Nakhon Si Thammarat is the second largest province in the south, located at the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand. A mountainous province its qualities are lush jungles and forests copious with flourishing vegetation and undeveloped beaches that stretch for miles. Khao Luang National Park covers a large area of Nakhon containing many waterfalls, caves and tours can be arranged for trekking, nature walks and camping. Beaches vary here, not only will you find white sand and palm trees but also limestone cliffs, mangrove forests and fierce waterfalls. There are many pretty little coastal villages where you can set up a camp, you can even camp on the beaches although you do need to ask permission first. Nakhon Si Thammarat doesn’t receive many foreign tourists but has a lot of natural beauty so if you are seeking something from the norm then this is the ideal place to visit.
Na Dam Beach is known for its dazzling cobalt blue waters and fine white sand, surrounded by coconut plantations.
Nai Phalo Beach is another beautiful beach located at Khanom Bay. The beach is based at the bottom of a mountain range and Khanom’s largest beach with huge boulders clustered at the far end. There are some good camping places, but sadly this beach is beginning to show signs of development.
Thung Yi Beach and Thong Yang Beach are two of the best beaches in Khanom, especially for camping, due to their isolation. Although located next to each other, Thong Yang Beach can only be accessed by boat or by climbing over Khao Klang Mountain. It's far easier to reach Thong Yang Beach if you head there from Sichon which is to the south. You can snorkel from the beach, go fishing or take a hike and keep a look out for the local wildlife. Swimming is very good here as the water is so clear and calm, also waterfalls flow directly into the ocean and you can swim here too. You will find a few small shops close by if you need any necessities or have no luck fishing.
Celebrated at Phra Borom That Chedi is the Hae Pha Khuen That Festival. The pagoda is said to have unequaled power of righteousness as it contains holy relics and believed to be the representative of Lord Buddha. Buddhists show their respect to the pagoda by leading a procession to it and then wrapping a religious cloth around the pagoda in order to bring good fortune and success. This festival is held twice every year on Makha Bucha Day and Visakha Bucha Day.
Chak Phra or Lak Phra Festival is held to show the happiness of the locals when ‘Lord Buddha returned from a star’. A Buddha image holding a bowl is paraded around the city. The festival is in October and there are many activities in the week prior to the festival, expect to see people playing drums, castanets and decorating the ceremonial throne for the Lord Buddha. The ceremony is held on the last day of Buddhist Lent.
Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month is an impressive event of Nakhon province and southern Thailand held in September; it is in honour of deceased ancestors. Buddhists believe those of the dead with many sins were sent to hell as demons, for 15 days in September the demons are permitted to come up to get together with their relatives but have to return to hell before sunrise of the 15th day. Their relatives try to pacify the demons by offering food to them at the temples to make merit. On the 13th day, the locals will shop for food that is to be offered to the demons. The 14th day is spent preparing and decorating the food tray and there is a big procession through the streets, then, on the 15th day it is the actual merit-making day.
Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, found in Amphoe Muang, is one of the most important historical sites in southern Thailand. The pagoda measures over 55 meters high, has a typical Sri Lankan style and is decorated all over in pure gold. Some of the more significant buildings in the temple are the Sam Chom building where the Buddha image, Phra Si Thamma Sokarat, is housed and the royal building which has striking architecture from the Ayutthaya era.
Khao Wang Thongcave, also in Amphoe Muang, is an interesting place to visit; with its many chambers it has stalagmites and stalactites of unusual shapes and sizes. Several of the chambers can only be reached by crawling through tunnels or climbing up into them.
Karom Waterfall, located in Amphoe Lan Saka, begins in the Nakhon Si Thammarat mountain range and cascades down an impressive 19 steps. Kings Rama V and King Rama VI and many other royal family members have visited this waterfall and have left evidence of this by carving their initials in the area.