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snowy orchid

Satun Province

Satun (สตูล) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Trang, Phatthalung and Songkhla. To the south it borders Perlis of Malaysia.

Etymology

The name Satun is a Thai corruption of its original Malay name, Setul (santol, or wild mangosteen tree).

Geography

The province is located on the Malay Peninsula, on the shore of the Andaman Sea. It is separated from Songkhla Province by the Nakhon Si Thammarat mountain range, and from Malaysia by the Sankalakhiri mountains.

The Ko Tarutao and Ko Phetra marine national parks are part of the province. Close to the border with Malaysia is the Thale Ban National Park, a big freshwater swamp area.

History

Until 1813 Satun was a district of the Malay state of Kedah, then known as Mukim Setul (Jawi: مقيم ستول)in Malay. After that it was administrated by a governor sent from Nakhon Si Thammarat. In 1897, Satun became part of Monthon Saiburi (now Kedah), which in 1909 was divided between British Empire and Siam as part of Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909. While most of Kedah became part of the British Empire, Satun was awarded to Siam because the population was largely Siamese. It was then included into Monthon Phuket. In 1933 the monthon system was ended and Satun province became a first-level subdivision of Thailand.

Demographics

Satun is one of the four provinces of Thailand which have a Muslim majority: 67.8% are Muslim and 31.9% are Buddhists. Most of the Muslims have some ethnic-Malay ancestry, though only 9.9% of the population claims to be ethnically Malay.

Because Satun belonged to the Kedah Sultanate, which had a strong relationship with Ayutthaya, as well as with Siam of the Chakri dynasty, its population of Malay Muslims commonly intermarries with Thai Buddhists without serious religious hesitation. This custom created a distinct social group known as Samsam, meaning mixed person. Most Samsams, if not all, are Muslims.

Malay Muslims in Satun are substantially assimilated and rarely sympathise with separatism from Thailand, in contrast to the Malay Muslims in Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala.

Symbols

The provincial seal shows Pra Samut Thewaa sitting on a stone in the sea, with the sunset behind. Pra Samut Thewaa is a spirit who guards the sea. The stone his divine vehicle. The sunset symbolizes the Andaman Sea, which lies to the west of the province.

The provincial tree is the Thai Rosewood or Pha-yungklaep (Dalbergia bariensis), and the provincial flower is the Snowy Orchid Tree (Bauhinia acuminata). The province's motto is Peaceful, Clean and Pure Nature.

Administrative divisions

Satun is subdivided into 7 districts (Amphoe). These are further subdivided into 36 subdistricts (tambon) and 277 villages (muban). Satun itself is the only town (thesaban mueang), there are further 5 townships (thesaban tambon). The non-municipal area is administrated by 35 tambon administrative organizations (TAO).

  1. Mueang Satun (Malay: Mambang)
  2. Khuan Don (Malay: Dusun)
  3. Khuan Kalong
  4. Tha Phae

  1. La-ngu
  2. Thung Wa
  3. Manang
Originally, the province was subdivided into 2 districts - Mambang and Thung Wa - and the minor district (King Amphoe) La-ngu. Due to the decline of pepper production in Thung Wa district, in 1930 the government made Thung Wa a minor district and instead declared La-ngu a district. In 1939 Mambang was renamed to Mueang Satun. Khuan Kalong was split off from Mueang district in 1969, from which in turn Tha Pae was split in 1976 and Manang in 1996. In 1973 Thung Wa regained district status. Khuan Don was established in 1975 by splitting it from Mueang district.

Tourism

Sights

Satun Central Mosque or Mambang Mosque (มัสยิดกลางจังหวัดสตูลหรือมัสยิดมำบัง) It is a place for religious services. The mosque is in a modern style of architecture. Its white building is decorated with glazed tiles, marble, and glass.

Satun National Museum – Kuden Mansion (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติสตูล – คฤหาสน์กูเด็น) During 1997 – 2000, the Fine Arts Department renovated the Kuden Mansion into a western two-storey brick building. Curved doors and windows are in the European architectural style of art. Its Thai-styled hip-roof is covered with Spanish terra cotta roof tiles. The top of the pediment is adorned with a star-shaped vent in accordance with Islamic architecture.

Khao To Phaya Wang Public Park (สวนสาธารณะเขาโต๊ะพญาวัง) This park offers a distinctive atmosphere unlike other parks.

Wat Chanathip Chaloem (วัดชนาธิปเฉลิม) This is the first Buddhist temple in the town of Satun. The Ubosot (ordination hall) has distinctive features, unlike an ordination hall in general. It is a Thai-styled two-storey building. The first storey is a brick building used as a preaching hall. The second storey is a wooden building for religious practice by Buddhist monks.

Laem Tanyong Po and Hat Sai Yao (แหลมตันหยงโปและหาดทรายยาว) is a cape jutting into the Andaman Sea where there is a fishing village. Its long sandy beach is fringed with coconut trees and fishermen’s houses.

Tarutao National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติตะรุเตา) It is the first marine national park of Thailand. The park is renowned for its history and natural beauty. The area was declared a national park on 19 April 1974, and ASEAN Heritage Parks and Reserves by UNESCO in 1982. Attractions in the Tarutao National Park:

Ko Tarutao (เกาะตะรุเตา) It is the largest island of the park, covering an area of 152 km². Most of the areas are mountains with a moist evergreen forest, interesting species of plants and wildlife. Some part of the area is a mangrove forest. There are many bays, both small and large, with beautiful beaches. Attractions on Ko Tarutao:

Ao Phante Melaka (อ่าวพันเตมะละกา) It is a bay with a clean long white beach. The headquarters of the Tarutao National Park is located here.

Ao Chak (อ่าวจาก) This small bay is next to Ao Phante Melaka.

Ao Mo Lae (อ่าวเมาะและ) The bay possesses a clean white sandy beach. There is a beautiful grove of coconut trees amidst tranquility.

Ao Son (อ่าวสน) This curve-shaped bay has sandy beaches which are interspersed with rocky beaches. It is also an egg-laying ground for sea turtles.

Ao Talo Wao (อ่าวตะโละวาว) It is a historical area where the reformatory estate for detention and critical prisoners was established. Nowadays, the park has imitation buildings of the past.

Ao Talo Udang (อ่าวตะโละอุดัง) It is a bay located to the south of the island, 8 km from Ko Langkawi. The Park’s Ranger Station To To 2 (Talo Udang) is situated here. In the past, it was where political prisoners from the Bowondet and Nai Sip rebels were detained.

Namtok Ludu (น้ำตกลูดู) It is a small beautiful waterfall, around 3 km from Ao Son. There is a nature trail from Ao Son to Namtok Ludu.

Tham Chorakhe (ถ้ำจระเข้) It is a cave of 300 m in depth. Inside, beautiful stalactites and stalagmites can be found in different forms.

Pha To Bu Viewpoint (จุดชมวิวผาโต๊ะบู) Pha To Bu is a cliff 60 m above sea level. The viewpoint is behind the park’s headquarters, overlooking the beach of Ao Phante Melaka, Ko Bulon, Ko Klang, Ko Khai, Ko Adang, Ko Rawi, and Muko Phetra.

Ko Khai (เกาะไข่) It is an island to the west of Ko Tarutao. This small island is located between Ko Tarutao and Ko Adang. The famous feature of Ko Khai is its natural stone arch which is used as the symbol of the Tarutao National Park. Coral reefs are commonly found in the sea around Ko Khai.

Muko Adang – Rawi (หมู่เกาะอาดัง – ราวี) These are the islands located 40 km to the southwest of Ko Tarutao, or 60 km from the town of Satun.

Ko Adang (เกาะอาดัง) The island has an area of around 30 km², with a beautiful beach of fine sand. It is surrounded by small islands, and is an ideal place for skin-diving.

Ko Rawi (เกาะราวี) This island has an area of about 29 km², with a beautiful beach, crystal clear sea, and serenity.

Ko Sipe or Ko Lipe (เกาะสิเป๊ะหรือเกาะหลีเป๊ะ) There is a community of Chao Le or sea dwellers here. Most families earn a living by fishing. Most importantly, the villagers will built a boat from Rakam wood and perform a ceremony to float the boat, according to their belief in the prediction of their fishing.

Ko Hin Ngam (เกาะหินงาม) It is a small island located to the southwest of Ko Adang. On the beach, there are smooth black stones in different shapes and with beautiful patterns. The stones will be bright and glossy when wet.

Ko Yang or Ko Kata (เกาะยางหรือเกาะกาต๊ะ) Here, the sea is crystal clear and it is a source of beautiful hard corals, such as staghorn coral, leaf coral, and brain coral.

Ko Chabang (เกาะจาบัง) It is a small island. Deep down around the submerged rocks is the habitat of soft corals, sea anemones, and schools of colourful fish.

Muko Dong (หมู่เกาะดง) It is the islands on the farthest outer ring of Muko Adang – Rawi, around one hour from Ko Adang. There are coral reefs in both shallow and deep sea. Around Ko Dong are 4 – 5 satellite islands. One of them is Ko Hin Son, which prominently looks like superimposed rocks.

Tham Lot Puyu (ถ้ำลอดปูยู) This passable cave is like the one in Ao Phang-nga. Khlong Tha Chin or Tha Chin Canal flows through the cave. Mangrove forests flank the canal throughout its course. Inside the cave, there are some stalactites and stalagmites.

Thale Ban National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติทะเลบัน) Most of the areas are a complex of mountains and dense woods. Wild animals found here include serow, elephant, tapir, common wild pig, monkey, gibbon, and Khiat Wak, or Ma Nam (Giant Asiatic toad or Malayan giant toad). Attractions in the Thale Ban National Park:

Bueang Thale Ban (บึงทะเลบัน) It is a freshwater lake located in the middle of a valley flanked by the Chin and the Wang Pra Ranges.

Namtok Ya Roi (น้ำตกยาโรย) It originates from a source in the Hua Kraming Forest.

Namtok Ton Plio (น้ำตกโตนปลิว) It originates from Mount Chin. This large and beautiful multi-tiered waterfall flows from a high cliff.

Thai – Malaysian Border Zone or Wang Prachan Checkpoint (เขตชายแดนไทย – มาเลเซียหรือด่านวังประจัน). It is just 2 km from the park’s headquarters. Located here is the Thale Ban National Park Ranger Station.

Namtok Thara Sawan Forest Park (วนอุทยานน้ำตกธาราสวรรค์) The area was declared a forest park by the Royal Forest Department on 23 July, 1996. Regular rain causes an abundant evergreen forest here.

Namtok Panan (น้ำตกปาหนัน) It is located in Tambon Thung Nui, 39 km from the town of Satun. The waterfall originates from Mount Kaming. The surrounding nature is still intact. It has water flowing all year round. A power generating dam of a medium scale has been built in the waterfall area.

La-ngu Local Museam (พิพิธภัณฑ์พื้นบ้านละงู) The museum building has 2 storeys. On the ground floor, there are local handicrafts and sweets for sale. A museum on the upper floor displays brassware, earthenware, silverware, etc. which are the private collection of Mr. Chaiwat Saikun.

Muko Phetra National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติหมู่เกาะเภตรา) Most of the areas are high and steep mountains with valley plains and beaches. The national park has forests, mountains, wildlife, and colourful coral reefs. It is composed of large and small main islands. Attractions in the Muko Phetra National Park:

Ao Nun (อ่าวนุ่น) It is a bay where the park’s headquarters is located. Ao Nun lies on a vast bay curve in serenity.

Hat Rawai (หาดราไว) The beach is fringed with lines of pine trees.

Ko Lidi Lek (เกาะลิดีเล็ก) The Park’s Ranger Station is located here. A white sandy beach lies on the island. A virgin mangrove forest grows at the island’s side where various aquatic animals inhabit.

Ko Bulon (เกาะบุโหลน) There are scattered spots for snorkelling and scuba diving, such as Ko Ayam and Ko Hin Khao. At night, hermit crabs and ghost crabs can be seen on the beach.

Namtok Wang Sai Thong (น้ำตกวังสายทอง) The beauty of this waterfall is the limestone in the shape of multi-petalled lotus flowers settling on the bottom of the pools at each of its tiers.

Namtok Than Plio (น้ำตกธารปลิว) It originates from Mount Lung Khroe in the provincial areas of Satun and Trang. This two-tiered waterfall has a pool of 40 m wide and 50 m long at its base. The surrounding area is shady with various plants.

Culture

Festivals

International Kite Festival Held every year around February at the Satun Airport, around 4 km before the town of Satun.

Tarutao – Adang Fishing Club Fair Held every year around March.

Satun Marine Tourism Festival Held around December to mark the start of the marine tourism season in Satun.

Boat Floating Tradition To be observed by Chao Le or sea dwellers at Ko Lipe in Satun around the middle of the sixth and eleventh lunar months of every year. It is intended to dispel bad luck, as well as predict their fishing.

References

External links

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