Thale Noi, Phattalung

 The show takes place... in the morning

Thale Noi Lake (Little Sea) is located about 30km from the city of Phatthalung, and for us who are coming from Phuket, 380 km away, about 5 hours drive, very far away from mass tourism...

This freshwater lake with an average depth of 1 meter, is settled on about 5km in one direction and 6 km in the other, which gives it a surface of about 25km². It is the largest ornithological reserve in the country and migratory birds can be found here in numbers from November to April.

With the birds, the buffalos, and the innumerable lotus flowers you are immersed in a natural, peaceful wild landscape, without forgetting the presence also of the always smiling and very photogenic fishermen. All this together forms a landscape for which one can only remain in admiration. The noise of the motors of the dugout canoes comes a little bit to break this tranquility, but is finally part of the scenery.

Practical side: For those who would like to visit this place, while taking a boat trip on the lake, you should be warned that it is better to be there in the morning to take advantage of the good temperatures, and on the other hand, it is necessary to know that the lotus flowers are open only in the morning... photographing a stretch of closed lotus is much less interesting, aesthetically...

The ideal, therefore, is, I think (and that's what I did) to sleep near the lake in order to be able to be there very early.

The pirogue ride which lasted about 2 hours cost us 450 baht. We are several leagues away from the prices practiced in Phuket... as for the accommodation, we had a small spacious bungalow with an extra bed for our daughter made available for free. The breakfast for the three of us was included in the 800 bahts! Here too, we were in another world compared to Phuket.

It was the discovery of a fantastic place, a place where nature is preserved and protected... with naturally welcoming, smiling people, a deep Thailand, in short, you will have understood it... we loved this visit. 

Note also, that this discovery is not limited to the Lotus Lake... a few minutes away, you will find the Songkla Lake and its suspended fishing nets also called Carrelets. You will find a link at the end of the article to discover this other beautiful place...

 Start of the Day in Thale Noi

Arriving the day before in Thale Noi and staying close to the lake, I took the opportunity to get up at dawn to take some pictures of the sunrise rising gently over this ocean of lotus... I thought it could give good pictures... but Mother Nature had decided otherwise: the horizon was blocked by a few clouds and the sun did not appear until later...

You can't have everything... but as a compensation, I saw monks doing their morning Tak Bat in search of provisions for the day, I hadn't gotten up for nothing.

The first time I had discovered this ritual, I was quite surprised, thinking that the monks were walking slowly... but no, they walk at a steady pace, a not really alert step and I even wonder if I will be able to follow them for a long time at this pace, if I should follow them... 

A canoe trip on an ocean of lotus flowers

We start our pirogue tour at 7 o'clock sharp! It's early, yes... but the ride will last about 2 hours and it's at this time that the temperature is the most pleasant. Two hours of a ride that we will not see the time pass.

We are the only tourists to go on this big lake, no groups of tourists on the horizon.

Thin and long, the colorful pirogues of Thale Noi are waiting for us, ready to take us at a good speed on this big fresh water lake which is close to the sea.

Very quickly we find ourselves in areas completely covered with pink lotus trees all open. These flowers remain open until about noon... coming to Thale Noi and opting for a walk on the lake in the late afternoon, will not have the same taste since the lotuses will be closed...

Beginning of the Day in Thale Noi

This is the type of boat that takes you out on the lake. Apart from the engine noise, this outing changes us quite a bit. A lake is very quiet and here, no waves, no current, nothing to do with the sea.

Picture postcard landscapes

Before we really set off on the lake, our pirogue boat takes us to some well-flowered areas close to the shore. We discover very colourful landscapes, almost like paintings...
We move away a little to go for our turn... from time to time the boatman stops the engine, lets the boat go on the very calm water. We find ourselves in the middle of fields of flowers, superb birds... how restful, how calm, how beautiful.
Le réceptacle floral en pomme d’arrosoir du lotus permet de le distinguer instantanément des nymphéas et des nénuphars. La feuille de lotus ne flotte pas directement sur l'eau... 
Some fishermen we meet give us a broad smile. The depth of this lake is about 1 meter, which allows people to fish while walking in the water, and the buffalos that we will see afterwards to feed and bathe... 
We meet a lot of fishermen... all smiling at us. They are in their environment, in their element, and we... we discover this world so natural, so pure. 

 Ornithology enthusiasts will find their pleasure

The fauna that lives there is composed of 287 species of water birds, 26 species of reptiles, 6 species of mammals, with local birds and migratory birds of other seasons, such as gazelle, stork, white heron, red heron, little water raven. White-breasted birds, teal, pelican, gulls, splashes, red herons, etc...

  In contact with the water buffaloes...

We arrive in the area where the buffaloes have their habits, their territory. 
It seems that the population of these water buffaloes in this territory is about 3000. 

A true place of peace and tranquility

Thale Noi Waterfowl Park is a freshwater lake located in the northern part of Songkhla Lake. With a Nang Raem canal connecting Thale Noi and Lake Songkhla.

Thale Noi is an area that has water all year round. Most of the plants are aquatic plants that stand out and create colors for the sea, such as algae, sticky algae, small yellow-purple flowers, beautiful lotus flowers, water lilies, water lilies, etc. There are also many water birds, both regular birds. Both endemic and migratory birds come to live here. Due to the abundance and biodiversity of the natural cycle of Thale Noi, it is suitable for animal sustenance.

Most of the land is flat plains of the lake. Consisting of rice fields and grasslands, swampy forests and forests.
The seabed is about 5 kilometres wide and 6 kilometres long, with an average depth of 1.5 metres. Covered by various aquatic plants such as lotus grass, Kraod, Prue and Kong, it is scattered everywhere, especially in shallow and relatively calm waters.

Thale Noi was declared a no-hunting zone on 18 February 1975. 

It is considered Thailand's first non-hunting zone, under the aegis of the Department of National Park, Wildlife Conservation, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. 

The fauna living there is composed of 287 species of water birds, 26 species of reptiles, 6 species of mammals, with local birds and migratory birds of other seasons, such as gazelle, stork, white heron, red heron, small water raven. White-breasted birds, teal, pelican, seagulls, splashes, red herons, etc. 

The period from January to April is when birds are most abundant, about a hundred thousand.

Click on the image to enlarge
Thale Noi Songkla Lake
Click on the image to enlarge

 Places visited South Region...

After a very pleasant evening at the edge of the lake, we take a pirogue before sunrise to discover the nets suspended on the Songkla lake.
The Songkla Fishing Nets