NAKHON SI THAMMARAT - 16 to 26 March 2015
Khao Luang National Park, Lan Saka District, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province

Nakhon Si Thammarat Province

Nakhon Si Thammarat is one of the southern Thai provinces occupying the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Neighbouring provinces are (from south clockwise) Songkhla, Phatthalung, Trang, Krabi, and Surat Thani. The name of the province derives from Pali–Sanskrit.
The terrain is mostly rugged hill forest and is home to south Thailand's highest peak, Khao Luang, at 1,780 metres (5,800 ft), now part of Khao Luang National Park. The uplands range from the north through to the southwest of the province leaving only low lying land to as a drainage area to the east and southeast, much of it the result of silt deposits built up over centuries. The most prominent feature of the shoreline is Cape Talumphuk created by this process. The province has a number of excellent and underdeveloped beaches in Khanom and Sichon Provinces.
The history of the province reflects its prominence as a centre for trade and settlement in early times during which culture and religion were well developed by the 3rd Century AD. The Srivijaya Kingdom of that time promoted Hinduism, evidence of which is wide ranging to this day. Local sources also suggest that the modern form of Theravada Buddhism also took hold here imported from India in the 13th/14th centuries. It is likely that this had a major influence in the development of the Sukothai Kingdom. During the Ayutthaya period the southern region was a satellite kingdom with a certain amount of autonomy but then became integrated during the Bangkok period when in 1932 Nakhon Si Thammarat became a top-level administrative sub-division of Thailand.