Betong, Thailand

Betong (Thai: เบตง, pronounced [bēː.tōŋ]; Malay: Betung (Jawi: بيتوڠ ) ; Chinese: 勿洞) is a town (thesaban mueang) in southern Thailand, near the Malaysian border. It is the capital of Betong District, the southernmost district of Yala Province. As of 2005, the town has a population of 24,688.

Main Street
Location in Thailand
Coordinates: 5°46′23″N 101°4′21″E
  MayorSomyot Lertlamyong
  Total78 km2 (30 sq mi)
  Density320/km2 (820/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+7 (ICT)
Area code(+66) 73

Betong is the southernmost town of Thailand and its location on the border with the Malaysian state of Perak makes it popular with tourists.


The name Betong is actually the Thai corruption of Betung. Its original Malay name means 'bamboo'.


The town was created as a local administration unit on 30 September 1939, when the sub-district municipality (thesaban tambon) was set up.[1] The town was upgraded to thesaban mueang status on 20 February 2004.[2]


Tourism is the main driver of the economy of Betong, especially sex tourism. Mass tourism was not common to Betong[3] until it was launched as one of Thailand's pilot targets for western tourists with the opening of its airport for commercial flights in March 2022[4]. Academic Surang Artnarong has estimated that the town is home to 3,000 to 5,000 sex workers, who primarily service Malaysian tourists. In 2014, 466,913 foreigners visited Betong, generating 2,130 million baht in revenue.[5] The number of tourist arrivals rose to 700,000 in 2016.[6]


Betong is accessible only through roads, via the 410 highway that originates from Yala, and Highway 76 from Perak.

In January 2022, the Department of Airports opened the Betong Airport on a 920-rai site, which is 13 km east of the town.[7][8] It is built at a cost of 1.9 billion baht. Designed to handle 300 arrivals per hour, it is projected to serve one million passengers per year, generating three billion baht for the district. Nok Air was selected to be the airline to serve the airport.[7][9] The airline operated three return flights per-week from Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport from April to October 2022.


  1. พระราชกฤษฎีกาจัดตั้งเทศบาลตำบลเบตง จังหวัดยะลา พุทธศักราช ๒๔๘๒ (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 56 (ก): 951–954. September 30, 1939.
  2. ประกาศกระทรวงมหาดไทย เรื่อง เปลี่ยนแปลงฐานะเทศบาลตำบลเป็นเทศบาลเมือง (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 122 (Special 20 ง): 9–10. February 20, 2004.
  3. "Betong: Thailand's Southernmost Everything - Matt Hunt". 2022-07-23. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  4. Limited, Bangkok Post Public Company. "Betong airport welcomes first commercial flight". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  5. Subpawanthanakun, Kritsada (2019-02-01). "Sex Workers, the Southern Border Provinces, and Living with Rules They Did Not Write". Prachatai English. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  6. "Thailand's misty town of Betong lures tourists". Bernama. 6 November 2017. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  7. Karnjanatawe, Karnjana (19 August 2021). "Betong airport set to open next month". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  8. "Govt plans DMK-Betong flight roster". Bangkok Post. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  9. Nanuam, Wassana (5 July 2019). "Betong airport runway will be extended, says army chief". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 5 July 2019.

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