Phatthalung and Songkhla south of Krabi are two lesser-known provinces for western tourists. I was excited to see some of the country’s natural beauty without the massive crowds. When we drove from Krabi in the morning our aim was to get to the Thale Noi Waterfowl Reserve in Khuan Khanun, Phatthalung to see those gorgeous lotus flowers fully opened before the petals close in the afternoon. Unfortunately, we were a little bit late, and the flowers were already fully shut.
Thale Noi Waterfowl Reserve or Thale Noi Bird Watching Park is the first non-hunting area ever founded in Thailand. Nearly 200 species of birds make their homes here for at least part of the year.
Thale Noi, also known as lotus lake, is the largest waterfowl reserve in Thailand. Lotus flowers are at their best from February-March while bird populations expand from October-March. We went here in May, so I guess we were a little late. The best time of the day to view the lotus flowers in full bloom is around 7 a.m.
A bird (Common Moorhen?) walking on lotus leafs.
Wifey standing on a bridge in the lotus lake.
This was what we were hoping to see. Photo credit: zthailand.com
To get to Thale Noi, go on Highway 4048 from Amphoe Mueang to Amphoe Khuan Khanun on to Thale Noi. The reserve is open daily from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
A bit unhappy with the lack of blossoms, we continued to Phatthalung’s neighboring province Songkhla. On the way we drove on a bridge on the Songkhla Lake, which is the largest natural lake in Thailand, covering an area of 1,040 km². Along the lake, we saw many water buffalo enjoying a nice meal of grass.
We continued the ride, and after a while, we passed the Tinsulanonda Bridge, which crosses Songkhla Lake to connect the small land east of the lake at the coast with the main southern part of the province. With a length of 2.6 km, it is the longest concrete bridge in Thailand.
Our last stop in Songkhla was Samila Beach, where the Golden Mermaid sits in front of Cat Island and Mouse Island (Koh Maewo and Koh Nu). The Golden Mermaid is the most famous landmark of Songkhla Province, and It’s said that if you touch the mermaids breast, you will get lucky in love.
Brother-in-law touches the mermaids breast. Dad finds that hilarious.
Samila beach on a late afternoon.
Everybody wanted to pose with the Golden Mermaid.
Yees! a picture without people. Oh, no. Someone is bending over back there.
Cat Island (Koh Maewo) and Rat Island (Koh Nu).
Horse riding on Samila Beach.
A cute little girl riding a horse on Samila Beach.
Also read: Khong Hae Floating Market in Hat Yai (the largest city in Songkhla Province).