Photo: Thai feasting.


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If you’ve ever wondered what travelling in South Thailand was like before mass tourism arrived, make a trip to Phattalung. Filled with phenomenal food and laidback locals, the provincial capital stretches between striking limestone massifs where forest monks go to meditate. The rest of the province reveals one of Thailand’s best bird-watching venues along with mountains, waterfalls and an ancient palace set near the vast Songkhla Lake.

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Phattalung truly is a rewarding destination for those who aren’t afraid to step off the well-trodden track. With that said, travellers accustomed to the English-speaking travel agents and Western restaurants found in places like Phuket, Krabi and Trang will be in for a shock. Very few locals speak English and getting around can be a challenge. Bring an open mind and a phrasebook, and you just might find the South Thailand that you’ve been searching for.

Just chillin. Photo taken in or around Phattalung, Thailand by David Luekens.

Just chillin. Photo: David Luekens

Historical details are foggy, but it’s thought that Phattalung was a minor kingdom administered by the Srivijaya Empire from the eighth to 11th centuries and the Nakhon Si Thammarat Kingdom in the 12th and 13th centuries, after which the area came under the sway of Ayutthaya. Most of the locals are Buddhist, with only around 10% of the population adhering to Islam. The violent civil disturbance that blights the nearby provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat has not spilled north into Phattalung.

Home to around 40,000 people, the low-key provincial capital features some of the most distinctive geography of any Thai city. Half a dozen limestone towers stand like a series of watchtowers as the Ban That Mountains loom in the west. A short drive east takes you to Songkhla Lake, known locally as Thale Sap (“Freshwater Lake”), the largest lake in Thailand. Just north of that is Thale Noi, a freshwater wetland that attracts a brilliant array of ... Travelfish members only (Around 800 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Phattalung.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Phattalung.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Phattalung.
 Read up on how to get to Phattalung, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Phattalung? Please read this.
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