Phatthalung, The Songkla Suspended Nets
A desire for a calm and welcoming Nature
I decide to leave behind me for a few days Phuket and its growing appearance of a city with more and more stifling traffic. Its beaches remain certainly splendid, but this mass tourism ends up tiring me, tiring me out, suffocating me.
Four hundred kilometers to cover on an excellent road to change the world, the setting, the atmosphere... to find myself on a motorized pirogue in the middle of nowhere, on a very quiet water, admiring a splendid, wild, natural landscape, a happiness that I savour thoroughly with my travel companions.
Birds, buffalos, flowers, water lilies, lotuses, an already blue sky, a rising sun, a magical 360° landscape... what a joy to walk around and let yourself be carried away on this sea of tranquility that is the Songkla lake.
To all those who regularly write to me to ask me for authentic places... I will tell them: this is where you should go, even if it is only for a few hours. No fuss, no bling bling, just this marvellous nature, and some fishermen that you come across, busy earning their crust for the day by pulling a long net containing a few wriggling fish, while addressing you with a smile that always makes you happy...
Where is it compared to Phuket?
Songkla Lake is 360km from Phuket. It can be reached by VIP bus, plane or private car. It is this last option that we have chosen for this magnificent trip.
Five hours of driving on an impeccable four-lane road for most of the route, and smooth traffic,
Songkhla Lake is not really a lake. It is a complex of three lagoons with a total area of 1040 km2. The first, to the south, opens onto the Gulf of Thailand at the level of the city of Songkhla and contains brackish water (salinity: about half that of the ocean). The second, the largest, almost 800 km2, contains fresh water. The third, the "small lake", (Thale Noi) in the far north, separated from the previous one by a mangrove forest, contains fresh, very silty water.
On-site accommodation made of wood and bamboo !
I had spotted on Google Map, the location of these famous fishing nets (easy to spot) ... namely at the mouth of the Pak Pra River, where it flows into Lake Songkla.
Several hotel establishments are there and I choose at random, the Sri Pak Pra Resort, not without having first taken the information on the net.
With my travelling companions, we disembark quietly at the reception of this small resort.
A few moments later, my two companions take possession of their bungalow located directly on the lake with a direct view on the nets... I take possession of mine located at the back.
On this map, we can see very well the few small bungalows on the edge of the lake and another, larger one at the back. The suspended nets are very close.
The small Resort Sri Pak Pra, is located directly on the lake.
Ideal location to contemplate this surrounding nature, so natural, so calm, so restful.
This establishment is widely frequented in the evenings for its restaurant by the locals.
Composed of five bungalows by the lake, the comfort is quite correct. The rooms are tastefully decorated.
A second series of accommodations is located at the back, on the small inland lake, just as comfortable and also nicely decorated.
Composé de cinq bungalows en bordure de lac, le confort y est tout à fait correct. Les chambres décorées avec goût.
It's 5:00 a. m., Songkla wakes up!
5:40 a.m., I get up already impatient to bring back a nice set of photos.
In the room, a kettle, soluble coffee, a little milk... enough to make me a "little juice" so I don't leave on an empty stomach. Breakfast will be back at 8:00.
6:00, our "piroguier" is already waiting for us. In the dark night, with a flashlight, he goes down in the boat before us and makes a check of use: water infiltration, presence of snake...
Everything seems ok, we get on board... the boat starts.
We start at dawn...
The first fishing nets are not far away. The engine in a characteristic and deafening noise makes us move away from the small wooden and bamboo pontoon. After a few minutes, the "captain" turns off the engine and we gently slide on the water calmly until the day breaks....
The first images are already impressive in their beauty. The colours, the silence, these strange bamboo constructions in the middle of the lake, we are really immersed in a surprising world of softness and tranquility.
From there, now, nothing is easier than to continue the trip towards the lotus sea which is a few minutes away.
It is quite possible to visit the area of the hanging nets and immediately follow the Thale Noi Lotus Sea.
Just ask the boatman who will pass under the bridge (route 5050) and join the other part.
The area of the suspended nets is mainly done at daybreak i.e. from 6:00 to 7:00. One hour is enough to make this series of photos. Then, just prolong the pleasure and go to Thale Noi with the same pirogue. There, the time to spend will be according to your desires, your motivation.
Everything is easily done!