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||Songkhla, one of Thailand's important ports and coastal provinces, is located 950 kilometers from Bangkok. Occupying an area of 7,393 square kilometers on the eastern side of the Malaysian Peninsula, the province is bordered by the States of Kedah (Sai Buri) and Perlis of Malaysia to the south and the Gulf of Thailand to the east. In addition, Songkhla borders on Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung Provinces to the north, Yala and Pattani Provinces to the south, and Satun and Phatthalung Provinces to the west.
An undeniably historic town endowed with ancient ruins, arts, and places of cultural importance, Songkhla, a melting pot of Thais, Chinese and Malays, charms visitors with its unique traditions, dialect, and folk entertainment. These characteristics are reflections of the provinces rich cultural heritage, which has been preserved and passed down from generations to generations.
Hat Yai, a district of Songkhla, is perhaps better known than the provincial capital itself. Hat Yai serves as a southern hub of communication, trading and transportation as well as a gateway to Malaysia and Singapore. In light of this, Hat Yai has gained importance as the driving force of economic growth in the southern region.
||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 Muang Pattani, Muang Sai Buri, Muang Nong Chik, Muang Yaring, Muang Ra Ngae, Muang Raman, and Muang Yala. 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.
||Narathiwat at a glance
Located approximately some 1,149 kilometers south of Bangkok is Narathiwat the southernmost province in Thailand and one of the nation's five provinces that borders Malaysia at Amphoe Su-ngai Kolok, where the southern railway line ends.
Access from Malaysia is convenient via a ninety-minute bus trip and two immigration points where travelers can cross into Thailand and vice versa. With Amphoe Su-ngai Kolok serving as an economic and border tourism center, the province welcomes an increasing numbers of Malaysians and Singaporeans on short holidays or shopping sprees.
Geographically, Narathiwat is situated on the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula. The north borders Pattani Province and the Gulf of Thailand, the west borders Yala Province, the east borders the Gulf of Thailand, and the south borders Kelantan in Malaysia. The plains where the Maenam Sai Buri, Maenam Bang Nara, Maenam Tak Bai and Maenam Su-ngai Kolok converge are adjacent to the gulf.
With an area of 4,475 square kilometers, of which 75 percent are jungles and mountains, visitors to the province are provided with great opportunities to spend days at the beach or in the forests and take excursion trips to some of the magnificent temples. Narathiwat has a tropical climate and has only 2 seasons; summer and rainy. The wettest period is during November to December.
Narathiwat literally means "the residence of good people". The city of Narathiwat has an abundance of traditional culture and authenticity with village-like tranquility. The inhabitants of Narathiwat are largely farmers and fishermen with the majority being Muslims who use the spoken and written Yawi language (Yawi has roots from the spoken Malay language and uses Arabic consonants and alphabets). As such, Narathiwat is an amazing and unique area with a constant flow of culture and trade between Thais and Malaysians.
The provincial seal depicts a sailing boat with a picture of a white elephant on the sail in a circle. It signifies that Narathiwat is a province on the coast, engaged in fishing and trading with neighboring countries and that the province has a white elephant called Phra Sri Nararat Rajakarin.