Many people may not know what a peat swamp forest is like. The forest originates from fresh water that is confined in limited space for a long time and subsequently leads to an accumulation of organic matter in the soil. In Thailand, the largest peat swamp forest is in the southern border province of Narathiwat.
This last remaining peat swamp forest in Thailand spreads over nine subdistricts in four districts, namely Su-ngai Kolok, Su-ngai Padi, Tak Bai, and Mueang, covering an area of 50,250 acres (125,625 rai). It is rich in fauna and flora, with over 500 plant species connected with natural food chains.
Known as Pa Phru To Daeng, the peat swamp forest has become one of important natural attractions in Narathiwat. In 1990, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited Pa Phru To Daeng, and later, she became involved in research work on this forest. In 1991, the Sirindhorn Peat Swamp Forest Nature Research and Study Center was established in Pa Phru To Daeng, which has been declared a wildlife sanctuary by the Royal Forest Department.
The 200-sq km wildlife sanctuary was renamed “Sirindhorn Peat Swamp Forest” in honor of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. It received an award in the category of natural attractions at the 11th Thailand Tourism Award 2017, organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The Sirindhorn Peat Swamp Forest has also been opened as a nature study center and a recreational venue for the general public. Because it is a site in the deep South that should be protected for its biodiversity, it is well worth visiting.