Narathiwat (นราธิวาส) is a city in Narathiwat Province on the Southern Gulf Coast of Thailand.
The majority of the population is Muslim, with the Yawi dialect predominantly used in verbal communication. Yawi is a divergent dialect of Malay which still uses the original Arabic-based Yawi alphabet when written.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has a well-supplied office (gantong theaw) on Narathiwat-Takbai Rd, just outside town. Get there by motorcycle taxi. Staff is quite helpful, speak English and can support you with maps and brochures on what to do and see in the southern provinces.
HistoryOriginally, Ban Bang Nara or Manalo was just a village on the bank of the Bang Nara River next to the sea. In the reign of King Rama I, Ban Bang Nara was under the administration of Sai Buri. It later became a precinct and came under the responsibility of Rangae in Pattani province. In 1906, during the reign of King Rama V, Ban Bang Nara grew into a large community, with highly active land- and sea trade routes touching the town. The provincial government offices were shifted from Rangae to Ban Manalo. In 1915, King Rama VI visited Bang Nara and renamed the city Narathiwat, meaning "home of wise people".
By planeNarathiwat Airport (NAW), about 15 km north of the city near the Chulabhorn military installation, is served by AirAsia with flights to and from Bangkok (DMK).
Grey minibuses run to Narathiwat (town), 80 baht, Taba (Tak Bai) checkpoint, 180 baht, and Sungai Kolok, 200 baht.
By trainThe nearest station is Tanyongmat, about 20 km from Narathiwat. However, better connections are likely to be had at Sungai Kolok. Several trains run daily.
The unrest in southern Thailand has affected the railways, trains have been targeted and services can be cancelled. Trains running to Sungai Kolok had armed guards from Hat Yai, other than that, service is usually normal.
By busTo/from Bangkok: Air-con buses by The Transport Co. Ltd (บริษัท ขนส่ง จำกัด (บขส.), bor-kor-sor) run between Bangkok's southern bus terminal (สายใต้, sai-tai) and Narathiwat bus terminal daily. The distance is ~1,161 km and normally takes 14 hours. 24 seat VIP buses (พิเศษ, piset) cost 1,295 baht and depart from Bangkok at 17:15. On the return, departure is at 12:30. 47 seat Class 2 buses (ม2) cost 669 baht and depart Bangkok at 15:30 and Narathiwat at 12:45.
By minivanScheduled minivan services ply the routes between Sungai-Kolok/Hat Yai/Yala/Pattani and the Narathiwat bus terminal on the outskirts of town, roughly 500 m past the Provincial Hospital on the left hand side of the road to Ranggae. Ticket prices are 80 baht for Sungai-Kolok and 170 baht to Hat Yai.
Songthaews ply the scenic route to Taba (Tak Bai) and take passengers from monument square to either Ratchanivet Palace or near Ao Manao National Park.
A new air conditioned bus line connects the bus terminal with the beach at Hat Narathat. The fare is 9 baht.
Ao Manao/Khao Tanyong National ParkBeautiful beach with a few large rocks, ideal for picnicking, bathing, and beach combing with only a few visitors. A true 4 star beach!
Masjid KlangKnown as the central mosque.
Masjid JangwatKnown as the provincial mosque.
Masjid Wadi Al-Husein (Talo Mano)Known locally as Masjid Saam Roi Phi (มัสยิดสองร้อยปี) or "300-year-old mosque".
Wat Khao Kong
Bang Nara Riverside FestivalLocal atmosphere with lots of teens, live music, and food stalls lining the river.
Narathiwat FairAnnually, around mid-Sep.
Ocean Blue Mansionphone: +66 73 511109, +66 73 511047A fairly new budget hotel, on the banks of Bang Nara River quite close to its mouth. Lift, cable TV, refrigerator, queen beds, hot showers, and air conditioning. Great views of the river and also of Khao Tanyong in the distance. Free covered parking, boat dock available on request.
Pacific Hotelphone: +66 73 511076address: 41/1-2 Worakakhampipith RdClean and simple rooms, (with hot showers & TV). Friendly and helpful staff. Small restaurant. Comfort-wise it is just below the Tanyong Hotel, but much less expensive.
Tanyong Hotelphone: +66 73 511477-9address: 16/1 Sopapisai Rd23 comfortable standard air-con rooms, 24-hour restaurant, snooker club, massage and disco.