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Southern Thailand

Chumphon Expat Travel Guide

Chumphon (ชุมพร) is a city and a province of the same name on the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. With its transport hub of Chumphon Airport in Pathio District, Chumphon is the gateway to the south and the islands of the Gulf of Thailand. Understand Chumphon Province is in the upper part of Southern […]

Wolfgang Holzem

Published

on

Chumphon (ชุมพร) is a city and a province of the same name on the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. With its transport hub of Chumphon Airport in Pathio District, Chumphon is the gateway to the south and the islands of the Gulf of Thailand.

Understand

Chumphon Province is in the upper part of Southern Thailand. It is a gateway to the popular Gulf of Thailand islands of Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, Ko Tao, and Ko Khai. The province is symbolised by the Banyan tree often referred to as sacred in both Hindu and Buddhist teachings.

Stay with our Hotel Partners in Chumphon

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Get in

The public bus service operates from two terminals. The main one is some 10 km out of town, and buses from Bangkok and most other places stop there. The other terminal is in town, and buses from there go to and from Hat Yai/Phuket/Ranong only. They stop at the distant terminal both coming and going.

The railway station is in the centre of Chumphon town or travelers may wish to alight at Pathio station 30 km north of Chumphon and nearby the airport.

Various ferry companies operate ferries to, or within reach of Chumphon, and/or a bus service into the centre of town. For those in the gulf islands wishing to return to Bangkok, Chumphon is more direct than returning via Surat Thani.

Fly to Chumphon

  • Chumphon Airport (is 30 km (19 mi) north of Chumphon City in Pathio District (alternative spelling, Pathiu)). It has direct daily flights connections with Bangkok’s Don Meueng Airport . Flights from Bangkok are around 50 minutes.

AirAsia and Nok Air operates multiple flights between Bangkok (Don Mueang, DMK) and Chumphon Airport, Pathio District, Chumphon (CJM).

Cheap Flights to Chumphon

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

Bangkok

07.12.2020

09.12.2020

Tickets from 1 798

Khon Kaen

26.02.2021

02.03.2021

Tickets from 3 579

Phitsanulok

01.01.2021

04.01.2021

Tickets from 5 354

Airport services

The airport has transit agents for onward travel to Chumphon and the islands including Ko Tao and Ko Samui.

  • Organic Farm produce from Prince Chumphon KMITL University.
  • Chumphon Coffee and Gift Shop adjacent to departure gates offers lattes, cappuccino, and fruit smoothies.
  • Fame Tours and Services have a counter at arrivals hall offering transfer and hotel services.
  • Lomprayah has an counter at the airport offering direct connections to the pier for high speed catamaran transfer services Ko Tao, Ko Pha-ngan and onwards to Ko Samui. Songserm also have boats connections to the islands. In 2018 the Lomprayah High Speed catamaran service will move right next to the airport at its new private pier, Cape Pathiu, Chumko, Pathiu reducing transit times by several hours.
  • The TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand), Chumphon has a tourism information counter offering information on the region adjacent to the airline counters.

By bicycle

There are many smaller roads with little traffic north and south of Chumphon. The coastal road in Pathio District has dedicated bicycle lanes in a unique red bitumen. Chumphon has a bicycle shops where most parts and repairs can be made.

By car

From Bangkok, take either the Phutthamonthon-Nakhon Pathom-Phetchaburi route or the Thonburi-Pak Tho route (Hwy 35) then turn onto Hwy 4 (Phetkasem Road) at Pak Tho, passing through Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces before arriving at the Pathom Phon intersection. Take the left turn to go another 8 km into Chumphon via Hwy 4001.

Take a bus to Chumphon

The Transport Co. Ltd. provides air conditioned buses from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal, Borom Ratchonni Road to Chumphon daily. For information, call Tel. +66 24 355605, +66 24 351199. For Chumphon’s Bus Terminal, Tha Taphao Road, contact Tel. +66 77 502725, +66 77 511099.

Air conditioned buses from private operators:

  • Chok Anant Tour Co., Ltd. Tel. +66 2 4355027, +66 2 4357429 (Bangkok), and Tel. +66 77 511480, +66 77 511757 (Chumphon)
  • Suwannathi Tour Co., Ltd. Tel. +66 2 4355021, +66 2 4355026, +66 2 4355030 (Bangkok), and Tel. +66 77 51 1422, +66 77 501535, +66 77 511244 (Chumphon)

To get to and from these four bus terminals: a) The distant one: Several kilometres out of town in the middle of nowhere! This is the Southern Bus Terminal. Buses from Chokeanan Tour and Patchraporn Tour stop off in here, 16 km from Chumphon city, south along Hwy 41. To get into town from here, wait for a silver coloured minibus to turn up (ask at the bus station), and you will be taken into town for 50 Thai Baht, and dropped off any place you request.

You could also hire a taxi or, the cheapest option: turn left from Saladaeng Road onto Prachauthit Road and walk about 300 m. On the right is a 7-Eleven and on the left is the in-town bus station. Continue another 200 m to the intersection of Pinijkadee Road on the right and walk along this for about 100 m. On the other side of the road are white songthaews which go regularly and stop at the bus station. Cost: 50 Thai Baht.

b) The bus terminal in-town: walk along Saladaeng Road, away from the railway station road, with the Fame Guest House on your left, for about 300 m. Turn left into Prachauthid Road and walk some 300 m and you will see a 7-Eleven on your right and a street opposite. On this street, which curves sharply left, there is a Yamaha dealer near the corner, and the bus terminal is instantly next to this. [This isn’t in-town bus terminal as such doesn’t exist This is Chok-Anant private station and Suwanathi Tour uses other place in-town]

c) The minibus terminal: This is on Krum Liang Road (the cheap eats road, at the left end of which is the railway station). Turn right onto it off Saladeng Road and walk about five minutes, looking up to your right. You will eventually see up an alley a series of minibuses which go regularly to Surat Thani and Hua Hin (every 45 minutes, these stop at Prachuat first). Allow 4 hours to get to Hua Hin as you have to switch in Prachuap. Fares to Prachuap, 170 Thai Baht, and then on to Hua Hin, another 90 Thai Baht.

Travel by train to Chumphon

The State Railway of Thailand provides daily rapid and express train services departing from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Railway Station. Further information, call Tel. 1690, +66 2 2204334, +66 2 2204444 or Chumphon Railway Station at Tel +66 77 511103. For the Thonburi Railway Station (Bangkok Noi), there are ordinary and rapid trains leaving for Chumphon daily. For information, call Tel +66 2 4113102, +66 2 6218701 Ext. 8285106.

Passengers may travel to either Chumphon Station or Pathio Station. Pathio Station is nearer to the airport and the fast developing transport hub.

If coming from Hua Hin: the fare for the basic non-air conditioned train will cost 49 Thai Baht and take about 5 hours. An air conditioned two-carriage train leaves a little earlier and is much quicker but must be booked in advance. Train leaves at 11:30 (there are others though).

There is a 3rd class train from Chumphon to Hatyai via Surat Thani every day at 6am. the fare to Hatyai is 99 Thai Baht.

Get around

Local public buses (Route: Chumphon–Sawi–Lang Suan) park in front of the Chumphon market, Tha Taphao Road from 06:00-18:00.

Motorbike taxis at railway station Taxis are available at the taxi stand which is opposite the Chumphon Bus Terminal. This is the terminal in town. From here buses go to Ranong, then Phuket (08:00, 10:00, 11:15). Pay on the bus. To Ranong 2.5 hours, and Phuket 7 hours (although the bus is usually an hour late arriving!) The bus goes first to the distant (10 km) terminal.

There are local songthaews but you need local knowledge as to where they are going. White and maybe red ones appear to go at some point to the distant bus terminal.

To orient yourself within the town: The railway station is on Krum Liang Road. If arriving via train, leave via the ticket office onto the road and walk past the three old steam locomotives mounted on display. After 200 m is the intersection with Saladaeng Road. Directly ahead on this same road is where the cheap eats are. Turn right into Saladaeng and this appears to be the main hotel strip. You will soon pass the Fame Guesthouse on your left, followed by Sri Chumpon (right), Suriwong (right) and Paradorn (left some 100 m along Soi 4).

See

  • The National Museum of Chumphon (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติชุมพร). W-Su, 09:00–16:00. Any trip to Chumphon should start from the national museum. Established in 1995 at Khao Samkaew, the museum provides a provincial overview ranging from prehistory through to the present. Even for those who are not overly interested in history, the museum’s attractive displays and media resources will fascinate and inform. The museum is divided into a ground floor and the upper floor.
  • Prince of Chumphon Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อกรมหลวงชุมพร), Moo 7 Hat Sai Ri (20 km from Chumphon city centre, on Hwy 4119 and 4098). This is a sacred place for the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces. At the shrine stands the monument of Admiral Phra Borommawong Thoe Kromluang Chumphon Khet Udomsak. The shrine is at the north site of Hat Sai Ri facing towards the sea. There is a museum with exhibits about the admiral’s biography and things which he used. A large torpedo-ship named the Royal Chumphon is also here. It is 68 m long and 6.6 m wide. This ship was decommissioned on 26 Nov 1975. The Royal Thai Navy turned the ship over to Chumphon Province in 1979. After that it was placed near this monument for the commemoration of the admiral.
  • Wat Chao Fa Sala Loi (วัดเจ้าฟ้าศาลาลอย) (About 8 km from town on the Chumphon–Ao Thung Wua Laen Road. To get there travel along an asphalt road for 6 km and continue the journey along a brick road for another 2 km). Luang Pho Song Chanthasaro, a famous religious teacher who passed away at the age of nearly 100 years, lived at this temple. His body still remains undecayed. This monk is revered by the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces.
  • Long Boat Racing Festival (Kurn Khon Ching Tong, ขึ้นโขนชิงธง) (Lang Suan District). People have been living near the Lang Suan River for a long time. Long boat racing consists of 32 rowers per long boat, and the goal is to get the victory by paddling fast to grab the red flag. The reward is cups from members of the royal family. This festival is happens every year on the first day of the waxing moon on the 11th lunar month or approximately October. There also are activities on the grounds.

What to do in Chumphon

Pathio Coast and Beaches (Near Chumphon Airport)
  • Ao Bo Mao Beach (Spring Tree Bay), Pathio District (30 km N of Chumphon City; 1 km from Chumphon Airport). A long white sand beach in Pathio near Chumphon Airport. From the beach you can rent boats to nearby the island of Ko Khai or simply relax and enjoy the moment. The beach has small resorts and seafood restaurants, but remains charming, quiet, and unspoiled with views to the headlands of Cape Pathio and Laem Thaen.
  • Ao Thung Makham (อ่าวทุ่งมะขาม), Pathio District. Amazing unspoiled white sand beaches with limestone rock formations separating the curved bays. About 5 km from Chumphon Airport and 35 km from Chumphon City.
  • 10.750599.40051 Coral Beach, Chumko, Pathio. A crescent-shaped, palm-fringed beach with large rocky headlands, it is one of the most beautiful in Thailand and is part of a giant clam sanctuary. Unknown to most tourists, this beach is quiet and often you may be the only ones there. About 15 minutes by car from Chumphon Airport. Currently, a major tourist resort is under construction consisting of 3 condomimiums and 10 pool villas. (updated Dec 2015)
  • Thung Wua Laen (Running Bull Beach), Pathio District (15 km north of Chumphon in Pathio, 10 km from Chumphon Airport). This white sand beach is the Chumphon’s key beach destination. Activities include diving, snorkelling, kayaking, kite surfing, beach sports, temple visits. The beach has numerous resorts, restaurants and beach bars but remains charming, quiet, and relatively unspoiled.
Chumphon City and surrounding areas
  • Mo Ku Chumphon National Park (National Park Visitors Centre), towards Hat Sai Ri (Take local bus from near post office or see local travel agent). Take the wooden bus to the fairly new and surprisingly modern visitors centre. Walk the boardwalks through the mangrove forests and over creeks. Ask at centre for other walks available. The actual national park area part of the Chumphon Archipelago in Chumphon Province is huge and takes in islands, reefs, beaches, jungle, mountain, creeks, ocean, and mangroves. You can stay overnight here. There’s a camping area, and bungalows on the Pong Pang Viewpoint go for 600 Thai Baht per night, and accommodate 2 people. Add 100 Thai Baht for each extra person. Dorm beds, with no bedding for 50 Thai Baht. There are also two restaurants. A good place to visit to make the best of your stay in Chumphon. 200 Thai Baht.
  • Hat Sai Ri (หาดทรายรี) (About 20 km (12 mi) along Hwy 4119 and 4098 with regular bus services from the town centre (take a songthaew from the square by the city pillar shrine)). This long smooth white sand and extensive beach is shaded by majestic pine trees and affords some spectacular views of nearby islands. Colourful boats lie berthed by the beach, which is lined with restaurants selling fresh seafood. For historical interest, a monument commemorating the late Admiral Prince of Chumphon is located nearby, complete with a well-preserved WWII warship. A hillside temple at the site offers a panoramic view of the entire area.
  • Khao Chao Mueang (เขาเจ้าเมือง) (About 2.4 km from Hat Sai Ri). The district’s highest observation point offering stunning views of the coast and far out into the distant archipelago. Are rivalled only by the peace and tranquillity offered by the secluded beach located at the base of the mountain, along with the beautiful coral lagoon fronting Ko Maprao.
  • Khao Phang Forest Park (วนอุทยานเขาพาง) (About 12 km south of the town, at km493 on Hwy 4). Khao Phang Forest Park is one of the province’s newest attractions. Within the national park, there are a great variety of tropical trees, making the park a shady and restful sojourn for nature lovers and a must for students of forestry. A hill, covering an area of about one square kilometre, is behind the park providing a commanding view of the entire area.
  • Ko Samet (เกาะเสม็ด) (Departures from Moo 1, Pak Nam, about 8 km (5.0 mi) from Chumphon. To get there, first, take a bus along Hwy 4119 (Chumphon-Pak Nam), about 17 km (11 mi). Then take the boat for 30 min to get there). Not the better-known Ko Samet off the east gulf coast near Rayong. One of a group of islands in Chumphon National Marine Park. There are beaches at the head, and the middle of this island. It is Chumphon’s largest island. This island is crowned with coconut trees making it a suitable place for spending holidays and relaxation.

Shopping in Chumphon

  • Tesco Lotus Express, Tha Taphao (city center). open 24 hours aday. (updated Mar 2017)

Eat

Pathio Beaches (Near Chumphon Airport)

  • Krua Lung Pod (Uncle Pod Restaurant) (Ao Bo Mao Beach, Spring Tree Bay, on the beach, 1.5 km from airport). Thai seafood restaurant on the beach. Sit in open sala facing Ko Khai. Extensive range of food with English menu.

Chumphon Town

  • Day and early evening market, Thatapao Road (From Farang Bar turn right, it’s maybe 100 m). Good selection of lunches, fruit, and other produce. In the evening the locals come here for a snack and for takeaways. Some local desserts available too, look for the durian pieces in soy milk. Delicious!
  • Farang Bar, 69/36 Thatapao Road. English owned. Good for Western food great Thai food too. Farang Bar is also a basic guest house with 250 Thai Baht rooms, shared baths, and free Wi-Fi. The bar and restaurant get a steady stream of local expats as well as plenty of tourists on their way to the islands. The staff speak a fair amount of English. The offerings include extremely cold beer and amazing cocktails, excellent Western and Thai food. Ivor (the farang) can also provide advice regarding Ko Tao and arrange bookings for you if needed (i.e., he calls and reserves. He does not sell you tickets, unless you want him to).
  • Morning Market, Pracha Uthit Road through to Poramin Manka Road. Bustling early morning market, also has curry stalls and local prices are usually asked. There are often light trucks outside on Pracha Uthit Road piled high with seasonal fruits such as pineapple, rambutan, and durian.
  • Night Market, Krom Luang Road (Walk straight out from the rail station, past the vintage rail locomotives, and cross the intersection). The locals flock here in the evening to show off their pet dogs in the front basket of their motorcycles, to eat, and to collect takeaways. Massive selection of foods to choose from in a compact area. More expensive than the other markets but also more fun. Stalls with seasonal durian (whole or ready-to-eat) are on the right-hand side furthest from the rail station.

Drink

  • Papa’s Night Club (Opposite train station on right corner). 21:30-01:30. Good bands, DJ, and dancers. No cover charges. Can take your own spirits. 200 Thai Baht plus mixers.

Where to stay in Chumphon

  • Away Tusita Resort Chumphon
  • Chumphon Cabana Resort & Diving
  • Novotel Beach Resort & Golf Chumphon

Go next

  • Ko Tao – Known as the best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand, its turquoise water is crystalline, coconut plantations cover much of the landscape, and many beaches are easily accessible by paved road.

There are several transportation options from Chumphon:

  • Ko Charoen Car Ferry – Boat leaves from Tha Yang Pier M-W-F at 23:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 5:00. From Ko Tao, a boat departs for Chumphon on Tu-Th-Sa. It arrives Tha Yang Pier at 5:00. The fare is 250 Thai Baht. For information, contact tel. +66 77 580030, +66 81 7970276.
  • Lomphraya Ferry – Boat leaves from Ao Thung Makham Noi Pier at 7:00 and 13:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 8:45 and 14:45. From Ko Tao boat departs for Ao Thung Makham Noi Pier at 22:00 and 15:00. It arrives at 23:30 and 16:30.
  • Songserm Ferry – Boat leaves from Tha Yang Pier daily at 7:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 9:45. From Ko Tao, the departure time for Chumphon is 14:30 and arrival is at 17:30. For information, contact Tel. +66 2 2807897, +66 77 456274.

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Reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne and a longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Love to follow the English Premier League , the German Bundesliga and the Spanish La Liga.

Southern Thailand

Nakhon Si Thammarat Expat Travel Guide

Nakhon Si Thammarat City Pillar Shrine Nakhon Si Thammarat (นครศรีธรรมราช) is a city in Southern Thailand. Understand Nakhon Si Thammarat Province is the second largest province in the south. It boasts verdant jungles abundant with luxuriant vegetation as well as picturesque beaches and beautiful waterfalls. The city of Nakhon Si Thammarat is the capital of […]

Wolfgang Holzem

Published

on

Nakhon Si Thammarat1000x600

Nakhon Si Thammarat (นครศรีธรรมราช) is a city in Southern Thailand.

Understand

Nakhon Si Thammarat Province is the second largest province in the south. It boasts verdant jungles abundant with luxuriant vegetation as well as picturesque beaches and beautiful waterfalls.

The city of Nakhon Si Thammarat is the capital of the province. It is about 780 km (485 mi) south of Bangkok, on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. The city was the administrative centre of southern Thailand during most of its history. Originally a coastal city, silting moved the coastline away from the city. The modern city centre around the train station is north of Old Town.

It is one of the most ancient cities of Thailand, previously the Kingdom of Ligor, and contains many buildings and ruins of historical significance. With the fall of the Siamese capital of Ayutthaya in 1767 it regained independence, but reaffirmed its allegiance on the founding of Bangkok. In the 17th century British, Portuguese, and Dutch merchants set up trading posts here and engaged in extensive commerce.

Stay with our Hotel Partners in Nakhon Si Thammarat

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Get in

By car

Take Hwy 4 on the Bangkok-Prachuap Khiri Khan-Chumphon route and then Hwy 41 past Surat Thani-Thung Song until arriving in Nakhon Si Thammarat or Phun Phin in Surat Thani, then take Hwy 401 along the coast to Nakhon Si Thammarat, total distance of 780 km.

By plane

  • Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport.

Two airlines operate flights between Bangkok and Nakhon Si Thammarat:

  • Air Asia.
  • Nok Air.

Cheap Flights to Nakhon Si Thammarat

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

Bangkok

04.03.2021

06.03.2021

Tickets from 993

Chiang Mai

21.03.2021

29.03.2021

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Khon Kaen

17.12.2020

20.12.2020

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Buri Ram

07.12.2020

08.12.2020

Tickets from 3 518

Udon Thani

29.12.2020

31.12.2020

Tickets from 3 907

Krabi

12.12.2020

12.12.2020

Tickets from 4 159

Pattaya

26.12.2020

28.12.2020

Tickets from 5 604

By train

Thai Railways offers rapid and express trains departing from Bangkok Railway Station to Nakhon Si Thammarat at 17:35 and 19:15. For more information, Tel. 1690, +66 2 2237010, +66 2 2237020 or call Nakhon Si Thammarat train station at tel. +66 75 356364, +66 75 346129. The train takes anywhere from 12-14 hours.

Trains leave the NST Terminal for Bangkok daily at 13:00 and 15:00. The NST station is to the west of town centre. Nearby are hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

Trains also depart NST station for Hatyai at 6 am and 10 am.

By bus

Regular and air-conditioned buses of The Transport Co. and private companies depart from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal. The trip takes about 12 hours. Air conditioned buses, 3 types, leave Bangkok at the following times:

  • VIP Bus: 17:15 and 19:00
  • Standard 1 Bus: 09:00, 18:00, and 20:30
  • Standard 2 Bus: 06:40, 18:00, 20:00, and 22:00

For more information, contact Tel. +66 2 4351199-200 (air conditioned buses).

Nakhon Si Thammarat Bus Station, Tel: +66 75 341125. The provincial bus station lies just outside the town, to the west. On the streets near the train station there are a number of bus company offices selling tickets for buses leaving for provinces north and south.

Travel within the province is easy with minibus service around the city. Transport to nearby provinces includes vans, taxis, buses, and trains.

Get around

See

  • City Museum. Admission free.
  • The City Wall (กำแพงเมือง). The city chronicle already mentions a fortification when the town was reestablished in 1278. Restorations were recorded at the time of King Ramesuan (14th century), as well as King Narai (1686). The latter was aided by the French engineer, M. de la Mare. The walls spread 456 m from east to west, and 2,238 m north to south, enclosing an area of about one square kilometre. The northern wall had only one gate, called Prathu Chai Nua or Prathu Chai Sak. The southern wall had only one gate. To the east there were three gates, which connected the town with the sea. To the west were five gates. Today only the northern gate still exists, together with a short stretch of the northern city wall.
  • National Museum Nakhon Si Thammarat (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ นครศรีธรรมราช). The museum has on display artifacts found in four southern provinces, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Surat Thani, and Chumphon. There is a good collection of rare books and important books sent by the National Library in Bangkok.
  • Wat Phra Mahathat (วัดพระมหาธาตุวรมหาวิหาร). The most important temple in Nakhon Si Thammarat and southern Thailand. It was constructed at the time of the founding of the town, and contains a tooth relic of Buddha. The 78 m high chedi is surrounded by 173 smaller ones. While the chedi is now in Sri Lankan style, it is said to have been built on top of an earlier Srivijaya-style chedi. At the base of the chedi is a gallery named Viharn Tap Kaset, decorated with many Buddha statues and elephant heads emerging from the chedi. Viharn Phra Song Ma is the buildings which contains the staircase which leads to a walkway around the chedi above the gallery. At the bottom of the staircase are demon giants (yak) as guardians. Adjoining to the north is the Viharn Kien, which contains a small temple museum. South of the chedi is the large ubosot building, the Viharn Luang. Living quarters are across the street in a separate temple, Wat Na Phra Boromathat. The chedi is the symbol of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, prominent on the seal of the province. It is also displayed on the 25 satang coin.
  • Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan (วัดพระมหาธาตุวรมหาวิหาร) A royal temple. Inside the temple are many buildings of importance, especially the royal building which has architecture from the Ayutthaya period and the Sam Chom building where the Buddha image, attired in royal wardrobe Phra Si Thamma Sokarat, is housed.
  • Phra Phutthaishing (พระพุทธสิหิงค์) This sacred image was believed to have been ordered by the King of Lanka in 157 CE and was brought to Thailand during the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great. The hall housing the image was originally the Buddha image hall of the palace of Chao Phraya Nakhon (Noi).
  • Ho Phra Isuan (หอพระอิศวร) is a historical site of the Brahman religion. It has on display the Shiva Linga which is the symbol of Shiva, the Brahman god. There are also several bronze images such as the Siwa Nattarat image, Phra Uma, and Phra Phikkhanet.
  • Ho Phra Narai (หอพระนารายณ์) is a Brahman place of worship opposite Ho Phra Isuan. A gray sandstone image of the god Narai wearing a hat and holding a conch in the right hand was discovered in the hall.
  • Phra Wihan Sung (พระวิหารสูง) The building houses plaster images with a fat clay core. The images are either from the 23rd-24th Buddhist century or from the late-Ayutthaya period.
  • The Thai-style monks’ residence of Wat Wang Tawan Tok (กุฏิทรงไทยวัดวังตะวันตก) The three houses have a pointed roof connected to the other and there are exquisite Nakhon Si Thammarat designs on the walls, doors, windows, and vents. The Siam Architects Society named these houses the best conservation effort in the area of historical sites and temples in 1992.
  • Wat Chai Na Meditation Centre (สำนักวิปัสสนากรรมฐานวัดชายนา) Meditation courses are held for Thais and foreigners. The famous monk Phutthathat Bhikkhu established the centre as a branch of his monastery in Surat Thani.
  • Chinese buildings at Wat Pradu and Wat Chaeng (เก๋งจีนวัดประดู่และวัดแจ้ง) Built in the early Rattanakosin period, they house the ashes of Phraya Nakhon and believed to also have the ashes of King Taksin the Great.
  • Chedi Yak (เจดีย์ยักษ์) is the province’s second-tallest pagoda after Phra Borom That pagoda. It is said that the pagoda was built by Khotkhiri, a wealthy Mon, and his employees when they took refuge in the city in 1003.
  • Residence of Ok Ya Sena Phimuk (Yamada Nagamasa) (จวนออกญาเสนาภิมุข – ยามาดา นางามาซา) who was a Japanese volunteer soldier living in the Ayutthaya period during the reign of King Songtham. He was rewarded for his many contributions to the palace by being appointed Ok Ya Sena Phimuk and as the lord of Nakhon Si Thammarat in 1629.
  • Wirathai Monument (อนุสาวรีย์วีรไทย) is made of blackened copper. The locals call this monument Cha Dam or Chao Pho Dam. It was erected to honor Thai soldiers in southern Thailand who died fighting the invading Japanese in World War II on 8 December 1941.
  • Arts and Culture Centre of Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat Institute (สำนักศิลปและวัฒนธรรม สถาบันราชภัฏนครศรีธรรมราช) It is the centre of information on archaeological sites discovered in the province. The most important artifacts here are the stone inscriptions found at Khao Chong Khoi and artifacts from the ancient community at Wat Mok Lan.
  • Somdet Phra Sri Nakharin 84 Park (สวนสมเด็จพระศรีนครินทร์ 84) Originally part of Ratcharudi Park in the time of King Rama V, the park has an open zoo, a bird park, a health park, and a lake which is home to waterfowl that migrate here during January to March every year.
  • Mueang Nakhon Reception House (เรือนรับรองเมืองนคร) was built to receive the king and Crown Princess Maha Chakri when they visited the city. It is in an old fruit orchard of the Thongsamak family which built the house for the royal family on behalf of the city’s people.
  • Wat Khao Khun Phanom and the Khao Khun Phanom Scientific Study Centre (วัดเขาขุนพนมและศูนย์วิทยาศาสตร์เพื่อการศึกษาเขาขุนพนม) Wat Khao Khun Phanom is a temple of historical and archaeological importance. The temple has a cave lined with brick and marked with heart-shaped stones marking the limits of the temple similar to those along the city wall.
  • Wat Tham Thong Phannara (วัดถ้ำทองพรรณรา) It became tradition that on the first full-moon night of the 11th lunar month (October) people would pay homage to the reclining image and the images representing the nuns called Phra Pring and Phra Prang.
  • Khao Kha (แหล่งโบราณคดีเขาคา) is a sacred religious place of the Saiwanikai sect which worships Shiva as its highest god. Many artifacts used in rites have been found here including phallic symbols, holy water pipes, ruins, and an ancient pond.
  • Wat That Tharam or Wat Khao That (วัดธาตุธารามหรือวัดเขาธาตุ) The entire pagoda is made of coral in the shape of an inverted jar. The pagoda is surrounded by Buddha images of red sandstone.
  • Wat Parian (วัดป่าเรียน) This new wat has a museum and is founded on remains of an ancient temple where Ganesha statue was found.
  • Museum Honouring the King for the Development of Pak Phanang Basin (พิพิธภัณฑ์เฉลิมพระเกียรติเพื่อพัฒนาพื้นที่ลุ่มน้ำปากพนัง) is a museum dedicated to the king’s Project to Develop Pak Phanang Basin in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, and Songkhla.
  • Wat Nantharam (วัดนันทาราม) used to be called Wat Tai and currently houses Luang Pho Phut, a red sandstone Buddha image from the Ayutthaya period. In addition, the temple houses a giant phallic symbol found at Khao Kha archaeological site and is believed to be around 1,200 years old.
  • Kuan Im Goddess Image (พระโพธิสัตว์กวนอิม) is a large white plaster image. The image is in the middle of a large pond surrounded by fountains.

Do

  • Thalad Park (2km N of the city). A good place to spend a relaxing day. The landscaping is impressive though it is not well maintained. The city museum is near the entrance.

Festivals

A procession of Buddhists bearing a long cloth during Hae Pha Khuen That Festival at Wat Phra Maha That Woramahawihan, in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province

  • Hae Pha Khuen That Festival (ประเพณีแห่ผ้าขึ้นธาตุ) is celebrated at Phra Borom That Chedi. The pagoda is considered to be the representative of Lord Buddha and is believed by locals to possess unsurpassed might of righteousness as it contains holy relics. Every year Buddhists pay homage to the pagoda by organizing a procession bearing a religious cloth to wrap around the pagoda to bring good fortune and success. This festival is held twice a year during Makha Bucha Day (the 15th full-moon night of February) and Wisakha Bucha Day (the 15th full-moon night of May).
  • Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month (ประเพณีเทศกาลเดือนสิบ) is a grand event of the province and of southern Thailand. This festival is held from the 1st waning-moon night to the 15th waning-moon night every September. It is held to pay respect to deceased ancestors. According to Buddhism beliefs, the dead had many sins and were sent to hell to become a demon. The demons are allowed to come up to meet their relatives for 15 days in September, but must return to hell before sunrise of the 15th day. The living tries to appease the spirits by taking food to temples to make merit. Beginning on the 13th day, people will go shopping for food to be given. The 14th day is spent preparing and decorating the food tray, and the 15th day is the actual merit-making day. The tray presented nowadays has elaborate designs but still retains traditional components. Contests to find the most beautiful tray are held. A magnificent procession proceeds along Ratchadamnoen Road on the 14th day.
  • Chak Phra or Lak Phra Festival (ประเพณีชักพระหรือลากพระ) is influenced by Indian culture, which expanded into the province a long time ago. The festival signifies the joy that people had when Buddha returned from a star and was invited to sit on a throne and carried to a palace. In practice, locals bear a Buddha image holding a bowl in a procession around the city. This is a great way for escape from daily routine and it is a fun competition to find who is the most religious. Held in October, the festival is preceded by activities seven days before, such as beating drums, playing castanets, and decorating the ceremonial throne for the image. The actual ceremony is usually held only on the last day of the Buddhist Lent. People take the image from the temple in the morning and proceed to Benchama Rachuthit School in Amphoe Mueang. This is also done in front of Ron Phibun district office. In addition, there is a water-borne procession on Pak Phanang River in Pak Phanang, which coincides with an annual boat race for a trophy from the crown princess.
  • Cow fighting (กีฬาชนวัว) is an ancient sport of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Many details are involved in staging a contest. Cows selected will have the best breeding and will be trained and carefully looked after. The contest itself is held weekly with districts not far from the city, Mueang, Pak Phanang, Chawang, Thung Song, Hua Sai, and Ron Phibun.

Buy

  • The Big C supermarket is around 10 min walk from the train station within the city.
  • Robinson is a shopping mall with a basement full of computer and mobile shops. The main mobile companies all have their support centres here.

Local products

  • Niello ware (เครื่องถมนคร) (Souvenir shops along Tha Chang Road). There are two types: black surface with white designs and black surface with gold designs. Niello ware of this province is popular for its durability and intricate designs by hand. The finished product is a bright, shiny black object with beautiful patterns.  (updated Aug 2019)
  • Yan Li Phao basketry (จักสานย่านลิเภา) (Ban Tha Rua on Rte 4019, 11 km from town). Yan Li Phao (ย่านลิเภา) is a clinging vine that grows in damp places. It split into threads and woven into beautiful products The trunk is very tough and durable, so locals found a way to make good use of it by making household goods such as handbags, tobacco boxes, and utensils. Locals have been making it for over 100 years. Very nice stuff, but pricey, so don’t be bashful about bargaining.
  • Necklaces (สร้อยนะโม สร้อยเงิน สร้อยสามกษัตริย์) have long been the work of local silversmiths who can create gold, silver, and mixed (gold, silver and an alloy) necklaces.
  • Shadow play figures (การแกะหนังตลุง) is an art that goes with the popular southern entertainment of shadow play. Thai shadow play figures have been transformed from those found in Java so that they are now very Thai. The hands and feet of the figures are fully movable during performances. The hide used can be either cow or goat hide.
  • Kapho fans (พัดใบกระพ้อ) are made from a kind of palm called “ton pho” by locals. The leaves are dried and then woven into fans. Some are dyed into bright colors and sold at reasonable prices. Kapho fans are well known and sold throughout the country.
  • Pha Yok is a cloth woven only in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The patterns and colours of the fabric are exquisite.

Eat

  • JE Cafe and Restaurant, 1763/6-7 Road, Jamruenwithee, Thawang. Small cafe and restaurant, with Wi-Fi.
  • Kanom La Nim (ขนมลานิ่ม). A ready-to-eat sweetened flour treat which comes in sheets. It cannot be preserved for more than a week.
  • Kanom La Tod (ขนมลาทอด). A crispy fried sweetened flour confection which is folded into small bite-size pieces.

Where to stay in Nakhon Si Thammarat

Budget

  • Bua Luang Hotel, 1487/19 Chamroenwithi Road (Near night market / Train station) , fax: +66 75 343418. The name on the sign of the hotel is Bueloung Hotel. The large rooms are clean and it’s hard to beat at 170 Thai Baht for a single room with bath. The owners are very genuine. It has 235 rooms. Double fan private bedroom, 240 Thai Baht; single air-con private bedroom, 340 Thai Baht; double air-con private bedroom, 420 Thai Baht. 240+ Thai Baht. (updated Mar 2019)
  • Montien Hotel, 1509/40 Yommarat Road (Beside the train station and opposite the night market) , fax: +66 75 345561. The rooms are average, the staff speak limited English and the hotel isn’t even signposted in English. It’s not worth spending the extra money especially when the Thai Hotel is just down the road. 80 rooms. Single fan private bedroom, 260 Thai Baht; double fan private bedroom, 290 Thai Baht; double air-con private bedroom, 450 Thai Baht. 260+ Thai Baht.
  • Muang Tong Hotel, 1459/7-8-9 Jamrernvitee Road. Well visible, newish looking hotel but inside the air smells of stale cigarettes. Very popular with Thais. Double air-con rooms for 350-400 Thai Baht (warm water, Thai TV, desk); fan rooms 250-300 Thai Baht. Free Wi-Fi in rooms. Most uncomfortable pillows known to man, hard beds. Lots of street eateries and shopping options just outside. 350+ Thai Baht.
  • Nakhon Hotel, 1477/5 Yommarat Road. A cheaper version of the Bua Long. The rooms are large need decorating and the bathrooms are in dire need of a makeover, but at least the beds are comfortable. Rooms are clean and windows have mosquito nets. 5 min walk to train station. The staff speak a little English. 42 rooms. Double fan private bath, 200 Thai Baht; double air-con private bath, 350 Thai Baht. 200+ Thai Baht.
  • Phech Phai Lin, 1835/38-39 Yommarat Road (Near the train station). The polite staff are the biggest asset here. Unfortunately, the rooms look more like a YMCA sans the Village People than a hotel and the appearance makes the hotel look run down. 78 rooms. Double air-con private bedroom, 360 Thai Baht. 360+ Thai Baht.
  • Siam Hotel, 1403/17 Chamroenwithi Road (Near the train station & night market). The price for a single with fan is more expensive than other hotels. However, the price for an air-con room is very affordable. The bathrooms could use an upgrade. 60 rooms, Single fan private bath 200 Thai Baht; double air-con private bath, 300 Thai Baht. 200+ Thai Baht.
  • Silver Mansion (Light green 6-storey building on an alley off Jamroenwitee Road, a stone’s throw south of Muang Tong Hotel). Not signposted in English, also no English spoken at reception. Spartan rooms, but reasonably clean (have a cockroach problem though). Double air-con rooms 270 Thai Baht (cold water, Thai TV, no fridge, curiously no sink); fan rooms 220 Thai Baht. Wi-Fi available at lobby area. Lots of cheap food stalls on Jamroenwitee Road in front. 220+ Thai Baht.
  • Thai Hotel, 1375 Ratchadamnoen Road. Central, large clean rooms. Free Wi-Fi in rooms. Has a cafe that serves fresh coffee and a bar that stays open late. The night market is two blocks away. Looks like a more expensive hotel, but rooms are from 320 Thai Baht. 320+ Thai Baht.
  • 8.38883699.9789721 Blue Hip Apartment Nakhon Sri, 2/271 Pattanakarn-Khukhwang Road., Tambon Nai Mueang, Mueang Nakhon Si Thammarat District, Nakhon Si Thammarat 80000 , ✉ mysugarcat_ploy@hotmail.com. Apartment for rent near Home Pro Nakhon Sri Thammarat, 28 sqm. room with fully furnish 400 – 500 Thai Baht. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 8.43360399.961082 V.House Nakhon, 1209/30 Yomaraj Road , ✉ chudamas.s@gmail.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. V.House Nakhon is fully furnished and many even provide such as internet access – wireless (complimentary), air conditioning, telephone, television, satellite/cable TV. 320-400 Thai Baht. (updated Oct 2016)

Mid-range

  • Green Place Guest House, 266/24-26 King’s Park Village, Ratchadamneon Road, Tawang (north end of town, opposite town stadium). 600 Thai Baht.

Cope

Medical facilities

  • Maharaj Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital.  (updated Aug 2019)
  • Walailak University Hospital.  (updated Aug 2019)

Continue Reading

Southern Thailand

Yala Expat Travel Guide

Yala (ยะลา) is a town in Southern Gulf Coast. Understand Yala is the southernmost province of Thailand. It has an area of 4,521 square kilometres. It is the only landlocked province in the south. Yala is a border province with an interesting history, culture, and beautiful scenery. The province has a unique mixture of cultural […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Yala (ยะลา) is a town in Southern Gulf Coast.

Introduction

Yala is the southernmost province of Thailand. It has an area of 4,521 square kilometres. It is the only landlocked province in the south. Yala is a 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 Muslim. 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 1767 (2310 BE) 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 1808 (2351 BE), the king had Pattani partitioned 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 1933 (2476 BE) and finally became one of the provinces of Thailand.

Get in

By car

Yala is 1,084 km south of Bangkok by road. One can take Hwy 4 (Phetkasem Road) from Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chumphon, then onto Hwy 41 through Thung Song, Phatthalung, Hat Yai, Pattani, and Yala.

By plane

There are no direct flights 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. See Airways .

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By train

Yala is 1,055 km 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 12:25, 14:45, and 15:50.

By bus

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 ~1,089 km and normally takes 14 hours.

  • 24 seats VIP bus (พิเศษ, piset) costs 1,215 Thai Baht, departs from Bangkok at 17:30. On the reverse, the departure is at 14:00.
  • 32 seats Class 1 B bus (ม1พ) costs 914 Thai Baht, departs from Bangkok at 19:00 and Yala at 15:30.
  • 40 seats Class 1 C bus (ม1ข) costs 783 Thai Baht, departs from Bangkok at 17:00 and Yala at 16:30.
  • 47 seats Class 2 bus (ม2) costs 609 Thai Baht, departs from Bangkok at 14:00 and 18:00, Yala at 12:30 and 14:30.

Air-conditioned bus services are run daily between Bangkok and Yala from the Southern Bus Terminal. Departure times from Bangkok are as follows:

  • VIP Bus – 17:30.
  • Standard 1 Bus – 10:30 and 17:00.

For further information, call the Southern Bus Terminal at Phone: +66 2 4351119-200.

Thai Doen Rot Co.,Ltd (Phone: +66 2 4357424) operates a daily bus service from Bangkok to Betong. The bus leaves the Southern Bus Terminal at 16:00.

To/from Sungai Kolok

Mini bus for 120 Thai Baht or by train for 20 Thai Baht. The travel takes about 2 hours. The train may be slower.

Get around

The city is somewhat walkable, depending on how far you’re going (from the train station to the city pillar shrine is a bit long, but doable). There aren’t a lot of taxis, even of the motorcycle variety, but you may find some at the train station.

The big circle on the map with streets radiating out from it is not a downtown area, but a park in the suburbs that hosts the city pillar shrine (see See below).

See

  • City Pillar Shrine (ศาลหลักเมือง). This shrine houses the City Pillar made of Chaiyapruk wood. It is 50 centimetres tall, bottom circumference is 43 inches, top circumference is 36 inches with the four-faced Brahma and a flame on top. The City Pillar Ceremony (งานสมโภชเจ้าพ่อหลักเมืองยะลา) ceremony is held annually in May on the grounds of the Yala Municipal Office, in which the model City Pillar is paraded. The ceremony features stalls displaying goods for sale and exhibition, as well as government products, and folk entertainment, such as Manora Dance, Nung Talung, and Hulu Li Ke. (updated Aug 2018)
  • ASEAN Java Songbird Contest (งานมหกรรมแข่งขันนกเขาชวาเสียงอาเซียน): Yala is one of the southern provinces that favor Java Songbirds. It is widely believed that Java Songbirds are good-luck charms that bring good luck to their owners, especially if the birds possess certain characteristics. The Yala Municipality Authority and Java Songbird Owner Association annually stage the ASEAN Java Songbird Contest on the first weekend of March. The first contest, held in B.E. 2529, was popular and led to an annual event held on the grounds of Suan Khwan Mueang.
  • Yala Product and Cultural Revival Festival (งานเทศกาลฟื้นฟูประเพณีและของดีเมืองยะลา): The festival is held annually on the first weekend of August on the grounds of the Yala Municipal Office. Folk cultures from the various groups in the border provinces of the south, mainly Chinese-Thai Buddhists and Thai Muslim, perform at the festival. The festival also hosts contests for Chi La Dance, Best Dressed Banong, Si Bu-nga Siri (a special kind of potpourri), Rong-ngeng Dance and Annacit Singing (in both Malay and Thai languages). Various schools in the area also present folk performances, while an exhibition of Yala’s best produce is also displayed.
  • Yala Central Mosque (มัสยิดกลางจังหวัดยะลา): is the main mosque of the province in Western architectural style intertwined with the unique mosque frame. The front has about 30 wide steps leading to the upper terrace.
  • Sanam Chang Phueak Park (สวนสาธารณะสนามช้างเผือก): Used as the ground to give the king a white elephant (chang phueak) named “Phra Sawet Sura Khachathan”. The park has a pavilion in the middle of a large pond and various sculpture of animals.
  • Suan Khwan Mueang (สวนขวัญเมือง): Its vast area of 207 rai has a separate sports ground and a 69 rai pond, landscaped with sandy beach and sea pines.
  • Wat Khuhaphimuk or Wat Na Tham (พระพุทธไสยาสน์วัดคูหาภิมุขหรือวัดหน้าถ้ำ): One of the three most-revered places of the south. A figure of a giant, made in B.E. 2484 and named by the villagers as “Chao Khao”, protects the entrance of the cave that houses the reclining Buddha. Inside the cave is a large chamber that has been converted into a religious area.
  • Tham Mae Nang Montho (ถ้ำแม่นางมณโฑ): Inside the cave are large connecting chambers that are mostly dark. The highlight of this place is at the end of the cave with a large stalagmite resembling the shape of a meditating lady, hence the name of the cave.
  • Tham Sin (ถ้ำศิลป์): This is a very small and dark cave with ancient mural of different postures of the Lord Buddha and a painting of three women standing together on the cave wall that has deteriorated with time.
  • Bang Lang Dam (เขื่อนบางลาง): This dam is the first multi-purpose dam in the south, on the Pattani River. It is 85 metres high with a crest of 422 metres long, and a capacity of 1,420 million cubic metres.
  • Tham Krachaeng (ถ้ำกระแชง): A cave at Ban Ka Sot, Tambon Bannang Sata, about 50 kilometres from Amphoe Mueang Yala.
  • Namtok Sukthalai or Namtok Kue Long (น้ำตกสุขทาลัยหรือน้ำตกกือลอง): It consists of five levels. The princess mother named it “Namtok Sukthalai”.
  • Namtok Than To (น้ำตกธารโต): A large waterfall with cascading water running through seven levels with pools for swimming. The surrounding forest is lush with many interesting species including Si Yala (Saraca thaipingensis Cantley ex Prain) with yellow blooms in February.
  • Namtok La-ong Rung (Rainbow Waterfall) (น้ำตกละอองรุ้ง): A slippery trek that leads along the stream from the waterfall. During the rainy season, the waterfall has the effect of the rainbow, hence the name.
  • Sakai Village (หมู่บ้านซาไก): The Sakai are an ancient nomadic tribe which existed on hunting and gathering, expert in herbal plants and using darts for hunting. Recently the Department of Social Work has developed the village by segregating the Sakai in one area and introduced rubber planting as their occupation.
  • Namtok Bu Ke Pilo or Namtok Tawan Ratsami (น้ำตกบูเก๊ะปิโลหรือน้ำตกตะวันรัศมี): About 19 kilometres (12 mi) from Mueang District, the entrance to the waterfall is about 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the village. When sunlight shines onto the water, the underwater rocks turn yellow.
  • Betong (เบตง): A Malay word meaning ‘bamboo’. This district is at the southernmost point of Thailand. The Betong city centre is surrounded by mountains, resulting in a cool climate and high rainfall, with frequent fog in the morning. It is therefore dubbed “The City in the Fog with Beautiful Flowers”.
  • Phra Mahathat Chedi Phra Phutthathammaprakat (พระมหาธาตุเจดีย์พระพุทธธรรมประกาศ): This chedi is built in the modern Sivijaya-style, covered in a gold color. It is 39.9 metres (131 ft) high, built to commemorate the 69th birthday of the queen.
  • Suan Sut Sayam (Betong Municipality Park) (สวนสุดสยาม): Overlooks the city, consisting of ornamental plants and a flowering plants garden, aviary, health garden, sports ground, swimming pool, and playground.
  • The Largest Mail Box in Thailand (ตู้ไปรษณีย์ใหญ่ที่สุดในประเทศไทย): Built in B.E. 2467, before World War II, as a communication post for the townspeople, with a radio installed on top of the box and a mail slot below it. A new and larger box was built (9 metres (30 ft) high), and is at the City Convention Hall (Sala Prachakhom).
  • Swifts (นกนางแอ่น): At dusk, the swifts fly around the city centre and come to rest on houses, buildings and electricity lines—especially on the Bell Tower that is well lit at night. The birds have become one of Betong’s symbols.
  • Betong Hot Spring (บ่อน้ำร้อนเบตง): At Ban Charo Parai Village, Tambon Tano Mae Ro, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) before the Betong city centre.
  • Namtok Inthason (น้ำตกอินทสร): About 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Betong city centre and about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the hot spring.
  • Piyamit Tunnel (อุโมงค์ปิยะมิตร): The tunnel was built in three months in B.E. 2519 and winds through the mountain for about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi)—it is about 50 feet (15 m) wide with several entrances. It was used as the air-raid shelter and food storage area.
  • Bala-Hala Forest (ป่าบาลา-ฮาลา), or Suan Pa Phra Namaphithai Phak Tai, Section Two (สวนป่าพระนาภิไธยภาคใต้ ส่วนที่ 2): A lush rain forest with many rare plants and wildlife—especially birds. Also the home of the Sakai tribe, this forest occupies a large area at the boundary of Yala and Narathiwat.
  • Namtok Chaloem Phra Kiat Ro Kao (น้ำตกเฉลิมพระเกียรติ ร.9): In Ai Yoe Weng Sub-district, the waterfall is more than 30 metres (98 ft) high and is surrounded by lush forest.

What to Do

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 73 228900-2) you’ll need to show your passport and fingerprints.

Buy

  • Shogun oranges (ส้มโชกุน): Yala’s leading economic crop. They are similar to green sweet oranges, but have softer flesh.
  • Kluai Hin (กล้วยหิน): A kind of banana, similar to kluay nam wa. When boiled or glazed, it has a nutty taste.
  • Betong Noodles (หมี่เบตง): Egg noodles.
  • Betong Soy Sauce (ซีอิ๊วเบตง): A special method is used to make the sauce from soybeans.

Eat

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.

Drink

There are a few watering holes, but keep in mind this is a Muslim area and you may offend someone with your drinking. Alcohol is available and drunk in considerable quantities by the local non-Muslims, but getting inebriated and making a ruckus is not advisable. Prices here are very reasonable.

Where to stay in Yala

Hotels Hat Yai: Popularity

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Grand Pink Hotel Hatyai

★★★

-50%

3718

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  • Chang Lee Hotel, 318 Siroros Road. This place is one of the tallest buildings in Yala. It’s 15 stories with the top two floors in ruins occupied only by bats. Chang Lee Hotel is not for the faint of heart or squeamish. It’s been many years since it’s glory days. Rooms have air-con and a TV with only Thai channels. 460 Thai Baht.
  • Park View Hotel, 2-18 Jongrak 3 Road. This place is bustling compared to My House or Chang Lee. The rooms are simple but tidier than the Chang Lee, although with a very loud air conditioning. You must pay a 205 Thai Baht deposit for the minibar when you check in; however, you receive all of it back when you check out if you’ve not used the minibar. Wi-Fi can be had in the lobby for free. They have a cafe and restaurant as well as a discotheque in the area. 395 Thai Baht.
  • Yala My House. This place looks worlds better than Chang Lee and it’s cheaper. You can choose a karaoke girl off of the wall when you come in for 200 Thai Baht, but that’s standard around these parts. If you don’t want one no problem. There’s a 2 hour Thai massage across the street for 240 Thai Baht and several discotheques and karaoke bars. All seem to be thinly veiled fronts for prostitution. 340 Thai Baht.
  • Yala Rama Hotel, 21 Sri Bumrung Road. Very centrally located, appears to be the most reputable hotel in town according to locals. 350 Thai Baht.

Telecommunications in Yala

If you need a SIM card for your phone, you can get an AIS card and register it on the spot at the bigger of the two cell phone shops across the street from the train station. 7-Elevens in town sell TrueMove SIMs, but only if you have some form of Thai-issued identification (no foreign passports).

Stay safe in Yala

In 2004, long-simmering resentment in the southernmost 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 Sep 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.

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Southern Thailand

Narathiwat Expat Travel Guide

A fishing village in Narathiwat Narathiwat (นราธิวาส) is a city in Narathiwat Province on the Southern Gulf Coast of Thailand. Understand The city of Narathiwat has a population of about 40,000 and is the provincial capital. The province encompasses an area of 4,475 square kilometres. It is on the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula. […]

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Narathiwat (นราธิวาส) is a city in Narathiwat Province on the Southern Gulf Coast of Thailand.

Understand

The city of Narathiwat has a population of about 40,000 and is the provincial capital. The province encompasses an area of 4,475 square kilometres. It is on the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula. The north borders Pattani and the Gulf of Thailand, the west borders Yala, the east borders the Gulf of Thailand, and the south borders Kelantan, Malaysia. Most of the area consists of tropical rainforest and forested mountains. Narathiwat’s climate is tropical, with only 2 seasons: summer and rainy. The wettest period is Nov-Dec.

The majority of the population is Muslim, with the Yawi dialect predominantly used in verbal communication. Yawi is a divergent dialect of Malay which still uses the original Arabic-based Yawi alphabet when written.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has a well-supplied office (gantong theaw) on Narathiwat-Takbai Road, just outside town. Get there by motorcycle taxi. Staff is quite helpful, speak English and can support you with maps and brochures on what to do and see in the southern provinces.

Visit our Hotel Partners in Narathiwat

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

History of Narathiwat

Originally, Ban Bang Nara or Manalo was just a village on the bank of the Bang Nara River next to the sea. In the reign of King Rama I, Ban Bang Nara was under the administration of Sai Buri. It later became a precinct and came under the responsibility of Rangae in Pattani province. In 1906, during the reign of King Rama V, Ban Bang Nara grew into a large community, with highly active land- and sea trade routes touching the town. The provincial government offices were shifted from Rangae to Ban Manalo. In 1915, King Rama VI visited Bang Nara and renamed the city Narathiwat, meaning “home of wise people”.

Get in

By plane

Narathiwat Airport (NAW), about 15 km north of the city near the Chulabhorn military installation, is served by AirAsia with flights to and from Bangkok (DMK).

Cheap Flights to Narathiwat

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Bangkok

15.12.2020

22.12.2020

Tickets from 2 024

Grey minibuses run to Narathiwat (town), 80 Thai Baht, Taba (Tak Bai) checkpoint, 180 Thai Baht, and Sungai Kolok, 200 Thai Baht.

Travel by train to Narathiwat

The nearest station is Tanyongmat, about 20 km from Narathiwat. However, better connections are likely to be had at Sungai Kolok. Several trains run daily.

The unrest in southern Thailand has affected the railways, trains have been targeted and services can be cancelled. Trains running to Sungai Kolok had armed guards from Hat Yai, other than that, service is usually normal.

By bus

To/from Bangkok: Air-con buses by The Transport Co. Ltd (บริษัท ขนส่ง จำกัด (บขส.), bor-kor-sor) run between Bangkok’s southern bus terminal (สายใต้, sai-tai) and Narathiwat bus terminal daily. The distance is ~1,161 km and normally takes 14 hours. 24 seat VIP buses (พิเศษ, piset) cost 1,295 Thai Baht and depart from Bangkok at 17:15. On the return, departure is at 12:30. 47 seat Class 2 buses (ม2) cost 669 Thai Baht and depart Bangkok at 15:30 and Narathiwat at 12:45.

By minivan

Scheduled minivan services ply the routes between Sungai-Kolok/Hat Yai/Yala/Pattani and the Narathiwat bus terminal on the outskirts of town, roughly 500 m past the Provincial Hospital on the left hand side of the road to Ranggae. Ticket prices are 80 Thai Baht for Sungai-Kolok and 170 Thai Baht to Hat Yai.

Get around

Take motorcycle taxis around the city area for about 10-20 Thai Baht. Alternatively, a bicycle can be rented at a rate of 50 Thai Baht/day to explore the city area. Motorcycle rentals are not readily available in town.

Songthaews ply the scenic route to Taba (Tak Bai) and take passengers from monument square to either Ratchanivet Palace or near Ao Manao National Park.

A new air conditioned bus line connects the bus terminal with the beach at Hat Narathat. The fare is 9 Thai Baht.

See

  • Ao Manao/Khao Tanyong National Park. Beautiful beach with a few large rocks, ideal for picnicking, bathing, and beach combing with only a few visitors. A true 4 star beach!
  • Hat Narathat (หาดนราทัศน์).
  • Masjid Klang (มัสยิดกลาง) (at the south end of Pichitbamrung Road). Known as the central mosque.
  • Masjid Jangwat (มัสยิดจังหวัด) (at the north end of Pichitbamrung Road). Known as the provincial mosque.
  • Masjid Wadi Al-Husein (Talo Mano) (มัสยิดวาดินฮูเช็น). Known locally as Masjid Saam Roi Phi (มัสยิดสองร้อยปี) or “300-year-old mosque”.
  • Wat Khao Kong (วัดเขากง).

Do

  • Bang Nara Riverside Festival (along the riverside promenade). Every Sa, around 18:00. Local atmosphere with lots of teens, live music, and food stalls lining the river.
  • Narathiwat Fair. Annually, around mid-Sep.

Buy

Miniature Korlae boats, colourful head caps, and head scarves.

Eat

Restaurants are plentiful. Most serve local Malay-style dishes. There are a couple of Chinese restaurants and food stalls. Around the market, especially in the late afternoon, you can find khao yam (Malay: nasi krapau) vendors. Narathiwat is famous for its fish crackers (Malay: krupuk ikan) and budu, a fermented fish sauce that can be served salty or sweet. Ask around to find a nice place to eat.

Drink

Unlike most other Thai towns, there are no bars and clubs. There are some karaoke places. The predominantly Muslim population does not drink, but alcohol can be bought at most hotels, grocery stores, and 7-Elevens. To drink in public would be disrespectful.

Sleep

Budget

  • Ocean Blue Mansion. A fairly new budget hotel, on the banks of Bang Nara River quite close to its mouth. Lift, cable TV, refrigerator, queen beds, hot showers, and air conditioning. Great views of the river and also of Khao Tanyong in the distance. Free covered parking, boat dock available on request. 350-450 Thai Baht.

Mid-range

  • Pacific Hotel, 41/1-2 Worakakhampipith Road (between the two main roads of downtown, a block southeast of the Tower Clock), fax: +66 73 511259. Clean and simple rooms, (with hot showers & TV). Friendly and helpful staff. Small restaurant. Comfort-wise it is just below the Tanyong Hotel, but much less expensive. 300 Thai Baht (fan) to 400 Thai Baht (air-con).
  • Tanyong Hotel, 16/1 Sopapisai Road (towards the beach (though still a 45-minute walk away) on Walakam Pipid Road, close to the riverside promenade), fax: +66 73 511834. 23 comfortable standard air-con rooms, 24-hour restaurant, snooker club, massage and disco. 650-1,200 Thai Baht.

Stay safe in Narathiwat

In 2004, long-simmering resentment in the southern-most Muslim-majority provinces burst into widespread violence in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala Provinces. Rebel groups tend not to target foreigners. Some, however, have not ruled it out and foreigners have been killed and injured in terror attacks. The main target of bomb attacks are where people congregate: public markets, hotels, entertainment venues, and shopping areas. Train services to all three southern provinces have been sometimes halted due to rebel activities targeting trains.

Go next

  • Sungai Kolok — border town, gateway to Kota Bharu and the east coast of Malaysia
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Thai Covid-19
4,072
Confirmed
19
Confirmed (24h)
60
Deaths
0
Deaths (24h)
1.5%
Deaths (%)
3,848
Recovered
9
Recovered (24h)
94.5%
Recovered (%)
164
Active
4.0%
Active (%)
In Thailand, the health authorities reported 19 new corona infections by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration within 24 hours. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CFCSA has counted a total of 4,072 infections with Sars-CoV-2 in Thailand. The number of deaths related to the virus rose 0 to a total of 60.

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