Satun is a small province in the south of Thailand that borders Malaysia, facing the Andaman Sea. The province possesses renowned picturesque islands with verdant forests and mountainous land. The majority of the locals are Muslim. It is located 973 kilometres from Bangkok and occupies an area of 2,478 square kilometres with 80 kilometres of coastline.
Most tourists head out to the pristine islands of Tarutao National Park. Its landscape is full of underwater peaks, excellent beaches, calm and peaceful coves, jungle and mangrove swamps. Snorkelling can be found at Lipe island, while neighbour Adnag island is stunning with forest, hills and waterfalls.
Around Satun, there are plenty of interesting sights, including dove farms, forest parks and huge waterfall. Thale Ban National Park is famous for its abundant wildlife, with many waterfalls and caves worth visiting.
How To Get There Car
From Bangkok, drive on Highway No. 4 past Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chumphon then take Highway No. 41 to Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung. From Phatthalung, drive on to Amphoe Rattaphum, Songkhla then take Highway No. 4 and turn right to Highway No. 406. It is 973 kilometres from Bangkok.
The journey from Bangkok to Satun can be made on air-conditioned coaches originating from the Southern Bus Terminal. The coaches, varying in 3 types, depart from Bangkok at the following times:
VIP Bus: 6 p.m.
Standard 1 Bus: 7 a.m., 6.30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Standard 2 Bus: 6.30 p.m.
The trip takes about 13 hours. For more information, call the Southern Bus Terminal at tel: 0 2435 1199-200 or the Satun Bus Station at tel: 0 7471 1446.
Satun can be reached by van, public bus and taxi from Hat Yai. Taxi is available at the Ratthakan Post Office, van and public bus can be found beside Dr. Somphots Clinic near Hat Yai train station. The van leaves every hour form 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Public bus leaves from Hat Yai bus station every 2 hours from 6.30 a.m. to 4.35 p.m.
There is no direct train to Satun. Visitors can take a Bangkok-Hat Yai train, leaving the Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong) at 12.25 p.m., 2.20 p.m.,2.45 p.m. and 3.50 p.m. Getting off at the Hat Yai train station, visitors can take a taxi from Ratthakan Post Office to Satun. Vans and public buses are also available. It is 97 kilometres from Hat Yai to Satun. For more information on trains, contact the State Railways of Thailand, tel: 1690, 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020 or visit www.srt.or.th.
There is no direct flight to Satun. The trip by air can be made via Hat Yai airport then taking a taxi or public bus to Satun for 97 kilometres. For more information on flight schedules, contact Thai Airways, tel: 1566, 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000 or visit www.thaiairways.com.
Floating Boat Festival
Floating Boat Festival is held by fishermen living on Lipeh Island, Satun. On the 13th-15th day of the waxing moon in May and October, sea gypsies would gather for the traditional 3 days and 3 nights celebration in the belief that the ceremony scares away bad luck and brings good fortunes for fishing.
International Kite Festival
International Kite Festival is held annually in February at Satun Airport, which is 4 kms. to Satun town.
Tarutao-Adang Fishing Club
Tarutao-Adang Fishing Club is held around March annually.
Visit Tarutao Festival
Visit Tarutao Festival is an annual event held from November to April at Tarutao National Park.
A variety of handicrafts
A variety of handicrafts such as artificial flowers, batik, basketry can be bought from the local products centre in La-ngu district.
Fish and shrimp crisp
Fish and shrimp crisp, a produce of Chebilang Village, this accrues additional income for the villagers aside from fishery
Attractions Bung Thale Ban
Bung Thale Ban is a large swamp that is situated in the middle of a valley and surrounded by Chin and Wang Pra mountains. The swamp covers an area of 320 square kilometers and is full of freshwater fish and shells. There is an abundance of Bakong trees around the swamp. The park built a pavilion beside the swamp, which is an ideal place for recreation.
Namtok Ton Plio
Namtok Ton Plio originates from the Chin Mountain. It is a large waterfall that comes down several levels and has an all-year-round water flow. To get there, drive on Highway No. 1484 (Khuan Sato-Wang Prachan) for about 12 kms. from the park headquarters, then take a laterite road at the junction for another 3 kms.
Namtok Ya Roi
Namtok Ya Roi is a waterfall which runs from Hua Kraming forest. It is a nine-level waterfall, each possessing a swimming basin. To get there, take Highway No. 4148 (Khuan Sato-Wang Prachan) for 7 kms., then turn right for 700 meters.
Thale Ban National Park
Thale Ban National Park is at Ban Wang Prachan, Tambon Wang Prachan. The National Park is located 40 kms. from town and occupies an area of 195,200 square kilometers. The Park covers the National Reserve Forest of Ku Pang Pu To and Hua Ka Ming, including Khuan Bo Nam Pu Yu in Tambon Pu Yu, Amphoe Mueang. It was declared a national park on October 27, 1980.
The word Thale Ban derives from Loet Ru Ban in the Malay language, meaning a collapsed sea or a sea that was born out of a land collapse. Thale Ban National Park originated from a land depression between Khao Chin and Khao Mot Daeng. There is a large swamp, which covers an area of 101,360 square kilometers. Most of the area is mountainous and teeming with various kinds of plants and animals, such as water birds, tapir, and Khiat Wak, or Water Dog. The amphibious Khiat Wak resembles a frog or toad, but has a tail and yelps like a dog. Plenty of these creatures can be seen around the swamp in the rainy season. The Khiat Wak is an indigenous animal to Thale Ban. Bird-watchers should not miss a chance to see the different variety of birds here, including red back myna, woodpecker, bulbul, and swallow. Lodges and tents are available in the National Park. For more information, contact tel: 0-7479-7073.
Namtok Panan is at Tambon Thung Nui, 39 kms. from town. The waterfall originates from Ka Ming Mountain. It has a year-round supply of water and is surrounded by a pleasant forested area.
Namtok Than Sawan
Namtok Than Sawan is a five-level waterfall located at Tambon Khuan Kalong, 12 kms. from Khuan Kalong District Office. Drive onto the road that lies in front of the Industrial Estate Office junction, which passes the Khuan Kalong district, then drive onwards to Soi 10.
Tarutao National Park
Tarutao is the first marine park of Thailand. It is famous for its distinguished history and natural beauty. It is located in the Andaman Sea 40 kilometres from town or 22 kilometres from Bara Pier. The park borders Mu Ko Phetra National Park in the north and the Thai-Malaysian sea border in the south. The park occupies an area of 1,490 square kilometres and comprises 51 islands. Seven large islands are Ko Tarutao , Ko Adang, Ko Rawi, Ko Li Pe , Ko Klang, Ko Ba Tuang, and Ko Bit Si. Tarutao was proclaimed a National Park on 19 April 1974 and declared by UNESCO as an ASEAN Heritage Park and Reserve in 1982. The best time to visit is from November to April.
Ko Tarutao is the biggest island in the park that covers an area of 152 square kilometres. The island is teeming with verdant forests and white sandy beaches. There are also camping and diving facility to see corals.
Penitentiary Memorial on Tarutao Island comprises two parts; Ao Talo Udang Prison is at the southernmost bay of Tarutao Island and Ao Talowao Prison, a prison for common and political prisoners which is situated in the south and the east of the island.
The historical six-kilometre road trail was built by prisoners connecting Ao Talowao to Ao Talo Udang and is 12 kilometres long.
Activities on Ko Tarutao
Walking trail from the National Park Office on Ao Phante Malaka is a 12-kilometre walking trail which runs through verdant forest all the way to Ao Talowao. Various types of trees, wild animals like wild boar and mouse deer, and birds, hornbills in particular, are found along sides this trail. An eight-kilometre walking trail begins at Ao Ma Lae ends at Ao Son, passing through virgin forest where various kinds of birds are found. Bird-watching is ideal here.
Boat rides on a long-tail boat around island for eco-tourism is recommended. The National Park provides boat service with guides for visitors to tour around beaches. The journey could begin with bird-watching on Ao Chak, going to see the longest white sandy beach on Tarutao Island at Ao Son, tracing historical trail on Ao Talo Udang, enjoying natural beauty on Ao Talowao , ending with diving and visiting mangrove forests. For more information on a one-day trip, contact the tourist centre at the Tarutao National Park.
Mu Ko Adang Rawi is located 40 kilometres from the east of Tarutao Island or 80 kilometres from town. The 30 square-kilometre island possesses beautiful sandy beaches and coral reefs. There are several small islands around Mu Ko Adang-Rawi including Ko Li Pe, Ko Dong, Ko Hin Ngam, and Kao Yang . Diving can be done around Ko Adang and Ko Rawi. The area of Ko Adang is mountainous and covered with forest and has a large waterfall where water runs all year round.
Ko Li Pe, is located 2 kilometres from the south of Ko Adang. This is where a sea gypsy village is situated. On the 13th-15th day of the waxing moon in May and November, sea gypsies would gather for a traditional celebration for 3 days and 3 nights. They would join in building a boat to float in the sea to in the belief that this would predict that fishing fortunes. The island offers coral reefs, a beautiful bay, and a white sandy beach. Ao Phatthaya is the most beautiful bay on this island. Privately-owned accommodation is available.
Ko Hin Ngam is located in the southwest of Ko Adang. It is full of shiny black pebbles along its beaches.
Ko Khai is located in the west of Tarutao Island, 40 minutes from Tarutao. The famous natural stone arch which is somewhat of a symbol of Tarutao National Park is located on Ko Khai. Coral reefs can be found around the island. Camping is not allowed on this island but swimming can be done.
Diving and snorkeling can be done around Ko Cha Bang where light-coloured flower corals lie underneath the sea. Deepwater and shallow-water snorkeling for antler coral and table coral is recommended around Ko Yang and Ko Kata. Snorkeling for hard coral is recommended around Ko Adang, Ko Rawi, Ko Kra, and Ko Dong
How to Get To Tarutao National Park and its islands
Pak Bara Pier is home to the branch office of Tarutao National Park. It is located 22 kilometres from Ko Tarutao and is the nearest pier to Tarutao Island.
Accommodation in Tarutao National Park
Accommodations are available on Tarutao and Adang islands. For more information contact the Marine National Park, Forestry Department tel: 0 2561 2918-21 or Tarutao National Park, Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe La-ngu, Satun 91110 tel: 0 7478 1285 and Tarutao unit tel: 0 7472 9002-3.
Moo Ko Phetra National Park
Moo Ko Phetra National Park The sampan shaped island is situated on the Straits of Malacca, Andaman Sea in the Indian Ocean, west of Thailand. It consists of a long coastline from Tambon Pak Nam, La-ngu district, Tambon Khon Khlan, Thung Wa distict, Satun and Tambon Sukon, Pa Lian district, Trang. The several off-shore islands include Ko Phetra, Ko Khao Yai, Ko La Lo Ban Te, Ko Li Di, Ko Bu Loan, Ko Lao Liang, and Ko Perama. Most of the area consists of steep mountains with plains in the valleys and beaches. The park occupies both land and sea areas, with an area of 494.38 sq. kms. It was declared a national park on December 31, 1984 and is full of forest, mountains, wildlife, and colorful corals.
Ko Bulon Le
Ko Bulon Le is located 22 kms. from Pak Bara Pier. The beach is white and the water here is suitable for swimming. Diving and snorkeling can be done around Ko Ayam and Ko Hin Khao, where one can get a great view of the sunset. At night a group of hermit crabs and smaller crabs populate the beach.
Ko Li Di Lek
Ko Li Di Lek is located 5 kms. from the Office of Moo Ko Phetra National Park (Ao Nun), or 7 kms. from Pak Bara Pier. The National Park Protection Unit is located on this island. The island offers a white sandy beach and crystal clear water. The island also has mangrove forests and various kinds of marine animals. Tourists wishing to camp on the island must bring their own tents and food as there are no restaurants. Ko Li Di Yai, nearby Ko Li Di Lek, has bird nest concessions operated by the private sector and is off-limits to visitors.
Namtok Wang Sai Thong
Namtok Wang Sai Thong is on Ro Po Cho Road (Thung Nang Kaeo-Wang Sai Thong Road). The waterfall can be reached by taking the Satun-La-ngu Road at Ban Ko Ta junction, Tambon Kamphaeng. From there, it is about 26 kms. to Namtok Wang Sai Thong. Namtok Wang Sai Thong is also accessible from Wa Bridge in Thung Wa district, Tambon Pa Kae Bo Hin. This route is 19 kms. The highlight of this waterfall is the pool of water in each limestone basin that resembles a blooming lotus when water falls down to that level. The area has large shady trees and is suitable for relaxation.
Satun Freshwater Fisheries Office
Satun Freshwater Fisheries Office is at Moo 7, Tambon Kamphaeng. The Fisheries Office is a nursing home of rare Kradan turtles that can be only be found here in all of Thailand. It is open from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information, call 0-7478-1299.
Khao To Phaya Wang Park
Khao To Phaya Wang Park is located in Satun metropolitan area on Khuha Prawet Road. Surrounded by a small, limestone hill with a cave and a brook, it is teeming with various kinds of trees, which makes the public park peaceful and suitable for recreation.
Ko Langkawi Tourists who want to visit Langkawi Island in Malaysia can board boats from Tam Ma Lang Pier, which is located 5 kms. from town. For information contact the Thai Ferry company tel: 0-7472-2143, 0-7473-0050-1, fax: 0-7471-1782 or Satun Travel and Ferry Company tel: 0-7471-1453, 0-7472-1960.
Ku Den Museum
Ku Den Museum is situated on Satun Thani Road, opposite the Satun Land Department Office. The two-story building received the influence of western styled architecture; particularly the windows and doors which are of Roman motifs. The roofs were designed in the Thai's Panya style. The windows were assembled with narrow strips of boards arranged horizontally. The semi - circular clay tiles were used to cover the roofs. The ventilation at the upper-front of the building is decorated with star-shaped designs, imminently influenced by Muslim architecture. Phraya Phuminatphakdi, the former governor of Satun, built it in 1902 as his residence. The building was used as a city hall, though nowadays it serves as a museum housing antiques and artifacts and exhibiting the local art and culture.
Laem Than Yong Po
Laem Than Yong Po and Hat Sai Yao are located at the estuary of Satun Bay and can be reached by boarding a boat for the 1-hour trip from Ko Nok Customs Office or at a pier behind Satun Central Market. Travelling by bus is also possible by riding a bus for 7 kms. to Che Bi Lang Pier, then turn left and continue another 15 kms. to Tan Yong Po. Laem Than Yong Po is a promontory jutting into the Andaman Sea. Tourists are lured here by the fascination of the fishermens' village and a powdery, white sand beach fringed with a large area of coconut grove.
Old Buildings on Buri Wanich Road
Old Buildings on Buri Wanich Road Located on Buri Wanich Road in Satun municipality area, the 600 meter long row houses provide a pedestrian walkway that is shaded by the upper floor. The front of the concrete walled houses consist of three parts: the Roman styled color glass arch at the top, the wooden board Venetian blinds in the middle, and the solid concrete bottom. These buildings, previously called Phraya Phumin Phakdi's Row houses, were built during the same period as Ku Den Museum. Now some of the houses have been dismantled but most parts still remain.
Satun Central Mosque
Satun Central Mosque (Majid Mambang) is located on Buri Wanit Road and Satun Thani Road in the center of Satun. The mosque was built in modern Islamic architecture style and decorated with marble and colorful glasses. The building is divided into two parts: outside is a corridor that leads to a dome tower where there are picturesque views of Satun and inside is a prayer hall. The library is located in the basement. Previously, Masjid Bambang was a one storey building. Its unique three-tier roofs were arranged in a pyramid shape with the smallest one on the top and the largest at the bottom to cover the whole building. The floors were covered with brown tiles. The interior measured 13 meters both in length and width and the building was supported by four wooden poles. The original Masjid had deteriorated because of its wooden structures and because it was too small to accommodate worshippers performing prayers. It was then uprooted and rebuilt in the same plot of land. The new building was completed in May 1979.
Namtok Than Plio
Namtok Than Plio is at Moo 7, Tambon Thung Wa, 14 kms. from the District Office. The two-level waterfall originates from Lung Khroe Mountain in Trang-Satun. The lower level is a basin that is 40 meters wide and 50 meters long. The waterfall is surrounded by lush vegetation and various kinds of trees. To get there, drive off the Thung Wa-Pa Lian Road at the 35-km marker, continue onwards for 8 kms. to Ban Thung Yao Nui in Tambon Thung Wa.