By The Nation
The 500-year-old tree, known as sapung in Thai (Tetrameles nudiflora), is more than 30 metres in circumference and above 50 metres in height.
It’s on Koh Yao Noi in the southern province’s Koh Yao district.
The locale on the shore of Ao Khien Bay has several other large sapung trees, but none this big.
Ao Phang Nga National Park administrators have only recently begun promoting the site as a tourist attraction, seeking to get visitors involved in conserving the trees, which are accessible only by boat or after a trek through the woods.
Tetrameles nudiflora – whose soft timber has been used to make matchsticks, canoes and ceiling boards – often grows to immense heights and widths.
Famous specimens wrap around the Ta Prohm temple ruins at Angkor in Cambodia and are admired in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park.
The last time a Thai sapung tree made headlines was last August, when a 40-metre-tall specimen was noticted in a cemetery in Tambon Chaiyapruk in Loei’s Mueang district.