Six Provinces in South Thailand Part 1

Following a summer in the UK I was itching to get back on the road in Asia and sniff out some of those undiscovered spots in southern Thailand once again. This was to be a family trip, however, with a group of eight in total with differing agendas, so I had to go with the flow.

Nakhon Si Thammarat
The first stop was the family home in Khanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat province. I’d been there many times before but this time was quite amusing showing our now teenage kids where mum and dad got married all those years ago!

We decided to stay at a hotel we had previously used (Talkoo). However, this turned out to be a bad idea as the weekend warriors had taken over with their karaoke machines. Accommodation woes aside, the group wanted to take the boat trip to see the famed pink dolphins that live off the coast here. I had done this trip before a couple of years ago so didn’t take many pictures. The boat charter was the same, a thousand baht for all of us, and the dolphins are still there.

Leaving Khanom we drove south to NST city where a few wanted to get off at the main temple in town to ‘tum bhun’ – as it happens the entire province turned up on the same day to make merit also. From there it was south again to a quirky country market place type setup called ‘dtai note’ (ตลาดนัดใต้โหนด) where all kinds of bizarre food I’d never come across was for sale.

Phattalung
From here it was on to our spot for the evening, Thale Noi (‘small sea’) in Phattalung province. This province was a first for me; I’ve been to nearly all of the others in the south. Thale Noi is the smaller ‘lake’ north of the huge inland sea that splits Phattalung and Songkhla. It is a very Thai place and I hadn’t seen another farang for several days now, our residence for the next two nights was Lan Bua, a small Thai run bungalow outfit right on the lake.

The ‘lake’, or wetlands, is famed for its pink lotus flowers which cover a large portion of it at certain times of year, additionally the area has been designated a bird wildlife reserve. An elevated bridge dissects the two bodies of water so we headed out to that for sunset so I could get some shots and test out the new Nikon.

To appreciate this place at its best you need to take a sunrise tour which we had booked for the following day. The charter was 800 baht for six of us in a small wooden boat around the wetlands for a couple of hours. A 05.30 start ensured that we were at the right spot for the sunrise. Our craft glided across what appeared to be solid land but was in fact a sea of floating foliage. The scenery and light was simply stunning so I’ll let the camera do the talking.

Trang
We left Phattalung behind and motored west into Trang province stopping at a roadside restaurant about half way. Our accommodation for the next couple of days was called Rimnatee, a Thai style place with a pool that we called and got for 800 baht a night.

Being low season most off the islands off the Trang provincial coast were closed or empty so we sought adventure inland. Around 45 minutes north of Trang town was a cave complex called ‘Tum Le Khao Gop’ (ถ้ำเลเขากอบ) where for 400 baht you can get a boat trip, four to a boat, through the cave. This was another primarily Thai attraction hence the sensible price. I’d been in many caves before but nothing like this; essentially you are lying prone in the boat as the guide pushes it through the cave, the ceiling of which is less than an inch away from your nose. Definitely not one for the claustrophobic! I managed a few snaps on the phone but nothing of quality.

We took in a few more Thai attractions around Trang including the night market/food bazaar, a couple of kayak spots for the kids and a bizarre ‘wooden dragon’ garden type place.

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