Thale Noi - A Gift of Nature

By Krabi Magazine Jun 26, 2014
If you haven’t been to Thale Noi wetlands sanctuary then you have missed one of the greatest spectacles of nature in South East Asia. Thale Noi is a rare “not-to-be-missed” attraction, but it is especially important to see it at the right time of the year.

Thale Noi is in Phatthalung, about a 3 to 4 hour journey by car from Krabi town. If you are visiting Krabi in February or March, your chances are high to see one of the greatest spectacles that nature has to offer in Thailand.

Thale Noi is a conservation area for both flora and fauna, and the largest of its kind in Thailand. The park is a magnet to seasonal bird migrations from as far away as China, but also hosts unique bird species from the region. Water-lilies and lotus flowers flourish over vast sections of the water park. This unity of birdlife and flowers is then typically viewed by boat during sunrise hours when the water lilies are opening for the morning hours. The triangulation of birdlife, flowers, and sunrise colours presents a crescendo of beauty that will enrapture any heart fortunate enough to witness this seasonal event.

How did this great region become designated for conservation? According to early records, around 1974 a group from Thalay Noi village approached the Royal Forestry Department with the concept of protecting the area. Apparently bird hunting had reached serious levels and bird populations of great species such as the “Kabbaue” (painted stork) were threatened with extinction.

The Forestry Department then sent in a survey team to designate a non-hunting conservation area. In 1975 the Department designated 450 square kilometres of water and forest area as a “non-hunting area”. The water area has an average depth of 1.2 meters and is covered with lilies, lotus, reeds and water grasses.

According to the Thai Government, “more than 187 species of waterfowls, migratory and indigenous birds make their home at Thale Noi.” Among the many species seen here include heron and stork, great egrets, ducks, cotton pygmy goose, white-breasted waterhen, Eurasian coot, pheasant-tailed jacana, cormorants, red-wattled lapwing, common kingfishers, and fish eagles. The area is now officially called the “Thale Noi Waterfowl Park” and is a designated “Ramsar Site”, holding significance as a wetland of International importance.

Today, the Park is annually visited by wildlife photographers, bird-watching enthusiasts, earth scientists, and environment tourists seeking breathtaking, natural wonders.

Written by Richard James and Supawadee Kluntirawong

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