A Visit to Thale Noi Waterbird Park in Thailand

How to Visit Thale Noi Waterbird Park

Taking a boat trip amongst the Lotus Flowers at Thale Noi Waterbird Park is an off the beaten path experience. An experience so few others have shared, you feel as if it was made just for you.

Thale Noi Lake Lotus Flowers
The gorgeous lotus flowers floating on Thale Noi

Thailand is the most visited destination in all of South East Asia. As a country it ranks sixth in the world for income generated by tourists. Everyone from budget backpackers to affluent city workers come to Thailand and it’s not hard to see why. The diverse nature, jaw dropping scenery, remote islands, ancient temples and party until you puke nightlife has something for everyone. Yet the areas people visit are focused in pockets across the country. The ‘Deep South’ gets very few visitors. 

Thailand Boat Trip on Lake
Relaxing on the gorgeous lake

We had just left Malaysia and crossed in to Thailand overland via the Wang Prachan border (read about our remote hitchhiking experience here). Looking for experiences in the Deep South, we stumbled across the Thale Noi Waterbird Park. It’s Thailand’s biggest Waterfowl Reserve and home to a staggering 180 bird species. What’s more, floating on the lake are thousands of beautiful pink lotus flowers. This was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Asian Open Bill Stork Bird
Asian Open Bill Stork
Thailand Fishermen on Lake

After a series of buses (see How to get there at the end of this post), we got dropped off at the side of the road. There was little to see but a few convenience stores selling the local woven bamboo bags and baskets. The ladies of the area have developed expert skills at weaving. Everywhere you look they can be seen skilfully making handbags and boxes. (They’re a bargain at 100 Baht each).

Hand woven baskets in Thailand
Hand woven bamboo baskets are crafted throughout Thale Noi

It was late in the day so we opted to get some food and delay a boat trip until early morning. This is the best time to visit Thale Noi, as the birds will be active and the Lotus Flowers wide open. After around 10-11AM the lotus flowers close themselves for the day to avoid the intense midday sun.

Thailand sunset over lake
The sun sets over Thale Noi Waterbird Park

At 7:30AM we boarded a boat at the pier (see location map below). Chartering one is a hassle free experience, as the boats are a fixed price of 450 Baht. This is the cost per boat trip, not per person. If you want get up really early, boats can be chartered for 900 Baht to travel far out on the lake to see the sunrise. These early tours also go to see the hard working fishermen of Thale Luang, who use traditional nets hanging from wooden construction platforms.

As we set out in to the lake we were almost immediately greeted by a brightly coloured sea of pink Lotus Flowers. The limestone cliffs forming a gorgeous green background. It felt so ‘Thailand‘.

Pink Lotus Flower
Pink Lotus Flower

Although there was an expectation of seeing hundreds of birds, nothing could have prepared us for what we saw. The lake was full of Purple Herons,  For the next hour and half we drifted along slowly. Occasionally stopping for Rose to get in position and get the perfect nature photo.

Photographer on a lake in Thailand
Rose spotting the water birds

If you have the time and sense of adventure, then I highly recommend visiting the wetlands of Thale Noi. It’s a little visited area that only a few Thais know about (and now you do too!).

Snowy Egret Bird on Post
Snowy Egret
Blue Tailed Bee Eater Bird
Blue Tailed Bee Eater
Blue Tailed Bee Eater Bird
Blue Tailed Bee Eater
Common Tern Bird
Common Tern
Indian Cormorant Bird
Indian Cormorant
Little Grebe Bird
Little Grebe
Snowy Egret Bird
Snowy Egret

How to get to Thale Noi Waterbird Park

The Waterbird Park is in Thale Noi itself, not in Phattalung. It’s ideal if you have your own transport to Thal Noi, but still easy to get there without it. Buses go directly from Trang, which is a central town for onward transport to more developed areas such as Krabi, Phuket and Bangkok.

Minivans from Trang cost 120 Baht per person. If you have a large backpack, you may need to pay for it to have a seat, as there is no storage space on board. Worth noting; Rose and I could fit both our large backpacks on one seat. Thus we paid for three seats: i.e, Rose, myself and a backpack seat.

Trang Bus Station Thailand
Trang Bus Station

Another area where buses depart is Phattalung. Thale Noi is just 23km north east of here and a mini bus takes 30 minutes and will cost 70 Baht per seat. Again, factor in the cost of your bag potentially needing its own ticket.

Accommodation near Thale Noi Waterbird Park

Thale Noi is tiny and tourists often pay a premium for a place to stay. However, we found good value accommodation a 20 minute walk away at Ban Suan Keaw Resort. The cost of a private room with en suite private bathroom and air conditioning was 600 Baht.

Ban Suan Keaw Resort Thale Noi
Our accommodation at Ban Suan Keaw Resort Thale Noi

You can check it out and all the other available accommodation in Thale Noi here.

Get the best value accommodation in Thale Noi here:


Essential Items for Your Trip to Thale Noi Waterbird Park

These binoculars are ideal for spotting all the water birds at Thale Noi. They’ll also be useful for other nature parks in Thailand.

Take your bird watching seriously? This Birds of Thailand book gives you lots of useful information to help identify the different species you’ll see.

You’ll need sun cream to fight against Thailand’s scorching sun. I recommend an eco friendly reef sun cream. This means if you also use it to go swimming, you won’t be harming the underwater environment and animals. You won’t get burned either!

Save the environment and stay hydrated with a bottle that filters your water. This is ideal for travelling overseas where people don’t have the luxury of potable tap water. It will mean you don’t get sick or use a lot of non-recyclable plastic.


How to Visit Thal Noi Waterbird Park in Thailand
How to Visit Thal Noi Waterbird Park Thailand

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