Yala is the southernmost province of Thailand, with an area
of 4,521 square kilometres. It is the only landlocked province in
the south. Today Yala is the border province with many interesting
facets: history, culture, and beautiful scenery. The province has a
unique mixture of cultural heritage of several groups--Thai,
Chinese, and Islam. The city centre has systematic town planning and
is one of the educational centres of the south as well.
The word “Yala” was derived from the local word “yalo”
meaning “fish net”.
Yala used to be part of Pattani, a colony of the Sukhothai
Kingdom. In B.E. 2310 when Ayutthaya fell to the Burman, southern
colonies became independent. During the reign of King Rama I of the
Rattanakosin Dynasty, the King sent his brother, Khrom Phra
Ratchawangbowon Maha Surasihanat to take Pattani.
In B.E. 2351, the King had Pattani separated into 7 smaller
colonies, namely Mueang Pattani, MueangSai Buri, MueangNong Chik,
MueangYaring, MueangRa Ngae, MueangRaman, and MueangYala. Yala had
changed its rulers many times before Monthon was abolished in B.E.
2476 and finally became one of the provinces (Changwat) of Thailand.
City Pillar Shrine
is located on Phiphitphakdi Road, in front of the City
Hall. His Majesty the King graciously gave the top of the pillar to Yala
on 18 May 1962. This shrine houses the City Pillar made of Chaiyapruk
wood. It is 50 centimetres tall, has a bottom circumference of 43 inches
and top circumference of 36 inches, and a four-faced Bhrama image and a
flame on top. The surrounding area is a well tended park. An annual
festival is held during 25-31 May to celebrate the City Pillar.
Reclining Buddha Image at Wat Khu Ha Phi Muk or Wat Na Tham
Reclining BuddhaImageat Wat Khu Ha PhiMuk or Wat Na Tham is one of
the three most revered places of the south, along with Phra Borom Mathat
at Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phra Borom Mathat Chaiya at Surat Thani,
signifying the importance of Buddhism in the area since the Srivijaya
Period. This temple is located in Tambon Na Tham, about eight kms. from
the city centre, on the road to Amphoe Yaha. A stream runs through the
ground of the temple. A figure of a giant, made in 1941 and named by the
villagers as “Chao Khao”, protects the entrance of the cave that houses
the reclining Buddha. Inside the cave is a large chamber that has been
converted into a religious area, with an opening in the roof of the cave
that lets in the sunlight. The reclining Buddha has been estimated to
have been made in 757, around the Srivijaya Period, and is 81 feet and
one inches long. It is believed that the sculpture was originally in the
Sleeping Narai posture, but later modified into the Hinayana reclining
Sanam Chang Phueak Park is located on Phiphitphakdi Road in an
80-rai plot of land. It was used as the ground to give the King a white
elephant (chang phueak) named “Phra Sawet Sura
on 9 March 1968. The Park has a pavilion in the middle of a
large pond and various sculpture of animals. The ground of the Park is
also used for other provincial activities.
Suan Khwan Mueang
Suan Khwan Mueang
located on Thetsaban 1 Road, about 300 metres from the City Pillar
Shrine. Its vast area of 207 rai has a separate sports ground and a
69-rai pond, landscaped with sandy beach and sea pines to remedy the
landlocked problem of the province. Furthermore, singing bird contest
(Nok Kao Java) is often held at this park since it is the largest and
the best ground for such contest in the south.
Tham Mae Nang Montho
Tham Mae Nang Montho
cave on the Yala-Yaha highway, about six kms. from the city centre. The
cave can be reached with a guide who can be contacted at the foothill.
One has to trek through a scrub and a marble quarry for about 15 minutes
to the cave entrance. Inside the cave are large, connecting chambers
that are mostly dark. A torch is highly recommended. The highlight of
this place is at the end of the cave where a large stalagmite resembling
the shape of a meditating lady, hence the name of the cave, is located.
Tham Sin is another cave that
can be reached via the same route as Tham Khu Ha Phi Muk, for one km.
further, then turn left for another km. passing the Ban Tham Sin School.
On the left is a small trek leading to a hill next to the road. The cave
is 28 metres high above the ground with steps leading to the entrance.
This is a very small and dark cave with ancient mural of different
postures of the Lord Buddha and a painting of three women standing
together on the cave wall that has deteriorated with time. The mural was
assumed to be of late Srivijaya Period, around the 14th
– 15th centuries. A torch or a lamp is highly recommended to
view the mural and the cave itself.
Yala Central Mosque
main mosque of the province, was completed in 1984 displaying western
architectural style intertwined with the unique mosque frame. The front
has about 30 wide steps leading to the upper terrace. The roof is
square-shaped with a dome in the middle.
Pa Phra Namaphithai Phak Tai, Section Two
is a lush rainforest with many rare plants and wildlife, especially birds.
It is also the habitat of the Sakai. This forest occupies a large area
at the boundary of Yala and Narathiwat. It is the headstream of the
Banglang Dam. Tourists can take boat trips to enjoy the scenery from the
445th Division of the Border Patrol Police, Thanon Sukkhayang, Amphoe
Betong Hot Spring
at Ban Cha Ro Parai Village, Tambon Tano Mae Ro. About five kms. before
reaching the Betong city centre, turn right from Highway 410 and
continue for another eight kms. into the village. At the hottest spot,
eggs are cooked in seven minutes. Hot spring shower is also available.
It is believed that hot spring can cure muscle pain and minor skin
about 15 kms. from Betong city centre, or about two kms. further from
the Hot Spring. It is a small waterfall with lush forest and pools for
swimming and relaxing.
Namtok Chaloem Phra
Kiat Ro Kao is in Tambon Ai Yoe Weng. Turn right from Highway 410,
between Amphoe Than To and Amphoe Betong at the 32-33 km. marker, onto
the dirt road for three kms. The waterfall is more than 30 metres high
and is surrounded by lush forest.
Phra Mahathat Chedi Phra
is located on a hilltop in Betong city centre, on the
ground of Wat Phuttathiwat, on Ratanakit Road. This chedi was built in
the modern Sivijaya style and covered in the color of gold. Measuring
39.9 metres high, it was built to commemorate the 69th birthday
anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen. From the chedi, one can see all of
the temple ground and part of Betong city centre.
Piyamit 1, Tambon Tano Mae Ro. Take the same route as the Hot Spring for
four more kms. This area is the village of the Thai Development
Participants and was once the base of Malaya Communist Division 2. The
tunnel was built in three months in 1976. Winding through the mountain
for about one km., it is about 50-60 feet wide and has multiple
entrances. It was used as the a shelter for air raids and as a food
storage area. At present, there is an exhibition about its history
including the way of life in the forest. It is open to the public from 8
a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
Suan Sut Sayam
Suan Sut Sayam
(Betong Municipality Park) occupies an area of about 120 square kms. on a
hill in the middle of Betong city centre. Overlooking the city, it
consists of ornamental plants and flowering plants garden, an aviary, a
herbal garden, a sports ground, a swimming pool, and a playground,
making it very suitable for recreation and exercising. If one travels on
Sukyang Road for seven kms. from the Park, one will reach the
southernmost point of Thailand. From here, there is a road connection
The Largest Mail Box in
used to be located at the Bell Tower intersection of
Betong. It was built in 1924 as the communication post for the
townspeople, with a radio placed on top of the box, and the mail slot
below it. At present, a new box and larger box (nine metres tall) has
been built and is located at the City Convention Hall (Sala Prachakhom).
The new mail box attracts a large number of tourists who come here to
The Swift At dusk
The Swift At dusk,
a large flock of swift birds would fly about the city centre and come to
rest at houses, on buildings and on electricity lines, especially on the
Bell Tower that is well-lit at night. They have become one of Betong’s
symbols, although they are only present during the cool season. The
birds migrated south to flee from the cold weather of Siberia once a
year, usually from September through March.
Bang Lang Dam is located
at Ban Banglang, Tambon Bacho, on Highway 410, about 50 kms. from Amphoe
MueangYala, then left for twelve kms. This d was the first multi-purpose
dam in the South, on Pattani River. It is 85 metres high with a crest of
422 metres long, and a reservoir capacity of 1,420 million cubic metres.
His Majesty the King presided over the opening ceremony on 27 September
1981. An overlook upstream of the dam, around the Electricity Generating
Authority of Thailand office, affords a panoramic view of the dam and
the surrounding hills. For lodging reservations, please call
and for boating in the reservoir please call
0-7328-1063-66, extension 2291.
or Nam Tok Kue Long is in the compound of the Southern
Self-Development Community, on Khao Pok Yo which has a transmission
station. The waterfall is on the Yala-Betong road, about 40 kms. from
Amphoe Mueang, then turn left for another eight kms. It was discovered
in 1964 and consist of five levels. The Princess Mother named it
One can swim in the small pool found on several levels.
is a cave
located at Ban Ka Sod, Tambon Bannang Sata, about 50 kms. from Amphoe
Mueang Yala on Highway 410. Pass the entrance to Banglang Dam, then turn
left onto a dirt road for 1.5 kms. The scenery is that of the mountains,
the stream, and the cave, with the stream running through. During the
dry season, one can walk along the stream through this cave to the other
side and into an open area surrounded by mountains and lush forest.
Namtok Bu Ke Pilo
Namtok Bu Ke Pilo,
or Namtok Tawan Ratsami, is about 19 kms. from Amphoe Muang. Take the
Yala-Kota Baru Road, then turn into Kota Baru through to Tambon Tha Ruea
for about two kms. and turn into the village for another two kms. The
entrance to the waterfall is about 500 metres from the village. This
waterfall is different from other waterfalls in that when sunlight
shines onto the water, the color of the underwater rocks all turn a
La Ong Rung Waterfall
La Ong Rung Waterfall
is situated on the boundary between Amphoe Than To and
Amphoe Betong, about 90 kms. on the Yala-Betong Road from Amphoe Muang.
Turn right onto a dirt road at about 40 kms. before reaching Amphoe
Betong, and go for another 100 metres. The slippery trek that runs along
the stream from the waterfall calls for precaution. During the rainy
season, the waterfall produces the effect of a rainbow, hence the name.
Namtok Than To
Namtok Than To is
situated in Tambon Tham Talu, on the Yala-Betong Road (Highway 410),
turn right at the 47-48-km marker and continue for about one km. It is a
large waterfall with cascading water running through seven levels, with
pools at each level suitable for swimming. The surrounding forest is
lush with many interesting species, including Si Yala (Saraca
Cantley ex Prain) with yellow blooms in February
at Moo 3,
Tambon Ban Rae, is about 80 kms. on the road to Betong. The Sakai , an
ancient nomad tribe whose existence was based on hunting and gathering,
were experts on herbal plants and used darts for hunting. Their
dwellings were originally made of bamboo, with thatch roof. Recently,
the Department of Social Work has developed the village by segregating
the Sakai in one area and introduced rubber planting for their
occupation. The Department also asked the Princess Mother for the naming
of the group with the family name of “Si Than To”. At present, there are
a few of the Sakai left at this village since the rest of the group has
moved to other areas.