UNESCO recently endorsed the designation of about half of Satun province as Thailand’s first Global Geopark for its renowned natural beauty and geological significance. The UNESCO website describes the Satun Geopark area as “a peaceful place with renowned natural beauty”. It went on to say, “the area is renowned, in both Thailand and the whole of Southeast Asia, for its abundance and high diversity of fossil species as well as for the oldest succession of fossils. This week I flew down to Southern Thailand on a media trip to see for myself some of these geographical and cultural sites in Satun province. The following photos were posted live during the two day trip.
Trip dates: 3-4 May 2018
DAY ONE: I’ve been invited by the Department of Mineral Resources on a two day media trip to Satun in Southern Thailand. UNESCO recently named Satun as Thailand’s first Global Geopark. More info here: thaitravelblogs.com
Boarding Thai Lion SL824 from Bangkok to Trang. We will then transfer to van for our final destination is Satun in Southern Thailand. Flight time is about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Lunch at See Fah Restaurant in Trang. Everything was delicious including the ice cream. The diet starts when I get back. For real this time. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/foQFnSxUXKn
Lan Hin Pa Phon (ลานหินป่าพน) is an outcrop of limestone rocks in Ban Pa Phon School in Manang District of Satun. Many fossils of marine animals were found here. This whole area was under the sea 470 million years ago. The rocks are regarded to be part of the Pa Kae formation of the Ordovician Thung Song Group. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/qHwGmAAaKws
The highlight this afternoon was a kayak expedition along La-ngu river and into Chet Khot Cave (ถ้ำเจ็ดคต). This is in Thung Wa District of Satun province. You can rent kayaks for 200 Baht per person which includes a guide at a car park to the east of the cave. From here you kayak about 300 meters down the stream until you reach the cave. Here you have to clamber over rocks in order to continue your journey. It is advisable to bring a flashlight. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/5U1EUewmJ1G2
Chet Khot Cave in Satun is about 700 meters long, 70 meters wide and 40 meters high. The limestone cave has stalagmites and stalactites and also hundreds of bats. The Chet Khot Cave is made of an Ordovician thin-bedded limestone surrounded by rugged mountains consisting of stream valleys and cliffs, waterfalls and sinkholes under a dense thicket of tropical rainforest. Halfway through the cave, there is a large opening in the ceiling which provides some light. On the western side of the cave, you join the La-ngu River where there is a pier and accommodation where you finish your journey. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ULsTBAdyHFp
This afternoon, we visited an ethnic group in La-ngu district of Satun called Mani (มันนิ). They are the only Negrito group in Thailand and live a simple and isolated life in the forest in groups of 20-30 people. They are characterized by curly hair, dark skin, wide flat nose, thick lips, large teeth, small ears, flat hip, large fingers and are about 140-150 centimeters tall. This is not a tourist attraction and so I won’t be providing a map link to their village. We had a special invite to visit and were brought there by local government officials who work with this group. I am only posting for your information as many people don’t know anything about this ethnic group that live on the fringes of Thai society.
The Mani group we visited only had 30 people and eleven families. They speak their own language but can speak a little Thai with a Southern accent. There are only 300 of them left in Southern Thailand but the army won’t let them stay in big groups as they are not naturalized citizens. They can be found in Phuttalung, Satun and Yala provinces. They are sometimes called Ngo Pa, Sa Gai, Se Mang, Kha Nang, and Orang Assalee etc. For more information about the Mani ethnic group that live in the forests in Southern Thailand, please visit this Wiki page: wikipedia.org
A seafood dinner at Paknam Sea restaurant (ครัวปากน้ำซี) in La-ngu district of Satun. To be honest, I wasn’t keen on it. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ji5VKJajD992
DAY TWO: Good morning from Satun in Southern Thailand. Last night we stayed at Royal Hill Satun hotel along the coast in La-Ngu district of Satun. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/DuVKGkKWjMx
This morning, we went on a walk along the coastline in Mu Ko Phetra National Park in La-Ngu district of Satun Province. There is an elevated walkway here that goes around Khao To Ngai, a small mountain of geological interest. They call the walk “Time-bounded crossing bridge”. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/T32j5rjGq5N2
At one point on the footpath around Khao To Ngai, you can clearly see red sandstone of the Cambrian period (541 to 485.4 million years ago) and limestone of the Ordovician Period (485 to 444 million years ago). Map: https://goo.gl/maps/YGL8jvaFyYs
Drone photos of Khao To Ngai in Satun clearly showing the two different time periods of the red sandstone at the bottom and limestone at the top.
This morning, we’re doing a boat trip from Bo Chet Luk Pier to Koh Khao Yai in Satun.
Our first stop on the boat trip from Bo Chet Luk in Satun was Ao Hin Ngam on Koh Talo Baen Tae. We transferred from the larger boat to kayaks to reach the shore. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/tN7yFzM4Rus
Drone photos of Ao Hin Ngam on Koh Talo Baen Tae, Satun.
Our second stop was Prasat Hin Panyod on Koh Khao Yai in Satun (ปราสาทหินพันยอด เกาะเขาใหญ่). This is the highlight of the boat trip. It’s like a natural fortress with an open roof. You can only enter by kayaks through rock archways. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/93iqCWqJSax
The drone photos of Prasat Hin Panyod on Koh Khao Yai in Satun clearly show how the limestone rock formation became like a natural fortress due to erosion over millions of years. At low tide there is a beach.
The third and final stop on our boat trip from Bo Chet Luk in Satun was Ao Fossil on Koh Linti. As the name suggests, hundreds of fossils were found here. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/aJL3PWwwjdQ2
A seafood lunch at Bung Dol Homestay, a floating restaurant in Ban Bo Chet Luk, Satun. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/MDA68QVxWdP2
Boat trips around Koh Khao Yai from Bo Chet Luk in Satun cost 800B/person for a half day trip or 1,500B/person for a full day. Call 08-53675093 for more information.
Drone photos of the pier at Bo Chet Luk with views looking towards Koh Khao Yai and also the mainland in Satun. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/KmiKwR1nHdS2
Dinner at Ban Suan Sudaporn Restaurant in Trang. Flying home tonight. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/WzJfAqbBZez
Boarding Air Asia FD3246 from Trang to Bangkok. Flight time is about one hour and 15 minutes.
That’s a wrap on my two-day trip to Satun in Southern Thailand. I hope you enjoyed my photos and I’ve inspired you to visit. Satun was recently named by UNESCO as Thailand’s first Geopark. More info about this on their website: satun-geopark.com