Thale-ban national park
The khiat wak is the symbol of this swamp
Location: Muang district
Thale-ban national park is named after a vast freshwater swamp. The word Thale-ban is thought to be derived from Loet Roeban in Malay, which refers to a geographical phenomenon called ‘a subsiding sea’ or the subsidence of earth. In the past, this area was a fertile land, until an earthquake caused a huge deep basin. Later water blockage resulted in this massive swamp. Geologists assume that there might be a hollow underground cavity, as the area is adjacent to mountain ranges on both sides – Mount Chin and Mount Mot Dang. Thus the collapse of the underground cavern triggered the subsidence of land.
The major landscape of Thale-ban national park comprises forest, meadow, and mangrove habitats borders and maintains a variety of animal life. A towering nine-tiered waterfall called Ya-roi, or Ton Plio waterfall flows a long way from a high cliff down into the stream underneath. The head office of Thale-ban national park is located by the lake, which is truly a natural creation hiding in the middle of mountain ranges and is a great picnic spot, there are also bungalows for overnight stops.
The swamp covers an area of 125 Rai and houses countless of freshwater fish and mussels.The surrounding area is packed with Hanguana malayana, and is the habitat of khiat wak or ma nam (rough-sided frog). It is considered the symbolic animal of Thale-ban. It appears to be a combination of a frog and a toad, but with a tail and is able to produce sounds similar to those of a puppy. The lakeside, particularly in the rainy season, teems with this unique animal. For bird-watchers, this place offers an opportunity that should not be missed. There are various species of bird, such as whiskered tree swifts, stripe-throated bulbuls, chestnut-naped fork tails, and woodpeckers. Thale-ban is also an important source of water for animals, for example mountain goats, elephants, tapirs, boars, monkeys, gibbons, etc. There are nature trails and the park provides trail guides and maps.