On the road to Thong Nai Pan, about 1km from the Bantai Road, is one of Koh Phangan’s oldest and most unusual tourist attractions: the island’s biggest Yang Na Yai tree. You will recognise it from the ribbons tied around the trunk and the sign that says ‘Biggest Yang Na’ tree.
‘Yang Na Yai’ is the Thai name for the Diptcrocarpus Alatus which grows in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and some parts of the Philippines. The Yang Na Yai is used for a variety purposes. The wood is sought after for construction and cabinet making. The sap of the tree is a thick resin used in wood lacquering, boat building and for traditional herbal medicine (from its bark). The usefulness of this tree will be its downfall; the IUCN has the Diptcrocarpus Alatus on its list of threatened species.
The Yang Na Yai in Koh Phangan is believed to be around 400 years. The largest tree of this kind which has been found in Thailand measured 14.64 metres in circumference and 53.50 metres in height. The specimen on the Thong Nai Pan Road is slightly smaller at around 45 metres tall. It may not be the biggest Yang Na Yai tree in Thailand or even Koh Phangan (we suspect there may be bigger ones in the deep jungle) but it’s an impressive tree and worth a visit.