Bangkok, 31 August, 2021 – Satun province is one of the three southernmost provinces in Thailand that shares a border with Malaysia. There are colourful mixtures of Thai and Malaysian customs throughout the province in everything from food and religion to clothing and architecture. The intersection of people with different histories and traditions comes together colourfully and warmly, giving the region a feeling of welcome regardless of the season.
Although the province is not well-known as a tourist destination, Satun’s many natural attractions make it a unique area worth adding to your list of points to visit.
Like the neighbouring Trang and Songkhla provinces, Satun has a remarkable natural beauty unique to the rest of the region. The province is home to over 100 small islands and three national parks drawing thousands of visitors to the area every year. The national parks in Satun province include Thale Ban National Park, Mu Ko Phetra National Park, and Tarutao National Park.
Unlike Ko Phetra and Tarutao National Parks, Thale Ban National Park is the one national park in Satun province that is on the mainland. The Park was first established in 1980 and is well known for its waterfalls, dense jungles, and over 300 bird species, including at least 8 hornbills.
Satun province is also home to Phu Pha Pet Cave, Thailand’s most extensive cave and the 4th largest in the world covering over 50 rai (approximately 20 acres). Every year, crowds of tourists visit to observe the “diamond speckled” surfaces of the massive rock growths inside the grand Phu Pha Phet Room. The area surrounding the cave is also a popular destination for camping year-round.
Seemingly hidden 70 kilometres west of Pak Bara Pier in Satun is one of Thailand’s smallest destination islands: Ko Lipe.
Ko Lipe, which is small enough to be walked from top to bottom in less than 45 minutes, is known for its pristine white sandy beaches, sparkling blue waters, breath-taking sun showers, and some of the best scuba diving in the world. The diving at and around Ko Lipe is renowned, in part, because 25% of the tropical fish species in the world can be found in its waters.
Luckily for visitors without a PADI certification, Ko Lipe and the surrounding islands are also prized for snorkelling, particularly in Ko Jabang. The soft reef surrounding Ko Jabang, which is located about a 25-minute boat ride from Ko Lipe, is believed to be one of the most beautiful in the country, exhibiting large masses of the 7-coloured coral reefs famous in tourism guides about the area.
One other notable destination for visitors to Ko Lipe is the nearby Ko Hin Ngam, known for its peculiar black rock beach. The entire beach is covered with large, smooth black rocks rather than sand, giving it the appearance of a mirage in the distance. The black rock beach surrounds a small forest at the centre of the island. However, reaching the centre of Ko Hin Ngam is challenging because of the temperature of the sun-baked rocks, so most visitors opt for snorkelling around the beach.
While spending time on Ko Lipe, it is recommended to kick back, relax, and check out one of the beach restaurants dotted along the shore, most of which offer a host of fresh seafood caught daily. No matter where you are on the island, the sunsets at Ko Lipe are second to none regardless of the time of year.
Visitors can get to Ko Lipe by flying to Hat Yai International Airport and then taking a van to Pak Bara Pier. From Pak Bara, many speedboats are coming to and from Ko Lipe throughout the day, 365 days per year.