Mountains, forests and high plateaus make up the western side of Phatthalung while the eastern side slopes down to the upper shores of Songkhla Lake. The town presents a traditional picture of Thailand's far south, combining natural and cultural sites rarely seen in other parts of the country.
Culturally the province is distinguished as the original home of two very famous southern entertainments notably Thai shadow play and Thai Manora dance, making it well worth exploring.
But one of the biggest attractions here is the Tha-Le Noi Waterfowl Park which forms part of Songkhla Lake. It's one of the largest in Thailand. Tha-Le Noi, known as a small sea, is in an area of Tambon Tha-Le Noi 15 kilometres (9 miles) from Amphoe Khuan Khanun or 32 kilometres (20 miles) north of Phatthalung.
While the lake is home to more than a hundred different types of waterfowl such as the cormorant and egret, there are just as many species of bird such as the kingfisher and eagle at the Tha-Le Noi bird sanctuary north of town.
This would be an excellent opportunity for you will see some of the resident wildlife within the lake and the sanctuary. Just be aware that you are not permitted to hunt anywhere near here.
What is particularly interesting is that a good portion of the lake is covered with water plants, giving the whole region a new perspective of what life on a lake is like. The vegetation here includes vast fields of purple and white water lilies and as many beautiful pink and white lotus plants as far as the eye can see.
It's especially apparent during the early hours of the morning. Think of it a one big floating garden full of fabulous flowers, pretty plants and wonderful wildlife.
To explore the water park, you can easily hire a motorised boat called a
sampan which is obtainable from the village on the banks of Tha-Le Noi
Lake. A typical trip around the area will take approximately two hours.
And since you are here, why not take a leisurely stroll around the
fishermen village on the banks of the lake to view some of the famous
handicrafts which are woven from the bulrushes.
While shadow puppet performances and enchanting Manora dance are all the rage in town, there are just as many other attractions to see here too. Take a ride to Tham Khuha Sawan Cave outside town to view stalactites and stalagmites as well as the Buddha images enshrined there.
Grab a view from the top of the 250 metre Khao Ok Thalu hollow hill, a symbol of the town or watch waterfalls cascading from the cliffs of Namtok Khao Khram not far from town.
Spanning parts of Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat, as well as Phatthalung, is the beautiful Khao Pu-Khao Ya National Park, where you will find several caves and waterfalls as well as a number of viewpoints and as many great hiking trails.
The most important temple in town is Wat Wang, which was constructed during the reign of King Rama III. It is famous for its splendid mural paintings depicting the life of the Lord Buddha. The temple also houses some architectural buildings and more than one hundred Buddha images surround the chapel on the grounds. To get there, travel out of town on route 4047 for six kilometres.
Phatthalung is situated 840 kilometres (500 miles) south of Bangkok, but because there is no airport there, your best bet is to travel by car. Alternatively, you can take the bus from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal as coaches leave from there daily. There's also a main southern railway line running daily from Bangkok, but for more information regarding this, it is probably best to contact the State Railway of Thailand.
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