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New Eco-Tourist Site in the Southern Border Province of Yala

February 19, 2014 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

1447171207pYala, one of the southern border provinces, has launched a campaign to make its principal eco-tourist site, “Unseen Hala-Bala,” better known.
The campaign, which was launched on 14 February 2014, is a joint effort by the province and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yala Office.

Dubbed the Amazon of ASEAN, Hala-Bala is part of the most fertile forest in the deep South of Thailand. This tropical rainforest covers an area of 433.6 square kilometers and has been designated a wildlife sanctuary. Located near the Thai-Malaysian border, Hala-Bala is actually representative of two different sectors.

Hala, on the western side, is in Betong district, Yala province, and Chanae district, Narathiwat province. Bala, on the eastern side, is in Waeng and Sukhirin districts, Narathiwat province.

Yala Governor Dejrat Simsiri said that the Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in flora and fauna, especially numerous species of birds. It is also the settlement of the Sakai ethnic group. Nature lovers wishing to visit this reserve, he said, may start their journey in Betong district, where the weather is cool all year round. Known as “the town in the fog,” Betong boasts several tourist attractions, such as Piyamit Tunnel, Winter Flower Garden, and Betong Hot Spring.

The Governor suggested that visitors to this town travel along Highway 410, which offers beautiful scenery. Then they should take a boat trip in Than To district to the Hala-Bala forest, which is expected to attract eco-adventurers, especially those who enjoy hiking, jungle treks, and bird-watching. Among rare wild animal species found in this forest are hornbill, Asian two-horned rhinoceros, tapir, gaur, tiger, leopard, Sumatran serow, and elephant.

Many species are on the list of nearly-extinct animals of Thailand. The wildlife in this forest create an ecological balance for the area. The hornbill, a rare bird, is an indicator of the state of the forest. The best time to study nature here is from late February to September, when there is little rain.

Yala province borders the Malaysian states of Kedah and Perak. It is the only land-locked province in southern Thailand. The city of Yala was awarded an honorable mention in the UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize, 2002-2003. The Yala City Municipality, in particular, is recognized for having one of the most beautiful city plans in Thailand.

Betong is about 140 kilometers from the town of Yala on Highway 410. The road between Than To and Betong districts winds along the hillside, affording beautiful views of the lake, forest, and rubber plantations.

More than 70 percent of Yala residents are Muslim, and almost 30 percent are Buddhist. The province has set a vision to become a more livable city, with a spirit of peacefulness.

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