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Thale Ban National Park

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Located in the mountainous border area between Satun province and Malaysia, Thale Ban was declared Thailand's 20th national park in 1980.

The park has a number of waterfalls and caves, and the picturesque lake opposite park headquarters is a popular spot for picnics. Local folk stories say the lake appeared following an earthquake, and the remains of large trees found at the bottom of the lake suggest there might be some truth to these tales. Of the many forested limestone mountains in the park, Khao Gin is the highest at 756m.

Forest, meadow, and mangrove habitats are all found within the park's borders and support a variety of animal life. Macaques and squirrels are commonly seen, and Malayan tapirs, wild boars, gibbons, mouse deer and civet cats have been sighted. Thale Ban is very popular with birdwatchers, especially during the March and October migrations. Nearly 300 bird species, including eight types of hornbill, have been recorded in the park.

Nature trails are well-marked, and the park information booth hands out brochures and maps. If it's not deep in the dry season, Yaroi waterfall is a beautiful place to swim. You can drive most of the way there or, if you're feeling adventurous, hire a guide and tackle the 20km overnight hike to the falls.

The National Park Authority maintains some good bungalows set in a shaded area near the lake. They range from 300-600B and sleep up to four people. Tents can be rented for 30B per person. Accomodation can be booked online at www.dnp.go.th or by calling (074) 72 2736-7. The park restaurant is open daily 08:30-16:30.


The best way to get to Thale Ban is on a motorbike, which may be rented in Satun at On's Living Room or Ang Yee's Guesthouse for 250-300B. It's an uncomplicated route past idyllic villages and rubber plantations. Head north out of Satun town on Satun Thani Road, which turns into Route 406. Just after the village of Yan Sue look for the sign for route 4184 and take a right onto that. The road will then become remote as it heads north into the mountains and turns back south towards Thale Ban and the Malaysia border.

If motorbiking is not your thing, you can try to catch a public orange songthaew from the 7-eleven on Satun Thani Road, which depart most days before 08:00 and cost 50B one-way. To return you can catch the same songthaew as it comes back from Malaysia around 12:00, but again, these don't run a regular daily route. Otherwise, motorbike taxis will make the return day trip for 500B, and taxis may be arranged for 600B. The National Park office at Thale Ban can also arrange one-way taxis back to Satun.



Text and/or map last updated on 21st December, 2011.

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