Nakhon Si Thammarat is the largest province in southern Thailand and compared to other southern provinces like Phuket, Phang Nga, and Krabi — which the beautiful Andaman Sea locates all — this Gulf of Thailand province has very little tourists. But with its interesting history, ancient temples and beautiful lush mountains, Nakhon Si Thammarat is one of the most exciting provinces in Thailand — and below I give you seven reasons to go.
1. The eco-friendly village of Kiriwong
Kiriwong in Lan Saka is one of the most beautiful and cleanest villages I’ve seen in Thailand, and it’s quite remarkable that so few tourists make their way to this eco-friendly village famous for its incredible handicrafts making.
2. The most important temple in southern Thailand
Constructed at the time when the town was founded, about 800 years ago, Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan is the most important temple in southern Thailand. The 78 meters high stupa, which was built by King Sri Dhammasokaraj, is surrounded by 173 smaller stupas. The temple was nominated to a tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2012 and is believed to house a tooth of Buddha.
3. Khao Luang National Park
Khao Luang National Park is home to the highest mountain in southern Thailand, Khao Luang at 1,835 meters and boasts some of Thailand’s most stunning mountain scenery outside of the north. On an area of 570 square kilometers, the park has plenty of mountains, forest walks, cool streams, and impressive waterfalls.
4. Ancient coffee at Kopi
Kopi is a famous breakfast place in the center of Nakhon Si Thammarat Town serving old-style coffee, traditional tea, dim sum, and other Chinese-Thai food. Built in beautiful old colonial style, Kopi was established in 1942, and little has changed since then. Even though the restaurant is known for its breakfast, they serve food until 23:00.
5. The Little House in The Valley
OK, so this little café called The Little House in The Valley has become very popular among Thai people, and if you come here during the weekends, you will have to queue. But since it’s on the way to Kiriwong village, it’s worth a stop to take a picture or two. And the waffles are pretty nice!
6. Shopping in the town of Nakhon Si Thammarat
Like other provincial capitals, Nakhon Si Thammarat Town features fun markets and small shops with clothes and locally produced handicrafts — and since it’s not a tourist destination, it’s cheaper than Phuket and Krabi.
7. Khanom beaches and pink dolphins
Yes, there are beaches too — on the east-facing Gulf of Thailand coast in Khanom with Nadan Beach as the most beautiful. Khanom tours take you out to see rare pink dolphins.