Hala-Bala (also known as Bala-Hala) forest is the name of the conservation area which consists of two forests in Yala and Narathiwat provinces.
Traveling to Hala-Bala forest from Betong takes around an hour to get to the Ta-Phayao pier in amphoe Tharntoe and a boat ride that tanks 1.30 hours to reach the forest protection center which is a stop for having lunch. From the center and the stop, you can see the view of the lake and rubber trees that will expand to a large rainforest. There are large trees that you can see in movies everywhere. If you take a good look, there are many species of birds that will surely attract those who love bird watching. However, to get a closeup glimpse of these birds, you will have to take a walk in the forest.
For those who want to visit the forest as a day trip like I did, an interesting spot is the gigantic Sompong tree not far from the forest protection office. It is not difficult to reach it – just take a 300 meter walk in the forest then you will see a very large tree. Unfortunately, someone carved their name into the tree. I hope that newer generations of tourists will not further destroy the tree.
Another interesting spot is the old Tung Grating (bison field) that only has a large tree above the lake left. When I went there, some trees started growing new yellow or pink branches with West Indian Jasmine and other flowers. Because of this,the forest is painted with colorful colors that rivals the color changing forests of the North.
On the way back you can visit Ko Thuat (Thuat Island) that is said to be able to guess the lottery so correctly that many Malaysians won the lottery.
This journey took quite a long time and there weren’t many activities along the way. Many people might find it boring, but for me, seeing the grandeur of one of the most abundant forests of Thailand is very much worth it.
If you would like to visit Hala-Bala forest, please contact: ป. ทรัพย์เจริญ Tel. 0872954736 (Boat fee costs 500 baht per person)
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See you next on our trip!