The Southern province with the second longest shoreline, Nakhon Si Thammarat is a truly hidden gem and one that has yet to establish itself on the international tourism map.
It boasts many other interesting attractions; such as, peaceful beaches and lush forest. Its cultural heritage, especially food, is outstanding. Recently Wat Chedi, in particular, has been attracting a large number of Thais to the province.
- You can reach Nakhon Si Thammarat by plane, car, bus, and train. The province is served by five airlines: Thai Lion Air, Nok Air, Air Asia, Thai Smile, and Thai Vietjet Air. The airport is about 14 kilometres from downtown with an airport bus service, taxi, and car rental serving passengers.
- If you drive, take Highway No. 4 (Bangkok-Prachuap Khiri Khan-Chumphon) and turn onto Highway No 41 via Surat Thani-Thung Song. It takes about 10-11 hours. A bus service is also available from the Southern Bus Terminal and train No 85 leaves Bangkok for Nakhon Si Thammarat daily (15-16 hours). Call the State Railway at Tel. 1690 for more details.
- Day 1
- Pay homage to Wat Mahathat, the province’s iconic temple.
- Visit the City Pillar for auspiciousness.
- Breathe in the fresh air at Ban Kiriwong.
- Day 2
- Witness the power of faith at Wat Chedi (Ai Khai).
- Relax at Sichon Beach.
- Check out the Sichon-Khanom Seafront Road.
- Explore the Thong Yi-Nai Plao Beaches.
- Take an eco-tour of Ao Talet.
Wat Mahathat is the province’s most significant religious monument and highly revered by local residents as well as Buddhists from the neighbouring countries of Malaysia and Singapore.
The bell-shaped 55.78-metre chedi with a golden spire enshrines the Buddha’s relics and can be spotted from afar. It is also circled by 149 minor chedis. Phra Mahathat Chedi is known as the chedi which casts no shadow on the ground regardless the direction of the sun.
- 435 Ratchadamnoen Road, Tambon Nai Mueang, Amphoe Mueang, Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Open daily from 8.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
- Tel. 0 7534 5172
While Nakhon Si Thammarat is a town with a long and glorious history, its city pillar is relatively new though this doesn’t make it any less significant for its residents. The Pillar is contained in the principal tower that is surrounded by four minor towers.
- North of Sanam Na Mueang, Amphoe Mueang, Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Open daily from 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Tel. 0 7535 6458
Ban Kiriwong, Lan Saka district
The small charming village of Ban Kiriwong has earned a reputation as an area with an abundance of fresh air – arguably the best quality air in Thailand! Nestled in a small valley, it’s a picturesque village is where you can experience first-hand the simple life of the villagers, whose income is derived mainly from fruit orchards; such as, mangosteens.
- Kiriwong Village,TambonKamlon,AmphoeLan Saka, Nakhon Si Thammarat
Among its landmarks is the concrete bridge across the Thadi River, which runs through the village. Most visitors don’t miss the chance to take a picture of or with this iconic structure. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for those perfect shots!
If you stay at a homestay in the village, take your time to explore the peaceful surroundings on bicycle and ride onto the suspension bridge. You’re welcome to relax in the river but be mindful of the changing color and water level, especially during the rainy season. They’re both signs of flash floods from the nearby mountains.
You can also learn to make natural dyed fabrics at the village’s learning centre, which promotes environmentally friendly products.
- 373 Kiriwong Village, TambonKamlon, AmphoeLan Saka, Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Tel. 08 6946 7786, 08 0393 9364
The dyeing process begins with grinding parts of the chosen plants before boiling them to extract the colours that can then be directly painted on the fabric or tie-dyed.
Mangosteens give an orange and pink hue, while Indian almond plants release green and yellow tones
If fabric dyeing is not what you plan to practice at home, simply buy a beautiful product at the souvenir shop!
Wat Chedi (Ai Khai)
On the second day, we head north to Sichon and Khanom districts, some 70 and 100 kilometres from downtown Nakhon Si Thammarat.
has the magical power to grant wishes. Legend has it that Ai Khai – a term of endearment that Southerners use for a small boy – was the temple’s guardian who always helped villagers in need. Popular favours people ask from the famous boy are success in business and good luck in any endeavours, including winning the lottery, of course. Faith is complicated, and we are not here to judge!
- 103 Mu 7, Tambon Chalong, Amphoe Sichon, Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Open daily from 8.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
- Tel. 0 7584 5142
Clean and curved is how we describe Sichon Beach. It’s a favourite beach of the local residents who come for a dip in the clear water, or for food at the restaurants and cafes nearby. The Beach is a perfect place if you don’t mind being the only foreign visitor!
- Tambon Sichon, Amphoe Sichon, Nakhon Si Thammarat
Sichon-Khanom Seafront Road
When heading to Khanom district from Sichon beach, you can take the seafront road from Khao Phlai Dam to Thong Yi Bay, which is dubbed the Gulf of Thailand’s most scenic road, albeit a very winding one with a stretch that could make you feel like you’re riding a roller coaster!
Please only stop to take pictures at the designated viewpoints to avoid accidents on this two-lane road.
Thong Yi Bay – Nai Plao Beach
Thong Yi Bay is a secluded area where you can enjoy various activities, including fishing and snorkelling. It’s a hidden paradise by the sea and mountains. You can also trek on a nature trail from here to Thong Yang Bay and Khao Phlai Dam mountainous area.
Nai Plao Beach is Khanom district’s biggest beach offering a variety of accommodation and restaurants. And like other beaches in Nakhon Si Thammarat, it is serene and truly off the beaten path for international tourists – highly recommended if you want to get away from well-travelled places.
Best season in Thong Yi Bay – Nai Plao Beach from April to October
On the border with Surat Thani’s Don Sak district, Ao Talet is home to a small but lively fishing community and its enterprise, the Ao Talet Ecotourism Group. Local travellers are attracted by its photogenic 100-metre-long wooden walkway that extends into the sea.
The wooden walkway serves as a pier for the fishing boats, as well as the group’s tourism boats that take visitors out to spot Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins.
Don’t miss the Southerners’ tasty seafood in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
1. Khanom seafood are the two famous restaurants in their namesake districts and there are many more.
- 97 Moo 8 TambonKhanom, AmphoeKhanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Open daily from 10.00 a.m.-10.00 p.m.
- Tel. 0 7530 0202
- Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/khanomseafood
2. Chaplu Bistro Traditional Thaifood
- 23/1 Moo 8 Tambon Khanom, Amphoe Khanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Open daily from 10.00 a.m.-08.00 p.m. (Closed 2nd and 4th Tue. of the month)
- Tel. 08 1536 8161, 08 1875 4757
3.Blueterrace Cafe’ & Bar
- 99 TambonKhanom, AmphoeKhanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Open daily from 8.00 a.m.- 6.30 p.m.
- Tel. 08 4240 5999
- Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Blueterrace2020/?ref=page_internal