles. The most prominent feature is the buildings three-tiered roof where the Imam prays. The top tier features a dome constructed in the Chinese pavilion style. In the past, it functioned as the minaret or tower where people were called from at prayer times. Visitors can see the building from the surrounding area, however, those wishing to see the interior are are required to receive permission from the village Imam.

 

Next to the mosque is a Muslim graveyard. Rocks decorating the grave of deceased males will be round, while those for females would be half buried, with only half of the rock visible above ground.

The mosque is located in Ban Talo Mano, Tambon Subo Sawo, 25 kilometers from Narathiwat town. Take Highway No. 42 and make a turn at Burangae intersection.


:: Amphoe Mueang
 
 Ao Manao Park
 

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).

 Ban Thon

A traditional Thai Muslim fishing village, Ban Thon is located approximately 16 kilometers from the city. The village is a well-known center for production of real and miniature Korlae boats, which is considered to be an exquisite form of local art. Boys over 13 years old traditionally make the miniature boats, costing from a few hundred baht to 2,000 baht. Moreover, some children spend their free time making these miniature boats.

 

In addition, products made of Krachut sedge and Annonaceae leaves are also sold here. A few popular products are colorful and exquisitely designed eyeglass holders, bags and mats. They are value-for-money souvenirs ranging in price from 30 baht to a few hundred baht.

 

Other renowned village products are the sumptuous Budu sauce and fish crackers. Along the beach visitors will see lines of dried fish and many Budu sauce vats. The sauce is used extensively in southern cooking, similar to the use of fish sauce in Thai cooking. It is possible to see how the sauce is made and purchase some as souvenirs daily.

 

Visitors please note that on Fridays, villagers go to prayers and take the day off. Therefore, it may not be convenient to buy things on Friday.

 

The village is located at Tambon Khok Tian, around 16 kilometers from the town on Highway No. 4136 (Narathiwat-Ban Thon).

 Ban Yakang

This is not an ordinary village, but is an old community established when the province was known as Bang Nara village. At present, the village is a major Batik production center with distinctive, traditionally made fabrics that have beautiful designs and fascinating colors. They are multi-purpose fabrics that are very popular among both local residents and tourists.

 

The village is located some 4 kilometers from the Provincial Hall on Highway No. 4055 (Amphoe Muang-Amphoe Rangae). Turn onto Soi 6 of Yakang 1 Road and proceed for about 700 meters.

 Hat Narathat

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.

 Khao Kong Buddhist Park

The Park occupies an area of 142 rais (56.8 acres) in Tambon Lamphu, about 9 kilometers from town on the Narathiwat-Rangae route (Highway No. 4055). The main attraction in Wat Khao Kong is a graceful southern Buddha image, the golden Phra Phuttha Thaksin Ming Mongkhon, which is seated in the lotus position. The construction of the steel-reinforced concrete image that was decorated with gold mosaics started in 1966 and was completed in 1969. This mountaintop Buddha image, which is considered to be the most beautiful and largest (17 meters wide and 24 meters high) outdoor Buddha image in southern Thailand, is decorated in the South Indian style.

 New Central Mosque

The mosque is located at Ban Bang Nara, just before Narathat Beach. This mosque, which is the provinces second central mosque built in 1981, is a religious site highly revered by Thai Muslims. This 3-story Arabian-style building with a large dome on top has the main convention hall on the ground floor and the prayer rooms on the top 2 floors. In addition, there is a high tower that is used to call Muslims to prayer.

 Old Central Mosque

Also widely known as Yumiya Mosque, or Rayo Mosque, the compound is located to the north of town, further from the Provincial Hall on Phichit Bamrung Road, just before the intersection at the clock tower. This original wooden mosque was built in 1938 in the Sumatran-style and is the burial place of the old city Lord, Phraya Phu Pha Phakdi. Usually there is only one provincial mosque, but because this mosque is quite small, a new mosque was built at the mouth of Bang Nara River. However, this old mosque is still highly respected by locals and is regarded as the central one.

 Phikun Thong Development Study Center

The center was established according to an initiative of His Majesty the King who saw the necessity for a knowledge center for land reform in the area. The center has a complete range of activities such as analyzing and testing plants, livestock care, providing technical know-how and providing agricultural training. Occupying an area of 2,784,000 square meters, the center is divided into office buildings, demonstration plots and testing plots in swamp forest areas.

 

Royal projects include a soil project that adds maximum acidity to paddy soil, then attempts to find a solution so it can be used to counter acidic soil nationwide. Other projects include a new concept in agriculture that is used in areas with an abundant supply of water and planting of oil palm in highly organic soil. A small, fully integrated factory and Prince of Songkhla University jointly produce products from palm oil, like oil extracts, soap and butter that are sold to workers and outsiders. A livestock factory produces animal waste gas wells. There is also a project that plants Zalacca palm to supplement rubber plantations.


Furthermore, on weekdays the center operates a training center on making products from Krachut sedge and Annonaceae leaves.

 

People who come here to study also receive considerable enjoyment. This is in accordance with His Majesty the Kings intention that an observation tour should be similar to a picnic in a park. Every September, the center holds an exhibition that coincides with the Narathiwat Products Fair.

The center is located between Ban Phikun Thong and Ban Khok Saya in Tambon Kaluwo Nuea, about 1 kilometer from the Thaksin Ratchaniwet Palace and 8 kilometers from Narathiwat town on Highway No. 4084 (Narathiwat-Tak Bai).

 Siri Maya Pagoda

The bell-shaped pagoda is situated on the hill adjacent to the Khao Kong Buddhist Park. Small pagodas housing Phra Phrom images were built above all four doorways and the holy relics of Lord Buddha are enshrined at the very top of the pagoda. A convocation hall, with the outer walls decorated with carved, terracotta tiles is located on a nearby hill behind which is a figure of an elephant kneeling to present a lotus. In addition, the buildings awning portrays a warrior and an angel holding a jug. Local residents built the pagoda as a dedication to Her Majesty the Queen.

 Thaksin Ratchaniwet Palace

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.


:: Amphoe Sukhirin

 Wat Chon Thara Singhe

Wat Chon Thara Singhe is at Moo 3, Tambon Chehe, on the bank of Tak Bai River. From town, take Highway No. 4985 (Narathiwat-Tak Bai) to Tak Bai District Market intersection and turn left for about 100 metres to the temple entrance. In 1873, Phra Khru Ophat Phutthakhun established the temple and requested land from Phraya Kelantan for its construction. At that time, Tak Bai was still a part of Kelantan in Malaysia.
This is a Buddhist temple among a predominantly Muslim community. It played a role in the secession of land between Siam and Malaya (then a colony of the United Kingdom) during the reign of King Rama V in 1909. The Thai side raised the fact that since this is a Buddhist temple, it should remain with Thailand. The British relented and agreed to use the Klok River (Tak Bai River) that flows through Tak Bai as the boundary. Therefore, the temple is also called Wat Phithak Phaen Din Thai or the temple that protects Thai sovereignty.

The temple is generally peaceful and has a spacious lawn on the bank that is ideal for relaxation. The chapel, built in the reign of King Rama V, has wall murals drawn by Songkhla monks. The paintings clearly recount the life of Lord Buddha and the interesting life of locals at that time. It also houses a main Buddha image made of gold, which covers its original features of a red mouth and black hair. It is situated on a 1.5 metres high base. From the style of the base, it is believed that this is a Mon image. Another building houses a reclining Buddha image and the inner walls are covered with old Sangkhalok porcelain.

To get there, you can take a bus to Tak Bai district. In addition, there are mini-buses (20 baht), vans (30 baht and get on at the roundabout in town) and buses. You can get off at Tak Bai intersection and walk for around 500 metres. Vans will take you right into the temple.


:: Amphoe Su-ngai Kolok
 
 Chao Mae Tomo Shrine

The shrine is located in Soi Phuthon, Charoen Khet Road. Originally housed at Ban Tomo in Amphoe Su Khirin, villagers transferred Chao Mae Tomo to Su-ngai Kolok District. The goddess is highly revered by the local residents and residents of nearby provinces, as well as Chinese Malaysians. Every year, a festival is held at the shrine on the 23rd day of the third month of the Chinese calendar (around April). Activities undertaken include a procession, lion parade, a fancy acrobatic stilts procession, a long drum procession, and walking over hot coal.

 Sirindhorn Peat Swamp Forest Nature Research and Study Center (To Daeng Peat Swamp Forest Pa Pru To Daeng)
 

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.

 Su-ngai Kolok Checkpoint

The largest border trading area in the province, the checkpoint opens between 5.00 a.m. and 9.00 p.m. Cross-border traffic is via a bridge common between Thailand and Malaysia. Thais like to cross to Rantu Panyang to buy electrical goods and snacks while Malays come over to shop for food and fruits.


The checkpoint is located around 1 kilometer from Su-ngai Kolok train station. There are 2 possible routes from the city. The first is via Highway No. 4055 (Narathiwat-Rangae). Proceed along the highway and turn left at Ban Manang Tayo, then take Highway No. 4056 to Amphoe Su-ngai Padi into Su-ngai Kolok. The second route is by taking Highway No. 4084 from Narathiwat town to Amphoe Tak Bai, turning right to Highway No. 4057 (Tak Bai-Su-ngai Kolok) and proceeding for 66 kilometers.

 

From Su-ngai Kolok Checkpoint, visitors can drive across the bridge to Kota Bahru in Malaysia, but each car must be insured (see details below under Taba Checkpoint). For a border pass, call tel. 0- 7361-4296.



:: Amphoe Su-ngai Padi

 Chat Warin Waterfall
 

Chat Warin Waterfall is at Tambon To Teng, not too far from town. Take Highway No. 4056 to Su-ngai Padi Hospital, then turn left for 6 kms. The entrance is a good asphalt road in Budo-Su-ngai Padi National Park. This is a medium-sized waterfall that has a year-round water supply and is shady by the many trees in the area.

The most striking plant here is the rare Bangsun Palm that is found in the jungle around 1,800 metres above sea level. Originating from Malaysia, the plant is a low tree with many branches that can get as high as 3 metres. It has neatly arranged large, diamond-shaped leaves. The palm is regarded by many as the most beautiful palm in the world and is found only in this forest. The name Bangsun Palm was given by Professor Prachit Wamanon, advisor of the royal projects, when he inspected the area and found the palm had grown in a Muslim village. The professor saw that the palm leaf was similar to a Bangsun, a large umbrella used in processions. The locals call the palm Buke Ipae, meaning mountain centipede, probably because the flower is shaped like a centipede.


:: Amphoe Tak Bai
 
 Ko Yao

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 Ko 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.

 Kubu Beach-Ban Khlong Tan

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.

 Taba Checkpoint or Tak Bai Checkpoint

This checkpoint is at Ban Taba, Tambon Chehe, approximately 3 kilometers from the district. The checkpoint is another trading post between Thailand and Malaysia apart from the Su-ngai Kolok checkpoint. Crossing over is possible by long-tail boats or by ferry (different landings). Boats leave every 15 minutes and operate between 6.30 a.m. and 5.15 p.m. The fee is 6 baht per person. (same price for every pier) The fee for a motorcycle is 15 baht, a 4-wheel car is 50 baht and a bus is 100 baht.

 

Visitors wishing to drive a car further than the customs checkpoint have to obtain car insurance for driving in Malaysia. Other regulations are that the car must not have more than 40% tinting and must have seatbelts, as Malaysia is very strict about vehicle safety. It is possible to purchase insurance in Thailand providing coverage for 9 days to 1 year with the normal cost of insurance being between 600 and 700 baht. To get there, take Highway No. 4084 (Amphoe Mueang-Amphoe Tak Bai).

 Wat Chon Thara Singhe
 

This temple is at Mu 3, Tambon Chehe, on the bank of Tak Bai River. From the town, take Highway No. 4985 (Narathiwat-Tak Bai) until the Tak Bai District Market intersection, turn left and proceed for another 100 meters to the temple entrance.

 

In 1873, Phra Khru Ophat Phutthakhun established the temple and requested land from Phraya Kelantan for its construction. At that time, Tak Bai was still a part of Kelantan in Malaysia. This Buddhist temple, which played an important role in the secession of land between Siam and Malaya (then a colony of the United Kingdom) during the reign of King Rama V in 1909, is located in a predominantly Muslim community. The Thai side raised the fact that since this is a Buddhist temple, it should remain with Thailand. The British relented and agreed to use the Klok River (Tak Bai River) that flows through Tak Bai as the boundary. Therefore, the temple is also called Wat Phithak Phaen Din Thai or the temple that protects Thai sovereignty.

 

The temple is generally peaceful and has a spacious lawn on the riverbank that is ideal for relaxation. The chapel, built in the reign of King Rama V, has murals drawn by monks from Songkhla. The paintings depict the life of the Lord Buddha and the daily life of locals at that time. It also houses a main Buddha image made of gold, which covers its original features of a red mouth and black hair and situated on a 1.5-meter high base. From the style of the base, it is believed that this is a Mon image. Another building housing a reclining Buddha image has inner walls covered with old Sangkhalok porcelain.

 

To get there, take a bus to Tak Bai district. Other transportation options are mini-buses (20 baht), vans (30 baht and board at the roundabout in town) and buses. If traveling by bus, get off at Tak Bai intersection and walk for around 500 meters. Vans will take you right into the temple.



:: Amphoe Waeng
 
 Hala-Bala Wildlife Reserve
 

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.

 Namtok Sirindhorn

The waterfall is actually a stream that comes down from a forest at a higher altitude. The falls feature a wide rock plateau which is suitable for relaxation. Another attraction is the Southern Forest Flowers and Decorative Plants Survey and Collection Project under the Patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The project has more than 200 plant species that are grouped according to their natural habitat. Signs provide plant names and useful information. Plants here are both interesting in terms of local botany and breeding to be developed as decorative and economic plants. The project is open from 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. The waterfall is located approximately 7 kilometers from Amphoe Waeng on Highway No. 4057. Turn left onto Phua Khwam Man Khong Road and proceed for around 8 kilometers, then drive another 300 meters to the waterfall.

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