Narathiwat (the residence of good people) is the southern most province in Thailand, sharing a border with Malaysia. The majority of the province is occupied by jungle and mountains, providing visitors with some great opportunities to spend days at the beach, in the forests, or have an outing to some of the outstanding temples. Most of the inhabitants are farmers and fishermen, largely Muslims who use the Yawi language (Yawi has roots from the spoken Malay language and uses Arabic alphabets). Narathiwat is dependent on cross-border trade and, due to the constant flow of culture and trade between the Thais and Malaysians, quite a unique area. Access to/from Malaysia is handy with immigration points where travellers can cross in/out of Thailand. When His Majesty the King arrives for his annual visit there are lot of celebrations planned, amongst them dove cooing contests and events involving the local fishermen. The Bang Nara River, which flows by the town, is the location for Korlae, a southern-style boat race. If you want to chill a bit then further north of the town the beaches are untouched, apart from a few hotels, seafood restaurants.
Manao Bay is a long beach stretching to the Bangnara River reaching the boundaries of the Thaksin Ratchaniwet Royal Palace. The beach is lined with pine and palm trees and a plethora of striking rocks.
Naratat Beach is near the estuary of the Bangnara River and consists of a wide pine tree beach with fine white sand. Several beachside restaurants serve freshly caught seafood and local cuisine.
Banthon Village is a picturesque coastal fishing village inhabited by Thai Muslims. Hand-painted Korlae fishing boats painted in a wild blast of colour make beautiful photographs and you can even buy the miniature version. Other products made and on sale here, are reed mats, products made of Krachut sedge and Annonaceae leaves, bags and mats and even eyeglass holders. If you take a walk along the beach you will spot freshly caught fish hung out to dry and Budu sauce vats; the sauce is used widely in southern cooking.
Located in Wat Khao Kong, Phra Buddha Taksin Mingmongkol is a large southern Buddha image set in the lotus position and covered with golden mosaic tiles, it stands 24 meters high and measures 17 meters from knee to knee.
Word of Warning.
Since 2004, there have been various disturbances in southern Thailand, predominantly in the provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, and Pattani. These regions are home to the majority of the Muslim minority in Thailand of whom many are ethnic Malays. Read the latest news before you decide to travel in this region and check out advice on the internet.