City attractions in Narathiwat
Old Central Mosque
A Sumatra-style wooden mosque built in 1938, this is the province's most revered mosque and the burial place of the old city lord, Phraya Phu Pha Phakdi.
New Central Mosque
Narathiwat's principal place of worship, superseding the much smaller wooden mosque, the new mosque was built in 1981 in modern style.
Out of city attractions in Narathiwat
Ao Manao Park
Reached via Highway 4084, about 3 km. outside the town, this pretty, curved bay is a public park with a beach, an arboretum, a row of pines and a forest study trail.
Thaksin Ratchaniwet Palace
This royal palace is located 8 km. from town on Highway 4084 on Tanyongmat Hill within extensive gardens beside Ao Manao. Open to the public daily from 8.30 a.m.- 4.30 p.m., except when The King is in residence, which is usually during the period from August to October.
This clean, white beach about 5 km. long is located just north of the town. At the near end is the mouth of the Bang Nara River where the annual Kolae boat races are held. Rows of pines give shade and the beach is a popular local recreation place. Nearby are fishing villages spread along the river and the bay is full of Kolae fishing boats.
Khao Kong Buddhist Park
This temple park, located about 9 km. from town on Highway 4055, features a large golden Buddha image sitting in the lotus position atop a hill. Completed in 1969, measuring 17 m. wide and 24 m. high, it is the largest outdoor Buddha image in southern Thailand.
Located about 4 km. outside town on Highway 4055, this old community is now a major batik production centre. The fabrics made here have beautiful designs and colours, all made by traditional techniques.
Located at Khok Tian, about 16 km. from the town on Highway 4136, this is a traditional Thai Muslim fishing village that is a production centre of real and miniature kolae boats. Whilst adults concentrate on the real thing, young boys make the miniature boats, considered to be a form of art. Also on sale are colourful items made of Krachut sedge and Annonaceae leaves, such as bags and mats.
Wat Chonthara Sing He
This historic temple is located near the coast in the village of Tak Bai 34 km. south of Narathiwat, close to the Malaysian border. A Buddhist temple within a predominantly Muslim community, it played a role in the ceding of land by Thailand to the British colony of Malaya during King Rama V's reign in 1909. The Thais were under much pressure to give up their far southern provinces. King Rama V put forward the argument that, being a Buddhist temple, Wat Chonthara Sing He should remain on Thai territory. The two sides consequently agreed to use the Tak Bai River to the temple's south as the border, thus preserving much territory as Thailand's. For that reason, the temple is also called Wat Phithak Phaen Din Thai- the temple that protects Thai sovereignty. Built in 1873, the chapel has murals painted by Songkhla monks which recount the life of the Buddha and show scenes of local life at that time, and a main Buddha image made of gold. Another building houses a reclining Buddha image and has interior walls covered with old Sangkhalok porcelain.
Talo Mano Mosque
Also known as Al-Hussein Mosque, located at Talo Mano, 25 km. north of Narathiwat town off Highway 42. Dating from the mid-19th century, the mosque is built entirely of wood and without nails in a style typical of southern Thailand and northern Malaya at the time. Now roofed with terracotta tiles, replacing the original thatch, it includes Chinese influences. Talo Mano village was once noted for its handwritten Korans.
Budo Su-ngai Padi Mountain Range National Park
The park is located at Bacho off Highway 42, about 26 km. north of Narathiwat town. A rainforest reserve with an area of 294 sq km., it extends into Yala and Pattani. Two distinctive plants here are the yandao "golden leaves" and the rattan called takha thong. Rare animals in the area are the rhinoceros, agile gibbon, tapir and Sumatran serow. The most important animal is the spectacled langur. The park has several waterfalls. The best known and most accessible is Namtok Pacho which has nine tiers. It is the province's largest waterfall and one of the most beautiful in southern Thailand. However, as the jungle around the area is somewhat damaged, there is little water in the dry season.
As the principal border town with Malaysia on the east coast, Su-ngai Kolok is the province's most prosperous town. Busy with cross-border traffic, a bridge linking the two countries is open during 5.00 a.m.- 9.00 p.m. Thais like to cross to Rantu Panyang to buy electrical goods and snacks while Malaysians come to shop for food and to experience the nightlife. There are many restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the town.
Chao Mae Tomo Shrine
This Chinese shrine in Su-ngai Golok is revered locally and by Malaysian Chinese visitors.
Namtok Chat Warin
This medium-sized, year-round waterfall, is at To Teng, Su-ngai Padi, not far north of Su-ngai Golok on Highway 4056. The area features the rare and beautiful bangsun palm that is found only in this forest at elevations of around 1,800 m. This palm has a short trunk spread with many three-metre long branches with large diamond-shaped leaves.
Hala-Bala Wildlife Reserve
This new 433 sq km. conservation area, established in 1996, is located near the Malaysian border in Amphoe Waeng. It covers the Sankala Khiri mountain range, Hala forest and Bala forest. Though most of the reserve is off-limit to the public, Highway 4062 goes through the mountains, giving excellent views of the dense forest. Of special note is the white-trunked yuan tree which can reach a height of 65-70 m., making it the world's third tallest tree after the redwood and eucalyptus. About 5 km. after the park office, there is a point to view wildlife. The most notable bird is the hornbill, which can often be seen in yuan trees, its preferred nesting site. Many of the reserve's animals are now rare in Thailand, like the large black gibbon and the agile gibbon. The area has four protected mammals: the Sumatran serow, tapir, marbled cat, and Asian two-horned rhinoceros, which is an oddity in the country, with a length of about 30 cm. and a weight of over 5 kg.
Special events in Narathiwat
Kolae Boat Races - September
Kolae Boat Races are held on the Bang Nara River in the presence of the King whilst he is in residence at Thaksin Ratchaniwet Palace. Kolae boats are the vividly painted traditional boats of the local fisherman. The races take place during the Narathiwat Products Fair which showcases the province's specialities in arts and crafts. Foremost among the crafts are krachut sedge products like mats, hats, handbag and lamp shades.
Chao Mae Tomo Celebrations - April
This is an important festival of Su-ngai Kolok's Chinese community with a drum procession, floral floats, a lion and dragon parade, Chinese opera, and walking on hot coals. The event is held on the 23rd day of the third month of the Chinese calendar, which is in April.
Shopping in Narathiwat
Local handicraft specialities are products made from Krachut sedge and Panan leaves, miniature Kolae boats, ceramics and batik fabrics.