"A beautiful border town, southernmost in Siam" is the
slogan of Yala province. The word "Yala" comes from a folk word
"yalor", meaning "fishing net" because at the original site of
the town, Yalor, there was a mountain shaped like a fishing net.
It was a low land and people earned their living by using fishing nets to catch fish. Eventually, many new towns were set up one after another until finally it moved to Nibong, which is its present location. (Nibong means a kind of tree called "laocha-on").
Yala is the southern most province of Thailand with and area of 4,521 square kilometers. It is 1,055 kms. from Bangkok by rail and 1,440 kms. by road. It is the only one of the 14 southern provinces that is not next to the sea. Yala is mostly mountains and covered with forests but has very little flat land.
Distances from Yala city to:
Yala used to be a part of Pattani, which was a colony of the Thai Kingdom during the Sukhothai Regime. In the year 1757, after Ayutthaya had lost to Burma, all its colonies in this area declared themselves independent. It was not until the reign of King Rama I that Krom Phra Rajwang Baworn reclaim Pattani into 7 towns.
They were Pattani , Saiburi, Nongjik, Yaring, Ra-ngae, Raman and Yala. As for Yala, Tuan Yalor became Phraya Lor, its governor. There had been many governors in succession before Yala became a province of Thailand and that was before the announcement of the cancellation of the division into regions according to the order of the Kingdom of Siam in 1993.
Suan Khwan Muang This beautiful public park in the municipal area comprises a ground for the doves cooing contest and a large lagoon with a sandy beach imitating a seaside landscape.
Wat Khuha Phimuk Commonly called by the villagers as Wat Na Tham, the temple is 7 kms. from the township area along the road to Amphoe Yaha Alargee cave in the area enshrines an ancient reclining Buddha image of Srivijaya style, which is believed to have been constructed in 757 A.D.
Bang Lang Dam This huge dam in Tambon Ba Cho, Amphoe Bannang Sata, is 58 kms. from Yala township on the Yala Betong route. The dam, constructed as a project of the Pattani River Hydroelectric plant, offers beautiful scenery of mountains and the lake.
Namtok Ku Long or Namtok Sukthalai This is a huge waterfall with fine cascades. It is located in the forested area of Amphoe Bannang Sata, about 50 kms. from Yala township via the Yala-Betong Highway and 8 kms. along an access road. There is a royal pavilion built in honour of the King's Mother situated near the waterfall.
Namtok Than To Forest Park The main attraction of the park is a 9-level waterfall surrounded by thick forest. It is located at Km. 57-58 on the Yala-Betong route.
Sakai Tribal Village Another unique feature of Yala is the presence of a "Sakai" aboriginal community. It is located in Tambon Ban Hae. Amphoe Than To, 80 kms. from Yala on the Yala-Betong route. The Sakai with dark skin tone, flat face, flat nostrils and curly hair are now educated and earn their living by growing rice and rubber.
Amphoe Betong The southernmost borderland located about 126 kms. from Yala township is famous among Thai and Malaysian tourists for its misty mountain scenery and superb local dishes. Its modernisation is equivalent to the province itself or better than some certain province of Thailand. There is a road linking Thailand and Malaysia to the Betong Checkpoint. The biggest letter box in the world is seen in this town.
Hot Spring 13 kms. from the Betong market, it is a large hot springs with mineral water which is good for the cures of skin diseases and muscular pain.
Nomtok Inthason Situated 3 kms. beyond the hot springs, this is a lovely waterfall with a sandy basin among a shady forested area.
Piyamit Underground Shelter This is an underground retreat built by the communist guerrillas in 1976 on a wooded mountain. It is about 3 kms. from Nomtok Inthson and now preserved as a historical site.
Festivals & Events:
The Landmark Pole Celebration
is held yearly between May 25 and June 4. There are processions Yala town. There are exhibitions, shop selling local products of the south and also southern Thai traditional entertainment such as shadow puppets, Monarch and a liege Hulu.
Yala Cultural Fair
contest and sale Shogun orange, longkong and durian fruits of Muang Yala. Kluayhin banana eating contest. Tour week of "Lake on mountain trip" week. The period of festival is about the first weekend of August every year.
The ASEAN Dove Competition
is held on the last weekend of March every year. There are processions in the opening ceremony. Dove raising clubs from Malaysia, Singapore and every province in Thailand join the competition. On the days, there are exhibition and goods for sale, including those involving dove raising.
How to get there:
Air - conditioned buses and non-air conditioned buses leave from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal everyday about 16 hrs. further details, please contact 02-4355015.
Taking Highway No.4 to highway No. 41 or 42 pass Thepa River and then to Don Yang T junction , Turn right about 40 kms. to Yala province.
Express Train, Rapid Train and Sprinter leave from Hua Lamphong Railway Station daily for Yala about 17 hrs. Tel. 2230710,2230720
From Bangkok to Hat-Yai daily and then to Yala Province by bus, taxi or air-conditioned van about 150 kms.