BANGKOK – Betong, a district in the southern border province of Yala, is a major tourist town, with several famous tourist attractions. As Betong is surrounded by high mountains, the weather is cool all year round, and it is common to see a mist above the town in the morning.
Over recent years, a great number of local residents, as well as Thai and foreign tourists, have traveled to Aiyoe Weng subdistrict in Betong to appreciate beautiful sunrises over the sea of clouds. It is said that the sea of clouds in Aiyoe Weng is the most enchanting mist in southern Thailand.
Aware of the fact that the mist in Aiyoe Weng has become a new attraction, the Betong District Office has joined hands with the Than Nam Thip Subdistrict Administrative Organization, and the Betong Municipality in developing Aiyoe Weng as a new tourist site.
After the pictures of the Aiyoe Weng mist have been publicized in the media, a great number of tourists from Malaysia and Singapore have visited this small town, where local officials facilitate their travel and ensure their safety. Members of the local community have worked as a team, together with volunteers, in maintaining tourist confidence.
It is expected that more and more visitors from neighboring countries will come to the new attraction, which is only about 15 kilometers from the Betong Municipality and land transport is convenient. The scenic viewing point, where people see the fantastic sea of clouds, is only 330 feet above sea level.
About 140 kilometers from the town of Yala on Highway 410, Betong is located on a mountain range along the Thai-Malaysian border and connects with the Malaysian states of Perak and Kedah. The population in this town is about 60,000, and the number of Muslims equals the number of Buddhists. The Muslim Thais in this town are of Malay descent. In 1900, the Chinese began to migrate into this area, passing through Malaysia.
The town of Betong reflects a harmonious mixture of Buddhist, Muslim, and Chinese cultures, as evident in its local way of living and cuisine. This has made Betong distinctive, becoming a place of enchantment. The unique way of life in Betong attracts numerous Malaysian tourists, who travel by car through the Betong border checkpoint. The old town of Betong is famous for many delicious dishes, some of which are found only in this area.
The Government realizes that Betong has great potential in terms of investment, border trade, and tourism. However, transportation in this province needs to be further developed, especially Highway 410, which links the town of Yala to Thanto and Betong districts. The construction of a commercial airport in Betong is expected to start in 2016 to facilitate travel to this district and contribute to local trade, investment, and tourism. It is likely to be completed in 2018.
As for Aiyoe Weng subdistrict, which is being developed as a new tourist site, it is about 32 kilometers from the Betong District Office and 100 kilometers from the town of Yala. This subdistrict covers an area of 818.7 square kilometers. Most local people are engaged in farming.
Aiyoe Weng is one of the development areas included in the Yala Provincial Development Plan. Under the plan, a route from this area will be developed to lead to the Hala-Bala forest, also in Betong district. Dubbed the Amazon of ASEAN, Hala-Bala is part of the most fertile forest in the deep South of Thailand.