Phatthalung is on the west coast of Songkhla Lake, 860 km from Bangkok. This mountainous city is among the ancient cities in the south. Khao Ok Thalu or Mount Ok Thalu, the symbol of the city, is prominent by its height and can be seen from a distance. The performing arts of Nang Talung (puppet shadow play) and Nora dance have their origins in this city. It was assumed from evidence that Phatthalung had been a town built in the Srivijaya period. The original town was at Hua Khao Daeng on the coast, now opposite the city of Songkhla.
From Bangkok, there are three possible routes:
- Follow Hwy 4 to Chumphon and, at the Pathomphon intersection, take a turn toward Ranong, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang, and Phatthalung, a total distance of around 1,140 km.
- Follow Hwy 4 to Chumphon and switch to Hwy 41 toward Phatthalung, a total distance of 840 km.
- Follow Hwy 4 past Chumphon, Surat Thani, and Nakhon Si Thammarat, change to Hwy 403, and at the Khao Chum Thong junction, switch to Hwy 41 toward Phatthalung.
There is no airport in Phatthalung. Visitors can take a flight to Trang or Hat Yai. For more information, contact Thai Airways at Tel. 1566, +66 2 800060, +66 2 6282000; the Trang Office at Tel. +66 75 218066, +66 75 219923; the Hat Yai Office at Tel. +66 74 245851–2, +66 74 243711, +66 74 233433.
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) serves Phatthalung. Tel. 1690, +66 2 2237010, +66 2 2237020, or contact the Phatthalung Railway Station at Tel. +66 74 613106.
- Khao Ok Talu (เขาอกทะลุ). Phatthalung's "mountain", having an elevation of around 250 m. There is a flight of stairs leading the way up to the mountaintop overlooking the city of Phatthalung.
- Namtok Phraiwan Waterfalls (น้ำตกไพรวัลย์), Tambon Khlong Chaloem, Amphoe Kong Ra (From Phatthalung town, take Hwy 4; at the Kong Ra T-junction, turn right on Hwy 4122 for ~29 km. Follow signs for 3 more km). Daily, 08:00-17:00. The waterfall is in the Khao Banthat Wildlife Reserve in Tambon Khlong Chaloem. It is in natural surroundings rich in tropical flora. Parking and a restaurant are nearby. Take a mini-bus on the Namtok Phraiwan-Phatthalung Line at the bus stop diagonally opposite the Phatthalung Railway Station. The mini-buses depart daily every 15 minutes from 07:00-17:00. The last bus from Namtok Phraiwan to Phatthalung leaves at 15:00.
- Phra Phutthanirarokhantarai Chaiyawat Chaturathit or Phra Si Mum Mueang (พระพุทธนิรโรคันตรายชัยวัฒน์จตุรทิศหรือพระสี่มุมเมือง). This bronze Buddha image in the posture of meditation is enshrined in a pavilion with four porches on the foreground between the city hall and provincial court of Phatthalung.
- Wat Khuha Sawan (วัดคูหาสวรรค์). This is one of the ancient monuments of Phatthalung. Inside the cave, a giant reclining Buddha image, pagoda, and other Buddha images are found together with some earthen votive tablets of the Srivijaya period.
- Wat Wang (วัดวัง). The ubosot (ordination hall) is in the architectural style of the Rattanakosin era, with the "chofa", gable finial, "Bai Raka" crockets, and a front portico. One hundred and eight stucco Buddha images are enshrined in the gallery around the ordination hall.
- Rulers' New and Old Palaces (วังเจ้าเมืองพัทลุง วังเก่า – วังใหม่). Once they served as a residence cum offices of the governors of Phatthalung. Today, some parts of them remain. The palaces were registered as an ancient monument in 1983.
- Hat Saen Suk Lampam (หาดแสนสุขลำปำ). This sandy beach along the coastal line of Songkhla Lake is fringed by shady pine trees. The pavilion jutting into the sea called "Sala Lampam Thi Rak" serves as a viewpoint to admire the lake's surroundings.
- Coconut Shell Handicraft Centre of Mueang Phatthalung (ศูนย์รวมหัตถกรรมกะลามะพร้าวเมืองพัทลุง). This is a village of handicrafts made from coconut shell.
- Thale Noi Non-hunting Area (เขตห้ามล่าสัตว์ป่าทะเลน้อย). The first non-hunting area founded in Thailand. Interesting things at the Thale Noi Waterfowl Park are the Thale Noi Palace, sea of blooming lotus in the morning, flocks of waterfowls, the nesting and egg-laying grounds of waterfowls at Ao Mo and those at Khuan Thale Mong, Khuan Khi Sian Ranger Station, and the Sala Nang Riam viewpoint. Thale Noi lake is a unique bird breeding place, with over 180 species of birds listed.
- Wat Khian Kaeo (วัดเขียนบางแก้ว). It was recognized as a model temple for development in 1990. In addition, the temple houses a museum where Buddha images and crockery have been collected.
- Laem Chong Thanon (แหลมจองถนน). A fishing village in Tambon Chong Thanon.
- Namtok Lan Mom Chui (น้ำตกหม่อมจุ้ย). A waterfall amidst a shady forest in the area of the Ban Tamot Wildlife Protection Unit.
- Khao Pu – Khao Ya National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาปู่ – เขาย่า). The most geographical features are forests in the Banthat Range which has a complex of mountains with Khao Hin Thaen as the highest mountaintop. Most of the flora is moist evergreen forest. Wild animals consist of 60 species of mammals. In addition, other places of interest are as follows:
Tham Matcha Pla Won (ถ้ำมัจฉาปลาวน) A cave, about 2 km from park headquarters. Inside, there are 3 spacious chambers, stalactites, stalagmites, a limestone curtain, and many bats. The Asian giant toad and millipede are also found here.
Pha Phueng (ผาผึ้ง) A limestone cliff, around 300 m from the park headquarters. Giant bees always come to make hundreds of hives here every year from February to April.
- Bang Kaeo Shadow Puppet Figure and Handicraft Centre (ศูนย์ศิลปหัตกรรมรูปหนังบางแก้ว). The Bang Kaeo Handicraft village consists of 25 members who carve hides into puppet figures for Nang Talung and Nang Yai shadow plays, as well as new figures in patterns required by customers.
- Tham Sumano (ถ้ำสุมะโน). Inside, there are some stalactites and stalagmites, as well as spacious chambers. The cave is cool and shady with spectacular nature. It includes a system of 18 small caves. The cave is also used for insight development and Dharma practices.
- Thale Noi Bird-watching Festival. Initiated in 1998 as an activity for the "Amazing Thailand Year", designed around the most important attraction of Phatthalung.
- Khaeng Phon Lak Phra or Chak Phra Tradition (งานประเพณีแข่งโพนลากพระหรือชักพระ). Held on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon, the full moon day and the first day of the waning moon in the eleventh lunar month, which coincides with the end of Buddhist Lent. It is a tradition to move around Buddha images both by land and by river. In Phatthalung, it is observed by land. Beating phons (drums) control the movement of a Buddha image procession. Each procession representing a temple has its own drum beaters. When two processions meet, they exchange a challenging medly of drum beating. A phon beating competition is, therefore, held every year at the Phatthalung Stadium and Hat Saen Suk Lampam (Lampam Beach), Amphoe Mueang Phatthalung. Activities in the event include a phon drumming contest by representatives from temples in Phatthalung and neighbouring provinces, a phon procession contest, a phon beating style contest, dancing performances, Sat Tom (throwing a traditional dessert made of sticky rice wrapped with a young leaf of Kapho or mangrove fan palm), a Buddha image procession contest, religious rites, water sports on Lampam Lake, local arts and exhibition of Phatthalung and nearby provinces, such as Krachut or bulrush mat weaving and coconut shell products.
Famous souvenirs include "kalamae" or coconut toffee, "kluai chap" or crispy buttered banana, and "luk yi" (velvet tamarind) candy, and crispy baked prawns.
|Routes through Phatthalung|
|Bangkok ← Nakhon Si Thammarat ←||N S||→ Hat Yai → Butterworth|
|Bangkok ← Trang ←||N S||→ Hat Yai → Sadao|