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Pattalung (พัทลุง)

Thai. ‘City of Elephants’. Capital of a province as well as the name of the province itself, on the east coast of the southern Thai peninsula 840 kms from Bangkok. The province (map) is situated to the West of an enormous inland bay on the Gulf of Thailand, but the spit of land  that forms the bay belongs to the province of Songkhla. In the 14th century, during the reign of the Ayutthayan King Ramathibodi I, Pattalung became one of 12 royal cities. At the end of the 18th century King Rama I submitted the city to the Ministry of Defense, which was responsible for all the southern provinces. During the administrative reform by King Rama V, Pattalung became part of the monthon Nakhon Sri Thammarat. In the past, the name Pattalung wasn't always spelled nor known, as it is today. Prior to 1883, it is found in official Thai documents written with several different spellings, such as Phatthalung (พัททะลุง), Phat-ta-lung (พัตะลุง) Phadthalung (พัดทลุง) Phath Talung (พัทธลุง) and Pat-a-lung (พัตลุง). The name is said to derive from the word talung (ตะลุง), which means ‘to tether an elephant’. In English documents dated to the reign of King Rama III, the city is mentioned by the names Bondelun and Merdelong, the latter referring to the Malay name Mardelong, which was used for the city when the region was under Muslim influence. In earlier documents of a French engineer, dated to the reign of King Narai, the city is mentioned as Bourdelun. Today the province has ten amphur and one king amphur. Pattalung is famed for its performances of Manohra (fig.) and nang thalung. Sometimes transcribed Phatthalung. See also Pattalung data file.